Mellow’s mobility requires outlet covers

Mellow has achieved full mobility.  I was going to announce that a couple of weeks ago when she began army crawling every where, but it’s definitely more accurate now – she’s achieved real crawling, and she’s gotten pretty fast.

For a little while, she was experimenting with bear crawling, legs straight, butt up in the air.  But she kept getting stuck in that position – I think she concentrated too much weight on her hands and couldn’t pick one up to move it – and then she would just yell until we rescued her.  

For the past week, she’s been really really crawling, and she’s getting into everything.  This means it’s time to baby-proof again.  We used to have covers on all the outlets, but we got cheap ones, and I find them impossible to take out.  When it got to the point that I was using a knife or screwdriver to pry off the outlet covers (and thus risking jamming the knife or screwdriver into the outlet, which is exactly what those stupid covers should prevent) I removed them.  Wildling was never that interested in the outlets anyway.  Mellow is different – she wants to touch them.  She gets those little fingers out and reaches for the holes, and I get nervous.  I mean, I’m pretty sure her fingers won’t fit, but what happens when she realizes that and decides she wants to be a tool-using monkey and shoves something else in there?

When I was pregnant with Wildling, a friend with grown children asked if I was going to be one of those overprotective moms that child proofs the entire house.  She suggested I not do that, because kids need to learn, and if they get hurt a little, that’s ok, they’ll learn faster.  Then another friend with adult children commented that when her son was much younger, he shoved a knife into an outlet, and now he’s an electrical engineer.  I guess his early experiments benefited him?  

For me, though, I’m too paranoid to not cover the outlets.  I almost electrocuted myself once as a child, when I was trying to plug something in without paying close attention.  I’m still not quite sure how I managed it, but I did see the blue spark that leapt from the wall to my hand and left part of my hand numb for a couple of days.  It’s possible it was a faulty outlet, but if it wasn’t, I’m sure it’s a mistake my kids can repeat, and I’d rather they not do it while they’re this young.

 

Vacation tantrums

Last night of vacation.  Have to say, vacations aren’t the same when you have kids.  In some ways, they just plain suck (and no, I won’t clarify whether suck refers to the kids or the vacation).

This morning, our alarm clock went off at 6:00am.  And by alarm clock, I mean screaming toddler.  Wildling woke up screaming, then she cried hysterically for awhile, then she tried to crawl into our bed in between me and Mellow, who was soundly sleeping through the tantrum.  Why was she screaming? Because she had to pee.  Seriously kid, just go to the damn bathroom, you know where it is. 

Throughout this entire week we’ve had to deal with a lot of toddler tantrums.  Causes of those tantrums: She wanted to ride in the stroller instead of Mellow, and was unable/not allowed to physically remove Mellow herself. She wanted to go to the pool and we said she had to wait.  She saw a dog.  She thought she saw a dog.  She saw a dog across the street.  She saw a dog with a ‘human tongue.’ She was tired of walking. Her legs hurt. Her foot hurt.  There was a pelican.  The pelican ate a fish thirty feet away from us.  Mellow pulled her hair. Mellow pulled her own hair. She thought we said we weren’t going to get ice cream.  She wanted a second ice cream.  Some ice cream dripped on her pants. There was kelp on the beach. The sand was wet.  She was afraid there was more kelp under the sand.

Mellow’s had her fair share of crying fits as well, but none rise to the level of Wildling’s tantrums.  Causes of Mellow’s fits: She was tired. She was hungry. Her diaper was wet.  Someone besides her mama was holding her.  Wildling pinched her. Wildling squeezed her face.  Wildling took her toy away.  Wildling took her food away.  Wildling tried to pull her out of the stroller. Wildling tried to sit on her in the stroller.  

Someday, we are going on a vacation, just Will and I.  We’ll leave the kids at the grandparents’ house, and we’ll just take off.  And we will have a cry-free hysteria-free good time.

Babies do not flirt. Seriously, you perverts, they don’t.

