Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bite Me

Never look a gift horse in the mouth, right? That's what I've heard. But, I think it should be revised for mothers of teethers to state: never stick your fingers in a teething baby's mouth. Both for the obvious reason of not getting your fingers chomped off, but secondly because why the heck is it so darn important to know, just this darn second what is going in in there?

My theory, since Collin has started suspiciously drooling as an infant, has been that he'll eventually get his teeth, so why bother checking. I decided this after pinning him to the ground and prying his mouth open began to feel like child abuse and what I was able to deduce after such episodes was the following: I'm not sure, or; It could be a tooth. I was always left with the same knowledge I started with, a freaked out kid and fried eardrums from the shrieking.

Thankfully, the kid normally doesn't act like he's teething. All of the sudden, during a tickle fest, or worse, during a shriek-a-thon, during which his mouth is open especially wide, I'll notice a new tooth hanging out where there was formally a blank space and go, "huh, that's new." That's how I discover he must've been teething. I rack my brain and try to remember if he was a particular pain to live with anytime prior and usually he wasn't and I count myself lucky.

Thus, I've committed a sin and bragged about this trait in my child. And, as such, he's been a pain the last few days and I've violated my policy. I've jabbed my fingers in his mouth and felt what I can deduce are potential lumps all over the place. As far as I can tell, he MIGHT be getting 267 teeth at this very moment, including the dreaded two-year molars.

The two-year molars, according to most mommies are the worst and apparently competitive. I've talked to some moms who claim their kids are born with them, and I've rarely met a mom willing to admit that their kid dared to wait until age two to acquire them, let alone beyond. Apparently, two-year molar is either a misnomer or a suggestion. I think they might ask you when your kid got them on preschool applications. It's a blank, right alongside when he potty trained, what kind of car you drive and if you use organic diapers.

Meanwhile, I am jealous he can cry and whine and all we, as parents do, is try to fix it and figure out the cause. Can you imagine that treatment if you behaved that way? I wish I could just mope and whine because the pimple I have on the INSIDE of my nose is so swollen that it's actually cutting of my oxygen supply and I think it's made me gain a pound due to it's bulk; but, I'm a mom and I have more important things to do, like pin my child to the floor and jam my finger in his mouth.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Potty Police

I've come to accept that my role in life, since leaving the work force, has been primarily reduced to wiping, analyzing and disposing of the excrement of everyone in this house: cat, dog, baby and on occasion, husband. Hey, if he's got the stomach flu, he counts as a baby. But, the way things are going today, I'm considering cutting my workload.

Eddie, the dog, has taken to leaving his deposits at the base of Collin's play structure in the backyard. If that wasn't enough, he's also decided that peeing is only truly a relief if aimed directly on it or on Collin's picnic chairs. Apparently, trees just don't pack the same punch. So, aside from pooper-scooping the yard every day so my son can play poo-free in our yard, I'm now hosing off the grass and disinfecting a play structure.

I'm longing for the times when every other day, I cursed the cat for his ability to stink up the laundry room with one pile of clumpy litter and ruing the day that he was born. He's easily forgiven because he's warm and snugly and he purrs in my face five minutes before my alarm rings every morning.

Somehow, Eddie's love for Collin is making it hard to hate him too. His adoration for a toddler who chases him, pulls his tail and drapes his back with blankie in hopes it will serve as a saddle is immeasurable. I knew they'd be buddies when Collin, finally able to sit up for the first time, gained not only my prideful stares, but Eddie's begging gaze, as the dog began to realize that this former lump of a thing would soon be capable of the all-important task of petting him.

I just wish I didn't have to pick up after them all! Potty's coming, right?

The Happiest Place on Earth

Bryon and I broke down and each sold a kidney so we could afford season passes to Disneyland. We figured that since we live in California right now and because Collin is currently at the "gets in for free price," now would be a good time to do it. When the kid turns three and we'll have to sell a lung to afford his ticket too, and he'll also be subsequently old enough to remember all the trips to the park, we'll likely forgo the whole thing. Or not, it's pretty fun.

