Thursday, April 28, 2011

Don't Know Much

You learn something new every day in parenting. Every day. You think you know things about having a child. You spend nearly a decade in careers teaching children, caring for children, learning about children. And do you know what you know?

Nothing.

Grandmothers are excellent sources of “you didn’t know that” parenting information. You mean I’m not supposed to let Max stand up against the edge of the tub throwing blocks into the tub while I take a shower?

No. Dangerous.

But don’t you know that is my only hope for hygiene?

Each stage of parenting prepares you for the next. Remember when you thought just having the kid was hard. Or getting up every 3 hours to feed them at night was difficult. Or when they started crawling your whole world had changed. As Max enters each new stage – we are now in stage 9 months – he presents me with new challenges. The latest: pulling himself to stand against everything. Including the toilet. Which should from now on always stay closed because you will find him with his lips on the seat and hand in the water.

Lid closed. That is, until he learns how to open it.

Ladies, if you are out there in a search to select the person which you will reproduce with, here’s a tip:

Whomever you choose, make sure you are totally comfortable with creating a mini version of them. I have myself a mini Chris. Chris who will spend hours taking things apart – which is much more fun than putting them back together. Chris who loses socks like there is a giant hole in our house that devours them. I’ve already convinced myself that I only make boys so the chances are a Mini Liz, in my eyes, are very, very slim. Mini Liz would be a monster to fear from day one. The mini Chris is not a monster to fear unless he finds himself in slow moving traffic. So I’ve got about 16 years before my mini Chris turns ape shit crazy on me.

Today, in an effort to change the scenery for the child, we went to the bookstore. We would have gone outside but I have a weather flash for you: 44 degrees, 20 mph gusting winds, April 28. "Spring." So it’s been winter since October and if I spend one more minute trapped in my house I will go searching for that sock hole as an escape route.


As a stay at home parent, you find yourself feeling trapped in your house a lot. There is the schedule. Around here we do not mess with the schedule. I rely on the schedule. I rely on nap time from 7:30 to 9:30 am and again from 1 to 3 pm. For what? Sanity. That gives us a window from about 10 to 12 pm to leave the house. Considering it takes us about 45 minutes to get ready to leave the house (somebody likes to drop the surprise poopy the minute he gets dressed for the day), we don’t leave the house very often.

But today, we left with grandiose plans of sitting at the bookstore with decaf while Max crawls on a new floor, placing new germs into his mouth, building better immunity. But as I’ve learned many times now in parenting, the best laid plans can become quickly derailed. And smelly. Nothing spells buzzkill like a poopy diaper and a rookie who forgot the diaper bag (I hate that thing, I don’t even carry a purse now I have to carry an entire bag of shit for someone else, it’s not enough that I carried him already for 40 weeks?!?!).

Back at home.

Max had his 9 month appointment the other day. He’s normal. As normal as a kid who can find the dog’s collar and then sit on the carpet dipping said collar into a puddle of barf (whose?) can be. He weighs in at nearly 20 pounds and stands at 27 inches. The doctor informs me he is in the 40th percentile for weight and 11th percentile for height. When I tell Chris this, he is devastated. He fears his destined to be short son will get picked on by taller kids.


Something he should have considered before he married someone who stands at 62 inches.

Anyways, he’s got a 90th percentile head. Which means he’s got lots of brains which I’m pretty sure in Chinese means that he is going to be smart. I’ve already been told that his cowlick implies smartness along with his high forehead. I don’t need test scores to tell me my kid is a genius, all I need is a Chinese grandmother-in-law.

Who also warned me to stop feeding the boy or else he will be like that baby in The Enquirer who weighed 105 pounds.

Speaking of feeding. Here’s a fun adventure that I get to go on for possibly the next 18 years of my life. Meal times. Max eats anything and everything. Yesterday he ate chicken curry with quinoa, jicama with tofu and beets, bananas, sweet potatoes. He’s a chow hound. He got that from me. His latest trick is blowing his food back out his mouth. Did not get that from me. If you have a friend who is having a baby, forget giving her a pretty blanket, give her an old towel. Or about 100 of them. Because I must go through a 100 old towels a day by the time I wipe the mouth, wipe the floor, wipe my own shirt. Do they sell adult bibs? I need one.

