A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: play time

Life as Pictures: colorful heart in winter

Something about this time of year is inherently dreary. But, winter has a beauty in its perpetually damp and icy death. It’s been a blurred confusion for a bit; suddenly I’ve caught a partial breath, and we are at the doorstep of spring…or at least the end of the driveway. I find March the worst of the months, as it always feels like it should be progressing quicker than it ever does. It’s a weird chilled season this year; the past two or three winter drudges had us slammed with snow well into an established false sense of security approaching February. Even with the trilogy of storms the past couple of weeks, things melt quickly this time of year as the world presses on.

20180205_093702

I feel an initial obligation to remove the color from some of these scenes. Isn’t that a prerequisite for attempts to pass something off as artistic? But, it’s winter; this picture from the heart of February. It’s so easy to forget that the sun shines when the air crumbles around from the heaviness. I know this these images so well. We attend the same library music class, and this is the library’s very own enclosed sunken patio. In the spring it’s sprouting with a complex collection of life and hiding book character cut-outs. I’ve always been one for textures, so while my children do their thing I survey the debris and think about nothing worth remembering.

20180205_093729

20180205_094425

The almost four-year-old Little Man is a sorter, committed to arranging things…anything. He will spend endless time organizing meticulously rambling about some kind of story that makes little sense to me. Periodically he’ll communicate whatever jargon he’s created, only requiring me to nod and smile. He has this verbal crutch that I hope never vanishes, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. Unexpectedly within his conversational story chatter, he will flow into a deliberately pronounced and unaffectively uttered, “He he,” or similar notation of amusement before he flows into the remaining portions of his story.

20180205_093906.jpg

The almost two-year-old Warrior Queen idolizes her brother in between the times when she dramatically attempts to get him into trouble. She’s a slick one. It’s hard to say what she’s envisioning during these kinds of above musings. Sometimes it’s an attempt to be an asshole by wrecking something her brother built and loves. Sometimes she wants to take part in something her brother created…adding her piece to be closer to him. In this case she’s moments from adding a stone of her own. It’s something of an interesting note about my son. For all of his care and deliberations to have things just so, he’s never particularly disturbed when something he’s spent a good deal of time on is altered or destroyed entirely. He’s not a particularly anxious kid. It’s almost as though the monument is not as important as the process. Sometimes he rebuilds, sometimes not. Sometimes he sits aside and watches the enjoyment on his little sister’s face as she stomps around in a chaotic blur of destruction. When her task is complete, he’ll rise and begin some other activity. At times it’s reading or “building pipes.” On other occasions it’s destroying our sofa by flinging pillows throughout the room despite my consistent ardent pleas for him to desist.

 

I suppose winter is one more span of time, but my life consists of minutia after minutia that I could easily forget before moving onto the next bit of nothing. Little Man notices everything; remembers everything. If I assert that an event will happen at a designated time and say nothing more, Mr. Man will note the task the very second it comes to pass. I suspect Warrior Queen is similar. She often stares, taking everything in. Her speech is developing as it should, unlike her brother’s at a similar age. Some day her thoughts will become clearer. But, until that day her brother will fill any silence with blustering cacophony of sound.

20180222_105110

My son loves color, I guess. We’ve been frequenting the same eating establishment of late because the cost of food in comparable to anywhere else I’d take them, and the eating area was designed to entertain children. I’ve even managed a solid five minutes of conversation with friends before someone darts off to look at cakes or something. Perhaps it lowers the credibility of my disposition, but looking at food is a bit like porn to me. And, don’t get me started on cakes! When my son was old enough and capable of stringing complex sentences together, he began to rattle off a favored statement of mine in grocery stores, “Let’s go visit the cakes!” Fortunately, my son likes studying all kinds of things, the above flowers have become a preoccupation for him. Every week, sometimes more, he has to stop and examine them, asking me for my favorite assortment. Sadly the last visit had some of the arrangements looking a bit sorry. But, it’s still the rare bright color in winter…even if somewhat artificial in its design.

 

I mentioned Little Man’s structures and garages. Warrior Queen enjoys the same towers. Sometimes I can tell she misses her brother when he is at school for those two mornings a week, as she will inquire for me to build similar structures that my son presses on infinite building loops. Otherwise her default is to stack balanced blocks, holding her breath with wide eyes and smiling open mouth as she places bricks almost beyond her reach. I hope to hold the delight stretched across her face when the tower doesn’t topple, to keep that memory during moments I’m trying to escape.