The day starts with deciding how much to bring and then realizing, too late, that we didn't bring enough. We had enough crackers, enough sippy cups and enough pacifiers (yes, I know we're giving them up--but it's Disneyland!!!); but we packed poorly.

This time, the little guy, who hasn't messed through his diaper once in his entire 17 months of life decided to completely wet through a diaper and pair of shorts and my choices were to let him roam around Disneyland pants less or buy him new clothes. Since we aren't hillbillies, I bought him new clothes. The closest shop was one that sold only rompers that said, "I smell trouble," across the front and "Trouble below deck," printed on the rear...classy.

This trip's highlight for Collin was probably the new Nemo adventure. He plastered his little hands to the submarine window and didn't exhale until the ten minute ride was over. The trip's highlight for Mommy was that during our nice sit down dinner after we left the park, he had a meltdown and wanted only and wanted to be snuggled to sleep. I can't recall the last time he wanted to be snuggled all the way to la-la land. He might have been still in utero. You might call him a bit independent.

So, we'll be using out passes on as many non-blackout days as we can, if only to get potential snuggle hugs at the end of the day and to try to cement a few fleeting flashes of memories into Collin's head. Hopefully, when he's ten and begging us to go to Disneyland we can tell him he's already been.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Speech Therapy for Dogs

A few weeks ago, a qualified person, someone working in a tall hospital building and wearing a white coat, told me what I'd known for months because I'm a mother and have that weird thing called instinct. She told me that my son needs speech therapy. It's been a ridiculously uphill battle even getting to the point of standing in front of her and asking her to make this assessment. I akin the battle to pushing a locomotive uphill with one arm that's been amputated at the wrist.

Still, I'm thrilled. Maybe thrilled isn't the right word. No one wants there to be something "wrong," with their kid. I'm thrilled that I might get to hear him refer to me as something other than "AAAAAAH" in the near or somewhat distant future.

In his long and illustrious speaking history, he's managed to utter all of one word and it has shown us just how he feels about the hierarchy of our family, which is all too nuclear in it's inclusion of Dad, Mom, Cat and Dog. He proudly and repeatedly throughout the day shrieks with glee, "EDDIE!!!" That would be the dog's name.

Clearly, he must realize that the dog loves him more than his mother or father and is thus deserving of all this attention. Of course, when Collin's fusses are crackled over the monitor and me, the Mommy knows it's nothing and I choose to ignore it, it IS Eddie who is tearing around in circles in front of the monitor, whining and looking at me like, "aren't you going to DO something about this? Our kid is in trouble in there!" He makes me feel a bit negligent if, in the morning, I pee before going to get him when he's crying to get up.

In a way, it's a bit sweet that he loves the dog so much, especially if you could see the hugs and kisses Collin bestows on him more than regularly. But, this animal love is starting to go a bit far now that instead of working on Dada or Mama, he's struggling to string together a coherent sound for the cat too.

We're starting to hear, "yeow yoew" every time Homer, the cat, walks by. I've heard from other parents that Mama is often one of the last things they say because we're the ones who are always there and therefore there's never a need for them to ask for us. I guess that's a nice way to think of it. But then again, have you ever seen a dog who wasn't in your face, tongue at the ready?

All I know is that if he runs through labeling everything in this house, from dishwasher to lawn chair before he bothers saying, Mama, I'm going to get rid of the dog. Kidding, he was here first. We'll see how it goes. He starts therapy next week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ill-Gotten Goods

I have a boo-boo. It's probably going to require surgery or maybe amputation. At least that's how I'm playing it off now that I've discovered the benefits of wearing a band aid in the presence of my toddler and repeating the words: "Mommy has a boo-boo."

Normally, getting a kiss or a hug from my son is virtually impossible and I had formerly resorted to such bribery tactics as holding his beloved pacifier ransom. Evil, yes. Necessary, also yes. A mommy has to do what a mommy has to do. Her pay is meager and thanks are even fewer.

