Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday Snaps


Borrowing this beautiful idea from Girl's Gone Child, to commemorate the tiniest weekend moments that aren't quite deserving of a whole blog post...yet are too precious to be forgotten.  Not haikus (wrong number of syllables), just lovely little memories in 3 lines.

Spinning in circles
Arms held high
Jazz fingers. 

Happy munching sounds
Water slurped
Crumbs on the table.

Tiptoeing in the water
Letting waves lap his feet
Laughing and splashing

Sweaty hair curling
Fingers twisting mommy's hair 
Eyes fluttering closed.

The sharp smell of chlorine 
Sand between our toes
Popsicles in the afternoon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Little Comedian


Dear Nugget,

I just have to tell you how hilariously funny you are at this age.  I hope your sense of humor is forever and not just a passing phase.  I have good reason to believe it will be - you love to smile and laugh, and you love to make others smile and laugh with you.  Other times, your hilarity is unintentional.  Just some snippets of your recent "funny business":

-Today the temperature hit the 9o's, so of course we had to "celebrate" with ice cream.  Daddy shared his caramel-cashew scoop with you, but boy, did you feel it was the other way around.  You wrapped your fingers in an iron grip around the cone, and glared up Daddy with every bite he took.  You said not a word, but slurped and glared until the last drippy bite was consumed.

-Sometimes I believe you are on a mission to give me hiccups.  You stop what you're doing and fling your body on the floor or couch.  You roll around with glee, kick your perfect pink toes high in the air, and slam them down.  You laugh, get up, run laps around the room, shake your head to whatever crazy drummer is playing in your head, and repeat until I am nearly in tears from laughter.

-You are a little too exuberant with balloons.  Your love for them is too much, too physical for the flimsy latex versions to bear.  When (not if, when) they pop, you do not scream nor cry.  You barely flinch from the sound, but look all around, astonished, trying to figure out where your round buoyant friend went.  It's as if you are trying to figure out a magician's magic trick.

-You like to do rhythmic gymnastics with your bedtime giraffe.  You take giraffe in your arms and spin yourself in circles, waving the giraffe up and down while you twirl in place.  

I love you, funny boy.

Love,
Mommy

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Breakthrough


We had an incredible breakthrough this week, a four-letter word.  One of the good ones.  While buckling a fussing, squirming Nugget into his carseat, I asked him, "Do you want your See-n-Say?"  He stopped wiggling and whining, looked me straight in the eye, and said (in the sweetest baby voice imaginable), "Yeah."

I handed it to him, still skeptical to see if he was just making a random syllable and still planned to launch the toy across the car in frustration, but his face lit up in amazement and gratitude.  The whole rest of the week has been trying as usual, but with this new magic word, so much easier to discern what it is that the Nugget desires.  Do you see a doggie?  Yeah!  Do you want a snack?  Yeah!  Are you ready for a diaper change?  Yeah!
.........................................................................................................
On another note, those Kindermusik classes we took?  In which the Nugget basically observed 80% of the class, participated 5% of the time and screamed/hit/went to time out 15% of the time?  This week, we've been playing the cd at home, and suddenly he's been doing all the activities he observed for 12 weeks, totally unprompted.  WAY too cute.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Epiphany


Dear Nugget,

Today is the day that I choose to stop chasing perfection.  Up until this moment, I thought perfection in parenthood was somehow attainable, that I just hadn't stumbled upon the right combination of books and theories that would mesh with your personality, and WHAMM-O, we'd be floating in a blissful sea of peaceful Kodak moments.  You would consume all veggies lovingly steamed and placed on your plate, there would be no fights or forced buckling into the stroller, I would be calm and serene as the Madonna with child.  (Ok, maybe it was a smidge unrealistic and/or blasphemous to compare you to the Christ child.)

I don't know why I have to keep re-learning this lesson, that there is no such thing as perfection, at least not on this planet.  I've attempted to hit this moving target in every realm of my life, failed of course, bemoaned and berated myself for things not humanly possible, then accepted my shortcomings and moved forward.  Yet, kind of like a glass of wine to an alcoholic, avoiding the quest for perfection is something that I will battle until the end of my days; I'll be like those waiters on the Titanic, rearranging the place settings.

