Archive for February, 2013

Thank You For Being a Friend

Remember how I complained about January? Well! February is equally sucktastic, if not worse. I always forget this, even when people tell me. “Oh, January isn’t bad, it’s FEBRUARY.” And I nod and smile and I’m like, mmhm, sure, but no, they are right. February blows. Look, on a relative scale of suck, it’s not terrible. We’re healthy and happy and warm and nothing truly awful is happening, it’s just you get up every day and OH LOOK, SNOW, and the sun doesn’t come out and errrrrrrrghhhh. Sunrise, sunset, school, routine, BLOODY DINNERTIME, because suddenly everyone expects to eat every day or something, and then we go to bed, read a bad book (MORE ON THAT IN A MINUTE) and get up to do it all over again.

I’ve already signed up for the pool next summer, that’s how desperate I am to imagine sunshine and brighter days and, let us all hope, a child who doesn’t collapse face first down the pool stairs like she did LAST summer — AT A POOL PARTY — leaving me to leap after her fully dressed, then take my dress OFF, as it was soaking wet. Yes, I was wearing my bathing suit. This wouldn’t be a big deal except that I was literally six weeks postpartum to the DAY, and I don’t know about you or really anyone, but unless you’re Gisele Bundchen, being in a SWIMSUIT six weeks after evacuating a watermelon from your midsection is not all that appealing. But since then, we have discovered the Puddle Jumper, and life has new meaning and hope.

Wah wah wah, you’d think I wasn’t terribly overprivileged or something, GOD. SHUT UP.

The funny thing is that I LIKE winter. I LIKE the seasons. Florida depressed me with its never-ending sunshine and bright days and sometimes I stepped outside and was completely blinded like a flipping newborn calf, because it was so sunny! All the time! Except when it was pouring, but usually, really, always with the sunny, and then you take it for granted and the sunshine, it just disappears into the background.

Four paragraphs on weather! NEW LOW!

Hey, did I tell you guys that Allie never really did take a bottle? Yeah. She didn’t. And I thought it would be as angsty and fraught and haaaard as it was with Sam, and believe me, I have moments, but for the most part it isn’t a big deal. She’s pretty reliable with when/how she needs to eat and sleep, so I just build my social life around that. I like how I just said social life as though I have a rich one, but hey, a girl can dream. But really! Not terrible. Ask me again in five months, when I just want to escape to the spa for an entire afternoon, but frankly, I think finances will be more of a roadblock to that endeavor than my boobs.

It does make me realize, however, that I think that I really am truly happy with stopping at two kids. I love every phase — I LOVE having a baby in the house, and in a lot of ways, this is my dream job, this stage of caring for two little kids. It is sort of embarrassing to say that, but I do enjoy being with them so, so much.

But. I think of starting it all over again, and continuing this period of adjustment AGAIN and having another summer of shoving an infant in the shade and missing NINE WHOLE MONTHS of my children’s lives because I’m too sick to do anything, and I just . . . no. I think I want more out of life with the two I have, and their little childhoods are going SO FAST, and I want to be here for every second of it. Not that I wouldn’t be with a third, I just think I’m ready to accept — happily — that it’s time to move on. I want to focus on them, not focus my energy on adding someone who, if I’m honest, doesn’t quite seem like they belong. Allie and Sam. They are supposed to be here, and I knew they were missing. I honestly don’t feel like someone is missing. This is who we are, and I feel really peaceful about it, no matter how many times I poke at it these days. Any thoughts to the contrary were — are — hormonally driven. Thanks, biology, for the mindfuck! Perhaps there is some truth to the idea that men cheat to spread their seed, because I really did feel an urge to have ALLLLL the babies, even though that’s not what I want.

(Let’s hope Kate Upton doesn’t show up at our door asking for a nooner with Adam anytime soon, hmmm?)

I’m surprised how many feelings that gives me in the mortality department, however. Do you guys remember that Golden Girls episode (I know you do), when Blanche thought she was pregnant, but it turned out to be menopause and she just FLIPPED HER SHIT? Like, I get that. I don’t even know WHY I get that, because it’s not like my fertility is so robust, or that I am of the mind that parenthood can only be achieved biologically, but it’s oddly bizarre to say, well, that time of my life is over and it’s never coming back! Next babies to hit our family will be grandchildren.

