Friday, January 30, 2009

Choosing Creativity Over Crying

An Ode to Insanity

For there is nothing like 2 year old insanity.

It rages and stomps and calls you by name.
     "Hey Mom, Hey Dad. No, no, go away now, Dad."
It is waking at 7:30, yawning for two hours, and then
     refusing to go to bed until 10pm.
It is instantaneous mind changes and mood changes
     and taking high offense when the term "bipolar"
     is employed (how does he know what bipolar means?).
It is...tiring....

For there is nothing like 2 year old insanity.

It will rage irrational and then shrewdly bargain for
     "just one more cookie".
It flirts and cuddles and then screams, "No Mommy!"
It is disagreement at its most volatile...and frequent.
It frustrates...

For there is nothing like 2 year old insanity.

It throws tantrums at a restaurant as parents glance
     longingly at the bar.
It then gazes adoringly at the waitress as she brings
     the Mac & Cheese.
It does not gaze adoringly at Mom when she brings
     the Mac & Cheese.
It enrages...

For there is nothing like 2 year old insanity.

It creates babbling idiots out of highly educated adults.
It defines the phrase "a rock and a hard place".
It makes a grown woman want a nap at 10 am...
     or reach for the rum at 4pm.
It will make you stronger, they say...
     ...if it does not kill you in the process.

For there is nothing like 2 year old insanity.

(case in point...of the more positive side of insanity)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

6 Month Health Streak!


And so I sit, curled into the fetal position breathing wetly into a fistful of Costco Kleenex (i.e. not the kind that come with "Plus") and wondering if an orange, 5 strawberries and a couple spoonfuls of organic mac & cheese will constitute the wonder-food I need to magically reconstruct my former glowing health. Being six months pregnant, it is frowned upon to imbibe in any pharmaceutical aid...and so I sit, rasping out a "hey buddy" and offering a wan smile to the little urchin charging into my room every so often to "see Mommy".

Blessedly, said urchin has avoided the bugs passed back and forth between mom and dad. Sascha started this germ fest off a couple weeks ago with one of those "oh-my-god-i'm-dying" sinus infections that lasted three days (of course, he still claims the residual "draining"). With any hope, I'll be wrapping up this familial episode of viral drama entirely on my own with a stellar presentation of clogged sinuses, raw dripping nose, 80-year-old-large-man sneezes and body aches that I'm starting to confuse with contractions. And I need to finish it all by Monday.

As I write, my two boys are in our bathroom, trimming Ari's nails as he tells me all about life. "Shower there - wash wash." "What got there?" (referring to my laptop)...and launching into a description of watching Handy Manny on daddy's computer while Skyping with Nana. When I ask Sascha if I spelled "Skyping" correctly, Ari answers with absolution, "Yes." He's become quite the chatterbox, even though we can only understand about 70% of his verbal stream. Now preferring to call us "Mom" and "Dad", I can see him babbling his way into a prom date 15 years from now. A terrifying thought. But for now it's "football, soccerball, baseball" in "Daddy's car". And that's all I could ever want.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Scenes from Our Evening

I come in from getting the mail.

Sascha: Whatcha got in there? Can I see, babe?

Ari: See, see, babe? See, babe?


Of course, the humor of the above anecdote is clouded a mere 15 minutes later by Ari eating only his garlic bread and three bites of his nutritious spelt pasta dinner and announcing that he's "all done, down please"...only to get down, realize there are crumbs on his sock, pick them off and proceed to eat them.

Sock crumbs. Where did I go wrong?

Perhaps it was when I allowed him to eat his oatmeal in front of the TV this morning so we could watch the inauguration. The day seemed to go downhill from there. It's never good to start the day with TV but when you live on the Left Coast and a major event in our history is taking place at noon on the Right Coast, you make accomodations. Besides, it choked me up to sit next to my two year old and witness this change in our history and to listen to Obama's words.

And Ari didn't let me down. Five minutes into the program, he looked at me with his soulful hazel eyes and said, "Where football?" I tried to explain what was going on and why we were watching this, to which he shook his head in toddler disgust, slid off my lap and, muttering something about "predent" and "football", walked away to play with his train set.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Diagnosis: Failure to Thrive

"When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be."
~taken from On Being a Mom by Anna Quindlen, pulitzer winner, author, mom to 3


That's right.

Sometimes you need reminding.

On this day, during naptime, when I'm feeling aimless and senselessly avoiding my to-do list, I stumbled upon this essay, which was sent by a friend last Mother's Day.

Perfect timing since I'm puzzling (he puzzled and puzzed 'till his puzzler was sore, Dr. Seuss) over how to raise this child, two children soon, and do right by him. At the tail-end of an emotional and physical battle over food, eating and weight-gain (i.e. failure to thrive), I feel spent at times and tearful at my failures as a mother. And now we have a new lesson to learn, both of us. Ari's now in occupational therapy to learn how to be open and accepting to new (i.e. nutritious) foods and I'm in self-mandated mother school to learn the ins and outs of nutrition and offering food to a toddler...and then letting go.

Anna wrote this as well: "Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk too."

Due to the nature of, well, nature...I know Ari will not need help eating in the fourth grade. I know he will be able to prepare his own meals and buy his own groceries in college. I know my challenges in the kitchen will not impede his ability to develop a healthy romantic relationship in the FAR distant future. But due to the nature of mother-guilt and our need to carry the world on our shoulders, it's difficult sometimes to just provide what's needed, trust, and then let his little hands and mouth take over. I guess this applies to all areas of child-rearing as well. Letting go...a lesson I never thought I needed to learn at my son's tender age of two.