Temerity Jane
04. 11. 2012

Let’s all just agree now that we won’t expect much from each other on the weekends.

Mine involved a lot of spitting (Penelope), a lot of “I don’t want to touch you,” (me, to various family members – some covered with wet food, some covered in stinky fur), and a lot of sighs of various tones (Phil – there were two trips to Target and an unfruitful hunt for a red cardigan that I think he knew that I knew was going to be unfruitful from the start. I did know. Sighs accepted.)

Oh, and we also went to dinner with The West Coast Aunts!

I would say that you could look forward to meeting the West Coast Aunts at PJs at TJ’s, but if you’ll look to your right, you’ll notice that registration is closed. I don’t really have anything more to say about that. I went into this paragraph thinking I was going to offer some consoling words, or say something about a wait list or whatever, but eh, if you were going to register, you would have done it by now.

Tomorrow, I have big plans – BIG PLANS. I’ve got to mail out some diapers I sold – did I tell you I’ve been selling my diapers? It took a while. When the first one sold, I had to lay down on the floor for a minute. Then I laughed and counted the $48 it sold for. I auctioned one yesterday, one that wasn’t even brand new and unworn like that first one, for $45.

It’s been getting easier.

After that, Pen and I will stop at JoAnn Fabrics for supplies for my much hipper hobby of counted cross stitch. My sister and I have begun collaborating on our own somewhat inappropriate patterns that will be available for purchase around probably never, or Christmas, depending on how action packed my month long trip to Pennsylvania is.

In other news, I’ve been participating in the Biggest Blogging Loser competition, and between that and a little work I’ve done on my own before it, I’ve lost 20 lbs, bringing me down to weighing… well, 20 lbs less than my prepregnancy weight and wearing one size larger than my prepregnancy size, and looking exactly zero percent different than I did three weeks after I had the baby, because I have giant boobs and a c-section pooch.

But hey, it’s about the health, right? I mean, twenty pounds! That’s something! I can be proud of that! So what if none of my old clothes fit! So what if I actually have to buy all new, BIGGER things to fit my twenty pounds lighter self! It’s not about APPEARANCE. It’s about — oh, go fuck yourself, me.

(There’s a video in this post. You don’t see it if you’re reading this in Google Reader. I’m not saying you have to click through, or even that it’s worth a click through. I’m just saying that I want credit for more content than you’re actually seeing. I want you to mentally tally up more content points for me than you would give me if I hadn’t made this note. Thanks.)

03. 11. 2012

I was better today, in a small way. You know that space I talked about yesterday, the one that’s there, waiting for me to fill in, waiting for me to look at all of these areas where I can improve and just… go ahead and improve something already?

Well, I did.

EXCUSE ME THIS TEDDY BEAR HUGS TOO LONG.

I typed a whole big justification for My Baby Is On A Leash And Here Is Why My Baby Is On A Leash Let’s Discuss Our Feelings About My Leashed Baby And Get It All Out In The Open here, but ah, fuck it. I’m not the bridge between the leashers and the leash… nots. You stay on your side of the line, I’ll stay on mine.

02. 11. 2012

Every night for the last… I’m actually not sure how many nights. I’ve lost count. That’s a lie. I wasn’t counting. Every night for the last significant while, I’ve gone to bed with the firm intent to be better in the morning, in almost every single area of my life. Seriously. Almost all of them. It’s very tempting right now to try to think of some obscure life area in which I am already perfect, but that feels too hard right now, since I’m really struggling lately with this headache thing – remember when I was in the hospital and accused you of not caring, but I really didn’t carry the joke off well, so it didn’t actually come across at all that I really WAS in the hospital? Yeah, well, it was for a headache thing, and it’s just no good. You don’t have to concern yourself. I mean, a moment of passing concern is fine, because I’m sure you’re a compassionate person on some level, but we don’t really know each other and it’s not a tumor or anything and there’s no real risk to my health, I’m just in a lot of discomfort, and I took one of every pill on the bedside table already tonight, so I can’t really think of anything clever — HEY. Pill taking, completeness of. NAILED IT.

Anyway, two hundred words down, all garbage, starting over. So I’m going to bed with the intent of just doing better at all of it tomorrow, and not in the “go GET ’em, slugger” kind of way, where I’m pep talking myself, but more in the resigned, heavy sigh, tomorrow’s another day, just… try again kind of way. And I wouldn’t even call it best intentions, or even good intentions. Is must intentions a thing? Can you must an intention? I don’t know. I’m not looking that up. I don’t even know how to look that up. I don’t have to look that up. It’s not a thing. You’ve been reading here long enough to know I play kind of fast and loose with whether or not a thing is a thing. That is not an area in which I intend to improve. When a boat needs to be bailed out, we do not paint the trim. Besides, I like the trim. Up yours. Up yours is part of the trim, by the way. Have a seat. Help yourself to snacks. Put your feet up. The water is getting a mite high.