Yesterday an old man came up to me and asked how old my baby was, and if she was a boy or a girl.  After I said that she was a girl, he told me that she was a terrible flirt, that she had been flirting with him over my shoulder for the past few minutes etc etc.  I have numerous problems with this.

1. Babies don’t flirt. If you are saying that they are, then you are ascribing sexual behaviors to them.

2. Babies like to interact with others.  That doesn’t mean flirting.  That means interacting.  That’s it.  Flirting has sexual overtones. If you think a small child is flirting with you, then you have issues.

3.  He asked Mellow’s sex before saying she was flirting.  Had she been a boy, how would he have described her interactions? Would it still have been ‘flirting,’ or would it have just been ‘smiling’ or ‘making faces’?

4. Every time a girl or woman smiles at that man, does he believe she is flirting? Is the waitress who brings his check flirting? What about the cashier at the grocery store? The girl who smiles politely when he says something to her in the street? When I smiled politely and thanked him for telling me my kids were beautiful, was I flirting?

5. Why did I then have to listen to this guy spend ten minutes talking about whatever nonsense from his life he felt like sharing?  I was just waiting for Wildling to finish her damn ice cream cone. Just because my baby smiled at someone doesn’t mean I feel like listening to them talk about themselves.  Mellow’s 4-tooth grin is not an invitation to interact with me.

In general, I don’t mind people coming up and talking to me about my children.  When Mellow was younger, she had crazy hair that stood up in a kind of awesome mohawk, and complete strangers would go out of their way to say something about it all the time.  That was fine.  People ask me my girls’ ages and then tell me about their kids (or their grandkids, who live too far away and they miss seeing them, blah blah blah, which I hear often).  Seriously, I don’t mind.  I’m sometimes starved for conversation, being stuck home with two kids several days a week.  It’s just the whole flirting thing that gets to me.  I’m sure some people think it’s just a harmless expression, but it really isn’t.  It is a reflection on how we treat women in our society (nice to me = flirting with me = she is attracted to me/wants me to be attracted to her), and it normalizes that attitude rather than acknowledging that people can interact without a sexual component.  Please don’t think my smiley little girl is flirting. She’s not.  No young child has the capacity necessary to flirt.   

Why I shouldn’t buy yarn without a pattern in mind

I bought some new yarn before this trip, thinking it would be nice to have a project to work on.  And by bought some new yarn, I mean I went to one LYS (that’s Local Yarn Shop to those of you who don’t use knitting TLAs (and that’s Three Letter Acronyms, which I learned from Will and just wanted to include so I could do a double parenthetical)), bought an expensive skein, and bought something slightly less expensive and fun, and bought one other skein that Wildling picked out.  And then, as if that wasn’t enough, a week later I went to a different LYS and bought more yarn as an impulse purchase, one skein for me, and two for Wildling (I admit, I like making things for her).

Since purchasing all that yarn, I’ve already used the expensive stuff to make myself and Wildling matching cowls (I didn’t originally plan to make hers, I just had enough leftover to do so), and I started Wildling’s new hat.  I’m not doing a pattern for the hat, and I didn’t bother to do a gauge swatch, and plus I was crocheting really tightly (on purpose), and I ended up having to frog most of it three times.  That’s how my knitting/crocheting always goes – I mess around, i don’t bother to check my gauge, and it ends up being the wrong size and I have to start over.  Will mocks me for it, but I assume he is doing so in a good-natured manner, and not because he truly sees how ridiculous it is that after all these years and all these failed projects I still don’t take the time at the beginning to do it right.

I’m super awesome at over-packing for trips, so I brought all of my new yarn, plus my WIP (Work In Progress – Wildling’s new hat).  And here I sit, still without a project idea for the yarn I brought for myself.  I think sometimes I get too caught up in liking the yarn and too afraid that if I make something and don’t like it, then the yarn is wasted.  Like I found a pretty wrap pattern that I am strongly considering making, but then I wonder if maybe it isn’t good enough, or maybe I’ll devote however many hours to it and not like it after all, or maybe I’ll make it and like it but won’t wear it because it doesn’t look right with any of my clothes.  See my dilemma? And see the reason I have too much yarn stashed at home?

