August 27, 2015
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I knew the day would arrive…some day, preferably just before my son is about to leave for college. By then one would hope he could navigate the situation without shuffling off this mortal coil. I am, of course, referring to his new found ability to climb on and off the sofa. While I can delight in his cheerful disposition at his accomplishment every. single. waking. minute, I believe my physical symptoms in response to his independence leap might indicate something contrary. Among the most routine symptoms I experience that are clear expressions of my sixteen-month-old clearly not fully grasping gravity are as follows: shortness of breath due to my son’s precarious positioning backward on the edge of the seat cushion; palpitating heart every time he unsteadily stands; erratic gasping with the intense need to clutch nearby furniture for support in instances when I realize that I am across the room, and it would be impossible to grab him in time before he plummets to the floor; and finally a pounding head that only abates when Little Man is asleep. In the meantime, I assume treatment requires bed rest with ample dark chocolate within easy reach for someone with horrible vision.
I knew he wouldn’t always be so little as to not see over our coffee table, but I never quite envisioned him tall and determined enough to sit like his parents on our tattered sofa. With pride I can say that often, after much work, he will sit nicely looking up at me with beaming eyes enjoying a book in a reclined or upright position. There are, however, a smattering of moments when the little jerk gives me a, literally, demonic laugh as he exhibits an all consuming urge to tumble over the cushions, narrowly missing an unswanlike dismount onto our hardwood floors. True, we moved our coffee table, but it still feels like little consolation, especially when he likely will plummet over the back.
Naturally, Mr. Man is oblivious that his mother considers him too young for stiches. Perhaps he has dreams to be a pirate, and figures he requires a generous start in looking dangerous. Whatever his ambition, if I can make it though his waking hours with little more than additional tufts of grey hair, I deserve an award. After all, if the sofa doesn’t kill him, it might kill me…
August 21, 2015
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It seems “hero” is a term thrown around in an effort to describe something appearing to defy human tenacity and resilience, but only a select few categories are recognized. This acknowledgement occurred this morning as I was trolling Facebook, and viewed yet another posting of a fallen soldier who did not receive recognition for their sacrifice, and I agree they should be recognized. Forgoing your life for a cause more abstract and greater than your person is something I’m not sure I could do. Such postings are not what gives me pause to think, rather it is the exploitation of the military to perpetuate prejudicial or discriminatory views.
Allow me to explain, and I ask for your patience with my explanation. In almost all of the above cases there will be a line indicating that these personnel are the “real” heroes and not “Bruce” Jenner for wearing a dress/swimsuit/whatever. Such a comment is at the very core of the importance of Caitlyn Jenner’s choice to give publicity to transgender issues. While I cannot say if she should be viewed as a hero, I can, however, comment on the great struggles and sacrifices of the transgender youth I have worked with who risk their lives daily just to be true to themselves. I am proud to live in one of the meager few states to provide legal protection for such individuals, which is part of the point. The term hero can easily be applied to some of the individuals I’ve met, and I find it unfortunate that one must have an occupation to kill people to be recognized for sacrifice.
This is not to say that firefighters, police officers, and soldiers are not entitled to our deepest respect. After all, they commit themselves to an occupation that I am incapable. But, does one need to overtly risk their lives in their job description to be considered a hero? I think of teachers working in troubled urban and rural districts that manage to drive their students to achieve things no one else considered possible as heroes in their own right. I think of successful individuals who defy the odds of lack of support, resources, and possibly abuse or neglect to become worthwhile citizens with solid families of their own; they don’t have the desire to boast their accomplishments running for a national political office. Their only concern is to live their lives as best they can. Can we not label their strength of character and their life of sacrifice in the same light, as so many fail in the same endeavor with a fraction of the barriers?
This is a mommying blog, so how does my rant fit? Flippantly, I think Mommies are heroes. Seriously, enduring any aspect of labor deserves a medal, but, no, it is an expectation for being a woman making such a life choice. Not as flippantly, it’s an endlessly indescribably difficult thing to help your greatest love live for themselves; to raise an individual to make decisions and take actions as they see fit. The jury is still out on my cherub, but I hope I will have the strength to allow him to make his mistakes, as well as love and respect him regardless of who he becomes.
