My Kid Stole My Cool

Everything I Said I’d Never Do

Posted on Oct 6, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

Everything I Said I’d Never Do 3

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry I’ve neglected this blog these past couple of weeks. I have no excuse, except that I’m crazy tired.  Every day I wage war against a stubborn almost-two year old, and every day I lose.  It’s exhausting.

Eating breakfast.  Getting dressed.  Getting into the car seat.  Eating Lunch.  Napping.  Playtime.  Cleaning up.  Eating dinner.  Getting out of the bath.  Brushing teeth.  Night-Night time.  All battles.  Sometimes I think Elisabeth is literally trying to kill me.  That one time that she took the napkin to wipe my face, just like she did hers?  Sure, it seemed cute at first.  But then I realized that she might actually be trying to smother me.  Or that time she “dropped” her sippy cup on my head as I was cleaning up the floor beneath her high chair?  I’m pretty sure she was trying to take me out.

In an effort to maintain any iota of sanity, I’ve turned into that mom.  The mom I swore I’d never be.  The mom who turns on Sesame Street so I can cook dinner in peace.  (Although “peace” now means Elmo and the gang singing loudly in the next room.)  The mom who shoves an iPad in her daughter’s hands to keep her quiet on a train.  (To be fair – have you been on a Japanese train?  They are silent.  Fidgety, crying toddler on Japanese train = super awkward.  You’d totally use the iPad too.)  The mom who bribes her child with cheese sticks or gives her the pacifier THAT’S ONLY ALLOWED IN THE CRIB so I can finish the last 10 minutes of a run without a tantrum.

I was going to have a strictly non-electronic household for baby, until at least two years old.  I was going to feed my child exclusively healthy snacks, on an appropriate meal schedule.  I was going to have her weaned from the pacifier by 18 months.  She was going to be the child that thrived on my routine and rules, and should the occasional tantrum occur, I would not give in.  I am the boss, after all.

As if.  What I am is delusional, if I thought I was the boss.

A couple of weeks ago Elisabeth had a modeling job in Tokyo.  It was a long day and Elisabeth got cranky.  (I think her modeling days are numbered.)  At one point, I looked at my daughter sitting with the iPad, engrossed in Elmo, with packages of Japanese snacks littered around her.  I turned to a friend who was there.  “This is everything I said I’d never do as a parent,” I said.*  My friend concurred.  (Thank goodness, or else I would’ve felt really bad about myself.)  Sometimes – like on a long modeling shoot surrounded by hyped up toddlers – a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

I'm sure some people will be up in arms over this photo - we are ruining the youth of America!  Chill out, folks.  I swear this is not the norm.

I’m sure some people will be up in arms over this photo – we are ruining the youth of America! Chill out, folks. I promise this really is not the norm.

This doesn’t apply only to Elisabeth.  This applies to me, as well.  For example, I said that as a grown, mature woman, I’d never eat pumpkin bread and ice cream for dinner.  But that’s exactly what I’m going to go do.  Now excuse me, there is a pint of Haagen-Dazs calling my name.

*In my meager defense, I did pack non-electronic toys and books, as well as healthy snacks.  But, but… they had cookies!

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Up! Up! Upchuck.

