Monday, December 7, 2009

Something MUST be horribly wrong

I don't feel like bitching lately. Lila is still 2. I am still trying to find a job. I am still bored out of my mind. The only thing that has changed is that Lila is FINALLY (she just turned 2) sleeping through the night more than not. And when I say that, I mean like 5 nights a week. I however, am not.


After being woken up nightly for 2 years, my sleep schedule is full of disruption and I find I am awake starting at about 2am every hour or so, waiting for her to start yelling for me.


On another note, Lila was sick last week. Deathly ill it seemed. She had a high fever and threw up and cried and whined, and when I asked her if she wanted to watch Dora she cried "Nooooooooo" in the most pathetic voice she could muster. So I called in sick to my part time job and called the doctor asking for the first available appointment. "I have a sick kid here," I told her and described Lila's symptoms.


We got ready to go and Lila cried and whined and wouldn't let me comb her hair or take her pajamas off so she went in them. And as soon as we walked into the doctor's office, she decided she really just wanted to play with the toys and run around with the other (sick) kids. It was like nothing was wrong.


The other parents must have thought I was over-reacting and that my kid was a savage being out with wild hair in her pajamas and I got to feel like an idiot for the day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

OMG! Did I become a housewife without even getting married?

There are things in my life that I have always held dear, and through the strain of motherhood, very few of those things have remained intact. But one thing keeps on slapping me in the face. I don't want to be somebody's housewife. So much so that when Ben and I were talking about marriage we decided not to because I have such an issue with being his legal property even if in modern times it isn't REALLY like that (right?).

So (and here's a bomb being dropped) Ben and I have been going to couple's counseling because we had a hell of a transition from AZ to here and also because he believes I can be a real asshole sometimes and I think he can be too much like a nagging wife. So we've been working all this out and it seems to be going really well and we're getting along and then it occurred to me that Ben no longer nags me. And he no longer complains that I am working too much (because I only work part time now) and he also refuses to do bedtime because "he hates it" and financially, the whole house rests on him.

Through the wonders of couples counseling, I have tried to be more open and loving and attentive to him when he has a rough day. I am trying to understand that I can't pass Lila off to him immediately when he walks in from work no matter how much I want to strangle her at that moment. I am primary parent who spends the most time with her and I have come to accept that. Its me she wants when she falls down and its me that gets up with her at night.

When the fuck did I become Donna fucking Reed? How did this happen? I was happy being the reluctant mother. I am still pissed off. I still hate doing dishes. And yet I DO THEM. ALL THE TIME. Whoever said the only constants in life are death and taxes never lived with a 2 year old because toys on the floor and dishes in the sink are ALWAYS a-plenty.

I am pissed that I am his housewife without the benifits of being a wife. I am pissed that I got suckered into it. And the worst part is that he still wishes that I was working full time! Why, so that I could also work 40 hours a week but then come home and pick up your shit and tend to a kid that learned to say bad words at Grandmas house? No thanks.

Maybe I am just having another bout of my typical commitment phobia. Maybe it's a little too late for that though.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The dreaded shots

I had to take Lila for her 2 year check up the other day and I started dreading it weeks in advance. Would it traumatize her forever? Now that she is old enough would she scream every time we mentioned the doctor because she remembers being poked and stuck with needles?

Turns out, no. My brave girl didnt even cry when they gave her that one shot. She had the pouty face and looked like she might burst into tears, but she didn't. And when they did her finger prick she said "OWWW" but was fascinated as she watched them squeeze blood from her little tiny finger.

Once in a while I am so proud of her that it makes me want to puke.

Monday, June 29, 2009

That BASTARD!!!

Yesterday, we were having dinner at my mother's house and Lila was in the form she always is in at Grandma's... "Total Brat Mode" (TBM). During dinner Lila starts whining and crying about something and since she probably didnt really know what it was that she wanted she couldnt tell us and it turned into a fiasco of whining and screaming and trying to wiggle out of the high chair.

