Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Free Birth Control

When we are in public we like to provide free birth control. We went out to lunch on friday to our hangout (yes, the same on where this little gem of an incident happened). Lady Baby decided that it was a perfect afternoon to remind everyone of why they should practice safe woopie. Otherwise they may end up with a two year old. Who acts a fool in public on the regs. Like her.

My friend and I sat down on the patio so Her Highness could flit around and not be forced to spend more than 5 minutes sitting in a chair like a normal person. Off she went to explore every square inch, while we enjoyed the sunshine and caught up. I made sure the child was in my field of vision and I watched as she crawled all over the picnic tables and rooted around in the mulch looking for old french fries. When she tired of that she tried to make a run for it out of the enclosed patio and I had to wrestle her literally kicking and screaming back to our table. That got me a few sympathetic half smiles and a few stink eyes. I am not sure if the latter happened because I was threatening to give her a reason to scream or because she was ruining their liquid lunch. Not my problem. I obviously have enough of my my own.

No one wants to stare a honey badger in the eye.
Then our food came out and the magic really started to happen. As my delicate flower was slurping the ketchup off her third french fry, she was ogling the people behind us, trying to make eye contact. Many people believe that like pit bulls and brown bears, you should never look a toddler in the eye. She considers that a direct challenge. She leaned more and more forward to try to make sure they could see her amazing cuteness and of course, you know what happened. She freaking fell over. In a metal chair. On a patio. With food in her mouth. Landing a mere quarter inch away from the other metal chair that was directly behind her. You could hear the collective gasp of all the people sitting around us. You are gasping too, I am sure. No worries, she was fine. Absolutely unscathed.  She only cried long enough for 20 people to judge my inability to get my child to sit in her chair and eat her grilled cheese and then tell their companions that if they ever have children, which they are now reconsidering, they will not act like that

Lady Baby ate 1/10th of her grilled cheese, all her fries including  the ones she dropped on the ground, and was down and running around again within 7 minutes of the chair incident (that is what I am calling it now.) She went straight over to the pots waiting for their vegetables to be planted and started digging around in the very black dirt. When she turned around she had smeared it all over her pretty little face, her clothes, and it was caked under her tiny fingernails. That got boring and she moved into phase two of free birth control for all. All of the sudden my friend said, "Oh no. Um, Thea. Gross." I turned around to see my beautiful little girl laying on her stomach on the ground drinking out of a puddle of stagnant rain water ringed in dirt and leaves. Because that is normal and something she has seen other people do. Because she didn't have a cup of clean fresh water on the table. I squealed and jumped up and snatched up a very unhappy little girl who was just trying to quench her thirst Survivor style. I was hoping no one noticed because it happened really fast, but one glance around and I knew for a fact at 
It was like this, but with my first born.
 Not a dog.
least half of them witnessed it. They had that look, the kind you get when you cannot believe that you just saw what you just saw. Like the time I saw a girl pooping behind a port-a-pottie at St Patties in Savannah. Disbelief, amazement, and wonder why no one taught her better. In this scenario I am the someone who should have taught her better. Sorry. I have been pretty busy just trying to keep her alive. 

The nice thing about this particular dining spot is Lady Baby can be out of her chair and free without bothering other people eating. Except for when she is bothering people on purpose. Which is what happened next to a very nice lady who was enjoying her salmon salad. Which my child wanted to help her enjoy. She toodled right up to her table and reached her little black cow covered hand right up into the lady's salad. The kicker is my child won't touch salad with a ten foot pole. Unless a stranger is eating it. Not only did she do it once, she continually did it even after I threatened her and moved her away from the innocent salad eater. Then, for her grand finale, she stuck her grimy finger in the lady's dressing. Props to the granny for not slapping my child's hand. She just kept laughing nervously and saying "no, no honey." In all fairness, this lady was way past her child bearing years. However, the people sitting at the table staring at this debacle were most definitely making a pact with their eyes that they would wait a minimum of 10 years before they think about adopting a 15 year old. At that moment I was totally with them on that. 

