Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood

Archive for the tag “#Mac”

Oh yeah, let’s get RACIAL.

One of Mac’s favorite stories of his youth involves a soccer game where many of the players were not white. One player made a racist comment, and then Mac’s teammate looked up in total disbelief, saw all of the different people on the field, and in laughing, sneering disbelief said “Oh yeah, let’s get racial.” The moment was quickly diffused in a smattering of “OK, that was stupid.”

I want to look around America tonight and say, on November 8th, 2016, “Oh yeah, let’s get political.” Because it ALL is. The Trump votes, the Hillary votes, the Johnson/3rd Party/write in/Mickey Mouse… all of them are statements about us running around trying to protect ourselves and those we love. Except tonight, I feel a fear I have never known before. I thought I knew fear. But not like this. This is different.

Many times I don’t agree with some of the things Republican candidates say, but I’m also grateful they are there, because if people like me run the system you’re going to have a government where every person in America has 87 social programs, there will be entitlements for dogs and cats, and comprehensive life-care for every living being goldfish-sized and up. This is not practical. The GOP NEEDS to rein me in. However, in this election, I didn’t hear policy discussions, I heard more about The Wall, foreigners have to be the “right kind,” putting Muslims on a registration list, the inferiority of the Mexican people crossing our borders, and that it’s okay to make fun of the disabled.

My husband is from another country, I walk with a cane, and our son is named Eduardo.

A Trump administration is not going to go well for us.

I mean, what do I tell my kid if he hears that Mexicans are generally inferior people? I can tell him, all I want, that it doesn’t mean him, he was born here…but why do I need to split hairs? Oh, well, your bio-parents weren’t born here, but you were, so the magical healing properties of Iowan tap water have cleansed you of the sins of your people? Oh, some brown people are bad because they came here, but you were already here so pin a note on your shirt and the kids won’t make fun of you? No. It’s no good.

So that’s why I’m scared now. I’m scared for him. It’s not as though tomorrow everything will be different. He’ll throw his breakfast on the floor, go to daycare, come home and throw dinner on the floor, mommy will cry in the bathroom because two year olds don’t eat and subsist off of whatever food they find while they’re on the floor. It will be slow. Gradual, I suppose. How many years do we have, though? Two? Three? Seven (she wrote, fearfully)?  Will I have a nine year old who gets taunted because somebody figured out “Eddie” isn’t short for “Edwin?”

If you happened to vote for Trump, and feel my concerns are not merited, please leave a comment below. I’m serious. I need to know who among the majority were voting on the record of his policy decisions, or because they liked his hair, he’s anti-establishment, whatever. I want friends if the revolution comes. I left a pretty good track record of my liberal leanings and make no apology for that. But if I’m going to be first against that damn wall when the revolution comes, please, please take care of Eddie.

He really didn’t do anything wrong. Not even being Mexican. Oh yeah. I got racial.

 

The Seagull

DtEC fans, please meet my son the seagull:

gulls

Mac and I have had no idea why the switched flipped and our son transformed into Suboptimal Prime. He started the Terrible Two’s about 6 weeks ago and absolutely anything within reach of his adorable little fists is now “MINE!” There is no thought process to determine why it’s his or why he wants it; it’s just his. His favorite toy this week is an empty, rinsed 1/2 gallon milk jug. He fished it (see, Seagull! I told you so) out of recycling and now Milk Jug is a beloved companion. Milk Jug goes all over our house. It doesn’t come with us to Grandma’s because Son of Milk Jug resides with her.

May the good Lord protect and comfort you if you try to take away Milk Jug. Eddie immediately throws his head back, drops to the floor in protest and then screams “MIIIINE! MIIIIINE!” until Milk Jug or another distraction comes along.

The baffling part is where he got the word. It’s not like Mac and I roam around the house every day announcing possession of worldly goods. “My meatloaf! My panty liners! Our new water softener that cost $250 to install so don’t kick it!” Hell, I’m listening to Mac deal with our son right now. Outside our bedroom door he’s arguing that while he concedes that a bottle with a nipple on top could be, de facto, Eddie’s bottle, Eddie still can’t scream “MINE!” insofar as we won’t let him drink the rotten milk inside said bottle. We’re mean like that.

Our biggest struggle is the cat. Of course you knew this. It’s always the cat.

Oscar will tolerate a few seconds of Eddie’s hugs and petting, even kisses on the nose. But then it’s too much, and Oscar takes a swipe at him. Ordinarily I’d concede that Oscar is his own man (own cat? Own feline?) and, as such, has complete bodily autonomy. But.

