Category Archives: Idiosyncrasies of Parenting

Dear Toddler (aka Ruler of My Sanity),

Man, we had a good thing going! You were a strong sleeper, you listened and followed directions, and you loved running around. Suddenly, though, I’m starting to feel as if I missed the memo where you told me you were no longer interested in doing those things. Perhaps you decided life was too boring? Maybe you felt like you were being repressed, and figured you’d embrace the adage of “misery loves company?”

I’m all for pushing boundaries, and figuring out what works for you as an individual, but something has got to give. And by “give,” I don’t mean me losing my mind. Who knew that parenting was such a battle of wills? Unfortunately, I find that I have less and less of a desire to put up with the bullshit. If I was dealing with an adult, I’d be able to give the situation the finger and walk away. Clearly, that battle strategy would work with adults, as they can most often figure it out for themselves. Sadly, this is a poor strategy with children. I find myself repeating that you’re only two, and that this isn’t personal; it is growth. More often than not, the reminder doesn’t stop my tears flowing. I’m trying, I really am.

Your father and I often laugh at what we consider “toddler logic.” We know that at this age, logic is nowhere near a consideration. Because of that, we find humor where we can. When you put a bucket on your head to hide, or when you stand behind the curtains without realizing your feet are clearly showing. When you’ve decided to pretend you can’t hear me, and I catch your smirk in the mirror. Or, in those moments where in the span of two seconds you tell me you want your shoes off, only to lose your mind when I take them off, screaming that you wanted them on! Toddler logic…

I know this is a phase, and that in a year from now I’ll hardly remember how hard it seems things are right now. However, right now, mommy needs a drink.

I love you, baby girl.

The Ongoing List of Things I Never Thought I’d Do as a Parent – Toddler Edition

The phrase, “I’ll never do that as a parent,” seems like a pretty universal statement made by all parents at one point or another.  See those kids wearing animal backpacks that have a leash attached for their guardian to use?  Surely, you’ll never use those!  Fast forward to navigating Denver International Airport during, unbeknownst to you it is the busiest time of day, with a toddler that thinks it is fun to practice her running skills as you’re trying to find your connection.  Suddenly the leash doesn’t seem so terrible, right?

While I haven’t started to use the leash (yet), there are things that I have started to do as a parent that I am finding down right funny.

  • I tell my daughter that the bubble gun only works in the summer.
    • When I bought the bubble gun it was because she was having a hard time blowing the bubbles through the wand. Instead of blowing bubbled, she was essentially eating the soap.  Wanting to avoid raging bouts of diarrhea, I bought a bubble gun thinking it would be the perfect solution.  Well, I wasn’t completely wrong; she no longer ingests the bubble solution.  However, what she doesn’t ingest ends up on my clothes because she likes to sit on my lap when we blow bubbles.  I love the cuddle time.  I do not like being spilled on.
  • I fake like I’m asleep when she is taken to bed.
    • More often than not, my daughter will fall asleep on the sofa each night as we wind down from the day. She loves feeling her mommy at her feet, and her daddy above her head with his hand on her back. What she doesn’t love, is being separated from us just to go to bed.  To that end, when her daddy takes her to bed I find myself faking sleep so that she doesn’t think mommy is awake and wants her to stay up with us.  Does this work?  I’m not really looking forward to stopping just to find out for sure.
  • I use a fake phone to call Nana so my daughter will lay down and go to bed.
    • Nana’s seem to have skills that the rest of us dream to have. Perhaps it is the practice they get with their own kids and grandkids, but either way, I want those skills. While my daughter isn’t a nightmare to get to bed, it isn’t a walk in the park either. As of late, she has this plastic phone she likes to play with when she should be settling down for the night. She asks me to call damn near each person in the family, and wouldn’t you know it, each time we call Nana, Nana says it is time to lay our heads down and fall asleep. You would think the heavens parted and the angels descended upon us, because she always puts her head right down. She may not fall asleep right away, but she isn’t up trying to play either. I can only dream for those types of skills of persuasion.
  • I’ve eaten somewhat soft Cheerios from the hands of a toddler.
    • If you had known me prior to procreating, you would have understood that I was a bit of a germ freak. Not the type that brings my own silverware to a restaurant, or refuses to touch all handles with my bare hands, but the type that unless I know where you’ve been and how you live, you’re not coming near my mouth with food. End of story. Now add a toddler to the mix, and I’m licking food off her hands, letting her put food in my mouth, and even wiping her drool off with my bare hands. There is a part of me that still grosses out at the sight of food touched by dirty toddler hands coming near my face, but there is a bigger part that just loves the fact that my toddler wants to share with me in the first place.
  • I sing Disney songs at the top of my lungs.
    • While I do like a good Disney song, you wouldn’t normally find me belting them out unless I was totally inebriated (true story. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah sounds phenomenal at 1:00 am. Just ask my husband.) Now I’m willing to sing all sorts of songs, regardless of time or volume, especially if it means doing so makes my daughter laugh and gets her to sing with me. Changing her diaper? Zip-a-dee-doo-dah it is. Trying to get her to take a few more bites of dinner? Sure, I’ll sing songs from Elena of Avalor! It’s pouring outside, and what better way to celebrate it than having the entire family singing Itsy Bitsy Spider loud and proud?! Really, if she’s laughing and dancing with me, I’m up for it.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: being a parent is a trip. No one can prepare you for it, and no one can come close to describing to you what it is like on the best and worst days. In the end, though, you find joy in things you never would have expected. Even if it is a Disney sing-a-long.

