The Cuteness Strikes Again

I'm clearly doing something wrong when it comes to bed time right now. I am. My daughter will not go peacefully no matter what I try. The problem began around Thanksgiving, or so my short mommy brain memory believes, and is simply this: she wants to stay up and/or she doesn't want me to leave her alone. According to her, she is afraid of the dark, afraid of being alone, she has a tummy ache, her foot hurts, she's definitely got a boo-boo, she needs a drink of water, she can't find her pacifier, she wants Mickey instead of Minnie, or she needs to poop. On several occasions I believe she has made herself poop simply to prove her point.

Needless to say, I'm at my wits end. I can't think of another way to make this bedtime deal happen like it once did - smoothly. I try something new, it works for two or three nights, and then we're back to "ITS TOOO DARK IN HERE!"

On top of that, my dog drives me crazy around bedtime because he, too, needs attention. He wants to go out, he wants to come in - like what, he can't figure out the door? Monday night when things were going pretty well with the girl, the dog barks to come in, and of course that throws a wrench in the "smooth" thing. I waddle down the stairs, quickly open the door, let the dog in and then slam the very heavy sliding glass door closed DIRECTLY ON MY THUMB.

I screamed in sheer terror and pain. I ran to the sink, turned on the cold water and held my throbbing, immobile thumb in the cool stream. I also cried like I haven't cried in ages - a sobbing, heaving, horrifying cry that one might have heard across the street. My daughter came running (or one-stepping as quickly as 2 year old legs can) down stairs with her blanket and pacifer. She moved her step-stool next to me at the sink and said, "Mommy! What happened?" I said, through sobs, "I hurt my finger real bad." She said, "I'll go get my daddy." I thought, "wow! what a good helper!"

She proceded to go upstairs, put her pacifier and blanket in her bed (as that is where I ask her to keep those items when not in use), then she came back through the kitchen, quickly turned to me and yelled, "MOMMY STAY RIGHT THERE!" Then ran to the garage to get her father who was repairing a snow-plow issue. I heard her yelling at him from her spot at the doorway, "Mommy is crying! Mommy is crying!"

When they arrived at my side, I explained what had occured. My husband did the first aid thing, "Can you move it, describe the pain..." and he got the ice bag going. My daughter stood next to me, she placed her hand on my shoulder and said, "Mom, you want your Mommy come back over?" It was THE CUTEST thing I've heard her say ever. She was sincerely concerned that my pain would not subside without my own mother's assistance. I said, "No, hunny, you're taking care of me just fine." She smiled and gave me a little hug and said, "Thanks."

It just doesn't get cuter than that!


tired and sick

I liken being pregnant and sick to swimming while wearing a trench coat. The entire body is engaged in a very difficult and strenuous process and then the coat adds to the already exhausting situation.

My daughter caught a cold a week and a half ago. For her, this quickly turns into an upper respiratory issue. Antibiotics are called in, a nebulizer is hooked up; we're like a mini-hospital and its only October. Her doctor says, "She has narrow passage ways that we hope will widen as she grows" that lead to this upper-respiratory cough. If left untreated the cold, turned ugly chest issue, would swiftly move into croup and I say, no thank you Senor Croup. I don't wish to meet him again.

A winter ago, non-prego, her cold/cough combo packed little punch for me. But this year, no such luck. The body, busy forming another person's pancreas and sense of sight, was too busy to fight off the infection and here I am, laid up with sickness. I've never felt so nearly what life as an asthmatic must be like; effort, both mentally and physically, is often required to breathe.

And yet, my peanut shines. In the morning my little germ-spreader awakes she calls to me. "Missin' my mommy!" I enter her room she quickly hides, only to giggle with delight when I swoop her out of bed. Sitting on the rocking chair she looks at me with a concerned head tilt and furrowed brow, puts her hand on my throat and says, "How are you feeling today mama?"

Cynicism is out the window.


