Thursday, June 28, 2012

10 Parenting Surprises (so far) that I did NOT Expect

The pup overseeing the baby's foray into dog food. 
1. I never expected to have anyone, even the fruit of my loins, spit-up in my mouth. This is one of the most disgusting things I've ever experienced... and right after it happened I realized I was the only person home and it would just not do to get all grossed out and vomit-y. So I washed my mouth out and got on with my day. What kind of a person is okay with that? Apparently, me. 

2. I am typically okay with my baby eating dirt, and, bugs, and dog food (just not the ones that are recalled because of salmonella).
I guess there's not too much to say about this, other than I am pretty sure my theory is backed by scientific evidence that dirt-eating tends to result in stronger immunity for all kids, but little girls don't usually get the opportunity for said dirt-eating experiences. So, the husband and I are breaking the mold and allowing the little drool-monger to dig in as much dirt as she wants. Bring on the ringworm. The bugs are more of a "by chance" sort of thing, but I did actually find my child with wings and legs sticking out of her little pouty mouth the other day. Ugh.

3. My daughter enjoys licking toes and feet... so now I know what it feels like to have my toe and/or foot licked... and I do not enjoy it. 

4. I have (almost entirely) trained myself out of gasping in horror whenever it looks like my kid is going to take a fall for the worse... and every time I don't gasp I am so proud of myself. This is one of the things that has been incredibly important for both my husband and I. This is not to say I don't worry-- I do! Nor is this to say we just let her hurt herself unnecessarily or that when she finally does hurt herself we just ignore her, we do not. But, when she surprises herself with a little "hurt" and immediately flashes those big eyes at one of us as if to ask "Am I really hurt?" we try our best to look at her, pick her up (if needed), and say in a very upbeat voice, "Did you go boom? You're okay. Let's play *fill in blank with obnoxious toddler toy"." So far, she hasn't caught on to the game, and I'm hoping she never does!

5. I think holding a newborn is truly one of the most comforting and calming things in the ENTIRE world.
As much time as I spend ranting about random BS a person might come to believe I dislike parenting, and while there are aspects I would rather not partake in, I LOVE being mama to my girl. She is AWESOME (and has the fattest little baby legs to prove it). But, nothing compares to those sleep-deprived moments after we first brought her home. I would be so easily driven to tears and I just remember holding her and reminding myself to calm down because she was just, so, newborn. After reading a couple of new mama blogs and Facebook posts, I am reminded of how calming my little girl's presence was in those most difficult moments when I felt like I was going absolutely crazy.

6. I don't really want my kid to be a super-nerd (unless she really wants to be one).
I always thought I'd want to encourage my kid to be the "most" or "best" at everything she ever tries or wants to do. Lately, I've realized that I really don't want this (unless that's what SHE wants). I do want her to do well in anything she tackles, but (so far) I don't feel the need to do more than encourage in what she wants, and those developmental milestones she's expected to reach. Otherwise, I just want her to be happy... whatever (or almost whatever) that may mean to her. (But I'm still telling her to go to college... she can choose not to use a college degree, but if we're willing to pay for four years of partying, she might as well take us up on it!)

7. Truly trying to do what is best for my kid... even when it makes me feel uncomfortable every time I do it.
Shortly after my little babe was born some not-so-fun family relationship issues arose (as things like that will when exciting things, like babies, happen) which made it difficult to partake in certain family activities that were once second-nature to me. Nevertheless, both the husband and I have truly tried our hardest to come to a point of agreement about the aforementioned issues so that we know baby girl is getting the best chance possible at having a positive relationship experiences now, and throughout her life. I don't doubt that many things we do or encourage or attempt to do for her will eventually result in some sort of therapy, but I am surprised at the amount of time and energy we have put into making each facet of our daughter's life as positive for her as possible.

8. I sleep so little, and I am (mostly) okay with the lack of sleep.
I used to sleep SO much. I could easily sleep away twelve hours of a day, and I could never get up earlier than 10am without the help of one (okay two) alarms. I used to sleep so much that my husband just assumed I would continue to sleep for hours on end and not get up with our child. Little did her know, I am now the world's lightest sleeper. If I am on mom-duty I wake up if she cries out just once, and if she cries out more than once I get out of bed on my own accord-- no prodding needed! I also tend not to be able to sleep even when I'm utterly exhausted, and if I drink the night before, I usually wake up an hour earlier than if I spend the entire night teetotalling. I cannot wait for the day my sleep returns, and I fear that day will never come now that I am connected to this little thing for life.