This is why I have a flipping GOBLET of Trader Joe’s white zin on my night table right now, because even though I have a no-shit infant in the next room, and I am HAPPY with my decision to leave my family exactly as it is, I am suddenly feeling like I have one foot in the grave, and should just throw in the towel now. (I’m only 37!) (Haaa, only, fuck.) ¬†Also, side note: Blanche took a pregnancy test and ended up with some weird test tube that changed color to PUCE. Puce. It wasn’t even that long ago, but God, they were one step removed from killing a rabbit, right? No ClearBlue Easy up in the 1980s, I guess. They had test tubes! Which . . . now that I think about it, were we supposed to ignore that Blanche was showing everyone a tiny vial of her urine? Oh gross. (I feel this way about people who display/show actual pee sticks live and in person, which happens more often than you’d think. No, I don’t want to hold it. You peed on it. I’m okay.)

Two things about the Golden Girls: Once, I called my mom a slut in the YMCA pool. I legit thought it was a term of endearment, because they called Blanche that all the time! Haa! My mom did not think so! That was a good time, and I believe it earned me a shocked crack across the face. And second, Blanche used to talk about housing whipped cream in her bedroom, and I VERY DISTINCTLY REMEMBER asking my mom what that meant. Her reply? “I don’t know.” I know now that OH SHE KNEW ALRIGHT. But I guess there really is no appropriate answer for a nine-year-old in that context, and suddenly I feel very dirty and awkward for watching the Golden Girls at nine, but I assure you, the sexytime jokes went right over my head.

Ugh, my poor mom.

Anyway, February! It breeds discontent and deep mortal thoughts of puce. I mean, the Golden Girls ARE ALL DEAD EXCEPT FOR ROSE, who is ninety-two, FFS. The retirement home is calling my name. Also, Blanche thought she was pregnant at fucking what, 55? Dear shit.

And finally, in amusing news, I made a few changes on my site (not a redesign, although Jesus God, I did this in 2005. HAAA, MODERN), and when I checked to see if they worked, I noticed that my ads weren’t loading. I give about thismuch thought to ads except when I get a (very tiny) check in the mail once in a while, and not really with any regularity. So! I did what any industrious blogger would do, and emailed my ad network to see if it was me or them.

You guys, they stopped serving ads in November. HAHAHA. I JUST NOW NOTICED, and ONLY BECAUSE I DID AN UPGRADE AND WAS LOOKING FOR PROBLEMS. Monetization: a high priority for the jonniker empire! Next up: MUGS.

Have a great Thursday! Valentine’s Day! We’re making baby pies. Or buying them. Or just maybe thinking about pie. We’ll see.

*I don’t even need to, right?

48 comments February 13th, 2013

Growing Up

Being a parent means that when one of your kids is sick, they will find a way to get their snot DIRECTLY INTO YOUR MOUTH. How does this work? Why? You wouldn’t think such a thing would be possible, and yet, cold after cold, here we are. A nose wipe, a too-moist kiss, SOMETHING. SOMETHING. Somehow, they will find a way to smear whatever it is they have INTO YOUR MOUTH, guaranteeing that you follow suit. The only way to avoid this seems to be to not touch your children at all, and THAT is a bleak prospect, so no.

Sigh.

I’ve been thinking about parenting a lot lately, which is something I’ve only recently been insecure about, and I expect that’s pretty common as your kids get older. Babyhood and even toddlerhood is relatively simple — keep them alive, do your best to prevent outright assholery, while also recognizing that trying to control them is akin to corralling a tiger kitten and just hope you make it through the day without getting bitten or pooped on. It’s so obvious in retrospect how little kids under two can really comprehend and/or control and even from age two to three, things are pretty damned dicey in terms of how much their behavior is a reflection of what you tell them to do. Sure, they model what you DO, but consequences and discipline are iffy concepts for them to grasp.

Three to four, however, shit gets real, and I think what terrifies me is that things just get more and MORE real from here on out. We’re at a stage in her life where she will have memories of some of this stuff moving forward — fuzzy memories, but memories nonetheless. She will remember what I do, how I treated her, things we did and how I handled certain things and it’s just paralyzing sometimes, really it is, because this is one job I can’t screw up and say hey! That was a nice learning experience, and now onto the REAL stuff!

Kids aren’t pancakes. I don’t get to throw the first one away and then make sure the second one comes out right, you know? Augh, you know.

Sam is a challenging kid, and she just doesn’t DO a lot of the things that other kids do, because of who she is — sensory processing disorder and a spirited personality make her a little more sensitive and a little harder to manage than other children. I really don’t see a lot of kids like her out there, unless you count the interwebs (that’s a great post, btw, and one I could have written about Sam). So my parenting challenges aren’t exactly the same as everyone else’s, because, as Jen eloquently writes, I’ve already fought more battles by noon than a lot of people fight with their kids in a day. Hell, we were in Fuddrucker’s recently, and things were going just fine until I looked down and found Sam sobbing into my lap. What the hell happened?

