Monthly Archives: October 2009

Today is Not Opposite Day

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When I yell “STOP!” that does not mean run faster toward the road.

When I say “No hitting,” that does not mean give me another swat.

When I say “No throwing,” that does not mean give me a mischievous look and then slowly, carefully, throw it anyway, all the while watching my reaction with a big smile on your face, followed by a “Uh,” as if you didn’t know that was going to happen. Right.

When I say “No screaming,” that does not mean let out a small, quiet scream.

When I say “Watch out, don’t bump your head,” that does not mean walk up to the offending object and cautiously bonk your head.

To alleviate any confusion on your part, I now tell you what I do want you to do instead of using any confusing words like, “stop,” “hitting,” “throwing,” or “screaming.”

Now, instead of “No hitting,” I say, “Be gentle. Be nice.”

Instead of “No screaming,” I whisper, “We use quiet voices.”

Honestly, Monkey, I love that you’re testing. Because that means you’re thinking, and if you’re thinking, it must mean you’re smart. And with my larger-than-loud, err, life, personality I’d rather have you be a strong-willed tester, than a shy wall flower. Plus, think of how well-equipped I’m going to be compared to the parents of the “easy going” kids! Oh yes, their day will come. I am gleeful with anticipation. Muwahahahahahahaha (that is my best written interpretation of a sinister laugh – what can I say – Happy Halloween?)

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Blame it on the Rain

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Do you want to know what happens when it rains for 13 days in September and 12 days, so far in October, with rain predicted for seven of the eight remaining days? I start to get a little depressed. That’s 32 days. Thirty-two out of a possible 61 days. That’s more than A MONTH OF RAIN. And that doesn’t count the days that were just cloudy without rain, but also without sun. I think I’ve seen the sun exactly five times this month. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. Maybe it was six times. And like most people, I am affected by not seeing the sun, and I get a little depressed. Because IT’S DEPRESSING to see this never-ending. Interminable. Ceaseless. Fecking rain. This is why I don’t live in Seattle! I need some melatonin people!

So I’ll blame it on the rain — you know, Milli Vanilli style (side note — did you know that “Blame it on the Rain” was written by the unbelievably talented Diane Warren? How the H did she ever get hooked up with Milli Vanilli??). Anyway, I think this rain, combined with my irrational pregnancy hormones, is making me overly emotional when I hear or read about bad things that happen to kids. I’ve always been a very empathetic person, but lately when I hear about this stuff I get SO SAD, and it affects me! I think about it for a long time. And not always real-life things. Things I see in TV dramas, like a 15-year-old homeless girl with a critically ill two-year old, or the mom who dies from a hospital mistake, leaving her little boy. But also the things that happen in real life. Like the Oprah episode I DVRed about Jaycee Dugard who was kidnapped by a convicted sex offender and held for 18 years. Or the latest of what seems to be a never-ending saga of murdered children in Florida, Somer Thomson. What IS it with Florida? And it’s not even just kidnapping. It’s abuse, or childhood cancer, or choking on food, or being born prematurely, or suffering severe complications from the flu! These things happen to people. Some of them have happened to people I know.

These terrible things, real or fictional, can make you crazy. Because as much as we protect ourselves by thinking, “That won’t happen to me,” that’s what Jaycee Dugard’s mom thought, and that’s what Somer Thomson’s mom thought. And when you actually allow your mind to go there, it’s unbelievably depressing. As a mother, it’s horrifying to realize that no matter how careful you are, or how good of a parent you are, you cannot protect your child from everything. That’s a horrible feeling!

Because as the parent, your Number One job is to protect your child. You can be SO careful, and yet your child could be kidnapped from her bedroom, like Elizabeth Smart. And you can’t prevent your child from getting cancer. And you also can’t be an overprotective, smothering hover parent who raises her child to be afraid of the world. So what do you do?

What do you do with those fears? I guess in the light of (another gloomy) day, I decided that the only thing you can do is acknowledge those fears, acknowledge that they may be possibilities, try to do everything you possibly can to prevent them, and pray that they don’t happen to you. And pray for the people that they did happen to. And maybe get a little light therapy?? Where can I do that …

But seriously, what do you moms do?

Things I Love

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  • When your Daddy picks you up from your Nana’s house and you start looking for me as soon as you get home, saying “Mama? Mama?” And then when you see me and run toward me for a big hug. I love that.
  • When you call for me from another room. I realize that this may be annoying when you’re older and after you’ve done it for the one-hundred thousandth time, but for now, it’s new and I love it.
  • When I come into your room in the morning and you’re still sleeping and I gently touch you to wake you up. With your eyes still closed, you smile, and then you jump up as fast as you can, your whole body shaking and wiggling like a little puppy as if you just can’t believe I’m there. I looooove that.
  • When you cuddle with me in the morning in the rocking chair in your room. Just me and you as you wake up.
  • When you read to yourself. Whether it be junk mail, or a restaurant menu, or a book. With each turn of the page you take a deep breath and launch into it with such enthusiasm and vigor. I can SEE the wheels turning in your head as you look at the pictures and imagine what’s going on. I love that I find you reading to yourself wherever there’s a comfortable sitting place. Like when we were changing the sheets on our bed and the down comforter was lying in a heap on our bedroom floor. I found you in there, in the middle of the heap, in the dark. Reading to yourself. And you kept running back and forth from the bedroom to the living room bringing new books. And you didn’t notice me the entire time I was watching you. I love it.
  • That you loooove your Daddy. And anytime he is in a prone position on the floor, you take that as your personal invitation to climb on and ride him like a horse.
  • When you respond to a question with a long, drawn-out “Yeeeep,” like you are an 80-year-old man talking about his crops. It’s just so dang funny, and I love it!
  • That you like to dance. Because let me tell you, it is freaking hysterical. And that you like it when we sing to you. Because you’ll learn soon enough that I cannot sing.
  • That you love to give us hugs and kisses.
  • That you live your life with such passion and emotion. That you JUST.GET.SO.EXCITED. Seeing the dog, or a motorcycle, or an airplane, elicits so much EXCITEMENT from you. While that passion may sometimes frustrate me until I’m at my wit’s end, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
  • I love you, Monkey.

