A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

The Day After the Mosquito Died

The last post was a bad day. My best hope for terrible days often resignation that the day will end, and another will begin anew. It’s usually better, but there are no guarantees. Fifteen-month-old Warrior Queen has a nasty habit of waking by six-fifteen most days. Threenager is in the lovely cycle of sleeping until seven. My children early risers. I’m an earlier riser. I’ve learned to expect any time to my own devices past six-fifteen is borrowed bonus…I live for bonuses. The next morning was an unexpected one, as the bonuses usually don’t coincide.

Little Man woke first at a whopping seven-thirty. I was exercising. I slept in, so expected to maybe clear fifteen minutes, but managed a significant chunk of my routine reading a brilliant selection of smut that almost shifts the story out of the category altogether…but not quite. My son rumbled along down the stairs with his quiet chatter. He’s growing older, and achieved the capacity to actually whisper. His self awareness amuses me; chattering narration of his need to be quiet because his sister is sleeping…followed by his question if I’m exercising. I love it all. His morning greetings always melt me: Are you exercising, Mommy? I love you. Can I have a hug, kiss, snuggle smooch? Obviously I stop mid peddle to deliver such a request.

Once he reached the bottom of the stairs and scurried along out of my sight, I ceased hearing my delightfully boisterous little boy. Fear began to creep as a wrapped up my morning session.

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(MIRIADNA.com can delude themselves all they want; no good comes from quiet when cherubs are awake.)

I don’t see evidence of Mr. Man for a beat, but then I notice the bathroom door ajar and light spilling into an otherwise dark corridor. My shoulders immediately slump; what did he put in the toilet? How much water damage should I expect?

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(Obviously hermes-press knows what I can expect.)

Not quite reaching the door frame I see Little Man stand totally naked on the top of his stepping stool that he pushed in front of the toilet. Immediately he sees me and in all of his birthday body glory announces with arms raised that he went potty in the toilet.

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(Probably the only person who can claim experiencing more excitement than my little man at this particular moment.)

He shifts down the small plastic steps, flushes the toilet, moves the stool, and washes his hands spouting that he has to wash his hands after using the potty.

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(What a preschooler washing his hands entails…This image must be part of a Pinterest instruction manual.)

This type of event isn’t particularly new. He’s been on the cusp of full out potty training, but his willingness to use said toilet is still a bit erratic, and he hasn’t experienced the complete delights of porcelain bowl time occupations.

I diaper him while he washes his hands. Warrior Queen continued to sleep, so we cuddled and read. Little Man prefers to run around the house as naked as he can get away with. He’s grown so much that on such occasions I just stare at every inch of my first miracle…watching the movement of his limbs and his dancing prattles retrieving the random objects he’s pilfered from the recycling bin.

The remaining pieces of the day mostly unremarkable…could have done without his latest overtired expressions of impulsivity…biting his sister. He earned an early nap without a story for that one. But, it’s all…blessedly…just another day.

But, the Mosquito’s Dead

I often describe touching moments with my children…surprising events…cute, funny things I want to remember always once they are too old to touch me in these young ways.

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(Pinterest clearly understands gloating my precious family moments.)

Today, however, was not such a day, and I’m torn between wanting to deny this day’s very existence, or write about it hoping I won’t continue to be ripped once I’m finally able to sink into the oblivion I’ve been chasing for hours.

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(Why yes, Ranker, you captured the day’s family portrait perfectly!)

It’s a challenging time of year. My parents are here for the summer, making Little Man a perpetual buzz of excitement, and Warrior Queen intermittently disgruntled because someone else will be holding her, yet I have not compensated for the Mommy time deficit. Days that are only the three of us usually leave me craving some type of documentation that I seldom have time to produce these days.

The immediate morning was an omen, and frankly I knew I was in trouble when feeling an unwavering impulse to give Mr. Man to a circus if I thought they’d want him.

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(If everyone in Wikipedia’s picture was prancing around in a diaper, this would be our family room.)

I assumed the stars would align because I completed five minutes past my general morning exercise goal…It was a horrifyingly sad tease, and I’m still kind of bitter about it.

I figured if we managed to shuttle out to the library music program we regularly attend, things would be fine…per my usual experience with a hyper, silly preschooler. Warrior Queen was disgruntled from the get-go because, of course, she was. I’ve been giving her unending carrots and crackers because they are the only things that have made her disposition tolerable for days now. She might be teething…she might have to take a dump…or she might just be fucking with me in a twisted competition with her brother on who can behave like the biggest douche face in a single day…It’s a toss up, and I seriously considered efforts to convince both children that it’s time to go to sleep for the night…at ten in the morning.

My parents met us for the program. I receive copious comments on the wondrous nature of having help for the summer. I enjoy seeing my parents, but days like today as a prime example of the annoying difficulty containing the boisterosity I encounter leave feelings of nostalgia for when I go at things alone. Threenager was throwing hard, solid plastic egg shakers in the air…because nothing bad can happen with that decision.

