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.

Plate behind the head.  Typical toddler behavior. And check out the naughty grin.

Plate behind the head. Typical toddler behavior.                And check out the naughty grin.

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 for her amusement. Why would she bother herself with such things when she can pull every book off the bookshelf, empty every drawer in reaching distance, yank out power cords (annoying and dangerous! Fabulous!), crawl inside cabinets and throw out every stored item, climb, disappear, and so on and so forth.

Cleaning out my cabinets for me.  So helpful.

Cleaning out my cabinets for me. So helpful.

Climbing.  Maybe she's avoiding the mess she created.

Climbing. But only after she’s emptied all toy baskets just for the heck of it.

Yes, I just wrote “disappear“.  I consider myself a fairly responsible adult, but this toddler is making me seriously question my parenting skills.  I don’t know how someone who has only been walking a few months can move so quickly.  I turn around and she’s gone!  Then I go through the mental check list: Baby gate – locked. Bathroom door – shut.  Backdoor – locked.  And then I kind of panic.  OMG Did Elisabeth just disapparte?  How else could I possibly lose my child in my own home?  On the first floor!

If I’m lucky, I find Elisabeth sitting silently under the dining room table with guilty eyes, holding my iPad that she inexplicably reached.  (Damn those growth spurts!)  Or, you know, she’s inside those cabinets again.  Or maybe I actually didn’t have the bathroom door shut (whoops!) and she’s throwing things in the toilet.  That’s a fun one.

Caught!

Caught!

Sure, she’s still pretty cute.  She has this kind of maniacal laugh which is a little creepy, but also makes me laugh right along with her.  Besides “Mine!” and “No!” (or “Nonononono!”) she’s expanding her vocabulary daily, and I swell with pride each time she’s mastered a new word.  (Her affection for “shoes” particularly excites me).  She is super friendly and gives great hugs.  Her excitement when she hears the word “cheese” is precious.  “Cheese? Cheese?” she asks, full of hope and anticipation.  Anyone who loves cheese that much can’t be all scary toddler.

But still.  She’s a lot of scary toddler.  She’s headstrong, mischievous, and a dichotomous mix of independent and clingy.  I keep reading this is normal behavior.  But if this is 18 months, what the heck is 2 going to look like!?

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My May

Posted on May 22, 2013 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, It's the Navy Life

My May 3

You guys.  I miss you.  So much.  Do you miss me?  (Say yes!  Validate me! Validate me!) Can we talk about the last three weeks?  Holy bejeezus.  I don’t even know what happened. Oh, wait.  Yes I do.  Night Stalker returned.  And hasn’t left.  And turned into Day Stalker as well.  The. Child. Won’t. Sleep.  Between teething and a nagging cough, the kid is a mess.  And she’s turned me into a mess.  Couple that with an abnormally busy social calendar, and no blogging for me.  We all know I can only blog regularly when I maintain my shut-in status. But things are looking up.  Elisabeth’s cough is clearing up and she’s starting to return to napping.  The cough that she gave me is starting to clear up, too, so maybe one night this year I’ll get an uninterrupted night of sleep.  (Seriously, we are ALWAYS sick now!  Always!) Last night I went to bed at 9:00.  Yes, that happened.  I’m planning on doing that again tonight, so let me just give you a quick recap of my goings-on this past month. -I bought a juicer.  So that was exciting. -My friend Claudia moved.  It’s quite sad.  Soon there is going to be a mass exodus of VFA-115 spouses.  It’s part of the Navy life.  But a really crappy part.  Luckily, before the actual good-bye is always a good-bye party. -I helped plan and attended a Cinco de Mayo luncheon with a group of Japanese Officer Spouses.  Have you ever seen Japanese women try to hit a pinata?  Hi-lar-i-ous. -I went to another party.  This happened. -Damon completed an Olympic-distance triathlon.  What a stud. -I believe somewhere in there was Mother’s Day.  I’m not sure though. -I joined the board of our Atsugi Officer’s Spouse Association.  Nothing really blog-worthy here, except that I have spent a good deal of time reviewing high school scholarship applications, among other things.  And I thank the good Lord I am no longer in high school!  Can I get an “Amen” to that!? -I shattered my iPhone and had to venture off to the...

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How to Embarrass Yourself: The Fitness Instructor Edition

Posted on May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

How to Embarrass Yourself: The Fitness Instructor Edition 4

Several months ago I got my group fitness certification.  The sole reason I got this group fitness certification was so that I could instruct a stroller fitness class on base.  Stroller Strides this is not, but it’s better than nothing. I started teaching back in March.  And all of a sudden I had this new identity.  I was no longer just a Stay-At-Home Mom or Navy Wife or Blogger Extraordinaire or whatever else you fine readers think of me.  I was now a Fitness Instructor. Every Monday and Friday morning my fellow moms and I gather at a park, let our children run around unsupervised while we lunge and squat and crunch and whatnot, and I channel my inner Jillian Michaels and shout at them all to, “PUSH THROUGH THE PAIN!” Not really.  I’m not that intense. Here’s the thing.  I don’t look like a legit fitness instructor.*  Well, unless your fitness instructors eat ice cream every night.  Then maybe I look like a fitness instructor.  But you know who I’m talking about – the fitness instructors with -5% body fat that walk around wearing booty shorts showing off their insanely muscular thighs while drinking protein shakes and talking about how many reps they just did.  I don’t look like that kind of fitness instructor.  I don’t even own booty shorts. So if I can’t look the part, I should act the part, right?  Try to be a paragon of healthy, fit living so I’m not a total charlatan?  Sure. Right. But that’s just not me.  The other night I was shopping at the mini-mart on base.  And who did I run into but a woman who had just started coming to my class.  This was only my third time meeting her.  The first was at stroller class, the second was at Booze Fest 2013 Book Club, and then this time, at the mini-mart.  And what was I buying? In case the picture is hard to make out, that’s three bottles of wine, a bag of chips, and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  And that, my friends, is...

