More February Madness and Some Photographic Evidence

Despite the Great Plague of 2012 aka Hell Month, I decided to attack potty training with a vengeance. Maybe it was extreme fatigue after a week-long battle with barf…

Whatever it was that led to my visions of potty training grandeur, it was wrong. Just. So. Wrong.

In the end, on one of the rare days in February that didn’t include stomach bile, I decided that I was done with diapers. You heard me, I was finito. Caput. No mas diapers.

I remember it well. It was Friday. The Friday following a pukey all-nighter. (And sadly, not the kind of pukey all-nighters I enjoyed in my early twenties.)  No, this was viral and the only booze involved were those fancy cocktails I was perusing on Pinterest while my children hurled beside me in the dark hours of night.

I started that Friday by waging battle with my eyelids. I nearly resorted to prying them open and, because of my extreme fatigue, I decided that everyone was staying home. School was not an option. Mostly because I don’t believe in sharing germs (too late) and also because I was riding a roller coaster of fear. One moment I was joyous that I had seemingly escaped the bug and the next I was poised to sprint toward a bathroom. The slightest gurgle in my gastrointestinal region filled me with dread and threw me into a  certifiably neurotic cycle of waiting. Waiting for the puke to come. Obsessing over gas bubbles and appropriate levels of saliva production.

After approximately six hours of stopping in my tracks to declare, “Oh, this is it. I’m going to throw up,” Dave began calling me Fred Sanford, clutching at his heart and saying, “This is the big one!” (Yes, I just dated my husband with a reference to Sanford and Son. He’s so damn old, y’all.)

Since I had nothing much to do but for 27 loads of smelly laundry, it occurred to me that it was the perfect day to break Kate’s will. Yes, the Friday following a mass vomiting was suddenly the most opportune time to fight the good fight. I was certain I’d conquer her inconvenient and disgusting choice of poo receptacle.

Perhaps the hallucinations from extreme fatigue placed these grandiose plans at my feet. I didn’t care. I went with it. I embraced my sleepless state and rode the wave toward visions of a diaper-free household.

I made her take her diaper off, kindly ridiculing her about nearly being three. Then I gently taunted her with declarations that all the other girls are doing it. I issued horrifying warnings about preschool being unattainable for pants poopers. Finally, I reminded her that poo-poo beans are positively scrumptious and, with that thought planted in her head, Kate dropped trou.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t totally on board with the plan. Not at all. She was pissed off and put out that I’d dare to suggest such a foul thing as defecating in a potty. So much so, that she stripped naked in protest and proceeded to made herself look as pitiful as possible.

So I couldn’t resist taking a series of photos. You know, for future ammunition because it has become quite clear to David and I that our years with Kate are not going to be easy ones. As a result, I shall endeavor to accumulate an arsenal of mortifying photographs and videotapes to be used at a future date. But only if completely necessary. Say, for that weird boyfriend we’re going to hate but that Kate dates simply to piss us off. I’ll show him the horrors of toddler Kate and hopefully scare him off.

However, since my blog stats indicate that preverts abound, I will not post any full-frontals of my baby girl on the can. (Take that creepy people who arrive at No. 7 with searches like “mom wiped my bum.”)

For the record, Kate did not poop in the potty and late Friday evening, my cocky proclamations of health were squelched by my gurgling gastrointestinal tract.

 

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Inflection

In-flec-tion :  change in pitch or loudness of the voice – a : the change of form that words undergo to mark such distinctions as those of case, gender, number, tense, person, mood, or voice.

Fuck: Slang. (used to express anger, disgust, peremptory rejection, etc., often followed by a pronoun, as you or it. )
Origin: 1495–1505; akin to Middle Dutch fokken.
Related forms : fuck·y, adjective

Sometimes as I write a post, I wonder what people are going to think. After all, my in-laws read this stuff, cousins, aunts and uncles tune in for the latest episode. Friends new and old, people who go to church on a weekly basis, people who have advanced degrees, people who remove children from the homes of unfit parents….gasp. Sometimes even I momentarily wonder what people think of me, as a parent. This is one of those posts.

By 1:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon this precious angel had dropped the f-bomb precisely seven times that I am aware of. That’s right – this is a first hand account of the f-bombs that I actually heard leave the lips of my tiny toddler. When she’s out of ear-shot, I have no idea what she’s saying, thus proceed with the (mistaken) assumption that she probably isn’t saying that word.