My aunt was there and gave me a sorry look and I said "welcome to my whole day, every day". Ben had the fucking nerve to say to me "Really? How do you think I feel? I had her all day today and most of the day yesterday. I am sick of hearing you bitch about how hard it is."

Now besides the obvious "FUCK YOU," which I couldn't say in front of everyone there, I wanted to clarify something. BEN DID NOT HAVE HER ALL DAY. We were both home with her. We both took her to the grocery store. He thinks that just because I am in the next room doing the dishes and he is responsible for making sure she doesnt crack her skull on anything that he "has her all day" and I find that fucking offensive. Like I was out of town on a spa date for the weekend and it was just him alone with her for days at a time (I fucking WISH!!!).

During the week while he gets to be a productive member of society, I get to tend to her every whim (and believe me, there are millions of them) and try to stay sane while watching Calliou for the 400th time before noon. And because a couple of days a week my mother keeps her while I work part time just to have some grown up time, she is spoiled and has no sense of boundaries or rules. When Lila falls down or cries dramatically for 45 minutes because her doll fell off the couch, there is no one else there so that I dont have to drop everything and comfort her. There is no second parent to keep an eye on her so I can take a quick shower. There is no other parent there to give her lunch so that I can get a few things done. And that is the luxury that Ben has when he claims he "has her all day" on Sundays.

I shouldnt complain too much. I realize that most people dont have the help I have with Lila. I realize that Ben helps more than many Dads and that he tries to participate as much as possible. But we are FAR from equal in our parenting and this kind of traditional arrangement is something that I vehemently protest because I figured that I was more evolved than that.

And yet, he has the NERVE to tell me he's tired of hearing ME complain about how hard it is? Maybe I need to take more time for myself to show him what it's really like to have her ALL DAY.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dining-in, forever.

It's not very often that Ben and I feel brave enough to take Lila out to eat. But occasionally, insanity strikes and we decide that it may be okay.

Yesterday was Fathers day and Lila and I went to breakfast with Daddy. We chose a hole in the wall little diner thinking that if nothing else it would be quick and quick is good when you have a kid that only sits still for about 15 minutes. It was trouble immediately. We should never have gone. Lila woke up extra early which meant she was extra tired and grumpy and by the time we arrived at the diner she was already fighting us about our choice of music in the car ("Duck song! Duck song!" she yelled over Led Zepplin).

We alowed her to sit in a big girl seat (booster) instead of the high chair and for about 45 seconds that was thrilling. Then the whining started. Then the yelling. We are not barbarians, we have established rules and for several minutes I tried to ask her "What do we do when we go out to the store?" "NO yelling, No running, no screaming," she reported back to me. "Then why are you yelling?" "NO MOMMY!!!!" She relplied and then let out a mind blowing shrill scream.

The waitress saw our struggle and brought over a big box of crayons and a coloring book which appeared to save the day...For the moment. We ordered our food, and Lila sat contentedly coloring until the food came. She actually ate like 7 bites and then decided that good-girl-time was over. Nothing could get her to stop the yelling and screaming and whining until finally, half-way through my meal, I picked her up and took her out to the car and Ben got our remaining breakfasts to go.

Here's my question...What's worse? Being that parent who yells at their kids in public or being the one that tries to talk to them in public? Either way, people look at you like you are doing it all wrong. I would love to be the kind of parent who just throws Lila a look and she KNOWS that it's time to knock it off. But instead, I try to talk to her. No negotiation. No pleading. Just simple "Stop it." But when she doesnt listen, and I am sitting there and everyone is being made to listen to my kid yell at me, all I want to do is be that parent who nobly stands up to her 2-year-old and says, "I AM NOT TAKING THIS ANYMORE," and have her understand that I mean business.

Since I dont spank her, I am left to wonder (along with Lila) what "meaning business" actually means. Leaving is often what she wants so to get up and leave isn't really a punishment. And sitting there isn't necessarily an option.