However, parenthood seemed like something that I could not afford to half-a**, that your entire future seemed somehow pinned on the number of hours I spent reading to you, every nutrient you consumed from ages 0-5, every syllable you heard.  That each time I raised my voice at you, I was irrevocably destroying a piece of your very being, burning trauma on your little heart.  Or each time I let something slide, I was sealing your fate as a sociopath in a maximum security prison.  So I've been reading all the books, studying and comparing all my mommy friends, trying to glean advice from websites, doctors, and what-have-you.  But the thing is, no one has THE answer, because seeking perfection is like hunting the end of the rainbow.  I think I've spent too much time looking for my pot of gold and missed seeing you, treasuring us just the way we are, realizing that your future is in your own hands, that I can only lay the groundwork.  That by dragging you on this never-ending fruitless quest, I am causing you more pain and damage than you could ever get by eating too many carbs or watching an extra video.  I don't want you to be a rainbow-chaser like me.  I want you to stop and notice the beauty of the rainbow and see the beauty in your own self, flaws and all.

I will never be a perfect Mommy.  You will never be a perfect child (amazing, incredible, intelligent, yes, but not perfect).  We will disappoint each other.  We will yell at each other.  I will drink my Diet Coke and occasionally skip breakfast, and you will eat more Goldfish crackers than peas.  But we can be the best we can be with what we have.  We can teach each other.  We can learn from our mistakes.  We can forgive each other.  We can forgive ourselves.  We can take peace and joy in the fleeting moments where our love trumps our imperfection.  We can survive all the trials and disappointments, because you could never make me stop loving you.

Love,
Mommy


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I feel used


One morning, the Nugget ran to me with a huge grin on his face, his sweet baby arms outstretched, his little voice piping, "Up, up, up, Mama!"  My heart grew about 3 times its size, ala the Grinch, and OF COURSE, I swept my darling Nugget into my arms and proceeded to smother him with kisses.  Ah, this was the type of moment, I naively thought, that made the harder tasks of parenthood -- 6am screeching, prying Doggie loose from his grip, scooping up strawberries flung when I dared to sneak back into the kitchen for my coffee, and eardrum shattering screams when I attempted to wipe his face* -- all worthwhile.  

But the Nugget had other plans.  Suddenly writhing away from the kisses before any could meet their mark, he launched his body weight suddenly, insistently toward the light switch.  I was had by a little con artist with a yogurt mustache.  He did not want hugs, kisses, or Mama.  He wanted a lift to the light switch.  That's the sound of my heart deflating back to normal size.

But I have to say, it was still funny to watch the Nugget work his magic on Daddy later that evening.  "Up-up-up, Daddy!"  This time, he wanted (and got) a lift to the ceiling fan pull chain.  How is it that our son has already mastered the art of the bait-and-switch?!  He'd make a heck of a used-car salesman.

*The preferred brand of vanilla yogurt in our house is a mysterious substance when applied to a toddler's skin.  You can wipe it off and the face will appear totally clean, long enough for the adult to release the child from the highchair.  Yet, like magic ink, it always reappears as a white chalky mustache and a rakish smear across the right eyebrow 15 minutes later.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lepidoptera


Our latest batch of board books from the library includes a Smithsonian butterfly book, with barely any text (What has orange and black wings?  A monarch butterfly.) and enlarged photographs of butterflies.  I thought the Nugget might enjoy flipping through it at leisure, since the butterfly was one of the first animals he could identify for us.  Well, it is a hit in a way that neither Daddy nor I expected.  The first reading was pretty tame - the Nugget gaped through the entire book, a steady line of amazed drool hanging from his pink lips.  During the second and all subsequent readings, the Nugget has burst out laughing maniacally with the name of each butterfly, like it's the punchline of the funniest joke on earth.  That of course makes us laugh, and then he laughs even harder, until we're all rolling on the floor and clutching our sides.  I'm pretty sure that author Melissa Stuart had no idea her educational prose and pretty pictures would cause this kind of hysteria.

Our local zoo has opened their summer butterfly house, which we have yet to visit...I wonder if the real live butterflies will prompt the same response.  And if they do, I will be sorely tempted to arm myself with cash (all it will cost you is $2 eaches) to bring on the maniacal laughter at each visit.

P.S.  Just saw the live butterflies today.  Sadly, the Nugget decided they did not live up to the hype and was begging for a second train ride the entire time we were in the exhibit.