Temerity Jane
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.


31 responses to “I started with boats, and somehow got eggs. Keeheehee.”

  1. andie says:

    I’m gonna have Kyle read you because he feels like this EVERYDAY TOO! You are not a bad parent, none of us are. And the littles are hard so so hard to handle. My years of babysitting DID NOTHING TO PREPARE ME! Because they weren’t really mine. Not this little mini-me with curly blonde hair, that looks so fucking sweet, and quickly turns the corner into demonology. Then gives me a hug and squinches up her face for a kiss. Throws a book at delicate parts and runs away, when just 5 minutes ago when I came home from work yelled “yeah mama” over and over until i could pick her up. God I really do love her and can’t wait for her to drift off to sleep at night. Parenthood means bipolar, i’ve come to accept that one ;) imaginary internet hugs to you, i’ll pass out real ones in Feb.

  2. Susan says:

    Oh, how is it that we moms just don’t think we are doing any of it right? I could say, hey, don’t beat up on yourself, and you’re doing swell, and cut yourself some slack, but we know that won’t really help.

    So here’s what my life is like, and I just figured it out this morning. I’m driving a car that needs fixing, and if I could only pull over I might be able to find out what’s wrong with it and get it fixed. But there’s not even a moment to pull over because there are so many places I need to be RIGHT NOW. So I know it’s going to just quit running one of these days but I just can’t fix it.

    Put Down the Duckie! I remember that from when my baby was little. And she’s 20.

    I love love love your writing and it’s something I look forward to every day.

    Very sorry about the headaches. Maybe that’s the answer: You’ll get better…when you get better.

  3. beylit says:

    Oddly I think I actually understand what you were talking about up there with the boat and the eggs even though I don’t have a tiny human being evil and taking up all my time. I’ve been in a place like that and it involved ham and some radical life changes to fix it for me, which I don’t suggest. Well maybe the ham. Ham is nice.
    But it made sense. Sort of. If that helps.

    Oh and Penny dinosaur…so darn cute it hurts.

  4. I had completely forgotten that song existed until now and all I can think about it how much I want to watch it. Also, I could totally follow both metaphors, so well done.

  5. Charleen says:

    I pretty much feel like this all the time (the must intentions and the eggs) and I don’t even HAVE a kid. I can only imagine how you must feel. She seems healthy and happy, so it sounds to me like you’re winning. Eventually you’ll be able to enjoy it… or so I’ve heard.

  6. Brooke says:

    ::Hands TJ more eggs to do what she will with them::

    Your dragon is cute :)

  7. I love how you just so perfectly captured this age (both the frustrating parts and the adorable parts). Shoe pants. I can’t even.

  8. Hillary says:

    First, Penny is the cutest dragon ever. Ever!

    Second, it’s interesting to read this because I have this job and long commute and I’m somehow convinced I would be much better and more patient with my son (almost 10 months) if only I was at home and had more time. And maybe I would not.

    Third, I’ve never heard that egg breaking thing before, but good god am I an egg flinger. I definitely toss the whole carton and then go back for more!

  9. Sky says:

    Bring the Marathon on the plane! Do not attempt to fly with a dragon in your lap! Buy one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Britax-Seat-Travel-Cart-Black/dp/B005CNEQK0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351889496&sr=8-1&keywords=britax+cart
    We got one and wheeled it through the airport, through security, and right onto the plane. Having a separate seat for the baby and sitting them in a seat that they are used to sitting in normally makes a huge difference in flying with a toddler. How often does she spend hours on your lap? Never! How often does she ride in the car in her carseat? Often! She will be happier in the seat and so will you. You can always find a helpful passenger to help you get the seat on board and buckled in. It will FEEL like a burden during the boarding and unboarding portion of the show. (It’s not a breeze! People will be annoyed at you!) You will FEEL like you are annoying everyone around you. But it beats REALLY actually annoying everyone around you with a wiggly-ragey unseated toddler mid-flight. You will be happy you brought it! Other tips: bring a few new toys she has never seen before. Give her something new every hour/half-hour/when boredom strikes. Have her practice watching her shows with headphones on at home so she can do it (and likes it) on the plane if you are bringing an ipad or something like that. Snacks, lots of snacks. :)

    Laura Lou Reply:

    Seconding all of this. Also, I made Erin Polkadotandpearl’s wallet (http://www.polkadotsandpearls.com/2012/02/leaving-on-jet-plane-with-baby.html) for my 18 month-old and it was the hit of the 2-day drive.

