Tuesday, January 26, 2010

17 Months

She does the Booty Dance on request.

She loves Barney's "I Love You" song - god only knows how, since we've never shown her a Barney show.

She has 6 teeth.

She hugs the dog. And everyone else.

She feeds the dog. Everything.

She no longer fits in the baby bath.

She loves koalas, pandas, tigers, octopuses, kangaroos, penguins and ducks.

Her favorite outfit is the pink doggie onesie, which she asks to wear every day.

She enjoys rolling on the floor.

She knows all the Sesame Street characters.

She's almost a year and a half.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sea Changes

There comes a day in each girl's life when she must throw caution to the wind and dive head first into the vast ocean of life. This is a momentous day, filled with fear, trepidation, apprehension, and, if she's lucky, success beyond her wildest measure. The kind of unquestionable achievement that makes any past doubt seem outright foolish.

I'm speaking, of course, about myself. Undertaking the task of moving Otter out of her baby bath and into the real deal. But if rousing success is what I was after, the universe was determined to put me in my place.

I've gotta admit (and this may go far in explaining a great deal) that I am not a bath person. I find the idea of soaking in a tub filled with warm, sudsy water while a day's worth of dirt sloughs off me a bit repellant, on the best of days. I've always felt the strong urge to shower afterwards, and in the name of water conservation have generally just skipped to the chase. In fact, I can only think of one compelling reason to take a bath, but that involves booze, water jets, and is not fit content for this particular blog.

Needless to say, however, that one does not stick a 16-month-old into a shower. And since the baby bathtub has become rather, um, snug, that left me facing a bit of a conundrum. So I did what any parent in similar circumstances would do. Setting brawn before brains, I decided that I was just gonna muscle through the situation. As I fought the sliding shower doors and the vinyl curtains behind them (yes, we have both - don't ask), flickers of doubt lapped around the edges of my consciousness, but I beat them down into temporary submission.

The water was turned on, the temperature checked and a quantity of soap was added to the mix. As the wall of bubbles began to grow, I briefly entertained the thought that I should have probably checked the proportions before blindly dumping in that much bubble-bath (not the first time this has happened, and usually with disastrous results) but it was too late now, wasn't it? No use crying over spilled soap. And who doesn't like some bubbles?

I dumped my kid into the fizzing foam and shut off the water. Immediately I realized that something was terribly wrong. The distinct sound of water escaping down the drain became apparent. I checked the position of the stopper. Up. The way it should be. Right? I pushed it down. The water continued escaping. I pulled it back up. Nothing changed. At this point, SB was sitting in about 2 inches of water covered with 10 inches of soap scum. Time was not on my side. Saying a silent apology to the Earth, the conservationists, and my wallet, I turned the water on full throttle. The goal was to keep the 2 inch-deep "bath" going long enough for me to scrub down my offspring.

Overestimating my abilities, I had also introduces toys into the mix. What I imagined to be a joyous romp in the name of cleansing, became a mad dash of fruitless swathing with a washcloth while staving off the frantic calls for "Elma" and "kak kak kak" - aka rubber duck - who kept drowning in the foamy abyss. After 10 minutes of mad flailing, it was time to throw in the towel (quite literally) and rinse.

Which leads to the question - how the HELL do you rinse in a bathtub? Letting the water go down was clearly not an issue. But that leaves a foot of soap that child is either sitting or standing in. At best, you can keep the faucet running and splash them down to their knees - which is where their legs disappear into the bog of soap suds. I know people. I KNOW I used too much soap.

I splashed water. I made hand motions. I let the bath mat and the towel absorb whatever lather was left.

After drying, lotioning, and pajama-ing my slick-with-soap-scum child (and scrubbing down any less-than-thoroughly-washed areas with baby wipes), I returned to the crime scene to try and get rid of the evidence. While fighting back the wall of soap, one of the shower hooks (the one cleverly shaped like a sea horse) came flying off, the hook missing my eye by 1/2 inch. That about summed up the evening.

You say I have to wash my kid every day?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I have reason to believe that potty training may not go exactly according to plan...

Monday, January 4, 2010

"In America, there are two classes of travel - first class, and with children."

So says Robert Benchley, and he must be right, what with all those Airport books and all. Oh wait - no, that was Peter, his son. But apples falling from trees, and all that jazz should cover me here.

Anyway, point being, he KNOWS. And we know too, having traversed the country 3 times with Otter in tow.

Admittedly, each trip has posed its own challenges, from (in retrospect) the seemingly simple feat of over-nursing while our plane circled the airport for 40 minutes on our first trek out, to the daunting task of having to go to the bathroom while traveling solo with SB, to now - a 3-hour delay at the airport with an over-tired, over-hyped, very mobile 15-month-old.

Our extra time in Newark allows me the opportunity to socialize as a member of that exclusive club - the "with child" set. As I do laps around the waiting area, I meet every carry-on dog, every family with children - including the brat giving a beat-down to the public phone while her harassed mother gives a time-out to her brother by sitting him in the seat next to her and threatening to not let him go to the bathroom, or the family with three kids (Luca, Guido, Franco - or something likewise out of the Sopranos) whose mother confesses to me that she's nervous about boarding the plane because she's spied that man - you know, the one that looks vaguely Middle-Eastern, who I suspect is actually from India.

But no journey, no matter how difficult can be as bad as it is for the Family From Hell. They sit down near us, the poster-family for what I hope to never become. In this play of domestic horrors, each member plays a part:

Dad is the Bruiser - you know, the guy who looks like his idea of a good time is getting good and pissed at the local, then starting a bar brawl, before heading home to let his wife know what's what? He gets off on being mad, feels superior about his hard lot in life, and says things like "Can I trust you with that (re: the luggage)?" and "I'm not on the plane with you," to his wife. Really Bruiser, you're not? You're gonna live at gate 34 of Newark International?

Mom is the Passive Aggressive - half beaten into submission by Bruiser, half determined to get in the last jab in spite of it all, no matter how underhanded the methods. Let hyperactive Clawboy (see below) "accidentally" find the Oreo's in Bruiser's bag? Why not? At least the Juicy Couture sweatsuit, giant rock and Gucci bag help her remember she's still on top.

Son is Clawboy - because his favorite toy, one of those claws that pull toys out of a vending machine, is in his backpack, and he keeps taking it out and trying to grab everything, including strangers waiting at the gate with it. He's about 6, but still uses a pacifier (which, after he finally runs out of steam, Bruiser pulls out of his mouth, starting the reign of insanity over again, only so that Bruiser can get exasperated and threaten not to get on the plane again). He is a bully - the kid who uses his size to intimidate, and failing that, whines something awful. Watching him, I vacillate between pitying him and wanting to beat him senseless with that claw.

Dog is the Hapless Victim - of course they have a dog - one of those tiny furry yappers that get carried onto planes in designer hand-bags. Normally I loathe these dogs - call me a sizist if you will - but in this case I fear that Clawboy has reigned so much terror on this poor canine that when she finally growls at him I secretly pray that she'll bite, preferably taking a finger from the claw-wielding hand.

We sit there, and can't look away from from the drama, alternately repulsed and fascinated, as this family continually cycles through their circle of mutual hatred. Bree and I lean in to each other, assessing and reassessing which of them we hate the most, an honor that keeps shifting, depending on which of them is speaking at any particular moment. "I really hope they sit right next to us," I say. "That would really make this flight perfect." How do people live like this?