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Happy Mother’s Day, Baby

Dear Sydney,

Happy Mother’s Day, my darling! No, you’re not a mother yet, and won’t be for a very (very very very very very x 1,000,000) long time, but I still want to wish you  a wonderful day, because you give this day meaning for me.

You have taught me so much in your short little life, more than any class I could take at any university. You have taught me the art of patience, the importance of discipline and structure, the true depth of love, and the strength of family bonds.

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Because of you, I appreciate my own mother more. This parenting thing isn’t easy, which makes your grandmother all the more impressive. I hope I’m doing you justice, little one.

You have also provided more meaning and worth to my life than I ever thought possible. When before I lived only for myself and my indulgences, I now can’t imagine what I would do if you weren’t here. What did I do with my evenings, weekends, and free time before I was chasing your cute diapered behind everywhere? What did I spend my money on if I wasn’t drowning in toys, or buying you mountains of clothes each week? What reason did I have for waking up each morning if I didn’t have your smile to greet me? I don’t know, and I never, ever want to go back.

In fact, I want to make another reason for living as soon as possible.

For as many things that I get wrong while being your mom, I hope I do a thousand more right, and that you look back on your childhood and smile, because that’s all my goal ever is– to keep you grinning.

I love you, precious girl. You are beautiful inside and out, and are the only Mother’s Day present I will ever, ever need (though I will cherish every hand drawn card until my last breath!).

Love,
Your doting, infatuated Mother

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I Am Almost a Real Mom

Since day one of my daughter’s life, she has held a special place in my heart– obviously, right? What kind of parent would I be if she didn’t? However, there was something else that took up a lot of my time and attention that should have been given to her. Something dark, evil and unpleasant.

What was it, you ask? Court-mandated community service? Defensive driving class to pay off a ticket? Worse.

SCHOOL.

I gave birth to Sydney during the fall semester of 2011, when I was enrolled in 13 hours. Since then, I have taken a full load every enrollment period, trying to reach the end of the dank tunnel and grasp that silly Bachelor’s degree in my hand.

Over the last year and a half, I had her watch extra episodes of Bubble Guppies so I could get a little bit of studying in. I let her play on the floor alone with her toys while I worked on seemingly endless research papers. I begged her to forgive me for not finishing before she was born, which, at 11-months-old she of course didn’t understand and just giggled at me for being weird.

But, this Friday at 7:30 p.m., I will be crossing the stage in my ugly black muumuu, and proudly move my tassel from left to right (or is it right to left?! CRAP), and become a college graduate. YES. I am now a full fledged Communications major, which qualifies me to be an intern and manage a company’s Facebook page. Score!

Why do they make graduation caps so ugly?

Why do they make graduation caps so ugly?

And, on Saturday, the fun begins. I am going to be Supermom! I have time; we can do whatever we want! I won’t be concerned about a paper or upcoming test, or worry about getting together with a group of random strangers I don’t know to create a crappy presentation that no one helps me research. We can go to the park and spend all day feeding the ducks. We can relax on the weekends and spend hours reading Dr. Seuss books.

I finally get to put Sydney into the center of my world, where I have wanted to put her for so long. Thank goodness, I am so ready to close the college section of my life, and open the full-time mommy chapter.

Oh, and the forever-drowning-in-student-loan chapter also begins… but I’m not going to think about that right now.

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No Social Anxiety For Moms

I’m not a social person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the company of others. I just much prefer to be alone, with my things, in my house, and my family. I have always had a hard time making friends, and it’s entirely my fault, I’m much too picky/shy/withdrawn.

But, once a baby morphs into a human being, that tiny human being requires social interaction, and after a certain age, mom and dad aren’t cutting it anymore. I realized that today, when I finally met up with a friend at her new house for a play-date with her son, who is a week younger than my daughter. Before I had even sat Sydney on the floor, she was twisting her wrists and ankles– her own unique way that she expresses excitement. She was ecstatic to see another little squishy person her size.

I feel horrible I’ve denied her this for so long! She’s been crawling for two months, she could have been making teeny friends for weeks now, and instead I’ve kept her cooped up here, depriving her of fresh air, and people she doesn’t share DNA with.

I blame this mostly on my shyness and own personal preference for being a loner, and a small percentage on worrying about her having a BPT episode while we are out. With her having an unpredictable neurological syndrome, I almost feel like I want to lock her up like the chick on Tangled (for much more loving and altruistic reasons, of course), to keep her safe.

But, today went really well. She enjoyed the social interaction, and so did I; it was nice to get out of the house. Tomorrow, we’re going to duplicate today, just on a larger scale: a group play date on base. Proving once again that my insecurity and shyness always gets the better of me, I have asked if I can follow my friend to the meeting spot, so that I don’t have to walk in alone, holding Sydney, and stand awkwardly around while not knowing anyone.

I’m such a goober. They’re just people, for crying out loud! This is not the scene in Carrie when the pig’s blood falls on me; they don’t even know me.

It’s good I’m taking all this on now, so that when Sydney gets to the age where she gets involved in group situations (tumbling, sports, Pre-K, school), interaction with other parents will be inevitable. I will have to go to meetings and get-togethers as part of my role as “Mom”.

Yes, it seems dumb that human interaction is a leap of faith for me, and that I have avoided it (subtly, I believe) in the past, but I’m an introvert. A moody writer. Well… I can just be moody sometimes, it has nothing to do with my writing. I actually try to write in a witty manner, but I’m not sure it comes across like that. Probably more confused.

