Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Stop this blog, I want to get off. Kinda.

There's so much I want to record about my life right now. For posterity. For D. I want him to know that the greatest mother's day present ever was not the orchid corsage, the fancy dinner or the fabulous cake, but hearing him say his second Real Word: On Saturday, I watched with tears in my eyes as he strode around the house shouting "DADA! DADA!" as he looked for Daddymatic.

I want him to know that even though the books I call "list books" (no real story, just pictures of animals/people/objects) drive me kind of crazy, I will continue to read him "Traffic Jamboree" five times a day every day until he decides narrative is no longer for wimps.

I want to tell him that his daddy and I laugh ourselves silly when he plays with his friend Jack's Winne-the-pooh car and it, like most toys, interrupts one sound with the new one whenever a new button is pushed, so when he pushes the Winne-the-pooh theme song button over and over and over and over, all we hear is "Winne the-Winne the-Winne the-Winne the-Winne the-". Also, when Pooh starts his phrase "You are the friendliest kind of friend" or "Oh, look, our band is moving to the music" but is interrupted by the horn, he becomes Road Rage Pooh, sounding something like " You are the HONK HONK HOOOONK" or "Oh, look! HONK HONK HOOOONK."

I want to tell him the awful, cold rainy weather we're having won't last forever, that mama and daddy will stop stressing about absolutely everything eventually, and that it is 85 degrees and sunny in Utah right now.

I want to tell him how Jack's mommy E and I laughed at Jack's daddy when he offered to take Jack to the store so that E could do some shopping, but then insisted E stay around because "I said I'd take him shopping, I didn't say I'd take care of him!" Wha-?

I want to tell him my last post got me thinking even more about Mommy Guilt, which has been a nearly omnipresent condition of my life for so long that I am now convinced each pregnancy test should print out a "free guilt for life" coupon with every positive result. Every decision is tinged with guilt: Should I let him keep his pacifier for now? Will it be bad for his self-esteem later? Bad for his teeth? Or will it shatter him if I take it away now? Should I, for instance, wash his hair even though he hates that or cut it so that it doesn't offend my vanity to see it constantly slicked with yogurt, peanut butter and cheese? Should I, I wonder, discontinue eating my adored junk foods all together and resent having to do so or just sneak them while he's sleeping and pretend to be a good example during his waking hours?

Should I--and now we come to the point of this post, finally--take a sabbatical from the blog world until I figure out better how to balance my time so that I'm not ignoring my child/husband/plethora of crap that comes with picking up one's life and moving it 2000 miles away, and until I uncover why, all of a sudden, blogging tends to make me feel worse rather than better most days? Because I'm discovering that no solution is guilt-free anymore.

I want to keep friends and family up to date on what D's doing and what a trip motherhood is turning out to be. I want to keep up with my new "friends in the computer" and celebrate their accomplishments, mourn their losses and raise my fist in concert with their righteous rage-fueled rants. But I suck at balancing things and figuring things out, and that's something I need to be doing right now. I hope I won't--as I fear--go on a junkie-esque blogging/commenting/picture-posting spree after two weeks off. But I also hope I'll be posting now and then, and I hope I'll be commenting. I just don't know. All I know is that I have a situation that needs a remedy, and I'm casting around for solutions.

In lieu of a real conclusion to this post, I leave you with this, these two most gorgeous reasons for my trying to figure out what's what:

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

There's no problem that can't be fixed with a helping of self-doubt

There have been some rough days around here in the last week. For the most part, my offspring is a delightful child: he has learned some (suprisingly noisy) signs for certain things in the last week: he sniffs loudly when he sees flowers (so much so that every time he sniffles, I look around for tulips, lilacs, daffodils or--the clear favorite, probably because they are the only ones he is allowed to pick--dandelions), he pants when he sees a dog (or, frankly, any animal he really likes. Horses, apparently, are very large, cool dogs), says "mmm" while sticking his tongue in an out when he sees a frog and muttering "oo oo, ah, ah" sotto voce when he sees a picture of a monkey (monkeys, it may surprise you, are kind of thin on the ground in Central PA).

