Kids are weird

Meowsic

The stuff of nightmares. Also, grounds for divorce.

Hilarious things my toddler is doing these days:

  • After seeing someone (his father, no doubt) dipping something in ketchup, N now prefers all his food with some kind of dip.  He spends mealtimes smearing finger food into sauces, pinky extended daintily.  The best part, though, is that he narrates: every dunk is accompanied by an exclamation of “Bip!”  Seriously. Every single one. He also refers to all sauces as “bip.”  I totally have that weird kid yelling “Bip! BIP! BIPPAHHHHH!!” when we roll through the condiment aisle at the grocery store.
  • C owns multiple guitars, which he plays for N pretty regularly.  N knows the word, which he pronounces GEE-towe.  He’d be right at home as a member of a Dire Straits tribute band.  Which I should start, and call Custom Kitchen Delivery.
  • He’s a budding choreographer.  Make that Choreographer/Dictator (which, incidentally, sounds like an AWESOME job).  He’ll sit or stand somewhere, and then proceed to point to a spot near him where he wants each person to stand.  He generally positions us so that we are facing him in a row.  Awaiting orders.  Or a firing squad.
  • He recently learned how to give high fives.  He won’t high five humans who request it of him, but he will spend half an hour running around after squirrels, birds, bubbles, and helicopters, fat little hand outstretched, demanding that they give him five.  I don’t have the heart to tell him that none of those things technically have hands.
  • He loves animals.  Like, LOVES.  We have been to the zoo several times, where he has (like you do) demanded that the meerkats give him five.  We go to the aquarium, to the pet store.  We have two enormous dogs, a cat, and a bird feeder where he can watch them to his heart’s content. His favorite pet? A computer keyboard.  He drags it around by the cord like a puppy on a leash.  

Not-hilarious things my kid is doing right now:

  • He is learning lots of words (in two languages), which is fascinating to witness. However, he gets stuck on a new word and will say it over and over and over again at an extremely high pitch, with a question mark on the end like a valley girl in an 80s movie about shopping malls.  He’s into birds rights now.  The soundtrack to my day goes, “birdie?birdie?birdie?birdie?birdie?birdie?birdie?” interrupted by the occasional crash when he slams into a glass door trying to see said birdie.
  • Taking every diaper-less opportunity, no matter how brief, to drop a deuce on a carpeted surface.  Or in the bathtub.
  • Acting like he has never been fed in his life.  I have to be careful not to let him see me eat, if I want any of what I’m having.  Or crinkle paper, since that’s the sound of food packaging being opened.  And not to walk by the bakery, since he has learned that’s where they make the cookies.  I feel you, kid, I do, but sometimes mommy wants to eat her lunch, and not just the half-chewed strawberries and still-warm-from-your-fist hunks of string cheese that you left on your tray.  The other day he had what appeared to be a low-grade seizure because the macaroni was still in the pot and not IN HIS MOUTH.
  • He loves music, which is great.  It’s adorable to watch him bounce around when he hears something he likes.  Unfortunately, what he likes best is the devil’s own invention: the “Meowsic Keyboard.”  This is a truly terrifying piano in the shape of a cat’s head that my not-yet-forgiven husband bought for Christmas.  There is a setting that makes every note sound like a “meow.” There is a setting that plays songs sung by tone-deaf children.  They are written to the tune of well-known songs, but all the lyrics have been changed to be about cats. And if you stop playing it for a few minutes, it will purr (read: growl) and meow, to remind you that it’s NOT going to be IGNORED, Dan.  I love my baby, and I love that you make him happy, but I will see you in hell, cat piano. HELL.

Teeter-Totter

I can run faster than you

Concerned parties: the truck was on blocks.

I speak to the baby in Spanish, and C speaks to him in English, so he’s learning words in both languages.  He recently learned the word “no,” and when he shakes his chubby finger back and forth saying “nonononono,” he says it with a heavily Spanish accent.  Guess we know which parent I am.

There are ways I want to be as a mother that don’t come naturally to me.  In particular, I don’t want to hover.  I want to let him learn and explore and make mistakes without trying to protect him from every disappointment or frustration. I check myself every day, a hundred times a day.  Let him play alone, it doesn’t mean you’re ignoring him.  Let him cry a little, he’s fine.  Let him try to put the sock on his foot four thousand times (dude–you have to OPEN IT) and don’t intervene until he gets frustrated. Think before you say “no.”

To be clear: I do not intend to be all hippie-permissive.  I don’t think a baby needs to make his own decisions based on what his soul tells him.  No, you may not slap mommy in the boob because you think the sound is awesome.  No, you may not throw all your lovingly cut-up food on the floor because  it makes the dogs like you (even the one that REALLY doesn’t like you).  No you may not stick that spoon/toothbrush/pipe cleaner in that outlet because the allure of putting a thing into another thing is too strong to resist.

