Kids Say the Darndest Things… and so does Reza

I am loving mothering a three year old, and I am finally understanding what it means when people look at Eva and I, wistfully and say,

“Time goes way too fast so appreciate this time you have together when they are little,” or words to that effect.

On no sleep, sick for several months, with overdue work projects and hair that hasn’t been brushed in at least a week I used to hate that comment. Now I feel that I am through the worst of the early years, usually the time in a mother’s life when they further complicate it by having another child or two. Not me, not yet, maybe never. Eva seems to be of the same persuasion. Although her cousin Sadie has been asking her mommy to have another baby, there is nothing farther from Eva’s mind, in fact, I don’t think she could imagine a world where she would have to share mommy or daddy with anyone else, not to mention a stuffed toy, that would surely be the end of her world.

Eva’s friend Luke at Auntie’ Zoe’s is expecting a baby sister in April even though he has only just turned two. I have given Luke’s mommy all of Eva’s old clothes, which sparked a massive tantrum when Eva saw that Luke was making off with all of her stuff, especially when she noticed he was taking all of her precious shoes.

“My heels, my heels! Luke is stealing my heels.”

Luke’s mom was able to pack the car with everything other than Eva’s Cinderella heels, which she had weaseled out of the Tupperware storage box and managed to cram her foot into, although by now a size too small. She was certainly the belle of the ball on Christmas day 2013 when she received not one but two pairs of Cinderella slippers because cousin Sadie couldn’t cram her foot into the pair she was given, now it was Eva’s turn to grow out of her glass slipper but she would not relinquish them. I am sure that if Eva had a baby sister or brother she would most certainly turn into the Evil Big Sister.

Auntie Zoe told me the following week that when Luke talks about his new baby sister, Eva yells at him in her domineering, proud, evil big sister way, “My mommy is NOT having a baby,” to the amusement of everyone.

I always wondered what age kids were when they came out with hilarious one-liners like that Bill Cosby show, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” I think its age three.

The other day when daddy and mommy were going out to a friend’s party I jumped in the shower with Eva to save time. In the shower she took a sponge and said “Mommy I am going to make your bruise feel better” and tried to clean my C-section scar. I said, “Eva it’s not a bruise, it’s a scar.”

Then she asked, “Mommy how did you get that bruise?”

“That is where you were born Eva, when you came out of mommy’s tummy.”

Bewilderment swept over her and her eyes went wide, just the kind of reaction I would expect if I were to tell her she was in fact going to have a little brother or sister. I tried to make it better, easier for her to comprehend, “That was a long time ago when you were this big,” I explained holding my hands about 19 inches apart.

Another night, I was reading her a bunny book at bedtime. You have to look under the flaps to find the bunnies, who are hiding in their burrows. When we reached the last page she flipped up the flap to discover two bunnies sleeping together in a burrow on one side of the page and on the other side of the page, a bunny sleeping alone in another burrow.

She took her pointy finger and pointed to the two bunnies sleeping together and said, “That is you and me, mommy.”

I gave her a kiss on the head and nuzzled her like a mommy bunny would do to her baby bunny.

“And that,” she said with her pointer finger at the solitary bunny in a burrow, ”That is Daddy.”

“Why is THAT Daddy bunny, Eva?”

“Because Daddy likes to be by himself all of the time.”

When Eva’s Stay-at-Work Dad got home I proudly told him this, which he accused me of making up but I also felt guilty for finding it so funny, because although Eva doesn’t understand I understand that Daddy is working hard for all of us and when he is at home a crazy bouncing three year old is not the best way to relax on the only twelve hours you have off in a week.

Another evening, I had Eva in my arms and I opened up a cupboard to get a new bag of popcorn for her. Our popcorn cupboard happens to be directly below our open hard liquor shelf. Eva stared at the bottles of vodka, gin and Campari and then she said,

“Mommy would you like a drink?”

“No thanks, Eva, I think I am okay.”

“But that is what you and daddy drink,” she said pointing to the hard liquor.

“I don’t drink that but daddy does, okay maybe I do occasionally”

“Mommy?”

“Yes”

“I think you should just stick to tea.”

“Okay Eva I will just drink tea.”

My darling Eva always speaks her mind, and I can tell when she is contemplating something because her eyes grow wide and I can see her the wheels of her brain contemplating something bigger than her stuffed turtle or Bunzy’s wobbly nose.  I am wondering if these thoughtful funny comments on our lives are a phase or if it is her personality. I am thinking it might be her personality. I certainly know other people who are just as funny, like Reza.

The other day Reza came bounding down the driveway in her car, I was washing up from lunch and started laughing when I saw what looked like a metal skip attached to the roof of her car. The Magpie, as Chris calls her, has been at it again I thought. It must be open day at the dump.

“What is that?”

“It’s a box to keep things in.”

“Its big.”

“I don’t have any closet space.”

“How much did you pay for it?”

“100 dollars.”

I rolled my eyes.

“What are you going to keep in there?”

“My umbrellas.”

“How many umbrellas do you have?”

“Three.”

I just shook my head.