At least she isn't a spendthrift

On Tuesday my daughter and I went to the zoo. She'd recently squashed my sunglasses, so we stopped at the local Walgreens to find a new pair of cheap mommy sunglasses. On the way into the store I noticed a dollar sitting on the sidewalk. I said, "Hey look! A dollar!" She reached down and picked it up - unsure of its importance. Had it been a quarter she would have been ecstatic, but as of yet, I've avoided giving her bills. I said, "That is pretty neat - a whole dollar, you should put it in your pocket and use it at the zoo to ride the carousel." She was pleased with this, but still looked at the dollar like it was funny paper that she should not keep because clearly, it was not really hers.

When we went in to Walgreens I looked at a few items. In the hair accessory aisle she set the dollar next to other green items and said, "Look match." When I'd selected my clip, I said, "Ok. Next we need to buy daddy some shaving cream. Let's go!" She said, "Shaving peam?" while following me out of the aisle with no dollar in hand. I stopped and said, "What about your dollar?" She replied, "Oh." She found it next to a green hair brush and said, "I found it!" In each aisle we visited she did the same thing, set it down, walked away from it to play with something else and then forgot about its existence completely.

At the checkout she did everything she could to pay for my things with her single dollar. She handed it directly to the cashier, she set it next to the cashiers hand, she waved it in the air like a little flag. Finally I kneeled and said, "Hunny, that dollar belongs to you now. You found it and you can keep it." She said, "Ok Mama." Certain the child understood the situation, I paid and we left. Once outside I said, "You're dollar is in your pocket, right?" She replied, "No." We turned around and found the dollar resting on a shelf near the exit.

So now I'm a dollar richer and she "found" a quarter in the car and can't stop talking about putting it in her piggy bank. Problem solved.


Telling the little one

I have begun to "show" - as they say about pregnant women. Therefore, I thought it time to tell the youngster about her new sibling arrival. She's heard it a million times before, as she was usually in ear shot of our announcement. Nevertheless, I thought it was important to have a little chat with her about the baby.

Yesterday, I simply said that mommy is going to have a baby. She will be a big sister, much like her current favorite cartoon character, Dora. She looked at my tummy for a while. Then she got on top of me, sitting directly on my tummy and said, "Now I sit on baby." Today when we were in the car she said, "Where did Mommy's baby go? Oh no. Its gone."

She's already trying to squash the little booger in utero. This might be more of a challenge than I'd previously thought. I could start ignoring her more, I guess. Oye vey.


Mel's Top Ten: I know I'm pregnant when...

1. I don't want Doritos. I NEED Doritos. I'll drive to the store specifically for Doritos and then eat them the entire way home. Nacho cheese is delicious.

2. I forget anything and everything I might need to do, just did, and thought I was going to do.

3. If my toddler stays up past her bedtime I become Zombie Mommy.

4. Milk moustache advertisements make my mouth water.

5. I show up on time to the ob/gyn, but I drove to her previous office, which she hasn't used for two years.

6. I think, "Maybe I should eat" but within 10 minutes its too late, I'm as hungry as a ravenous beast.

7. My breasts are no longer used in pleasurable experiences - they have turned into a functional tool.

8. Dusting regularly involves the use of a shop vac.

9. Walmart's "mother-daughter" commercials make me cry.

10. I dream about forgetting stuff and wake up crying because I can't remember what I forgot...in my dream.


Swimming for suckers

Tuesdays the little lady and I hit the pool for her swim lesson. It is currently the most painful 30 minutes of my life. Its as if the clock stops moving.

Let me start by saying, I love to swim. You've heard me mention triathlon - you understand? I swim regularly. I know how, I do it pretty well. Teaching my daughter to swim, however, seems to involve no skill development.

The mommy and me swim lesson involves two things - singing to my 30 pound daughter while holding her. I can skip weights today - you understand? Its like the class is designed to introduce the water to a child. My child is 2; she has lived through two summers at the pool. So you see, the real issue here is that while holding my 30 pound daughter she is twisting and writhing about trying to get away from me, in deep water, the entire time. Often she adds yelling, "No no no MOMMY NO" to her routine. She has NO interest in singing the cheesy songs because this girl, like her mother, wants to SWIM. She does not want to take direction from her mother about what hand movements go with this song or that song. She wants to swim. It seems she does not want her mother to be involved. I gather this from the yelling, you see.