So, the other day when I held up my finger and showed him my band aid and told him I had a boo-boo and he immediately took it and kissed it repeatedly, without prompting, I actually felt my heart explode. Then he sweetened the pot by rubbing my terribly injured finger on his cheek and softly humming to it. Clearly, he saw that this was a serious injury.

I have to admit that while a paper cut is no cause for a six-day band aid-a-thon, I've been wearing one. And, I bought more. Bryon asks me if an ill-gotten bit of affection is somehow less special than that spontaneous one and I have to say that it's only slightly less so. I'd chase him down, pin him to the floor and make him kiss me if it'd been a few days since I'd gotten one...not in a gross, child protective services way of course, in a Mommy needs some love from her baby kind of way.

I know that all of these kisses and hugs, stolen, forced and even the ones that are given spontaneously are being saved up and stored for the day he's gone. I've got this safety deposit box for them in my heart and it doesn't know the difference between ill-gotten goods and regular goods; they are all the same. His soft kisses and little squeezes will all be sweet memories when he's eighteen and throwing up over balconies while I'm at home worrying that he's passing calculus and not wasting my money.

Just One of the Girls

I'm told that it's totally normal for kiddos to imitate the primary caregiver. I'd expect if we had a daughter and I was toiling away in the workforce, she'd be walking around the house pretending to shave face whiskers or scratching herself in indelicate places. But, I've got a son and Daddy goes to work everyday. So, he's stuck wanting to learn to be Mommy.

Lately, when I get out of the shower in the morning, he's eagerly waiting for me holding my lotion in anticipation for his own slathering of goop. When we try to goo him up for his nighttime ritual after his own bath, apparently we lace his baby lotion with some sort of caustic compound that melts his skin off, because it's clearly torture. Somehow though, my lotion is devine. I actually sneak off to my closet and shut the door to apply my eye and face cream for fear that he'll demand that too and at the prices I pay to try to look a bit younger, I'm not about to waste it on his baby skin. Someone still in single-digit age doesn't need Retinol-A.

He also has taken to stealing my hairbrush to style his "do." I've offered him the more mainly version of a styling implement, mainly a comb, but apparently my hot pink, paddle brush is the only thing that will do. And, standing mere inches away from my blow dryer is an unparallelled joy in his universe; meanwhile, I'm finger-combing my locks because he's squirreled away my brush for his future use.

I've never been much of a makeup kind of gal, but I fear the day he starts wanting to rouge and gloss. Daddy might kill me. He was none to pleased when I let him play with the new package of underwear I finally broke down and bought myself. Hey, the laundry fairy didn't get a chance to throw them in the basket before he got hold of them and how can I help it if he went to town. And, when he discovered Mommy's sport's bra too...let's just say that at least he didn't put that on properly.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cooking Up Trouble

So, I found this recipe for homemade play-doh. I want Collin to look back on his childhood wistfully and remember me as totally cool, having done things like make homemade play-doh. When his wife brings home store-bought play-doh for their kids, I want him to say to her, "my mom made mine from scratch!" To which, she will roll her eyes and I will seem all the more special to my son and he will be reminded of how much I did, in fact, love him.

But, while our play-doh making experiment was totally fun, involving flour all over my kitchen floor and cream of tartar in his hair, I was a bit perplexed about the ingredient, Kool-aid. Apparently, as kids are apt to eat play-doh the writers of this recipe thought, what they hey, let's make it both visually appetizing and tasty to boot.

Since I don't normally encourage my child to eat the non-edible, toxic or not, I decided to leave the Kool-aid out. The play-doh still worked as play-doh and I was pleased at my Suzy-homemaker project. If only he were old enough to remember this joyous first of his life: homemade fun. I should write it down for him in his baby book and refer him back to it.

Alas, the making part was the only thing that lasted in the realm of fun. The only way Collin was interested in playing with his play-doh was eating it. Apparently, play-doh does not need to be either appetizingly colored, nor flavored to appeal to my child.