I wondered if Reza had a collection of shoes at home that were too small, just like Eva and her glass slippers. The answer is – more than likely.

I am sure I will have a lifetime more of entertainment with Eva and Reza in my life.

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Namaste!

Recent events: the stomach flu, followed by the 90 day cold and flu intermixed with Christmas, a diabetic dog living in exile, and transitioning Eva to a big girl bed has made the last few months a tad hectic. The first thing to be thrown out was my exercise routine. During my time away from jogging I have come to the realization that I am not really cut out for it. I am not built for speed as my husband would say. For the time being I have decided to leave pounding the pavement for when I feel better. I think for now I am better suited for going to the gym, walking, and my new discovery, yoga.

The first time I tried yoga was when I started my Masters degree and the University of Bristol was offering free yoga classes. I should have known better, but I turned up along with three hundred other shoe and sockless students. The odor of foot was so overwhelming I left half way through, never to return. I suppose other people don’t try yoga because they think it isn’t real exercise, but I am telling you the foot smell is the worst part.

I must have blocked this memory out, because when my uncle asked me if I wanted to join in on his yoga class next door, I thought about it for a moment and said, hey why not. I was recently reading about how people with both my blood type, type A, and my autoimmune disease, Hashimotos, should probably not do high intensitiy aerobic exercise and should do activities like yoga, just what I wanted to hear to get me out of that three mile run. I also have hamstrings so tight that I walk around like Eva stuck a lego animal up my butt so it would probably do me good. Oh and then there is the Sciatica, I heard that word while getting a massage once. I thought I was too young to have anything that hard to spell, then I realized I already have Hashimotos an autoimmune disease and I am nearing forty. Maybe exercising with older people is a good way of feeling younger and fitter than I really am.

Regardless the reason, three weeks ago I showed up on my Uncle’s dock with my mother’s senior citizen yoga matt ( it has double cushioning) tied with a royal blue ribbon. Most of my mother’s belongings are tied with bright colored ribbons, even my father from time to time. Mom does Yoga too with the same teacher but on a different day with a group of women who gossip with every warrior pose exhale. This class is by far my mother’s preference over spending any more of her life with the family, or on the compound than she has to.

Turning up on the dock with Uncle Michael 1, Uncle Michael 2, Aunt Ann, and Carol Green did feel a little like a prison break workout in which we are all allowed out of our houses on the compound for a one hour group training exercise or worse a Calisenics class at the local rest home. If you are wondering who Carol is, she is a good friend of the Michaels’ and kind of like a stand in for my mother (she might be competing for my mothers title of Ultimate Fag Hag) and from time to time a Spurlingville resident. She also makes great Chinese dumplings but not at the same time as doing yoga.

Uncle Michael 1 is in the back of the class because he is so tall he can see over everyone else, but the downside of that is that everyone’s butt is in his face, something he can’t stop commenting on, “ Carol get your butt out of my face.” Etc etc.

Because we are all related, our yoga teacher made us do synchronized yoga on my first day which was pretty difficult considering we all disagree on most things. The teacher asked us to balance in a circle on one leg like a Flamingo, embracing each other in a circle. It worked for about five seconds, especially considering Michael 1 had to have both feet reconstructed after a paragliding accident twenty years ago (trying to be a bird) and its pretty miraculous that he can stand on two feet at all. I think people must think yoga is a cult and ours did seem kind of cultish, most of the family doing synchronized yoga on the dock making flower formations, next we will be constructing crop circles on Michael’s Mini farm.

For most of the yoga session instead of being centered in oneness I was wondering who was watching us thinking, “I always knew those Spurling’s were mad.” We looked down the dock and there was our family repair man on the neighbour’s roof taking a mini break and wondering who Michael had rented his house out to now, a yoga colony? Normal was overrated, you had to accept that to live in Spurlingville or even to occasionally visit.

By the following week I was looking forward to the one hour weekly family yoga retreat. Unfortunately my oven repair man showed up fifteen minutes before so, I began stretching impatiently in my yoga pants and stretchy top, clutching my borrowed yoga mat with that same Royal blue ribbon. Michael 1 called.

“Are you coming?”

“Yes, but the oven repair guy is here.”

“We are all waiting for you.”

“I’m coming.”

Yoga had moved from the dock to my Uncle’s porch because of inclement weather, I was thankful not to be on display. When I walked out onto the porch I froze mid way through unraveling my yoga mat.

Uncle Michael 1 flashed me. Under his t-shirt and shorts he was wearing a fluorescent green mankini. Yes a mankini like Borat. I asked if I could go back and get my camera and take a picture for my blog. Unfortunately he refused to have his picture taken but he doesn’t have much control over the blog. Evidently he had been walking around in the mankini without a cover-up while they were all waiting for me and the yoga teacher because she was running late (never again). Maybe we should all get matching ones? It could be our yogi uniform.

I am not the most coordinated, and Michael two and I kept getting our lefts and rights confused, no wonder I failed the Mensa entrance exam. J

While we were yogaing, I kept trying to follow what my uncle Michael 1 was doing when I got confused. “Downward what?”

