Monday, January 29, 2007

Ow! Stop that!

Today's theme: how to make a small child stop doing shit that hurts.

Don't get me wrong: my girl is a sweetheart, it's just that for as long as she's been with us, she's been prone to doing things, generally accidentally, that hurt mommy. And for reasons I don't entirely understand, it tends to upset me.

This sort of thing has always bothered me--I remember a friend telling me years ago about how her toddler accidentally scratched her (the mother's) cornea and I was utterly horrified. As in, wow, I'm never having children, kind of horrified.

Some of that is because I've always been squeamish about eyeball stuff, which is why I'll never get Lasik, but I think some of my horror is because I seem to have absorbed two rules: 1. You don't hurt family; family doesn't hurt you. Period. Yes, accidents happen, but you take care not to hurt people and extra special care not to hurt family members. Don't hurt family. What can I say? They're my people, and we're clannish. And 2. Don't yell at infants and tiny children.

So, it creates a dilemma, doesn't it? She transgresses one of the biggest rules I have but you can't do anything about it. And I'm still getting it through my head that she's not a tiny child anymore.

It's been coming up lately because Sweet Baby Girl has been very physical lately. Riding her bike, wanting to spin me around, that sort of thing. I think it's because the sun has come out a couple of times and we're giddy.

But she's also hurt me, too. I went to pick her up the other day and just as she was almost to my hip, wham! her knee came up and hit me in the ribs. Hurt so bad I was stunned, gasping, tears in my eyes. As I was struggling to get my eyes to focus, she said, pick me up mommy and I had to say, no, because you hurt me with your knee and I'm not going to hold you now. And I let her father deal with her for awhile.

God. I do not want to turn into one of those parents you see at the playground, murmuring softly to their hideously bratty offspring who's swinging wildly at them, oh dear, no, honey, you're hurting mommy, stop it, please [etc].

Don't get me wrong, I yell at my kid pretty regularly, but when her actions cause me physical pain I'm so upset, so emotionally wounded (even though I know intellectually that she doesn't understand that other people experience pain the same way she does, she's just too young to really get that), I'm at a loss. If I were a crier, I could weep and point at my injury, wailing, see what you did to mommy?! Which is a way to have a really fucked up kid, I know. Plus, ew.

So, this evening I did something different. Since I got that whack in the ribs I've noticed that my side still hurts whenever I carry the child up the stairs, so it's tended to be on my mind around bedtime. This evening, after our bath, stories and songs per every bedtime, SBG and I were snuggled in her bed and she wiggled around until her feet were in my face. And started to wave them around a bit.

And I took her feet, gently moved them away and said, keep your feet away from my face. And then, lowering my voice to a soft growl, I leaned in close, there in the dark, and said, I know you don't want to hurt me, but if you kick me in the face, you will be in more trouble than you can imagine. You don't even want to think about it. I do not like being kicked.

Then, after a little pause, I said softly, do you understand me? And she said yes. So I gave her a little kiss and she snuggled up next to me and went to sleep.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Monday, Monday, part 2

The last couple of Mondays have been a big improvement, not that it took much.

Martin Luther King Day: After a weekend of torrential rain, the weather turned cold. Like, fucking cold, below freezing for days. And with freezing rain, ice, sleet and snow. Zowie.

So we're all stuck at home, me with Sweet Baby Girl and Hubby because his office has no internet and the FreeWiFi Coffeeshop and Alternate Office has piss-poor heat. SBG's favorite game is this one: get Mommy to carry me outside so I can break off an icicle and eat it, occasionally pressing the ice to Mommy's neck so I can hear her squawk.

Public schools were cancelled for two days (and thus MDO was also cancelled) and then started late on Thursday with a 2-hour delay, even though there was still ice on bridges and overpasses. Like, an inch of ice. So everyone is going back to work, taking their kids to school, and heaving a big sigh of relief that they can get out of the house. (Icy weather is quite rare around these parts, so people stay in.) On that same day, the City, in its infinite wisdom, closed all of the highway flyovers that ordinarily have heavy traffic and sanded low-traffic flyovers and the various bridges around town. Why, you ask, not sand the heavy-traffic overpasses? Because if they did, then lots of people would drive on them and then they would have wrecks.

Can you picture the gigantic snarl, the monumental clusterfuck that was traffic on the surface streets?

So I didn't take Sweet Baby Girl to school, seeing as how it could have taken a couple of hours.

So, no school for a week.

Can you imagine how delighted I was that yesterday was Monday and the day, while cloudy and cold, featured no icy roads?

And speaking of being delighted, we've been stunned to see that Lucy, the dog with the inoperable tumor, has responded to the steroids and opiates. She feels great. (Less delightful: she pees all over--bad drug combo for that. She also got up on the table--with all four feet, quite a feat for a basset hound--last night for the first time in weeks, so she's feelin' pretty darn good.)