Eddie looks so cute kissing him.

Sigh. Oscar is HIS!

 

 

If the door is closed, God opens a window. That you can’t reach.

Attention! Due to extenuating circumstances, the following MUST be kept closed to minimize the damage that can be done to, or done by, our toddler:

  1. Our bedroom door. Immediately as baby enters there are three shelves within his reach. Two of them are decorative corner units (warning! Sap alert!) Mac installed to my sight line for when I can’t sit up. They hold some of the things I find beautiful or special that remind me of traveling. Among other things it has a Russian lacquered bowl, a matrushka my nephew is quite fond of (don’t know why this particular thing, but I’m happy to share) and a couple of jewelery boxes. There’s also very pointy wooden Buddha from Thailand, a family picture from 15 years ago and the first dollar I ever earned as a published author. My son loves the little bowl, but it’s only a matter of time before he pokes out somebody’s eye with Pointy Thai Buddha and that’s not a level of metaphysical introspection I have time for.
  2. His bedroom. Eddie has learned pens and markers leave behind pretty, pretty colors. My husband keeps his work clothing in Eddie’s closet right now as Eddie’s sartorial needs are limited to “big spaghetti sauce stain but it’s technically clean vs. stainless, too small but everybody loves baby tummies.” Eddie wants to watch highlighters (we own 876, see also: professor) make pretty colors on Daddy’s dress shirts. The shirts for which Mac meticulously shops in higher-end, professional wear boutiques that tailor every piece as needed for him. The higher quality the fabric, the better they hold highlighter.
  3. Under the sink. Sure, we have the childproof magnetic locks and all that, but you have to figure in baby’s need to open the left cabinet. Why? It holds the cat treats. It is a guarantee Oscar will come rushing. I look under the sink, I see under a sink with some sponges I should give up already, and the feather duster next to cat supplies.gar kisses Eddie looks under the sink… and sees an opportunity to wield untold power over the cat. It’s all he ever wanted. Eddie screams “Gar! Gar! Whoa…Gar!” (Our new word is “whoa” and it gets used 89 times a day, plus whatever he says at daycare). My son follows his bliss. And then face plants himself into the soft, furry underbelly of the bliss.
  4. The bathroom. He saw the toilet flush once and got so stoked the water was vanishing he stuck his hand in there to feel it swirling away. This wasn’t a test flush, by the way. This was a fully operational toilet scenario, folks.
  5. The dishwasher. To be fair, Daddy loves it when Baby helps by getting out spoons and giving them to Daddy. So, the more engaged Baby is, the more Daddy will love this to the point of freaking the hell out, right? Baby is thinking “When did it become “wrong” to crawl up onto the door so I could find out how the green powder in the little rectangle-shaped dispenser tastes?”
  6. The stairway gate. The slots of the gate. Throwing toy, after toy, after toy, a green bean, the diaper he just wiggled out of (oh yeah, true story) and more toys..we’re learning so much about the sound of plastic on wood, wood on wood, crayon on wood, and, in its most colorful iteration, Daddy on baby metal fork at 2 am.
  7. The liquor cabinet so he can’t root around in there before bedtime.
    1. I should also make sure Baby doesn’t do that
  8. The entertainment system because good dowels gave their lives so that others might be safe. Never Forget.

Nice to meet you, Erma.

I like eating applesauce in the middle of the night.

When I need a snack at night, unsweetened applesauce in the total package: easy to find in fridge, low calorie, good for nausea, thick enough to cushion pills, and I can eat it silently in bed, perusing the internet for funny pictures of cats while next to me Mac produces an astonishing amount of body heat for someone who is neither awake nor the Human Torch.

Eat it silently.