20180219_073829

Sometimes they work together. Mr. Man expands out while Warrior Queen builds up. Often they hand each other parts, and my fierce sprite of a girl is quick to utter a garbled, “Thank you,” even when she offered the gift.

20180207_121516

Aside from the portion housing books, my husband and I have virtually abandoned replacing toys on the shelves; opting for the stylish cardboard boxes we’ve managed to bring home from a grocery store. I suspect we are perpetuating this catastrophe because the kids can’t find anything, but by the end of the day I’m too tired to care. In the random box it goes! And, sure enough come morning, Little Man dumps out each and every box for no other purpose than for shits and giggles. Warrior Queen, however, enters the room on an explicit recovery mission for an envisioned car or truck originally gifted to her brother that he only cares about when he sees she wants it. My feisty girl has her process. She retrieves and jams on a blue fishing cap so that it obstructs most of her vision. Then she hunts for and drapes each and every haphazardly beaded necklace her brother made in school before he can notice the theft. Finally, she adorns her small, expressive hands with my bright, fuzzy socks. The remaining morning routine she spends clutching a chosen stuffed animal or car. I watch with great care so I can note her preferred toy for the day. It will be the best chance I have changing her diaper without a foot to my throat.

20180205_094231

Returning to a relatively warm winter day on a desolate, mostly colorless patio, Warrior Queen only has eyes for her brother…attempting to see the world how he sees it. Most of the time his goal is to preserve the world for her as he believes it should be.

Advertisements

Life as Pictures…miscellaneous edition

 

20180113_213246

I’m a haphazard tower builder. Mr. Man has his ideals for structures, and fortunately they are relatively compatible with my general building capability. My husband has these complicated, remarkable pursuits. I just stack shit on top of the other, and hope it stands…at least for a few moments before they crumble into child oblivion. Little Man’s latest designs are building the above “garages with houses” while Warrior Queen contributes by randomly piling whatever bricks are in front of her. Big brother watches his little sister’s efforts to add to his pride without batting an eye; I kinda love that about him. And, how can I forget him carefully placing the remaining bricks filed tightly together on the end to “keep the chickens from entering the garden?” I can’t really blame him. Chickens are horribly scary creatures. In the event of an apocalypse, those sketchy bastards will be leading the charge with the cockroaches and politicians.

20171225_100239

I enjoy cooking, but I reserve special treats for when my husband is out of town. It isn’t all that dramatic when he is gone, but I miss him. If I have the wherewithal to plan, I try to find certain things that I can look forward to…something special…usually food related, but not always. These mini quiche muffins are on my fairly lengthy list of favorites, but I hardly am able to indulge because the children pilfer them whenever there is a whiff of the container in the open.

20171225_110318-e1516581137568.jpg

Easiest pumpkin muffin recipe ever. I’m not a baker, so adding a can of pumpkin to a box of spice or carrot cake mix is about all I can handle…

20180105_093005

The carnage of a mandatory home day…the poor bastards didn’t stand a chance. The children were merciless, and I’m still a little traumatized.

20180104_110957

Happy place…happy place…My children swinging from the chandeliers shrieking their battle cries as they hurl their wincingly pliable bodies onto the sofa cushions that littered the entirety of any exposed flooring. BUT, I have my stash, so bedlam be damned, and you can bet your ass I’m not sharing! I’ll laugh maniacally in their faces as I enjoy every morsel…Okay, maybe not in their faces…I’ll cower in the bathroom like all normal and rational people to avoid the conflict.

20180107_081909

It isn’t always about the chocolate stash when I’m teetering on the edge of losing whatever minuscule cool I’ve managed to retain since having children. I’m also growing my second afghan in painful contributions using the yarn stash my husband spent years nagging me to toss. The first afghan will soon go to Warrior Queen, and it is quite lovely. I’m not sure where this one is headed.

20171219_170903

We aren’t remotely religious, but the menorah candle lighting was the most successful aspect of our Hanukkah festivities this year. I want to always remember Mr. Man launching himself out of his nap to tend to the candles.