Posted on Aug 2, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

Up! Up! Upchuck. 0

I think moms should earn badges, like Girl Scouts.  There would be the “Labor and Delivery” badge (kind of a required one), the “Leaving the Child at Daycare Without Crying” badge, for a military spouse, a “Parenting with a Deployed Spouse” badge, and then there’d be the badge I earned last night, the “Surviving Your Child’s Stomach Flu Without Throwing Up Yourself” badge.  That’s a toughie to earn, because dealing with a vomiting child is really, really gross. Without getting too graphic, Elisabeth’s diapers had indicated that her tummy was giving her trouble all day yesterday.  But she was acting like her normal, happy self, so I wasn’t worried.  At around 11:15 PM, I heard her tossing and turning in her crib and went in to check in on her.  Her stomach was making all sorts of unnatural noises.  Oh no, I thought, she’s gonna blow.   She woke up, and I attempted to comfort her.  We moved from the crib to the rocking chair to the changing table and back again for the next 45 minutes.  Seated in the rocker, she pointed to the changing table and said, “Poo-poo!”  She knew what was coming.  She wanted to be prepared.  Admirable of her, really. I took her back to the changing table because she demanded so and she lay down, fighting to stay awake.  I waited, listening to her tummy rumble, knowing an explosive diaper was inevitable.  But when?  As she drifted in and out of sleep I decided to move her back to her crib for comfort’s sake (hers and mine).  As soon as I put her down, she sprung to her feet. “Lay down, Sweetie,” I coaxed.  “I’ll lay down next to you.”  I crouched next to the crib, one hand through the slats trying to cajole Elisabeth to lay down. She leaned over the crib.  “Up! Up!” she exclaimed.  And then… upchuck. I was caught off guard, to say the least.  I certainly had not anticipated or prepared for anything coming out of that end.  And let me tell you, crouching beside  a crib, peering up...

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Toilet Water and Other Toddler Fun

Posted on Jul 27, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

Toilet Water and Other Toddler Fun 3

Kids are gross. A few days ago Elisabeth pooped in the tub during her morning bath.  The tub in my parent’s house is quite deep, so bathing her is a two-person job.  I stand in the tub to clean her and then hand her off to one of my parents to dry her off, lest I kill myself trying to get both myself and the wet, wiggly toddler onto dry land. So there I am, scrubbing her down, and she poops.  Now baby poop is nothing new for me.  But baby poop in the tub is.  It totally paralyzed me.  “Uh, I don’t really know what to do about this,” I said to my dad, waiting to dry Elisabeth off.  Then I realized I was standing in the poopy water and quickly extracted both Elisabeth and myself from the tub. At that point, you kinda think, Well, that’s the grossest thing that’s going to happen today.  But then it isn’t. Hours later, I noticed the house had gotten eerily quiet, which obviously meant trouble.  I found Elisabeth in my parent’s bathroom, dunking her sippy cup in the toilet, and then drinking from it.  There you have it – something grosser than a little poop in a tub. I thought I was off the hook when it came to icky-kid stuff – Elisabeth is a total priss.  The first (and only) time I tried finger-painting with her, she had an epic meltdown as soon as her hands touched the paint.  When we went to Hawaii last Christmas, she was terrified of the sand.  And the water.  And the grass.  When we visited Nagano for a ski vacation, the snow reduced her to tears.  I figured her for an indoor girl. Whenever she gets something (food, usually) on her hands, she reaches her hands out to me, completely disgusted by the utter filth that is covering her.  “Eh! Eh!” she whines.  Translation: Get it off me!  And if I don’t wipe her down quickly enough, she has another meltdown of finger-painting proportion.  Should she find so much a fleck of dust...

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100 Posts Later – Still a New Mom?

Posted on Jun 7, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

100 Posts Later – Still a New Mom? 0

Oh hey there!  Guess what?  This is my 100th post!  And 100 seems like a milestone.  Like a cause for celebration.  I see some cheap wine and a box of stale graham crackers in my future. 100 posts.  I started this blog when I was pregnant and kind of freaking out.  Then I continued the blog as a new mom who was really freaking out.  Now my baby is, like, old, and I’m still freaking out. Which got me wondering: How long can I play the “New Mom” card? Then I decided: Forever.  Or at least until Elisabeth goes to college and moves out of the house.  Which is basically forever. So yeah, Elisabeth is a year-and-a-half now, hardly “new”.  But do I know what I’m doing anymore now then I did a year-and-a-half ago?  Um, no.  I’m definitely still as clueless as I was when Elisabeth was born.  Because here’s the thing: Babies change.  Fast. In my last post I lamented how my sweet little girl is now a scary toddler.  That’s new.  Someday she’ll turn into a scary middle-schooler.  That will be new.  (And cause for considering boarding school?)  Not to mention all those developmental phases between two and twelve or twelve and eighteen that will all be new.  Heck, if today’s college graduates are any indication, Elisabeth could move out, graduate college and move right back in with us!  That will be new!  (And scarier than anything that came before.) Even if I have a second child, everything will be new again.  I’m just going to wager that a second baby will be completely different than the first, just to make all the stuff I think I know (about sleep, routines, feedings, etc.) completely irrelevant.  And so child-raising – even the second time around – will feel new.  (Especially when dealing with a deviant older child!) Point is, I don’t think the “newness” of being a parent ever goes away.  Which is sort of terrifying, right?  I think I’ll go grab that wine now… Oh, thanks for sticking with me on this blogging journey!  Hope you’ll...