This is a Test — This is Only a Test

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This is a test of the Emergency Child-Rearing System (ECRS). This is only a test.

So, as you may have heard, I have entered the wonderful phase of parenting that includes the words “terrible” and “two.” I have been browsing a couple of parenting books about this stage, including “Making the Terrible Twos Terrific.” This book is way big on parenting theory, which is all fine, but people, I am looking for CONCRETE TIPS. The kind that tell me what to do when my child throws herself down in the middle of a grocery store aisle and commences kicking and screaming. I mean, do I take the approach of leaving the full cart in the grocery aisle and walking out. Or, do I walk away and pretend I’ve never seen her before (I feel that I must enter a disclaimer here because I just finished watching a DVRed episode of Oprah about kidnapped and missing children and I would NEVER, under any circumstances, leave my child alone in a store. Not that you thought I would, but just sayin’.) Either way, this has not happened yet. THANK GOD. But this morning Monkey did test out a throw down on the bathroom floor because she didn’t want to brush her teeth. She started out by trying to jump and throw her arms around, and then it was almost like her thought process was, “That action did not properly display my level of anger. Perhaps I should see what happens when I throw my body down,” followed by a half-hearted throw down and a couple of leg kicks. It was so funny that I buried my head in my arms and silently laughed. Then I distracted her from her tantrum and we went on with the tooth-brushing. Disaster averted. For now.

Anyway, one of the things in the “Making the Terrible Twos Terrific” book that stuck with me was a passage about why kids disobey. In the author’s opinion, a disobedient child is just trying to pin his parents down. Basically, the kid wants the parent to be consistent, and constant wavering by the parents forces the child to constantly test the boundaries.

I’m wondering if that theory applies to last weekend. Monkey has fallen in love with coloring. She LOVES it. We have washable markers and washable crayons and she colors at her Nana’s house and usually it’s the first thing she wants to do when she gets home. Either that or reading books.

Last Friday, Monkey got home and immediately set off to coloring. I put her talent to good use and had her make a card for my grandma’s birthday. She did a fabulous job. And then, after she had filled every last square inch of the paper, she proceeded to color the entire Little Tikes plastic table. Did I mention that coloring with a toddler should be a highly supervised activity? I mean, don’t try to do anything else or just be in the same room while washing dishes or something, because before you know it, they’ll have the entire table covered in marker. It wasn’t the end of the world. The table is washable and I didn’t even get mad. I just looked her right in the face, held up her markers and the paper and said “Coloring is only for paper.”

Saturday included more of the same. Coloring, coloring, coloring on paper, and then before I knew it, Monkey was holding her sweatshirt out in front of her and coloring up and down the entire front of it. This time I was a little more annoyed. Mostly because whenever she colors, she inevitably gets some marker on her clothes and every night I have to wash the clothes out with water and then pre-treat them so it doesn’t stain. And this is when it’s on accident. A mark her or there, ON ACCIDENT, I can handle. But the ENTIRE front of her shirt, NOT on accident, is more frustrating. And she was already on her second outfit of the day after getting wet outside that morning. So again, I looked her right in the face, held up her markers and the paper and said “Coloring is only for paper.”

Which brings us to Sunday. Monkey hadn’t even been coloring on the paper for three minutes before she came over to where I was standing, talking on the phone no less, and starts coloring ON MY JEANS. What the hell!? Then I realize that she also has colored on the front of the dishwasher and several of the kitchen cabinets. Damn washable markers. I managed to get all the marks off my jeans, the dishwasher and cabinet, but not before putting the markers away for the day. I realize, I should have been supervising her more closely, but come on!

Later that day, I let Monkey color with her crayons, figuring that they do less damage than markers. She’s not thrilled about the crayons. They don’t write as easily and they’re not as dramatic. First she tried to color on her sweatshirt and did not achieve the desired effect. Plus I was right there and reminded her “Coloring is only for paper.” Then, she seemed to be trying to take off the invisible cap on the crayon, as if it were a marker, and accidentally broke it. Since that was pretty fun, she then proceeded to break her crayons ON PURPOSE. No more coloring.

I’m wondering how many more surfaces, BESIDES PAPER, that Monkey will have to test before she’s sure that I really mean it that COLORING IS ONLY FOR PAPER.