9. The hair bows are SO cute it almost hurts!
On most days, I am perfectly fine with sending my kid out of the house in whatever her dad chooses for her to wear. He usually picks something that mostly matches, and our kid is SUPER-CUTE, so she looks AMAZING in anything (seriously). Nevertheless, I am now obsessed with making sure she has a bow in her hair whenever she leaves the house (even though she tries to eat them) because I wasn't able to put any bows in her hair for four months when she had to wear a head-shaping helmet for four whole months!

10. Babies are actually born with the beginnings of their little personalities; or, we're just THAT good at projecting character traits... either way, my VERY first picture of my daughter posted online was accompanied by a caption that read "Our beautiful, squishy, stubborn little girl." That description continues to capture the essence of my daughter. She IS beautiful, I will be terrible and brag: people tell us literally every time we go out. She IS squishy: at first she was squishy because she looked like a Benjamin Button doppelganger, now she's squishy because she has the kind of legs that contain no knees because the rolls just  skim right over that knee bone into the cankle that is her calf and you just want to eat them up. She IS stubborn! SO stubborn! Each week it's a new focus and new thing to whine about, or crawl to, or attempt fifty time without ever being successful, or a new word (she's got at least five now). We're totally screwed, she IS our kid, and we're pretty bad examples as far as stubbornness goes.

What do you think? Does any of this surprise you? Have you ever been surprised by a baby's actions?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Strange New Feelings of Responsibility, or, My Saturday

As I write, I am operating on approximately 3.9 hours of sleep and I am anticipating a day of birthday parties. Three to be exact. Each approximately an hour away from home and an hour away from each other.

This morning-- after baby had been awake...and asleep...and awake from 12am to 3am-- I found myself thinking: "I don't know why I am trying to go to all of these parties, especially with a kid in tow."

I mean, it's not like she or I are the guests of honor at any of these soirees, though I'm sure at least one of us would be a very welcome addition to each gathering, and it's not like the party hostesses wouldn't understand my lack of enthusiasm over driving nearly one hundred and fifty miles round trip, with said child in tow.

Then it came to me. Before my child was born I would have happily said "F*** it" and stayed at home, or chosen one party to go to and stay at, or just done whatever else struck my fancy. But now, I have come to realize another sad truth about parenting: now matter how much we mold them to work within our world, our kids run the show.

You might be thinking "Pshaw, I'm not that way at all I would have done it anyway, and besides, I haven't changed my life to accommodate my child." To that I ask, do you ever attempt to make it home before "night-night" time? Do you now check food packaging labels for words you still cannot/ don't care to pronounce? Do you know call bodily functions "pee-pee" and "poo-poo"? Do you find yourself watching Nick Jr. or Cartoon Network? (And, I'm not talking about reruns of Doug or Family Guy.) If you find yourself doing any of these things (or, gasp, all) then you just might be a parent... whose life has gone to the kids.

Don't get me wrong-- I know plenty of parents who drag their kids all over (I'm one of them), but when it comes down to it you're just not dragging them to the places to which you once dragged yourself. Going into that bar... with a baby carrier... not so much.

Give it a few years, you will lose that carrier and you can teach your child/children to occupy themselves while you go into that bar. Until then, suffice it to say there are more kiddie birthday parties and very wasted full Saturdays in your future.

If you're a parent, have you ever found yourself with a newly found sense of responsibility over some pretty ridiculous stuff? If you don't have any kids, what do you think about parents who engage like this?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Psychological Warfare

As I lay awake the other morning in the haze of sleep deprivation (after baby had been awake...and asleep...and awake from 12am to 3am) I found myself thinking that just as I posted awhile ago on Facebook, I truly have come to realize another sad truth about parenting: children are simply tiny enemy combatants engaged in constant and never-ending psychological warfare.

Now, you're probably thinking "That lady is crazy. She's already admitted she's sleep deprived and now she's going to blame it on her kid." And to that I say, you are correct. I would not be so sleep deprived if I hadn't had my child, and now that she's here I understand just how little sleep I need to function as a semi-normal human being-- I used to think it was minimally eight hours. Ha! Now I realize it lies between four and six, depending on the task ahead.