Sometimes, like yesterday, I sit there with my head in my hands and think, "I hate being a mother."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sugar and the meaning of insanity

My mother likes to load Lila up with sugar when she babysits her. The other night, Lila came home and I swear I thought someone had slipped her some Methamphetamine. It was not pleasant.

If you have never been in the presence of a kid wound up in this manner, I will take you through it now.

First, the mania. Lila ran and ran and ran and ran and the whole time was babbling and talking about god knows what at a volume that would rival the best of the Arena Rock shows from the 80's, complete with the screaming and some head banging. It was about 45 minutes of "Mommy...MAMA...MAMA...MOMMY...MOMMY....MOM....MAMA!!!!!! All of this was punctuated by little trips or falls where she would have a total nervous breakdown and scream and pound her face into the floor/wall/chairs and then, suddenly, jump back up and laugh maniacally and run some more.

It was getting close to dinner time and although I KNEW that she wasn't going to sit in her chair to eat, Ben insisted that we try. See, here's another thing I never understood until I had my own spawn: If your kid doesn't eat dinner, she doesn't sleep well because she is hungry. So you will do anything to get a few good helpings of mashed potatoes into the mouth because it is the difference between a rough night and a decent nights sleep. Lila threw her food at us. LAUNCHED her bowl onto the ground and screamed in a way that I held my glass of soda afraid that it might shatter.

Ben put her into bed. She jumped and yelled and screamed and in fact, we decided that she was having more fun in there than she had been having running around. Some disciplinarians we were turning out to be.

Finally, she crashed. We put her in the tub, kicking and screaming, and by the time bath time was over she could barely keep her eyes open for her story.

And she slept! My kid still wakes up most nights, but this time she slept so deeply that I had to check on her in the morning because it was freaking me out.

Note to Grandma: NO SUGAR AFTER 2PM because I don't want to deal with that shit ever again!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Confessions or "I was a total asshole"

Before I was a mom, I was really judgmental of parents everywhere. I was never one of the types who just LOVED kids and in fact I was more the type that thought they were all assholes. So when I would see parents out in public doing certain things or hear about certain trends in childcare, I would rant about how shitty the parents must be and how MY CHILD WOULD NEVER NEED ANY OF THOSE THINGS. And now I TOTALLY get why these things exist:

1. The shopping cart with the car thing.
2. Baby Leashes
3. Backseat DVD players
4. 24 hour childrens' networks
5. Lunchables
6. Time Outs
7. "Inside Voice Please" and 'Use your words."
8. Barney (or Doodlebops or Backyardigans) CDs
9. Noisy toys
10. Martinis during naptime.

Sorry for all the times I was an asshole. I just didn't get it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

And here is what apparently makes me a terrible person...

I am back to work part time. It's a shit job but it gets me out of the house and puts spending money in my pocket.

You would think that after a full day at work that I would be excited to see Lila and that perhaps she would be happy to spend some time with me. But that is not the case. Today I went to pick her up thinking that since Grandma had taken her "shop for toys" that it would be an easy later afternoon until Daddy got home.

I was SOOOO wrong. Lila started in on me immediately. Not with the excited frenzy of someone happy to see you, but with the kind of psychotic energy that I usually reserved for ex boyfriends that I stalked when I was 20. "Mama...Mommy...mama...MAMA...MOMMY...MOMMY....MAMA!!!!!!"

"Mommy needs a minute" but no 2-year old understands that. On the way home she had a near nervous breakdown because her toy fell on the floor and I couldn't reach it. Once home she decided that she wanted to take a walk with "mommy 'round a block". I usually enjoy that because it kills a bit of her energy and she is usually (USUALLY) really good. But for some reason she decided today that what she really wanted to do was wait until we were at the exact farthest spot from home and sit down. She wasn't tired...she didnt want to be carried. She wanted to sit down and sit. Normally, I see this whole "stop and smell the roses" thing as cute, but I had a backpack full of library books that I wanted to drop off so I told her we had to go (NOW!), to which she proceeded to pound her little forehead on the pavement. Yeah, I stopped her but she kicked and screamed because now I was holding her and I managed to carry her home. No one tells you how fucking heavy a 2 year old can be.

