A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Monthly Archives: May 2015

Legacy

Watching my morning news program with the presentation of the Forbes Magazine listings of the most influential and wealthy women in the country.  My initial feelings of a hunter green envy merging into awe of having my tangential membership to such an elite group.  I wonder their secrets of having such significance among the anonymous billions.

I think to my legacy.  I have a little boy who will look to me as the platform of what he can expect of my gender…not nearly as intimidating as raising a little girl.  My son will form his impressions independently of my purposeful representations of what I want him to see.  He will absorb the moments I forget someone is watching.  He will remember the kindness I bestow on others and my gracious acknowledgements of the idiot on the road in front of me who feels that a straight path merits ten miles under the speed limit.  My son will learn honesty from my correction of the cashier who gave me too much change, not from telling my mother I don’t like her shoes.

But, beyond the happenstance of events I want my life to reach beyond my family.  Right now I live in the moment, and I am lucky to plan my dinner for the next evening, but soon my label as a new parent will tarnish.  Time will hold a different meaning, so how will I fill it, and what will my son internalize from my choices?

I want to have the realized ambitions of those remarkable women of whom I only learned a tease of their experiences.  Maybe I won’t benefit the same throngs, and that is fine, but I want to influence the greater world in my small way.  I am not so morbid as to anticipate my obituary, but I want my son to remember me while I am very much alive as a force affecting my part in brightening the world for others even when no one is looking.

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Playah’s Gonna Play

One of the benefits of living among reasonably affluent suburbs is the vast selection of playgrounds open to the public.  I am not one for outdoors; I don’t care for insects and I dream of the day my skin can linger in sunlight for more than five minutes before displaying a rash and furiously red sunburn.  Consequently, my son has spent little time outside his first year of external existence.  My husband, on the other hand, spoke little else than taking the family to one of our local playgrounds.

Once we arrived to the closest one to our house, it was quite evident Little Man did not share my husband’s enthusiasm.  As a committed lover of swings like his Mommy, even that did not bring a smile to his usually effulgent face.  Overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of his new environment, he chose to sit in quiet contemplation regardless of the attraction we presented before him.

The second day proved to hold with it some improvement to his playground disposition.  Much to my husband’s delight, Mr. Man enjoyed his time in the sandbox.  Originally, I feared my son frolicking within a haven for animal poop and whatever culture found in these beacons of disease and general nastiness.  But, after sitting back and watching my husband playing with our son from a small distance, how could I deny them their moment?

Perhaps my child’s take away from his adventure among purposeful dirt was the little girl with a surplus of fluids on her face or the other child repeatedly passing a plastic starfish between his Mommy and Daddy.  Maybe he just appreciated having something new to jam in his mouth indiscriminately.  With certainty I know what I took away, and I could have watched them for endless hours.  My husband’s face beaming with love for his son as they shared small movements and looks.  Our toddler feeling at ease because Daddy was enjoying himself so, and maybe this place with all the crazy structures isn’t so bad when he is able to sit in the shade and dig.  I can’t say that I have a sudden passionate inclination toward the sandbox, but the memories definitely push me toward respectful appreciation.

Red Rover, Red Rover, Come Hug Me All Over

Yet, another thing that probably makes me a terrible person.  Many times when my son is upset, not on the verge of a full blown meltdown, but losing his patience and generally feeling as though I am not properly tending to him in the moment, I will sit on the floor in front of him trying one of my various distraction techniques.  He’ll remain stationary for a moment fussing before limping along to me in needy pleads.  He doesn’t hug quite yet, but he will stand up and fall on me, almost gripping whatever part of me is in his reach.  I hold him, which usually does little to satisfy him, but I hold off completely meeting his needs because I love the feeling of him climbing on me in desperate bodily gestures.  Only moments pass before I embrace him in the way that is sure to calm, but I do love the rising climax…

Not all of his pre-contemplative hug gestures are as dramatic.  Sometimes he is silly or in an unspecified jovial frame of mind, and in need of cuddles.  I greedily absorb every minute of his fumbling movements toward me and his tentative climbs to a standing position, gripping my shoulders, falling into me.

I love it the most when I’m standing, and he burrows his head into my legs, arms outstretched and grabbing.  Then, he will look up at me, chin grazing my legs with an adoring look that he must model after me because how can he simply know that expression?  It’s at this moment when I feel that piece of myself traveling independently of my person with moments of connecting flow.

Thank you, thank you, I’m here all week…

This morning as I prowled the internet with the hope of discovering the answer to whatever my momentary fascination was, I heard a strange noise that sounded remarkably like…sigh…tissues pulled in rapid succession from the box…  I stand and walk to the other room anticipating what I would find…yup…Houdini reaching up on a table he can barely see the top of and with gusto pulling said tissues as though he just performed one of the great illusions of the century.  At this point he is surrounded by white tufts of tissue as a performer among an adoring crowd’s roses…sigh…I’m pretty sure that was a full box…At least some of them were salvageable.

Welcome to the Jungle

Part of my weekly strength training regimen entails my two foot tall trainer advising me on my positioning for optimal muscular benefits.  My lunges are spent with my son crouched in midrise, lightly gripping my knee.  He’s giggling with each dip until he returns to his charging position in order to head butt my back leg.

Pushups are spent with my toddler portraying his finest representation of a cat.  Crawling under me several times before rubbing his head on my moving arms.