As I have said before, I was the judgiest non-parent. Hubs and I would sit in restaurants and watch crazy toddlers disapprovingly. We would smugly talk about how our perfect children would be in public. The wee DeLoretos would never scream or throw food. They would sit quietly and enjoy their meals, with smiles and shiny halos. Fools. FOOLS. Instead, I have a cuckoo-bird child who doesn't care if we are in public or at home. She is going to do her thang and act a fool when she feels like it. Which is most of the time. I just smile at the strangers who are unlucky enough to sit around us and tell them they are welcome for the birth control. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Epic Battle: Mommy vs. Toddler

Every parent in the world has to choose their battles. I am no different. Life with a toddler can be war. Everyday Lady Baby and I argue over who is in charge, who gets to make the rules, and who is the parent. Nine times out of ten we disagree. What I am interested in is how parents choose what their fights are going to be. Everyone chooses to let some things go when dealing with a two year old. If they didn't then parents would be filling every room in every psychiatric hospital and there would be no room for any one else. Ever. 

I choose to not get upset over Her Highness's eating. Have you ever tried to force food into a person's mouth? It is basically impossible. Especially once they are set on not opening it. Sort of like trying to open a bear trap and shove a piece of broccoli in. Even if you can pry it open, it will snap shut with your finger in there. So I let it go. I choose to not worry about what she is, or is not, eating. Right now she refuses every vegetable and most fruits. She won't touch a piece of meat unless it is a turkeydog (stop judging me). What she does enjoy is a good carb load. She can eat as much pasta as I can. For reals. A whole plate. So I know she does have the ability to eat as much as she wants. Key word here is wants. This is just an example of a pre-meal convo.
Me: Are you hungry?
Her Highness: I fine.
Me: Would you like a cereal bar?
Her Highness: I fine.
Me: Would you like a smoothie?
Her Highness: Ummmmm. No.
Me: Would you like some grapes?
Her Highness: Hmmmmm. How 'bout cookies?
Me: Ummmmm. No. How about a yogurt.
Her Highness: I fine. How bout a smoothie?
Me: I asked you that about 74 choices ago (this type of conversation makes me exaggerate). OK. Smoothie.
Then I unscrew the cap, hand her the smoothie and the cap (because for some reason one must hold the cap at all times while consuming smoothie) and one of two things happens. She either sucks the whole thing down in approximately 7 seconds or she takes one sip, and says "NO" and hands it back to me. Then my head explodes.

I find it very difficult when I am pushed to the edge of sanity and all things reasonable to not get mad at EVERYTHING. When I am to that point, I have go to the zen-mommy spot in my brain. It is very small to be used so often. I take a few hundred deep breathes and remind myself that she is only two. Too small for a straight jacket and too big for a dog kennel. I remind myself that this time is fleeting and soon she will want to argue about the strength of the euro vs the dollar and which is Shakespeare's best sonnet (she is going to very well rounded, obvs).

In the interest of sanity, I focus my efforts on trying to get Lady Baby to act like a decent human being. The way I see it, I can attempt to force feed her all the vegetables in the world, but that is not going to make her a good person. I can let her cry in her crib in the middle of the night, but that is not going to teach her how to listen. I can make her wear the jeans that she hates, but that is not going to help her appreciate others. Instead of worrying over that stuff, I am trying to teach her how to be a good person. My instincts tell me that if I continue to offer her things that are new and different to eat, she will eventually try something. My gut says that when she wakes up in the middle of the night, it is for a reason. Maybe she is constipated, maybe she needs a little extra love. As much as I don't want to be awake in the wee hours, I know it is not forever and I can tough out a few nights here and there. (I may have a different story if you catch me on a day that I have been up since 3am.) I was so worried as brand new mother that I would create bad habits. These days, I am more worried about creating a person that is good, and fair, and smart. I will give her choices for dinner, but I will not tolerate bad manners. I will let her wear what she wants, as long as it fits and is weather appropriate. She can either ride in the cart or walk, but she cannot run through the store screaming. Life is full of choices and I want to start teaching her now that if you can act like you are somebody, then you are allowed to make some choices for yourself. If you act like a cougar who was raised by a Tasmanian devil, then you will sit in time out. A lot. 

I know this is not everyone's parenting style, but it works for us. Lady Baby is so strong willed that giving her some control seems to be a good thing. I am still the parent, I still get veto power and final say. What I say goes and I am not afraid to bring the proverbial pain, if necessary. But I do like to give her choices and allow her some freedom. Because we have so very many battles, I am choosing to fight what I feel are the big ones. Otherwise, I would spend every minute of every day telling my child to sit down and be quiet in time out. Trust me, we already spend enough quality time playing out that scenario as it is. Any more and we would never leave the house.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eight Years of All This

Hubs and I have been married for eight, count 'em, eight years. There have been ups. There have been downs. Through it all I have many things to thanks my husband for. Here are just a few that I felt were okay to throw out there on the interwebs...

1. First and foremost, the obvs, Lady Baby. Though she is at times most trying on our sanity, she is a little bundle of amazingness. Without you, there would be no us. And without us, there would be no Alice. 

2. You make me laugh every day. I know we can't agree on who is the funny one (me), but you aren't too shabby in the giggles department. Yes, sometimes you try to use your unique brand of humor to deflect Angry T. And that sometimes backfires, making her even more angry and scary. But most of the time I truly appreciate your ability to bring on the funny. Only you could make me laugh as I wait to go into emergency surgery or while we are on the way to my grandfather's funeral. Only you can keep me from taking myself too seriously. Only you can make me laugh with my heart. 

3. Thank you for keeping me from becoming a hoarder. If it wasn't for you, I would be buried alive in sturf. I would have stacks of books. Instead I have taken 98% to the used book store. Then you bought me a Kindle so that I am not bringing new ones into the house. Well played. I would have shelves of glass jars (they are so freaking awesome for some many things), but you strong arm gently convince me to recycle them. I would have drawers of bread ties, plastic forks and spoon packs, and restaurant napkins. Instead, you secretly dispose of all of these things so they cannot accumulate. You don't tell me you are throwing them away because I would panic that we won't have cutlery in case of an emergency weather situation or the apocalypse. I thank you for your need to purge, as does the person who I would be renting from if you were not around.

4. You are patient with my quirks. Like leaving my keys in the door.  My need to recycle toilet paper rolls. How my car looks like I have been carting around a pack of farm animals who love spilling drinks and eating fast food. Sometimes I have terrible migraines and have to go to bed at 7:30pm. I never remember to turn out the bathroom light or close my closet door. I occasionally leave my drawers wide open (though I really think someone comes behind me and opens them). And that is only the tip of the Thea iceberg. I have a plethora of idiosyncrasies, and you handle them all with grace and the ability to not make terribly much fun of me. (BTW, I promise I am trying to stop saying FYI and JIC cause I know you hate them.)

5. You love me for who I am. Yes, you occasionally offer ideas that may or may not be valid to help me to improve some part of my life. Like just the other day, when you suggested that I do Yoga at 6:00am to energize myself. Not appreciated, but duly noted. But on the whole you take me for who I am. A person who is a little crazy and emotionally sensitive. A person who doesn't do things the way you would like them done 99% of the time. A person who asks a lot of questions 100% the time. You love that part the most.

For those of you who know us, you know that we are The Bickersons. Some of you probably think that we must be mad at each other all the time. But that is just us. It's what we do. It doesn't mean we love each other any less. I see it as healthy because we call each other out and are not afraid to share our opinions with each other. We don't walk on eggshells and we don't pretend. What you see is what you get and that is one of the reasons our marriage works for us. We do everything at 100%. Laugh, fight, and love. T-Nice, I thanks you for eight wonderful years. I can only imagine what the next eight will bring. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Clean Valentine

Flowers are very nice. Chocolates always make me happy. A piece of jewelry is always appreciated. But, if you really want to show me you love me, clean my house. Fold my laundry. Empty my dishwasher. Now that is romantic.

Hubs and I have been together for 13 years, and eight of those we have been married. That is a lot of Valentine's Days. I used to think that he didn't love me if he didn't bring me flowers and a card. Since having our world turned upside down and rearranged by Her Highness, there is a new language of love around here. Household labor. Want to show me you care? Wash those dishes. Sorry you made me mad? Change the sheets. Forgot to get me a card? Vacuum. We used to split all household duties down the middle, fifty/fifty. That was when we were both working full time. When it was voted on by the household (I got two votes since I was carrying the child) that I would work from home, it was discussed and agreed that I would do more of the around-the-house business. I was cool with that. I thought it would be easy. EASY. I would have many hours in the day to do my work, enrich my child with educational play, watch some Law and Order reruns, walk the dog, clean the house, do the laundry, and have a beautiful and interesting meal on the table. *Insert snort here* Fast forward a bit. It goes a little more like this. Entertain Lady Baby with Mickey, Gabba, Elmo or the Wiggles, dust half the den, work while child is napping, empty the dishwasher only to refill it to the brim with dishes that have been accumulating in the sink for the last two days, cook a Stouffers lasagna for dinner, wipe the sink in the bathroom, and put clothes in washer where they will then be forgotten about. A little different than I expected. That is because I was a fool. After a few months of being the maid, the butler, and the cook, I was close to a serious meltdown. Time for renegotiations. 

Now that's hot.
After several false starts in the division of labor talks, we finally reached a decision. I just had to say what I needed help with. Apparently my husband is not a mind reader, nor is he interested in guessing what I need for him to do. These days he almost always does the laundry. Nothing makes me happier than when the laundry fairy pays a visit. That means all laundry is done without me helping. It goes from dirty clothes basket to drawers without ever passing through these two hands. Just that alone is cause for rejoicing. It takes a big job off of my plate and leaves me time to do other things. Like my actual job I get paid for. And eat lunch at the table instead of hovering over the sink. Jackpot.

We still have the occasional argument about housework, but for the most part things are better. A lot of my friends say that their husband doesn't help out because he doesn't do it right. That means one of two things. He ether does not complete it the way she thinks it should be done, or it is not up to her standards. Fortunately I don't care how he gets the laundry done, as long as it is wearable. He can haul it down to the stream and beat it on a rock for all I care. Also, my standards for most everything are minimal, so that is not an issue either. If anything he has much higher standards than I do, so usually that is a reverse problem. And I tell him exactly what I would tell my friends. Don't complain unless you want to do it yourself. Nothing worse than a cleaning martyr. 

I have learned that I can't get mad about no help unless I have asked for help and am not receiving it. I have learned that I cannot expect things done my way unless I am the one doing them. I have learned to not question the help, to simply accept it gracefully. I have learned that nothing makes me realize how much I love my husband like seeing him trudging up the stairs with a stack of folded laundry. 

Men, if you love your wives and appreciate what they do for you, show them with a toilet brush. Or a broom. Or a magic eraser. That is the fastest way to your woman's heart. 

                               Becks just ironed this dress for her.
He scrubs the grout in Bey-bey's tub every
Saturday afternoon.

Don't believe the rumors. Demi was doing whippets
because he never cleaned the toilet.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baby Steps to Zen

I am a wee bit unorganized. JK. I am a way bit unorganized. Which is why.....drum roll....I have decided this is the year of organization. This is the year I get. it. together. I am tired of feeling like I am  barely surviving this tornado of an existence. I am here, I am there, I am under the table, I am on the roof. What I am not is calmly breathing and getting schmidt done. I have learned in my 32 years in this crazy life that part of my problem is that I am doing a little bit of everything, all at the same time. What I have decided I should be doing is more of less and actually finishing it. Confused yet? Dear lord, me too. No more of a little bit here, and a little bit there. I am going to start saying no to more and yes to what I really need to get do. I am donezo with wishing and talking about it. Instead I am taking steps to actually do it. I am officially getting organized about getting organized. 

However, if you can read Chinese and this
says something different blame Google.
Intrigued? Me too, my peeps. Me too. I have big ideas (per usual). I am hoping these ideas are going to make my life easier, instead of harder. I want to retrain my brain to focus on what is important and ignore what is not important. I am hoping if I can be more organized, I can be more zen. If I can be more zen, I can enjoy my life more. If I can enjoy my life more, I can be a better mom, wife and friend. See? Doesn't that make sense? Yes, I thought so to.

So, back to my goal (I am squeamish even saying the word. I hate it for reals. Instant pressure, thank you very much). I was venting to one of my friends about the stresses of motherhood and how it feels like I am constantly behind on all fronts. I went on and on about my need to get organized and all my big plans, and she made a good suggestion. Pace yourself. What? That is crazy talk. Why shouldn't I jump in with both feet? Then I can totally stress myself out about destressing and getting organized. Now you can see the problem. Okay, maybe she has a point there. New plan: I am going to take it slow. Then things seem more doable. If I say this month I am going to just organize my finances, that seems possible. If I say I am going to organize my money, my house, my work, my life and my yard, that seems a little more overwhelming. You dig? Therefore, I will listen to this wise friend of mine and take baby steps. It doesn't matter how fast I am getting it all together, it just matters that I am getting it all together. 

None of us are perfect. We are all works in progress. These days I feel more like a Picasso than a Monet. Instead of an ear here and a hand there with some crazy boxes in between that give the vague impression of a person, I want to be lots of colors and swirls that together make one big understandable picture. I will be a Monet if it kills me. Which it won't because I am pacing myself. Baby steps to zen. Baby steps to the new me. Baby stepping into making my life the way I want it to be. 

                                                     Less this                                   More this 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Help Me Help You

Below are a few things about me. I want to to know a few things about you. Most importantly what you want to hear from me. I don't get a lot of comments, so I would love to write about things people actual want to hear about. Give me some ideas about what you want to read about and it will help me help you. And by help you I mean impart my great life wisdom on you. Or maybe just give you a laugh. You dig? 
Help Me, Help You
Thanks for your help Tommy. Kiss kiss.

1. Sometimes I wish I could just snort a line of coffee grounds. At least a first cup's worth. Then I could just sit back and enjoy my second cup. Awake. With a nose bleed.
This is gonna hurt a little.
2. Why can I sleep through a hurricane, a fire, and shots fired like Rip Van Thea, but I hear my child cough and I am immediately awake and concerned she is aspirating. It makes no sense. Then I lay there and listen for further sounds of a death rattle. Hubs is always basically laying there awake and ready to talk about the meaning of life at any given moment, until child makes a noise. Then he slips into temporary coma. I should probably get him a sleep study. Cause I have already had one. Good news, I am not clinically dead while I sleep (as some people have diagnosed me, ahem, hubs). Bad news, I grind my teeth like a cow on coke. 

3. Deciding what to make for dinners is the hardest past of grocery shopping. Besides avoiding buying things that are not on my list. And surviving getting the child into the cart without me getting a black eye or a bruised chestie. (oy vey the kicking). And not getting into trouble for taking two free cookies when the sign clearly says one. If you had to push Her Highness around for an hour you may want to drag the entire display container just in case. Anyhoos... I wish I could go back in time and prevent that pesky smarty pants Dr. Atkins from publishing his book. Now eating pasta more than once a week makes me feel like I may as well just eat straight out of the sugar canister. Now I feel like I have to make vegetables. Annoying.
I lurve you speggy, with your easy, just-boil-water goodness.
And the jar opening...so durn easy. That's right DURN.

4. What happened to Movies of the Week? Remember how there used to be TV movies all the time based on actual events? Something like Lady Baby: 2 Going on 22 . A Cry in the Night: Mommy Wants to go Back to Sleep. Where did those go? They should bring them back now that all these soap stars are out of work. They could get some seasoned dramatic actors for just a few dolla's. You will laugh, you will cry, you will remember why you never trust a man who's pregnant wife disappears. It is always his fault, and he is always cheating on her. 
UPDATE: I realized these movies all go to Lifetime. Blerg. Me no likey. Chant with me...bring them back to the network TV...it would so much better. And I know what channels those are. Anything above 20 is like a TV scavenger hunt.

5. Why is everyone in the world all of the sudden wearing DJ Lance rock glasses? It is a quandary.
Not you Brad, you can do whatever you want. Cause your Hawt.

6. Things that are good for you should not suck. Like lettuce. Barf. And running. Double barf. Laying on the couch and eating ice cream should be good for you. I should make the rules. Not Travis Stork or Dr. Oz. Anyone can wear scrubs, people. That doesn't make you an expert. Or does it???? Hmmmm...
Side note: I should have my own show. Lets start a twitter campaign. Someone send me some scrubs. 

So there you go people...see how I have already helped you by giving you all these things to ponder all weekend? You are welcome. Now help me out. Because I am needy. And want more comments. Leave me one here, or on the Facebook, or send me a carrier pigeon. However, before you opt for number three, please know I am afraid of birds and will probably have a heart attack trying to get that little rolled up piece of paper off that scaly bird leg.

Friday, February 3, 2012


I have a two year old. A two year who thinks she is 12. or 22. or 52. I am not really sure. But she certainly has no idea she is only two. With the limitations that come along with being two. Like not being able to read. Or go up and down stairs with out holding on. Or articulating what you want without speaking in the third person or taking your finger out of your nose. 

Apparently being two is super hard. You have all this crazy emotion inside and not many good ways to express it. So instead of saying please and thank you, there is foot stomping and shrieking. Instead of saying that a meal was enjoyable and you have had a sufficiency, it is better to flip your place mat over and send everything on it flying. Instead of expressing that you are tired and ready for bed, it is more effective to lay on the floor on top of your bunched up blankie sobbing for more milk. It is a beee-otch to be a toddler. What I have discovered as a mother to one such piece of work, is that when a child hits two they become adept at everything and no longer need a parent's help to do anything. Or so they think. It is as if someone whispered in her ear on her birthday, "You are a big girl now. Make sure you remind your mommy everyday that you can do it yourself and her help is no longer needed. Make sure to say it in a loud and rather shrill voice. Now go enjoy that overpriced cupcake." 

"I do it" freestyling. It is like nursery parkour.
Where is the sweet child who thanked me for things? She used to have a big smile when her little head popped through the neck of her dress that she let me put on her. Now it is a full out wrestling match to get clothes on the child. The entire time I am putting the clothes on her, she is wriggling out of them, screaming "I DO IT." Round one involves squalling and flailing while I attempt to get her PJ's off. I respect that she loves a good pair of "pee-joms" as she lovingly refers to them. I too love my sleepwear, possibly to my detriment. But I understand that they must come off. They are not all-day wear unless you go to all women's college or you are roomies with Hugh Hefner. Lady Baby does not believe they should come off. Ever. Therefore the struggle to get them off is a bit like removing a pair of footy peejoms from an angry Tasmanian devil who knows how to zip them back up. After I finally get the jammies off, then begins the real struggle for world domination. Or maybe it is just the struggle of who is going to be in charge of the dressing of Her Highness. I think I should be, since I know how to work a shirt and a pair of leggings. She believes it should be her, even though she is a little fuzzy on exactly which leg goes where and which hole is for your arms and which is for your head. Details. Yesterday, I was done. I gave her the clothes and let her have at it. And have at it she did. At one point she had her leggings on her head (I am not exaggerating) and then later both legs were in one side of the pants. After twenty minutes she was practically sweating and she finally let me assist. But only a little. She deigned to let me hold open the waist of the pants while she figured out where her feet should go in. Then she allowed me to pull the shirt over her head and then took back over for the navigation of the arm holes. She did work it out, but it was not quick and it was not easy. It was painful for both of us, but for different reasons. Me, because my baby, my sweet love, my one and only, would not let me help her. Her, because it hurts when your shirt is stuck on your head a 'la Cornholio style. 
Like this but with less nostril and nicer brows.
I know she has to learn and that this is how it happens. I just wasn't ready. I wasn't ready for her to jerk away when I tried to hold her hand going down steps. Or to swat me when I brushed the hair out of face. In my eyes she is still a baby who needs me *sob*. In her eyes she is grown and independent. I didn't have a hard time with the first birthday. I was happy to get her off the bottle. I was not emotionally prepared to be told she didn't need me anymore. "I gave you life," I tell her. "You will always need me. Or else." 

It is hard to let go a little. It is hard to see the child we carried move toward a life that is her own. It is the natural progression. I get that. I love her fire and her spirit. I love that she is barreling headfirst into life. I just want to slow it down a little. I just want her to want to hold my hand for a little while longer. I want her to let me help her put her shoes on. I want her to stay my baby. Just for a minute longer. But we don't get a choice. Time marches on and those little babes grow into people who have their own ideas about how they want things done. I just didn't expect that to happen when she was two. I didn't expect her to want to change her own diaper for pete's sake. Everyday is a challenge of leaning to let her try things. I have to remind myself even the most mundane tasks are new and interesting to her. Slow down, mama, and let the kid learn. The alternative is a public display of personality every 3.2 minutes, which is way way worse for everyone. So you are welcome, Lady baby and World at Large. I will suffer for your pleasure.  


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