I began the day with the admittedly unrealistic hope that the word had lost its appeal during her peaceful slumber. I lay in bed nursing my cold’s second horrible day of existence, while desperately attempting to psych myself up for my gig as Parent Helper. You’ll be fine, I told myself. How bad can three hours be? So what if Kate has to come along? She’ll play and she’ll be perfectly…
“Ah, fuck…I stuck,” she blandly remarked from the behind the gate on her bedroom door. “Daddy? I stuck!”
pause
The sweet whispering voice of my two year old traveled down the hallway. “Fuuuuuck,” she whispered to no one in particular, she was just making an exasperated statement to get her day rolling. I sighed and began to pray that she wouldn’t let it rip in front of the preschool set.
After I dragged my ailing body from my bed and showered, I caught Kate so I might brush her hair into some semblance of respectability. I popped her on top of my bathroom counter, ran the brush through her fine waves and promptly encountered a sticky tangle of mystery goop. Her hand rose to the area of the knot and she furrowed her tiny eyebrows, “OUCH, FUCK MAMA!” Her eyes challenged me to just go ahead and try that again and her language told me that she meant business. Ignoring the mini Clint Eastwood glaring at me in the mirror, I said, “No, no, Kate! Bad word!”

A few minutes later, we were in her bedroom getting her dressed for the day. As I changed her diaper I teased, “Pew! You’re stinky Katie!” She laughed out a hearty, “Ah fuck, I stinky!” I tapped my index finger on her lips and said, “No! Bad word.” She began crying. Clearly, I thought, I need to find a different tactic.

Finally, the girls and I were backing out of the garage when I smacked the passenger side mirror on the way out. (Yes, that’s the third time since January, so sue me.) Of course the loud banging sound was a bit startling and when I got out to fix the mirror, I found it’s guts hanging out. I re-entered the car to Kate’s questioning, “Fuck, Mama?” I mentally thought, yes that’s a big fuck Kate but, taking the advice of some old friends on Facebook, I ignored the word. Perhaps a lack of reaction would help it lose it’s appeal.

The thing is, she’s using it appropriately in every instance. Her inflection is always appropriate. She’s using the F-bomb in a conversational manner and not for shock value. How the fuck do I stop that? I pondered this deeply disturbing revelation as I drove in to town and was lost in thought as we parked and walked into the school. At the threshold of the door Kate froze and shrieked with terror, “FUCK! BUG!” I ignored it and resolved to tell anyone who overheard the following script that I had rehearsed in my head.

No, no…she’s saying ‘frog’…it just sounds like fuck. I know isn’t that silly? We’re working on the pronunciation because it’s really embarrassing. ah ha ha ha!!

I avoided Kate at preschool.

Later, when we’d finally returned to the confines of our house and she started to drop F-bombs again,  I began paying close attention to the myriad ways in which Kate used the word to convey her emotion.

Perhaps my favorite to date happened as she was running through the house then slipped and fell off the step leading into the kitchen. She couldn’t see me stifle a smile as she growled an exasperated, “fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck”  as she lay prone on the floor. Despite myself, that one made me happy.

The final f-bomb that I heard yesterday happened when she fumbled her ba-ba. It hit the floor at her feet and, well…you know what she said. From my sick bed, I heard David’s lame attempts to stop her and slowly drifted off to sleep.

I’ve begun various methods to dissuade her use of that word. I don’t laugh. I’ve sternly said NO! I’ve tapped her lips and said, NO! I’ve said, “do not say FUCK!” I’ve threatened soap – but I think she’s a bit young for that punishment…but then again, she’s also a bit young to have grasped the (im)proper usage of the word “fuck”. I’ll admit that in this area, I have failed as a mother. No need to state the obvious…I haven’t said it in front of her for at least a week.

Mommies Don’t Get Sick Days and That Sucks

I like to think that most mothers eventually find their groove. Like finely conditioned athletes, we stoically power through colds, migraines and bouts with projectile vomiting. Sure, we might gag or hold our breath and we might even shed a tear, but we carry on and cross that finish line no matter what the cost. Why? Because that’s the circle of life and, unless you want your children to write tell-all blogs about what a crappy parent you were, you’d better suck it up and perform.