At one point while in the splits. Uncle Michael one said to me,

“Stop looking at me, my goulashes are going to fall out.”

“Are you still wearing the mankini?”

Uncle Michael did manage to fall off his yoga blocks and I got physically stuck when I knelt on the ground and leaned backwards to rest backwards, and could not get back up, and had to have our teacher extract me. I looked like a chubby pretzel someone dropped on the ground because it didn’t have enough salt. I think I am probably hopeless at yoga. I fear Ill never be able to pick my nose with my toe like Eva. But I only went into yoga class with a simple goal, I would like for the first time in my life to be able to touch my toes. I am still not there yet but progress is gradual, kind of like Sciatica. I am planning to continue our family yoga, so if you come to Spurlingville on a Thursday morning and hear a lot of moaning you will know its just me trying to touch my toes, Carol doing in her knee, Uncle Michael two trying to get his right and left straight, and the rest trying not to get stuck in any position, including in sight of a mankini.

Our yoga teacher sent us this link after our last session. There is one way to get rid of the mankini and scare off all repair men, naked yoga.

http://www.tv2.no/v/853580/

I also stole this missive from my cousin Dana’s facebook page.

YOGA

 

Namaste!

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Beauty and Destruction

My husband calls me a hoarder, something I vehemently deny. I suppose my idea of a hoarder is someone with a QVC credit card, a collection of dolls, or stacks of National Geographic magazines gathering dust atop every surface of the home. I do love my library, my research, my DVDs but there is still a place to sit at our table. However, there was visible relief on Chris’ face when I promised him that I would declutter the house of my overzealous blossoming belongings which seem to have grown in girth, dust and bulk in the years since I last had any kind of sort. I suppose the horror that look swept away had gradually crept along his face as he was continuously marginalized in his own house by stuff. This feeling must have gotten much worse for him, when I gave birth to Hoarder Junior. When we discovered we were expecting a girl, I could see him bristle with the expectation of shopping trips, clothes closets full to the brim, a collection of pets, purses and paraphernalia. Women are a mystery of stuff, bathroom stuff, bedroom stuff, makeup stuff, baby stuff etc etc.

Therefore in his honour I have begun this momentous task, this art form of the Purge. After reading in the new years resolution email blasts that it is best to take 15 minutes every day and tackle a small space, I attempted to do just that, in other words make realistic goals and small progress. This sounded reasonable but I have tackled decluttering with the obsessive gusto only a hoarder could habituate, ironic as that might be!

I started by taking a day off to clean out my closet. I was able to dispose eventually of six trash bags of clothes, clothes like the magenta dress that was so beautiful I had to purchase it for the future me who never quite fit into it, but someday would and the jackets ( I have a propensity for jackets) which I have shrunk or out grown. And the parts of my wardrobe, which were just momentary lapses of control, or downright unflattering and fashion backward, I should not admit to such missteps but it was time for the closet to divulge its mysteries, keepsakes and mistakes. These decisions required a full scale modeling session for my purge worthy self critic, alone in my bedroom one resolute morning in front of the full length mirror, titled slightly backward to give the most unflattering angle.

I have spent considerably more time since I purged the closet going through other drawers in the house, but I seem to not be throwing anything out, instead I am cleaning and rearranging, I even alphabetized my spice rack, after all I do have a Virgo rising sign. Anything I have managed to remove from the house, not just the room, I have given to Reza. I am not sure this constitutes purging either, it is more or less a kind of exile, because if I wanted it back I could probably ask for it back, kind of like my beloved dog Piglet who lives with Reza, who I happily visit every Saturday. I can visit my pots and pans now too, see how they are doing, if they miss me, if I need them back or can do without.

During this process I have realized that all of the “stuff” in the house is if you had to attribute it to someone rather than to us as a collective unit, you would say it is “mine.” I am forced to admit to buying and using all the kitchen appliances, the multiple tools on my fashionable and wallet thinning trips to Williams Sonoma, there are the shelves of books that grew from a stack of reading to be done into a shelf and then into an entire three tiered bookcase. I will get around to reading them one day, and no I do not believe in kindles nor do I own one. I love a library, a large overflowing one. I could never throw a book away, any of the ones I have given away I have gradually replaced, missing their place in my library. Purging one’s library is probably improbable for someone who likes to collect ideas, reference material and aspiring reads across multiple genres including the collected works of Kipling.

I have however grown interested in audio books, simply because I can listen to them while driving, while washing dishes, while purging! Or why don’t I just come out and admit that my “purging” is more of a pretense for organizing. I am hoping that my husband will be satisfied with organization and in place of space and order. I still have my work cut out for me in more ways than one.

Eva’s room is a continual work in process, because in Eva’s room I do the dance of two hoarders vs. one minimalist, it will be an eternal argument mostly between the two hoarders. For instance, I used to hide Eva’s friend’s birthday presents in her closet until she got old enough to discover them, and I would find a trail of plastic wrapping and the guilty child and no longer new toy at the end of it. Eva’s room before she was born was a dumping ground for my old clothes, winter coats, a hiding place of all and sundry- but no longer, I have had to relinquish my back room domain. Instead in the nooks, crannies and drawers I would stuff things I had no other place for, there are stuffed animals, books, crafts, mementos, baby apparatus, clothes, and more clothes, future clothes and past clothes and Sponge Bob Square pants shoes three sizes too big she is waiting to grow into with impatience. There may be truth to being too prepared for the years to come.