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(Pinterest knew our attendance was a hit at the program.)

Fifteen-month-old Warrior Queen decides this is the one time she isn’t interested in a tether to my lap. She was on the perpetual move by any means necessary to achieve escape.

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(Dreamstime.com saw Warrior Queen’s reaction to any attempt at corralling the impulse of adventure.)

Thirty seconds transpired when both children nuzzled me in the most wonderfully snuggle infused touching way…It wasn’t enough. It’s almost time to go to sleep, and I still feel I need to beat my head against a wall to make the pain of this day evaporate into a good night’s sleep.

I invited a couple of friends over after the music program. One friend is a regular, so we both knew Little Man would likely make both boys cry throughout the visit…I still can’t believe they step into our home willingly. But, my other friend was new to the experience, and Mr. Man did not disappoint. There were moments seeing both boys play, her son with giddy smiles…until my husband’s demon spawn caused the little boy to clunk his head on our wood floor in some wincing way. The other two boys remained on their Mommy’s lap the entire span of the Thunderdome experience…their crying was minimal; a blessed paltry miracle perhaps?

Despite three removals upstairs for a good chunk of time, my son absolutely could not contain his excitement at having visitors.

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(“I. said. MOVE!”)

The most maddening aspect of what occurred today is that my son is mostly well behaved, sweet, and so considerate when we are out, at other people’s houses, whatever. When people come over, this type of thing happens every time. He simply cannot manage. It isn’t just the issue with sharing, which is also a problem. Little Man is entirely too rough. He thinks he’s playing, but the other children are usually overwhelmed. Unfortunately, most of the time I host at my house. My friends indicate their boys of similar age to Little Man have almost identical navigations with friends in their own domain. I continue to apologize well after awkwardness should set in…thank goodness for text. My first-timer friend texted me when she arrived home; her son said he had a great time. I commented that I think he hurt his head more than she thought.

My son continued to vibrate in jumping, clumsy giggles until I almost sprouted exploding snakes from my head, sending him to quiet time thirty minutes early.

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(Okay, Pinterest, your accuracy is getting a tad unsettling…)

He passed-out immediately…so did Warrior Queen who had mostly been fine with such a full house…probably because I’m phasing out her bottle. The only time she can partake is at noon until she goes down for the afternoon nap. Realizing today that it seems I’ve reached the threshold of her mostly losing interest in her bottle. Most the day I urge a sippy cup. Today she was actually receptive to the cup and dawdled with the bottle, not drinking from the bottle and continually dropping it. The only reason I maintain this narrow window is that she had been consuming sixteen ounces of milk in two hours. As of today that consumption sharply diminished. It seems that after this week there will be no more bottles for Warrior Queen. I’m relieved and a little sad about this transition for absolutely stupid reasons. But, I digress…

Kids asleep; the house was mine…MINE!

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(A situation so special I’d shave for it…possibly even above the knee!)

I finished my well earned remainder of my exercise routine while reading my smut. Improving sleep and concentration, I had been returning to my more high brow classical and impressive nonfiction selections, but not today, my friends. Today I’m lucky if my thoughts are coherent enough to use a more extensive vocabulary than “fuckity fuckface.”

Occasionally my son and daughter sleep three hours. It happens regularly enough that it isn’t a pipe dream…unless I’m having a craptastic day. In such cases I should rejoice they make it the reliable two hours without some random insect removal or lawn company ringing the doorbell, subsequently disturbing two pristinely napping children. I bitterly celebrated when Mr. Man lasted exactly two hours…Warrior Queen an additional fifteen minutes…because she actually loves her mother.

Mr. Man continued to behave like I dusted all of his food in PCP until well into the evening. Naturally this would be the very rare evening my husband needed to work late.

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(Channel the flowers…CHANNEL THE FUCKING FLOWERS, JUSTINSONMIA…woosah!)

I’m fairly certain my children had dinner. I’m also fairly certain that I did not…unless you count the glass I’d been chewing every time I attempted to take a sip of water. The entirety of the evening spent with my son head-butting, kicking, and tackling his sister; jamming his fingers in my face (I’m not entirely sure where his fingers have even been, but I’m trying to push that query aside.), and dismantling our sectional sofa by dislodging every conceivable pillow into a random pillow henge around our family room.

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(History.com knows what it looks like when you stop caring.)

Such an array of padding came in handy when he continually launched himself into impressive swan sprawls into the air.

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(You guessed it, Pinterest…I feel like I have my own Mommy-House photographer documenting my entire day…)

His sister delighted jumping on the sofa springs, which was fine by me because she’d been unpleasant unless she was on my lap ingesting a cracker…There had better be an arrival of a new tooth come morning…

I somehow managed to bathe both children. It goes without saying the bathroom flooded, but not as terribly as it could have been. I’ll go ahead and call that a win. My husband eventually making the grandest entrance any spouse could possibly conceive, which consisted of him just showing up.

