Friday, April 9, 2010

Where, oh where, has my little blog gone?

Today whilst stopping to pick up a few things at the grocery store, after rushing from work to pick up my son, returning that DVD that is apparently going to send me into the "collections" department according to the chipper minimum-wager on the line the other night, all the while watching the clock, tick-tock, tick-tock (will I be able to get everything, get home and make it and feed my son before 10 pm?), my son did something, er...funny.

He is currently obsessed with muffins. Who wouldn't be of course, since they are technically just cupcakes in morning coats? He's no fool. He starts pointing to the muffins on the table in the bakery section. They are poppy seed. He claims they are choklit. Bah...you say tomah-toe, I say tom-ay-toe. Thinking, as it is nearing 6, he must be HONGRAY, I slip the package open and hand him a perfect hunger staller: carbs. In the line up all I hear is "Mommy, more muffin. I want more muffin. Mommy, mommy? Mommy!? Mommy. MOOOOOMMY. MOOOOOOOMMY?!?!? Mom! Hey Mommy! I want more muffin." He's really good at the whining.

In the parking lot, buckling him into the carseat I finally give-in. Hey, its a beautiful sunny day and I'd love to listen to my easy-listening, slightly reggae tune "Girl I wanna lay you down"-which always makes me feel slightly teenager-y and free, sans interruption on the five minute drive home...instead of "Bumping up and down in my little red wagon" over. And Over. and OVER.

Two minutes into the drive at the red light I look back into his grinning, muffin stuffed face and we exchange giggles. Life is good. Three minutes in I look back and he's eaten most of the muffin and is now picking leftover bits from the paper. At four minutes, taking the turn onto our main street I feel like something is, well, off. Its quiet. Too quiet (as only moms can understand). I look back and there he is, chomping on something...muffin? Hmmmmm...where IS THE MUFFIN PAPER?

Me: "Um, mommy needs to pull over...what are you eating? (I look back at him hard in the eyes) Tell mommy what you are eating?"

Him: "Mmhfffummmmm"

Me: "Honey, tell mommy, where is the muffin paper? The MUFFIN PAPER, where is it?!? (I'm probably a little over the edge here and needn't be, right?

Him: (GULP, swallow) "In my belly!!!" (Triumphant grin)

Yup...he ate the whole muffin paper, in one mouthful. One gulp. What does this mean? What am I going to face tomorrow...in his, gulp, diaper?

So where have I been and why haven't I been blogging? I don't know...I should be bloggin. There are plenty of fun things to report with a toddler in tow. But, uh, I'm too busy fielding whines, and questions, and cutting off near disasters or even, like today, dealing with the aftermath of disasters. Where has my blog been?

In the words of my son: "In my belly!"

I've been storing up the stories...the feelings...in my center, my core. Close to my heart...the stories of my life with a son who's now two. I'll release them soon. And you can just flush, I promise I won't leave them in a nasty diaper for you ;)

Speaking of my belly: Its rather big. Its full of baby, not muffin papers!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The customer is always right, unless...


She's a mom?

Unless she's a mom holding a whiny, gripey, moaning toddler.

Unless the shop owner, a baby/toddler shop owner I would like to point out, obviously thinks she needs to tell the customer how to take care of her own child. Because, you know, obviously the customer is struggling, stupid, too young (maybe, I'm stretching a little here), blind, deaf, incapable of dealing with or oblivious to the whining, griping and moaning.

I drove to a far away baby shop today to pick up one item which we really needed. I researched online and found the store that had it in stock, mapped my journey. It was an odd day to begin with...

We'd had a bad night. 8 teeth are carving their way through my baby's gums right now. He is not pleased. "Don't worry" I tell him, "they will make it easier for you will eat steak! Think of the bright side!" He doesn't really go for it. Instead he wakes up pulling at his swollen lips and bleeding gums with the little white pokey-things, oh, about 4 times last night. Yay! My nipples are also not looking on the bright side. Those little carvers are just aching to chomp. The teasing little scrapes they are giving me are killers.

