Wednesday, April 24, 2013

17 Months

These last two weeks have been hard, for reasons both very big and small (big: legislation not passing, the Boston marathon bombings, small: work, always work). Which brings us to this past weekend, which was lovely. Sometimes I feel those two blissful days off are the only thing keeping me together, and I guess most people feel this way, right?  So many of us have these corporate gigs we so desperately need but I’m at the point where I’m daydreaming daily about just walking out.  Which isn’t healthy.  But then the weekend comes and I exhale and just say, “It is what it is,” and go on my merry way.  In my long-winded way, I’m saying this to you, Annie - as your mom I wish you this: I hope you find something that you love and loves you back.  

I feel you’ll get there: you are spunky.  And stubborn and demanding.  And charming.  Mischievous.  Loving.  I am too Germanic in my emotions but you light me up.  You have this sparkle - this zest - and make each weekend with you a neatly wrapped gift with a bow on top.  You also drive us mad and looking at each other, like, "What is wrong with this kid?!".  Take last night.  You hollered and cried and swung your arms to and fro, and no, I don’t want this, or that, and you just get me that, no, I mean this, waaaa!  Sigh.  You are a toddler.  You trip and it’s epic.  You drop your scrambled eggs and it’s epic.  We take away the raisins you were munching on and it’s like you simply. cannot.  survive.  And we try to emphasize, looking at each other and the pitiful raisins, but we just don’t get your toddler brain.

This week we went to the zoo.  We thought you’d like it, and did.  Your father said that’s it’s so exciting you can actually experience things now, which is true.  The day before we were at PetSmart picking out fish (whom you love to feed) and you were fixated on the cats up for adoption.  “Hiiiiiii!” you said and waved.  You screeched and gesticulated wildly.  You were beside yourself and didn’t want to leave; you loved peering into their enclose glass room trying to figure out what they were up to.  When one woke and looked at you, you were elated and took it as a personal victory.  So, the zoo was fabulous: you stared wide-eyed at a baby orangutan swaying in front of you, and loved as the otters swam past.  You fixated on the orangey-pink flamingos and enjoyed feeding a duck your lunch.  

You surprise us with words.  “Bubbles!” while playing with your father outside with a soapy set.  “Elmo!” this morning as I flipped on the TV getting ready.  When did you watch Sesame Street?  You examine things every so closely - you live for being tactile - for figuring out how this clips to that, or how you can stack that.  You dig into the bucket where we keep Penny’s food, grabbing a handful of kibble while following her around the house saying, “Dog!” more and more urgently.  You love filling her food bowl and at school your teacher said you’ve really turned a corner (from what, I don’t know) and turned into a real helper.  You fetch a dropped cup for a child, or put a blanket on another during nap time.  You clean up.  It’s wonderful hearing your teacher say, “Oh, I wanted to tell you what Annie did today” and it being followed with that (instead of how you stole your classmate’s lunch - true - or bit another classmate - also true).  We’re very proud of the little person you’re becoming.

You also insist on going outside several times a day, and we oblige, because I suppose before you know it you’ll want to stay in, huddled with a computer (sigh).  So we walk around and examine the grass and push you high on your swing.  You give us high-fives with each pass and giggle.  You laugh a lot now, especially with your father.  He scurries around like a rat and hides, you chase him, and he chases you, until he catches you and you laugh laugh with glee in his arms.

You’re such a social baby at daycare and home, so it startles me when we run into a neighbor and you hide behind our legs.  Or when the cashiers at Trader Joe’s try to give you stickers and you stare at them blankly (until I take it for you and give it to you, happy as a clam).  This morning at daycare drop-off you you squealed as you burst into your room with milk and banana in hand.  You have a routine and were irritated as I was taking my time putting your things in your cubby before we could make our way to the drop-off room.  “I have people to see!” you seemed to say.  You’re already becoming your own, independent little person and hardly notice as we say our good-byes in the morning as you sit among your friends.  All toddlers at a tiny table, eating fruit and waffles and milk.

You warm my heart, Annie. You do. You drive me to hide under my covers in the morning, but once I'm up you win me over again and again. Happy 17 months.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Parenting is the long goodbye."