I regret using the sinking ship analogy. It’s too dramatic. I am not a dramatic person. Unless it suits my purposes. It did there, for a minute, but now it doesn’t, so forget that whole thing, except the bit about the trim, because I liked that part.

So, right, going to bed with the must intention of being better in just about every area possible. And it’s just not long at all into that next day before I’m ticking off “not so goods” on my list of areas. I’m super impatient with Penny, I don’t get any laundry done, 3pm comes and I have no dinner plans, “do you want to watch a show” turns into three episodes of the Fresh Beat Band. And, I don’t know, a whole crap load of other stuff I’m not stupid enough to put on the Internet. What am I, new? (I’m not new.) And then the weird thing is, the night rolls around, and I CANNOT UNDERSTAND how these things happened. Especially being impatient with Penny. Because she is sleeping and adorable, and how could I POSSIBLY make an angry face at sleeping adorable Penny? But THEN it is DAYTIME again, and I cannot imagine how I am supposed to NOT be impatient with Penny, because HONEST TO SUPERMAN, if you could see this kid in action.

I’m saving this post for tomorrow.

Okay, it’s tomorrow, and the baby is napping, and I still feel the same way, but I vented it out a little bit on Twitter this morning (summary: it’s a terrible age, they seem like people but they’re just large babies, basically feral with lots of spitting), and I guess I wasted my boner for this blog post. I just feel bad a lot. And it turns out it’s common. There’s just this space between her terrible behavior and my knowledge that look, she’s not even two and being terrible is part of learning how to function as a whole person, and I’m the person she has to be terrible AT. And in that in between space is a whole lot of room for me to act like the worst person ever. And I do. Over and over.

I feel like it’s a lot to explain, yet somehow I crammed it into just a couple of 140 character tweets this morning, and that’s my excuse for not wanting to do it again right now? Honestly, Internet, you should demand better. Hence the theme, right?

It’s like a domino effect of badness, though. When I was in Weight Watchers in high school, back before you could do it online and tell your computer screen, “Oh, I’m wearing heavy earrings today,” like it believes you any more than that lady ever did, the leader had all these annoying sayings that were only annoying because they were so fucking true, like about BLTs – bites, licks, and tastes. All the shit you put in your mouth when you’re making a lunch or cooking dinner, it doesn’t have zero calories, it all counts, and now that I’ve said “BLTs” to you and explained it? Yeah, enjoy the rest of your miserable life, because that’s never leaving your head. And there was this other one that stuck with me. If you’re carrying a dozen eggs and you drop one, you don’t throw the other eleven on the ground. It’s supposed to be an argument against “starting the diet over on Monday” if you have a bad day, or even against starting over in the morning if you have a heavy lunch or whatever. And it makes sense, right? In a really fucking annoying way, because you really want to eat pizza all weekend, because there’s leftovers in the fridge. But it’s in your head, and it makes sense.

BUT LATELY, I swear, even though I go to bed all resigned to carry all my eggs in a more carefully crafted container (we all did that “experiment” in middle school, my egg survived, I’m basically a pro) in the morning, not twenty minutes into the day, not only have I dropped an egg, I’m standing on top of the furniture, flinging eggs at the walls, and then SEEKING OUT MORE DOZENS OF EGGS TO THROW AT OTHER UN-BE-EGGED THINGS.

Have I gone too far into this? I started this post last night and didn’t skim the top before I started up again. I know I started with boats, and now I’m at eggs. I feel like I’ve gone too dire again. I don’t feel like it’s SO dire. I just feel like it’s life. And I feel like maybe I’m focusing too much on Penelope. I mean, she’s the head egg, to be sure. And she’s always the first egg I crack. But this kid, she is BEGGING TO BE AN OMELETTE.

It’s not just her. It’s not. I don’t want you to think I’m just messing up my kid and calling it a day, I’m messing up everything. No, that’s not really true, because that makes it sound like I’m taking an active part. There’s some passive failures, too. But then, the word “failure” is also too much. You know, this whole blog post is just making a lot out of nothing. There’s just a lot of nothing. That’s a good way to put it. There’s a big open space, and that space is an area that is available for me, an area that is open for me to make improvements. And it’s hanging there, empty. There is a LOT OF ROOM for me to work. No one is in my way, nothing is stopping me. Opportunity is there, and I’m not taking it.

