Saturday, May 28, 2011

30 Things I Never Knew About Motherhood

 30 things no one ever mentioned about being a mom...

1. Cheerios fall out of her diaper or clothes most every night when we are taking them off. I swear sometimes it even happens on days that she didn't even have any.

2. I now have the ability to be asleep and awake at the same time. I know this because sometimes my child likes to party at 3am and my days of 3 am partying are long over.

3. One day she loves peas, the next day, peas are dead to her. Same goes for almost every other food she has ever loved.

4. All paper must be kept out of the child's reach. They like the taste of paper and will eat it any chance they get. My child has eaten magazines, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, grocery lists, the list goes on and on.

5. Toddlers are way smarter than we give them credit for. In fact, they are evil geniuses. They are quick to learn how to push mommy and daddy's buttons and they are not afraid to do it. See the previous blog post about the floor licking.

6. The makers of children's television are also evil geniuses. I know this because I often find myself singing "keep trying, keep trying, don't give up" and "hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog."

7. Anything with buttons is a seriously desirable item and all buttons were made to be pushed (technically this is not a surprise b/c I love a good button too, I just had no idea there could be so much passion).

8. Kids are innately drawn to balls. If they see one they immediately want to pick it up.

9. Half of the toys in the world are farm related. I find this strange since farmers actually make up a small portion of the population.

10. Kids can climb like little monkeys. Once this starts, nothing is safe. Today she crawled out of her booster seat and onto the dining room table.

11. A one year old has the ability to look at you like you are an idiot, and have you believing it.

12. It is funny when anyone farts, no matter what their age.

13. A hug from your little one is the sweetest hug of all.

14. Be careful what words you choose to teach your child. You will hear them over and over. And over and over. And over and over. My biggest regrets: 'more' and 'paci'. Anytime she says either she expects it immediately. If she throws in a 'please' she expects it yesterday.

15. It is incredibly hard not to compare your child to other children. Don't do it, it will only make you feel bad.

16. Do not compare your mothering to the supermoms you know (everyone knows at least one.) It will only make you feel bad. Trust me, we are all doing the best we can.

17. There are never enough hours in the day and there is never enough energy in my body to get everything done that needs to be done.

18. All moms secretly judge each other. (And they all deny it).

19. Working from home is super hard. Amazingly, children prefer to have all your attention and know when you are trying to do something really important and/or time sensitive.

20. Generic diapers and formula are just as good as regular.

21. Your toddler will surprise you everyday with something they can say or do that they couldn't do the day before. The other day my mom said 'one' and my child said 'two.' I was like, who are you? How do you know that?

22. No matter what kind of food they have, whatever you have is always better. I now have to share everything and I can't say I love that.

23. Even if you have a good sleeper, they will not always sleep good. Even if you have a good eater, they will not always eat everything.

24. It is way more fun to buy clothes for A than for me. Most everything fits and she doesn't worry about her midriff or thighs or anything else for that matter. I think it is cause she knows she is so freaking cute.

25. It is never to early to teach manners. I am proud that my 16mo old knows please and thank you and uses them both.

26. Girlfriends are more important than ever once you have kids. They will give you advice, listen to you vent, help you out in a pinch, give you a glass of wine, let you cry, and make you laugh.

27. I never stop being scared. For her health, for her safety, for her happiness. It is a feeling I can manage, it doesn't run my life, it doesn't keep me from letting her do her thing. But it is always there and it will always be there.

28. At night I am happy to put her to bed, and in the morning I am happy to see her when she wakes up.

29. Kids are funny and they know it. Mine makes herself laugh all the time, which makes us laugh. It is like having a comedian live 24/7.

30. My life is better with her in it. It is more complicated, more exhausting, and there is way more laundry. But better, so so much better.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Teetering on the Edge of the Terrible Twos & Sanity

I remember being in labor and having my first really big contractions. After about the third one I started crying. The nurse asked how bad they were so she could decide if it was epidural time. I looked at her  and in between sobs said, "I am not sure, how much worse are they going to get?  Is this as bad as they are going to be? I really don't want to be a baby, but this really hurts." All I knew was that three contractions were three too many. If it was going to be worse, I didn't think I would be able to handle it. In went the epidural, back came my sanity. Today I sit perched on the edge of having a child in the terrible twos and I realize the feeling is exactly the same. I knew back then that more than likely those contractions were going to get worse, I just wanted to believe they weren't. I know that the tantrums Her Majesty has had are nothing compared to the storm of personality that is coming my way. Doc, I would like my terrible two's epidural now, thanks.