I will say to her, "Do you want me to let go?" She will say yes, then she bobs under water, looking directly at me. When she comes up she is THRILLED. That part is fun. When we sing "Humpty Dumpty" and she gets to jump into the pool - she is THRILLED again.

Finally today the teacher mentioned how my girl should go up a level next session. Though this will still involve the mommy and me concept - or the "No no no no no no MOMMY NO" concept. I'm considering private lessons.


embarrassed, literally

I like to swim. I swim once a week, usually on Wednesdays, in an effort to prepare for a triathlon (sprint distance) coming up in June. I swim at the YMCA. It is perfect because my daughter can go and play (or cry) in the Kidz Korner. Kidz Zone. Whatever they call it. I know it is spelled incorrectly and is supposed to be "cute." Tangent. It is nice too because the kids area looks out onto the family pool so the kids can watch people swim through the windows.

Two weeks ago I went for a swim. I brought the little one's swimsuit, too, so that she and I could play together in the family pool after I swam laps. The family pool at my YMCA is incredible. There is a large portion of zero depth and it has water slides, play areas, water falls, and even a resistance pool. (By that I mean the water goes in one direction while you walk in the opposite direction - I'm sure there is a technical term for this, I just can't think of it. I believe it is used for physical therapy).

I dropped the girl off and then got changed into my black Speedo suit in the locker room. When I put it on, I noticed along the neckline it was a little bit thin. Before I left the locker room I did a quick check in the mirror to make sure my bits and pieces were not hanging out, then I head into the lap pool for a twenty five minute swim. Just as I was finishing another swimmer joined my lane, we exchanged a few pleasantries and I exited the pool.

Next, I sat in the sauna for a few minutes to warm up and dry off a bit before heading to pick up the chicken. I put on my red cover up dress and flip flops to walk through the halls of the YMCA. We returned to the locker room, changed her clothes, and headed for the family pool which opens at 5 pm. We were a few minutes early so we sat on the floor just outside the entrance playing pat-a-cake and counting the seconds until we could fun it up. When the lifeguards started to enter, we went in, they put her in a "I'm too young to swim" red bracelet and we headed for the zero depth area of the family pool. I placed my cover up, flip flops, and our towels on one of the benches and we hit the water. From 5 pm until 5:20 there weren't many other people in the pool. A couple dads with their kids and the lifeguards. At 5:30 it started to pick up quite a bit. Many more dads came in, I remember thinking, "Wow there are a lot of dads here today." There were other moms in the pool, but lots of men. Many men.

At 5:40 one of the women from inside the kids area waved at my daughter. My girl waved at her. I smiled, waved, and then we walked out into the pool a bit and I sat down. When I stood up I was looking out toward the pool, but then turned around and looked back at the window where the woman, who had just waved at my daughter, was flailing her arms in the air - waving to me, directing me to come over to the window. I picked up the wee one, walked over to the window and said, "Hi Beth* what's up?" She mimed something at me. I said, "I don't understand?" One of the other kids area employees brought her a piece of paper and a pen, Beth wrote frantically on the paper, then, in a very secretive manner, held it up to the window. It read: "Your swim suit ripped." EEK. GASP. I said, "WHAT? WHERE?" This time I read her lips perfectly, "YOUR BUTT."

Immediately I turned around and put my butt against the wall. My daughter pointed to the pool, I said, "Oh no. We gotta go!" I put my red cover up dress on, turned around, thanked Beth, and b-lined it for the locker room. Once there, I stood in front of the mirror, raised my dress and saw the rip. It was the size of a silver dollar pancake, partially on my cheek and partially on my crack.

I thought, "this is what 'mortified' feels like." I hurried us both out of our wet suits, mine went into the garbage, and then we made it to the car without making eye contact with anyone who might have just seen my rear end. BARE. AT THE YMCA. It is a Christian Association! Mortified.