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(Something like that, thanks, 98.5.)

Soon after my husband’s arrival home I shepherded Warrior Queen to her shut-eye. She was ready for the day to conclude as well.

I finally managed to eat dinner entirely too late, and hanger, my friends, is real; I’m becoming frightfully familiar with the such a state of being these days. While the omelet wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as my random and absurd perfectionistic compulsion prefers, it was mighty tasty and contained cheese. But, the highlight of the day, hands down, was that damn mosquito I crushed with one artful hand clap before I was bitten. So, with my bloodlust quenched in a surprisingly gratifying way, I reflected on a day that, all things considered, wasn’t too bad.

Faulty Negotiations

Fifteen-month-old Warrior Queen started requesting stories about a week ago. It’s mostly the same three that she will remain rapt and smiling. One particular morning Mr. Man was enjoying Tar Beach on my applesauce legs, despite frequent sisterly interruptions to desist and read Moo, Baa, Lalala. Big Brother was good about it. He fully understands the lure of a good story. Warrior Queen doesn’t have an iota of patience, so my compromise was every couple of pages of his story, I stopped to read her much shorter ones…She’s quite a convincing advocate for her needs, and Little Man, thankfully, was a good sport. My hunch is that as long as he was able to remain encased in his mommy cocoon, Warrior Queen could demand anything she wanted. But, I also think her occasional protector loved her giddy smiles and occasional attempts at “lalala,” laughing when the book reveals that fancily clad pigs don’t actually carry canes and sing in a kick line.

I abruptly finished reading to eat my perfectly cooled grilled cheese sandwich breakfast. I started fixing two, as my breakfast of champions is consistently pilfered by Warrior Queen. Naturally my son insists on partaking so not be left in breakfast dust. But, this morning I almost managed to eat the entirety on my plate.

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(CinemaBlend must have seen what I look like hangry.)

It didn’t matter I’d read her story twice, Warrior Queen was immediately disgruntled that I left to care for the needs of my empty tummy. Squeals and a scrunched toddler face prompted Little Man’s intervention. He subsequently lifted the book and began “reading,” attempting the same page inflections as I. As a three-year-old he’s a convincing reader…His story recites parallel my utterances with impressive exactitude. But, despite his ardent effort to entertain his sister, she decided she wanted no part in his oration. He attempted to hold her in place and pleaded with her to remain listening. Warrior Queen whined her shrill shriek in the way that has become all too familiar, crawling past and over her brother while simultaneously attempting to kick him off her leg.

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(If there wasn’t a grilled cheese involved, you’d be thinking it was nap time too, right?)

She managed a few paces before Mr. Man tackled her flat, yielding a impassioned wail even though she wasn’t hurt. Big brother can be very persuasive when he puts forth the full force of his effort, but sometimes the art of the deal is destined to fail.

Pillow Talk

Something my three-year-old little man requests that is among my favorite things in this world: snuggling in our bed. Usually when he asks it’s not a good time, and some type of avoidance strategy…like sleepy time or something of a similar sort. But, this morning I’d just showered; Warrior Queen was still asleep; I was tickled to have him knock on our bedroom door asking for a snuggle in our bed. I lay down, and he insists on tucking me in…making sure I’m warm, then burrows into me.

Funny thing is that I’m not a particularly cuddly person…like to comedic proportions. But, that needed to stop bringing children into this world. My general presence is aloof, standoffish, and intimidating. It comes in handy working with at-risk and incarcerated populations…and as a manager. Everything is about a time and place. I’m an exceptional disciplinarian, so it’s paramount I’m able to balance my brusque immediacy with snuggles and Mommy lovin’. I have an unscientific ratio: for every one negative interaction, I try to communicate three positive ones. Mostly I’m successful, if for no other reason than I’m paying attention to when my kids do something lovely. Other than my son reaching the age of threenager, he’s a sweet and loving child. I like to think I’m doing something right.

My often harsh demeanor receiving requests for snuggles makes even the most heinous tantrum and oppressive guilt evaporate into the hazy early summer atmosphere. I don’t think there is adequate vocabulary to describe the sensation washing over me as my son rests his head on some portion of my upper anatomy…never able to squeeze quite close enough to me. Even if he is harboring a fugitive in his diaper with a smell that allows me to push off waxing my facial hair for the near future, I’ll hold him tighter. He won’t always ask these moments of me…probably sooner than I want to admit.

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(Even The Telegraph seagull looks dubious of Little Man’s diaper findingssavvy bird.)