***

fore·shad·ow

fôrˈSHadō/
verb
gerund or present participle: foreshadowing
be a warning or indication of (a future event).
***
          Two nights ago I came to the kitchen, then got my Peter Rabbit bowl, then filled it with applesauce, then grabbed my glass of water, then padded back to the bedroom, then set down the applesauce, then put the water on a coaster on my bedside table, then climbed into bed to sit up and peruse funny pictures of cats. Then jumped up with a robust squeal as my left butt cheek tipped a child’s plastic bowl filled with cold applesauce. Right now, I’d like to use this platform for some sage wisdom:
When setting things down it is of vital import to remember where one did this if one wishes to collect said item with hands, not arse.
          As you can imagine, Mac’s eyes opened PDQ when I squawked. I’m dripping applesauce onto the carpet on my side of the bed, where we keep a power strip on the floor. Two nights ago the power strip was hooked up to FIVE things, only two of them less than a hundred dollars to replace. I was frantically scooping up applesauce with my hands, trying to see how much of it got near or on the strip, and since the strip is how my bedside lamp operates I’m scared to turn the damn thing on. I replace my disgusting, squishy nightgown. Mac gives up sleep as a lost cause and heads to his bathroom, stopping to put my nightgown in the washer. I collect bowl, spoon, sodden Kleenex and such to get everything rinsed since we’ve already spent two months at the Maginot Line as far as kitchen ants are concerned.
          Mac returns, shuts off his light, and I come back in with some wet paper towels (carefully kept away from electrical sources, thankyouverymuch) and a flashlight. Satisfied our bedroom is no longer a target for Ant Lebensraum, I sit back on the bed.
          We have cream-colored sheets.
Guess what looks like a wrinkled shadow against cream-colored sheets?
I hadn’t seen the pile of applesauce puddled dead center of my butt imprint.
          Oh, yeah. Same sauce, second verse. A little bit louder, and a metric shit ton worse. There are now TWO disgusting nighties (silky fabric for optimal conduction of frigidity, TWO soggy areas of bedside floor to clean, TWO times I have woken up my husband, an essentially good man, for absolutely no reason than my own terrible choice of late night snack. But wait! There’s more.
          Our mattress pad has a heating element, like sleeping on a giant heating pad. I have no clue if the sauce got in there, and if it did, how do we clean it? I just said moisture and heat sources are mortal enemies. We can’t get clean sheets (stored in closet of Baby’s room), I’m still hungry, I haven’t taken the needed pain pill, my snack is lodged in crevices polite society doesn’t discuss plus Mac goes to work in three hours and his wife is having a breakdown over pulverized fruit.
          Mac smiled gently and told me to get a towel. I miserably put a towel over the whole damn thing and reply, “At least I’ve got a blog entry. Can’t let this be for nothing.” Then Mac tells me, as the CPAP goes back on, “Erma Bombeck would be proud.”
Well.
Fine.
All right then.

The HMS I Panicked

Whoo-boy, I was in exceptional form last night. As far as I know I’m still married, meaning Mac is either a patient or paperwork-averse man. I’m not looking that gift horse in the mouth.

Last night I FINALLY fully understood a lesson my mom gave me when I was 8 or so, during one of the dozens of tornado warnings that come with being a kid in Nebraska. For real, we went through a phase where we kept a blender downstairs and everybody could have fresh, homemade Orange Julius while we waited to see if anything was serious. My grandparents had been caught in the Night of the Twisters (Grand Island, Nebraska, June 1980). We weren’t flippant, just not panicking every siren. We knew about warnings vs. warnings.

A bad storm came through last night. I was awake on Baby duty, it has been 12 days since he had a cold, so he’s been due for another since four days ago. It’s relevant to mention I was on some low-middling level pain meds, because I waaaay overdid it seeing family July 5th. The next two docs I’m seeing this month essentially do this when their office reports I’m on line one:

gallery_298_17_1836

Last night, at 1:10 in the morning, I heard a horrifying sound: it was an extreme ripping against our back screen door, 12 feet from where I was sitting. We’ve had it fly open, patio furniture blow over, flowerpots break; this was none of these. It was a lot louder, and there was a break between sounds. The first part sounded like somebody trying to punch through the all-glass door, the second sounded like someone trying to rip the door wide open.

I didn’t stick around for the next sound. I ran into our bedroom, turning on the light and forcing Mac’s CPAP off of him. In a loud, clear voice (Mac is very hard of hearing without his aids and seeing your lips) I told him I thought someone was trying to get in. That I was sending him to investigate, and I was going to stand at the baby’s door. To his credit, Mac didn’t even question this. He marched out there like a gladiator in boxer briefs, turning on the floodlights and Being The Protector.

So, Mama Bear here is back in the hallway, standing in front of the baby’s room…doing what, exactly? Well, I had my phone, 3/4 of the way to calling 911. I am not ashamed to admit I have practiced what I’ll say in different scenarios in case I’m scared and the actor trick of calling “line!” isn’t gonna do much for me. But other than that…what the hell was my plan?

No idea. Lizard Brain was driving the train. The ONLY thing in reach would have been something out of the small hallway cabinet that Mac uses to store the few bottles of alcohol we own. So Braintrust over here thinks “I could hit the intruder with a bottle!” Yes, if this person has a knife or a gun, I’ll be locking the baby in and guarding his door by christening the criminal like a new ship.