What I wanted to do was take a break when daddy came home. Hell, thats all I ever want. But Daddy is now picking up side work so that we can save for a down payment on a house and I am not allowed a break from her when he comes home from a 12 hour day and I "technically" only put in a 5 hour shift at work. Because my "OTHER" job doesn't count. I dont get lunch breaks or time off. I don't get paid. So it isn't a job. I am supposed to cherish my time with Lila, even when she is a monster. Chasing her around and keeping her from killing herself and keeping myself from killing her (figuratively, of course [?]) does not count as a "shift". And I am some kind of asshole for wanting to be left alone for half an hour.

I have had all my friends tell me it would get better. They lied. And she STILL doesnt sleep through most nights.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Things I don't want to admit but I have to.

1. I often lie and tell Ben that I have really bad stomach cramps so that I can go and sit in the bathroom alone for 20 minutes by myself. At least half of that time, Lila is pounding at the door. I do not feel guilty when Ben tells her to leave me alone because "Mommy's tummy hurts".

2. I put my kid in front of the tv a lot. Breakfast time...It's Calliou time. Lunch time...It's Yo Gabba Gabba time. It's the only way to keep her mellow enough so that she will eat and leave me alone to do quick productive things.

3. I enjoy some of the kids shows that all parents are supposed to hate. Yo Gabba Gabba is fun. The Doodlebops kind of Rock. Thomas the Tank Engine is awesome because it is often narrated by either Alec Baldwin or George Carlin, who may be the two least likely people on earth to narrate a kids show.

4. The only songs I listen to in my own car cheesy kids songs. From "Twinkle Twinkle" to "the Little Teapot" song, I am no longer allowed to listen to real, grown-up music.

5. I totally get it now. I was always super judgemental toward parents when I was still just me. I always thought that leashes and in-car DVD players and Gymboree classes were for losers who just didn't want to really deal with their kids. I have longed for all three in the last 2 hours.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why you spell things in front of little ones.

Lila is a blabbermouth. She isn't 2 yet and she counts to 20 and pretty much repeats everything she hears. You'll appreciate this...


I have the book "Worse than Watergate" which has a nice photo of Bush and Cheney on the cover. Like 6 months ago, Lila pointed to it and said "whats that" and I said "Douchebags". She walked around saying douchebags for like 10 minutes then dropped it. I learned not to say that again.


Well, like last week she pulls the book off the shelf and gets all excited and yells "DOUCHEBAG BOOK!!!!"
Sometimes I am so proud of her.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The MOST RELUCTANT MOTHER IN THE WORLD?

March 3, 2009

I really don't want to admit this. I LOVE working 40 plus hours a week. I go to work and talk to grown ups all day and accomplish things and am often asked to stay late and work on extra projects. And I love it. Lila spends long days with Grandma and Grandpa and Daddy picks her up after work and often they stop by to see me for a few minutes on the way home and I really enjoy these visits because she is happy to see me and I was "just starting to miss her".

When I come home, she is happy to see me and I am thrilled when she runs to the door and begs to be picked up and hugged. I spend my couple of hours making and eating dinner with her and Dad, then one of us gives her a bath and I usually put her to bed. I love bedtime. She doesn't often fight me, and when she does it is usually our first fight of the day so I have plenty of patience with her and eventually she goes down to bed and I get Mommy and Daddy time.

There have been days where Lila is teething or is going through a "No" phase where I actually ask my boss if I can stay at work late. And I am always totally honest about it, saying, "I really don't want to go home to my kid today." The other day, he shook his head and called me "The Most Reluctant Mother " he has ever met. But am I really so bad?