Yesterday I had the unfortunate task of going to the vet to pick up my injured dog with my child in tow. The first few minutes were fine. Frankenbaby lumbered around the waiting room clutching a little book she found with dog pictures in it, the word "doggie" on loud repeat. Once we were ushered back to the exam room to wait for the doctor, she was delighted to have an exam table to walk back and forth under and a little bench to get on and off. Then the vet came in and started discussing my poor dog's torn ACL. Miss Priss realized very quickly that there were two adults in a small room with her and for some strange reason she was not the center of attention. The more we ignored, the louder she got, giving the vet the eye the entire time. You see, my child thinks all adults are here to enjoy her entertainment. Finally, when she reached a decibel level that had to be causing every canine in the building to howl, I apologized and scooped her up. Apparently this was unacceptable and quickly led to flailing and screeching. The vet just laughed saying she understood, she had three kids herself. That helped to alleviate my embarrassment a little. When we were done receiving the costly bad news, back out we went to the waiting room to pay and wait for Ripley to hobble out. The child resumed the lumbering and loud squawking and decided to ratchet it up a notch for the benefit of the poor woman waiting for her dog Tootsie to be groomed. If her ability to completely ignore my child had not been the real tip off that she didn't have kids, her incredibly toned body would have answered that question. Much to her dismay, Alice was unable to lure Tootsie's owner  into a chat, so instead she decided to take a lap behind the checkout desk. I grabbed her and dragged her out screaming and she threw herself down licked the floor. Yes, that is correct, she licked the floor. This is not the first time it has happened. During one of her first displays of personality, she realized banging your head on the floor hurts. Also, she knows when she licks things (which she does more often than I am comfortable with) it enrages me. The evil genius combined the two to create the ultimate insult to me, the one who gave her life. So there I stood, watching my precious flower licking the floor that I have seen numerous dogs whiz on. The young girl working behind the counter tried to make me feel better by telling me they mop twice a day. However, this means their floor is approximately 1000 times cleaner than mine. So now, not only am I horrified that my child is licking the floors in public places, but my house is not even as clean as a vet's office. Double fail. Finally, we were able to leave after two more public displays of personality involving floor licking and screaming and general ridiculous behavior. Even poor Ripley looked embarrassed when we left. I can only imagine that Tootise's mom was elated to have made the wise decision to have a yorkie instead of a baby.

If I look at the tantrums objectively, they are pretty impressive. Her highness is able to choose the physical feat that will prove the most frustrating to me at that moment, along with the perfect guttural scream to convey her utter distaste of me and my ridiculous rules. Sometimes she convulses her entire body, especially now that she wants to be down exploring. Her other method of release is to straighten both her arms and legs against whoever is imprisoning her, so holding her is next to impossible. Other times it is the plank position, or dead weight, especially if she doesn't want to be moved from whatever dangerous thing she is messing with. The floor slap usually happens if I am ignoring her and she wants attention. If she is mad but not enraged enough for a floor lick, she will lean over and gently press her forehead on the floor while screaming. The floor lick is the ultimate weapon in her arsenal, because she knows it drives me crazy. That is the one I am really hoping she grows out of quickly. I won't hold my breath.

I have heard from lots of moms that the terrible twos start at 18 months. I can only guess that in an effort to be ahead of the curve, Alice wants to beat the clock and go ahead and jump in. Such the overachiever. If this is as bad as it is going to get, I can handle it. If it is going to get worse, which I fear is highly likely, I may lose my mind in the next several months. If my blog entries become mindless words strung together and you hear through the grapevine that I can be seen wandering the neighborhood in a bathing suit and rain boots, you will know why. It is because Alice has taken her shenanigans to the next level (though I can't imagine how she can top licking the floor of a vet's office). Wish me luck and stay tuned.

The upside to having a child who has this much passion is that she loves as hard as she fights. Many times a day she wraps those little arms around my neck and squeezes as hard as she can. She pets the cat with such vigor that its a wonder she isn't bald. A's excitement for life is hard to match and she is a happy, happy girl. Until she is mad, and then she is very, very mad. Fortunatley at this point it is a 90/10 split. I just have to remember how sweet she is and how hard she loves when I am experiencing that 10%. I can't have one with out the other, so I will grin and bear my child's tantrums and just remind myself that her great passion will serve her well in the years to come. And if anyone hears of a brain epidural that can get you through the terrible twos feeling comfortably numb, please email me straight away.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Cheerleader, take 2

Every little achievement is celebrated. The first smile, the first time sleeping through the night, the first time sitting up alone, the first word. On and on it goes. Every triumph is met with ecstatic cheers from adoring fans, aka parents. Parents wear many hats while raising a child and one of the most common is cheerleader. We are the encouragers, the ones who sit on the sidelines of our child's life and clap and hoot and holler. They are the players in the game of life and we can't do it for them, so we root them on no matter what happens.

As I watched my child Frankenstein-walk across the den yesterday, I wondered at the real need for all the cheerleading. Am I creating a monster (pun intended)? Her highness refuses to walk on her own accord. The only time she even attempts it is when we ask her to stand up. If she feels like it (50/50 chance she doesn't) then she will do the downward dog, shakily straighten up and walk a few steps. All the while we are "yeah yeah yeahing" like maniacs. In fact, last night she waved her fist and said "yeah yeah yeah" in self adulation while stumbling to her daddy. When she inevitable falls there is rarely any desire on her part to try again. I know she is thinking, "show's over people, move along." Then away she scoots on all fours. I know she is proud of herself in those few seconds, I can see it all over her funny baby face. Mouth open, eyes wide, squeals in abundance. But I wonder, is it the walking that is getting her excited, or our cheering? She does not seem to be particularly interested in walking as a way to get from one place to another. What she does love is an audience and it is a bonus when said audience is applauding her every move. This leads me to my next question--should we stop cheering and just let her figure it out for herself with no encouragement? At some point she is going to have to realize that eventually no one will cheer when she walks. It will become mundane and not a major accomplishment. If she goes ahead and figures that out now, maybe she will quit waiting for prompts to "entertain" us and start walking because, well, that is just what you do. You walk instead of crawl. You don't see mommy and daddy waiting for you to clap when we walk across the den, do you little missy?