Sometimes he’ll snuggle for ten minutes in a clip, sometimes have me read to him. But, sometimes they are quick, jerky stretches like this morning when he leaps from my marriage bed to retrieve his Minnie and Mickey stuffed animals. He carts them in tandem, but expressed overt preference for the former. My husband or I have to tuck her in every night. But, this morning he scampers down the hall subsequently returning with full arms…the stuffed animals are at least half his expansive height. Naturally, his heinously diseased dog mushed among the plush mice. I watch as my husband’s child removes the top of the two pillows because my husband does not sleep on it, and organizes his friends on the designated sleeping pillow. Shaking laughs erupt in spilling tears knowing the queasingly grotesque doggie is sprawled where my husband lies, and in moments he will discover it exiting the restroom. Sure, I could have instructed my son to move him, but such things are a losing battle in our house; Mr. Man insists in caring for all who mean the most to him…Besides, often that horrible dog is on my side of the bed. My husband is obligated to take one for the plague exposed team. Had I foreseen such events, I’m sure we would have managed it in our ketubah or marriage vows…just in case.

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(Neatorama agrees nothing tops such a toy resting peacefully on your pillow.)

Little Man was oblivious to my behaviors, concerned only for his friends as he climbs the bed to adequately cover all three with sheets. Satisfied all of us are warm, my son completes the remaining pieces of his typical bedtime routine, which includes the reprimands I give him nightly for dragging his feet through the teeth brushing/changing transition and haunting outside our bedroom door for entirely too late into the night.

My son is a good sleeper, but goes through waves of having difficulty settling at night. It’s likely because I allow him to sleep too long for his nap, but since I’ve been starting his naps earlier, the evenings have been a bit smoother. Last night, however, it was a long nap that started much too late. I suppose I’ve never sweated such things, as Mr. Man almost never sleeps past seven regardless of when he is finally down for the count. These days, however, I’m lucky to squeeze in exercise before both kids are up by six-thirty.

Amused I’m watching him turn on the light because he prefers a low lit desk lamp at night. He reiterates the conversations I have with him during his tuck in and room exit. He enters and exists the room repeatedly, closing the door gently. It’s all so familiar, but decidedly less amusing when it’s my turn. I’ve learned to love a “snuggle, hug, kiss, and smooch” as much as the next Mommy, but at some point, the kid needs to go to sleep.

When there isn’t rivelry…

Since having my children, there are moments that I’m so touched or in love or something that I can hardly stand to exist in my body. I’ve never experienced anything like it, but it’s almost painfully crippling. This morning was one of those moments.

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(Wallpaper Cave knows it is inexplicably and profoundly exquisite.)

I’d woken in the early five realm. It’s summer’s excruciatingly early light that pokes me until laying in bed becomes pointless and annoying. I exercise at this time. I’d like to say that this specific perk allows me ample time to myself. Sadly, my children are also early risers in the summer. But, I usually am able to clear half my routine and finish the remaining portion during a synchronized nap. This morning the children slept into the last remaining sixes. I was enjoying my book, meaning to stop, but deciding to read just a bit longer while everyone slept. I almost finished my entire day’s exercise goal when Warrior Queen woke.

She’s usually dramatically unhappy about something…my little sprite so very assertive, and I adore it so much in her. I hope I nurture it effectively that it doesn’t diminish with the passing years. This morning…like many mornings…she wakes cranky, complaining immediately for me to retrieve her. Naturally I drag my feet to do so.

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(Search Engine Land obviously has small children who wake-up much too early.)

But, as I climb the stairs I hear she’s no longer unhappy, and it is a relatively quiet, joyful noise I’ve never witnessed from her. The sound unmuted because the door was ajar. I assumed it was my husband for the instant it took to see into the room.

Little Man had wandered in, and he was speaking quietly to his sister, and holding her small, delicate hand. And, she was just so happy, rapt looking at him standing before her. I had scant seconds to watch them before Little Man noticed, and Warrior Queen soon followed his gaze, begrudgedly letting go the vision of her big brother. My son greeted me warmly telling me that he was talking to his little sister. I’m not a terribly emotional person, but I just about teared agreeing with him, running my fingers through his thick, curly hair. I kissed the spot my hands left. Turning my eyes to my fierce little girl, her laughing eyes beaming at me. Outstretched arms, I lift Warrior Queen with her grabbing, patting hands and position her to my left side, Little Man dancing in tow. Our train ricketed down the stairs while my husband continued to sleep, thus beginning another day.

Lazy Weekend Mornings…

My three-year-old little man didn’t wake especially early, but the rest of the house was still asleep. I’d been up for an hour enjoying the easy quiet of the house…wasting time as Mommies do when no one is around. It was too early for me to be roaming the house, but the lure of no one else around was too strong, and that’s why caffeine exists.

Eventually, my son treks downstairs, eating his banana in front of the sofa where I continue to lay. Upon finishing the prelude to his breakfast, he walks to the bookcase housing almost the entirety of our children’s reading collection, and chooses his latest passionate obsession.