I got in the car, called my husband and said, "Open a bottle of wine, I need a drink. I just had the most embarrassing thing happen to me." When I walked in, the glass was already poured. I set our daughter in front of the TV, took a big swig and told my husband what I'd, inadvertently, done. He said, "Well at least you didn't have a code brown in the family pool!"

There is something worse than bare butt at the YMCA after all.


Dog vs. Kid

I am irritated lately by a comment I heard Jennifer Aniston make during one of her Marley and Me interviews. She loves her dog like other people love their children... something to that affect. Oprah's said it, too. And I call bullshit on that.

Bullshit ladies.

You don't love your dogs like other people love their children. That simply isn't true. Yes, I can see how one might think they love their dogs, or pets, as much as other people love their children - but if you haven't got any children you don't know what the shit you are saying. You simply don't. Not that this is a fault of yours. Not that it makes moms better than non-moms. Because it doesn't - but there is simply no comparison between the love of a family pet and the love of a child in the family.

I love my dog. Do I love him so much that if he bit my kid he'd see anymore nights at my bedside? Hell no. Do I love him so much that if he harmed my daughter in anyway he'd curl up next to me on the couch? Hell no. I do feel badly that he plays second fiddle to my daughter now - because he did rule the roost just two short years ago. But he is a dog. She is my heart.

He is a great dog, too. He doesn't mind when she accidentally steps on his tail. He cleans up the floor when she makes a mess. I often wonder why other people's kids seem so messy? But they don't have a dog to clean up the kitchen floor. I will leave a piece of toast for him to get later, I'm not ashamed to say it. The dog needs a little boost every now and then, too.

I agree dogs are wonderful. On all accounts. He is great to snuggle, great to pet, great to talk to when I feel blue, he is always there, always loves me, always gives me that warm greeting when I get home, he makes me feel good simply because I occasionally pet him. He is great. He keeps humping my couch, but he's great.

But love of a child is completely different than dog ownership. Besides the obvious differences: if you leave your dog alone in the house no one cares - but if you leave your kid alone in the house you have to answer to the authorities; you can get away with rarely bathing your dog without anyone saying much, but you ignore the personal hygiene of your kid and the school is going to start calling the house; you can put your dog in a cage and nobody cares, but you put your kid in a cage and again the authorities will take issue with your child rearing techniques; dogs can ride unrestrained in a car or even the back of a pick up truck, kids - not so much.

The love of a child gives us cat like reflexes. My daughter was napping in my four foot tall bed the other day and it gives me the willies. I can't handle the "what if she falls out" so my mom senses go into hyper-over-drive when she is in there alone. I was in the kitchen getting a much needed hug from the spousal unit and out of the silence I heard, "MAAAAM." Within a second and a half I bolted out of the hug, up the stairs, and calmly entered the room. When I returned to the kitchen my husband said, "Now if only you'd move that quickly when I needed something.." I said, "Don't hold your breath."

The love of a child can allow for the greatest of discomforts for the longest periods of time with little concern for my sleeping limbs, cricking neck, or forming charlie horses. In an effort to get my daughter back into her own bed (the phrase "ma bed" is her latest fave) I have created a "sleep chart," and re-vamped the bedtime routine. Unfortunately, the re-vamping took me out of the large and very comfortable rocking chair, to perching on the ottoman right next to her toddler bed, lurching over the safety rail, and resting my temple on the corner of her bed frame - while reading books and rubbing her back. This approach to bedtime seems to be working: she is becoming comfortable in her own bed again. I have a stabbing pain in my temple for forty minutes afterward, but she's good, so it doesn't matter.

The love of a child can muster up a level of enthusiasm shared only by moms and pre-school teachers. At 5 in the morning my daughter woke from her first night back in her own bed, she called out, "MAAAM!" I angrily threw my feet to the floor, grunted at the husband "what time is it?" Only to cheerfully enter my toddlers room saying, "Morning babe! Mama is so proud of you!!! You did it!!!" Like a person with multiple personalities, I can be "on" for her but or "off" for anyone else.