20171216_175249

If I’m honest, these latka beauties are my favorite part of the holiday which are a healthier version of the original…because potatoes…

20171217_121512

This sweater doesn’t have anything to do with anything other than it simply exists. Nothing pleases me more than to live in a time and place where seven-year-olds in a country across the planet work to create this number that I would never think of wearing, but I’m sure someone could pull it off who is significantly more fun than I. In the meantime, I’ll be in the bathroom progressively nibbling the chocolate stash I’ve cultivated over the past couple of weeks.

 

Life as Pictures

2017-10-06 15.30.05[1]

Naturally this is a full mug of lukewarm tea despite persistent…possibly overzealous…microwave reheatings.

 

2017-10-06 15.29.35[1]

2017-10-06 15.31.37[1]

Have I mentioned I plan to have Little Man wear a diaper to high school?

 

2017-10-06 15.31.14[1]

If it looks artistic, I don’t have to feel like a shlub for leaving toys everywhere, right?

 

2017-10-06 15.30.30[1]

My kids will have kids of their own, and I will still find Cheerios from time to time.

Sharing is Caring

I don’t have siblings, so this whole two children in the same home thing is pretty jazzy for me to ride through. I have many favorite things in my parenting journey, and taking part in the sibling experience is among the top, especially now that Mr. Man is three-and-a-half and Warrior Queen is eighteen-months. They’ve been interacting for a while now, but my children are on the cusp of playmatedom; I can’t wait to see what this next phase holds!

Image result for boy girl siblings holding hands

(I’m not delusional; this is what it’s like to raise siblings, right Shutterstock?)

Big brother is Warrior Queen’s favorite person among a small crowd of people she is quite fond of. I often stare at her silently as her eyes follow my son in his independent play. So often she has a unique smile when her brother is involved, and everything her brother suggests is the gold standard of what needs to occur.

Related image

(Why that’s an incredible idea, Big Brother! Thanks for the swanky hint, daddytypes.com…)

I took away her bottle a couple of months ago when it was obvious she was no longer using it for milk sustenance. Fazing out the bottle in itself wasn’t an issue; getting Warrior Queen to consume milk without it has been. Water from a cup has been a non issue, but she only is willing to drink a sip or two of milk before she hands the cup to me and trots off to dismantle something. There was an intervention that seemed promising, but didn’t last…or at least it is unsustainable. Warrior Queen was willing to drink from a regular cup and straw when she saw Little Man doing so. It was the cutest thing. I asked my son to show his sister how the deed was done. Her concentration on him is something unique to his very existence. She immediately accepted the straw she refused mere moments prior. Between the two of them trading off sips, most of the cup of milk was drained…after all, Mr. Man loves his milk. But, unless that very process is repeated where he is directly involved in getting her to drink from the straw, she has almost nil interest. But, the pride beaming off of Little Man when he taught his baby sister to use a straw almost makes the ordeal for each and every milk episode worth it…almost.

Warrior Queen is a good eater…like her brother, and she seems to have an endless appetite these days. I’m not sure where she is keeping all the food she’s ingesting.

Image result for black hole

(I’m sure BBC is on the cusp of discovering that black holes are the stomach of a toddler who loves her food.)

Dinner is an especially interesting experience. She will eat her fill of whatever I served, as well as Little Man. Invariably there are some remnants on my son’s plate. Warrior Queen waits patiently until he departs his chair, and every time climbs in front of his residual setting and cleans her big brother’s plate.

Image result for sneaky child

(Leftover cold and vaguely recognizable food? Game on! Thanks Little Rock Family.)

What is especially amusing is she will scavenge every morsel even if it was an item she refused of her own serving. I don’t know if Mr. Man fully realizes this extraordinarily reliable occurrence. The one time I mentioned his sister would finish the cod he left, he immediately shoved almost half a child-sized plate of fish in his mouth in one nauseating stroke.

Image result for scooping poker chip winnings

(It’s all mine…MINE! Thanks, Pinterest.)

So on the one hand this kind of thing would totally chap his ass if he knew, but on the other hand he might be too involved with the first of his several after dinner treats to care.

And, there is the multitude of small loving moments…the two holding hands in the back seat as we journey to our every day. Little Man will scratch Warrior Queen’s back. Occasionally I’ll bathe the two together. After both are clean and it’s time for play, they will sit in companionable quiet, occasionally trading cups in perfect unspoken harmony. Periodically, Little Man will fill a small cup with warm water and coat Warrior Queen’s back to keep the air from chilling her small body. Sometimes she won’t acknowledge the gesture, but other times she will look up to him before resuming her activities.