For .23 of a second it occurred to me that ownership of a handgun would make me feel safer in that moment. In a more reflective moment later I rewound my scenario: a woman on medication, scared out of her wits, using her Lizard Brain to make decisions, shaking like a Jell-O shot in a paint mixer…with a gun. Forget about loading the damn thing, I probably would have bled out there on the floor trying to claw through the fucking safe to reach the gun. My cause of death would have been listed as ripping out of nails, teeth and fingers attempting to open a SAFE. Official verdict, death by irony.

In the end, it turned out the winds had rearranged our supremely heavy deck furniture for us, some things were blowing away, and something probably hit the glass door with great force. Mac, god love him, was back asleep by 1:30. My adrenaline and I were up well past 4:00. It’s 8:30 in the morning and I’ve still got a knot in my stomach. Hm. I should probably ask about bowel obstructions. But my point remains; I was scared as hell, and in that moment the thing that made the most sense in Primal Mommy Mode was to put myself between anything and my son.

So, what does this have to do with tornadoes? When we were very young, during a tornado warning we were in the downstairs bathroom, ready to go right under the stairs, a place I HATED because I once saw a mouse there. But, in my little kid mind, I could still see mice<tornadoes. I asked my mom what she’d do if we heard a twister coming, and she said that my sister Robin and I would crouch on the floor with our hands protecting the vulnerable back of our necks. Then, she would huddle over us wearing a blanket, protecting our bodies with her own. My seven-year-old mind exploded. Mom didn’t act like this was a big whoop. Just, yeah, I’ll cover you guys. With my own body.

I never forgot it because WHOA. That was a lot to take in. Seriously.

Well, it took me about 33 years, but I get it now. Thanks for your Lizard Brain, mom. The next time we have a tornado warning, do the Orange Julius thing. If I were you, I’d incorporate my new Lizard Brain tradition: pick up the big bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey. The bigger, the better.You never know when you might find it useful.

 

Well, this is embarrassing

HIATUS OVER! It’s good to “see” all of you again. Hey there. You look great and those highlights are perfect for summer. I DID lose weight! Thanks for noticing! By the way, I was so happy they finally saw how hard you’ve been working and they rewarded it. Plus, CONGRATS! I know you had wanted that one thing for so long now, nobody deserves it more!

Or.

I planned to tell you that the recent hiatus here at DtEC was because I’ve been in feverish negotiations to publish my latest bestseller, or that my son has become so attached to me we can hardly go thirty seconds without a Significant Moment such as one sees in diaper ads, formula commercials, etc. Or perhaps I was finishing up a stunning little bungalow for Habitat for Humanity, and sure it took a bit longer but I like to wire it myself and personally supervise the solar panel installation while I paint a cheery fresco in the kitchen.

To be clear, absolutely all of those things happened (not to me, but be patient, I’m telling this story). So why haven’t you heard about my latest parenting misadventures?

Well, this hurts. So, here goes: You haven’t read about them because I was too ashamed to admit I’ve let being a mother take a back seat in my life. And I’m not sure that’s OK. I was supposed to put my son before anything and everything else that would ever happen to me. I thought I WAS. But I wasn’t.

It’s not news my body is an Atari in a Playstation world. Big deal. The night before I turned 40 (oh yeah– I did that!) I reminded myself that some people don’t turn forty, they EARN 40. I think I’ve fought pretty hard to get here. Even though I keep my mental and physical health as good as I am able, the fact remains that many people with my particular diagnoses struggle to keep on keepin’ on. Did you know that the CDC estimates 50% of all people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide? Our risk is well more than double the average person. I say this not to be morbid but educational. Add that to some of the more colorful physical challenges my body likes to present, and I feel damn well justified for saying I worked hard to make it to 40.

So what’s happened? To be blunt– I don’t know, and a lot of other people don’t, either. I’ve begun having pain, dizziness, lack of appetite, and two memorable vertigo attacks I wouldn’t wish on anybody short of a dues-paying member of ISIL. I’m steadily working my way through the medical establishment, doing what my friend AJ used to call the OYS tour. “Only You, Sarah” explains a ton, medically speaking. These symptoms are additional to the underlying issue. You can see how this is complicated. Not playing chess complicated…organizing the landing on Omaha Beach complicated. But, for the sake of my readers who are married to me and have lived the unbearable pain of losing a partner– let me be clear. None of this is terminal. It’s merely…presenting such a unique set of problems that even the Mayo Clinic demanded over 100 separate new items before they would continue to review my case for admission. Uh, yay for individuality?