Eva never goes anywhere without her stuff, which includes of primary importance and stature, her bunny lovie with the wobbly nose. When she discovered we had three alike which we rotate when they need to be washed, or are misplaced she began to demand all three, then she became fixated on blankets, of which at least one has to accompany her and her three bunnies when we leave the house. She also needs to bring one of her four cozy dressing gowns. At home Eva has a heaving collection of other stuffed animals, which come in and out of fancy. Her life size sea turtle which she likes to sleep on top of, her shark who lost a fin in a tug of war fight at nursery and was then banned from attending due to the high possibility of future injury.

Eva likes things so much she has developed the terrible mother mortifying inclination to take things she desires and when questioned prefers the descriptive verb, “to borrow.” It is probably unnecessary to say that Eva has yet to willingly return any item she has borrowed. When new toys appear in her backpack or at home in the milieu, which is her playroom, I have to interrogate her on the origin of its species. I have returned many stuffed animals, small toys, bears and other preoccupations of children’s imaginations to parents of Eva’s friends, red faced and embarrassed to admit my Eva had taken the other child’s toy. She also regularly dismantles toys at my parent’s house and removes them to her own home, some have come to permanently reside at our home, which I suppose was Eva’s intention all along but all of this stolen booty adds too to our mutual hoarding problem. I prefer to include Eva within the umbrella of hoarding rather than Kleptomania. At home, our living room has become a child’s playroom, which we once cleaned regularly and now we have all forgotten to put away anything, in fact the most attention the area gets is from our dog Piccolo who likes to use it as his inside toilet if we forget and leave the door open. Once a showpiece it is the room we all mutually pretend is not there, a mess safely behind closed doors,- that is with the exception of Piccolo.

Since we have moved Eva to her big bed she has spent less and less time sleeping and more and more time playing with all her toys as now that she has outgrown her crib she has absolute access to all of her toys all at once for whatever purposes she desires. After naptime I regularly discover her buried beneath a mountain of soft toys, having to dig her out to resurface her for the afternoon, literally ply her out from underneath her toys, which feels ever so creepily like an episode of Junior Hoarders.

Last weekend when I went into Eva’s bedroom to dig her out she was there uncharacteristically unsurfaced with an evil smile on her face.

“Eva!”

“Mommy, look I made everything really PRETTY.”

My eyes scoured the room. As I took in what happened with shock, she seemed eager to explain.

“Mommy, you left the diaper cream out, HA HA HA! You forgot to put it away.”

“You are right I did forget, to my eternal regret. ” For Eva had smeared not only her self head to toe in oily impenetrable diaper cream, but she had worked it into all the corners, and holes, notches and joints of a BORROWED train set, she had greased the brand new pink mesh of her canopy with the stuff, generously given my two nonwashable red dachshund door stops a new cover of cream, wiped along the furniture and drawn what could be described as rainbows along the wall.

“Its Beautiful and Destructive,” I said deciding to celebrate her artistry rather than get upset, and part of me did think it was funny although I wasn’t laughing.

“Ha Ha Ha, Mommy I am LAUGHING, he ha he ha.”

Needless to say the diaper cream was a COSTCO sized container I had never managed to use up, I should have known I could leave that to Eva.

 

 

I was reminded by certain family members that it could be much worse, she could have been smearing POO. I am all for that kind of optimism.

This incident has given my decluttering some inspiration, because the less I hoard, the more I declutter, the less I have to clean, sew fins back on, lock away, or discern its origin. The less stuff we have, the less we will be ruled by it. I do of course believe that, but getting rid of stuff is hard for a Hoarder especially when there is a new generation of stuffed animal clutter, because of course- I still have my own mildewy eyeless worn out collection of stuffed animals from my childhood, STILL.

Maybe I should give up?

Xx Derelict Mom

First Love

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“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The best any of us can do is sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.” Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker.

I included the above quote on my wedding program and it remains today as it was then, my favorite quote by my favorite author. Tom is in his eighties now and he recently published a collection of stories verging on memoir called Tibetan Peach Pie. One of the first stories is about his first love, a young circus girl with long blonde hair and a pet snake. This vision made me think of my darling Eva who although merely three years old, has loved all reptiles and amphibians since before she could walk. Eva especially likes toads and we spend many mornings looking for them in my uncle’s pond, and this, years before she will contemplate kissing any, for as Tom Robbins wrote, “Prince Charming really is a toad.” But Miss Eva, as soon as she could speak would look at her mother and look back at the toad and say with all the sincerity of a nun, “I LOVE him.”

I imagine moments in the future when Eva confides in me that she has a crush on something other than an amphibian, or that she is nursing a broken heart or a disappointment in love, these moments are probably fairly certain. I look forward to enjoying her happiness when she finds the right boyfriend at the right time, a wedding, a grandchild. Of course I am just as certain that all of this is in her future. What I didn’t anticipate is that Eva’s love life would begin at age three.

