Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Hard Way

Never stick your hand down the back of a diaper to see if it’s dirty.

I’m full of wisdom like that. And it’s free.

Some days you just learn the hard way.
And end up with a poop-covered hand.

In parenting, you learn lessons like this every day. Leaving the child unattended near the dog’s water bowl means that water will be all over the floor as soon as you turn your back. The minute you take a sleeping baby out of their carseat, they will wake up. The moment you finally decide to check on them after they’ve been fighting their nap for 20 minutes was the moment they were just about to fall asleep – and you just set them off all over again. The hard way – you learn it by living it. It’s kind of like dropping your fuel plan on the bike and not going back to get it. You learn that lesson once.

The hard way.

Some days it seems like the only way is the hard day. The day you scheduled a phone call during nap time is the day he doesn’t nap. The day you need to finish the last 30 minutes of your 3 hour bike ride – and you’ve timed it perfectly with the baby sitter, is the day he wakes up 30 minutes early from the nap. The day you didn’t bring an extra outfit with you is the day he craps out the diaper and up his back.

I don’t know much about gravity but I’m pretty sure that defies it.

When you least need it, the hard way becomes the only way. And it’s the way you have to do things over and over again. You find yourself thinking: there has got to be an easier way. But then you realize who you are dealing with. They are small but don’t let their size fool you into thing they don’t have the stronghold on your life. No matter how many times you say “NO” as they approach the plant, though they will turn and look at you, they will then move even quicker toward that plant. Scooting themselves by way of right elbow and a forceful push from what I call his left peg leg pirate move.

Again and again and again.

The hard way is also how you end up with the dog eating dinner off the floor.

Or a soon to be broken spoke.

Or letting them prove to themselves that they can feed themselves. Sure. Go ahead. Take the spoon. Let me know how that works out for you.

Another case in point, “the hard way”: every day the child needs to get dressed. They are small. Their clothes are small. How hard could this be? Well, while my completely naked child army crawls his way faster than the speed of lightning out of his room and down the hall – you tell me. I’ve completely abandoned strength training. I see no need – if I have to lug that carseat around AND wrestle the child every time I get him dressed or change his diaper – it counts as a full upper body workout.

I am not beyond logging this into Training Peaks.

I now understand why our friends with a 20 month old gave us a Baby Einstein Music toy. The card read something like:

It’s for changing time.

Trust us.

It also doesn’t help that every article of clothing seems to be designed to make the task as difficult as possible. Ever feel like the manufacturers of baby clothes never actually took the time to dress a baby? If they did, they’d quickly realize that anything with snaps, a tight hole for the head or any pair of pants is nearly impossible to put on. Let’s take pants. Getting pants on to Max is sometimes a two person ordeal. One to hold him down so he doesn’t roll over mid-dress. And the other to get both legs in to two different legs at the same time. It sounds as hard as it is. I’ve had two legs in one leg and my favorite – one leg in a leg and the other folded up by his belly.

How is that possible?

Here’s a fun one: After the soothing bath, you enter the bedroom with the lights dimmed low to set the mood that it is nearly bedtime. The child is relaxed. You are relaxed. So why would you go ruin it all by attempting to snap 20 snaps on their pajamas with them wiggling all over the changing table? Like getting both legs into separate legs wasn’t hard enough. The snaps never line up. You always finish with one random snap thinking to yourself – it came with an extra snap? And, by that time, the baby is all riled up and crying again. What happened to zippers. What – they’re choking hazards?


I did some googling – very scientific research that is – on why there seems to be a lack of zippers in baby pajamas. I found…nothing. It seems that there seems to be a lack of zippers ONLY in Max’s wardrobe of baby pajamas and so I ask you – all of you who gave me pajamas as baby gifts – WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?! Oh wait, now I get it: this is your evil way of saying heh heh heh, you’ll see.

I did find a manufacturer who made Velcro pajamas. This sounds like a good idea – in theory – until you probably enter your child’s room at night to find that they’ve ripped them open, along with their diaper which is now in their mouth. Yes, I’ve found him on the floor during changing with his diaper in his mouth.

That’s called learning - for him – the hard way. I’m a firm believer in natural consequences. How’s that diaper taste, champ?

Everything goes in his mouth. EVERY-THING. From my hair to Boss’ kibble to the foam padding under the living room carpet. I’m convinced that 10% of his daily intake is foam padding. Chris, my lovely engineer everything has a reason husband asks….why? Why does he have to put my iPhone in his mouth? Hmm…he really likes Angry Birds? I don’t know. So I googled that too. Turns out researchers now say it doesn’t have much to do with child development. Instead, it’s the baby’s way of getting healthier. He mouthes yucky stuff to introduce himself to bacteria. That builds his immunity. So the other day when he dropped his giraffe on the floor and I let him put it right back in his mouth?


Right now, Max is all over his world, busy moving, looking and mouthing everywhere. And so I try to get him out of the house often to look at new things. The other day, we went to the mall.

We went to the usual stops at the mall – Forever 21 (here’s something great about aging, wait around long enough and the clothes that were in style when you were in junior high come back in style and you already have the confidence of knowing that since you looked great in them back then, you’ll look even better in them now). Delia’s (I bought another pair of “these look good on all the moms” jeans – the sad part is that I couldn’t remember the name of the jeans and I had to say to the clerk – last time you sold me a pair of jeans that you said looked good on all the moms. Morgan? Noted). And finally – Von Mauer.