If there’s no real risk, though, I’m trying to let things play out.  Yes, you may put that playdough in your mouth–tastes like crap, right?  Yes, you may walk a little further from me than is totally comfortable for either of us, because you will look back and I will be there (and I’m faster than you are).  Yes, you may open and close cabinet doors, even though you mooshed your finger once, because now you know that mooshing is a possibility and you are careful.  I read a great article recently about kids crawling up the tube slide.  Yeah, they are going to take it in the chest once or twice, but after that they will know to look before they go in.  Remember see-saws?  They don’t exist anymore, because kids get hurt and their parents sue.  I remember vividly (as I’m sure we all do), the day I thought it would be a good idea to put my feet up on the see-saw.  And then the rat bastard on the other end jumped off, and I broke my ass.  Happens to us all.  But you know how many times it happens? ONCE.  Because after that, you learn to keep your feet down, and more importantly, to watch out for rat bastards.  These are important life lessons.

On the playground the other day, I was reading the rules posted on the fence.  Pick up your trash, don’t leave kids unattended, the usual.  And there it was at the bottom: “No Running.”  ON THE PLAYGROUND.  Yes, little boy, you may run.  Because you are learning.  And if you fall on your face, it will hurt, but you will be fine.  I will applaud you if it’s a minor tumble and hold you if it’s a big spill.  And I will try not to laugh, because let’s be real.  Falling down is hilarious.

Can’t win ’em all!

Mother of the year

Mother of the Year!

Before I get pregnant, I know exactly what kind of pregnant person I’m going to be.  I’ll lose weight at first (from the nausea. Oh, and the not drinking), and I’ll stay active, going to the gym or to yoga or whatever.  I am not going to let pregnancy turn me into a super lazy fat person.  As it turns out, I LOVE being pregnant, largely because it turns me into a super lazy fat person.  I go to the gym exactly once and yoga three times. I eat whatever idiotic thing pops into my head (three words: Totinos. Party. Pizza.), and take a lot of naps.  I do walk, mostly out of boredom and restlessness, and I eat a metric shit ton of citrus fruit, because that’s what I crave.  Still, in the end I gain 45 pounds.  And I would do it again in a HOT second.

Another way I spend my pregnancy, since I’m clearly awesome at predicting the future, is deciding what kind of mother I’ll be.  Piece of cake.  Here’s what I will and will not do, what I will be fiercely committed to (no tv!) and what I don’t care that much about (germs. meh.)

In a SHOCKING twist, I turn out to be wrong about some of these things.  In spite of my best intentions, my most militant based-on-nothing opinions, there are things I cannot stick to.  It’s hard to be rigid about stuff while covered in spit-up, trying to identify cry-sounds and hunger cues, and running on adrenaline and fumes.  In no particular order:

I will never, ever let my baby “cry it out.” This concept terrifies me from early on.  I cannot, will not allow my poor little nursling to scream in his crib, abandoned and alone in the dark. I stick to this for a long time.  Don’t get me wrong, when we finally cave and do it, I hate every second.  But at some point I realize, dude, my poor little nursling is totally screwing with me.  When I’m getting up with him every two hours and he starts laughing the second I walk in the room, it’s time.

I will never, ever let my baby eat junk food. So ambitious.  I do pretty well at this– he eats mostly organic, but not being a billionaire, I can’t make this happen all the time.  Sometimes I envy how clean his system must be– no Taco Bell!  No cheap champagne! No Halloween candy from 2007!  On the other hand: restaurants, airplanes, crowded rooms, screaming baby?  Here kid, have some french fries.

I will avoid toys that have batteries. Babies are entertained by tupperware and uncooked pasta.  Pulling kleenex out of a box is like the height of amusement.  Why do I need things that light up and sing songs? All wooden toys for me, thanks.  Not being a billionaire, however, means Melissa & Doug gets miiiiighty pricey after a while. Also, one look at my child’s face when he discovered the Fisher Price Baby Grand Piano, and it was all over.  For that kind of smile, I can almost forgive that horrible woman for singing “Can you hear the RHYTHM? Can you hear the BEAT?” to the tune of the fucking itsy bitsy spider.  I’m lying. I hate her.

My baby will never, ever see TV.  We are still doing a solid job with this.  I hate the idea of him just staring at effing Dora and effing Boots (I can’t even believe I know that Boots is a thing), when he could be interacting with a living human.  This is not to say, however, that I don’t understand the urge.  Whereas before I thought my baby’s brain would remain unpolluted because I am a shining example of motherhood, now I have to fight the impulse several times a day to plop him down in front of the Real Housewives of Miami and make myself a martini.

I will use cloth diapers.  Sigh.  I’m bummed out about this.  I really, really wanted to do this one.  I did a ton of research, hounded my mommy friends who do it for reassurance that it was easy, and cheap, and totally doable.  All of which it is.  And I am SICK thinking about those awful diapers taking 500 years to biodegrade.  It kind of fills me with self-loathing.  Next kid, maybe.

I will do my best not to swear in front of the baby.  Yeah. Pretty sure we can all guess how well that’s going.  20 bucks says N is the first kid in his pre-school class to drop the f-bomb.

How about you?  What did you swear you’d never do that you totally went back on?