But, back to my point about those tiny, hypnotically adept, antagonists. Even now, as I attempt to begin functioning for the day ahead, I am listening to my little one happily coo and play quietly in her crib. I smile to myself, then think, "What the hell?! That little *insert loving expletive here* was up until 3AM! Awww... she just said "Uh oh!" all by herself..." How is she so easily able to manipulate my feelings, going from "I could leave you at a fire station any moment if I were awake enough to find one" to "Ahhh! You're the most-amazing-cutest-little-fat-thighs-baby-girl-in-the-world!" in a matter of seconds.

Ugh. At least I hear they're only cute for three and a half more years, then I guess the beatings can begin.

(I'm TOTALLY kidding about the beatings! You can put down the phone, no need to call child protective services. In that many years my kid will be able to dial a phone on her own easily, her dad just gave her her own a smart phone the other night.)

Below, I have pieced together the top three reasons that should completely convince everyone of my ten (and a half)-month-old adversary's guile:

Sleep Deprivation: A known form of prisoner torture. They start out by easing you into the lack of sleep, you don't even know how tired you are until you've asked your husband if the baby is crying four times, and each time he says no. You go check on said baby, they are sound asleep, you're hallucinating. (True story, this happened to me frequently during months one through three, it only got worse when I was home alone.)

Solitary Confinement: Literally considered to have driven some men insane, solitary confinement is yet another form of baby torture. They get you to stay in at first because you're so exhausted and they're so cute, but by the time they're eight (or so) months old you are afraid to leave the house because of what they may do in public. The only other (adult) people you're allowed to see on a regular basis are grandparents and other equally sleep-deprived parents. Many parents rejoice when "night-night" time rolls around so they can watch television (or at least something that is ear-piercingly annoying) and place food, drinks, whatever on the coffee table that is just at baby's height. 

Exposure to Unpleasant Sounds Over a Long Period of Time: I am quite specifically referring to the screams of small children and "kiddie songs". Not only does my husband marvel at the sheer lung capacity of our child every time she decides to scream, but he is also astounded by the sheer amount of annoyance those screams can evoke from us. He is constantly amazed at how infants are so biologically attuned to survive with little tricks like the most annoying sound in the world. As for those equally torturous kiddie songs, even the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay were allegedly subjected to hours of unending kid songs as one form of torture

"Most Annoying Sound in the World" clip from Dumb and Dumber

I think I've made my case. What do you think? Small child = psychological warfare?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Problems with [play]Dating

Before my daughter was born I very much looked forward to going on little "playdates". I naively assumed this meant I would easily befriend other like-minded women and we would sit around in our super-cute workout "gear", sipping coffee-- after a jog to a predetermined location, and happily look after our children in a carefree manner as they learned the ins and outs of sharing with others. After an hour or two of insightful and intelligent talk, we would all get up to leave because the kiddos seemed a tad tired and retreat back to our individual homes after making future plans.

When I created this little scenario for myself I had more than a year to work this thing out before I even had to think about work getting in my/our way of playdating other kids.

Fast forward to present time. Playdates like the above are complete and utter bullsh*t. To achieve my little playdating illusion, I would have had to personally overcome some serious anxieties about dealing intimately with other adults; I would have also had to curb my use of foul language; and, other people MOMS would have to exist that have children the same age (read: must-have-been-born-the-first-week-in-August-2011-because-otherwise-their-kid-would-be-a-different-age-and-our-kids-wouldn't-really-be-able-to-play-together-because-the-developmental-gaps-are-so-difficult-to-overcome), live in close (walking distance) proximity to my home, and have a life outside of their kid that includes interests outside of their kid.

The reality is not so much like what I though it would be.

I still have stupid anxieties about being intimate with other adults, namely women. It is SCARY to try to make friends with women I don't know. Apparently, I was able to form a few relationships in the alcoholic haze of my twenties, but most people tend to look at you like you're committing a crime when you pull out a bottle from the diaper bag and it's not the kind you should ever give to a baby. Plus, how are you really supposed to approach other women? I can just see myself: "Hey, nice rack... on your stroller. You come here often? Wanna hang out at my place sometime?". It wouldn't be pretty. I know, I know... I should just GET OVER IT, especially for my daughter's sake. And, I DO make an attempt to be a normal human at least once a week during library story-time-- as long as I don't get us kicked out for being late (but that's another post).