But, not everything is well received. Mr. Man wanted my husband to retrieve his grotesque dog from behind the sofa. My husband asked Warrior Queen to complete the favor; my son empathically refused to accept the dog unless it was from his daddy’s hands.

Image result for dirty toy

(You’d be all over picking up this toy too, wouldn’t you Flickr?)

Then there was the other day when Warrior Queen was quite distressed, as she often is when there is a combination of something unimportant happening and she is ignored for too long. On this specific occasion she wanted me to place a silly fishing hat of sorts on her head, but her ability to communicate her needs was halted by a preschooler chasing her around the kitchen assuming a hug and kiss would make the world right again.

Image result for original blob

(Pretty sure this is how Warrior Queen saw the situation.)

It was loud and annoying until Little Man finally cornered a disgruntled and whining toddler, gently wrapping his arms around her and laying a light smooch to her cheek. There are many conversations I have with Little Man about receiving consent before touching other people’s bodies, but sometimes the need to fix what is ailing his sister is too much for him to ignore. Shortly after Warrior Queen was appeased with her costume, and scampered off to destroy a room and probably tamper with a wall outlet unaffected.

I can’t stand people tickling me, but Mr. Man loves few things more than a hard core ticklefest. I don’t get it, and I don’t particularly love that he descends on his sister with this singular motivation to share an experience he adores. It seems, at the moment anyway, that she isn’t opposed to tickles in and of themselves. Warrior Queen is quite assertive with her displeasure, and I always wait for her screams when her big brother is in one of these rough play, tickling moods. But, more times than not she will be amused and giggle like no one else can bring from her belly, and she will smile in anticipation until he resumes.

Now that they are growing older there are more events of them sitting together “reading” stories. Sometimes Mr. Man recites her favorites to her…sometimes they sit together on the floor and page through the pictures independently yet coupled.

Sometimes they build towers together. Mr. Man will begin by asking me to build him something, but shortly thereafter he wants me to watch him and Warrior Queen take turns stacking things before the structure crashes to a shambles and they begin again.

Often they sit next to each other on the sofa throwing their backs into the cushions until the section they are sitting on is gradually positioned across the room. A common occurrence them running and climbing over each other, scaling the piled length of the sectional. When there are cushions on the floor they dive off the sofa equally, all of it simultaneously delighting and driving me crazy.

Image result for cliff diving

(Knockout Mag knows this is clearly the pinnacle of any day.)

Then there are the spoken words of support. Warrior Queen’s vocabulary seems to increase every week. Not everything is a complete word. More often than not she pronounces the first two or three sounds of words, but recently she started uttering “Mommy” and “Daddy”…well, mostly Daddy. Car rides to school frequently have Warrior Queen calling for my husband. Little Man usually responds, “Daddy is at work. It’s okay. You’ll see him tonight when he gets home.”

One of my new favorite routines is right before “quiet time.” I try to synchronize as much of the afternoon nap as I can; I’m usually successful to some degree. These days Warrior Queen climbs the stairs with me and Mr. Man. Excitement radiates off her as she staggers her drunken gorilla self to her big brother’s room. I read the same story before quiet time because I don’t want to be stuck reading a long story when I want nothing more than to eat lunch or relieve myself in the restroom. At this point Brown Bear has been read so many times that occasionally Little Man insists he’s the one to utter the tale. Most of the time, however, he only wishes to recite the final page. When it’s only me and my son, I’m not ashamed to admit I skip as many pages as I can get away with. But, now that Warrior Queen is privy to the routine, I wouldn’t dream of stealing one moment. Little Man half attends to the story most days, but Warrior Queen hangs on every page…every word, and my full attention is watching her every entranced expression. My son often tries to have his sister lay down next to him…or on him. She usually wants no part of it.

Related image

(Warrior Queen just wants to hear the rest of the story!)

Little Man acquiesces relatively quickly to her needs…I think he loves her enjoyment of the story as much as I. I can’t explain it, but this small moment might be one of my favorites in any given day. It’s a quick blur, but I try to absorb each second hoping that it will stretch out longer than it ever does.