Is this making sense? I’m trying to put this in a way that doesn’t make it sound like there’s a dramatic ANYTHING going on over here, because there’s not. There’s life, being lived, not so entirely to my satisfaction, but I’m not sending up flares and asking you to share feelings with me, okay? This is not that blog. I’m just telling you how it’s going, and as is my way, I’m using a lot of words and not getting it done. Look, it’s a metaphor, or whatever. Here’s my blog space, a lot of space, and I’m using it ineffectively to do things wrong and fuck shit up and look, I’m just going to throw my last couple eggs here on the floor. For fuck’s sake. You know what, I’m not deleting any of this. Screw you. IT’S NOT LIKE I’VE MADE IT SEEM WITH ALL THESE WORDS. Just… GUESS at what I’m trying to say.

NaBloPoMo! Another opportunity to throw a bunch of damn eggs onto the damn floor! WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BOAT. I SWEAR THERE WAS A BOAT.

Look, can I just tell you some good things about my kid?

She was a dragon for Halloween.

She is 18 months old now. She needs to be actively engaged just about every second of every day, or she will devise some new way to be evil. Some of them are actually kind of insanely genius, in ways that you just wouldn’t think a kid her age could come up with. Unless you have a kid her age already. In which case, you could have warned me.

She’s doing pretty good with talking. She was a little slow with words for a while, then it just blew up. She’s putting together sentences and will actually hold a mini conversation, if your expectations of conversations aren’t high, and if you’re okay with only talking about what Penelope is interested in. For a week or two, she was picking up one new word every few days, taking a day or two to perfect it, and then sticking it into her little conversations. Then it was a new word a day. Now she’s picking up several new words a day. We stopped counting. A couple of days ago, she found some tights and called them “shoe pants.” I didn’t even know she knew the word pants.

She finally calls me mama, after a really long time of dada being just about the only word she knew. The best part about it is not that she’s stopped calling me dada or just yelling for my attention. She actually still just yells for my attention. No, the best part is that she often calls Phil mama, and she does it specifically because it annoys him. She thinks it’s funny. I think it’s funny, too. I think it’s really funny.

She tries to jump (she learned it from an episode of the Fresh Beats), but can’t, and her failures are hilarious and enjoyable, but not at her expense, because she thinks she is jumping, and loves it. She’s started to take an interest in other kids, and will lean around me and yell, “HI!” at any small size person she sees. We’re going to spend a month in Pennsylvania, just me and her (if anyone has dragged a Marathon car seat on a plane, first hand stories are welcome – and “you don’t need to, you can check it!” is also welcome, but will be politely passed over, because I know that I don’t need to legally, but I do need to sanity-ly, so I am and it’s already decided), and I’m looking forward to her enjoying some play time with her cousins of the same age.

One of the absolutely best things about Penny is how much she loves the video for Put Down the Duckie. She does these deep swinging arm claps, like an aerobics instructor, which is adorable all on its own, but the best thing – the BEST THING – is that she calls Ernie by his laugh. I don’t know how to better explain that. You know how Ernie laughs, right? That keeheehee sound? That’s what she calls him. And that’s how she asks to watch the video. She asks for Ernie, but she doesn’t call him Ernie. She calls him his laugh. And that is how we will survive, for now.

Keeheehee.

19. 10. 2012

So I find myself struggling, sometimes, lately, with remembering how little I wanted to do with other people’s children when I was single with no children and just trying to live my life in public places and trying to enjoy my right to… enjoy those places, and how fresh those memories are, and how much I remember being that person, and how much I still am that person, and how much sympathy I have for those people when I am out in a public place with my admittedly pretty stereotypically terrible toddler, and how that rubs up against the fact that I do have a kid now, and there’s a whole lot of “what can you do?” and “I also have to live this life” and “I also need to be in this place” and a whole lot of boiling up feelings of MY BABY IS ALLOWED HERE that I do my level best to stomp down, because yes, of course she is, and I won’t be told any different, but there is a huge difference between my baby being allowed somewhere and my baby’s right to be somewhere spreading all over someone else’s right to enjoy being somewhere.

Anyway, you know what I’m saying? I’m in no way making an effort to be the cool mom lady. The mom lady who doesn’t change from her single, childless ways now that she has a baby, who is still hip and with it and doesn’t let having a toddler cramp her style. The mom lady who swears to always understand that the single, childless people have the God-given right to enjoy their lives without hearing a peep or seeing an errant streak of snot so their delicate other-people’s-poop free existence remain untainted.