“SOMEONE SAID HI TO ME!” she sobbed and sobbed. And it sounds ridiculous, and on some level it is, but for Sam, it’s a hard thing to handle because it wasn’t something she expected. Again, I realize the absurdity of such a statement, and how it seems like a simple disciplinary and/or redirect situation, but you’re going to have to have some faith in me here when I tell you that it isn’t. And it’s a thing that’s really hard to write about, or even talk about, or even BE, because I never, not for one second, want to give the impression that I am resentful of Sam, that I blame her, that I don’t think she’s an awesome kid. She’s just a little bit different to parent, that’s all, and in a slightly more taxing way. But she is, oh my God, an incredible person that I am so proud to know, much less parent, and that’s the absolute truth.

But oh, I am so insecure about it, even though I know better. I KNOW I work hard with her and I KNOW that she is who she is and it’s not something I did or did not do to make her this way, but when I talk to other parents or read posts about kids who are younger than Sam who can do certain things or behave a certain way that she just cannot, I feel like such a blasted FAILURE sometimes. And people cannot help but give advice about what THEY did that worked, and how I should try the same! Occasionally, people in my family will remind me that I really need to work with her on these things, as if it’s not something I think about every minute. And I KNOW they don’t mean it in a bad or judgmental way, but my hackles get raised, because it is so, so frustrating, if I’m being honest, to have so little control over another person, which seems like an obvious statement, but HEY that is what people expect you to do! CONTROL ANOTHER PERSON.

That’s hard, especially when that person has challenges that make their behavior slightly illogical, and I mean beyond typical child illogical behavior, OF WHICH THERE IS PLENTY, I KNOW.

Last weekend, we went to Yo Gabba Gabba Live! (featuring my boyfriend, DJ Lance Rock), and she did so well, you guys. She did SO WELL. She had a couple of meltdowns, wore her headphones for a fair amount, and I did have to use M&Ms as a bribe a few times and sure, she kept her coat on FOR THE LONGEST TIME, but she did it. She made it through that whole show and she enjoyed it and she still talks about it, and I didn’t have to take her outside, NOT ONCE. And have you ever SEEN Yo Gabba Gabba Live!? It’s SENSORY OVERLOAD. There are lights and booming bass and Jesus, half the characters look like life-size sex toys and out of NOWHERE a giant carrot will start dancing with a strobe light. I mean, that shit is SERIOUS.

And she did it! She DID it. And I cry just thinking about it, because it shouldn’t be a big deal for a kid to go to a live performance of her all-time favorite show, but for Sam it sure is.

God, you guys, I was just so stinking proud of her. I still am when she talks about it and plays a silly song and asks, “Did they sing THIS at the Yo Gabba Gabba concert? I DID NOT THINK SO, MOMMY. But they DID play THIS!” And on cue, she’ll bust out with “Party in My Tummy” from iTunes, like a miniature DJ specializing in children’s music.

The truth too is that there are good things that come out of her being so sensitive — she is remarkably empathetic to other people. She understands consequences when there are feelings involved — I’m consistently amazed at her ability to understand somewhat complex human interactions and how people might FEEL in certain situations, and how things she does might be hurtful. Oh, sure, sometimes she rebels just because she’s almost four, but for the most part, she gets it, which is something I do NOT see in a lot of kids her age, at least to the level Sam is at. Fear of kid being a sociopath? CHECKED OFF, SUCKAHS.

One of my irrational, totally bizarre fears is that Allie won’t be as kind to Sam as Sam is to Allie and then, oh my god, I don’t even know how I’ll deal. At almost eight months old, Allie is already more at ease with the world than Sam is at almost four YEARS old, and I pray that Allie has the love, patience and understanding required of being with her sister. Sam lights up Allie’s world, for sure, but Sam is so in love with her sister that I can’t even put it into words. She doesn’t want to go ANYWHERE without Allie, and I’m amazed I get her to go to school without her. She’s chomping at the bit for Allie to wake up in the morning and from naps, and sometimes I can’t even convince her to wait until Allie wakes up on her own — I’ll hear a door creak open and BOOM! Sam’s whispering over the baby’s sleeping form, “Hi little girl! I MISSED YOUUUU!” And she really did.

I love her so much you guys, I can’t even begin to quantify it. And I just . . . I don’t want to mess it up.

 

*Peter Gabriel

54 comments February 5th, 2013


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