As territorial as he can be, my son adores having his sister play in his room now. Many days he requests that they have these private play sessions behind his closed bedroom door…she almost never cries for the short time these exchanges last. But, I think for them this infinitesimal period ranks above most of their times together. Sometimes I watch them through the monitor. I know they are okay…Warrior Queen will inform the entire house if she isn’t, but I simply enjoy watching them exist together without my influence.

Image result for swinging from the chandeliers

(This is what I can expect when the cherubs are left to their own devices behind a closed door…)

And, finally there is the sharing. Mr. Man is truly wonderful at sharing…on his terms…and when he isn’t in need of a nap. Outside of our home sharing is a nonissue to a relatively perfect degree. Having friends over I’ve had to be creative. It’s a new routine…before anyone arrives I have my son select five toys that will remain out of his friend’s reach with the expectation that everything else will be fair game. We will spend a good amount time reviewing play conditions before any arrival. It isn’t a perfect system, but it’s the most successful intervention in this arena thus far. Toy sharing with his sister is always a mixed bag with Little Man. Usually he attempts to force random toys on Warrior Queen regardless of her interest. But, so often when my son is eating something he enjoys…even if it’s cookies or ice-cream, or it’s something he knows his little sister appreciates; he independently takes a piece from whatever is his to give to her. He will insist she partake…whether she likes it or not.

Travel Log

There is one significant distinction between schlepping one kid around and the addition of another.  With one child any daily traveling was mostly uneventful.  I could go an entire outing not having to change a diaper or even stop to eat…But, I love to eat, especially out, so Mr. Man luncheons were often superfluous additions to our schedule…  Sure, there was the occasional public tantrum that amounts to a belly flop dive in the middle of a main walkway, or my son jamming something horrible in his mouth as I do a Matrix style freeze frame deciding on what level my freak-out should be.

With two, however, dumb shit happens just about every schlep; It’s pretty remarkable, actually.  It isn’t so much that things become heinous or terrible to endure, but as events unfold I’m acutely aware of how stupid and unnecessary the situation is, yet completely unavoidable.

The toy-play bonanza historically was my go-to, especially during pregnancy.  Reliably uneventful, mostly free from stupid stuff occurring.  Now, however, I carry two.  I took my little ones to a different one to vary things.  I’m still adjusting and stick to the reliable and pleasant…for me…  Things were going well.  I’m dancing around to the surprisingly good and kid friendly music with the almost six-week-old Warrior Queen snoozing away in my carrier.  I feed her without incident.  My daughter is pro spit-up, so lasting through an entire feeding without such an event occurring is remarkable in and of itself.  It was time to go, so I didn’t bother to tuck her back into the wrap.  I carried her and began my trips to and from the car that I parked just outside the door.  Little Man was last, and so far mostly oblivious to my actions; his girlfriend was working.  Warrior Queen was buckled in, and I hustle to get Mr. Man who tantrumed for a brief moment for show…all moving according to plan…until I smelled it.  No way I’m leaving my girl in the car while I take my two-year-old to the bathroom to change the noxious lump he was harboring in his diaper…car trunk it is…  The change was awkward, but easier than usual…I didn’t get kicked in the face and Little Man giggled as the wind danced across his bare bottom.  The situation wasn’t catastrophic or all that unmanageable, but stupid nonetheless.

Park and playground outings are becoming more reliable sources of entertainment as my son has started liking the outdoors.  I’m still hesitant to go to them as a mainstay occupation, as he doesn’t endure all that long and I don’t like bugs.  I will, however, take him as an auxiliary activity, especially if I can rope in a friend or two to join us.  One particular playground outing occurred in our town.  The structures are new and the area expansive, as the playground is part of a larger recreational area.  My son was running along the field and the perimeter of the woods selecting and handing me random rocks, acorns, and pine cones.  I’m not sure why; he started acknowledging that I toss them almost as soon as he hands them to me.  He doesn’t seem to care even when I’m not all that covert about the sudden nature expulsion.  I don’t know what dead animal my son eagerly grabbed, but he managed it full fisted…I calmly asked him to release the decayed bit of fur or feathers while internally running though the possible diseases leading to death my son exposed himself to…and that’s why parents carry hand sanitizer…except this parent.  I clearly need to get on the bandwagon…