So for the most part, he has busied himself making towers of blocks and knocking them down, making animal signs, playing with the hideously loud Winne-the-Pooh bus we borrowed from his friend Jack, and eating every bit of fruit that isn't nailed down (as an aside, I think grapes are like heroin for babies--I keep hearing him on the phone saying things like "We need another shipment of Chilean reds" or "We're paying extra green for the organic Californian stuff" and "That bunch last week was FULL of seeds, do I need to switch suppliers?").

But there are times when he's tired, hungry, or plain short on charm, and things get bad really fast. He is, for example, obsessed with climbing on chairs. He is allowed to SIT on chairs but not STAND, and usually, we just tell him "no standing" when he stands up, and if he ignores us, which is often the case, we haul him down. Most of the time, this is fine with him, but occasionally, he finds the standing embargo to be a total infringement of his Toddler Rights and has a screaming fit.

Also, apparently, there are visiting hours for the inside of the fridge that we weren't informed about, and sometimes (but only sometimes, which is even more crazy-making) when we shut the fridge without his express written permission, he has a screaming fit. Since screaming fits make me want to run in front of the first fast-moving SUV I see, we've been experimenting with brief (20 to 30-second) time-outs in his room, which make me feel like a jerk and like I shouldn't even be allowed to celebrate mother's day.

And it was even worse when my friend and I were having a perfectly nice chat about it and, because I was crabby and she was tired, when she said "yeah, I don't think that would work for me, because I wouldn't want my son to think that his behavior made me love him any less," I of course heard, "But you, on the other hand, clearly don't care if your son thinks you love him or not. For which they should, effective immediately, revoke your Mother of the Year nomination."

Which of course isn't what she meant at all. I mean, we've been friends forever, and she has left her child solely in my care before, which is saying something, since I think it's only been family members who have cared for him thus far. So I knew she was just talking through it, exploring this new method of discipline with her friendly neighborhood momfriend, and then I went and got all defensive and nervous. I had pretty much talked myself off the ledge about it when she called in the afternoon and confirmed that she of course didn't mean to hurt my feelings and thinks I'm a wonderful mother and blah, blah, blah, and then it struck me that maybe, just maybe, part ("part," I said--not "all") of the so-called Mommy Wars isn't about Other People Being Nasty and Judgemental but about some of us (i.e., yours truly) being the teensiest bit defensive/underconfident/totally neurotic (well, in my case, anyway--I am sure you are fine). I mean, if I'd had confidence or more experience with the method I was using, I'm sure I would have been able to engage in the conversation instead of rolling up into a ball and spitting through my fangs.

The catch-22, of course, is that this is precisely why we need other mothers--to help us feel better about ourselves, to reassure us that we probably aren't emotionally scarring our child for life, even when we *gasp* make a mistake. I guess I'm learning that I'm going to have to start doing some of that for myself, especially since I'm going to be moving 2000 miles away from the two best real-live momfriends a girl could ask for. Any advice?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

So somebody needs a haircut. I mean, this picture of our dear boy and his Sarge Daddymatic should demonstrate exactly how his male parent thinks a young man's hair should look. (It's not DM's fault--he had the 70s Dutch-boy hairdo as a kid and was referred to as "she" one time too many. )

Oh, the days my boys had the same hairdo.

But no more. No, these days, D's hair is a little bit more Mark Hamill.


And now, Mr. Hamill.

Am I kidding?

Winsome smile--check.

Long bangs--check.

Feathery sides--check.

I mean, can you even tell them apart?

You can? Seriously?

Well, what about *this* pic:

Yes, he's ducking out of the picture, but don't worry--those wings'll keep him aloft.
I know, I know--what is he, climbing in his landspeeder? Right?

So yeah, we're thinking about getting a little bit of snippage for the kid. My friend Beth offered to make him and her son Sam appointments at the kiddie's kut place in her town for the boys' spa day, but I'm not sure. I mean, how do you get these buggers to hold still? I recall that Foo was bewitched by a video or some such when she got her new 'do, and I'm sure Miles and Juniper are so deft at styling their dolls' hair that they can now do their own, but I'm kind of lost. I knew someone who was given a coconut and told it was a "pony egg" and that if he kept still, it might hatch, and if it hatched while he was holding it, he could keep the pony, and that sounds brill, but I'm not sure it works on the under 2 set.

Any ideas?