Hmmm.  Reading over this makes me think I need to make something for Mellow too.  I have made her two hats, but I always just kind of assume she’ll get the stuff Wildling outgrows.  Now I need to go look at patterns on Ravelry again.

We are at fault for our own clutter. Sad sigh.

Sad news.  It turns out that Will and I are just messy clutter-full people.  It’s us. We’re the problem.

We’re on vacation (pointing this out just in case I didn’t brag about it enough in previous posts).  To get here, we packed a car full of stuff, but it wasn’t too full.  A suitcase for us, one for Wildling (which held an obscene amount of clothing since she likes to change 4-5 times per day) and one for Mellow which mostly contained cloth diapers.  A couple of bags.  Some groceries.  The stroller.  Books for us.  That’s it.  Our car was not jam-packed.  

Yet somehow, our vacation condo (note: we rent, we don’t own one; that would be worse) is now covered in clutter and detritus.  This was a nice place, very tastefully decorated, with nice clean furniture and minimal knick-knacks (all of which I moved out of Mellow’s reach as soon as we walked in the door).  Now it’s just a mess, with stuff everywhere.  The first evening we were here, I unpacked, I hung up and put away our clothes (except for Wildling’s, which I shoved under a bedroom bench so she could access them easily), I found a place for everything else.  And now it’s scattered, like some kind of tidal wave of crap washed over this place and dropped dishes and shoes and empty bags and wet swimsuits and baby chew toys everywhere. 

What sucks about this is that it means I can’t blame anything but Will and I for our mess at home.  I always feel like yes, it’s messy, yes, it’s so cluttered it drives me insane, but there’s a real reason for that, and as soon as the kitchen remodel is done, or as soon as I have time to sort that stack of papers, or as soon as Mellow outgrows that jumparoo, then it will all be magically clean and organized and we’ll have the clutter-free life we deserve desperately want.  And now I understand that isn’t true and we are doomed to a life of mess.  It’s us.  We’re the clutterbugs.  Yes, I just called us clutterbugs.  I made that word up just now (though I bet if I bother to search, google will tell me I’m not very original).

Lie for chocolate

Sometimes you have to lie to your kids.  And not share things with them.  We always tell Wildling ‘share with your friend’ or ‘share with your sister’ or ‘isn’t sharing so much fun,’ but I’m not going to pretend we always share with her.

This morning we walked to a cute little bakery in this ocean side tourist town.  We bought five pastries, three of which were assorted chocolate concoctions, the remaining two were cheesecakes.  The nice bakery lady put them in a box and we brought them back to our condo.  Then we took them with us to a friend’s house for dinner.

Our friends have two little girls, and Wildling falls pretty much in the middle of them age-wise.  So the girls were playing together, and had their own kids table at dinner.  After we ate some delicious wild caught Alaskan salmon acquired from a yacht broker (because where else would you get salmon?) the adults stayed at the adult table with adult beverages while the kids (minus Mellow who was sleeping on Will) went off to play.  This, of course, was an opportunity that did not pass us by.  Two of us went into the kitchen, got out the pastries, cut them into four pieces, put them on plates and carried them out past the girls, who remained blissfully unaware.  So we adults got to pig out on pastries and didn’t have to share or fight the children or anything.  It was awesome.

On the way back to the condo, poor Wildling suddenly exclaimed “Oh no! We forgot to eat the chocolates!” and since I’m a good mother, I was totally like “What chocolates?”  Of course that didn’t fool her and she reminded me that we had taken pastries to our friends’ house, and we were supposed to have dessert.  And so I lied.  “Oh, that wasn’t dessert, that was a gift.  We were just taking them a gift.” Yeah, that’s right, I will lie to my kid if it means more dessert for me.

