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September 30, 2008

From the mouths of babes: The cold, hard truth

The other day we were getting ready to go out somewhere. I am sitting here racking my brain trying to recall where it was we were going, but my short term memory maxes out at approximately 4.25 hours these days, so you're out of luck. Yesterday I called Mads by the dog's name on three separate occasions. I am becoming my mother.

Anyways, we were going somewhere special because I do know that I put some extra effort into getting ready - the good Chapstick, underwear, that sort of thing. So there I was, lint-rolling the dog hair off of my skirt and thinking that I cleaned up pretty good. Yup, I've still got it. Cue Mads. She wandered into the bathroom and smack into my vain need for an ego boost.

Me: "Does Mommy look nice, Mads?"
Maddie: "No"
Me (assuming that she'd misunderstood the question): "Mommy looks nice today, right Mads?"
Mads (nose scrunched in disapproval): "Nooo. Your hair crazy, Mommy."
Me: "What? My hair looks crazy?"
Mads: "Yeah. Crazy crazy."

Not just crazy. Crazy crazy.

I guess she had a point, it wasn't my best hair day ever. But still - crazy crazy? That seems pretty harsh, particularly coming from someone who is going on 2.5 years of bad hair days. But of course I'm too big a person to point that out. Thank god one of us chooses to be an adult about these things.

ps - Happy half-birthday, Mads!! Six short months and you'll be three years old. Still and forever my baby girl.

September 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 26, 2008

I-SPY my worst nightmare

I_spy_clown_shadowsConfession time: I am terrified of I-SPY books.

Have you seen these? It's a British series of kids books from the 60s or so, each page featuring a bizarre assortment of things that kids are supposed to spot. Things like buttons, miniature cats, and thimbles; things like glass eyes, psychotic clowns and plastic bunny rabbits that look like they might kill you in your sleep.

Mads brought an I-SPY home from the library not long ago and I kid you not, I was scared out of my mind. Flipping through the pages, each slightly more disturbing than the next, I had the same feeling of distinct dread and dull terror that I get during particularly creepy horror flicks - the ones that make you suddently start checking behind the shower curtain and double-bolting the door in the middle of the day.

The harder you look, the more reasons you find to be creeped right out. Here, I'll show you. Click here. So at first glance it's not so terrible, right? Sure, there's the tarantula in the upper left corner. And yeah, the baby doll at the bottom looks distinctly corpse-like, but all in all it's okay. But check out the skeleton peeking out from inside the dirty slipper. What the hell is up with that?

Still not convinced? Click here. And don't say I didn't warn you. Note - as if you could miss it - the assortment of insane clowns. This is why grown adults are terrified of clowns. This is why, though you know in your head the likelihood of Bozo suddenly shivving you at the town fair is not all that high, you'll never again be able to turn your back on him.

Next time you are in the kids' section at the library, pick up one of the old I-SPY books. And prepare to be terrified.

September 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 24, 2008

Are you there God? It's me, Carolyn

Heavenlylight2_2It seems F. and I need to get our spiritual house in order. We need to get our physical house in order, too, since he announced the other day that it smells like "baby and dead cat." Which is ridiculous, because Mads is clearly not a baby and I just saw our cat, like, 6 days ago. And I suppose, while we're at it, our financial house is a bit of a fixer-upper, too. But one thing at a time.

F. and I both went to church growing up, but have since developed the standard issues with organized religion. And honestly I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea in general. So we've been happy enough until now to live by our own little code of ethics, which can basically be summed up by the old saying, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." With the addendum that even if they don't do it unto you - because often times you'll find they won't - try to do it anyways, because goodness should be the default state of being rather than something inspired by the hope of reciprocation or a really sweet timeshare in the afterlife.

Admittedly there are a lot of "big questions" that we don't have the answers to, but we were basically just setting those aside until retirement when we'd sign ourselves up for some sort of weekend workshop and figure it all out.

Mads, however, has decided to move them up on the agenda. She is full of "What's" and "Why's" and "Who's" these days and we can't even get a T-shirt over her head in the morning without explaining who bought it, why they bought it, where they bought it, and what the working conditions are like in the factory where it was made.

So the other night as F. was reading her bedtime story, she pointed to the page and asked, "Who made the mountains, Daddy?" Sheer panic ensued.

He says that his first thought was of course, "God." But seeing as we're both basically undecided on the topic that somehow didn't quite seem right. Mother Nature? Sounds plausible in a vague way, but is that promoting some sort of gender bias? Um... Darwin? Sir Edmund Hillary? Is 2 too young for a brief overview of plate tectonics? He was in a cold sweat at this point. His eventual answer? "A beautiful person."