August 19, 2015
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Clearly my toddler is ready for the big leagues. He has mastered the fine art of persuasive discourse; perhaps he should be a lawyer, pointing his way in court in an effort to convince a jury of his peers who hopefully know how to use a toilet. When that effort does not work, he will roll out the big guns…incessant whining and shrieks until anyone within a five mile radius acquiesces to, ideally, something more benign than world domination.
While I am fully aware my son is plotting something that will likely be posted on uTube as an embarrassing twist of fate that earns significant advertising endorsements, but for the time being he is manipulating his way into drinking from my water bottle. However, it isn’t just the adult-like act of utilizing my hydration apparatus; he also must take off the cap each time before replacing it between sips…obviously Harvard awaits?
My son has even more sophisticated sensibilities, or at least tries to. Eating leftover asparagus tonight that will never be tasty no matter how much I kid myself. In raw determination my son trails in my wake as I retrieve my plate of limp vegetables from the microwave. Using his aggressive pointer finger, he insists on a sample despite my insistence that he will not like it. I can only refuse so long before cutting a piece with great stringy difficulty. He takes the bite, and his fingers immediately take-up the task of spelunking in their recovery deployment. Mr. Man unceremoniously drops the barely chewed asparagus to the floor amid a chorus of “I told you sos.” I hold out my palm in an effort to have the vegetable taken off the floor without me having to actually bend over (Don’t judge, it’s been a long day…). My son picks it up instantly, but shoves the piece back in his mouth with another valiant effort to swallow his vegetable road kill. The next phase begins; he spends the next few minutes chewing and removing this now fairly grotesque and vaguely recognizable mass of green. Eventually he swallows, but imagine my surprise upon viewing his determined pointer at my plate of wilted greens. Oh yeah, he earned his ice cream tonight; the spoils of war…
August 18, 2015
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The road to hell is not paved with good intentions, rather with a fifteen-month-old toddler stranded in his car seat after a premature wake-up call from his nap. Little Man is not a good traveler. Let me give an account of the entire trip that began dubiously well. We managed to journey and to visit with my in-laws without incident. My son slept almost the entire way there, and actually enjoyed the destination; a marked improvement over the last time. Any parent can tell you such events are ominous, and the past Sunday was no exception.
My husband and I attempted to time our return home well (read: driving during nap time). Mr. Man’s afternoon of exertion gave him the look of a red and bleary eyed graduate student on the eve of submitting a controversial and ill prepared dissertation. The drive back was just under two hours; clearly the saints or gods of napping children would kiss my son’s eyelids, and my husband and I would enjoy the duration of the trip trying to find a radio station that would not induce convulsions. Clearly I was delusional.
It was appropriate that a hellish trip would be set in a climate that would give Hades ball sweat; fortunately the car was air conditioned, but it only took a brief stop to top off my gas tank for my son to wake-up in intermittent wails developing into full out cries of displeasure from the August heat seeking homeostasis in under five minutes. I had to admit that I could have joined my son in his fits if I wasn’t positive I’d look like a lunatic in an area that may have very well been a contender for scenes in Deliverance. True, exceedingly cheap gas kept the somewhat rural area populated by civilization, but one never knows…
Naturally, an exceedingly unhappy child coincides with traffic. This, however, was not the type of traffic one resigns to, rather a tease of atrocity that prompts poor diversion decisions…with more traffic. Despite the serenades of Little Man in the back seat and my husband’s increasing frustrations over the route, I must commend him for the effort; I would have driven us across country, only realizing my wrong turn somewhere in Minnesota mid winter.
Raggedly we made it back home, and I count my blessings we didn’t have to change one of my son’s infamous dumps in the trunk because that, my friends, would have reduced me to weeping on the side of the road. And, seriously, no one needs to spend a sweltering late August afternoon with that wrapped up in the back seat…