(Note that I am not accusing single people of demanding this behavior, but I am instead making fun of a certain breed of parents who try to behave in this way. I can make fun of parents, it’s cool. I am one. Some of my best friends are parents. I’m allowed.)

No, I’m not the cool mom lady, and I’m not trying to be. My style is cramped. My style is tiny and hunched over. My style is stuffed into to go containers with a lot of mumbled, “Sorry, sorry, sorry,” on the way out of restaurants. That I still go to. Early.

No, I am definitely not a cool mom lady. I don’t want to be a cool mom lady. If I wanted the same life that I had before I had a kid, if I wanted my life to be as close as possible to my pre-child life, the best way to go about that would be to not have a baby. But I do try my best to straddle the line. I don’t expect the world to cater to me because I had a baby. (Oh, and they don’t. Holy shit you guys, how about the difference between pregnancy and baby? “Oh, a pregnant lady! Let me get that door for you, let me get out of your way, oh, excuse me, oh, you’re a treasure, smile, smile, smile!” And then, AND THEN, “Oh, a woman with a stroller and a diaper bag, and 40 shopping bags, let me let that door slam in your face, let me grab that last shopping cart out from under your hands, QUICK HIT THE DOOR CLOSE BUTTON.” Children: only adorable til born.) I take my crying child out of restaurants. I run errands during off hours when I have to take her with me. I don’t let her run through stores, I don’t let her unfold tables of clothing (seriously, your child is an asshole), I don’t let her ruin your day if I can help it.

Basically, I’m super-conscious about being That Mom. I really don’t want to be That Mom. I don’t want to be the woman I used to talk about. I don’t want to be the lady who thinks your world should revolve around her kid. But you know, I’m perfectly fine with the fact that mine does. For now, at least. It does. I’m not embarrassed about it. I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of. I don’t think it’s sad that I don’t have any bigger interests. I don’t think that makes me That Mom. I mean, take my Facebook account. I post about Penny constantly. Pictures, status updates, videos. I mean, it’s all Penny, all the time. When I read a friend’s status, though, and I catch myself about to say something like, “Yeah, when Penny –,” or somehow relate it back to my kid, I don’t.

I have not even begun to make my point.

Here’s the thing. You know how I am really into terrible in law stories? That, plus advice from old women about the fact that my child is never wearing socks, really soured me on the whole “it takes a village” thing. Well, plus we no longer live in villages. I don’t need anyone’s help in raising my child. You know what it takes? It takes me, my husband, and an Internet. It Takes an Internet. That should be what they say now. It Takes an Internet. 

Anyway, I thought the whole village thing was stupid mainly because I felt like it gave aggravating as hell people license to butt their stupid irritating noses into your business and tell you what to do, simply because their were AROUND, thus part of your VILLAGE, and you can’t get mad, because, oooh, villager, and, I don’t know, burning hay on pitchforks or something. I really never followed the metaphor all the way out. Or analogy. I never really followed that lesson all the way out. And please don’t take it upon yourself to actually give me the lesson in the comments. I have the Internet. If I was actually interested, I would use my Internet. Go back to your village. Damn!

Terrible or not, I have to take my toddler out in public. It’s part of my job, actually, to make her less terrible. She is kind of a demon, and we have some cross country flights coming up, and I just need her to be… less terrible. At least when other people can see her. So yesterday, she and I were running some errands, and she did pretty well. Kind of well. It was okay. Nobody really cried, not with actual tears. So, when we were finished, I took her for a snack at Starbucks. We got a water and a slice of lemon cake, because those things are fast, with no waiting, and we sat at a table to share them.

And Penny was just delighted. I mean, just fucking delighted. I think she’s old enough to know now, sort of, when something is a little bit of a special treat. She was out with just me, and I didn’t make her sit in a high chair. She got to pick the snack from behind the glass, though she really just kind of slapped at it. I had it in front of me, and was breaking off pieces for her, so she was getting some of “Mama’s snack.” She was really excited, but we’re working on keeping the exuberance and shrieking down to… not shrieking… in public. And she was doing great. I mean, in my opinion. She’s still a toddler. And I know that can grate on some people. And you have to understand, I’m not saying that snottily. In the townhouses I used to live in, there was a family living in the next set of units over, and they would put their kids outside to play very early in the morning on weekends, and they would play, indeed. Loudly. And happily. And I swear to you, there was no sound more awful to me than the sound of children’s happiness. I mean, it was terrible. I’m retro-hating it, even now.