You can pity my maternal stupor when I unzipped Eva’s school bag the other day during my evening routine and discovered a love note from a boy. It was a Valentine in January. It said “Eva, I love you,” and had a snowman emblazoned with his name, love, Rogan. It took me a moment to realize that I was holding Eva’s first Valentine.

 

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“Eva, who is this from?”

“Rogan.” She answered as if I was asking her what color the sky was.

“What does it say Eva?”

“Rogan loves Eva.”

I gasp and hold the note close to my chest, I then scan it into my computer for posterity, consider frames and then decide to tape it to the fridge door, as if she had just won a blue ribbon in an art competition, or baked the best brownies at the Agricultural show or made the Dean’s list.

“Eva, this is amazing.”

I couldn’t wait, so I called her father at work, “Eva got her first love note, I found it in her backpack.”

“Who is it from?”

“Rogan.”

“Rogan? I thought she liked Caelan?”

“Eva likes older men, like her mother.”

“How old is Rogan?”

“Five.”

The next morning when I drove her to school I could barely keep my eyes on the road my heart was singing, and I kept thinking about the love note picturing Eva and Rogan remincing in the married bliss of old age about being childhood sweethearts. Rogan’s mother and I picking out china patterns, deciding where we will throw the wedding and fighting over who will get to babysit the next generation. I hit the curb and veered back into my lane and present time.

When I dropped Eva at school, I asked Auntie Zoe,

“Did Rogan give anyone else a love note, or just Eva?”

After daydreaming, my cynical been around the block protective mothering wisdom began to question the note’s authenticity.

“Did anyone put him up to it?”

“No Rogan did it of his own accord and Eva was the only one he made one for.”

My heart soared, but realistically I also knew that Eva was the only girl at her nursery school so she may hold a place of high esteem that may not translate to the wider world of preschool.

Zoe continued, “Rogan is a very loving boy, he makes these for his parents and his brother, but this is the first love note he has made for anyone else, the first one for a girl.”

My heart skipped a beat. I was the mother of a prom queen, the most popular girl at school. When I got to my office the first thing I did was email Rogan’s mother to discuss the love note.

“Did Rogan say anything to you about the love note he made for Eva?”

“No.”

“Yes, it appeared in her bag yesterday and he didn’t make one for anyone else, I checked with Zoe.”

Our giddy excitement of motherhood blew the entire incident up into a full scale relationship, a relationship Rogan and Eva didn’t seem to notice, as their “love” had more to do with playing on the climbing frame, stamping and painting than it had to do with spending their lives together. This fact would be brought painfully home to me that afternoon.

When I arrived at nursery to pick Eva up, Rogan was still there.

“Hi Rogan, thank you for the nice note you gave Eva.”

“You are welcome,” he said barely looking up from the ground.

I was expecting more excitement, more pandering, I was after all his future mother in law.

When Eva and I walked to the car, my heart was still singing, my mind planning out her romantic future. When we got home I began the evening ritual of emptying her school bag, removing and cleaning her lunchbox, and reading her school report book, when something I read stopped me dead in my tracks and took my breath away.

“Rogan called Eva a bad girl and made her cry.”

It was just forty-eight hours since Rogan had crafted his masterpiece Valentine professing his undying love for Eva.

“My god! That was short lived.“

I contemplated calling his mother, but it felt too radical. Maybe it was just a lover’s spat. I was thrown from the ecstasies of love to the depths of despair. How fickle are little boys hearts! I sat Eva down to discuss this terrible development.

“Eva what happened at school today?”

“Nothing.”

“Eva sweet heart, you can tell me what happened.”

Silence.

“What happened with Rogan?”

“He was mean to me.”

“Its okay darling, boys can be mean to girls sometimes.” And fickle and heartless I thought.

“Mommy can I have another beet.”

“Yes Eva.” I handed her a beet.

“Eva, do you still love Rogan?”

“YUCK, No Mommy I don’t love Rogan, I love Caelan.”

Caelan is Rogan’s little brother.

“Oh! “

I underestimated Eva. I guess she knows more than me and I should butt out and not be so easily swayed into an outright fantasy by a five year old’s love note. At some point when they are married for too many years, boys stop writing love notes, so I am going to keep this one for Eva to remind her of the good old years when she was popular and spoilt for choice — at least among brothers. Her life might be shaping up like a Mills and Boon love story, a beautiful woman torn between two brothers, but there I go again dramatizing. I am sure there will be room in every story line for an interfering mother/mother in law. I should know my own mother still calls my sister’s teenage boyfriend “Remora” when she sees him. “Remora” is a nickname she bestowed on him after finding numerous hickies on my sister’s neck, an affectionate moniker after the fish, whose head has a sucker for adhering itself to the belly of a shark. My sister is the shark of course. Eva should be forewarned that she will never live down what she does as a teenager or a Threenager for that matter.

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The First Unfairness

 

Eva has a new mantra for 2015,“It’s not fair!”