So anyway, baby boy toddles around quite happily despite being up all night until about 8:30 am. Then he crashes hard, heavy lids doing the droop and boing! in his Dada's arms on the couch. So, even though its no where near his scheduled nap time, we change him, rock him, nurse him and put him into a somewhat blissful nap. Oh goodie. He wakes running a fever. We take care of him. We take him for a fresh air walk. We finally get him to snack on something. Soon its 2 pm, and he is crashing again...but this time he is pissed. "Whoa!" he says..."don't think you can put me for a nap now! This isn't my nap time, losers! No way! No how!"...and see, I really need to get this thing at the baby store.

I could have left him at home with his dad. His dad could have come along. But you know, it wasn't a perfect day and there were no perfect answers...and ultimately I admit, I wanted to have him with me. I knew he would nap in the car once we got going. And he did! Except he really fought it and it was quite fitful. Have you seen the price of gas these days? And the economy! Whew, the economy. I couldn't keep driving around...

The perfect parking spot was right there outside the door of the store I needed! Woohoo! I parked and waited for baby boy to wake on his own. You know, I would have sat there blissfully surfing the web on my phone (part of my moms' survival kit!) for hours. But, basically, once I cut the engine he started to scream. So, I figured what the heck, I could run into the store with him, grab what I needed, maybe he'd be distracted by some new faces and cheer up...maybe he would perk up. Or at the least we'd be on our merry way soon enough.

Once in the store he just got crankier. And didn't let up. It was a Saturday and not too busy surprisingly, but there were 3 salesladies on the floor. One older,white-hair, grandma-type who exuded "owner" vibes was tut-tutting amons the racks as baby boy let it be known he was not happy. While I tried to bend, and pick up some of the things I needed, compare, pick through a stack to find the size (all while balancing 25 lbs of limp, complaining weight) not one of them offered to help.

Finally, "owner" peeks her head around the corner (yes, I could sense the tension baby boy's voice was creating in the store) and doesn't look me in the eye. Instead she talks to him (oh how I LOVE this)

"Ohhhhhhh. Is somebuuudy tired? Oh yes. Does somebuuudy just need to go home? Ohhhh sombuuuudy has a wee cough! Oh you don't feel like being out, do you? No, mommy. I just want my bed...awwww"

I need to point out that even re-typing that has boiled my blood so much I had to punch Miguel the sock monkey from the toy bin, just to clear my aggression.

I'm sorry, do you want the sale? Isn't this a baby store, for fuck's sake? Aren't you supposed to offer me a glider-rocker, a cup of herbal-freaking-tea, a place to nurse in private...a baby change room? Let alone, you know, ask if you could help me find a size? How about looking me in the eye, yes me, the mom-you know, the person who was up all night with this kid? The person who does everything for him...YES I hear his moaning! Don't you think I would stop it if I could? And yes, I made a GRAVE error today taking him out. Yes, he is teething and not well. He has a horrible teething-related rash on his bum, too, if you want to know...I've switched to cloth diapers just this week to try and clear this up for good, not to mention rid his life of chemicals and plastics and prevent more toxic waste from going to the landfill and to SAVE THE PLANET FOR HIM AND HIS CHILDREN AND HIS FUTURE CHILDRENS CHILDREN!!!

But I need another freakin' diaper cover!!! I can't do it today without another diaper cover.

Do you think, "owner" lady, that you could look me in the eye and ask if you could help? And while you are at it, tell me something like "Your son is a little darling, whining or not. You must be such a good mom". Man, I'd have bought one of everything in the store.

Instead I bought two diaper covers...when I really wish I could have said "stuff it" and walked out. But you know, I'd driven all this way, and he was so upset. A lot of things brought me to that moment today. And I really did not need the passive-aggressive judgement. I have blogged about this method people who think they know better use...all talking "shmoopy" through the baby to really teach the mom a lesson.

No, he is not "all twired, and feewing sicky and needs to go home to his own beddy-weddy, mommy." (Yes, ok, he did. He did! But that's not the point.) Maybe your face scares him. Maybe, maybe he just hates that you are talking to his mom that way. Because we've both had a rough day and we are both trying our best.

Now, here's my credit card. How much do I owe you?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A woman's work

What is my job? (Or should I ask: "What is NOT my job?".) I mean, as a mommy. As a woman who is a mom. (And not a transgendered man/woman mom I suppose I mean? Hah.)What am I supposed to be doing or not doing to teach him (Besides the obvious like smoking crack, beating up people for the heck of it and posting the videos to youtube, or stripping for money)? I figure I'm working outside the home to keep myself smart, engaged, learning, happy...to make money for our family. To show my son the value in work that you have studied and devoted yourself to. To reap the personal rewards I get from teaching, that in turn lead me to be less-stressed and happier. And IN TURN a better mommy.

