Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Terrible Two's Are Aptly Named

I know they’re out there lurking. The Terrible Two’s. It’s already beginning with the Monster. The kicking and hitting, the high-pitched screaming when he’s frustrated. I recognize that this is part of life with a toddler. But what I can’t come to terms with is, why is he only like this with me? I mean, if the Two’s are so terrible, then shouldn’t everyone be affected?

Gone are the sweet mornings filled with snuggling and laughter. They have been replaced with mood swings and violence. He learned the Bicycle Stretch from Sprout’s Goodnight Show and is now using it as a way to kick me in the face faster than ever before. Yet he’ll fall asleep on the couch with Dad while I’m in the shower. He struggles against me when I’m getting him out of the car to go into the babysitter’s, but he runs to her and embraces her as soon as we step through the door. I get him a nice cup of juice, he angrily swats it out of my hand.

What gives Monster? Why’s it gotta be like that? Shouldn’t he be a teenager before he starts treating me like crap? I thought I’d have more time to prepare.

Talking to my Mommy Network has yielded several different theories:
He’s testing me to make sure I’ll love him no matter what.
He’s frustrated because he lacks the language skills to communicate what he wants.
I’m a terrible parent.

Whatever the cause, I’m just keeping my chin up and, at the same time, protected from his already amazing right hook until he turns three. What’s that? Oh, you say age three is even worse? Awesome.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oh Sh*t, I guess I have to watch my mouth now

How I miss the bliss of having a child with zero awareness of what’s going on around him. I didn’t appreciate it at the time but I’m beginning to have fond memories of it. I could watch the entire Saw franchise while breastfeeding and he would not be affected (well, I guess that’s for his future therapist to determine). For a long time, we’d be playing in the TV room while Bones would be on. [author’s note:  do you watch Bones? They always show the corpse at the very beginning and it’s nightmarish.]

Now Monster is becoming aware of his surroundings. He can understand what I’m saying (hey, that’s better than most adults!) and follow simple directions [author's note:  I said ‘can’ not ‘does’]. So do I want him seeing mauled corpses, hearing foul language, or even knowing anything about those Disney shows aimed at Tweens? Can I get a “HELL NO!”?

But if Monster starts dropping the “F Bomb,” can I really blame anyone but myself? Our morning mad dashes to the babysitter’s have me throwing curse words like Mardi Gras revelers throw beads and moon pies (mmm, moon pies).

My dad had a terrible temper that came out when he was behind the wheel. I remember fist fights in parking lots following especially tense drives. I see my brothers get The Rage and I am aware of my own behavior in a car. I do not want that for my son.

My mom, on the other hand, was all ‘shucks!’ and ‘gosh darn it!’ I don’t really want that for my son either. So what’s a modern mommy to do?

And when do I have to decide by? Do I wait until the babysitter pulls me aside at pick up and tells me he’s teaching the other kids how to say f@#$? Or do I make a real effort to watch my filthy mouth starting, oh say, tomorrow?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It’s Working Mommy 101 and I’m Failing Y’all

I was never super fashion forward, even pre-Monster, but even on those Friday mornings following an extra long Thursday happy hour, I was more than presentable. I spent money on hair styles, highlights, and recently trendy clothing.

These days, though, I’m rolling into work like it’s the morning-after walk of shame. My hair a little flatter on the one side, clothes slightly disheveled and maybe not matching (or “going” or whatever Clinton and Stacy say). When did this happen? When did I cease to be cute? I’ll tell you when, the day my son was born.

I used to sleep until 7 on workdays and still have plenty of time to sip a cup of coffee, catch up on news and e-mails, take a long shower and painstakingly pick out an outfit. Now, even if Monster has me up at 4:30 (it happens way too often), I still find myself rushing to get a shower (if it happens at all – don’t judge me), packing a lunch, breakfasting Monster and getting him dressed and out the door. My kid always looks good, so doesn’t that give me points?

Take today for instance. Halfway through my workday, I checked my look in the mirror and realized that I have inadvertently accessorized with Monster snot. I don’t think this kind of thing shows up in my mirror at home. Surely if I knew it was there, I would change, right? Let’s proceed with that assumption. Even if my sweater was clean when I put it on, during the course of wrestling clothes on a 17-month-old, there’s bound to be some collateral damage especially in the colder months. Hence the Monster snot necklace.

As depressing as it is to admit, my clothes don’t fit like they used to but I’m operating on the premise that they do. My go-to black pants still make my butt look great but who can appreciate that when a clear line of spit up is so very visible on them? I wonder how many people notice that the sweater I’m wearing on Friday is the same sweater I wore on Monday, just a bit more wrinkly and with a different shirt on underneath it? What can I say? Laundry day is Sunday.

And my hair – where do I begin? I have special needs hair. When it’s good, it’s spectacular but when it’s not, well, it’s downright horrible. It changes throughout the day too making it especially pain in the ass. What looked somewhat presentable at 7:00 this morning has transformed into a bad case of bed head and no, my job does NOT involve a bed at all, thank you very much, although, now that I’m thinking about it, a bed at work would be awesome because I could take a nap, thusly having an excuse for bed head. Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, my hair and how horrible it looks. And my little bottle of ‘fixer’ is at home on the bathroom sink and not in my purse where my hairdresser told me to keep it. So basically I’m outta luck here at the office.

And I can’t believe I’m actually saying this:  I miss my high heels! But I don’t wear them anymore because carrying a baby and walking in them requires way more coordination than I’ve been blessed with. So, flats it is. In summer, instead of my leather wedge sandals, I’m wearing my synthetic material ballerina flats.

My eyebrows are overgrown, my legs aren’t shaved, my nails are jagged and uneven, and I’m sporting chipped patches of nail polish on my toes.

Some women can do it. They have kids AND look great. I want to be one of them. It’s been so long since someone has told me that I look nice or that they like my outfit.

What kind of impression am I making here at work? It’s Working Mommy 101 to wash all the Big 3 (snot, puke, poop) off of yourself before leaving the house. Luckily people don’t get up from their desks to go talk to co-workers anymore. I’m still quite charming on e-mail.