A beautiful person. Days later, I'm still laughing. Cindy Crawford made the mountains? Johnny Depp? The girl on the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated painted-on swimsuit issue? For the record, I would've gone with Mother Nature. But that's just me.

In any case, that answer ain't going to cut it for long. So, it looks like we'll be slotting "Spiritual Awakening" in somewhere between potty training and time-outs. I guess I'll be PVR'ing Gossip Girl until we get this all sorted out.

(Photo: Photobucket)

September 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

September 22, 2008

She thinks she's so smart

Here is the conversation Mads and I had yesterday when she spotted the camping cooler in the garage.

Mads: "Who lives in that barbecue, Mommy?"
Me: "That's a cooler, hon. That over there is a barbecue."
Mads: "Oh. Who lives in that barbecue, Mommy?" (pointing again to the cooler)
Me: "That's not a barbecue, it's a cooler. That big black thing is the barbecue."
Mads: "Who lives in that coower there, Mommy?"
Me: "Who lives in the cooler? Nobody lives in there, silly goose."
Mads: "YES! Yes, somebody lives in there, Mommy! YES!"
Me: "What?! People don't live in there, monkey."
Mads: "Yes, mommy! Water and ice and beers live in that coower."
Me: "Oh... I guess you're right. Water and ice and beers live in there." (And the occasional healthy snack which, while wasn't said out loud, was clearly implied...)

Smarty-pants.


September 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 19, 2008

A mommy moment...

I heard a father say recently of his daughter and her mom, “Every child I look at reminds me of my child. And every mother I see reminds me of [her]."

Okay, so in the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t exactly hear it. I read it… in US magazine. It was Nicole Richie’s boyfriend. Whatev.

Mads_sunglasses_2008I never liked kids all that much before I had one of my own. I mean, I didn’t actively dislike them. I didn’t start petitions to keep them out of restaurants. I just didn’t think much about them one way or another.

Now I cannot pass a child in the street without thinking that her crooked-toothed grin or stink-eye expression reminds me of my Mads. I see teenagers at the mall and wonder what they were like back when they were small, back when they couldn’t go to bed without two stories and a goodnight kiss. I wonder if their parents used to sneak into their rooms at night to watch them sleep, and if they’re now at home, maybe waiting anxiously, maybe just thankful for the peace and quiet.

I see kids on the news whose lives are much harder than they should be. Instead of scraped knees and icky vegetables and the odd monster under the bed, they are dealing with poverty and disease and abuse. And it’s like a fist squeezing something inside my chest when I hear their stories. Whether she lives next door or halfway around the world, that girl with the haunted eyes and the doll clutched to tightly to her side could be Mads.

Someone else – not Nicole Richie’s boyfriend – said that having a child is “to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Just the thought that Mads could one day be hurt, be scared, feel worthless or alone, makes it hard for me to see straight. But I know that for me the beauty of this life far outweighs the ugliness. When I need reminding of that I just watch her splashing through puddles in the driveway or listen to her shrieks of laughter as she chases the poor, tortured dog around the kitchen table.

I just hope that through whatever else life brings there will always be beauty and joy for her – and for all the kids she could have been.

September 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 14, 2008

This is funny stuff

The bit at the end, with the baby? Priceless.

I was just recollecting Maddie's days of projectile vomiting (and when I say days, I of course mean months. Endless embarrassing months). We were once at the local deli, I had her in the Baby Bjorn, and unbeknownst to me she barfed all over the display case. I only caught on when someone finally pointed it out to me, by this time it was dripping into a puddle on the floor. I'm pretty sure our picture is now taped to the register with a cross through it. You'll never look at prosciutto the same way again after you've seen it through a smear of upchucked green beans and formula. 

Good times.

Anyways, I am marking my calendar for this movie!

September 14, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 12, 2008

Bag lady

It’s a good day. After three months of searching I finally found my cell phone this morning. My purse is so disgustingly disorganized that for two of those months I was convinced it was in there somewhere, lurking, and I just couldn’t find it. Turns out it was in a jacket pocket all along. Happy day.

I was thinking about the state of my purse this morning as I was trying to dig out my bus pass and came up with a pair of socks instead. It’s huge, deceptively so because it holds about 24 times the amount of junk you’d expect it could. I got it last year on clearance for $55 at Nine West – not much compared to the thousands some girls shell out on bags, but still a tough pill to swallow for a lifelong devotee of $14.99 Sears-brand pleather. But it was worth every last cent.

Yes, it is a black hole, it is the place where Goldfish crackers go to die, but that just makes me love it even more. I know that whatever it is I need at any given second – a safety pin, hairspray, apparently even a pair of socks – odds are it’s in there.