Motherhood – Revisited

I had originally written this piece over two years ago.  I wanted to post it because it continues to be applicable to this day.  However, we’re now out of the newborn stage, and are firmly planted in the toddler arena.  As such, I thought and update was in order. [Updates in bold text.]

As time goes on, I find myself reflecting on how motherhood has changed me [We can go ahead and stop talking about change in the past tense. Man alive, already! When does it stop?]. It’s been an interesting adventure thus far, and while I had no idea just how much my life would change with my daughter’s arrival, I can say that I am better off for it [Honestly, most days it depends on the moment you ask me. I mean, I guess I’m better for it. Love makes the world go around, right?].

When you’re pregnant you are often told that your life is going to change forever [BIG understatement]. They make it sound as if that happens the moment your child is born, but in reality, everything changes the moment you know you’re going to have a baby. There are the obvious changes in your surroundings as you prepare for the arrival, however, your body and your mind change instantly. I often said that I felt as if my body was a walking science experiment, and that sentiment holds true even now (post pregnancy hormones are a trip… just sayin’). Mentally, you spend months contemplating not only the responsibility associated with bringing up another human being, but also the excitement of introducing them to the world around them. The moment I realized I was pregnant, my over-active brain instantly started to worry about potty training. I get it: she wasn’t even born yet and I was worried about potty training! Needless to say, I spent months reigning in my tendency to be prepared for anything and everything by figuring everything out years ahead of when the information would be useful [I totally still struggle with this. Put me near a gaggle of tweens with their costume jewelry and tiny purses, and I instantly start to panic.]

You’re also often told that not only will your life change (typically for the better),  but that life will be a bit harder for a while. [I’ve had one person honestly tell me if they had a chance to do it over again, they wouldn’t have had kids. Yikes.] I found that the word “hard,” or even the word “difficult,” doesn’t adequately describe just how hard and difficult things will be. Conversely, just as it seems words don’t exist to accurately describe the level of difficulty we experience with a newborn, the same holds true for when attempting to describe the love and admiration you have for your newborn. The word “love” isn’t enough, and seems incredibly inadequate. [Can I get an AMEN! I’m still trying to figure out word to describe the love I have for my spawn.]

In the end, not only has the birth of my daughter made me brave, kept me on my toes, made me learn to be patient, and forced me to laugh at my Type A ways, her birth has also taught me to live simply and love deeply.  Sure, things were easier when I wasn’t waking up at 3:00 am for our first feeding of the day, but what my life lacks in ease is more than made up by the profound depth my life now holds.

Oh, and I’m convinced that if you can calm a baby that seems to be hell bent on crying at the top of their lungs after you’ve fed them, changed them, and loved them, you can do anything.  [I’d like to add to this by saying if you can calm a screaming kid having a meltdown in the shoe department of a popular big-box store because you have to pay for her new shoes, you can do anything.]

Fun Fact #825: My Parents Don’t Know Everything

And sadly, neither do I.

Could you imagine being in your 20’s and having a child that looks at you like you’re the oracle for every ounce of knowledge known to man? Actually, forget about 20’s. What about your 30’s or even your 40’s? No, thank you.

Oh wait.

I am in my 30’s with a young child that looks at me like I know everything. (Which, if you’re talking to my husband, please remind him that I do, in fact, know everything. Thank you very much.)

Nothing quite reminds you of how you don’t have anything figured out like a pair of big blue eyes staring up at you, asking you why something exists, or why something happened. And the moment they find out you’re just making things up as you go along? *mind blown*

I still remember the day I realized my mom didn’t know everything. Oddly enough, it was over a russet potato.

My family operates on a few things: soda, carbs, starch, and guilt. Growing up, baked potatoes were a staple as a weekend snack, sometimes enjoyed in the middle of the night while watching SNL. Obviously, actually baking the potato was a tad too time consuming, so we opted for the microwave. Each time I was about to pop one in the microwave (that was big enough to cook a turkey, I kid you not), I’d ask my mom how long I should put it in for. She always gave me a time, and I went on my merry way enjoying my lunch.

Then one day, she asked me what I thought the cooking time should be.

Uh, what? Excuse me? I don’t know these things; I’m a child! Gosh!

So, I offered up what I thought would be sufficient, and she told me to try it. It was at that time it dawned on me that she had been guessing the whole time. THE WHOLE TIME. You’d think this would have been the start of many years of me questioning everything she told me, but it wasn’t. Although, I was significantly more suspicious of adults from that point on. (My uncle once told me not to drink coffee because it will put hair on my chest. Being Italian, I was hairy enough and didn’t want to take any chances. Could you imagine if I had I gotten that advice after The Potato Incident? Who knows how hairy I’d be by now.)

Looking back on my childhood, and at the ages my parents were during times of great turmoil for our family, I can only imagine the heartache and stress they were feeling. My parents were in their late 20’s, early 30’s when they divorced and remarried other people. I look back now at how little I knew in my 20’s, and can only imagine how hard it was to lose one family, form a new one, all while having these little faces at you thinking you know everything and will make it all okay.

As my daughter grows up, I’m hoping the day she realizes I don’t know half the things she expects me to won’t be seared into her memory (or if it is, I hope it’s a really funny story). When I look at my own parents now, it is from the perspective of someone that has learned that we are all human and we are all doing the best we can in any given moment. I wasn’t sure I could love my parents more than I already do, but realizing that they too are just human makes me love them even more.