Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
First, you enter the bathroom. At this point in parenthood, you don't even bother to shut the door. Because you have a 3YO who prefers not to have a closed door interrupting her proximity to you and a husband who thinks it is hilarious to open it a crack to let in the kids anyway. Privacy is futile.
You sit down to do your business.
You hear the fateful stomp-stomp-stomp of your toddler's angled unsteady walk heading your way.
He is in the doorway and smiles and yells in glee. He's found you!
You are not so gleeful at the moment.
He enters the bathroom and promptly shuts the door. And locks it. He does like his privacy.
You pray your bodily functions speed up.
He spies the toilet paper and his eyes light up. He toddles over to it and whump-whump-whump -- down on the floor puddles a pile of toilet paper.
You gently admonish him and begin to roll it back up.
He tries to grab at the streaming paper. And manages to latch hold and begin to shred the toilet paper. What a fun new game he's discovered!
You shout for your husband to get the *#$#% in here and get the baby.
You forget your toddler has locked the door. You curse again. You lean carefully over to open it, trying to retain some contact with the seat as said toddler is as fascinated with playing in an open (and used) toilet as he is with the toilet paper roll. Enough destruction has occurred this time. Despite frequent sweater sleeve issues, you are grateful for long arms.
Your husband retrieves the errant toddler, who is shouting protests at his removal, and blessedly shuts the door.
You make a mental note to go to the bathroom upstairs next time.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I remember it being hard with the Peanut. I clearly remember being in bed with her and Mr. P and Mr. P looking at me and saying "now I understand why some people only have one child." And here's the thing -- she was an easy baby. A VERY easy baby. She was amazingly happy, even when sick, a good eater, not terribly gassy or fussy, great about putting herself to sleep from an early age. But like all babies, very labor intensive.
But time goes on and we knew that. Hence our wrestling with family planning. We initially blithely planned to have 3 children. Well, sort of -- I originally said 2 or 3, depending on how the first 2 went. But I was easily swept away by Mr.P's enthusiasm. And both of us being from families of 3, well, it seemed like a no-brainer.
Until we had 2.
The work of 2 is not just double -- it's oddly enough some exponential multiplier that varies according to the draw of the day. Like PowerPlay. To begin to imagine the work load of three had me in hives.
Plus, there were the results of our informal survey. We hungrily questioned every parent we found of 3 -- neighbors, coworkers, my hairdresser, a flight attendant on a flight to my grandfather's funeral, our doctor. Basically, if you remotely mentioned you had 3 children in either my or my husband's vicinity, you were fair game. I would ask with a panicked spark in my eyes whether they preferred 2 or 3 children.
All of these reasons echo our own thinking of the moment, which is why we are fairly certain -- I'd say 85% -- we are done with two, barring some huge lottery windfall that blesses us with a full-time live-in nanny.
But the family planning decision is never one made by logic (see e.g. the Duggars). It's an emotional, damn the torpedoes decision. Which is why we are leaving that 15% in there to discuss down the road...
Why so delirious with desire to remember a simple rocking? Because of Peanut -- who I also rocked to sleep and instead of promptly putting her down drowsy but awake as experts dictated, held longer than I "should" knowing those moments would pass. As I look at her 2 year old ever-more-independent self, I cannot remember those times as clearly as I want to. As much as I would sit there and study her sleeping face, basking in its gloriously chubby babyhood, trying to memorize every detail so I could recall it with laser-like precision years later, my memories have become hazy. I rely more on photographs than my own memories. I merely remember sitting there, holding her, with a burning desire to remember that moment forever.
And there are many other moments like that also blurred by time. New things happen each day that I fervently wish to lock away and keep fresh for future recollection: Peanut's face of glee upon seeing a chocolate mini cupcake, Sock's attempts to delay bedtime with his conversing, Peanut's trepid look of awe as the sleeping beauty crown was placed on her head, Sock's display of ab strength that could shock the infomercial world based on sheer determination to sit, not lay back, thank you very much. All of these small but so precious moments will one day be hazy recollections too, as I hungrily try to drink in and memorize new moments of the day. I know that will happen. And I feel an incredible sadness for the imperfectness of my memories, almost like the death of a family member, both those having passed away and those memories that are to fade. But I know there is nothing to be done but further memorization work and study. And perhaps a blog entry to help jog my failing memory...
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I have 2 kids. I battle daily with laundry, dishes and bodily fluids not my own. I am clearly a mom.
But not so clearly. I remember when I first became pregnant with the Peanut. My assistant was very surprised. Shocked, more like it. Why? Because I didn't seem very "maternal." Over and over people are surprised to hear that I am a mom. Even more surprised if those people, usually people from work, hear or witness any exchange with my children. One coworker even exclaimed to me upon hearing me talk to the Peanut, "My lord, you sound so sweet and nice!"
Well that should be somewhat telling as to how I am the rest of the time. All business, matter of fact, sarcastic (can you tell?) and yes, downright bitchy at times. Hey, I'm not mothering my clients. I'm not raising my coworkers. They don't need the cuddles and kisses and cajoling. I'm nice enough (actually downright kind on rare occasions) but hey, let's be very clear on the fact that I'm not wiping their snotty noses for them.
I am clearly missing some mom pheromone. The one that says automatically to anyone in the vicinity of my Carol Brady aura that I am a perfect motherly type. That I have good maternal instincts and can keep living things alive and thriving. That I can nurture and care for a little being, while making amazing works of art using just pasta, glitter and homemade glue. I don't know where I was when they were passing the mom pheromone out. Maybe getting coffee at the career day festival.
But that leads me to another point -- I am eternally both bemused and baffled as to why people think my work personality and home personality must be one and the same. That if I am demanding and unyielding at work, that I must be the same way with those poor little tykes at home. That because I do not mother the people I work with or gush puppies and rainbows on the phone instead of getting straight to business or chatting with my usual sarcastic sense of humor in full bloom that I am not a motherly person. But I am -- to my own children. I fully admit that I am not necessarily a great person with other people's children. I'm hit or miss truthfully. I have cuddled my next door neighbor's daughter who is about my daughter's age but don't do so to her 6 year old son -- we tend to banter and tease more. But yet another neighbor's children I generally stay far away from. And I find the older the kids are, the farther away from my direct experience as a mom, the less sure I am of how to act, of what is expected, wanted or is "proper". I just wing it and hope I don't end up being hated or causing endless therapy sessions later on. Because that sure would put a damper on neighborhood BBQs.
But here's the thing people fail to realize: I have multiple facets to my personality. And I recognize my audience. I expect a 52 year old manager to understand the ramifications of his actions and do not think I am wrong to do so. I also expect that my 2 year old daughter may NOT understand the ramifications of her actions and that she must be taught some causes and effects and lead gently into this big world, careful not to let the experiences hit her full in the face.
End result? My kids are happy. I'm happy. Any one else will have to learn to get over it because I'm not potty-training them any time soon...