I May Rise, but I’m Certainly not Going to Shine

My mornings have been pilfered, ransacked, and left for dead. They have been taken from me like so many other things, one of which: my ability to properly digest dairy.

Let me explain, Berlyn is a happy sleeper. She likes to sleep so much so, that she usually takes two naps during the day. One is in the morning which allows me to do things like shower, pick my zits, drink coffee, watch So You Think You Can Dance, and most importantly update my blog. And the second nap is usually around 3:30 which works well because that gives me time to do yoga, apply my third coat of deodorant, pick my zits, and get ready for school. I’ve really grown quite accustomed to my leisurely day, and I have no plans of changing it. Unfortunately Berlyn does, and she has decided to forgo her morning nap.

Apparently this is what is called “growing-up” and I should get used to it because, pretty soon she’ll do a good poopie in the potty, take zero naps during the day, start dating boys, and steal my fancy La Perla push-up bra. I don’t like this discovery one bit. No siree. But because I am a chameleon and I dance in the face of adaptation, I will conform to her decision to not nap during the morning-I may not like it, but I will try to adjust.

Please be patient with me. I’m trying to figure out this new morning schedule, and I may not blog as often, I may show up to a lunch date un-showered, I might forget otherwise simple tasks like putting on two “matching” shoes, and my eyes will probably be a little more blood-shot and puffy than usual–please don’t stare or photograph me.

Thank you.

Walking is soo Over Rated

How do you not compare? How do you look at other babies and not compare and judge? I could give my left dimpled butt-cheek that your baby sticks his pointer finger high in the air when asked how old he is. Or that your daughter can say 18 words (most of which aren’t words at all, but mere sounds like, Ah, daa, goo. And no, nothing about those words remotely resembled ball, dad, or Guggenheim). But yet, in the back of my mind, while I’m nodding politely at your baby who is using sign language to tell you that he wants his bottle (he’s still using a bottle??), I am judging you. It’s a peaceful and unmotivated judgment, but I am judging you none the less.

But in all fairness and honesty, I think you’re judging me too. You see, I read a statistic in What to Expect, the Toddler Years, that said 90% of all 15 month olds are walking. Which means that my baby is in the 10% group of babies that is not. I don’t know why she isn’t walking yet, and I’ve given her plenty of opportunities. But for some reason her inability to walk is giving me a complex. I feel like I have failed her as a mother, and that she’s missing out on fun activities. I am insecure when we go to play groups and people ask me how old my daughter is, and when I answer, I feel their eyes smugly judging as they watch her crawl around. I know I am crazy for worrying about this, and I’ve been told a handful of times that it’s a blessing by exasperated mothers that are chasing their overactive walkers, but they’re just being nice albeit, a little condescending.

I can’t force her to walk, and from the looks of it, she’s really not all that into it. She pushes things around, and holds my hand, but as soon as I let go she collapses to the floor, and it takes everything in me not to get frustrated. My mom tells me that I didn’t walk until 15 months, and now I’m a fabulous walker. I know nothing is ‘wrong’ with her, but in our twisted society, babies that pick up new things quickly are praised as geniuses and child prodigies, and is it so much to ask that my baby be the best baby in the whole wide world?

Enie Meeny Miney Mo

How do families decide how many kids to bring into this world? You know what would be easier then deciding? If one day you opened your mailbox and found an especially official letter among the stacks of mattress ads. It would be the type of letter that you opened even before you got back into your home, because you were so intrigued with it. And inside it had a number. That’s all, just a printed number. 3. “Oh, honey we got our child quota today, I guess we can start trying.” BOOM, done, easy.

You know what is not easy? Trying to figure out if one is enough. I spent all weekend envisioning myself, our lives, and our family as just the three of us. And then I tried to envision adding more babies, and it made me a little swirly in the head. The hard part is, is that when I look ahead at my life in 10 years, I think of having 2 or 3 kids, but when I really see our lives now, and how it’s playing out right in front of me, I think, us and Berlyn is perfection. But there are so many pros and cons to this, almost to the point where I am split right down the middle. Thankfully I don’t have to worry about this too much, because I still have plenty of time to have more babies if we decided that is what we want. But wait– I don’t have that much time, because my eggs get older with each passing day. OH GOD, I don’t want to make a baby with old eggs! I wouldn’t even bake a cake with old eggs! I don’t have much time at all. When my mom was my age, she had two babies, ages 3 and 4 and was working on divorcing my father (the divorcing part is irrelevant to my point, but I just wanted to give you a little more background into my life). Crap. Maybe I should just get pregnant today, and say the hell with it.

Laundry Day

When I have to start wearing my husband’s underwear, I know that I needs to be doing some laundry. So, I hoisted the laundry basket up, felt my back crack, and I brought it downstairs, but not before I stumbled backwards, and almost fell down all my stairs–that sucker was heavy. I plunked it down on the floor and then sat down and drank some coffee–I so deserved a break after getting one step closer to actually putting the clothes into the washing machine.
While I was commending myself on my super-human strength, I noticed Berlyn pulling all of the clothes out of the laundry basket. I thought, Oh, how sweet is she? She’s helping mama sort the laundry.

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She’s checking the labels, and making sure that my top is machine washable–I taught her ‘Marc Jacobs always gets hung dry.’

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Yes, those are my underwear around her neck, and no I did not put them there (you have to look close, because my underwear and her shirt are the same color).
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Now it’s time to put dad’s socks on.
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All clean. I think my shoe, her sippy, and Zoey all made it back into the basket–she’s very thorough.