All of those towels means I’m only one credit away from earning my PhD in laundry! Oh it’s been a tough course. But I’m certain I will pass my oral exams with flying colors. Right after I separate them from the whites. Did you know you can spray Zout on anything to make it better? Including your entire day.

Where was I......

Another place we like to escape during the neverending winter is the coffee shop. Remember when I was just married with no kids and declared that children should not be allowed in coffee shops? I’d like to rescind that statement. And request that the REST of you GET OUT. I went to Caribou. It was one of those with the nice fluffy chairs and tables that Max can cruise along. It was like the freakin’ library. Everyone was plugged into their laptops typing and studying and whispering conversations with their tablemate.

Psssst…..I actually took the time to SHOWER today and put on UNDERWEAR so I could LEAVE my house for 30 minutes of fun that did not involve attacking the dog’s water bowl or knocking over candles so don’t give ME a dirty look when my kid squeals because eating a paper napkin is the best thing he’s tasted since kibble.

And we buy high grade kibble, thank you.

Strange thing about moms in the coffee shop – it’s like a weird mom on mom dating scene. I’m telling you that being a mom who stays at home with a child can be a very lonely thing. So you leave the house, you go for coffee and you see another mom sitting there. You’re playing with your child and from another table, she starts talking to you. At first, you don’t realize it but then, you leave and think…

Was she hitting on me?

Yes. Moms do this. They hit on each other to see – potentially what can I get from this woman. Conversation? Advice? A play date? Confirmation that I still know how to carry on a conversation with another living thing (dog not included) that does not include the word NO or something set to song.

You can set anything to song – anything, mommy just needs a few minutes to go to the bathroom in the key of C.

Speaking of song – we’ve been going to music class again. I have reason to believe that Max is a musical genius because the librarian at storytime told me so. And because at music class you don’t have to sit still and look at books (not for Max). You see, there are kinesthetic learners who need to run in a circle while learning. I watched a kid at music class do this for 3 minutes straight and it made me dizzy.

Max loves music class. He really likes the teacher but I don’t blame him. She has a great voice and her boobs are HUGE. Hey, he just got off the boob so…it’s on his mind. There are a few other kids ages 3 and under in the class, including a set of identical girl twins. Sometimes I think parenting is hard and then I see the woman with the twins walk into class. On one day, it was pouring rain. The center is about a 5 minute walk from the parking lot. She walked in look like she had swam there. As soon as she got the girls settled, one started running around the room with her pants around her ankles. When she got her pants up, the other one dropped her pants and started running. I asked her if I pretty much just witnessed her entire day – and she said yes.

Today’s bookstore outing lasted 45 minutes. We’re back at home now and minutes away from nap time. Soon he’ll get slightly fussy after something like a block hits him in head. Fussiness like that tells me he’s ready to be zipped into a sleep sack and put down for sleep. If only we could do the same thing to fussy adults. Nap times go well – he talks himself to sleep and not much wakes him except barking dogs, big trucks or lawnmowers. I’m just a little disturbed that Tuesday is garbage day, Wednesday is lawncare day – is this necessary? 10 – 12 folks. If you have something noisy to do around my house please limit it to the hours of 10 to 12. And for crying out loud – DO NOT RING MY DOOR BELL!

Some time last week I realized Max is trying to eat his way out of the crib. Once he entered the why lay in the crib when you can stand stage, we lowered the crib. Realizing he cannot climb his way out, he has chosen instead to eat through it. The beautiful crib of chocolate-colored wood perfection is no longer perfect. But neither is anything else since about 1 minute after bringing Max home from the hospital. But that nursery should looked damn good while we were waiting!

Hey, here’s something else I didn’t know about parenting. For every year you have a child, you remove one more thing from your house until by the time they are 18 you are left with nothing but a couch. Most of the accessories in our living room are now put away or have been moved to higher ground. And…sorry, I had to interrupt to give a stern no to Max while he decided eat through the living room table. Brought the kid to tears! That’s it, I’m not saying no again! I want him to be my friend, not my child! Yes, I’m joking. Could you imagine? Are there people out there really scared of their kids? Make no mistake, kid, you are under my command. At least until you’re a teenager. Then you can deal with your father.