Remember last year when clear plastic purses began popping up everywhere? That is the divide between the catwalk and the sidewalk, in my opinion. Parading down a NY runway it might be cute for people to see your Gucci glasses, vitamin-enhanced water, and perhaps a small dog tucked in your bag. But do you really need the guy on the bus next to you staring at your tampons and half-empty bottle of Pepto Bismol?

If my bag were see-through, here is just a small sample of what would right now be on display to the general public: Various drug store make-up products, two parking tickets (oops), a knee brace, 4 packets of brown sugar flavoured instant oatmeal, a journal, one of those Star Wars bobble head toys that McDonalds is throwing in with the Happy Meals these days, Advil gel caps (gotta be the gel caps), a pair of socks, a straightening iron, Maddie’s half-eaten granola bar from last night, a swimming diaper (again, hers, not mine), and two midget clowns.

Okay, I may be exaggerating about the clowns. There’s only one. But the rest is the god’s honest truth.

So, ‘fess up: What secrets lurk in your bag?

September 12, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 08, 2008

Life lesson 48: Betrayal & disappointment

Dora_evil_2So, last night the inevitable happened: She fell out of her big girl bed.

It's actually not the first time. She fell off a king size bed when she was a few months old, rolled right on down and plunked on to the floor in the middle of a dinner party. A friend discovered her flailing there and carried her out to me, wailing. "She's never rolled over before!" I think that's what I said at the time, between my own guilty sobs.

Fast forward 2 years and it's like deja vu all over again. Thankfully this time I heard the thud in the early morning hours, and rushed in to find her lying stunned on the floor, silently sobbing, looking entirely betrayed be her spastically pink Dora sheets, pillow, and comforter. As though that exploring bitch purposely chucked her out of bed and onto the hardwood just to see what she would do about it.

Poor Mads, my sweet girl. With all of her inward spunk, she is so easily hurt. It's not the bumps and scrapes that do her in, but the wounded pride, the bruised ego, the general disappointment that life sometimes throws at her. Her little mouth turns down and her eyes fill with tears at the slightest thing, though she fights to the end to stop them from spilling over. It's beyond tragic, and what's worse, she won't accept any comfort. God forbid you trample all over her independence by offering to kiss it all better. The only cuddles I get are the ones that come hurtling at me from 20 feet away as she crashes, laughing, into my legs. I have the permanent shin splints to prove it.

We're trying our best to get her to take these things in stride - a dropped ice cream cone, a missed Wiggles episode, a puzzle piece that just refuses to fit - but I have a feeling it's in the genes. When I was a teenager - okay, I was 26, whatever - I distinctly remember my own mom telling me that I was too sensitive. Of course it devastated me. How dare she criticize me by saying I couldn't take criticism? It's all so... sob... unfair.

I did of course forgive her, eventually. But I am starting to get the feeling that karma really is a bitch.

(Courtney, that picture's just for you!)

September 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 05, 2008

I am so not cool

Rockabyethrow_2 I am a walking cliché.

To my glee and utter astonishment, Mads napped away the better part of the afternoon yesterday. She showed no sign of waking so I snuck in to her bedroom to drag her from her dreams. Seeing her lying there, all wrapped up in her Dora-tabulous sheets, her hair plastered to the missed remnants of strawberry jam on her cheek, her thumb falling just out of her mouth, it struck me that I haven’t seen her sleep in… well, ages. I can’t remember the last time.

I’m struck these days by the sadness of these last moments. All of us overwhelmed with our grown-up responsibilities like to talk nostalgically about the spontaneity of childhood, but really, at this stage, it is repetitive to the point of monotony and yes, I’ll say it, at times utter boredom. Eat, play, read, sleep, bathe. Repeat.

But I know that one day soon she won’t need me to wipe the popsicle off of her purple-stained face, or to read her favourite book, or to dress her in the morning, listening to her laugh hysterically every time I tickle the spot behind her little knees. She won’t need me to wrap her up in her big duck towel after her bath, to tuck her into her big girl bed, or to tell her a hundred times each day how much I love her.

I hold onto the hope that, if we do this right, she may not need us but she’ll always want us around for something – even if it’s just to talk, to laugh, and yes, to kiss away the tears. I hope none of us are ever too old for that.

Cliché, right? I told you. Tomorrow I'll go back to raging against the dirty diapers and tear-filled tantrums, but today I am going to just enjoy the moment while it lasts. I guess motherhood kicks the cool out of the best of us some days.

September 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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"Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don't have the top for." ~Jerry Seinfeld.

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