I went through this whole ordeal where I cried alot and felt bad for telling everyone how much mothering is not for me. Mostly, I only felt bad because of the reactions I got. But many of my friends agree that motherhood is the worst job one can take on. But they always seem to need to qualify it with "OH I JUST LOOOOVVVE MY KIDS, BUT..." I don't do that anymore.

The fact that I come home to her and hug her and cuddle her is my testament to my devotion to her. I love Lila. I know I do. And when Lila needs anything I am the first one to find a way to provide it. I would never do anything intentionally to hurt her and that includes making the decision to stay at home with her full time when I know that it makes me an all-around better person to have a life away from her. I have never been guilty of abuse in any of its forms and when I have time off, the time I spend with her isn't spent bored and sitting in front of the tv trying to get the hours to pass. We enjoy eachother more in small doses.

It still makes me cringe when I hear women say that motherhood is the best job in the world because I disagree. The best jobs in the world aren't only the ones where you get a sense of meaning and accomplishment. If it were that simple we would all be living our dreams. The BEST JOBS IN THE WORLD pay well, provide incredible health insurance and match your retirement savings. You get to work in a climate controlled (or outside if that's what you are into) environment and have tons of flexibility as to how you spend your days. They PAY YOU to take vacations and days off. In addition to these things, you work with people who are more or less agreeable and rational and you get to use your talents daily. Motherhood hardly fits that bill.

The upside to motherhood? Lila brings me so much joy that it makes me sick. Seriously. I sometimes feel nauseated thinking about her cuteness and the other day when she started clapping to Joan Jett's "I Love Rock and Roll" and bobbing her head up and down to the drums, I nearly squeezed her to death. She is so smart and sassy that a mother has to be proud. As long as that sassiness isn't directed at me 24/7.

I will continue to defend my position that being away from Lila during the day actually contributes to my ability to be a good mother. Because no matter what I am doing, I love her.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Continuied Saga of my monster child

January 23, 2009 - Friday

When my kid was a teeny tiny baby, and she screamed constantly, I was sure that she could be the spawn of the devil. What I remember most vividly from that phase was that everyone who has had kids told me that the colic was "the hardest part" and that it "gets easier after that." Those assholes were lying.

Lila is starting the "terrible twos" at 18 months. If this is any indication of what kind of relationship we will have when she is 14, I am seriously ready to bail out now. She has suddenly become more demanding and has learned (not from me) that if she can't get exactly what she wants at any given moment, that the best reaction is to throw herself on the floor and cry until she throws up.

And there is no substitute for what she wants. For example, if Lila decides she has to have animal crackers in her Thomas the Tank Engine cup, and her Thomas cup is at my mothers house she will not simply accept them in any other cup or out of a cup or even in a pile that she could swim in. She screams and writhes on the floor like she is on fire. And I hate to admit it, but I hate her when she does that. I have no patience for it. Last night I picked her up, put her in her room and closed the door, which is what everyone says I need to do when she gets like that. The theory is that without the audience she will either knock it off after a few minutes or tire herself out. Lila pounded her head on the floor and screamed and screamed. 20 minutes later she was still crying and when I went in, she was like a feral animal and faught my attempts to calm her down. I started crying and Ben took over and managed to get her to relax with a bottle (yeah, I know).

She does this at least once or twice a day and it isn't just with me. She pulls that shit at my mothers house too, but the difference is that Grandma will just give in and let her have whatever it is that she wants so that she will stop crying. I tell her this isn't helping but she says it isn't her job to discipline.

Here's the thing. I have been a reluctant mother from the start. It's hard to admit that because society tells me that it makes me some kind of awful person. But I don't believe it's that unusual. I look back at my childhood from my newfound perspective and see that same exasperation on my mother's face, and although she would NEVER admit it, I know that she often felt like running away too.