My role in my son’s life has changed. When I can I’m doing the stuff he needs (I hold a fourth degree black belt in singing Wiggles songs to deflect whining) but the grind, the day to day, Mac has done. My whole family and our friends have been amazing (like the morning we had to call 911 because a vertigo attack lasted two hours and I began to aspirate vomit; my neighbors simply crossed the street and solved the childcare crisis as I’m being sped away). How can you tell people what it means that they will do that when you yourself can’t?

Now my embarrassment.

I thought I knew humility and gratitude as those around me loved and cared for our son, wanting him as much as we always did. Then, two nights ago, I said something that was shocking in its honesty but also shocking in that I didn’t know I felt this way: if I had known this would happen, I might not have ever filed the paperwork. I would have said it wasn’t fair to saddle everybody else with my dream of motherhood when I’m not suited up and ready to play. Obviously he’s so much more than “my” son– he’s a grandson, a nephew, cousin, playmate, friend. But I was there from day one. Believe me. Mac was on board, but I was driving that train. Had I known my limit-testing son headbutting me in the gut took me down for the count (24 hours of ice, heat, rest and meds to get past a simple toddler hissy fit) would I have thought parenting was a good idea?

In the coming weeks, I assure you we have MANY fun things to laugh about. First spaghetti! First summer buzz cut! First hissy fit over juice in a sippy cup! First real steps (at 18 months he’s considered a bit of a late bloomer but that’s horseshit because these were exceptional first steps, not everyday walking around stuff, or whatever other babies do). The humor will be back, I assure you.

Thank you for giving me time off to build that house, scream at a publisher who is DESPERATE for my next book (as he chomps on the end of a cigar, because my brain gets my imaginary publisher confused with the editor that wants more pictures of Spiderman), and coo with my son in artfully arranged gauzy cotton swaddles while the announcer extols the virtue of new No Farter-Starter Gas-Ease Formula (Geneva Protocol Brand, ask for it by name!).

I dinged my funny bone; we’re on the mend now. Please enjoy summer and come back soon for the story of the Great Saltine Rationing of 2016.

Love Story: the real sequel

Oh, readers. You’ll love this. I mean it; you’ll love this, because by now you think you’ve copped on. “Sarah can’t possibly have this many physical problems, she’s a head case who exaggerates minor physical discomforts for the sake of the story,” you’re saying to yourself in my voice at this very minute. I do mean this minute. I wait until each and every one of you is reading, then I say it along with you. (Hi, Don & Suzie, congrats on the move!).

Hollywood, I have the ultimate pitch to you. I want to pitch my movie about the sequel to Love Story, only this is very real and the coveted age 40-65 movie target audience will come for this one. They truly will.

We start with the wife, and this IS based on a true story, somewhere out there some superheroes disguised as EMTs and firefighters will corroborate… taken to the ER with what we now know was an extremely sudden attack of benign positional vertigo. The entire world was spinning, I could NOT stop puking, I was lethargic and confused, and wasn’t ambulatory. Simply put, it was like being drunk on a Tilt-a-Whirl after you’ve eaten Thanksgiving dinner then stepped into an anti-gravity chamber. Hm. I need to work on “simply put.” Anyhow, the vertigo is expected to last six weeks or so, and I frequently get so dizzy I have to stop everything and sit on the floor, or I’ll get there one second later but land on my face.

We meet the protagonist, Mac. He’s NOT George Clooney, he’s had to live a real life, so go find an actor that has DONE that, thank you. Mac is now married to a person who cannot pick up their beautiful adopted baby from off the ground, lift the baby or carry him for more than a minute, put him in a carseat, or, for that matter, drive. (I still get so damned dizzy that I get carsick while I’m driving. One or two things my cop father said are rattling around somewhere in my brain, thus I respect a car is a deadly weapon in the wrong hands. I have taken myself off the road before I get myself or someone else killed).

Mac’s school year is all but done, he’s mostly researching and writing. Don’t let that fool you; that’s still a 40 hour work week, when done by serious professors who give a damn and are good at their jobs. Sitting on your butt and writing (for real) is WORK. His day is simple: get baby up, feed him, dress him, drop him at Learning Center (daycare), go to work, get baby, come home, amuse baby til dinner, make dinner, TV, bed. He has made it clear my character is welcome to join in, but if I don’t feel well enough, by all means he’ll get’r done.