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How Not to Host a Holiday Brunch

Posted on Apr 21, 2013 in Pinterest Stole My Cool

How Not to Host a Holiday Brunch 4

Easter was three weeks ago, but since I’m still finding plastic eggs around my house, I figure it’s still appropriate to tell you all about the Easter brunch I hosted for Damon’s coworkers and their families. But first, here’s some free advice for you all: Don’t decide to host a major holiday function because you have some cute decor you purchased last year at a major discount from Williams-Sonoma and you’ve been waiting a whole year to display it.  Because it will rain and you won’t even be able to use the cute decor.  And then you’re stuck hosting 40-50 people in your small-ish, undecorated house.  And that requires cooking and cleaning and everything else you’re not naturally good at and you won’t even have decorations to distract from the fact that your food sucks and your house is dirty.  So just don’t do it. Seriously.  What was I thinking? I actually love hosting, I really do.  But Easter is a big holiday.  40-50 people is a lot of people.  75-100 Easter eggs to stuff and hide for the egg hunt you also offered to host is a lot of eggs.  It’s all just a lot of pressure. To take some of that pressure off, I made the brunch a pot-luck.  That way guests could bring their own time-honored, traditional dishes that you have to have for Easter to be Easter.  I would cook the ham, a side, and a dessert. There.  Food was set.  Next I rented tables and chairs that we would set up outside, since we certainly couldn’t fit everyone inside. Then I realized that the decorations that had been the impetus for this celebration wouldn’t be enough and I would have to do some online shopping.  Obviously I would need pastel tablecloths, matching tableware sets and candy cups.  Was I originally planning on making individual candy cups?  No.  But once I saw them on the party store’s website, I knew they would be imperative to the success of my party. I was feeling pretty good about everything.  As the big day approached, the weather forecast...

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My Beijing “Vacation”

Posted on Apr 10, 2013 in Travel Traumas, Uncategorized

My Beijing “Vacation” 3

How do you define a vacation? For Damon, vacation means he is on official leave.  Time and place don’t matter. For me, vacation means I’m lying by the beach/pool/someplace warm with trashy magazine an intellectual book in one hand and an adult beverage in the other.  Preferably one with an umbrella in it. So when Damon got home from work on Wednesday evening (the night before we left for Beijing) and exclaimed, “We’re on vacation!” I had to disagree with him. Unless he was going to fold two loads of laundry and pack five days worth of clothes, extra clothes, diapers, wipes, medicine, portable snacks, and toddler entertainment, we were certainly not on vacation. Though I don’t agree with Damon’s mentality, I understand it.  When I had a paying job, vacation meant time off that job and usually travel somewhere to enjoy that time off.  But since my job now is rearing a child, I’m not technically on vacation until I am away from my child.  Which is pretty much never. So while our trip to Beijing was a truly great trip (despite my lack of planning), I wouldn’t call it a vacation. Because to me, a vacation is not: -Getting practically cavity searched at the airport because you’ve packed baby food pouches in your carry on. (That didn’t actually happen on this trip, but it has in the past.) -Flying on a several hour flight with a sweaty toddler attached to your chest. -Washing poopy onesies out by hand in your hotel bathroom’s sink -Waking every morning between 3:45-4:45AM because your baby will only go back to sleep if she is sharing your twin bed with you, squeezing your face, neck, chest and arm fat until your entire upper body is numb.  (But not your husband, who sleeps comfortably in the other twin bed, oblivious to the arm-fat squeezing happening to you a few feet away.) -Eating in mediocre restaurants that your tour company has pre-arranged. -Anxiety that your family is going to be killed because the van you’re riding in has no seatbelts and the driver likes...

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That Time I Forgot My Vacation

Posted on Apr 3, 2013 in Travel Traumas, Uncategorized

That Time I Forgot My Vacation 4

I realize I’ve been a bit MIA recently.  Damon was gone on detachment in Australia for three weeks, the better part of which either Elisabeth and I were battling illness at home in Japan.  We’ve been busy with other things as well: I hosted Damon’s squadron for Easter brunch, which brought out first-birthday party levels of Diana Craziness.  And we’re going on vacation to Beijing tomorrow.  Which I sort of forgot about. Okay, I didn’t actually forget about it.  I just kind of pushed it to the back of my mind.  Party planning will do that to me.  Easter brunch > Beijing vacation.  That’s not really true.  Only sometimes in my head it is.  I know, I’m twisted.  To be fair, we did have a very helpful travel agent organize pretty much our entire trip.  All I had to do was approve our itinerary and fill out unholy amounts of paperwork to secure our visas.  Let me tell you, securing visas to China is no easy feat.  Especially when you have a toddler who does not want to have her visa photos taken.  See below. So last night I had a moment of, “Oh, crap!  We’re leaving for China in two days and I don’t even have a guidebook!”  Who goes to a foreign country for the first time without even a guidebook?  I could say I’m just really adventurous and like to fly by the seat of my pants, take the road less traveled, see where life takes me.  But that’s not true.  I like a plan.  And I like guidebooks. So today’s quest became about finding a guidebook.  But first I had a spouse club meeting.  Then I had a luncheon planning committee meeting.  Then I had to go pay some road tax.  I have no idea what exactly a road tax is, all I know is that paying for it is a somewhat tedious process.  First I had to wait in a long line to present all sorts of documentation that proves… I dunno.  That we have insurance?  That our car is fit to be on the...

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