  10. Lisa says:

    a) ditto. I have a three year old that words can’t describe.

    b) I have taken a Britax Marathon on a plane. It will be fine, you just have to put the armrest up. Lately the airline crew has taken to inspecting the carseat for a sticker that says it is rated for airplane use (usually located on the side). I have been forced to gate check the carseat on international flights, but usually on domestic flights its fine.

    A fabulous tool that I can’t live without–the GoGo Kidz Babymate traveler that turns the car seat into a stroller. (You can get it on Amazon). It is worth the $90. There is a cheaper ($60ish?) one at Babies R Us but it is shitty and falls off (I have used both), buy the GoGo Kidz one.

  11. Erin says:

    This morning I pretty much just smashed the whole carton of eggs into the wall first thing.

    You have an adorable dragon!

  12. Lisa says:

    I flew with my son twice and both times brought his Marathon car seat. The first time, my husband carried it by attaching it to his carry-on roller bag. The second time, my husband wasn’t there and I wasn’t about to drag my car seat, carry on, diaper bag, stroller, and baby from Florida to Maine with a layover. So I bought the Go-Go Babyz Kidz Travelmate from Amazon. It was awesome and easy to attach (basically just rests on two pegs so it has to be centered then it uses straps like roller blades to tighten it on). I practiced at home once the night before and had no trouble taking it on and off on the plane, though I will admit I always felt rushed because they want to clean and load the plane so quickly. I was able to wheel it down the plane isle in 3 of 4 flights. My son loved sitting in it and you can push or pull it. I checked my carry-on and left the stroller at home. So it was just me, 12 month old in rolling car seat, and diaper bag. Worked out great and son napped on all flights, which is why I brought the car seat in the first place. Win!

  13. Veronica says:

    Eh, I still find myself getting all shouty and frustrated with my older kids (the little one is nice though – 14 weeks) because GEEZ, did we not already cover this behaviour when you were LITTLER? Like, stop throwing toys. And my 6yo, MAN, she’s all full of attitude and stompy feet and “YOU DON’T EVEN CARE ABOUT ME.”

    I think this comment makes sense in the context of your post.

  14. Ginger says:

    15 months was the beginning of me feeling like I never had my shit together in new and fun (ha!) ways. I’d wake up thinking, “TODAY” and 10 minutes later the kid, or my husband, or the cat, or the neighbors or something made me go “Uh, ok, tomorrow.” Throwing eggs would probably have felt good. Now I’m just going to imagine throwing eggs anytime I feel like that. (fwiw, it’s gotten better as the kid can reason more & I can…leave him without worrying that he’s going to utterly destroy the place.)

  15. Liz B. says:

    My four-year-old. My four-year-old who is ALMOST FIVE, starts nearly every sentence to me with, “Dad? I mean, Mom?” He also starts nearly every sentence to his father with, “Mom? I mean, Dad?” If he wasn’t otherwise so startlingly bright and amazing, we’d worry he was brain damaged. I think he just thinks it’s funny.

  16. Swistle says:

    Guess at what I’m trying to comment!

  17. Leigh says:

    You know what? Staying home with a kid is hard. It can be mindless and frustrating and boring, and it can be awesome too but in between the awesome is a whole lot of toddler tantrums and mess cleaning and snack preparation and do not even get me started on potty training, so help me. So I hope you’re giving yourself permission to not feel awesome about it all the time.

    Maybe changing your routine a bit would help? Or maybe just getting out of town and having a change of scenery will help you save a few eggs.

    Almost forgot my travel tip: bring more snacks than you think you’ll need, and a big variety. My kids would always get bored with toys but they were all about the snacks on a plane. (OK, I honestly didn’t mean to do that, but now I’m leaving it there. Snacks! On a plane!)

  18. Megan says:

    I recently told my friend that parenting is nothing but guilt and worry. I don’t mean that in a negative way; it’s just the way it is. I had my son when I was 20 and selfish and not a very good person. Let’s just say I can work myself into quite a good sob if I think about things I did, or didn’t do, when he was little. I went to bed wanting to do/be better back then and I still do it today. Fifteen years later.