It's impossible to describe the mixture of feelings that I have. I love her. She is cute and brilliant. It is fun watching her learn new things and I want to tell everyone every time she makes me proud by recognizing a picture of Elvis or bobs her head and tries to make the goat horns when Led Zepplin comes on the radio. But those things are broken up by these truly AWFUL bouts of what I would call PURE EVIL and I just want to be left alone...for days or weeks maybe.I don't know.

There is no advice that can help this because I have tried all the angles. Apparently I just have to ride this phase out, right? But then what about the next awful phase?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Terrible One and a Halfs

December 14, 2008 - Sunday

Now that Lila is spending a considerable amount of time with her Grandma and Ben because I am working, I no longer have 24 hour control over her. I am finding that my kid is turning into that asshole kid that I was absolutely adamant not to have.

We went to the grocery store yesterday and as I saw all the other young children sitting quietly in their prospective shopping carts, my kid proceeded to scream, kick, cry and grab at every item that came within 3 feet of her. She yelled for balloons, for meat, to get down and even for the signs hanging from the ceiling demanding to me, "GO GET".

The reason my kid behaves like that is NOT just because she is at that age. The reason that my kid is like that is because all the other adults in her life seem to think that the best way to get her to behave in the grocery store (or Target, or at the mall) is to give her whatever she asks for to play with, and Ben even lets her get out of the cart and run around. I mostly blame ben.

I dont believe I need to explain to you all why this is not okay. But apparnetly Ben doesn't see the danger of a kid who will suddenly be old enough to out run him, or grab things off the shelf and break them, or get hurt in an insanely busy grocery store on a Saturday afternoon. Ben also doesn't see why she can't play with pennies (choking factor) chew on crayons (he says they're non-toxic) or climb up our bookcase (it's anchored to the wall after all). Ben cannot conceive that what he is doing is laying the groundwork for how she is going to act in the future. She will not behave out in public. She will run around with crayons, pencils, pens, in her mouth and fall and stab her brain. She will think it is okay to climb up on anything and pull something onto her.

Maybe it's a dad thing. Maybe it's only mothers who foresee the worst possible outcome and decide that they must protect the kid at all costs, even if it means that they cry and beg to do what they want. Perhaps dads cannot think far enough ahead to predict that she is going to be an asshole who has no boundaries. Maybe this is normal. Maybe I need to quit my job (which I love) and go back to being the 24 hour gate keeper so that she can know that there are rules and that she cannot under any circumstances do whatever she wants. Because although I have told both Grandma and Ben what the rules need to be, I am finding that they both subsccribe to the "just keep her happy" method of childcare with no regard to the fact that at her age she should not be deciding what the rules are.

I want to have a polite, functional and NORMAL kid. I want her to know what is and is not allowed. Even if she has to test the limits to learn this. Even if she has to throw tantrums and cry and think it's the end of the world because she can't have a balloon. Because what I do know is that when my kid turns out to be that asshole, no one is going to say "It's her Dad's (or Grandma's) fault for spoiling her." The concensus will be that Lila's mother did a shitty job of raising her.

Shit. My kid is turning into an asshole.

On a seperate and totally unrelated note:
My parents have officially moved out of my childhood home. Ther neighborhood has long been on the decline and they had to get out of there as stabbings and armed home invasions were becoming the regular around there. They purchased a nice 2 family house with my aunt and uncle in Solvay. My mom loves it.

Here's the thing. somehow I am so emotionally retarded that I cannot actually acknowledge it in real life. In the several weeks leading up to the move, I never once mentioned it. I never wanted to go see the new house. I wouldnt even offer to leave work early to pick up Lila in the days leading up to the move so that my mom could pack, simply because I would have to acknowledge it. Yesterday Ben helped them move. I was going to stop by to see how it was going and maybe help out a little, but I got half way there and decided that I could not bear to see my old room empty. So I went home. I know that I should go to my mom's new house and help out however I can. Maybe bring over dinner. I know that's what a grown up would do. But I just can't emotionally deal. It's ridiculous, I know.