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Mr. Man climbs into my arms, snuggling close. My son has the tale mostly memorized…at least the first few pages, so he begins until it is my turn to take over. In a relatively hushed utterance I read each page, my son rapt. He periodically stops me to inquire about the illustrations…the reflection in the water…the rings around the fishing birds’ necks…asking if Ping looks happy. Small inquires like that are typical to my curious little boy. My son continued to burrow into the snuggle, telling his love for me during breaks between the repetitive story renditions.

Little Man and I agree to change his diaper after I read one of his favorite pigeon books.

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But, just as the story concluded and Mr. Man sought the solitary image of the eaten hot dog among the tantalizing complete ones on the back cover, he heard Daddy stirring upstairs. The spell was broken. My son rushed to meet his hero. Simultaneously, Warrior Queen announced her awakened state with cries to join the morning rumble. I guess the diaper will wait…

A Forest…Some Trees, and the Peace with Possiblity

It was a challenging several weeks, but life is like that. The end result of the turmoil not what I hoped, but life is like that. So, I move on to better, or at least other things. Much to simmer excitement in my belly, even if a piece of me needs to heal on some level. And, with everything occupying the various spaces in my gray matter, it took excessively long to focus on my posts…stringing words taking increasing amounts of time. But, things should begin to lighten. Little by little I am able to remove pieces from my lengthening list of obligations. Perhaps in the nearing future I will create my post buffer that allows me to publish my work in a timely manner. Perhaps still I will return to my monthly goal for piece submissions to other sites. Maybe I will even receive financial reimbursement for a few as well. Ah, ’tis the life of finding…and sometimes failing…my balance. But, alas, it isn’t all bad. I am not globally unproductive. I like to think I have an impact in other realms of my life, so I try to make that enough given my forced elasticity of late.

The focus during the torrent inadvertently my children…because I have no choice. Though sometimes I crave time alone to process my experiences as a unique entity, I cannot perseverate too much…because I have no choice. I might become angry with this aspect of my existence, but I will almost never regret it. My children changed my very fabric, and I will forever be grateful for the bustling plaid of my current character. I had never realized my very dull shade of beige. I was delusional thinking my former personality had much color at all, not even a faint, hard to distinguish striping by comparison. I stay home with my toddler and infant children. I feared for so long the ramifications of such a thing…losing myself. I couldn’t imagine the feathers to emerge. I no longer recognize myself, and nothing is more pleasing…maybe thrilling and simultaneously a gruelingly challenge.

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(And, Pinterest hasn’t even seen me appropriately caffeinated!)

Raising my children as primary caregiver I was confronted with the parameters for the model in me they will see. I’ve had to evaluate my actions, and what communication of desired values resembles to my budding bystanders. My personal overhaul is far reaching, but not the focused effort it seems. Small changes and considerations over the past few years. Responding to my children in tiny, almost ignorable gestures. But, the blocks build on themselves, stacking unexpected and beautiful structures.

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(Even the Taj Mahal is a sculptured series of marble bricks.)

It isn’t so much that I was unkind before, but communicating kindness to my children with the hope they might possess such a trait as part of their disposition is an entirely different and unsettling beast.

Initially it was a purposeful pursuit, somewhat unnatural. Since Little Man was a little little wee man, I’ve sought ways to be kind to anyone and everyone…even if the anyone didn’t deserve it. If I had a kind thought of another, regardless of what it was, I shared it with the individual. I looked for reasons to be pleasant and engaging. As cold as my area can be, it’s been rare to find anyone unhappy to be part of funny or empathic dialogue. For three years now I practiced, and practiced some more…kind gestures regardless if I felt inspired to do so…regardless if my children were around…regardless if I felt a genuine gumption to care for anyone but myself.

When my son turned approximately eighteen-months, his awkward toddler bumbling prompted a significant increase to my haphazard engagement with others. With the increase I began noticing my actions were absorbed by all sorts of sponges littered in his direct radius. All the observing eyes had me convinced the smallest of gestures matter, and I have no way to fathom the yield.

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(They inspire action, don’t they?)

But, even with the eerie feeling existing in the throws of perpetual observation, perhaps these daily, small kindness gestures I’ve pursued are the answers to some of society’s most vexing issues.

Furthermore, as I’ve committed to my miniscule acts of kindness, I’ve found a very deep, profound, and unexpected satisfaction knowing I’ve contributed to improving someone’s day. I can’t speak with any authority of my effect on others, but I can attest to the impact of kindness bestowed to me. One instance climbs to the surface as I write this post. Some months ago when I was gaining my bearings shepherding two small children in public, I was at a local mall ordering food for my toted trilogy. As I attempted to pay, I found that I left my wallet in the car. I instantly knew what happened. I’d stopped for gas, visualizing the cup holder where my wallet resided. I recognized in the moment things could have been worse, but it was still a drag. I asserted to the cashier that I needed to return to my car…across a substantial building. Eh, shit happens. But, a random woman overheard my exchange with the cashier while she was spending time with a friend. Immediately after the event her face was forgotten in my mind. But, she paid for my order, telling me she’s been there, and subsequently returned to her conversation with no further commentary or engagement. Such a small, insignificant effort to her, but I will forever remember her generosity of spirit; and while returning to my car would not have been a day killer, this lone stranger paved the way for a solidly good day in a standard infrastructure of annoying ones at the time.