Obviously I try to do what I can. Mac can nap while Baby and I watch Sesame Street and count our toes, or I give him an amazing new toy and he can hit other things with it. Today it was a spoon. Yesterday it was empty husk of a highlighter, the innards long-since sent to the Staples in the sky. I helped change the bed after Baby pooped in it and the clumpy, yogurty mess went all down Baby’s pant leg. That mess, by the way, was a grim reminder that Mac should double check he put a diaper on the kid before putting him in the crib.

That’s how tired this man is. He forgot the diaper entirely. Then thanked me for getting a clean mattress pad on the bed. Thanked me.

Think about that for a second.

Hollywood, take note: I am now writing the secret to the greatest screenplay of the last century, and giving it away for free, so at the VERY least give it some thought and then cast an actress who is 40 to play me, not a 22 year old who has a flat stomach and a $300 haircut.

Mac did Love Story, the original. His first wife died very young, of a cancer so vicious it couldn’t even have the mercy to end her days quickly. There was no Ali McGraw, no beautiful soundtrack, no Academy award nominations. It sucked Mac dry then left him for dead, except he was still here.

Now here he is, in a sequel that, like so many others, is a fainter shade of the real deal and nobody’s heard of the actress. A whole decade younger…should have been a safe bet, huh? Nope. Still calling 911, still getting huge medical bills, still seeing doctors shake their head and say “I’ve never heard of this before. Sorry.” And in the middle of all of this…he found enough love in his heart to dream of a son, and then Baby finally comes. Mac is now under studio contract to keep making this work no matter how much the actress is wandering off and on the set, taking weird pills, sitting for no discernible reason in the middle of the floor, making the whole house into an instant parody of the world’s shittiest ashram. The baby screams because he wants Cheerios, the soundtrack to the Wiggles is on permanent loop for the rest of our lives, and after cleaning up the poop, putting everything in the clothes washer, drying it, bringing it upstairs, feeding our kid and spending time with me…

HE thanked ME for putting the mattress pad on Baby’s crib.

Hollywood, I know you’re blowing me off, but believe me when I tell you every couple who has been in love through these times will see this movie. Anybody can fall in love. Hell, it’s so easy the Kardashians, David Hasselhoff, Voldemort and Donald Trump all did it, and remember Hasselhoff was quoted as saying “I’ve got taste. It’s inbred in me.”

The sequel is the better, braver movie here. It’s the choice to be a good man, a good father, a good husband, a good provider, a good son, and, with the time he was allowed, a good brother. THAT’S the angle, Hollywood. Show the choices people make when one has to be at 100% day and night, trusting the other will be there when the time comes.

She is here. No, hon, look down. On the floor. But I am here, and I’m grateful that “romantic movie” gives way to scary EMTs, poopy sheets and the grace to thank me when I do what I can as well as I can.

I love you Mac, as I can and from wherever I am. Yep. Down here again, kitchen floor. Thanks for making the sequel.

 

The Scream

I don’t know what’s happened. This was sudden, it was unexpected, it’s completely off-the-charts, not to mention off of the timeline we thought we were following.

Baby is 16 months, and, I say this with love, he has become a total jerk.

Seriously! Not even two weeks ago we had a sunny little boy, who loved to pet the cat, take long naps, and have Daddy throw him the air while Mommy shouted “wheeeeee!” and tried to take pictures. Not that long ago he loved new food, scooting around and meeting people. It was the perfect time to enroll him in his new daycare. Uh, sorry. Learning Center…and they do insist that a child my son’s age is better off at a Learning Center, capital L and Capital C.  Then one day, the kid Mac brought home from the daycare Learning Center was, well, an asshole!

He shouts like the world is ending when you lay him down for a diaper change. He DOES NOT DO baby food anymore, even his old favorites like turkey and rice. Feeding him is not happening. Baby feeds himself or baby won’t be eating today, thanks. When he’s done, he violently pushes away or drops it all on the floor. If he doesn’t like what you gave him, floor. Less than two weeks ago I had the world’s least fussy eater! Where did THAT KID go?

Navigating entertainment is a nightmare. Wrong episode of The Wiggles? Lock Mommy in the Tower of London. At this very second, I’m listening to the baby scream a high-pitched whine because Daddy only read the football book twice, not three times. It’s almost comical when he wants to look out the living room window but I’m the only one home. I can’t hold him up there to see out well, but he can look at all the same stuff if I open his nursery blinds and he can stand in his crib. But that’s not the window he wants, Mommy, you incompetent piece of trash.

Again, I can hear him screaming at Mac right now. This time it’s because he can’t have a taste of whatever Mac is drinking; Glenfiddich, if Mac’s smart.

The Baby found a wooden rod that’s held to play a bodhran, a traditional Irish drum. Baby screamed for 20 minutes when he was not allowed to use the cat as a drum.

He kicks violently if he wants to do something dangerous, like fall down a flight of stairs, and you stop him.

He dropped our Roku remote in a glass of ice water.

He screams incessantly when put down for a nap, even if he is so tired he has drooped his little head to lay down on the living room rug.

Baby damned near broke Mac’s nose hurling himself at Daddy during a temper tantrum, then threw ANOTHER tantrum that while Daddy assessed the damage Baby wasn’t allowed to rip out the hearing aids Daddy desperately needs to avoid being dependent on mime and ASL.

He’s angry we won’t let him inhale and draw things with Sharpies. He screams when he throws something on the ground, it gets left there to discourage that, so he throws more at it in a misguided attempt to make things better.

Baby is angry The Wiggles only sent 78 episodes to the US with Simon in them. He freaks the hell out over Simon. If anybody happens to know Simon of the Wiggles, please tell him he’s welcome to come sleep with me, or Mac, or both of us if that’s his thing, if he will only keep my kid occupied until Baby’s 3rd birthday.

Is it ethical to give a 16 month old a little Benedryl to make him sleep? I’m asking for a friend.

Finally…where did my baby go? The little bundle who shook his whole body with glee when he heard the straps of my velcro; the sound that always meant Mommy’s here, and she’s going to pick you up and we’ll have great adventures together. Is he coming back? Even in a bigger format, I miss the baby who loved his father, his Oscar (“ar! Gar!” he’d squeal, gleefully sinking his face into the cat’s soft belly). PLEASE bring him back. Mac and I can only stand a baby behaving exactly as we must have for a little while longer.

Then it’s Glenfiddich and Benedryl time. For us.

Simon’s got the baby.

Can you PLEASE tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

El Niño has officially turned 16 months, and I’m nudging towards letting him watch more television. For one thing, as mentioned before, he really, sincerely loves The Wiggles. The Wiggles are family, as far as he’s concerned. They’re people we visit regularly, or he’s sad because they must have left forever. When he got back from Grandma’s after I dislodged the cold from hell (doctor says total recovery time will be another three-four weeks. WHAT!?) Baby’s priorities were as follows:

  1. Allow weird lady kiss on the cheek, she wants to hold me and cuddle me and never let go, something about mommy missed you so much, but I can’t be bothered because
  2. THE CAT!! Oscar still lives here! Ohmigod, Ohmigod, gotta pull on his tail. PLEASE let me pull on him!
  3. Oh, good. We still own a TV. Make the sign for The Wiggles.
  4. Lady, I’m not kidding, leave me alone. Simon’s on. He has the best voice, but I also like Emma’s bows.

So, I’m trying to get in more Sesame Street, because Mom swears that’s how I learned to read. I turned on HBO and got the thing titled Sesame Street. But…it’s not. Let’s start with the obvious: I never saw, and I was looking closely, (I’ll have you know I was once an undercover detective at Bloomingdale’s and they are a VERY big store)…I never once saw Bert and Ernie together. They sort of showed up to announce the number of the day, but you can’t fool me. That’s not new content. It gets recycled every time, and it only took me four episodes to catch on to that. SO. What gives, Sesame Street? Where did they go? Did they reveal the Count is money laundering and now they sleep with the fishes? “Count the cement blocks, 1, 2, 3, 4! FOUR cement blocks, ah ah aaah.”

There wasn’t any Oscar the Grouch. I barely saw Big Bird. I appreciate the store is still called Hooper’s but where are all the people? There used to be lots of people on Sesame Street. Now, the puppets may interact with one or two. Elmo is driving this thing. I can’t understand what the hell he’s saying. His voice is high, and he talks like he learned English from someone who was just screwing with him. I refuse to believe anything is willing to listen to that voice everyday. Dorothy the Goldfish, go glub glub twice if you’re being held involuntarily.

