Friday, February 20, 2009

Four Months: My Letter to Tiny Man

With a new President in power, it seems the onus is on what the first 100 days of his presidency will mean for the country. I mention this only to see if the mention of a Democratic president will make you twitch nervously like it does to your dad, but also because I just realized that 24 days ago, we reached the 100 day milestone of havig you in our lives.



What did we do to mark the occasion that day, you ask? Couldn't tell you. But I'm sure it involved the usual, which is you smiling, me feeding you repeatedly, you smiling some more, you filling diapers, you smiling some more, me trying to swallow you whole, you smiling some more, you yelling at me for not putting you down for a nap. Because this is what I've discovered about having a second child. The neglect is absolutely horrible, as when it came to your brother's infancy, his naps were this sacred event, never to be disturbed by anything. The house could have been burning down around me during your brother's naps, and still I would have refused to go anywhere. But you? You, my poor second born, are stuck getting toted around places, so that you are forced to nap in car seats and bouncy seats. And when we are home for naps, because you are still not on any kind of daytime schedule, you'll play with us until you can't play anymore, and then you'll yell at us to let us know that you need your freaking sleep, people! And we'll put you down in your crib, where you'll usually let out a sigh of relief that your demands were met.



However, the nights, oh the glorious nights, are a completely different story. You usually begin rubbing your eyes and asking to go to bed around 7:15. At 7:45 on the dot, I pour your bath and we play this game where I try to take your shirt off and you fold your arms while grinning ear to ear so that I have to tug the shirt while rolling you side to side to get it loose. This always makes you laugh and I love that laughter comes so easy for us. In your bath, you'll happily sit in the tub for hours if I'd let you. And then comes my favorite part, where I cover you from head to toe in moisturizing cream, since you started getting eczema this month. And your favorite part is when I rub your feet. While I'm putting cream on your face, you hold both of your feet up as high as you can, grunting at me, smiling at me. And I grin at you while putting cream on your shoulders. And you sigh at me, your feet raised even higher, your grunting even louder. When I finally get to putting cream on your feet, you pump your chubby little arms so hard, that I often think they're just going to fly out of their socket. And so I rub cream on those little feet, your little toes curling around my fingers as I do it. The truth is that as much as you enjoy it, I enjoy it 10 times as much.



When I put you down in the evenings after your last bottle of the night, I always turn on your little musical sea horse and once you go to sleep, that's it, you sleep through the night, never to be heard again until 7 the next morning. Yesterday, in fact, I had to wake you at 7:15, because I had to get you ready for school. Of course, I say this, but today, a Saturday I should mention, you decided to wake up at 5 a.m. and would not go back to sleep even though we promised you a pony and Ferrari if you would. For the record, most people on their birthdays like to sleep in. I figure I'll get even with you the day after you 21st birthday by waking you up at 5 a.m. No really, no need to thank me.

Now I know every parent thinks their child is brilliant, but the thing is? I know for a fact that you are. Because I'm not sure there are any babies your age in this world who can not only self soothe when they wake up, but do so by scooting themselves around their crib so that their feet are close enough to their sea horses. You see, my brilliant child, you do this so that you are able to kick start your sea horse's music again, therefore getting yourself back to sleep. A few times this month, your father and I were awoken to the sounds of a lullabye and when we'd get up, there you were, fast asleep. One night, right before we went to bed, you woke up, grunted and your father and I watched you on the monitor, clear as day, moving around to be able to start your toy. To say we were impressed would be a clear understatement.



You go to daycare three days a week, and your teachers always talk about how long you sleep when you're there. I'm not sure if this is because they swaddle you like a white boy burrito, or if it's because you're so exhausted from having to be in a house of inconsiderate ingrates who won't put you on a good daytime schedule, that daycare has turned into your personal spa.



You seem to know when we're getting ready for school. I'm not sure if you spot your diaper bag or if you notice that I'm showered, hair down instead of in a pony tail and have mascara on. Either way, you always let out these squeals of delight, like you're saying "holy crap! I'm going to that place! The place with all the girls! The place that actually puts me down for naps without being asked!" This makes it easier for me to drop you off in the morning, because I know you're happy.

Of course, with your happy temperament, I could probably leave you at the pound every morning, and you'd still be happy. In fact, it's difficult for me to come up with anything that truly makes you unhappy.



You look so much like your father. So much so, that your nickname at school is Little Daddy. I think this secretly makes your dad happy as hell. Oh, who am I kidding. There's no secretly about it. Every time somebody tells your dad you look like him, his head gets just a little bigger.