To recap, tomorrow is another test of my social skills. I know Sydney will have a blast and pass with flying colors, provided she wakes up straight and not tilted (thanks a lot, BPT). Me, on the other hand… well, after I agonize over what to wear, and how to fix my hair, and what I will say and talk to people about… we’ll see how many of my nerves aren’t shot.

Yay for Sydney bringing me out of my shell. I think.

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Parents Don’t Get a Choice… Being Scared Isn’t Optional

They say having tubes put in a baby’s ears is one of the most common surgeries done on children; that there is very little risk, and the procedure lasts mere minutes.

None of this eases the nerves of any parents in the waiting room while their child is back in the operating room. I promise. All the facts, statistics and reassuring comments in the world won’t make a difference. And yesterday, I proved that.

She did fantastic. I woke her up at 5 AM to change her diaper and put her in the car seat, and she just stretched and smiled, as if saying, “What adventure are we going on now?” Happy as a clam at 5 in the morning, that is quite a feat in and of itself.

We arrived at the hospital at 6, and had to wait around until 7:30 for her surgery. Know what my 11 month old did? She watched TV, she played with her hospital gown, she giggled at the large socks they gave her that made her feet look like slippers. She was content and happy.

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They came to get her and my happy facade faded away. The anesthesiologist, a large man, held out his hands to her, and said, “Come to PawPaw,” (which brought more tears to my eyes, since one of my grandparents was also called PawPaw), and walked down to the OR with her, opening and closing all the cabinets along the way, keeping her attention off the fact that her father and I weren’t with her. His kindness was absolutely beautiful, and made the walk to the waiting room easier. That’s where the easiness stopped.

I bounced my legs up and down, I picked at my nails, I glared at my husband when he tried to talk to me– DON’T TALK TO ME! MY BABY IS UNDER ANESTHESIA RIGHT NOW. It felt like forever, but after only 15 minutes, literally, the nurse came to get us, and the anesthesiologist came and asked if I had a bottle for her. A bottle, already? Like, SHE’S AWAKE ALREADY? Yep, he told me, and hankering for something to eat! I gratefully handed him the bottle, while the doctor told us how great she did, and how to care for her post-op.

I know, tubes aren’t a big deal. Tons and tons of kids get them every day, sometimes multiple times in their lives. As a matter of fact, when adults get tubes put in, they don’t even go to the hospital, it gets done right in the clinic.

But she is my baby, and letting go of her for any reason, much less to be put under and taken for surgery, however minor, is absolute torture, 100%.

Of course, after we got back home, and she had a nice two-hour nap, she woke up with a vengeance, ready to play and crawl and get into all sorts of mischief. Surgery? She had surgery? She didn’t remember or care. It was play time!

Darn tubes causing a ruckus where no ruckus should be found!

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Keep Your Hands Off My Fertilized Egg!

My daughter is one of those babies you want to pinch. She has The Cheeks. She also has bright blue eyes, a dazzling smile and cuteness spewing from her every pore.

However, that does not give you– yes, you, the stranger who does not know me, her or anyone we are related to– the authority to touch, pinch, tickle, squeeze, or pat her skin, nor should you tousle her hair when you encounter her out in public. I have no idea where your hands have been– did you wash your hands the last time you used the restroom? Did you put them in your mouth? Did you just get gas for your car? My mind is in overdrive thinking of all the germs, and potentially harmful substances that you just transferred to my beautiful baby.

Yes, I’m aware that the outside world is crawling with germs, and that I’m being an overbearing mother, but as the person who squeezed this human being out of my body, I totally have and own that right, and will play that card whenever I feel like it. DO NOT TOUCH HER.

This is similar to the plight pregnant women have when random strangers come up and touch their protruding bellies, only this is much, much worse. At least during those times your skin is protected by your clothing (hopefully) and your baby is protected by your extra layers of skin, plus your cozy uterus. Sometimes I wish I could put her back in my womb when we venture out to IHOP for breakfast so that her pinchable cheeks are hidden, and her cuteness isn’t exposed to the world.

I beg you, hear my plea: Don’t touch children you don’t know. ‘Oooooh’ and ‘Ahhhhh’ from afar, wave, make funny faces, play peek-a-boo, whatever, I don’t care, but keep all ten of your digits away from my offspring. Or geez, at the very least ASK.

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Poop is the New Beige

I don’t use the ‘P’ word, usually. But I’ll have to make an exception for this post. Because there’s no way to describe the hell I was in last night without using the ‘P’ word: poop.

S has been constipated lately. Is it the antibiotics for her ear infection? Is it the sudden introduction of Stage 3 foods? Who knows, but she needed something to get her going. So, Dr. Google told me prunes would do the trick. The Internet practically sung the praises of prunes: prune puree, prune juice in her water; someway, somehow, get prunes in her system and she’d be cured. Gotcha, I’m on it!

So, I bought her some mixed prunes and apple baby food. She downed one whole container, no problem (she’s braver than I am, I wouldn’t have touched the stuff), and I thought we were good to go. She even had a big soiled diaper that afternoon, so WOO HOO! I was firmly on the side of prunes, now. Go prunes!

Um… yeah. They worked a little too well.

I set her down in her playpen later that evening, and let her watch some Bubble Guppies while I folded a load of laundry before trying to put her to bed. Twenty minutes later I walked over and stopped.

Here we go: POOP. Everywhere. Literally. All over her. All over the bottom of the playpen. On the side of the playpen. On her toys.

Oh. My. Poop. I wanted to vomit.

It took 45 minutes for me to get everything cleaned up with the help of my husband, and by that time, my girl was slumped over in her bouncer, so annoyed that we took so long, that she fell asleep on the spot.

Dr. Google sure as hell didn’t mention this.