I still have a really foul mouth-- not when I'm playing the part of teacher to impressionable young minds! Just, when I'm at home, or travelling, or thinking about something, or, well, pretty much at all other times. Some words I have said in front of children without meaning to sully their virgin ears: f*ck, b*tch, assh*le, d*ick, sh*t... the list goes on and only gets more colorful. I didn't realize how foul my mouth was until we invited people over with kids older than two. It turns out those little mimes DO have a mind of their own... they choose to repeat only the foul language they hear. And blame it on you. I'm in for it when my little princess starts to say more than "mom", "dad", "dog", and "ball". I guess curbing my language could also help me make more mom friends... maybe.

It also turns out that there are very few women/humans who enjoy my brand of humor. It's difficult to find anyone at all who is "like-minded" enough to hang out with me on a good day, let alone someone like that with kids and free time. Most of the peeps who like my personality at all have to listen to me at least a little, because we are forced to work together. The other people who are willing to hangout with me on a regular and sober basis are people who have known me for at least a decade (or close enough) and/or are legally related to me by bloodlines or marriage. I admit it: I am a crass individual who also tends to over-share at ANY chance I get (hence this blogging thing, I suppose) and I am rarely tactful in my approach. Attempting to filter myself has been a life-long struggle... and though people who know me well usually know my heart is in the right place, even if my words aren't, this does nothing for me when I meet new people on my own and they've heard me call my own kid an a-hole in front of their angelic child with the virgin ears.

Even when I find someone who is cool with my brand of humor, it's always either our locations or schedules that don't jive. They work, or I'm out of town, or they live an hour away. Ugh.

From what I can surmise, playdating is like going back to that first day of high school OVER and OVER again. Yet, it stands as a necessary evil of the (sort of) stay at home mom who wants to screw her kid up in only the way a middle-class upbringing in complete nuclear family can do.

Do you see any problems with "playdates"?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Top 10 Reasons why I Think the Zombie Apocalypse is Probably Upon Us [Updated]

Updates since 6.11.12
A pair of lungs were found on a South LA sidewalk, although the lungs turned out to be of non-human origin does anyone really know what zombie DNA looks like? Plus, finding a pair of lungs is just incredibly disturbing. Where is the rest of the creature those lungs came from?

Sadly, a small child was killed by a falling tombstone in North Carolina. Don't zombies tend to come from the graves in which they are originally buried?

Also, on August 6, 2010, a baby pronounced dead after his premature birth, awoke at his own funeral. Happy for the family, a teeny bit creepy in terms of zombie apocalypse.

Original Post:
10) The film Zombieland, shared with us a good number of the rules to follow. If people had been following said rules more closely, they may have been able to survive their attackers.  I mean, take a look at some of these rules, they just make good life sense, if not afterlife sense:
#1 - Cardio
#2 - The Double Tap
#3 - Beware of Bathrooms
#4 - Seat Belts
#6 - The Skillet
#7 - Travel Light(ly)
#8 - Get a Kickass Partner
#17 - Be a Hero
#18 - Limber-up
#22 - When in doubt, know your way out
#29 - The Buddy System
#31 - Check the Backseat
#32 - Enjoy the Little Things

9) The famous zombie movies: Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978), have given zombies ample time to study the archetype and finally get it right.

8) Zombies have been around since Shelley's Frankenstein, and have only become more popular since then. (Could this mean the population has just been growing?) Zombies are even becoming more commonplace on television with the AMC show The Walking Dead. Indoctrination by reintroducing zombies to the mainstream... and those guys are supposed to be baser human forms of the un-dead. Ha!

7) Some people are really so stupid as to think dressing up like a zombie in Miami is a good idea right now. (I know it's Florida, but come on!)