This month you've discovered your feet. And not only have you discovered them, you've fallen madly in love with them. Socked feet are fine, but bare feet, oh the pleasure of bare feet, when I uncover them for you, right away, you snatch both of them in your hand and shoot me this look that probably means "if you take them away from me again, I'll make sure every single poopy diaper leaks."



Your personality is erupting right now, which is just a joy to watch. Even though you've only been with us just over 100 days, it feels like you've been in my heart a lifetime. I'm so glad you joined our family.

I love you, my Tiny Man,

Maman.

Considered Child Abuse in Eight States and Canada

Somewhere out there, Tiny Man's future girlfriends and wife are smiling, knowing that when the moment will be ripe for major embarrassment, I will pull out this picture.



Unfortunately for Tiny Man, it had to be done. Because three years ago, I did this to his big brother.



The most obvious thing here, besides the fact there is zero doubt these two kids come from the same gene pool, is the fact that Little Man? Had zero shame and would totally be game for anything, no matter how embarrassing. Tiny Man? Always has this WTF look on his face and is clearly thinking that someday, he'll get to pick my retirement home and will totally get even with me. Or he'll cut the brake wires on my old lady scooter and leave me at the top of that giant hill in San Francisco.

Love,

Catwoman.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Confession

So I have to admit something to all of you. I don't like children.

I know, this is a little shocking coming from a mom of two.

But I've never really liked children. This was the reason that during my 20's, I really thought I'd probably never have kids.

Then, and I've told this story many times before, when I was barely 29, I saw a Johnson & Johnson commercial with a smiling baby splashing in a sink and I bawled my eyes out. Or my uterus made me bawl my eyes out, not sure which. I turned to Sweetie Pie, told him I wanted a baby and that was it.

Little Man came along and I loved him more than anything. I loved that baby in a primal way, where I knew that if it came to giving my life up for his, I would without a moment's hesitation. Never, ever before had I felt that way about a human being.

And now that Little Man is a child, I still love him that passionately, even on the days he irritates the crap out of me. Because even at his worse, he's one of the best things in my life.

But on Monday, I discovered that I? Still don't like children.

Little Man and I planned a play date on President's Day and had a Piggies and Paws artist come so that I could get handprints and footprints done of Tiny Man and get a couple of prints that would have both kids in them. I collect art made from my kids' prints the way some people collect Picasso's.

The playdate became like something in a movie. Screaming children everywhere. Little Man's toys being hurled around, many of them on the brink of breaking under the abuse of out-of-control children.

And glued to a wall, eyes as big as saucers, staring in shock at the unfolding scene, were Little Man and myself, Tiny Man spared from the insanity because he wisely chose to go down for his nap minutes before the madness began.

Once everyone finally left and the house was back to its state of quiet, Little Man and I picked up all of his toys. Then we hit the mall to heal our souls with a couple of Nestle Tollhouse fresh cookies from their stand.

As we watched the figure skaters on the skating rink (I know, right? At a mall! In freaking Texas!!!!) silently, Tiny Man asleep in the stroller, I said to Little Man "I'm lucky to have you and your brother. You're not normal children."

Little Man grinned at me and said "I know. And you're not a normal Mama."

Ain't that the truth.

Love,

Catwoman.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Face of Sunshine

If Sunshine had a face, this is what it would look like:



This kid won't stop smiling.

Yesterday? I gave him cereal for the first time. Kid got so freaking excited that when he farted, UV rays came shooting out of his ass and he blinded the dog.

On Monday, the Picture People will be photographing my ball of sunshine in a Cupid outfit. This mortification is mandatory only because I did it with Little Man at the same age, and I have to be fair and humiliate my kids equally.

And yes. The picture will be posted here for the world to see.

Love,

Catwoman.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Proof That Hidden in There Is a Three-Year Old

I've always treated Little Man like he's a very short adult. I've always dressed him in cute clothes, but they've always been shrunk-down versions of grown men clothes, mainly jeans and polo shirts or t-shirts. Burgh Baby would be the first to say that I'm no AFF, as our beloved AFF would dress her son in jon jons until he's 20 if he allowed her to.

Please wait a second while I duck to avoid the heavy object my favorite AFF just threw in my direction.

Anyway, my point is, that Little Man, partly because of his personality, partly because I treat him like he's 20 years old, acts like a grown up regularly.

Last Thursday night, my faithful breast pump decided that it was tired of the abuse of being strapped to my giant boobies five times a day and stopped sucking. There are many things I wish would quit sucking, like Grey's Anatomy for example, but my breast pump is nowhere on that list.

I proceeded to do what I do best, which is freak out.