So even though we were there during off hours, and even though she was being good – for a toddler – I was doing my best to be quick. I’m not trying to tell you I’m a cool mom lady, see above. I’m trying to tell you I’m aware, at least. I’m aware. I’m aware of the limits of my toddler, and I’m sympathetic to the limits of people in general where toddlers are concerned. There was a man working behind us, and several couples chatting, it wasn’t too crowded. I understand that those people were not my village. I don’t believe in the village concept. Or at least, I didn’t.

Every person that went by, Penny would kind of check them out, wave a little bit of lemon cake at them, and say, “SNAAAA!” Snaaa. Kind of nasally, really excited. It means “snack.” And “snack” means anything in a bowl, or anything that someone else is eating that she thinks she might be able to snake some. And I’d say, “Mmhm, snack. Remember, inside voice, okay? Eat over the table, wipe your face, etc, etc.” We’re working on becoming a functioning human being here, you know? And people would smile and move on, or say hi to her, or nod, or whatever. I don’t know, the split second interaction you have with a toddler who is making an effort to engage with you.

Except, except this ONE WOMAN, who came and sat down right near us, and who was only waiting for a drink, not there to stay who just deliberately turned her face away when Pen tried to SNAAAA at her. And okay, you know, I guess that’s fine. Okay. Okay. In fact, I think I remember snorting with laughter when I read a post online somewhere about a woman being angry when people wouldn’t smile back at her kid. Because that is ridiculous. No one is required to smile at your kid. That is how I was reasoning with myself. No one is required to smile at your kid. I am not That Mom, no one is required to smile at my kid.

Except even now (it’s tomorrow), I am still huffy and trying to tamp down my inner That Momness, because look, me and the Internet will tell my husband how we’re going to raise this baby, and we’ll go ahead and do it, and we’re not going to ask you, Starbucks Lady, to jump in and be the village and wipe her butt or deliberate over preschools or anything like that, I promise. Nothing. No villaging the baby. But for the love of shit, could you just engage a few neurons when she attempts to make social contact? I’m not asking you to join a tribunal and come to budget meetings, I’m asking you to just show a flicker in your eye sockets, anything, and only during this formative social learning period. I will wipe the asses, clean the snot holes, etc, and YOU “be the village” by helping her not become a sociopath. When we’re ready to move on to the “well, honey, some people are cunts” lesson, I’ll give you the nod. I’m sure it won’t be long, what with your cat butt-looking face walking around out there.

Is it even possible? IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE to parent without, to some degree, becoming That Mom? I hope I’m clear in that I don’t want to be a cool mom lady, I don’t expect to be thought of as such, but was it too much to expect that I could straddle the line indefinitely?

I don’t, I don’t really expect you to smile at my baby. I don’t really get mad. I mean, I do notice. I can’t help noticing. I don’t think the non-react-backers are awful people. They’re just people I take note of. I’ll present your names to the judge if Pen turns into an arsonist.

“I HAVE THE NAMES OF THE ENTIRE VILLAGE, YOUR HONOR. RIGHT HERE. THE ENTIRE VILLAGE.”

No but seriously. I don’t even know. You don’t have to. I don’t even. I’m both That Mom and not That Mom. I’m both. I don’t even know.

*****

HEY PAY ATTENTION TO THIS PART REALLY PLEASE.

Over in the sidebar is a link to Phil’s fundraising page for the Extra Life marathon to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network – specifically, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where Penny has been receiving treatment since she was very small.

I know a lot of you have already donated, and it is SO APPRECIATED. He blew his goal OUT OF THE WATER, and he was so shocked and grateful.

But now, he is only $68 away from earning $1000 for PCH, and that is INSANE.

I don’t have a lot to offer. What I have to offer is embarrassing in that… I don’t know if you even want it. But listen. Today is the last day. If you donate anything today – ANY AMOUNT – and Phil makes it over $1000 before the marathon starts tomorrow at 8am, I will do a TJ’s Cosmo Cliff’s Notes of your choosing, and promptly. No promising to do it and disappearing for 3 weeks. And “of your choosing” means any media easily available to me. It could be Cosmo, or any other magazine I can get off the shelf. Or? Any episode of a currently airing TV show. Or? A show available on Netflix streaming or Amazon streaming. Or a podcast. Or… or whatever. You donate, you choose.

I know. It’s not really… anything. It’s what I have. I mean, I can make you an 8-bit perler bead hair bow barrette. I can do that. If you donate $12 ($.50 per hour!) and you’d rather have that, I can make you one of those instead. It’s equally lame. I can’t help it. We’re a lame people. But we really do have good intent toward PCH!