 

Night at the ER

You know how I like to spend the last night at home before vacation? Packing, cleaning, doing laundry.  I like to get everything we’re taking with us organized, and I like to get the house clean too – when we get back, I like knowing we’ll walk into a nice clean home.

Want to know how I actually spent the last night before vacation?  In the emergency room with Wildling.  Not an ideal situation.

Here’s what happened: Wildling woke up at about 5:00am Friday, and started having a tantrum.  Around 5:45 she leaned over the rail on her toddler bed and vomited all over the floor (yet another time I am happy our house is entirely tiled).  So I comforted her (and nursed Mellow, who was woken up by all the earlier screaming) while Will wiped up the vomit (which, no surprise, is his least favorite chore).  After starting the washing machine to wash the towels he used to clean it, as well as my robe that was too close to the disaster and was contaminated as well, he took Wildling into the playroom.  And then she vomited all over in there as well.  Unfortunately, that occurred at a time in which it was too late to add anything to the wash, and she happened to vomit on the playroom mattress.  So more vomit soaked sheets. Yuck.

Anyway, after all that, she fell back asleep.  When we all (minus Will who went to work) got up later, she was really lethargic.  She laid on the floor for awhile, and when I picked her up, she told me she had to lay down because her back hurt.  I kept asking her how she felt, and she told me she felt good, which is why I didn’t cancel a scheduled playdate (probably a big mistake on my part).  Her little friend came over, and Wildling mostly just laid around and refused to play.  A couple of hours later, when the friend left, I discovered Wildling had a 103 degree temperature.  Tylenol brought it down to 102.

That evening, out of concern for her lethargy and temperature, we called our insurance company’s Nurse Line. After describing the symptoms, we were sent to Urgent Care, which turned out to be a huge waste of a $20 co-pay.  Seriously we went in there, the nurse practitioner (no doctors on staff that night) checked her vitals, said it was probably a UTI, but instead of running the tests there, we should go to the ER.

At least we have decent insurance, and the option to go to a pediatric ER (side note: every single nurse we encountered made a face and rolled their eyes when we told them urgent care had sent us, and one of them, upon finding out we had paid a co-pay to Urgent Care went off on a mini-rant about how ridiculous that place is and they shouldn’t charge us if they aren’t going to actually do anything. I don’t think that Urgent Care is held in high esteem at this particular hospital).  They got us into a room right away, and we ended up being there until 2:30am.  And it turned out not to be a UTI, nor strep throat (I don’t think Wildling’s going to forgive the doctor for that throat swab).  He guessed it was probably a viral infection, and wouldn’t let us leave until Wildling consumed 8 ounces of water, which it only took her an hour to do.  I could chug that in a second, but nobody was asking me to show off my drinking skills (though secretly, maybe I did drink some of hers because dammit, I wanted to go home!)

Anyway, long story short, the point of this is just to say We’re on vacation!!!!!!! And Wildling is feeling better now.  And we’re on vacation!!!! I can hear the ocean.

Petty mom-petition

This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me: I am a mom-petitor.  That’s right I admit it.  I grew up in a competitive household.  Hell, my older brother still calls me up when he accomplishes something big, not because he wants to share happiness with me, but because he wants to make sure it’s bigger than anything I’ve done lately. But he doesn’t live near me and our lives have taken different paths, so nowadays I mostly compete with random strangers.

Once, when Wildling was about a year old, I was talking to another parent of a child the same age.  The dad said something about needing to change his daughter’s diaper.  I looked at him, raised my eyebrows and said “She’s not potty trained yet?” then I sighed and gave him a sympathetic look and said “Well, I guess we all have different parenting styles,” and I just walked away.  I thought it was pretty funny, and I assume he knew I was joking.  But he might not have. Mom-petition.  I am either better at potty training or better at comedy than that other parent.