Hmmm.

Actually I feel confused. Stressed. And often sad. Then glad. Then sad again. I know I am lucky. I have a lot to be thankful for. We have a good life together. We can afford things, modest things, but things I know many cannot. Like a nice place to live. Like new clothes. Like lattes. Like life insurance. Like the repairs on our car when I run it into posts :( I am constantly telling myself to suck it up! Go to work! Many women have done it before with less opportunity and good fortune. Don't complain! And yet...I can't answer my question of what my job is supposed to be right now. Feed him, check. Change him, check. Teach him the value of money earned/saved, the ups and downs of life, to never expect rewards without the risks...uh???? Ok, I'll get right on that, boss.

I WANT to work. But not all the time. I don't like that my son spends more days with strangers than he does with us. (Fabulous, gentle and loving strangers, but still) I feel like I am missing out on some really awesome things. And that there aren't all that many of these days when you think about how fast they grow up! But my career is stuck in a place I can't negotiate right now, at this time. And in the interim?

Sadness: This morning I drop him off at daycare (where he is happy and thriving! Yay! Points to me for choosing well!) and he is pushing away from me and yelling "Mon-Mon-Mon". No, its not a version of Momma. Its Monica, I figure out-his teacher. I put him down and he runs to her, nary a glance back at me, and gives her a huge hug and sloppy kiss. So cute. And crushing. I want to yell "NOOOO! Don't love her! Love me. Only me...for just a little while longer? Please? Look up at me with those dreamy eyes, let me hold you, let me touch your squishy-soft cheek. Don't turn away. Don't grow, in this moment? Just a moment longer."

Um, ok. I know. Its crazy talk. Admit me into my MIL's hopsital of choice and prescribe me whatever she is on, cause this is how she feels and ACTS all the time. I know its unreasonable and unhealthy...and I don't really feel that way. But I'm finding that I'm getting these fleeting moments lately...like hormonal hot flashes of single-white-female-obsession-esque love. I'm even starting to act like my baby a little :) And only since I returned to work :( Its ok. My rational mind is still working.

Gladness: Look at my son...he is so loving and not afraid to show it. We taught him that! Cool! He is so happy at his daycare. Cool! He feels comfortable and supported and loved. Look at how confident he is-he doesn't need to see me to say goodbye to know I'll be back for him. He is not afraid. And he is showing me his independance and exerting his preferences. Cool! I'm so proud.

Ah...sadness and gladness intermingled. And I guess what I'm looking for is SLADNESS. The balance of the two.

I get that you gotta do what you gotta do. So I will. My parents taught me that sometimes you put your job first if it means money in the green machine for those clothes, that food on the table...and we always felt loved. Sure I rarely had a lunch made for me. Pish. My parent's hardworking attitude helped me become a pretty self-sufficient type of gal. My husband, on the other hand, had a SAHmom who had a routine and scheduled dinner nights (Tuesday was Chinese! Wednesday was potroast!). And he is a pretty independant soul, too. So which is right? Its a chasm between the career rock and the raising-baby hard place.

Some people say devote yourself to your family now while they are young, your career will always be accessible. (Maybe.) Some people say staying home is a harder job by far and that working moms can be more of a asset to their families by feeling fulfilled. (I get that...I mean I usually don't get vomited on daily by students, and they usually help me feel challenged and alive) I suppose I just want my cake, and to eat it too. Yeah, duh? I've never understood that saying. What else would you want cake for? Mmmmm cake.

Whilst I ponder my life's purpose, I think I shall indulge.

P.S. Thanks to S, of anamericangirlincanada for the post inspiration. My own musings, post mat leave, after reading her musings, pre-mat leave end. Much the same. It doesn;t get easier. Listen to me! I sound like a seasoned, gripy parent already! Cool!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bee-BO!

Ok, I guess only other parents who are sick of reading Sandra Boynton books to their toddlers will "get" the title I've given the following vignette. Actually, its pretty much verbatim what I heard on the playground yesterday.

Bee-BO!