I hope it lasts, the reasonably decent weather and the happy doggie.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Monday, Monday

TGIM: Sweet Baby Girl's first day back at Mother's Day Out. It was supposed to be a chance for me to relax after the holidays and the post-holiday stuck-at-home week. Here's a quick list of what all happened:

1. Had to take the dog to the vet specialist to find out why she's limping. Vet sez, it's almost certainly a ruptured disk, we can fix it to the tune of $2500. I swallow hard, say, ok we can find the money for that.

Then I get a call: the MRI has indicated that she has an inoperable tumor. The vet convinces me that I need to go look at the MRI at his office and it's obviously bad: the normal spinal sections look like a drawing of a donut, with one circle centered inside another one. On the sections that show the tumor, the inner circle is mashed up against the side of the outer circle. In other words, her spinal cord is being pressed against the vertabrae by the tumor. Hence the limping.

Dammit. Lucy the chicken-killing, storm-fearing, screen-shredding hound is going to die. She's also a sweet dog who loves this family with all of her generous heart and I can't write about that part anymore right now.

2. Cedar season is in full flower, my nose is clogged and my head aches.

3. I go to do some laundry and toss the contents of SBG's basket into the wash only to discover that she'd had a poopy accident in her underwear, which she put in the laundry. Which, with my nose stuffed, I didn't smell. So I had to clean poopy out of the washer, run it empty with soap and bleach, and then re-wash the clothes, which still smelled shitty the next day.

I could tell the child had been eating lotsa pistacios.

4. I go to pick up the child at Mother's Day Out and she doesn't want to leave.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Goodbye Terrible Twos

And hello, three, niceta seeya. Please please please, be easier than two, because, damn. That was hard, in places. I have an adorable daughter, with a big personality*, but there were some tough moments. And there are some two-ish behaviors that haven't gone away, for example, as in these exchanges:

Pissed-Off Mom: Hey, sweetie, you dropped your cup of pecans--can you pick those up, please?
3 Year Old: No.
POM: [stares]
3YO: [picks up spilled nuts, sloooooly]

POM: When the timer beeps, it'll be time to turn off Clifford and have Quiet Time.
3YO: Ok.
[Three minutes pass. Episode ends. PBS Lady blathers. Timer beeps; POM turns off TV]
POM: [to self] Put down the crack pipe, kid, and let me help you. [to child] Aw, c'mon, we'll read some stories...

*As for the Big Personality, this exchange occurred this morning, at the ladies restroom in Central Market:
3YO, addressing Nice Grandmotherly Lady: Hi! How are you!
NGL: Fine, thanks. How--
3YO: I live house on Wilson Street!
NGL, to POM: Wow, it's good that she--
POM: Yeah, she--
3YO: We get lunch now! [exits restroom with a flourish, POM trots to keep up]
3YO: I like her.
POM: Yeah, honey, me, too.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Christmas is Over, Yay!

Before parenthood, I used to be sad when the holidays were over and the long grey slog of January commenced. Now, not so much. For one thing, the holidays have a way of intensifying everyone's personality quirks.

For instance: the introvert/extrovert polarity became even more obvious. At my mom's house (she the Dowager Empress of the Extroverts, paired with my daughter the Infanta Extrovert) I periodically fled to the bathroom in the far corner of the house for a little Alone Time, only to find someone tapping on the door saying, hello? Is that you? Not because of some emergency, mind you, just because I'd gone missing for 20 minutes. And the door-tapper was my mom, not my daughter. You expect that from a 3-year-old, not so much from one's own mother.

Also, I got to have a refresher course in Old School Feminine Duty, as my mom chased me around the house during the frenzy to pack up our stuff and hit the road, peppering me with questions: Do you think He will want a sandwich? (Mom, he can make his own damn sandwich.) Does He want to take home the leftover mashed potatoes? (Dunno, but I sure do.)

See, the women in my maternal family are rigorously trained in the credo that women are expected to be in control of absolutely everything, anticipating everyone's needs (or, better yet, manipulating everyone's needs) while simultaneously preserving the Male Illusion that He Himself is in Charge. For example, if He has high cholesterol but also wants (or might want) a sandwich, She must hightail it into the kitchen and make him a sandwich using Fat-Free mayonnaise, Reduced-Fat cheese and Lo-Fat turkey, which he will gratefully eat and never notice the healthy abstemiousness of the whole thing.

Except that my own personal He can spot low-fat anything a mile off and is perfectly happy to make his own damn sandwich, especially if it'll spare him the low-fat crap.

So, after a week at the DEE's house, I arrived home in a state of twitchy exhaustion, only to have a day's time to prepare for the Infanta's 3rd birthday party. Luckily, a neighbor kidnapped me briefly for a trip to the farmer's market, so I had a few minutes to rant a bit, to the tune of, WHY CAN'T PEOPLE LOOK FOR STUFF INSTEAD OF INTERRUPTING ME, ASKING WHERE IT IS AND INSISTING THAT I GO FIND IT??? Sure, I had to hear the observation that maybe I could just tell the interrupter to knock it off, but still.

Plus, I bought some nice cheese. Not low fat.