The love of a dog doesn't come close to creating those unique motherhood instincts. When my dog wakes me at 5 a.m. do you think I'm cheerfully sending him out to the backyard?

I think child-less pet owners lack the frame of reference to make such grand statements as: I love my dog as much as other people love their children. I think in time if Jennifer Aniston ever has her own children she'll feel like an ass for having compared the two. Because in truth, there just is no comparison - kids trump dogs every time.


Another Step Forward

Today was a normal day. We got the ball rolling with Cheerios around 6:30, half eaten banana about 7, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse at 8 on the nose. Can't miss the Mouse. Then at 8:30 we busted out the extra large Disney coloring book and markered up every inch of space on our palms. Nothing beats a purple thumb.

Tuesdays being the only day we don't have something on the ol' "schedule" I try to keep it low key. We play around the house, we read books, and we pet the dog. Mom has some Facebook time while the goose pushes six babies in a stroller around the basement. Its like the day of not go-go-going.

We did, however, make a minor/major -depending on your point of view - step forward. After naps and a turkey sandwich PLUS pudding cup lunch we went upstairs to her bedroom. The chicken played with her "guy" - which is actually a Little People dollhouse, and I took the front section off of her crib. In its place I put a flimsy ass piece of metal the manufacturer calls a "side rail." This thing is not likely to hold my child inside her crib. She's a thrasher. Sometimes I hear her smacking her head against the crib so hard that I know her pink G-R-A-C-E letters are falling off the bookshelves.

She couldn't have been more pleased with the situation. As soon as the front piece came off she was jumping and screaming all over her room. "BED!" "mm-eye BED!" I had to coax her off it with some never before seen hand-me-down-pink-sparkly-Disney shoes in order to get the contraption put together. Even those paled in comparison. Once we were a go, and she tried to shimmy herself onto the bed through the slim slot at the end of the side rail her expression quickly turned glum. She could not get her little knee up on the side in such a slim space. She said, "UH-OH." I said, "What are we going to do? How can you get up in your bed on your own?" She replied, "I on't no." I said, "Wait! I have an idea," and looked to my bedroom door and then she put it together and screamed, "STOOOOL!" Off she ran to my room, grabbed the stool that I'd set at my own bedside 26 months ago when I was too pregnant to heave myself into my own bed, and placed it neatly at her bedside. We were officially ecstatic! She went up and down umpteen times - each time she'd get up, cross her arms over her chest and say, "self" - then down again. AT THE TIME I felt nothing but sheer joy. It was incredible to watch her feel such pride in doing something on her own. I did, in fact, tear up.

But now 9:16 p.m. is a different story. Now I'm pacing the floor, busying myself with egg salad sandwich ingredients because I am certain that flimsy ass piece of metal is going to fail me and my chicken is going to hurt herself, alone, in the dark. OR she'll try to get out of the bed through the ever so slim opening alone, in the dark and therefore hurt herself.

THE WORRY OF MOTHERHOOD IS TORTURE. Torture I tell you. If you're not into torture, use birth control diligently and without error. Maybe a follow-up method, pull out. A condom. Whatever it takes. Because while I Love You Through and Through is totally accurate - I do love her when she is happy, sad, angry, or mad. The worry is torture. And according to my mom, it never ends. She isn't likely to lie about that, either.

Today I worried like this:
7 a.m. - Why didn't she eat a good breakfast? Is she feeling ok?
12:30 pm- My goodness she is taking a very long nap.
5:15 pm - Is she going to stop crying when I leave her at the YMCA Kidz Korner.
(and yes, that IS how they spell it.)
7:23 pm - How much sugar did she really ingest with that cream puff anyway?
7:44 pm - Is there too much water in the bathtub? Don't blow bubbles in the water! Hey, don't gargle the bathwater.
8:20 pm - Is she going to fall out of this thing? Is she going to be able to see to get out? Is she going to know how to find me in the dark? Is she going to be scared?

Everyday it goes like that. Everyday. So while her point of view on the new side rail is one of sheer joy, mine is painful worry. Its all point of view.