  19. Becky says:

    When James was about 18 months old I lost my job and ended up staying home with him all day every day for about a month and a half. I felt like a terrible person because he drove me crazy. I finally made an arrangement with a neighbor to trade a day of babysitting. He took mine on Monday, and I took his toddler on Thursdays. It saved my sanity. I know that’s not a possibility for a lot of people, but if it is I highly recommend it. Toddlers are assholes. I’m in the first hour of a 5 hour car ride with ours, and I’m already ready to kill him. The constant whining for things he knows he can’t have. Ugh.

  20. Erin says:

    You’ve just summed up how I feel about my current life in academia. Fucking academia.

    *internet hugs*

  21. David says:

    We dragged our Marathon onto a plane for exactly one trip. It is certainly doable, but it sure is brutal dragging that thing through the airport. On that trip we saw somebody at the airport with the Go-Go Kidz carrier and ordered one immediately… it is far easier to handle and the kids loved riding in it. If you don’t go the Go-Go Kids route, it helps to get a car seat bag with backpack straps so you carry it on your back while pushing the stroller loaded down with the kid and everything else.

    When they got a little bigger (I think the minimum weight is 22lbs), we used the harness from http://www.kidsflysafe.com. It is AWESOME. Weighs one pound and fits in a little bag. And a bonus is that they are sitting back in the seat and can not kick the seat in front of them like they can in a carseat. We got a good bag for the carseat and never had any problem with it getting damaged or dirty when we checked it.

  22. Mary H says:

    You’ve somehow perfectly managed to describe what I’ve started calling my “Depression-Minus-Sadness,” because it has all the hallmarks I experienced while depressed without the sadness most people associate with it. Basically, I feel those feels bro. Reading the comments, it sounds like a lot of us do.

  23. Veronica says:

    Yup. Every night. Every night with the “I’ve failed today; tomorrow will be better.”

    Every night.

  24. Jesabes says:

    Every parent goes through this, I swear. It probably even happens to everyone when their kid is Penny’s same age.

    I love the egg thing. I’ve totally (OFTEN) been the person who breaks their first egg early in the morning and starts CHUCKING those things at everything in sight. I’m going to start using that analogy. (F*** this basket of eggs, I’m done with this day, y’all!) (Then everyone will look at me like I’m nuts.)

  25. Robyn says:

    I know that feel bro. My daughter is 16 months and I feel the same way a lot. I do the same thing where I promise tomorrow will be better and I will be better, etc. So I get it. My daughter was also a dragon for halloween :)

  26. Melissa says:

    Me too. I love your description of how its nothing but its something. Except you are in pain so you have an excuse. I’m on bed rest. With number 3. And number 2(20mths) and number 1(4) and my mum are all stuck in this tiny house with me. And I am going CRAZY and throwing eggs like a crazy person!!!!! And there is nothing wrong with me and I am WELL RESTED but I have no patience and I snap and have must intentions everyday. Only 4 more weeks to go, I guess at least I have an end in sight…..

  27. Betttina says:

    As soon as I read your post, I thought of this other blog. Like you, her daughter sleeps in a floor bed and they do baby-led weaning too. And! The mom took her toddler on some looooooong flights. Here are the links:



  28. Sarah says:

    If, like me, you are too cheap to buy any other baby gadgets for flying. I strapped the kid into my Ergo, used the stroller (gate-checked) for carrying the car seat. It is a pain to lug that thing around, but it’s doable. It was great to have since my kid was used to napping in it, and he slept no problem on the plane.

    Second the snack recommendation. Get things that can be doled our slowly – Cheerios or goldfish crackers are highlights for my kids.

  29. Carolyn says:

    Oh, I am SO dying for a video or audio recording of Penny asking for Ernie by his laugh ;) I bet it’s ADORABLE!

  30. Lauren E. E. says:

    What you are feeling is what every normal parent of a toddler feels. That won’t make you feel better, but your misery has company–lots of it. Here’s something that might make you feel better in a “I made the right choice” kind of way (I’m totally giving you permission to feel superior): When people decide to go for a second kid, they usually want them spaced between 2 and 3 years apart, which means I had to convince myself to get pregnant again during the stage you’re in. That was not easy. And it sucked being pregnant while dealing with the terrible toddler. And now here I am going through toddler hell AGAIN. Good job, you, for not wanting any more kids! (Though I have no regrets for myself. Usually. Okay, not at the moment, while I’m at work, and they are at day care. Kidding. Sort of.)