Ah. Nap time has begun which means my clock to get things done starts ticking. Once Max wakes up, it resets the cycle of eat, poop, play, eat, sleep all over again. But I have exciting things planned for this afternoon. I’m going to open up the kitchen towel cabinet. Oh yes. The other day it was the dishwasher (simply opening the dishwasher door was a BIG hit until I found him eating a piece of old food on it…), yesterday the cabinet with the pots and today – towels. It’s never too early to start studying for your doctorate in laundry.

Meanwhile, I’ll eat some lunch (without a bib) and get some work done. During this time, at least once a week, I will have the shit scared out of me while some random toy goes off loudly in the toy bench (LOOK OUT! THE TRAIN!). If I do have to go upstairs, I will tiptoe by the door because you never, ever wake the sleeping baby.

Yes, it goes on like this every day, day after day. There are 365 days in a year. I've counted. And yes, that is a lot of parenting!

There’s a lot I don’t know about parenting. And those parenting classes? Who comes up with that curriculum? I remember watching a video on how to give a baby a bath and thinking – this is the most difficult task they chose to teach us about for parenting? Because bath time is the easy part. It’s the other waking hours of the day when you need to figure out how to entertain them (let’s roll this orange across the floor), keep them safe (you don’t need to have the blender cord in your mouth) or how to put away several loads of laundry a day (actually you don’t, keep it in a big pile on the dryer and take it as you need it).

Have I earned enough credits yet for my PhD in parenting?

(I know, I know…wait until he starts walking)

8 comments:

Michelle Simmons said...

Ahhh, the memories! I do think it gets a bit easier with each passing month. And easier too after he transitions to 1 nap/day... Mostly b/c you have more time to actually get out of the house and do something fun if you have all morning and just have to be home by 11:30ish for lunch before nap. I was home with Moana for ~18 months before I started sending her to daycare. Daycare saves my sanity! Being a SAHM is way harder than most people think it is.

Molly said...

I think I choked on lunch about 5 times while reading this :) It's good to know you're not bored lately!

I started out in like the 90th percentile for height and...look where that got me. He's just a late bloomer!

X-Country2 said...

I have the exact same pile of laundry on the floor right outside the dryer! Every night I dig out 2 bibs and 2 onesies for the next morning.

marian said...

you are so funny!
before max eats more furniture, maybe he would like a rubber dog bone to chew on?

Keith said...

From Keith's wife Linda: Yes, there are bibs for adults - my aunt made my mother one, in a cheerful double sided print (Mom had a large boson, which collected food & the bib was something she adored because it kept her tidy) - check out those church fundraiser sales or any Christmas craft sale where home made goods are available. SAHM is the reason why women's lib got so steamed at the idea SAHM moms DID NOT WORK - yes, that was the idea, they just lounged around during the day, with 4 or more children to care for as the rule (my Mom had 7 - at one point, 3 of them were in diapers at the same time as they were 13 & 11 months apart in age from oldest to youngest - fortunately I was old enough at age 8 to help her take care of the babies).
There are no manuals that get spat out with the baby & each child is unique. Great for diversity, not so good for how to raise the child rules, since what works for one will not necessarily work for another. By the way, it is daddy who determines the sex of the child to be - you are just the carrier:) Endless women blamed for having girls instead of boys take note - it isn't your fault it is the guy contribution of sperm which determines which sex baby will be. Science have proved this which is why many people prefer superstition - less of a blow to the ego if you get my drift.....
I hope you & Chris make good money because if you think Max eats a lot now, just wait until puberty - you will swear the kid has a tapeworm or some horrible disease - it is like those biblical locust things, no food (even rotten tofu or brussels sprouts, even something e coli lives on) will be safe. Think PacMan gone viral.
In the world of parenting count your blessings. There is always someone who has it far worse than you - I mind me the Scandinavian girl who at age 19 had 6 children under the age of 2 - at age 17 she had one child. At age 18 she had twins & at age 19 she had triplets - at which point she & her husband got fixed, for fear that quadruplets might be next. So smile when things get tough!

Jodi said...

I made myself a "no soliciting" sign for my front door, and it works great! Nobody rings our doorbell now. And i told the fedex & UPS guys not to ring the bell, just to leave packages on the front porch. Cause if anyone comes to the door, our dog barks and wakes up my son!!! And i feel like my life is over when he wakes up early from a nap. :)
jodi

Wes said...

LMAO... good thing babies are damn near indestructible :-)

Alicia Parr said...

They make toilet locks. Now you know why.