I Should Make a Muffin Basket for my Baby’s Doctor

As Berlyn gets older, her pediatrician appointments become more spread out. They started out every month, and then all of a sudden my baby’s doctor decided that I knew what I was doing, and we didn’t need to see her as much. This is disconcerting.
My Pediatrician: (while looking at her charts) Looks like I won’t need to see Berlyn for 4 more months.

Me: Wait, are you sure? 4 months sounds like a long time. Do you actually trust me to go 4 months without seeing you? I’m new at this. What if she chokes on an raspberry, or poops orange, or what if she gets a hangnail, and it gets infected?

My Pediatrician: She’ll be fine, if anything happens, just call us.

Me: Okay, but say I just wanted to stop in and say hi, and since I was already there, maybe you would be able to weigh Berlyn, and check her temperature, and watch the new skill she just learned, just for old time’s sake?

It’s not so much the fear that I am doing something wrong, but I enjoy a simple acknowledgment followed by a hearty pat on the shoulder every now and again-especially if it is coming from a licensed medical doctor who used to be Chief Resident at CHOC…

Oh Shit!

I put Berlyn down for a nap fully clothed and a tad ornery. She was sleepy, but I heard her rolling around in her crib for a good twenty minutes before she nodded off. I didn’t check on her, because she was almost through reading “Animals to Count.” It was a nail biter for her, so you can understand me not wanting to disturb her precious down-time. She finally finished babbling and took a nap for about an hour and a half.

When I returned to her room after her nap, I found her sans clothing. She had taken off her t-shirt and pants, and only had on her diaper–which she had successfully soiled. As I neared her crib I noticed that she was lightly covered in FECES! It was on her belly, all mashed in and swirled about, and there was a poo-crusty on her finger and shockingly, ON HER FACE. I can’t say with certainty that she ate any poop, but my mind wandered to a dark, poo-eating place. I immediately panicked and yelled for my husband. The way I was shrieking you’d swear she coughed up a baby gorilla. Pat came in a tried to calm me down, but I couldn’t; my sweet, adorable baby was covered in HER OWN POO! I worked quickly to wipe her down and sanitize her entire body, and as I did, she giggled and clapped in delight:

“Oh, mom, I had so much fun after you shut the door to my room. I took off all my clothes and threw them out of the crib, then I reached into my squishy diaper and found all this fun goo to play with. It was the best.”

I striped the bed and boiled the sheets–ewww and double yuck. I didn’t know what to do about the alleged poo-eating, so I reached for the phone to call the nurse at her pediatrician’s office. I left a long descriptive message about how ordinarily Berlyn is a charming young lady who minds her manners and enjoys hot tea and crumpets at high-noon. I didn’t know what I was expecting them to tell me, but I felt better about letting them know what was going on in my home.

The nurses never called me back. They probably thought I was insane for calling, and most parents should just laugh about it and move on with their day. So, now I have this vision that the nurses are all playing back my message to their nurse/doctor friends for a good chuckle.

Thanks Berlyn, now we’re the laughing stock of the office.

I Need To Baby-Proof my Baby Gate

Berlyn has figured out how to get through the baby gate in our living room: she simply pulls it down.

It’s velcroed at the door of the gate, but everywhere else it is stitched in place, thus begging the question, why not stitch the fabric at the door so my daughter can actually be contained within the gate?

Apparently they didn’t expect kids to outsmart the gate, but as we all know…

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Berlyn is a child prodigy.

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Freedom.

I Think My Mom is Wound a Little Too Tight

A conversation with my mother about Berlyn:

Mom: Beck! That milk is cold, you’re not going to heat it up for her? Oh! She’s drinking it so fast, Beck! It’s cold outside, heat her milk up. She’s going to get cold!! Beck…

Me: Mom, she’s fine.

My Mom: I don’t know…She’s drinking it so fast, is she going to get gas from drinking it that fast?? Oh! Beck! Her lips are turning blue! Rebecca! Get her a jacket her lips are BLUE!!

Me: Mom, she’s fine.

My Mom: Beck! Look, she has red marks all around her mouth. Do you think she’s having an allergic reaction? Beck, Look!

Me: ((deep breath)) Seriously Mom?? She was touching her face while signing for more food. Please calm down, or I’m going to have to ask you to leave.

I don’ t think my mother realizes that I have successfully taken care of Berlyn for the last 13 months, and she hasn’t died, or had hypothermia, or contracted the flesh-eating virus. Her head hasn’t mysteriously fallen off, and she looks like she is breathing most of the time. So, yeah, I’d say I’m doing alright.

Somewhere Between Pause and Fast-Forward

I feel very conflicted as I’m battling two types of feelings. The first is, I am at school–and as much as I love slapping color on hair, I just want to be finished. I keep looking ahead for a time of no school. When I think of being done with school, I envision my horizon filled with unicorns wearing point shoes demi-pleaing in the distance, and hippos with tu-tus awaiting my arrival to the future. But before I can dance with hippos and unicorns, I see the next 7 months of my life as this black smudge on the calendar, and as soon as I am done, the smudge will be wiped clean, and I will finally be able to live my life, i.e., dance with hippos and unicorns.

On the other hand, I still spend 8 hours of Berlyn’s day with her, and I want to cherish every moment that we get to spend together. She will never be this age again, and I want to remember her sweet baby language, her trials of standing alone, and her attempts of getting into her Duplo box.

Part of me wants to press pause, while the other part wants to fast-forward.

I think this struggle serves a purpose; we are always going to have segments of our life that are arduous and we want to speed through, but then hopefully, we have more of the parts that are wonderfully fulfilling that we never want to end. These remind us to be grateful and cherish all the good in our lives.

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