It’s moments like these I’m reminded that villages haven’t disappeared despite parenting blog commentary. It is in our overt and nonjudgmental kindness that our villages persist. And, I’m reminded of how connected we all can be every time my three-year-old looks sideways at an escalator before a stranger intervenes because I struggle to keep in pace with him from time to time.

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(Nope, LT Elevator, not daunting at all...)

Contributing my part to the village isn’t about receiving gratitude or acknowledgment of any kind, but when I have a grueling several weeks as I did such a short time ago, I’m reminded that we can rumble along in our own forest dismissing beautiful trees, even if they are sprouting all around.

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(World Wildlife Fund is just one devastatingly beautiful green and sturdy scape.)

The periodically tunneled view of dirt as we roam our lives isn’t a judgment. It’s impossible to be grateful at all times. I for one use gratitude as a weapon against personal feelings of misery, as though I have no right or justification for periodic unhappiness at any depth. It’s foolish, but I doubt uncommon. I see it throughout bitter and uncharitable comment sections.

I’ve found, however, prioritizing small, kind gestures to others allows me to remain present in my moments…sometimes step out of myself even if only for a diminutive instant. My day may very well be craptastic with a side order of overtired toddler and teething baby, but forcing an effort to be kind…to have some small notion of generosity or perhaps a friendly, empathic word with a stranger; for the briefest of moments I am lifted. And, if I think about the possibility of my deed or interaction providing a foundation to another having a better day than I, sometimes I find peace. Truly, my day continues to suck, but it feels more temporary…like maybe my son will sleep and my daughter will smile soon. And, a beautiful tree will shade me, and I can bask in the good once again.

Growing Relief

It’s always interesting to me that big events are buried among mundane daily experiences…easily forgotten if it weren’t for a conscious effort to immortalize them. We went to a small localish fair that included a petting zoo today. Usually such things are more appealing in theory, but this one was pretty swanky. There were oodles of chickens my son adored. Some had rather interesting head feather assortments that reminded me of my high school freshmen existence before I understood the purpose of gel and allowing thick curly hair to remain thick and curly.

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(The Mama Load clearly knew me in high school.)

There was a mighty handsome turkey looking for a hook-up…all plumage and boisterous gobbles.

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(I bet you’re hard pressed to consider any other fowl with greater sex appeal…)

There were couple meandering goats within the small pen bumping into confused roaming children…a pony, some rabbits, ducks, and a pig. Hard to deny a good time had by all, and generally I’m a profound fan of any attraction that entertains a three-year-old Mr. Man.

I was wearing Warrior Queen. Currently, she lacks the gumption to walk…rather indifferent to cruising around furniture, but she is an ambitious crawler, so there’s that. I consider this stage of babydom annoying for outings. Warrior Queen isn’t quite mobile enough to be part of outdoor gallivants and some indoor diversions, but she isn’t the portable lump of last year either.

The site of this fair included an impressive playground. Warrior Queen isn’t old or sturdy enough to enjoy anything but the swings, but at least I had a few minutes to rest my shoulders. My fierce sprite loves a swing almost as much as her brother. But, to be fair, I don’t think anyone has a passion for swings like he. Most occasions it doesn’t matter how fabulous the surroundings for this exceptionally active toddler, often he wants to be pushed for forty-five minutes before going home. Warrior Queen enjoys the wind in her hair and the thrill of the pendulum, but unless the swing includes a snuggle on my lap with her gripping my shirt, she tires of the experience within ten minutes.

Surprisingly, we remained at the fair for an hour, Little Man trotting about with me and my husband maneuvering behind him. My son enjoying a shoulder ride on Daddy while returning to the car. I wasn’t even sweaty once I buckled into the passenger seat of my car…It was perfect!

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(That amount of moisture including an impressive amount of boob sweat is hot, right Daily Mail?)

Returning home I attempted to wait on my son’s bath until after Warrior Queen was fed…no such luck. Immediately upon entering the house, Little Man made his way to the upstairs bathroom, efficiently dropping trough in his procession. My husband was planning to mow the lawn, but there is no arguing with the pre-trantrum of a little boy in desperate need to shed petting zoo funk. Mild spritzing rain outside hinted at foiling my husband’s effort at exterior maintenance anyway.

I’ve been telling anyone who asks that I plan to have Little Man go to high school in diapers. It becomes an awkward joke because I’m not entirely kidding. There have been marvelous technological advances in adult diapers of late, and the prospect of potty training terrifies me.

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(Diapersamerica.com agrees such a thing is totally reasonable and would in no way cramp my son’s emerging adulthood style.)