Regardless of if he makes $1000 or not, the marathon is tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter to get pictures and updates of Phil’s progress, except for the hours that I’m asleep. Because, ha, no.

EDIT: HOLY CRAP. $1000 passed! BUT MY OFFER STANDS. Of course money for PCH is still welcome, we love them. If you donate today – ANY AMOUNT – just email me and let me know. Take your time to pick your media of choice and redeem it whenever.

THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Penny’s prepared to step in if needed.

09. 08. 2012

I was going to write today about how one of my biggest irrational fears is that doctors will think that I’m a pain pill seeker, so I tend to refuse pain medication, as if that will make doctors take my pain more seriously. As if NOT TAKING PAIN MEDICATION will make medical professionals believe my pain is SERIOUS. I also refuse to finish bottles of pain medication I am prescribed (thank goodness some doctors just prescribe the medication without asking me, as was the case with the recent double ear infection, because I fret myself into a frenzy trying to come up with a NON-SUSPICIOUS WAY to ask for relief from what must be OBVIOUS terrible pain once a doctor has glanced into my head a declared the whole thing a wasteland of infection), because there is a prize for leaving some of the medication in the bottle. Not that doctors can see my bedside table and see the half-finished bottles of medication rolling around there, but they must ESP into my head and think,

“Ah, here is a lady who does not finish her pain medication prescriptions. No, she takes the useless Tylenol and soldiers on. She is not just here for my prescription pad, obviously. This is a woman who I can take seriously when she says she is in pain. She is not peeing on my leg and telling me it is rainy outside. This is Arizona. That would be ridiculous.”

Anyway, no. That’s a thing that’s wrong with me and it’s ridiculous but we can explore that another day. Instead, I’m just going to copy this email I sent to a bunch of people. I was just going to keep it to email because it talks about poo and I don’t WANT to be that mommy blogger who talks about POO, but Phil came home for lunch and I told him I’d sent out a distress call to my lady friends in the Internet box and he agreed that we are in need of HELP and that is what the Internet is for, and —

Look, you already spotted the word “help” and half the Internet is sporting LEGITIMATE REQUEST FOR ADVICE boners right now, so let’s just get to it.

*****

I have a terrible migraine today. And it’s something I hate about myself, but when I get these headaches, I just get SO MEAN. I mean, I just say fuck a lot and yell at the baby and I’m so angry, etc. And I’m trying to be patient and just get through, whatever.

So Pen needed her diaper changed. I took her in her room, changed a disgusting stinky poo diaper and tended to a teething rash. I decided to lay in her bed for just a couple of minutes while she played in her room. Benefits of a floor bed, right?

I laid there, drifting in and out, while she came over ever few minutes to pull my hair, because she’s an asshole and doesn’t want me to ever be happy, when one time she comes over and just reeks of poop again. She’s been having lots of dirty diapers due to the nasty virus ripping around our house, so I gathered myself to change yet another gross diaper when all of a sudden A SHIT CAKE LANDED ON MY FACE.

She was not dirty again. She had found, opened, and UPENDED the previous diaper ONTO MY FACE.

SHIT CAKE TO THE FACE.

I did not say a word, guys.

Gathered up the shit cake, wipes, and diaper, checked her for poop marks, left the room, tossed it all, washed myself and now here I am. She’s still in her room. After the shit cake, the food and cup throwing, and the angry pinching, I have no plans to collect her until lunch time.

I CANNOT EVEN WITH THIS BABY RIGHT NOW I CANNOT EVEN. She is a DEMON and she thinks that all our attempts at behavior correction are FUNNY. She doesn’t understand a stinking word of English, I swear. She throws her food on the floor at every meal. So what? Give her more? Or she’s just done til the next meal? I don’t know if she even understands that if she throws it, she won’t have any more to eat. She’s already skinny, I don’t want to starve her just because she’s a butthole.

And she BIT PHIL the other night, which is becoming more and more common. She comes up, hugs our legs, and BITES THEM. And she pulls hair. I’ve tried the exaggerated ouch and crying. That’s apparently hilarious. I’ve tried a firm no and that hurts. Funny! I’ve tried walking away, she doesn’t care. She throws books at my face! She rips my glasses off my head! She slaps, she grabs at our flesh angrily when she doesn’t get her way. She throws tantrums when she can’t have something that isn’t hers.

I guess I GET that this is all “normal” toddler behavior, but I’ve never had a toddler, so I have NO IDEA WHAT TO DO. I don’t know how to get her to eat her food, or how to just make sure she eats enough of her food, or how to make her stop throwing it on the floor because I am not made out of dollars or patience. And I DON’T like getting hit in the face with her books and I don’t really just want to wait that phase out because it hurts.