I am not sure what gave rise to her newfound acuity of what is proper and deserving and right but it is emerging alongside the equally important skills of empathy and manipulation. This understanding of equality is as fundamental in humans as it is in dogs. Dachshunds particularly have an almost sixth sense for when one is given a bigger treat than the other, or when one was greeted before the other, or petted for a fraction of a second longer, an imperceptible injustice, which dissolves into an all out war, a forced reconciliation after battle, and eventually exile. I am reminded now reminiscing about Piccolo and Piglet’s well hewn warpath that dogs are believed to have intelligence equal to the average three year old and this fills me with dread for Eva’s year ahead. My experience with warring dogs is a powerful argument for not giving Eva a sibling as life is at its worst when every child at nursery or home wants a turn on the same metaphorical yellow swing at the same time.

The yellow swing is about all I hear about every day when I pick Eva up from nursery. Rogan or Ethan, or Sadie wouldn’t let me have a turn on the yellow swing. And the worst part is I am currently mother to at least three children with the mental age of three ( Eva, Piccolo and Piglet (in exile)) but back to that yellow swing:

“I am sure they did let you have a turn.”

“It wasn’t long enough.”

I pause unsure of my answer and manage to muster,

“It was long enough, it just didn’t SEEM long enough to you.”

I flounder as I am not sure how to raise a child who is to the power of ten times more impatient than the average three year old. All parents say this I am sure, but they haven’t met Eva. Her rage at not getting what she wants is only as powerful as her resolute will to never admit she is wrong.

The other day Eva hit Piccolo and I with a plastic stick that came off one of her Christmas presents.

“Eva please apologize to Mommy and Piccolo.”

“No.”

“I insist Eva”

“no, NO, Na, Na, NO.” sung to the beat of a Beyonce song. The Diva has arrived.

“You will have to sit on the naughty step.”

“No”

“Yes”

I pick her up and put her on the bottom step of the stairs. She cries for forty minutes, every ten minutes I ask her,

“Are you ready to apologize to Mommy?”

“No”

Every ten minutes for forty minutes.

Eventually I asked her father to convince her to apologize. He took her off the naughty step without my permission, wrapped her in a blanket and finally ten minutes later, a whisper as loud as it was meaningful eked out,

“I am sorry Mommy.”

“Apology accepted.” I whispered back, arms crossed.

“Now get ready for bed.” No wonder I am the least favorite parent. I put her on the naughty step, Daddy whisks her off, he feeds her chocolate, I make her go to bed. He devises treasure hunts, I wash her ears out, he carries her around the house on his back, I spend most of my waking time following her from room to room plucking her off furniture like a baby monkey, a simile she enjoys bringing to life. I turn the TV off. Daddy turns it on.

Now that she can count it has infiltrated her logic of equity, her comprehensions and assessments of what is fair. About a week before her birthday she started saying that because she was two she should be allowed to watch two cartoons before bed, as that was only fair because she was two.

“Okay that sounds reasonable.” I said not willing to argue the merits of one cartoon, and only one cartoon.

Then Eva more than one step ahead of me as usual added,

“And when I am three I get three cartoons before bed because, I am three!”

“Okay, three cartoons before bed.”

Eva gives me a look as if she was thinking, “Fantastic she bought it.”

Noticing that Mommy’s energy has been flagging lately she has started to use her newest skills of argument, reason and toddler justice to give voice to her most base desires.

When we get home from school, she opens the fridge, “I want chocolate.”

“No chocolate before dinner.”

“That’s not fair.”

“Yes it is!”

Eva bursts into a fit of tears like I had made up a new rule to prevent her from getting what she wants, to eternally get in her way like only mothers can do.

“Eva, no chocolate before dinner has always been a rule and it should never be questioned.”

“It’s not fair, you never said I couldn’t have chocolate.”

“You never asked before dinner.”

“Anarchy” I murmur under my breath.

For Eva the stretch between getting home and finishing dinner is enough of an eternity and so I have discovered that the upside of an impatient child is that she has forgotten about chocolate by the time her deserving hour arrives.

Eva’s other daily habits are also evolving as she grows into her year of being three, or as a blogger wrote the other day her year of becoming a “ Threenager”. Eva is now scared of the dark and calls for mommy to come and take her to the potty at all hours, which I do of course and then lead her back into bed, tuck her in and kiss her goodnight for the umpteenth time. To my amazement these midnight potty trips have meant her diaper is dry in the morning and I am beginning to dream of never having to buy a diapers again until I need Depends.

Eva has always liked to hold my hand while using the potty especially when she has a bowel movement. I guess it gives her fortitude. Now that she is three, she prefers the back of her toddler chair, which I have to move in front of her when she is expecting a movement. Her blue chair is a symbol of independence at last. She holds on to the back of the chair and grunts away reminding me of my Lamaze class. She is very territorial about her blue chair and over the last few days she has been greatly offended by her father. I am relieved it is for once not me who is guilty of such offence.

“Last day, Daddy bit my fingers, these three fingers right here, AND he put HIS shoes on MY blue chair, his shoes on my blue chair!”

She says this with great expectation wondering when I will put Daddy on the naughty step. If Daddy is going on the naughty step it will be for a host of other reasons, not for putting his shoes on Eva’s blue chair but in her world and especially within her potty moments, it is all about the blue chair.

The other day her Daddy and I were discussing his new job and I said, “You will have to play the bad guy at work.”

Eva was shocked, and repeated for days to come, “You called Daddy a bad guy, Daddy is not a bad guy. Mommy you said Daddy was a bad guy.”

“I meant he should pretend to be a bad guy like when he pretends to be a monster.”

At some point Eva is going to wonder why she is the only one that ever has to sit on the naughty step. I am sure Daddy would like to put mommy on the naughty step for my offences against husband-kind: burning the potatoes, leaving the washing in the washing machine, never making the bed, earning too many sky miles on the visa card.

Eva’s other new and disturbing habit is that every night when we are laying in her big girl bed reading stories, she asks, “Mommy can I lay on your boobies?”

“Why do you want to lay there?”

“Because they are soft.”

“Okay put your head right here” I said patting my right breast.

“Mommy you have big boobies, can I touch them?”

“Yes.” I say half disappointed that I cannot for my life recall the last time anyone said anything that romantic to me.

With a wicked smile, Eva does her best belly flop from an upright standing position landing splat on top of my chest, winding me with a WWE Banzai drop.

“Owww, why did you do that, you are hurting Mommy.”

“I want somewhere to rest my belly.”

“Okay, just be gentle.”

Every night I do my best to get through reading her bedtime stories. It’s hard to keep my eyes on the page, while recovering from the nightly Banzai drops, trying to eek out, “Mary had a little lamb, little lamb” while being held in a chest lock.

Last night. I tried to convince Eva to assume another position.

“No, I like it that way.”

“Mommy doesn’t like it, it is uncomfortable.”

“But that’s not fair.”

I could hear my mother in my head,

“Life’s not fair,” but I know better than to say that to my three year old. Instead, I sucked it up and remained in the chest lock for yet another night. The moral, life’s not fair, is perhaps a better lesson imparted on the mother than the daughter.

Year three has already brought many new questions and some tough ones too. Since Eva overheard the headline breaking that Teresa Giudice and her husband of Housewife fame were going to jail she has been asking me,

“Mommy, What is Guilty?”

She hasn’t bought my most recent, explanation:

“Guilty is when someone does something that is not fair, and they are punished like the naughty step, or when Daddy yells at Mommy, and then there is jail too when you are really bad, or when you don’t wear your car seat straps.”

This week’s big toddler probing into the mysteries of life question is,

“Mommy what is Ebay?”

“It’s a place to sell things you don’t want.”

“You mean like Piccolo?”

“We aren’t selling Piccolo.”

“What about Daddy?”

“No we can’t sell Daddy.”

“But he bit my three fingers and put his shoes on my blue chair.”

“Life isn’t fair.” I thought.

Last night I finally finished rereading Peter Pan. It was one of my new years resolutions (2014 not 2015.) I laughed when I came across this passage about a child’s First Unfairness, it reminded me so much of Eva.

“Quick as thought Peter snatched a knife from Hook’s belt and was about to drive it home, when he saw that he was higher up on the rock than his foe. It would not have been fighting fair. He gave the pirate a hand to help him up. It was then that Hook bit him.

Not the pain of this but its unfairness was what dazed Peter. It made him quite helpless. He could only stare, horrified. Every child is affected thus the first time he is treated unfairly. All he thinks he has a right to when he comes to you and yours is fairness. After you have been unfair to him he will love you again, but will never afterwards be quite the same boy. ( or girl) No one ever gets over the first unfairness; no one except Peter. He often met it, but he always forgot it. I suppose that was the real difference between him and all the rest. “

Eva’s Daddy has a few more chocolate coin treasure hunts in his future to make up for putting his shoes on Eva’s blue chair, Mommy will forever be the one who wouldn’t let her have chocolate before dinner, and her friends will never be forgiven for not letting her have a longer turn on the yellow swing but amidst all of this inequity Eva still loves us and we love her back from the prone, clearly unequivalent position beneath a Banzai drop.

Xx Derelict Mom

 

A New Year, Pass the Cake

It’s 2015, I woke up on the couch at 12:01am and that is pretty much a metaphor for the year I have had: It sucked and I missed the party. I know I am supposed to be grateful, I replay that scene in Ally McBeal when Calista Flockhart bangs her head against the wall saying ,“I have my health, I have my health,” then I remember I have the flu and have been sick for most of December. Raising a germy three year old is not for sissies, neither is writing a blog.

I did do one thing I have never done and that is keep a new year’s resolution to blog at least once a week. I came close, last weeks blog wasn’t written and posted until Sunday, did I mention how the flu really ruins your life. Imagine blowing your resolution on week 52. The Journal of Clinical Psychology says that 92% of new years resolutions are not achieved. My other nine resolutions belong in that category. Over the years I have learned to be more realistic, one year I made the promise that I would write two hours every day. HMPF. Two hours every week is much more doable. I have stuck to two hours every week to write my blog and it worked. Over the year I clocked up ( I just counted) 89,051 words not including this post which will have plenty of run-on sentences so I can tot up to 90,000 words. It may not be obvious but I was an OCD perfectionist in a past life. I am more proud of this than my Caesarian scar, my whiney three year old, or any of my professional work. 80,000 words is the average length of a memoir, so I have proven to myself that with weekly goals I can finish a rough draft of a book in a year and still be able to pick up my daughter from school, work, get sick, and do all the other things I am expected to do like brushing my teeth. In 2015 I hope to do just that. I will still write my blog but I may not post as regularly.

My other new years resolutions are to try meal planning and take better care of myself and avoid the FLU, and the other one is to declutter. When I said the last one out loud to my husband, he did one of those dances he does when his team wins and then he looked up to heaven like God had finally answered his prayers. I didn’t realize our house was that bad.

I can see my mother vigorously nodding. I suppose it’s like the back of my hair. I just don’t see it.

Yesterday I was chasing Eva around the house with a brush before school and she was trying to convince me that her hair did not need to be brushed. My reply was,

“Eva if you don’t let me get the knots out then they will get worse and it will hurt even more to get them out.”

“No.”

“Yes, Eva. Mommy knows best.”

“But Mommy, YOU don’t brush YOUR hair.”

I was speechless for a moment and then remembered my mother’s most quotable phrase.

“Eva, do as Mommy says not as Mommy does.”

As soon as the words escaped my mouth, I thought,

“My god I am turning into my mother.”

As I look forward to Eva’s year as a three year old, I realize that as soon as they can count to twenty they start back talking. My motherhood challenge this year will be to learn how to handle her astute observations on areas like self grooming where I am lacking. I better add self grooming to the new years resolution list.

A few days ago, I was rushing to get out of the door to drive over to Reza’s house to help her administer Piglet’s insulin, when I answered the door in a bra, it was Reza she had overslept and was dressed in only a see through nightgown, Piglet in tow. Reza and I have a lot more in common than a diabetic dog. And there was Eva shaking her head in the background at the two of us. Eva’s arms were crossed, her face full of disapproval, her body wrapped snuggly in one of her collection of four dressing gowns, the zebra one.

“Decorum, mom.” I imagined her saying. She doesn’t have that big a vocabulary yet, but that was what she was most certainly thinking.

Eva has learned very astutely how to use her observations to get what she wants. The weekend before Christmas, we were at her grandparent’s house when her cousin arrived with presents.

“Here are Christmas presents for you girls, Eva and Sadie.” Stasia said.

“Which one is for me?” Eva asked and Stasia pointed it out.

“Can we open them now?” Eva asked.

“No, you have to wait until Christmas Day to open them.”

Eva grabbed the present.

“But, I don’t celebrate Christmas.” She explained with sincerity.

Eva will be becoming Jewish, (like her friend from school) in 2015 so she can get her presents earlier and won’t have to wait through advent.

Sure enough when December 25th dawned Eva had returned to Christianity after a brief absence over Hanukkah. We bought Eva a turtle tent for the living room for Christmas, so she can have her own “territory.” After daddy set it up for her and I tried to enter, she laid some ground rules.

“If you are invited into my tent, you cannot do a boofa, if you do a boofa you have to leave.”

“I am not going to do a boofa, Eva.”

“Maybe it’s your breath.” She responded.

One thing I have learned this year, is not to underestimate a toddler. I have been dreading giving up her nighttime bottle, but when I decided to trade her bottle for getting a big girl bed, she had no hesitation and we have not looked back.

Hamma and Gigi tried to out present Eva’s turtle tent when they bought her a hot pink baby grand piano, toddler size. Eva likes to play it naked with her toes. The first thing she said when we set it up was,

“Mommy, I like to play the piano standing up.” She forgot to add naked, with her toes on the keys and her butt in the air. I am going to nickname her, Pearl, after the Elkie Brooks song.

Eva has already sussed out where I fit in the family power dynamic. The other day we went to visit Hamma and Gigi and Eva was playing in the living room with Hamma, while I was in the kitchen area with Gigi and the new puppy.

Hamma explained to Eva that the door had to remain shut to keep the puppy out of the living room.

“Why?” asked Eva

“So the puppy doesn’t chew the furniture.” Hamma explained.

“Can my mommy come into the living room, she will promise not to chew the furniture?”

I do like toothpicks and my mother and I don’t always get along but I have yet to chew her Mahogany side tables. It’s comforting to know there is territory I haven’t covered for 2015.

My sick facebook trolling came up with this link, to an auto generated New Years Resolution, I put my name in and said that I wanted to change my bad habits, and its advice was:

In 2015 I resolve to make better bad decisions.

I am doomed!

http://www.zimbio.com/generator/wJo1VPVBhZH/The+Random+New+Year%27s+Resolution+Generator?i=3Z_l3Kd_lpx&t=MApcS6EyV6X

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

My total word count for the year: 90,324

DM signature001Eva's Resolutions