The title of my post - that quotation - was written by a pediatrician commenting on the NYT blog, Motherlode, and it made sit back and swallow.  Even though I was reading it when Annie was napping - and thinking, "Thank god that kid is down for a bit," and even when I groan when we hear her cries in the morning.  This morning - although going to bed late - her soft but escalating cries started at 6:20 am.  "Oh god, " I mumbled.  "Mmmrghf," replied Matt.  "You go get her - you went to bed before me, " I said.  No response.  Poking him, he mumbles.  Getting out of bed and bringing her into our bed, putting a pacifier in her mouth, soothing words - "Good morning, little one.  Let's all go back to sleep," followed by her reaching for my eyes, my nose.  Pulling my nose.  Even with all of that - and even when 7:30 pm (her bedtime) cannot come soon enough, and even when I'm loving, loving, loving every new milestone (she's walking!  she can ask for bananas and her milk and is twaddling behind us, between our legs, loves banding on the door to go outside to her swing, is making friends at daycare and sits in the corner with one of the girls and giggles!), and Matt and I are wholly, truly taking delight in the little girl - charming and mischievous - she's becoming, I cried.

It's all just a big pot of contradictions, but I suppose that's natural.  We love our kids to death, but they drive us crazy.  Matt and I love what daycare does for us - gives us that break, that breathing room - to be better parents when we're home with her.  Making those moments count.  I relish picking her up at the end of the day, but I love putting her down in her crib, too.  That balance makes our world go round.

Take my birthday.  Although it's over a month away, Matt keeps asking what I want.  Other than a Subaru (ha!), I need nothing.  And then it came to me: a clean house, some trashy magazines and some trashy television,  some Oreos for good measure, and a quiet afternoon alone.  Nothing sounds sweeter.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter Weekend

Annie, you have no baby book (oops) so I'm trying to update your comings and goings here, but my lord, have you seen how messy the house is?  And how impossibly tired (read: lazy) I am?    These are my new normals: a very messy home.  Dishes from two days ago by the sink (not ever even "in" the sink).  Dirty clothes on the floor.  Tripping over stuff...always.

I guess it's a balance.  Matt and I do not value a clean house.

Okay, fine, that's a total lie.  You got me.  I would love nothing more than a clean house, but I'm just so tired at the end of the day.  I suggested we get someone to do a clean quarterly in the house (as my birthday and Christmas and everything gift wrapped in one) and Matt was positively horrified.  I guess it's too bourgeois.  And how embarrassing, in a way.  I don't know how they possibly couldn't pass judgement on the way we live.  So he offers to clean - and does - but it's a pitiful job.

So here we are.  I have pink eye.  Again.  It's like when I got Hand, Foot and Mouth and you didn't.  I swear I need to wear a hazmat suit to pick you at daycare.  But things are well other than my goopy eye and icky house.  You are walking everywhere!  About three weeks you go up and just decided, "Fine.  I'll do this without prodding," and from there you were off.  You adore chasing Penny (of course) around the ottoman and teasing her.  The poor girl is panting afterwards!

Oh, and the best thing happened yesterday.  I was picking you up at school, and, laying there, was an incident sheet. But the offender wasn't you!  It was for the mild-mannered George, who (okay, I read the whole thing, sue me) apparently bite a classmate out of the blue!  Boy wasn't even provoked.  I was elated to find another troublemaker in the group and desperately want to cozy up to George's mom and dish on our sharp-toothed kids.  Fortunately, you haven't bit anyone this week, but maybe it's because I keep reading the refrain from "Teeth Are Not For Biting" that goes, "Ouch!  Biting hurts!"  while screeching the "ouch!" part.  You always look vaguely embarrassed.

You've been growing a bit more petulant at times, but also so much fun.  You snuggle and love being chased and giggle and hide behind our legs.  You still love bananas and walk over to where we keep them on the counter, pointing and saying, "Na-na!  Na-na!" and yesterday I gave you a string cheese stick and you chanted "Cheesh!" over and over again.  You also say "dog" and "all done" (ah dowwwn), but only rarely call me mama or your father dada. I guess you can't have everything. ;-)

Here are some photos from Easter weekend:

Molly (far left) totally makes this photo.  "Can't these bozos get their act together and take a good picture?!"