Her obvious desire for a cheerleader makes me wonder if we are setting her up for a lifetime of disappointment. There are not always going to be people cheering. Sometimes you have to be great for yourself. I have heard experts say that my generation was ruined by feel-good parenting. We were told, "just try your best, good job, all that matters is that you tried." However, once we entered the workforce, we all realized that just trying is not actually enough. You have to actually be good at your job in order to get a paycheck. While I do think my parents expected a lot of us growing up, there was a "just do your best" feeling that lingered in the air. To this day I respond best to positive reinforcement and praise. I wonder if that is my personality or if I am a product of that style of parenting. I suspect that it is more about me and less about my childhood. Mostly because my brother does not have the same need to please and is more prone to hard work (rare and brutal honesty here folks).

Who am I kidding? I will cheer and cheer and cheer until she looks at me and says, "enough mom." The problem is, I don't really know any other way to parent than to dance around like a Spartan Cheerleader, clapping and smiling and nodding profusely. I suppose that could probably be toned down slightly. Also, my adulation for simple everyday things could be cutback a little. I do say "good job" approximately 1,023 times a day about everything from using her fork correctly to laying still while I change her diaper. Maybe that should be reserved for things that really are a good job, like trigonometry and marathons. Yeah right. Have you seen her? Pure perfection in all that she does, big or small. Except walking. No more cheering for that. (Wonder how long that will last???)

originally posted 5/12/11

Monday, May 9, 2011


The Lint Trap is Officially on Twitter. I have no idea what I am doing but my PR manager Jennifer Wagner Griggs is my Twitter Coach, and she seems to think I will love it. Only time will tell, but I can say I enjoy reading what all the celebrities are thinking every minute of the day. I suppose it is possible to tweet so often when you have assistants, housekeepers, cooks, etc.  Gives me something to shoot for in life....

Happy Mother's Day, Snot and All

This year for mother's day I got a sick baby. In retrospect, it was all my fault. I have been sick and put off going to the doctor to get an antibiotic, and then her highness came down with the exact same thing. The ironic thing is I didn't go to the doctor because I didn't want to drag her with me and expose her to all those germs, duh. Mommy fail #321.

Mother's Day arrived with little fanfare, following a stretch of 3 sleepless nights. As I got up to go get the screaming baby, Anthony rolled over and said "Happy Mother's Day." I kind of rolled my eyes and went to tend to my wailing child. Later, when it was time for us to go to brunch, Alice fell asleep while we were waiting on Daddy to finish up getting ready. Instead, I got take out Panera. Not the french toast I was hoping for, but that's okay. We spent the day alternating between cleaning the house and entertaining an extremely cranky toddler. Late in the day we went to a friend's house to celebrate their engagement. The babysitter came to take over the snot wiping and we left saying, "call us if she is upset, we will come right home, blah blah blah." We get home to find out she took another hour and a half nap, ate all her dinner, and had been generally in a good mood despite a few rough patches. Thanks for the break, Alice. She obviously did not get the Mother's Day memo that Mother's Day is generally about the, ahem, Mother.

But hey, this is what being a mommy is. It is not all breakfast in bed, flowers and sweet little cards with hand print flowers (which I did get, thank you preschool teachers). It is about holding your child in the middle of the night when she can't sleep. It is wiping her tears when she cries because she doesn't feel good but doesn't have the words to tell you where it hurts. It is watching endless hours of Yo Gabba Gabba and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse because that is only thing that quiets the crying and keeps her entertained at 3am while also allowing you to doze. When you are a mom you have a person depending on you for everything.  Eeks, that is a lot of pressure. Especially when you are sleep deprived and surviving on coffee and little else. Fortunately, while my husband knows that being a mother is the most rewarding thing of my life, gifts are always welcome and appreciated. What softens the blow of several days of snot patrol and saline nose spray wrestling matches? An awesome new Cuisinart Toaster Oven. That is how Alice's dad shows his appreciation of me as the mother of his child and all future children.

Mother's Day is the day that we remember our mom's for how wonderful they are to us. We call them and tell them we love them, send them flowers, take them to brunch. We give them cards that have flowers and glitter and declarations of our love and appreciation. This year, beside her pudgy hand print, A's card should have said "Dear Mom, today I want to thank you for everything you do for me. No matter how much food I throw, you still feed me. No matter how many times I loose my mind in Target, you still buy me things. No matter how many times I flail and scream like a wild cougar on the changing table, you still give me fresh diapers. And that time I threw up in your face and you didn't cry, that really showed me how much you care. You are awesome mom, today, tomorrow and always."


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