Personae: Girl, Boy1 ad Boy2, ages 7-9

Setting: Playground monkey bars, afternoon, a first sunny day of spring.

Girl (Swinging on monkey bars, head launched back in glee, legs flailing).

Boy1: "I see your belly button!!!!!!! AGHHHHHH!"

Boy2: "Its ok. Everyone has a belly button. No listen! Its ok! We all have belly buttons!"

Girl (Jumps down from monkey bars, stretches shirt to fit down to her knees. Scuffs dirt sheepishly)

Boy1: "Yeah but everyone knows, DUH! Boys have a kind of belly button. Girls have a different kind of belly button. Its different."

Boy2: "I don't know about that. But I do know we all have them. That's what I do know."

Girl: (regaining confidence, deflecting? Wanting to chime in...) "And gay people have a different belly button. Girls and boys and gay people all have different belly buttons."

Boy1: "Yeah! You're not supposed to look at them"

Boy2: "Girls sit down to pee. Did you know that?"

Boy 1: " Yeah! I knew that!"

Girl: "Me too!"

Hmmmm. Who the heck is teaching these children? Or should I say...who is NOT teaching them? At this age, I feel a kid should have some clear ideas about what forms sexuality, what parts are private parts, and how essentially, girls and boys and "gay people" are all the same=humans. In teaching we call this a "teachable moment". As in, you overhear some kids talking, perhaps needing or wanting to talk about some things that are confusing them...perhaps an incident has occured. Instead of brushing it aside, you take the opportunity to make it a lesson of sorts. "Really? Are belly buttons different on different people? Actually everyone has a unique belly button! Do you know what makes a belly button?" Etc.

I wanted to...I REALLY wanted to. But, I didn't want to get bitch-slapped on the playground in front of my toddler. Yeah...you-parents over there ignoring your kids while you text! Your kids need you! And they need the un-prejudiced version of you, if you please. Thank you.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Not hypothetical

Q: If a turd falls in the living room, but there is no one around to see it, does it make a mess?

What if said turd falls, another one follows and sticks to baby's butt? Then, what if baby steps in the turd that fell, smushes his toes all around in it, and starts to walk away? What if baby leaves a trail of smushed poo, like a peg-leg Hansel, step-turd, step-clean, all over the living room rug and onto the laminate floor? What if your laminate floor is dark colored and baby decides to pee as well on it, only with the light casting a certain way you fail to see said pee, so that when you kneel down to wipe the poo, you put your hand in the pee?

Does it leave a mess?

Honestly, what would you clean first? The carpet? The floor? The baby's bum or foot? And just so you know, I turned my head for ONE SECOND after I took him outta the bath to put his towel in the laundry. He was as pleased as punch with himself and not bothered at all by the poo between his toes or hanging off his a**.

What a life, hey? Wouldn't it be grand if we could just go wherever we were? No worries about finding a bathroom, having cramps, letting stinky gas go...just let it fly. You could be in meetings..."Oh sorry Jim, one sec here, GGGRRRRRRRRR! Ok, what was that you were saying about the Mercer aquisition?". Awesome.

Here is how I handled this: Take baby's hand, hold him in one place (though he is squirming to be let go and run naked and free some more) and wipe foot with a wipe. Then, while holding his hand pull him around the living room while I squirt a pre-treatment solution on the rug. A lot of solution. Then walk him into the bedroom to get a washcloth, go wet washcloth while still pulling him by the hand. Oh yeah, he is screaming now. But I can't pick him up you see...since he still has that hanging turd. Up on the changetable. Clean his butt. Clean his toes thoroughly. Get fresh diaper ready. THEN HE STARTS TO PEE. ALL OVER ME. Thank my son for his kindness. Get the diaper on quickly. Put him in his crib to keep him from the mess. He screams. I go back to living room and start the blotting and cleaning process. Yuck. Lean down to wipe up laminate with bleach solution. Put hand in pee. Go wash hand. Take off all of my pee soaked, pooped clothing and put on clean jammies. Go pick up screaming, red-faced son. Soothe him. Rock him. Nurse him. Read books. Put him to bed.

Curse the day his father was born. And the fact that he is working late...once again. For the 20 millionth time in a row.

A: Until you've cleaned shit from a shag, you just ain't lived as a parent. And yes...its quite a mess.