Generally, I see the process of potty training as a development milestone, rather than me formally and hard core teaching my children to use a toilet. So, per discussions with my children’s physician, we have a plan to include unpressured offers to use the potty periodically or enter the restroom for his required privacy while pooping. But, such actions are more about planting a potty option seed in my son’s brain than formally training him to use the toilet. And, really, there is no rush. In my state it is against the law to require children be potty trained to attend school…either private or public. The belief behind this mandate is that there is no way to determine if the continued need for diapers is due to a special need/disability. Depriving a child of their education for an inability to use restroom facilities is considered a discriminatory practice.

It, however, doesn’t matter my rationale. In increasing frequency I’ve been on the receiving end of judgment by family elders regarding my potty training approach. Apparently, if I don’t get on the stick immediately, my son will be ten-years-old, and still in diapers. But, family pressure aside, my friends with threeishish-year-olds are getting their heads in the game, which provides its own unnecessary guilt ridden head trip. Fortunately…or unfortunately…my son hasn’t had much interest in the potty…until today. Big Little Man used the potty for the first time scant hours ago. My husband following my son up the stairs for his post fair bath was asked to use the potty. For the past couple months or so my son declined when asked. Even on the rare occasion when he’s agreed to sit on our custom seated toddler throne, he’s never actually accomplished anything. But, today was the day! After his bath, my growing boy entered our multipurpose playroom beaming and telling me, “Daddy hold my peanuts.” He was so proud…apparently he hasn’t quite grasped that he needs to push down his junk when using the potty, but it seems Mommy has some new work cut out for her…decidedly before high school.

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(National Retail Federation knows how to celebrate an official first toilet use!)

Shocking Accolades

It’s been a swirling time in these parts. I continue to be fairly consumed with the hope I will have relief in the next couple weeks, but it’s hard to say. I hope to share a bit more than cryptic commentary at some point, but for now it’s been on my mind the sparse entries of late. I’d love to say I will be able to resume the frequency I’ve mostly maintained for some time, but in all likelihood I won’t have the intellectual capacity for a while yet. I can’t promise anything particularly profound within this post, but an incident happened the other day that compensates for the sheer doucheydom of which Mr. Man is capable these days.

It was a birthday party for another three-year-old. To say he is an acquaintance of my son is generous. Little Man has seen this boy a mere few times in his life; the last was a year ago…at this boy’s last birthday party. The establishment creating the party merriment is good with this type of thing…oodles of stuff on which to play and a formal program that shepherds the children through an hour-and-some-change variety of stuff in which we tired parents can chill in the background, kibitz, and watch our kids combust. Plus, they have a trampoline…Mr. Man loves a trampoline.

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(This has to be how my son sees the prospect of trampoline festivities.)

But, in true fashion, my extraordinarily active son met his fill of the bubble fog…jumping, climbing, and swinging within thirty minutes, choosing to avail himself of the food assortment while his peers maintained a steady flow of ruckus and ruach.

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(Dailymail must have caught a glimpse of my son at the party.)

We cut him off just as he asked for a fourth slice of pizza, but he also ate the entirety of a fruit cup first and without prompt. I think that earns me some kind of parenting award. Interestingly he opted to forgo the juice box. That is often the case, and it surprises me every time. We don’t really give him juice. He adores it, yet passes whenever it is offered outside our home. That should earn me some kind of parenting award as well…or not. After his fruit and pizza, he scarfed an impressive slice of cake. But, to be fair, it was pretty incredible cake…certainly worth ripping a hole in my stomach after consuming delectable homemade Indian food. No wonder my friend’s son refuses to eat anything else, his mommy is an absolutely amazing cook. Warrior Queen also couldn’t get enough of the vegetable samosas.

But, before the dining my family fully enjoyed, there was one activity of note…for a couple reasons. It struck me as odd, but maybe I’m too sensitive…or whatever the correct label would be. It was creative play with a thick rope led by the two young women in charge of the mayhem. A cluster of three-year-olds like my son surrounding them eagerly awaiting what was in store. All of the children were instructed to rub their hands on the carpet in a false attempt to generate static electricity. The express purpose was for each child to grab the rope and “electrocute” one of the women. It just seemed so macabre…maybe scary?Image result for electrocuted woman

(It might be that I have an overactive imagination, but kinda weird, right?)

As each  of the children took their turn, she danced and jumped around, feigning the shock of an electric charge. She, fortunately, was not all that convincing. I halfheartedly urged my son to participate. Immediately from the explanation my sweet boy refused, anxiously shaking his head almost backing away with slight watery eyes. He was under the impression that he would be harming the woman, and couldn’t bring himself to do it.

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(My son would blow Milgram out of the water…)

I don’t know if something like that comes from my influence or if it spontaneously generated from his natural constitution, but I think I’ll go ahead an accept that as some type of parenting award.