There is a secret clique of old people that spend a lot of time at Von Mauer sitting and listening to the person playing the piano. Von Mauer seems to welcome this as the piano is surrounded by comfy couches and chairs. You go in there on any given weekday and its standing room only. Sure, you can get a seat – if you line up the night before and wait for it. Mostly its old men sitting there in their Member’s Only jackets, white lace up shoes and those light blue jeans that only old people seem to wear. Occasionally, the men are joined by their wives with white hair and colorful jogging suits.

When I am an old woman, I will wear a jogging suit and it will be red and purple – because, dammit, at that point I can wear whatever I want.

Today the old men must have been dropped off by their wives, sat in a chair with a coffee and a pastry. Some of them were reading magazines. Another had dozed off against the backdrop of piano notes. If we have a seat with them it’s guaranteed that one of us would also be napping within 30 minutes.

One of us will also probably return next time wearing a Greek fisherman’s hat.

We found a seat and Max proceeded to gum the seat (ew), pull at my hair, flop around in my lap and finally – fall asleep. Whether it was the music or something Von Mauer is pumping through the air to make the old men drowsy so their wives could shop longer – and spend more money – is left to debate. But once he was asleep, I sat there. Lesson learned (the hard way): never move a sleeping baby. Watching the emails pile up, thinking to myself I really need to be at home, working, but today Max had other plans. Some days are like that. I just roll with it.

This is life. Well, there’s a lot of other things in my life – I work, I train – but THIS is life. This little dude is entirely my life. I spent nearly every day of the week in yoga pants, my hair frizzed back in a headband and at least one food item on my shoulder every single day. It is the opposite of sexy. It is the opposite of what I went to school for. It is not on my “to do” list yet there is nothing I would rather be doing. Pushing the stroller back and forth with my foot, while listening to piano music right now there really is no place I’d rather be.

Maybe that is one lesson in life that I’ve had to learn the hard way – every day, the dressing struggles, the days where he whines NON STOP FOR HOURS, the fact that at 4 months post partum a lot of my hair fell out and now it’s growing back all frazzled and have we talked about boobs lately? Let’s – because I’d like to know how you can finish with something much less than you what you started with and would you please let me know WHEN I will lose the final layer of BACK FAT! Yes, all of this stuff feels hard to me because it’s different, it’s a change. But like anything hard in life – it has a reward. Each day with Max, is a rewarding gift. The back fat, the put your pajamas on now wrestling matches - all worth it for this.

Wait! That's the same hat the old men at the mall are wearing!


marian said...

he is sooo cute!!!

Mary IronMatron said...

That's a great first line to this post!
I spend a lot of time in Maine in the summer. The worst was trying to prevent my 20 month old (noah specifically, middle) from eating sand. It was like a delicacy to him. And then there were the sand shits... truly, truly grim.
Yes, so tough and also rewarding. Very different the IM training... and also in some ways just the same. The difference is you finish IM and take a rest... not so with parenting.

Adrienne said...

I went to my six week postpartum appointment last week and asked my doctor why the last bit of weight was not coming off- she told me that it will once I stopped nursing.... Ways in which our lives change!

Golden Girl said...

i love your posts on mothering. i used to read your blog for the triathlon info and humor but now since i'm pregnant, i love every bit of insight i get into the reality of being pregnant and a mom. thanks!!

TriGirl Kate O said...

Love the pics! So so so adorable.

Anonymous said...

"diaper in mouth"....I laughed my ass off at that, until I realized that someday you'll be laughing at me as I struggle with a diaper-eating child. Glad you keep saying it's really worth it, b/c many of these stories really don't "sell" the idea that motherhood is awesome. :-) -Kate

Kris said...

Not having kids, I still enjoy these posts. ;) It makes me wonder how you folks do it. Impressive.

Could that kid be *any* cuter?!!?

Andy said...

Cute kids and poop humor :) Where there is a will, Max will find a way!

Running and living said...

Funny thing...I weigh 5 lbs more than prepregnancy but I fit in all my clothes from before, even though there is extra skin on my belly and my belly button is not longer an outtie.

Amy said...

During my 5 mile run yesterday, I fed the baby, changed the world's poopiest diaper (but not before I reached down to pick her up in the bouncy seat and realized we had a poop-meltdown...yep, poop on my hand), stripped the bouncy seat, found a new place for baby to play so I could finish said run, and put that damn pacifier back in her mouth at least 47 times.

But, you know what? I finished the run. Maybe it wasn't a PR, but I certainly finished with no excuses.

BTW, cute kiddo.

E.L.F. said...

Amy: I have been there, done that when biking. I tell myself that every time I have to stop riding my trainer to do something for Max, it's like being at a stoplight. One day I'm pretty sure the road had 18 stoplights but like you, I got it done! And R&L - yes, totally agree. I'm about 5 pounds heavier but clothes all fit. Who knows, and at this point - who cares!

Kona Shelley said...

I could eat him adorable!

Ange said...

It is absolutely worth it all!!
and.. You MUST get a baby bag! :)
ok... we had all 3 of our boys in these for pjs for a long time. We'd put a onsie on and then the bag. Picture pjs that are fuzzy like footie pajamas but it's just a bag that zips up the front. Have you seen these? We even figured out how to unzip, change a diaper and rezip during the night without getting him out of bed or waking! I'll look to see if I have any around...

ali said...

This is so funny to me, and I don't even have kids. He is so adorable and a blessing I can see:)!

Jennifer Harrison said...

HE is the cutest kid EVER!!!
I remember begging for zippers when the twins were in onesies....good point, must be a safety issue! :)

meredith said...

max is the most handsome little boy! and i am not biased. the dressing thing is hard with maeda. we have to dress on the floor because she'll roll off the changing table. oh, her pajamas come with an extra snap too.