I really haven’t been carting two children for more than a few weeks, this week was the first time it was my show for the duration.  How can such a short time span yield so many stories because I’m not all that interesting of a person?  Mondays we tend to go to a free library program that is pretty good and short.  This particular Monday I’m describing, though, had us leaving the house late, but I couldn’t say why this day was such a problem.  I’m pretty good about getting out of the house.  I guess it was just a lot of dumb little things like a bag of crayons getting tangled on my purse strap (They are both inanimate objects.  How did that even happen?), and the same purse getting caught on the garage door knob as I was exiting carrying the bucket car seat…I need to get a different purse.  We arrived at the library just as the program started, but it was at capacity.  I take the kids to the walled in patio because it would be safe from anything eventful, right?  Wrong.  My torrid tangle of toddler managed to dump over three pots of dirt that looked to be a children’s group planting project before I even had a moment to register the destruction before me.  I wonder if they have “Wanted” signs at libraries.

Another day later during the week, we were on the way to the bonanza.  I missed the drive thru turn, so decided it would not be a day for an iced tea…totally changed my mind after the following disaster.  Then, I was on a mission.  But, the initial pursuit was not meant to be.  The later attempt not much better, sadly yielding empty hands.  No lemon, fine, but then they tried to hand me an iced green tea.  I have a newborn.  What’s the point of that?  The cashier tells me that they were out of the regular.  I think they just messed up my order.

In between the depressing iced tea fiasco, I took my children to our less frequented indoor play spot; it was Little Man’s girlfriend’s one day off…bad sign.  Usually my son handles disappointment pretty well…for a toddler, which translates to him refraining from burning down the establishment.  But, this day it was bad enough his squeeze was absent, but he REALLY was unhappy we could not join the music class in the back room.  I get it.  The guy had a guitar, and Mr. Man will be the next frustrated musician complaining about the industry and poo-pooing the latest talentless rage while he continues to live in our basement.  For the first time ever he wanted to leave after only an hour, but it was time for my fierce girl to eat, so my son would need to wait.  Not usually a problem, c’mon, this place has toys, slides, and a bouncy castle…  But, alas, he started launching a wooden toy that might be a Jetsonesque lamp for the full size doll house.  I had to stop feeding the Warrior Queen so I could snatch my son for a time-out.  As I tended to him, my girl started exerting her hunger battle cry, which oddly is less dramatic than the poop one.  Holding my son’s leg with one hand, I plunked the bottle back in my daughter’s mouth with my other hand.  I did that twice before my son gave in and demonstrated dramatic “gentle hands” with every object he selected from the floor.  Not soon enough we are able to leave.  I tried to be quick, but my Mr. Man completely lost whatever miniscule cool he had.

Ten or so minutes from home we drive past a pretty good playground.  I had been feeling bad that on such a beautiful day I chose to take the cherubs somewhere inside.  It was still early, so we stopped.  My son doesn’t last all that long on playgrounds, but it’s always more than ten minutes.  Little Man enjoyed the swings and wanted to leave much sooner than the typical thirty minutes he usually indulges before running cattywampus on every structure he can manage.  Sounded good to me though.  I was schvitzing up a storm.  But, on my son’s lead, we enter a grocery store and proceeded to roam aimlessly like crazy people before he fell and slammed his face on some part of the cart with a car front stores started getting in solidarity with parents…kind of, have you tried maneuvering these things?  Maybe the real reason for fleets of them is so at the end of a long shift employees can watch and amuse themselves even if they have to perpetually fix displays.  Regardless, my son could sport a shiner badge of honor for his clumsiness…

Everyone buckled in the car for our journey home, the drive surprisingly quiet.  Both kids wanted to be fed almost immediately upon entering our homestead…because they always want to eat at the same time.  Some day that will be sweet, but not this day.  Little Man finishes his meal, my daughter lagging.  My son was tired exhibiting his telltale impulsiveness.  He climbed on the table winging his unfinished and half chewed food everywhere.  I ignore him and continued to feed his sister.  The only indication of my annoyance was the vein about to rupture in my forehead.  Mr. Man either realized his commotion wasn’t working or he developed a last ditch appreciation for my mental state, climbed down from the table and in a sleepy daze snuggled into me while I sat uncomfortably in a mild contortionist pose at the kitchen table.  I couldn’t resist giving him smooches.  After all, everyone is a douche when cranky…pretty sure I’m not an exception, but I’m hesitant to ask my husband.  Maybe I can’t avoid dumb shit from happening now that we are a troop of three, but at least I earn my sofa time.