My favorite exercises, however, are my abdominal.  For whatever reason, me lying on my back indicates for my son that I double as a backyard play set apparatus.  At this point, my junior Olympian is in the midst of full out laughs of delight as he positions his hands on my belly to stand before launching his entire body over my middle.  Then he wiggles his way over me before lying parallel for just a moment.  It isn’t long before he is ready to re-experience Mommy as a speed bump, and while my routine is less than efficient, is there a more motivating factor?

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir/Madame,

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks for parking your obscenely large SUV unnecessarily close to my car in the mall parking garage this afternoon.  I truly understand your great limitations in finding space for your vehicle that doubles as a participant in a monster truck performance.  Given that every other space after mine in the row was vacant, only solidifies my empathy for your great need to park in such close proximity to my car.

Your awareness of your surroundings is as impeccable as your ability to back into a space; my one-year-old was in awe as well.  I apologize for any unfortunate scratches or dings to your car door in my efforts to squeeze my body into position, so that my toddler could be safely buckled into his car seat.  I thank you for nurturing my self-esteem; it is not often I have the opportunity to view myself as possessing a waif body type.  I am truly grateful.

Had I on hand a pen and paper I would have expressed my sentiments in a graciously worded note on your windshield.  Unfortunately, my gratitude will be as unspoken as your thoughtfulness toward me and my son.  May your day be blessed with all the consideration you bestow on others.  You, Sir/Madame, are an asshat.

Fondly Yours,

I’ll take the drumstick…

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  I look forward to it all year.  I love everything about it:  the food, the family, the weather, the food.  I prefer white meat to dark, but no one would ever guess hearing the great passion I have for my son’s drumsticks.  I hear Mommies go into rapture about baby feet and hands…nope, Little Man’s thighs are bar none the most fantastic part of his anatomy.  I am fortunate that for now he giggles as I squeeze and kiss them after almost every diaper change…I suppose such an action will become slightly more awkward on the eve of his prom.  But, until then, I’m getting my fill every time he isn’t so upset with the gall of a new diaper that he would kick me in the face…Probably a strange bruise to explain.

During his baths I can hardly contain my excitement seeing him stand in the tub; little tushie facing me and his disproportionately large thighs supporting his lean frame.  It will be sad for me the day he grows into them like puppy ears.  But, summer is soon upon us, and I fully intend to have him sport a short sleeve onsie around the house, so I can squeeze his little legs any time he slows enough for me to catch-up.

The Origin of Things

Clearly the entertainment value of flatulence is formed in the womb; otherwise, how is it my one-year-old can look focused and forlorn until he vibrated our wood floor (I have not manufactured that; it’s a blessing we don’t live in California.)?  I was already staring at his profile when it happened…like the creeper I have become.  At the time of the incident, he looked at me seriously before a beaming smile and hearty chuckle.  Yeah, can’t wait for our future family dinners now…the kid already burps in my face…

Look Out Below!

I’m not sure if it’s because of my gender, but I don’t understand the gravitational pull of explosions and crashing.  Clearly, it’s a thing because there are several programs committed to the cause.  And, while the purpose eludes me, I believe I understand its origins.

If Mr. Man is fussy, one look no further than building a tall block tower to lighten his heavy spirits.  Once erected, he dives face first into whatever sculpture quickly achieved before the plow of crawling toddler becomes aware.  This act in itself is hilarious, if for no other reason than the thrill of watching my son’s pure enjoyment, but there is an added endearment.  As he hurls himself into each artful alignment, he does so mouth open.  Often at the tail end of his destruction he carries in his mouth the spoils of his demolition, laughing all the way.

Let Them Eat!

I am a pathetically hopeless foodie with a level of euphoria washing over me from eating foods bordering on something that should be developed as its own, separate mental health disorder category.  At one-year-old my son possesses the foundation of the same characteristics.  While I cannot say if his experience is an out-of-body one, he certainly experiences great pleasure from any tasty morsel crossing his pallet throughout the day.

Prior to my food enthusiast’s birth, my husband and I ate in front of the television, hunched over whatever appropriate dishware for the dinner I prepared.  Eating at the table was reserved for burrito night, or any other meal that was certain to feed our floor in such a manner that its signature would be immortalized on our Home Depot rug.

Common wisdom pushes for formal family dinners; I know this.  I spent months ruminating on this simple structure as though the Nobel Award Committee has a specific reverence for this category above all else.  The beginning months of my child’s life were spent pondering the specifics of family dinner, but like most things during this first year, the actualization proved more natural than expected.

My son rarely ate baby food; I opted for feeding him whatever I was eating.  Certainly there were no complaints from the immediate family peanut gallery (The extended one is another matter, but those are stories for another time…).  In the beginning, our meals continued on the sofa; the ushering of food almost never occurred in the highchair.

But, the day arrived when the bottle would be replaced by the sippy cup, marking the end of Little Man’s main feedings on my lap while I watched bad reality television that made me feel better about my genetic contributions to this planet.  Now he requires meals so substantial that I feel confident this two foot person’s portion would satisfy a linebacker on a low achieving team.

Now our previously ignored table finds its Renaissance as the three of us sit around it every evening.  Not only does my son heartily eat whatever we shovel in his mouth, but now he eagerly jams fistfuls of delicacies in his own mouth as we eat beside him (These days he even manages to deprive his lap of its accustomed meal.).  I hope I always remember his wide, beaming smile displaying every tooth during his full mouth giggles in between new bites and sips of his drink.  It won’t always be like this, but for now I can pretend.

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