Who is the fairy thing? And why is she so superior to Telly? Telly may be a bit of a stick in the mud, but at least he’s not a smug little shit leaving glitter in his wake. I do appreciate they at least still HAVE Telly. I thought he’d gone the way of Snuffy and Kermit. Oh, and I hear Snuffy can be seen now, so kids aren’t worried to say something and not have an adult believe them. That’s nice. It is. But last week, using nothing but a frisbee, my 5 year old nephew declared he could see that he was Iron Man and Uncle Mac was Captain America. Originally, I was Cap, and that worked out great until I forgot to mention I’m pre-serum Steve and the Dude tried to tackle me to get the frisbee. Now, Aunt Sarah is Peggy Carter; good at strategy, not involved in combat. So, kids can say they see things, and believing them is important…but if you look at me and see an indestructible body topped with blond hair that belongs on a Ken doll, I’ll get you in to talk to my therapist right after I’m done with her this week.

I’m also going to add we have several former students who work on the Sesame Street Live show, and the live show is a whole other matter. It’s a spectacular show and really fun for kids. Baby’s too young this year but we think next year, maybe. My complaint is specifically TV oriented.

Sigh. Everything changes. Everything grows. I understand this; it’s how my tiny little 7 lb snizzlefritz got to the point where he likes to dance, try to sing, and pretend he can walk. “I walk with my hand on all the furniture and DO NOT help me mommy, I’m doing it all by myself, I just happen to have a hand on the furniture at all times because I’m comforting our furniture. It’s sad you don’t clean the furniture as often as they would like.”

So, Elmo. OK. And the fairy thing. All right. Seriously though, Bert and Ernie? That’s not growth.

That’s bullshit.

WMD

With the voting climate as it is right now, it seemed like a good time to bring forth some good old-fashioned flag-waving, true blue sacrifice for our country. I probably shouldn’t be telling all of you this. If I looked through the paperwork we signed I’m sure the government told me to keep this private, national security, lives at stake, something something no, we don’t get what’s up with Trump’s hair either, but seriously this is a secret. But, as a proud mama, I have to brag just a little. My son is going to be hired by our Army as a WMD: a Whippersnapper of Mass Distraction.

He’ll be put in key diplomatic strategy meetings, and then he’ll do what he does right now, 24/7. He’ll pull himself up on furniture then scream because he can’t get down. He’ll be sitting and watching the Wiggles and if one of them is wearing a costume he doesn’t like he’ll scream for hours. Doesn’t like the pants Daddy put him in? Scream. Daddy runs to the bathroom? Scream! Mommy took his empty Cheerios bowl? Double scream, because now mommy is a jerkface AND there’s no Cheerios. Mommy comes back with more Cheerios? This is a time for earth-shattering, top-level screaming because if Mommy had a clue she would have saved the inevitable heartbreak and brought the box to the bowl, not the other way around.

He gets himself turned around in his crib and screams. We put him on his back, tucked in, just like he likes but then we leave again; screaming. He rolls over and back again–Doppler effect screaming! Would you care to guess what happens when he wants yogurt but with CINNAMON, dammit, not FRUIT? Well, ordinarily fruit is delicious and he would like it. But now right now, get cinnamon because BABY ANGRY. Feel the need to SCREAM. YOU WON’T LIKE ME WHEN I’M SCREAMY. Sometimes I hear my baby but I see this:

Hulk-The-Avengers-movie-image

Hulk-The-Avengers-movie-image

I’d ask my friends if this is normal, but none of them with kids can hear anymore. I have a friend with three boys that gave up and decided to use baby sign language. Not for her kids, they talk just fine. She and her husband use it because their hearing is never coming back. Mac and I seek television programs we’ll enjoy that aren’t in English because then the subtitles roll merrily along and all we need to do is keep the “I’m mad because I’m mad” screams from escalating to “I might actually have a problem here” screams.

I reckon Baby could be deployed to lots of countries that value silence and decorum. See, in Brazil, I’d bet ten minutes of wiggling and dancing while you scream isn’t inappropriate, it’s part of the health plan to keep people sane and good-natured. But let’s pull this out at a meeting calling for high and strict levels of decorum. Your Russians, your Japanese, your Liechtensteiners (who are solemn because nobody ever remembers to spell their country correctly), imagine taking in this adorable child, who is renowned for his cuteness and lovability,  and letting him scream every time one of the diplomats wants to make a point. We can cut summits down to two hours, and half of that is drinking coffee and waiting for staff to put on The Wiggles again so the weapon can be diffused and sent to his nap with Norman the blue elephant and his favorite blankie.

I don’t even accept this is a phase anymore. He’s just going to scream, often, randomly, at unbelievable decibel levels every day until the day Mac and I have both gone on to our great reward. That reward will be sound cancelling headphones and a thanks from the US government for asking what we could do for this country, and answering President Kennedy’s call with the loudest human being ever created.

Don’t worry! You can thank us for our patriotism, too. In writing, please.

 

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