Catastrophic Atrocities and the End of the World as We Know It!

A typical morning in the life of experiencing a toddler with the number of personalities that would make Sybil cower in shame.  My little man is very sweet and loving so much of the time, but then there are moments, and they are moments, peppered throughout the day when all happiness grinds to a halt and ruination overcomes his beautiful face.

This morning he ate breakfast as he normally does…simultaneously shoving multiple chunks of strawberries in his mouth and grinning at me while making it rain cereal all over the floor.  He eats what he eats and scampers off to play.  I want to hurry us out the door, so the cereal explosion will wait until later.  I bide my time until he is distracted before clearing his breakfast plate, but it seldom works.  Mr. Man glances up and spies me covering the plate of remaining strawberries he proclaimed he no longer wants, as well as restoring his milk cup to the fridge.  Well, apparently what actually happened is I kicked a puppy and urinated on a kitten because a screaming blur of two-year-old runs at me, tugging my shirt and pleading with me.  If he had the vocabulary I’m sure he would be making the case that the milk should spoil and I should leave the pieces of strawberries on the table to turn into potpourri.  But, it isn’t just that he is upset with my actions that is always astounding, but the instantaneous waterworks and abhorrence expressed so acutely on his face.  If I returned the warming milk and fruit to the table, his devastation would immediately lift.  Mind you, he wouldn’t return to the table to eat the food he fought so nobly to protect; he would resume his play that consisted of launching all of his toys across the rug as though he were an Athenian Olympian.

Over the course of an hour while I prepared snacks and such for our outing, my son intermittently played independently among sudden, more enduring tantrums that included launching plush and paper-based toys into our kitchen sink until I gave him the stink-eye stare down that I can’t believe worked, or him pulling on whatever appendage that was convenient before passionately slamming child proofed cabinets and attempting to dislodge the oven door from its frame.  I’m not daft; I understand this behavior was prompted by justifiable grievances…like not allowing him to gnaw on the random cords in our pantry or suckle the assortment of brooms we have hanging in the very same closet.  I completely understand that I’m a terrible, terrible Mommy for not permitting him to horde the glass jar of gefilte fish that we have no choice but to house on a refrigerator shelf he can easily reach.  Even more evil is that I won’t hold him at that very moment because I’ve learned that his true desire is to scout the top of the island for stuff he can pull down, forcing me to lumber after him pregnant or not.

But, alas, he is a toddler.  When I sit down for a moment he’ll cuddle me or try to cover my feet in my favorite soft, fuzzy socks.  He loves little more than endless renditions of his current Dr. Seuss favorite or burrowing in the blanket I’m crocheting for his sister.  It’s in those moments that I’ll happily oblige him…until I realize he’s soiled his diaper.  During those very instances he perceives I’ve come to such a conclusion and dashes off in mischievous giggles, and the chase is on.

Near-Fetal Attraction

Shocking, we spent the morning and early afternoon at our favorite indoor play spot…  There is a funny crowd consistency I’ve noticed over the last couple of visits.  It is nearly empty the first hour they are open, but immediately becomes jammed with kids until about eleven-thirty.  Then the place is delightfully empty once again.  It was after my twenty-two-month-old son’s Hobbit-like second lunch at almost noon when he saw her…

I think she is a college student who clearly loves her job and children’s festivities.  She was behind a closed door in the structured program room preparing or cleaning something, when I see my little man climb on a chair outside, and creepily attempt to leer through the window.  I assumed there was something fancy happening in there that captured his attention…like a fan…or some lights…clearly Harvard awaits…

The young woman emerges and on long legs crosses to the front desk in what would take me an embarrassing amount of more steps to cover.  Little Man takes off after her, gripping the gate that prevents little person access to the employee section and just stares.  Eventually, she notices and bends down to talk to my future awkward middle schooler; my son chuckling in her undivided attention.  Bless her, she came out to play with him.

I knew we needed to leave, but Mr. Macho Man was enthralled, showing the woman the various toy attractions he appreciates.  He even kind of danced for her, something very few see at this point, and for good reason.  It resembles a bouncing epileptic chicken, but he’s almost two, so it’s still cute.  My suspicion is that his signature moves will not progress beyond what we are seeing now, and I only hope it is not captured on uTube next to the Elaine segment when he can no longer claim that his motor skills have not fully developed.  My son was a bit shy about fully busting a move like he does at home.  Sure, he was giggling almost uncontrollably, but he was a bit too embarrassed to fully commit to what my husband and I see many evenings without much cajoling.

