Snuggles

Like many kids his age, Bowie wakes up in the middle of the night. Almost every night. And it gets a little tiring. Most of the time, we can lay him back down and he’s fine. He’s still tired enough that once his little head hits the pillow, he’s out.

But some nights, like Sunday night, he’s inconsolable. Especially if my husband goes to his room and not me. So, at 3 a.m. when he was screaming and flailing and hyperventilating, I reluctantly went into his room and tried to lay him down. He was clinging to me, and just really wanted me to hold him. I’d been suffering a rather painful pulled muscle that day, and picking him up, I knew, would cause searing pain.

But, eventually I gave in and picked him up. We sat together in the chair in his room, and he instantly fell silent. He took a deep breath, and hugged me tightly. We sat there like that for a few minutes, and he fell asleep and I was able to lay him down.

At the time, I was thinking I’m going to be so tired tomorrow. But, the next day, I was actually really glad I did that. He just wanted his mom. Nothing else in the world could make him feel better. And that’s pretty darn special.

Last night at our playgroup, I told the story, and my friend reminded me that we’ve only got a limited number of these snuggles, someday they won’t need them anymore. We should soak them up now while we can.

Kiddo, I’ll snuggle you as long as you’ll have me.

Full Contact Parenthood

Bowie has reached the I-can’t-believe-this-is-normal aggression phase of his toddlerdom. Everything, good or bad, warrants a slap, a punch, a head-butt or a bite. And there’s no waving a white flag here, until they learn to talk, this is how they communicate anger, sadness and frustration. And mine also for some reason expresses his extreme happiness in this way?

I’m trying to be as calm about things as possible. But, when you’re at the kids’ museum, and a complete stranger’s kid just accidentally bumps into your kid, and then your kid comes over and proceeds to beat the shit out of you, it’s hard to stay calm.

At home, I have taken to putting him in his crib so he can have a good freak out, and then I get to pick him up and assure him I love him and all of that. But, in public, what do I do? Putting him in his stroller exacerbates the problem.

The only sure-fire way I have found to make it stop is a treat. It’s usually a healthy treat, but a treat. I can’t keep throwing food at my son to make him behave, but I also don’t want to resort to physical punishment, or yelling, or any of the many things we’re often reduced to as parents when we have just reached the end of our rope. ESPECIALLY when I am in public. With all those other judgy mom eyes watching my every move.

What is everyone’s experience with this? I know there’s got to be something we can do besides investing in a face mask and shoulder pads and just rolling over and taking it.

Crazy and Hectic

New post. Okay, new post. Here we go. Where am I? What day is this? Who are you people?

Haha, just kidding, I am slightly exaggerating my disorientation today. It’s been a rough few days.

For one, on Monday I had a job interview which is not the norm for a freelancer, at least not with the jobs I’ve been applying for. Usually, they say “gimme your resumé and a writing sample and we’ll talk next week”. Not these guys. They wanted me to drive 35 miles (which in the Bay Area is more than it seems) and propose to them what I could bring to their company. And I was okay with doing that, I mean, it is their company, they can hire people however they want. But I haven’t had a serious interview in going on 8 years now, and I didn’t even know how to begin. And I went above and beyond what was expected, which made me feel like a fool for spending my whole weekend working on my proposal.

Then, I get home from the proposal, and my kiddo, who has had a mild cold for a few days, is running a fever of almost 103. He had that fever Monday afternoon and all day yesterday (with diarrhea), and just this morning it finally dipped below 100. But, he’s still refusing to eat or drink and sleeping a LOT, so I don’t think we’re in the clear quite yet.

And the weather, my GOD, the weather. The Pacific coast is getting completely HAMMERED right now with heavy rain, strong winds and other big time storm activity, such as the amazingly close lightning strike early yesterday morning, complete with thunder clap that startled us all awake thinking the house had exploded, and set off all the motion sensors and car alarms in a 10 block radius. Aside from knocking out the satellite every hour or so, it’s been okay, and it’s just a good time to cuddle on the couch with fluffy blankets and hot tea, especially since we are all sick. Thank God for Netflix instant queue. And, icing on the cake, it’s supposed to do this for two weeks. TWO WEEKS of being stuck inside. When kiddo’s cold has passed, it will not be pretty.

So, that’s where I’m at. Still waiting to hear about the job. Still trying to get Bowie to drink some juice. Still trying to get my nose to stop running. Still trying to save our house from being blown to the next town, Wizard of Oz style.

Year in Review 2009

Questionnaire courtesy of a blog gal pal.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Fed someone a banana whilst wiping his butt. Started a blog. Got laid off. Weaned a baby. And I absolutely have to poach this answer, because it also was my first time too: Cleaned poop out of a tub.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I make birthday resolutions in lieu of new year’s (see 30 Things), and I kept a lot of them. Really, more than I thought I could. And I still have 3 months to do the rest. I’m sure I’ll make more for next year.

3. Did anyone close to you die?
My husband’s Uncle George died suddenly in August. That was a rough one for us all. Picturing him and Harry Caray enjoying a beer together.

4. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A better idea of how, when and where we might be able to purchase our own home. A wide-open, blank canvas future isn’t as fun as it sounds in this department.

5. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Well, Bowie’s birthday obviously. It was the most amazing/scary/happy/heartbreaking thing to watch my firstborn turn a year old. Also, our anniversary. We went to Michael Mina and it was fabulous. Every year, I know more and more that we were meant to be together.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I came to terms with a lot of my demons. Things that had been scraping at the back of my brain for a long time. Turning 30 and becoming a mom will do that to you.

7. What was your biggest failure?
Development of my career. I got laid off, which really wasn’t my fault, but in the aftermath my career seems to be at a complete standstill.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My arthritic knee bothered me for the bulk of the year, but I went in November and had a cortisone shot, which has helped a lot. Also, just a few weeks ago ! I had the bunion on my right foot removed after years of pain. At the moment, I’m still stiff and recovering, but I can already tell it was a good move. And no serious illnesses, thank effing God.

9. What was the best thing you bought?
Me Talk Pretty One Day. I hadn’t read David Sedaris before, but now I’m 5 books in, and he’s hands down my favorite author. But my proudest purchase is the pair of Old Navy jeans I got at a St. Vinny’s in Wisconsin. Price? $3. I just LOVE a good bargain.

10. Where did most of your money go?
Rent. Medical bills. Whole milk.

11. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Bowie learning to walk and learning to talk. It’s amazing watching him develop. Also, the great number of Etsy sales I’ve had this year. Loving it.

12. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Haha, anything by Laurie Berkner or the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba. I don’t listen to a lot of modern music, so nothing’s really going to stick out for me.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

a) Happier. I’ve resolved issues with family, I’ve settled comfortably into motherhood and I’ve been relieved of a job that was a weight around my ankle, but got to leave with a severance.

b) Fatter, much to my dismay. I haven’t had the time or energy for a real workout regimen, and I’ve been eating horribly. I guess one of my resolutions could be to lose some weight. I’m at a healthy weight, but I’m out of shape. So, just like 10 pounds would do it. But I’ve never dieted before, so I have no idea what I’m in for. And I assume it’s much easier said than done.

c) Poorer. Because I lost my job. But, we’re doing okay.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Gotten out and explored more of this magical city I live in!

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Spent money, wish I could save more. It’s as if I have a genetic disorder.

16. How did you spend Christmas?
Brien’s family flew to San Francisco. It was great having them here. I think everyone had a really great time.

17. What was your favorite TV program?
We’re TV addicts. But this year, our favorite shows were LOST, Idol, Pawn Stars, Mythbusters, 30 Rock, The Office, Top Chef, Chopped, Rescue Me and Weeds.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 30, and I spent the evening at home with my husband and son. It’s exactly where I wanted to be. We went out for dinner a week later or so.

Traditions

This being Bowie’s second Christmas, the last one he’ll be completely unaware of as it happens, I have been thinking about something lately: Santa Claus. And the Easter Bunny. And the Tooth Fairy.

I don’t think we’re going to carry on these traditions with Bowie. For one thing, it’s complete deception of your child. I have a hard time passing of a new sweater as an old one to the husband, or a believable cough to an employer. How can I pull off 8 years or so of fictional gift-bearers that come in the night? And another thing, I remember the crushing disappointment I felt when, at age 7, I found out they were not real from a playground pal. And I’d really like to spare my son as much disappointment as possible. Life is disappointing enough.

He may feel left out when he hears tales of his peers having visits from these special people, but it’s not as if non-participation means no gifts. We can do small gifts for Easter and small gifts for lost teeth. And as for Santa, don’t we get enough presents at Christmas without needing extras from Santa? I happen to think so. And I happen to want to raise a son who thinks so.

The one problem I foresee is him telling his friends who do believe that these people are not real, before their parents would like them to know. Because, even if we never have a conversation about them and he never knows they exist, chances are as soon as he sets foot in an elementary school classroom, he’ll start to hear about them. And when he comes home and says, “Mom, who is Santa Claus?” or “Why doesn’t Santa visit our house?” And my answer to that will be “Um, stammer stammer stammer, uh, well, you see…hmm.” But that’s a bridge I’m not crossing for a while. There’s a chance I can figure out some semblance of a good answer to that.

I’m blogging about this because upon admitting this to some people, I’ve been told I’m robbing my son of important childhood memories and traditions. But, I think we can create our own memories and traditions, and there’s just a teeny tiny possibility those memories will be better, right? And there are so very many truly important things I’m going to screw up as a mommy, this is the least of my worries. I won’t give in to the peer pressure. Ok, well maybe, talk to me next year.

Mad Skills

This morning, I parallel parked for the third time in my life. The other two times were just weeks ago. Granted, the spots were all GINORMOUS, but I freaking did it, people.

You may be asking yourself how one can live 30 entire years without ever having to parallel park, especially having lived the last 2 ½ years in a major urban area.

The answer? Well, growing up I lived in the opposite of an urban area, and it was just not necessary. In fact, when I took my driver’s test, I couldn’t do it, and the guy passed me anyway. And now that we live in San Francisco? Creative avoidance. Double parking. Driving around for an hour looking for a spot. Taking a cab to neighborhoods where I might have to parallel park. Making someone else drive.

But, there was this one day where it was certifiably unavoidable, and I found a nice big spot, and it was a quiet street, so I didn’t have an audience (this really is my biggest hang up about the whole thing), so I did it. I kept pulling out and trying again until I got it (mostly) right.

When you’re an urban dweller, parallel parking is no longer a “nice to know”, it’s a completely essential skill for survival. So, I may just make it after all.

For Other Mamas of Blondies

Once my son’s white-blonde hair sprouted, I have heard from countless people the expression “towhead”. I had never heard it before, and for some reason I wanted to take offense to it, so I did a bit of research on it.

I thought at first that it was spelled “toehead”, as in his head is so white it looks like a toe. That is completely wrong. Thank God.

It is “towhead” as in, a head of “tow”, which is “An untwisted bundle of fibers such as cellulose acetate, flax, hemp or jute.”

So there you go. It looks like their hair is made of hay. That’s all.

18 Months

I never got into the writing a letter to my kid every month thing, but for some reason, 18 months seems like one of those really important milestone ages and I just had some musings on it, so here we go.

You are 18 months now, kiddo. I cannot believe it has been a full year and a half since you were born, because I can remember even the most minute detail about your birth as if it happened just yesterday. But now you’re walking, running, talking, playing with toys in their intended fashion, you’re growing up! And everyone says that before I know it, we’ll be celebrating 18 years. I think I believe them.

Right now, your favorite words are “doggie” and “daddy”, but since you seem to enjoy hugging me more than hugging doggie or daddy, I don’t take insult at the fact that you haven’t gotten the word “mommy” down quite yet.

You’ve mastered the art of the tantrum, and some days I want to pull all my hair out and throw the couch through the window, but I remind myself that it’s a phase. At least I flipping hope so! And you’re teaching me to be a more patient and understanding person. So there’s that.

Every day with you is a complete joy, tantrums, poopy diapers and all. As I watch you grow and change, it becomes harder and harder to believe that you are something that I made inside of me (well, with a little help from nature). I used to think I’d want you to be a baby forever, but now I find myself eager to see what comes next.

Love you kiddo.

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Curveballs

My conundrum begins here:

Last summer, my best San Francisco friend N tells me she’s having her second baby, her daughter is about 6 weeks older than Bowie. She’s the first in our group of parent pals to have her second. I’m like, congrats and…GOOD LUCK OMG HOW ARE YOU GOING TO HANDLE IT. Of course, I didn’t say that last part out loud.

Then, a few months ago, our playgroup pal K tells us she too is preggo with her second bundle of joy (her first is a few weeks older than Bowie). I’m thinking wow that’s awesome…GOOD LUCK OMG HOW ARE YOU GOING TO HANDLE IT.

At this point, I’m surer than I’ve ever been about anything in life that I’m, we’re, not ready for a second baby. Not only would it create a massive financial issue, but, in case you’re a new reader, my son is in the MAD THROES of the “Terrible Twos”. How on earth would I handle a full on, head ramming into the floor, screaming, crazy fit in the middle of Target with a newborn in my arms? I’ll tell ya: I would not. They’d have to put me in the straight jacket right there, in the middle of housewares.

Fast forward to this morning, when a very good pal of N and I, S announces that his wife is now preggo, their first actually being younger than Bowie. GAH.

But the thing is, all of a sudden I had that familiar pang in the pit of my stomach. That gosh I want to snuggle a newborn baby close to me, and not just any newborn, but my own newborn feeling.

The problem is, how do I know if I’m TRULY and FULLY ready for baby #2, or simply feeling left out? Not to mention, how do I quell these feelings for at least, like, a year, because, as previously stated, we are in no way, shape or form prepared for bringing baby #2 into this world. And let’s not even get me started on how the hubbs is super scared of having a second baby at all. And JEBUS, I am super freaking crazy, because if our second little on is a girl, I already have her named. I need some help????

So that’s where we’re at. Ugh.

Our First Time Out

Monday morning, 9 a.m. Mommy is checking email, updating the Christmas gift list, entering Pampers codes, generally important morning-on-the-internet kind of stuff. Kiddo is quietly playing with some dishes in the kitchen.

He gets up to show me something he found, and when he realizes I’m on the computer: insta-meltdown. Screaming, crying, hitting, throwing things, the works. So, I get up from the computer, check out the toy, calm him down. Then I get back on the computer, and the meltage starts up again.

Repeat FOUR times.

So, I said to him, you are going in a time out. And I put him in his crib.

I didn’t know what else to do, he’s screaming and being violent for the sole purpose of getting my full, undivided attention. Is he too young to learn that sometimes I have to do other things, and he has to be ok with that?

At the end of the time out, we hugged and kissed, and I told him I love him. Big smiles. Then he followed me into the bathroom and screamed at me during my entire shower.