Is it insane to expect some kind of decent behavior, or at least to be able to TEACH some kind of decent behavior to a 15 month old? Am I ridiculous to expect to not be injured in my own home?

TO NOT GET POO TO THE FACE?

*****

Yes. That’s right. The rarest of animals on the Internet, a LEGITIMATE REQUEST FOR ADVICE. I want to know what you’ve done with your toddlers. I want to hear that you and they lived to see two years old. I want to know if you sent them off to live with their grandparents until they were five because THAT SOUNDS FINE TO ME. While I intend to keep all of my FEELINGS and WEEPINGS OF FAILURE to my private email chain of distress and woe, I open myself to the Internet at large to throw your parenting advice at me at will without fear of “I ALREADY TRIED THAT I AM NOT AN IDIOT” or anything like that, for I am an idiot and I need your help.

*****

Penny does a pretty sweet ass Peppa Pig impression.

15. 07. 2011

Ok, I know this is one of the most tired topics in the entire world, but my kid is new, so you basically have to hear all of it all over again.

Another restaurant, this one in Pennsylvania, has banned children. Well, not all children, but children under six. I don’t see why this is still making news, because it’s happened before and isn’t exactly a novel idea anymore, but there you have it.

I was discussing it on Twitter with some people yesterday, and everyone I was talking to was totally in favor of the idea, because they are sane individuals, like myself, at least where restaurants and children are concerned.

However, I did see someone this morning saying that they thought that banning children from a restaurant was “disgusting.” Because… I don’t know why. Because children should be welcome everywhere? Because your children should be welcome everywhere? Because sometimes you want to go places that aren’t child appropriate but have no one to watch your kids while you go, so you have to take them with you, and if they were banned, you wouldn’t get to go where you want to go?

As far as I can tell, it comes down to that last reason, combined with the fact that some people really believe that their children are a delight, universally loved by everyone and no. No, they’re not. Really. REALLY.

Even though we have a kid, and have for two months now, basically making us experts, Phil and I are still firmly of the belief that there are places where children do not belong. Example – we’re both huge Harry Potter fans, but we didn’t go to see a midnight showing of the movie for two reasons. One, Penny doesn’t belong in a midnight movie. Two, we had already been asleep for three and a half hours.

I don’t doubt, though, that there were a bunch of babies and small children at different midnight showings around the country, and I think it’s probably because the parents just couldn’t wrap their minds around denying themselves something because of the baby. No, it’s definitely best to take the small kid along and possibly ruin the experience for everyone, because it definitely wouldn’t be fair if you had to miss it just because you have a kid.

Phil and I are also agreed upon the fact that we are definitely Leavers. You know, if you’re in a store or restaurant and your kid starts being a total shit, you leave. Leavers. Well, in a restaurant, first you can try taking them outside and walking them around a little bit before you leave, but assholery of the kind that will not be rewarded with a dinner out in public ends in Leaving. To go boxes or cancelled orders or whatever. Full cart in the store? Fine.

And don’t give me that “just wait til you’re actually IN the situation” shit like with the shopping cart thing. We still put our shopping carts away, and we would absolutely leave a restaurant or store if Penny was acting up in a way that was making everyone else in the whole place miserable, or, when she’s older, acting in a way that isn’t in line with the behavior we expect from her, whether or not she is disturbing everyone.

Something I heard ALL THE TIME as a waitress: A kid is just throwing this huge fit at the table, or throwing food, or knocking shit over, and the parent says to me, “Just ignore him. He’s only doing it for attention.”

THEN TAKE HIM HOME AND GIVE HIM SOME, DAMN.

I totally get that it would ruin a nice night out for Phil and I as well. And I totally get that leaving a full cart is embarrassing and having to come back later would be a total pain in the ass. And I AM bummed that we haven’t seen Harry Potter yet, and won’t get to experience it with all the rabid super fans (we’re going to the drive in to see it). But the difference between us and the people who don’t remove their poorly behaved children, or who show up to places and events that are clearly not for children is that we’re completely aware that “fairness” doesn’t come into play at all anymore.

Honestly, I just can’t think of why some parents are insistent on bringing their children to events where they clearly don’t belong or are actually totally unwelcome, other than the fact that they themselves don’t want to miss out, and can’t wrap their minds around the idea of having to pass on some of the more awesome events because they can’t leave their kids. Which, in my mind, comes down to “It’s not FAIR that YOU get to go and I DON’T, just because I have a kid, so I’m bringing him. Then it’s FAIR.” And that’s my generous assumption. The other assumption would be that someone is so self-absorbed and so self-important that they truly do not give a shit about the experience of others and are perfectly fine ruining it as long as they get to go where and do what they want, when they want.