Little Man was riveted by her regard for thirty minutes; following her around everywhere she embarked.  Part of me was simply enjoying the spectacle, but then this dark thought crossed my mind.  Sure, I’m not savvy enough to unblock our television’s porn channels, but I don’t feel confident that my son hasn’t managed at this point, and has a grand scheme after my husband and I are long asleep.  Perhaps this is the root of his speech delay, and he eventually will become known to all around him as “Lips McGee,” the man who knows how to keep his mouth shut…

Conquer or Be Conquered!

We registered for a class this semester that gives us unlimited privileges to this indoor playground/toy bonanza.  My son has been four times, and loves it.  I think it’s pretty awesome too; I grab an iced tea (because it is always the appropriate drink for winter), I meet a friend or two to socialize, sit back and chill as my son wreaks havoc and exhausts himself.

Usually Mr. Man lasts about two hours at this little slice of oasis, and strangely seeks this one specific toy to horde every time we visit.  It’s a bathtub toy fishing rod game piece.  He doesn’t actually do anything with it, but will spend almost the entire duration holding it and schlepping it around.  He remembers it every time even though the last visit was over a month-and-a-half ago.  I don’t get the appeal, but it’s his wingman.  Even if he walks away from it for ten or fifteen minutes to do something else, he eventually seeks his prized pole, grasping it tightly as he wanders and samples all the other toy attractions.

In addition to toys there are several structures, some containing pretty terrific slides.  These structures are high, steep, and fast.  There’s no tease of a fluid decent.  Once a kid is mere millimeters from the top platform, he or she will launch into the wall with only wisps of smoke remaining as an indication that a homunculus attempted the feat.

Little Man is a thrill seeker and loves this thing.  This visit, however, he didn’t want Mommy’s help down.  I lift him onto the platform, he gives an excited grin in anticipation, and he’s off…  He was so proud of himself, immediately requesting his elevator for a repeat of the experience.  This time, however, on his belly head first.  I thought certain doom was inevitable, but he was fine.  A couple more times and he needed a break.  He grabbed his fishing pole and wandered in search of another adventure.

We were there four hours with a trifling ten minute lunch break at Big Man’s request.  Throughout the day he periodically beckoned me to hoist him to the top of the slide, but toward the latter end of our time at play mecca Little Man became overconfident and slammed the back of his head toward the bottom.

He needed brief consoling, but as I was holding him he glared at his Everest.  It would not defeat him; he insisted on trying again.  Cautious, but determined he paused briefly at the top in the same sitting up position that had been catastrophic the last run only seconds prior, but he managed just fine…Then he opted to go on the smaller slide.

A few turns on the foothill prompted him to return to his first love.  I hefted him up a few more times until my son determined he tamed his beast.  If only we could all be so brave…

The Plan

Well, I was waiting for it.  At some point he was bound to figure out how to open our Tupperware drawer, and last night was that very moment.  I walk into the kitchen to be greeted with lids and containers strewn across the floor, and Mr. Man whirling about deciding the exact location of each piece.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him it looked like a disaster because he seemed so convinced of the great harmony each placement provided.

With directed attention that I only exhibit at two in the morning after returning from the restroom, Little Man repeatedly selected articles, moved them into various positions on the floor, and returned them to the drawer.  That, however, was not the end of the story.  Shortly after the selected drawer returns that had me hoping I would not be the one to clean his masterpiece, he would reach back into it and select a place on the floor for the very item he returned only moments before.

My favorite was when he would grab a container or lid and run off with it into the family room, returning empty handed.  Sorting through his pile, my son would retrieve something else, and dash back to the family room, only returning with one of the items he just dropped off to its new home.  Perhaps this first choice didn’t class up the joint as he hoped?

I’m not sure how long he carried on, but he concentrated so much on his task that he was unaware of the chocolate I was eating.  Eventually, the spell was broken, and I was left with a mass of wares that will require cleaning before their true purpose, but a guy’s gotta do, what a guy’s gotta do…

It’s Never a Lazy Boy

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…

%d bloggers like this: