Friday, June 22, 2012

You are Not That Amazing

I have learned through careful study (an hour yesterday at Target) that there are two kinds of parents in this world. The first kind are parents of normal, wild kids. Therefore they understand about normal, wild kids. They understand that screaming "Row Row Row Your Boat" as loud as possible in the shampoo aisle is better than crying and therefore acceptable. They smile when they see your child getting a timeout by the Starbucks Kiosk (I need caffeine. Why should we both be punished?) They GET it. They know and remember. Then there are those other moms. The ones with the perfect kids who never raise their voice above a conversational level and never need a public shaming. You know who you are, with the well behaved toddlers who do not act a fool at every turn. You stroll by my kid, flailing in the cart, shoes and goldfish flying hither and yon. And you Shake your head. You look away, horrified. Or you stare. What you are thinking is all over your face. You would never allow your child to act like that. You would not permit such tomfoolery. Well, newsflash. More than likely, your child's ability to sit still, daintily eating a snack while keeping hands inside the cart at all times, probably has nothing to do with your parenting and everything to do with the kid's personality. That's right, I said it. You are not that amazing. You are lucky.
Friend's little dude in timeout in the frozen foods.
I am not alone in this epic struggle

What's that? Your kid straightens up as soon as you speak in a stern voice? You can cut your eyes and the child just knows that it is about to get in trouble? Hmmm. You think the rest of us moms, the ones with the kids that act like Tasmanian devils on meth don't try that? You think we don't spend hours trying to perfect the evil eyes and the perfect threatening grimace? It is not you. It's them. They who came out the womb with the ability to control themselves in public, go to bed without a fuss, and eat everything on their plate. They who play quietly and clean up after themselves, sit on the potty when asked, and never once color their legs or your chair with a marker. They are like that because they were born that way. Stop staring at the rest of us that have the normal kids that pee on the floor at Panera and trash the den in the 60 seconds it takes you to empty the dryer. They are not the way they are because we are bad parents. They too were born that way. It works both ways, see? 

You don't understand us and we don't understand you. What you do need to understand is that we are trying to teach our children how to act like decent folk. We are giving time outs and whispering threats into tiny ears. Our kids just don't care. Because they are not like your kids. They don't start crying when we raise our voice and they don't cower at the very mention of time out. I did not make my girl into a child who pushes back, testing me and questioning me at every turn. That is who she is. So please understand this, parents of agreeable and calm children. You can take credit for the genes, but not the fact that they never pushed another kid down on the playground. So back off those of us who are parenting passionate children. Cut out the judgy looks and the disbelieving head shakes. It is annoying and does not help. Just keep in mind that with a roll of the DNA dice, things could have been very different. I could be the one pushing a smiling toddler looking at a picture book through Target, and you could be pushing the one who just pulled every shirt within reach off its hanger in 12 seconds while screeching "Jingle Bells." That's right. Think about that for a minute. 

Running away from me.
This is how we spend 75% of our time together

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Table Manners are Nonexistent

I like to think that we have done a good job teaching Lady Baby her manners. She is pretty good about the basics, like 'Please' and 'Thank You' (good=70%). She is not bad with the using of 'yes mam' and 'no mam'. The whole pronoun thing still pretty much eludes her, so most everyone is a 'mam' right now. At least she tries. The real troubles lie in her table manners. Or, should I say lack of table manners.

Here are the things I say on such a regular basis I want to jab my fork in my own ears:
Please sit down. 
Everyone else is sitting down. You need to SIT DOWN.
We don't stand in our seats. SIT DOWN.
When you are finished, just say so. Please don't shove your plate as far from you as possible.
Leave your placemat on the table.
No throwing food.
No banging your spoon.
No banging your fork.
No scraping your spoon on the table.
No scraping your fork on the table.
If you don't like it, just say so. Please don't spit it out and/or throw it.
No feet on the table.
You have to sit in your chair to eat.
No feeding Ripley. 
No feeding Ripley from your fork.

I have completely given up on things like eating hummus or yogurt with fingers. At this point I am just happy she is eating.

When we are out to eat, I get to add these gems to the list:
No crawling under the table.
No crawling on the table.
No screaming.
No squealing.
No feeding me.
No feeding Daddy.
No feeding anyone anywhere but yourself.
No singing at the top of your lungs.
No eating the crayons. (crayons and a color on place mat are all the rage. As if that would ever keep my child from running amok.)
No running around the restaurant like a wild animal on crack.
No crawling all over me.
No crawling up my back and hanging from my neck.
Please leave your shoes on.

You know the people who insist upon taking their child out to eat even though said child is unwilling to sit quietly and eat? Instead there is shrieking, crying, running, failing and a complete mess? We are those people. And we used to hate those people as much as everyone else. However, I no longer care if strangers stare and waiters have to serve us only if they loose a bet. Sometimes I want to eat out and I am going to eat out, even if the rest of the world hates me for it. Why should hubs and I be the only ones who have to suffer through meals with this crazy child?

Related news: I would like to apologize to the people who could not get in the door last night at Mellow Mushroom because I was busy putting the fear of God into my child in the entry way. I realize it was raining and I am sorry you had to stand out there. 

I have faith at some point she will realize she is the only who is laying on the table and opening all the Splenda packets. I am just not sure at what age she will start to care. Or if she ever will.

Friday, June 8, 2012

My Worst Fears Confirmed

Yesterday it finally happened. My worst fears confirmed. The moment I have been waiting for since I found out that Lady Baby was of the female variety. My child uttered the following phrase, casually yet matter-of-fact, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Dada is my best friend." I inquired further, thinking I must have heard wrong. Foolishly I asked, "And me too?" She stared my straight in the eye, right there in the frozen food section of the Teeter and said, "No. DADA. Not you." And a little piece of my soul withered and blew away. I watched it float like a tumble weed down the aisle. Between the end caps of cashews and coffee, past the magazine rack and Red Box. Over the heads of the old couple checking out with a handful of coupons, and out the door into the balmy evening. Ouch. That is going to leave a mark. Never getting that sliver of my heart back. 

Ever since I found out I was pregnant I worried about two things. One, probably the most obvious and what all new moms worry about, "Will my child be a serial killer?" Those fears were kind of/ sort of put to rest by a friend who is a psychologist. He assured me that normal people do not raise serial killers. Though not 100% convinced, especially now that I have seen Her Highness arrange her play dough cups into perfect arcs, I don't worry about that one quite so much. The other fear, one that haunts me on a daily basis, is that my daughter will at some point in her life hate me. I think about how it will feel to see the light of my life look at me like a vile thing stuck to the bottom of her trendy overpriced teenage shoe. I worry over the screaming that will no doubt issue out from behind a slammed bedroom door. I wring my hands over the fact that at some point she may very well tell me that I have ruined her life. I was never the young woman who fought constantly with my own mother. We had our share of squabbles, but they came and went and were over things like making a bad grade or not cleaning like I was supposed to. Nothing serious. However, I had friends whose mother's were the very bane of their existence. I heard stories about arguments that would make grown men breakdown and cry. And I cannot bear the thought of that happening. I cannot take it. I will looooose it. For reals. 

I don't play around. I am tough and I will put my child into a timeout anywhere that I deem necessary. Target? Sure. Put your nose right there on this display of inappropriately short gym shorts in a variety of bright colors. Grocery Store? Absolutely. Put your nose up against that extra large bag dog food. I don't care if it smells like old barf. A friend's house? Please. Direct me to your time out chair. I. am. not. skeered. I worry though that being the disciplinarian may be my undoing when it comes to the teen years. I worry that the day I tell her that she can't ride in her friend's car at night to a concert unchaperoned, with older boys with nose rings, that she will hate me. I am scared when I tell her that she may not wear a dress meant for a buxom playboy bunny to her first dance, she will wish me dead. I fear that the day I punish her for sneaking out with her BFF to have wine coolers a hobo bought them, she will blame me for not getting to have any fun. I know I will have to stay strong and be the parent, but I don't know that I can bear the possibility that she will hate me for it. 

I love that little face and the way it looks at me like I created the world and everything good in it. I love the little voice that begs me for "lots of kisses" and to dance in the kitchen. I relish the snuggles I get every night and morning. These things don't last forever. From the looks of her face yesterday in front of the popsicles and nutty buddies, the days of me being number one are quickly drawing to a close. I guess I will just steel myself for what is right around the corner. Eye rolls, slamming doors, and a lot of "my mom is so lame" looks. Bring it. *sob* I guess I can always hope that we have a boy at some point. Then he will love me forever. 

More this. (Don't look great for 87?)
Less this (group therapy anyone?)
If all else fails, this. (Isn't my son talented?)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Model? No. OCD? Yes.

So this one time, I thought it would be super awesome to have pictures made of my two year old. Who is two. In her terrible twos.  And thinks other people's suggestions are basically stupid and meant to be ignored. She is not what you would call super receptive to a photographer's direction. It was basically a two hour session of my trying not to bring the pain to my precious angel while there was a camera present. The only upside was that it was refreshing to hear her tell someone else "NO" for a change. The vehemence level was slightly under what she prefers to use on me. But it did not lack passion or purpose. But the lovely Kendall from Captured by Kendall donated the session to our neighborhood school's raffle and I, who wins nary a thing, won it. SO. We were having these pics taken, by god. Lady Baby did not get the memo to bring her A-game. Instead she brought her pain-in-the-ass-and-gonna-make-you-wish-you-picked-a-different-vocation game.
This is what she thinks of having her picture made
As some of y'all now, Lady Baby has a not-so-secret obsession with chapstick. Anytime it is in her possession, the following ritual takes place: hold chapstick in fist tightly, remove top, smear all over lip-ish area, put top back on, put hand in lap. Repeat at 5 second increments, all the while squinching the tube in a tiny fist so tightly it turns into generic-fruit-ass scented goo in approximately 8.2 minutes. At our shoot we had a bit of a "situation." The first catastrophe was that Her Highness's brand new tube of Daisy Duck Lip Smackers did not make the trek to the country. *Sweating, schreeching, crying, sob sob.* Mommy fail. Upon this revelation, the sweet and lovely photographer Kendall discovered she had some Bert's Bees in her car. In order to tame the wild beast, she handed it right over, thinking it would help to get Lady Baby smiling and relaxing in front of the camera. Backfire. What happened instead was we spent the entire shoot telling her to put it in her pocket, hide it in her lap, or give it to us. Or else

This was the script:
Adult: You may use it, then please put it in your pocket.
Child: I do it, just a minute. *frantic smearing*
Adult: Do it once, then we will take a picture, then you can do it again.
Child: No. Chapstick. *insert psychotic baby grin here and more frantic smearing*
Adult: Please put in in your pocket. We need to do a quick picture.
Child: I have chapstick. Chapstick. Chapstick. *apply in rapid circles with tube squenched every so tightly in tiny hot hand*
Adult: Put it down now.
Child: I do it. I do this chapstick. Chapstick. I do it. *almost screeching. more smearing*
Notice chapstick clutched in the death grip. Notice wrinkled sassy face.
It was like watching a tiny version of "True Life, I have OCD." Remember that guy who was obsessed with the perfect deodorant application? It's a bit like that. But replace the huge dude and a stick of speed stick with a wee little girl with a tube of organic lip balm. Commence the ritual.

I felt terrible. The photographer was killing herself to get just a smile and a decent pose out of my child. Instead she got a lot of wiggling, a lot of sass talk, and a lot of wrinkled forehead. And a lot of frantic lip moisturizing. I hope it is a very long while before I have another great idea like this.
No. NO. NONONONONONON. No Thank you.
PS...This is not a review, it is an actual true story that happened to me. For reals. This is not a sponsored post. I lived this fresh new hell with my child and you can too. Check out Kendall's page.


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