A few weeks ago when I picked Wildling up from daycare we had to walk past a woman and child in the lobby area.  The child was a boy from the pre-k class, so he was at least a year and a half older than her.  As we walked by, the mom was pointing to letters on the bulletin board.  She asked him to find ‘A,’ which he did, then she asked him what word starts with A.  “Airplane starts with A!” he exclaimed proudly, and she looked at me and I saw some snarky triumph in her eyes.  Her kid knew airplane started with A.  Obviously, he must have been brilliant.  Wildling then said “Mama, airplane starts with A!”  “I know, Wildling.  What else starts with A?” She thought for a second.  “Ants. Ants start with A.  Oh, and alligator, alligator starts with A, and . . . ” and she named off several more words.  I turned back, made eye contact with the other mom, and gave her a sort of half smile.  And we left.  I declare Wildling the winner of Battle A, and myself the winner of the pettiest mom-petition ever.  

 

 

Making family friends

As a grownup with kids, how does one go about making new friends? How do you convince people to be your friend? I ask this because I was internet stalking the mom of one of Wildling’s classmates, and I want to be her friend, and I want to be her husband’s friend, and I want us to all hang out.  Will would like them, I would like them, and I already know Wildling loves their daughter.  I need to set up a playdate, and then somehow convert them into our new best friends.  I don’t really have a good strategy for this yet.

It can be awkward trying to make friends with other moms.  We have a usual Monday playdate with a mom I like, and we have a usual Friday playdate with another mom I like (in a strange coincidence, both of those moms/families are out of the country right now and have been for a couple of weeks, so we’ve been missing out on our usual social time).  But we aren’t friends with the dads.  And I get the impression that those particular dads aren’t really all that involved in their children’s lives, so they probably aren’t interested in socializing as a family anyway.  Here’s why I don’t think the dads are all that involved:  Once I babysat for the Monday mom’s child so she could go to a doctor’s appointment, because she had no one else to watch the child – and it turned out the dad was at home playing video games the whole time.  As for the Friday mom, I think her husband isn’t all that involved because once she asked me who I got to babysit the kids on Saturdays when I work, and was shocked that Will did it.  Of course Will does it, though it isn’t babysitting since they’re his children.  

So, anyway, not really a good match for family friendship.  There are other dads that we like, but the moms are crazy people (I’m sure some stories will crop up here).  We do have another set of friends who have a baby Mellow’s age (well, four days older, but who keeps track?), but it seems like they are always out of town.  

It’s hard to make friends with someone when you have to not only like their entire family, but also convince them to like yours.  

Missing the old us

Having kids changes a person.  I remember life before Wildling.  Will and I were fit and active people.  We loved hiking and rock climbing and camping.  We used to go out for drinks with friends.  We hosted barbecues.  We went on road trips. 

Now? We celebrated our anniversary three months late, because it was the first night out we could schedule.  Since Mellow was born, we haven’t been hiking at all, unless you count one day walking a road through a national forest recreation area with a stroller.  We have never taken Wildling camping.  We only get to go out with our friends on very rare and well planned occasions.  I still see my best friend about once a week or once every two weeks, but it’s because she comes over for dinner.  Occasionally, we go out for drinks.  Will sometimes sees a movie with a guy friend of his.  That’s it.

I read blog posts online where people talk about these same lifestyle changes and they keep saying that giving everything up for kids is worth it, and too bad for their childless friends who don’t understand.  Me, I’m torn.  I admit to jealously of my child-free friends, and how they can just do things without trying to negotiate with the in-laws in advance, or careful coordination with their significant others – who has to stay home this time? Nobody, we don’t have kids.  I love Mellow and Wildling.  I really truly do.  But sometimes I miss the people Will and I were before they came along.

At the same time though, I can’t imagine what our lives would be like now without them.  Our house would be cleaner.  I would have a full time job.  We’d have more money. We would have gone on some pretty awesome vacations in the last couple of years.  But I think we’d always feel like something was missing, like no matter what we had it wouldn’t be enough.  I don’t think that’s true for everybody.  I’m definitely not a person who thinks everyone should have children, or thinks that those without children are missing out on an essential part of life.  I think I would miss it though.  My life has been enriched through knowing my children.