Eventually even the best athlete is bound to suffer an injury. In motherhood, the equivalent of a pulled muscle is strained nerves. It generally occurs after a days-long bout of illness compounded with kid fights, whining, schedule confusion, picky eating and a stint as the parent helper at preschool. Parent Helper Day is the equivalent of the Big Game. Most of the time, you’re prepared for the Big Game and nothing can take you down. You remember to wear your bra and cut up the fruit and show up on time so that you can stand at the door to escort the kid whose mother “has a job” inside so she can tear down the road in her giant SUV.

Eventually, you’re bound to walk on to the playing field with some strained nerves and a nasty cold and, by the end of the Big Game, you are officially placed the injured player list. When your two and a half hours as Parent Helper come to a close, you retreat to the car with your crying children, your shame and your illness and somewhere in the privacy of your drive home you shed an exhausted tear, thankful that you made it through that part of the day.

You cry because you fondly recall the days when you could call in sick and get paid to lay in bed and watch cheesy Lifetime movies. No co-workers ever stood at your bedside demanding that you get up to feed them and wipe their ass. Your co-workers didn’t want to see you in that condition, but your children don’t give a shit. They simply want cookies and Juicy Juice and they don’t care if you have to drag yourself to the kitchen on bloody stumps in order to retrieve them.

In a perfect world, Mommies would be able to call in sick and someone would happily cover our shift without the need to miss work or make the sick mommy feel like a failure for succumbing to germs. But this world isn’t perfect and back when we were dreaming of snuggly babies; no one explained that when you get sick you’re on your own, sister. You’ll throw up then brush your teeth and go make those kids breakfast, dammit! On his way out the door, your hard working husband will cast a sympathetic glance at you and kindly offer you the option of going to bed as soon as he gets home from work. The sentiment is lovely, but the vast amount of time between his offer and the actual arrival of relief looms ahead of you like a hellish marathon.

Once, when Joe was just a baby and we were new parents, I experienced my first bout with simultaneous illness. Joe was running a fever and I knew this because, as a new mother, I shoved a thermometer up his ass at least twice a week to reassure myself that he wasn’t dying. This time, however, he actually did have a fever and as I changed his diaper I felt my own face blazing with heat. In my bleary flu-induced fog, I grabbed the thermometer from the changing table and placed it under my tongue. As I closed my lips around it, I realized that I had just placed the baby’s rectal thermometer in my mouth. The thermometer was promptly spit across the room and I spent the morning disinfecting my mouth with Listerine and toothpaste before calling my sister in New York to cry.

I hate shots, but this year some inner-voice advised me to get the flu shot in the middle of the grocery store on a random Wednesday afternoon. It was totally unplanned. I rounded the corner of the wine aisle and saw a table surrounded by nurses and their shots. There they were, all lined up and eagerly waiting to stab someone in the arm.

Public inoculations generally make me feign bravery. A public inoculation with my four-year-old daughter watching required extra bravado and even a bit of humor. When I feigned terror, the nurses giggled and Gwen rushed to hold my hand. She soothed me, “Don’t worry, Mommy. It’s just a little pinch and it will be over weewy fast.” She patted my hand and tried not to look horrified as the needle approached my arm.

Her eyes widened with terror as she watched the needle pierce the skin of my upper arm. She worriedly met my eyes with panic and expected, I think, for the same kind of wailing lament she lets out when the needle breaks through her skin. I smiled at her to demonstrate my (totally fake) bravery. She stroked my hand and said, “Shhhhh…Just a pinch. Here…have a cookie.” She turned to the nurses wearing a serious expression and with great authority asked, “Can we get a sticker over here?!”


Stink-Eye

It was that exchange that I pulled from my memory bank in my final moments as Parent Helper yesterday afternoon as that same precious little angel hid beneath the jungle gym, refusing to leave the preschool playground. It wasn’t until I offered to call her cab and asked if she remembered the way home that she came out. Her furrowed brow and public use of the ‘stink eye’ told me that she wasn’t happy. She began her dramatic rage-filled exit from the playground, pissed off that I was making her leave because, well…it was time to go and I didn’t feel well. Then I coughed.

Oh, Mama…are you okay?

I really don’t feel well, Gwennie.


I’m sorry, Mama. Let’s go home and you can rest on the couch with me. Would you like to watch a princess movie under a nice warm blankie?

She’s a beautiful little girl.