6) There have been no less than ten recent attacks purported to having been caused by zombies, including: the grisly Canadian murder by porn actor Luke Rocco Magnotta (from what I understand there is question as to where the head of his victim may have been sent),  a naked man's face chewed off by a man named Rudy Eugene (who was also suspected of being high on "bath salts", though no bath was seen nearby). Wayne Carter of Hackensack, New Jersey threw pieces of his own intestines at police officers after stabbing himself some fifty times (and was still difficult to subdue). Baltimore man, Alexander Kinuya, recently slayed and ate (parts of) his roommate. And most recently, a Louisiana man, Carl Jacquneaux, was arrested for biting off part of another man's face.

5) As of today, there has been a real-life run on "zombie bullets". If you're thinking what I'm thinking, here's a link to their webpage for the Z-max (zombie) bullets:

4) In 2011the CDC released a Zombie Preparedness PSA, seems like they knew something was going on.

3) Even though many of these attacks are credited to bath salt use, none of the bath salt side effects include "taste for human flesh".

2) The CDC has recanted their original Zombie Apocalypse warnings, referring to them as a "joke". Let's be honest, if the government is taking back what they've already said existed... we're probably in for it. Even Steven Colbert thinks the CDC's statement is "suspicious".

1) It's just too coincidental for my taste. It isn't the violence, but the starkly bizarre nature of each attack that just screams that the zombie apocalypse is near!

Do you believe the zombie apocalypse is imminent?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

This is the reason I like to write (stir the pot?) about my opinions on parenting stuff...

Luckily, I was reminded of why I like to write/ talk about parenting topics when reading my brother's Facebook posts/ Tweets today. I love my non-parent (but VERY proud uncle), brother's take on how parents should deal with their kids. It's just the right amount of no-nonsense logic and nonsensical parenting to make me want to "like" it (which I happily did). I also like my sister-in-law-to-be-ish's comment about beating children as a possible societal norm. I don't really believe in leaving children outside of stores (too many pedophiles) or beating them (too many f'd up adults), but I like the sarcastic humor espoused by each comment. I do not like the very obvious spelling errors in the second comment, nor do I like the overly serious 'understand why my children scream' tone of the second comment. But, everyone is entitled to their OWN opinion. Even if I do not particularly like it. (No, not my brother's girlfriend, but my brother-in-law's girlfriend.)

Before I share my response, a little background about my family and myself:

I am a fairly new parent who LOVES having a baby/toddler in the house who is also a stand-in little buddy for EVERYTHING. My daughter is the sole grandchild in both my family and my husband's, so she is quickly learning to be a spoiled BRAT. My husband and I do not expect her to be perfect, but we would also like to instill at least a few tenets of good behavior in our little princess. (To be fair, my husband and I are also both out-spoken, spoiled, head-strong, first-born, children... so we're fighting a losing battle on all fronts.)

I have also spent the last twelve years of my life working with high school kids. Ten of those years have been as an English teacher. I'm now in my last two months of a fourteen month leave of absence, so I'll go back to my high schoolers (i.e. OTHER PEOPLE's children) this August, thankfully part-time.

Now, my (possibly obnoxious? and entirely unnecessary) response to the last comment:

Okay. There you have it. This, in a nutshell is my philosophy about a lot of things. No, I don't really think my daughter is an a-hole (even if I am sometimes). Yes, I really have left a full shopping cart in the middle of an aisle and left the store because she was screaming. Yes, I really do know I'll eat my words one of these days. No, I'm not into making blanket statements about EVERYONE's situation-- I know we're all different, with different concerns, styles, and most importantly different KIDS.

If you're interested in this blog, I encourage you to follow it. I also encourage you to "like" my Facebook page, Multiplied by One, and follow me on Twitter @multipliedbyone

I'd love to hear /see/ read any comments you have. I also welcome corrections to my grammar and suggestions in regard to how I can/should/might generally improve my writing to better communicate with others. (Although I'm happy to hear comments on my writing style, be forewarned I will often argue over those because... it's like my style, get it?)

I'll also be honest in saying, I am extremely timid about getting mean comments. I'm happy to hear people out when they disagree, just not meanly. So, if you have an opposing opinion PLEASE share it in the comments (here or on the Facebook or Twitter), I just ask that you be courteous and I will do the same for you. If you're not courteous I'll probably be quietly hurt by your comment and then make fun of it in a sarcastically immature and low-cultured manner.

What do you think... should we leave the store (and our free will) behind when our kids scream; or, should we cringingly[sp] go about our business as our child tries to pierce the eardrums of her parents and everyone else within a square mile