Anyway, I’m annoyed just talking about it. Phil and I are Leavers and we will see Harry Potter at the drive in with the windows closed and Penny in the back, and don’t give me that “just wait until it’s you in the situation” crap because I am TELLING YOU – we’d leave.

Whatever. Here’s my kid.

Got a hot lead on a job as a mannequin at Penney’s.

I don’t know if you know this, Internet, but I don’t drink. At all. And you know, it’s kind of super awkward, and weirdly, it was only more awkward when I was pregnant and now breastfeeding.

When you’re with a bunch of people who are drinking, most of the time it is not even a thing if you order a diet soda instead of alcohol, but there are always those situations where there are one or two people who don’t seem to have progressed much past college age, who want everyone to drink because drinking is how you have a good time.

Those people will generally encourage you to come on! Just have one drink with us! And I say, I am having a drink and my drink is diet soda. But no, no, that’s not enough, it has to be alcohol to be a drink, and I say, well, I don’t drink.

With pregnancy and breastfeeding, there is always someone who wants to jump in and tell you, “You can have a drink you know. It’s okay to go ahead and have one.” Or to tell you about pumping and dumping, or what have you. And I reply, well, I don’t drink, soooo… “BUT YOU CAN HAVE ONE. IT’S FIIIIINE.”

Yeah, I don’t drink. So, no.

But you have to be careful when you say, “I don’t drink,” because that sentence leads to assumptions.

Assumption 1: I’m anti-alcohol and I’m sitting here, drinking my diet soda, and JUDGING YOU as you have a margarita or two.

Not true! I do not give half a crap if you choose to drink. Please, go ahead. Drink! I just don’t. I’m not anti-alcohol. I’m anti-me-having alcohol. As in, I won’t have any. You go ahead. I don’t care. You will not convince me to drink with you, but you go on with your bad self. Get a little crazy. Wear a leopard cowboy hat and “Woooo!” a little. I’ll watch.

Assumption 2: I am a recovering alcoholic.

Also not true! I’ve never had a problem with alcohol, other than the problems I have with people who continually try to cajole me into drinking alcohol after I’ve politely said, “No, thank you.”

What I need is an easy, polite way to convey that I don’t drink, without having people jump to either of those conclusions.

In most situations, it’s not necessary. Someone asks what I’m drinking, I say diet soda, and we all move on. But you know the people I’m talking about. The ones who kind of push for everyone to join in on the alcohol consumption, because they’ve associated alcohol with having a good time? Those people always push me to the point that I find myself needing a polite and firm way of saying, “I don’t drink.”

“I don’t drinkon it’s own should be enough, but it’s not always, because of the assumptions above. I don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable drinking AROUND me – I really am perfectly happy with diet soda and have zero investment in what anyone else drinks.

And look, I get that there’s nothing to be ashamed of about being an alcoholic in recovery, and I’m sorry if I offend anyone, but I’d really rather people not assume that I am or was an alcoholic. Because I’m not. And never was. So while I have nothing against alcoholics (which is a stupid thing to say, because, come on – I’m just being polite here), I don’t think it’s fair that I should allow myself to be thought of as an alcoholic or recovering alcoholic just because it’s easier than trying to get a VERY SIMPLE CONCEPT through to some people.

“But you used to drink! You drank that time, remember?” I do remember. I did used to drink. I also used to poop in my pants, but I gradually stopped doing that, too.

I don’t drink because I don’t like it. There is absolutely no alcoholic beverage that I prefer over the taste of diet soda. Diet soda is less expensive. I don’t feel like shit the next morning after drinking a little too much diet soda. And I hate – HATE – the feeling of being drunk. I hate it. Even slightly tipsy. I can’t stand it. I don’t even drink the alcoholic beverages in WoW – a VIDEO GAME – because the drunk effect is too realistic for me.

So I don’t want to lie (I’m allergic to alcohol, I have to get up early, I’m donating my liver tomorrow, etc), and I don’t want people to assume things. There’s got to be a way to say “I don’t drink” that doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable, doesn’t make anyone think I have a problem with alcohol, and shuts down the nagging to “just have one!”

I don’t know that there really is a way, though. Internet, you should know – some people just don’t drink. Even if they used to. No, not just one. None. Zero drinks. No judging, just no alcohol. Really. None at all. I can, I’m just not going to.

Be a peach and really get in my neck rolls, would you?