It is what it is.

Is this…? Wait…

Things that are not a hat:

  • Mulch
  • Coffee filters
  • Raspberry jam.  All jam. And hummus.
  • Cloth diapers
  • Dog hair Continue reading
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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.

A view from the basement

I assume I won’t want to be a stay-at-home-mom.  A friend says to me at some  point, “I LOVE my kids, but I don’t want to hang out with them all day long.”  This seems totally right to me, totally reasonable.  I’ve heard stories about people who go weeks without having an adult conversation, grown-ass women describing their one-year-olds as “my best friend.”  I like work.  I like productivity. I will love my baby, but surely I will want to keep the rest of my life the same as before, right?

Keeping life the same is, of course, a ridiculous notion in itself. It is, to quote Monty Python, “an act of the purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place.”

In the first weeks, I am a weepy mess, swearing that I will never remove him from the Moby wrap, let alone leave his side for even one second. A little later, postpartum depressed, I can’t stand to be away from him, but I can’t care for him myself.  My new life will be lived watching my mother watching the baby.  She’ll just have to quit HER job.  After proper chemical calibration I think, sure, I can go back to work in 3 weeks.  I can totally go back to work in 2 weeks.  Work in a week?  Um…yeah!  Work tomorrow? OH HELL NO.

I extend my leave twice.  I change the arrangement so that I go back half days at first.  After all this generosity, I am allowed telework 2 days a week, indefinitely.  I am lucky (for the U.S. anyway.  I’m totally moving to Sweden before my next baby), and for a while it’s going ok.  Eventually, though, he starts to get more fun.  Like, WAY more fun.  They should really make you go to work right after you give birth, when the baby is basically a good-looking meatloaf, and let you take maternity leave from like 8-11 months, when the party starts.  I get to a point where I’m missing him all day, and I can’t believe I’m leaving those eyelashes and giggles and first words to come deal with the cloak-and-dagger drama of my workplace.

I talk to C. I ask him if there’s a way to make it work.  Many discussions later, with each other and with our families, we decide.  There is, in fact, a way to make it work: we will sell our condo and move into my mother-in-law’s basement apartment, so that we can afford to live on one salary.  I know– but truly, she’s fantastic; this is not an arrangement I’d recommend for everyone.  I feel like a deadbeat sometimes, being a full-grown adult living in a basement with my husband and a toddler. My childless friends look at me like I’m batshit insane, although how much this has to do with their mothers-in-law, I don’t know.  Some of my friends with babies, though, are quick to tell me that they would do the same thing if they had the option.

I know there will be times when we all think it was a terrible idea.  I know there will be times when I will long for a giant coffee, the internet, a door to close, and sweet, sweet silence.  But last week, I quit my job.

Because who knew?  Who knew I’d feel so strongly about being with this little person as much as I can, while he’s still adorable and not yet a douchebag teenager? Who knew that watching a baby thread dry noodles through the holes in a colander would be every bit as fascinating as a fancy job?  Who knew that even on a bad day, when there’s whining and bitching and food-throwing, seeing him point to the cat and say “GA-TO!” would make it all worth it?

I sure didn’t.