Then I proceeded to do the second thing I do best, which is to live in denial. So I turned off the breast pump, figuring it would magically repair itself, and that I'd try again at bedtime, my usual last pumping session now that Tiny Man is SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!!!! (I figure I need to all caps that, because whoo-hoo, mofos! Kid is sleeping through the night two months sooner than his brother did! Can I get a whoop-whoop! Crap. Now I have to duck to avoid the heavy objects from the parents with older babies/kids who aren't yet sleeping through the night).

Anyhoo, despite the usual success of my living in denial strategy, for some reason it didn't work this time. So when I turned on my pump at 10 p.m., it still wouldn't suck.

Which led to me freaking out for real, Sweetie Pie calling Walmart to see if they carry Medela (they don't) and me having to plan a stop at Target the next morning on the way to work with the kids.

When I woke up Little Man on Friday morning, I told him that we needed to hurry, because Mama's breast pump is broken and we need to go buy a new one at Target.

When we got to Target, I threw both kids in the cart and raced in the store with boobs that felt like they could blow up at any time and arms that I could no longer lower because I was in so much pain from not pumping for 16 hours (thank you Tiny Man for refusing to take the milk directly from the cow).

As we're racing through the store, Little Man begins to say in a not-inside voice "Mama, are we getting your breast pump (emphasis his, not mine) now? Are the breast pumps in the back of the store? Or are the breast pumps in the front of the store? When we get your breast pump, can I hold it in the cart? Can I play with your new breast pump in the car Mama? What color is your new breast pump"

It was a little like some invisible frat brother asked my child to say the words breast and pump as many times as possible in a 30-second time span.

I proceed to smile at Little Man and tell him there's no reason to speak so loudly.

But it's like I'm not there and he continues this string of questions. How big is your new breast pump? What if the store has no breast pumps? Does Tiny Man want to hold the breast pump too?

Once we get to the baby aisle, I grab the breast pump and throw in the cart with Little Man, which causes him to shift into exclamation mark mode. "Whoo-hoo! We have a new breast pump! Wow Mama, I love your new breast pump! I want to open the breast pump box now! Let's go pay for your new breast pump now, Mama!"

When we get to the cash register, Little Man finishes by telling the cashier "Look! My Mama has a new breast pump!"

Seriously? Kid's been shopping with me about 10,000 times in his life. Never has he felt the need to narrate one of my purchases before.

This is why the world has three-year olds in it.

So that you can go through Target and become so embarrassed you end up laughing so hard you pull a muscle.

And for blog content.

Love,

Catwoman.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Forty-One Months: My Letter to Little Man

I just realized that we are quickly approaching the half-way mark until your next birthday. Which means I can no longer deny that you are a child, one who is honest to a fault ("well, actually Mama, I don't like this food you made"), who won't let me skip bath time ("but I'm dirty!") and who has figured out how to bring any conversation back to his penis, which means your man card should arrive in our mailbox any day now.



Your seriousness continues to crack me up. You've renamed the game room and have declared that we should refer to it as your office. You'll regularly tell us during dinner that you can't go to bed yet, you need to finish your work. Of course, your work hardly ever involves cleaning up after yourself when you're done, but hey, one step at a time, right?

You love your brother, I've said that in many posts before, but now, you've discovered you have much power over him. You have the power to make him laugh and, even better, you have the power to scare him into filling his diaper. Which, like any older sibling, you find to be an awesome power to have.



This month, you're learning about the bones of the body at school, like any normal three-year old does, because who needs to learn about things like the sounds animals make or itsy bitsy spider in Spanish when you can learn about the skull or the humerus. This has resulted in interesting conversations with you, like you always test us asking us if our nasal cavity is hard or soft, or like the time you hit your shoulder and said "ow, I just banged my clavicle!"

These past weeks, you've developed this habit of making a kissing noise when I tell you goodnight and that I love you, as I'm walking out of your room. I always respond with my own kiss noise, which results in a kiss off that lasts until I'm halfway down the hall.



You've become obsessed with the sports games on the Wii and can bowl a really mean game. Like me, you hate losing and get frustrated when you're not naturally good at a game. The other day, you beat me at tennis, fair and square, and the pride on your face at that moment made me want to lose every game for the rest of my life to you. I always want you to feel like you can take on the world, like you can beat anyone. And yet, at the same time, I want you to be able to shake off defeats and develop a thick-enough skin that you can still have the confidence to succeed, even when you aren't the best at something.



I love you so much. I love your wit, your spirit, your zest for life, your curiosity, but most of all, I love what a good human being you are. Your kindness, your sensitivity and your sweetness amaze me every single day. Don't ever, ever let the world take that away from you, my darling boy. The world can be a mean, dark, angry place and if anything, it needs more people like you.

I love you, my Little Man,

Maman.