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So Now I Have a Toddler

Posted on Jun 2, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

So Now I Have a Toddler 5

I’m going to throw this out there – 18 months, not my favorite age.  Don’t judge me. I’ve been in denial, but I finally have to admit that my baby is not a baby anymore.  Not even close.  She is a toddler. I think I first realized Elisabeth was really and truly a toddler, as opposed to just kinda/sorta a toddler, when I cut her banana in half and she had a complete meltdown.  A banana.  In two pieces.  Meltdown.  TODDLER. Now there is the crying for apparently no reason at all.  I take that back; it’s not crying.  It’s more like high-pitched yelling interspersed with drawn out moans of, “Mama!  Mammmmaaaaa!  Mammmmaaaa!” as if I am the source of all woe in her life. And there is the sudden inclusion of, “Mine!” and “No!” in her vocabulary.  Are these words just instinctual to toddlers? And there is the refusal to let me help her eat.  Which leads to food all over the floor, all over the walls, all over her, and naturally, all over me.  This goes hand-in-hand with a sudden rejection of most food I prepare for her.  If ever I serve her a meal that doesn’t please her, she will either a) meltdown or b) pick up the offending food, slowly and deliberately move her hand over the high chair, shoot me a look of defiance, drop the food on the floor, and laugh evilly.  Nice, Elisabeth.  Nice. And there is the inhuman strength.  That death grip on anything she holds dear (mommy’s wallet, mommy’s phone, mommy’s expensive sunglasses…) that I try to take away.  How she goes completely rigid when I try to put in the car seat or stroller.  No matter how hard I try, I just can’t get her to bend!  How did she get so freakishly strong?  She’s only 25 pounds! Oh, and there is the pounding on the laptop keys when mommy is trying to blog. And of course there is the getting into everything.  Everything except the baskets full of toys that clutter our living room and are there solely...

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The Christian Bale Scale

Posted on Mar 4, 2013 in My Kid Stole My Cool

The Christian Bale Scale 8

I’ve had a rough week.  Maybe its been two weeks.  My memory is a little fuzzy from fatigue, so I can’t remember exactly how long its been since the Night Stalker returned, just a long time.  You see, Elisabeth is teething and Demon Baby has returned, waking several times a night and slowly sucking the life out of me. I wake up every morning looking wrecked.  No amount of makeup in the world can help me.  It’s really quite depressing. I always thought I’d be that mom that everyone hates because she always looks put-together: cute outfit, coiffed hair, bright-eyed.  But no.  Sadly I’m the hater, not the hatee.  Some days I do try to look less zombie-like.  Really, I do.  If you see me on a regular basis, you may not believe me, but honestly – there are days I dab on the expensive de-puffing eye cream, apply blush to add color to my sallow skin, and swipe mascara over my lashes to perk up my droopy eyes. It’s all useless – especially the expensive eye cream – but I do it anyway.  Definitely not every day, though.  Not even most days.  Why waste that expensive eye cream? Maybe you can relate.  Maybe you also don’t want to squander your precious beauty products when it will hardly make a dent.  Maybe you wonder how to choose which days to put effort into your appearance, and which days to say, “To Hell with it all!” That’s where the Christian Bale Scale comes in.  I determine on a scale of 1-10 the likelihood that I will run into Christian Bale that day, and plan my put-togetherness accordingly.  For example, if I know I’m going to be staying on base all day doing errands and taking care of the kiddo and whatnot, that’s a zero; that day doesn’t even make it on the scale.  Why would a gorgeous, Oscar-winning Welsh actor be wandering around a small naval air base in Japan? He wouldn’t.  So on those days, I don’t bother.  The dark circles are out in all their glory, the greasy...

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