Rebel Yell

Many swimming things in my mind the past couple weeks…some with the potential to be incredible…some notsomuch, but all have delayed my writing. I ran through my comfortable reserve with no motivation to cobble together the post that has consumed real estate in my gray matter for a month. Finally, here I am, and I hope it is worth the exceedlying long wait.

I posted Warrior Queen’s love of my singing shortly after her birth, something quite shocking to me…my voice is terrible, and generally I’ve never particularly had much yearning to break into song.

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(Nope.)

But, music is good for kids, so I buried my dignity in the backyard and danced on a field in the mountains with the rest of the crazies who get this shit. So imbedded in my routine throughout the last two years that I incorporate music instinctually all the time. It’s actually quite ridiculous. I find myself singing to myself whenever the kids are around regardless if I believe they are listening…Aren’t they ALWAYS listening?

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(Friendship Circle understands the cloak and dagger innate in small children…especially when it’s most inconvenient.)

I make-up random songs for random reasons. Sometimes it’s to announce a transition of little importance. Sometimes to urge Little Man to progress anywhere faster than a glacial meander…or move at all. Shockingly it works a good chunk of the time, and I have absolutely no idea why. Sometimes I’m simply excited…like the arrival of nap time…three-years-old Mr. Man continues to nap two hours in the afternoon. At times my son will ask me to repeat one of my spontaneous little ditties, and I usually can’t remember the lyrics for the life of me. Some occasions my inability to recreate vocal magic prompts a tantrum, but they are typically reserved for when I have a headache or desperately need to use the facilities. All in all, I’m surprised that my singing skill has improved, which is helpful for our broken glass budget allotment.

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(Opera singers…and Pinterest…have nothin’ on me. We started using plastic dishware long ago.)

Warrior Queen benefitted from my singing practices while residing comfortably in my uterus for thirty-seven-and-a-half weeks. Often I would feel her flip or move a certain way while I sang…or read. She was quite active throughout the pregnancy, but there was something unique to her movement during Little Man singalongs or story time. She always knew, and I always loved it. It’s one of the few positive memories from her wretched pregnancy. Consequent to the frequent occurrences of my singing, she’s primed to enjoy my melodious song renditions now that she exists in the outside world…lucky girl.

Her first word in the ten-months neighborhood was, “MMM…Meh…Mmmm…Meh.” It’s her version of Mommy, and I’m not kidding when I say it counts as a word. Warrior Queen utilized this specific speech pattern whenever she needed me. Now that she is mobile, she wails it throughout a pained crawl just to ensure I understand the depth of her displeasure, willing me to prepare and act accordingly. At this early stage it’s about the association. If she said /b/ while pointing to her bottle, that would be another word.

A few weeks ago, however, I witnessed her first and only sign. Little Man had a speech delay, so I’ve never experienced this phase, and let me say, it’s lovely. Having birthed two children, it seems a child rearing standard in our household that all the monumentally wonderful things first happen on the changing table…intelligent design perhaps? Warrior Queen at eleven-months is generally opposed to diaper changes, and forcefully asserts the degree to which she would rather not experience the situation. She doesn’t quite respond to playing with toys during the process like her brother two years ago. But, one morning she was decidedly unhappy with my diaper change pursuit, complaining quite vocally and squirming to grab the plastic bag we use to collect non poop wiping articles. I often sing to my children on the changing table. But, for whatever reason when I began singing my somewhat unique version of “Wheels on the Bus,” Warrior Queen snapped her head to look me in the eyes, absolutely delighted. I ran through the first verse to which she enthusiastically signedmore.” She is little, so it looks more like applauding than anything else, but it is marvelous nonetheless.

Since that first instance, Warrior Queen continues to urge my continuation of music, but she’s discovered that she will be awarded other pleasant things at her request…like ice cream. My favorite moment of late was during my own relatively rare ice cream indulgence. My husband holding our fierce sprite of a girl, but she was facing me staring down my mug of ice cream with a slightly protruding tongue movement that is akin to slow motion lip smacking. I suppose it is never too early to salivate for something as grand as ice cream, and my daughter is certainly a budding foodie like her big brother…and mommy. After a few of my spoon to mouth taunts, Warrior Queen signed “more;” naturally I obliged.

An interesting result I wasn’t expecting as I dusted off my baby signing form of communication; Little Man began doing the same. It isn’t the complete breadth of vocabulary he used before the floodgate of chatter emerged a little under a year ago, but he periodically throws random correct context signs I haven’t introduced to his baby sister quite yet. At times it’s like he forgets he knows how to speak…or his hands move magically without his conscious thought. Sometimes his sparsely signed words are in response to conversation in the background while he sings something unrelated.

Little Man may very well have a gift for music…possibly perfect pitch. He certainly didn’t receive such a skill from me. Warrior Queen is beginning to communicate beyond her wails of displeasure and giddy chuckles. Even if the rest of the world doesn’t see it as such, I wonder what gifts she will bring.

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