Sunday, September 26, 2010

Town Floozy

Every community has that girl. You know, the one people whisper about.

Several months ago, I learned that Otter is the playground flirt. Unsatisfied with female companionship, she'll tolerate sitting side by side with the occasional baby girl shoveling sand, but when it comes to true depth of feeling, that is reserved for the boys. And apparently my generally demure daughter has no qualms about expressing her admiration by hugging the unsuspecting children.

Bree met this news with the goodwill Bonnie's father probably exhibited when first meeting Clyde. Whether he fears secret midnight baby dates or views this as early evidence that his first-born will be married to the town thug in a shot-gun wedding, I saw him mentally calculating the cost of a shotgun of his own.

Since then, things have gone from bad to worse. Not only has a steady man entered the picture, but there seems to be a growing list of back-up admirers. From friends' kids to the playground regulars, the world seems to be SB's oyster. And with more boys than girls being born each year, the odds seem in her favor.

But Otter is taking it all in stride, it seems. While it's clear that there's a front-runner ("Call Jimmy. Hi Jimmy. Jimmy play with spoon!"), she makes sure her other men-in-waiting get the occasional shout-out too. So Joey, Christian, and yes, even you Jimmy, take heed - play your cards right and you may yet win Otter's heart. That is, until her papa finds out about you...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Potty Mouth

While Otter may be having a tough time with the potty itself, it should come as no surprise that as far as a potty mouth is concerned, she's got it going on. There was no question that sooner or later (with all signs pointing to 'sooner') SB was going to adopt some of her, colorful expressions. The only debate was which of us would be responsible for the first utterance.

And the winner is...mommy! Adding to her already rich vocabulary of "Oh my God's," SB took the game up a notch. Don't snicker. I know what you are all thinking, but, for the record, Bree isn't exactly innocent of dropping Otter-inappropriate bombs on quite a regular basis. As my narrative will prove.

This morning, as Bree was putting enough butter on a waffle to deep fry a whole chicken in, I couldn't help but comment on it, in my own distinctive way. "Holy crap, poppa!" Otter gleefully parroted.

Amid looks of surprise and judgement mixed with barely suppressed laughter, Bree and I tried to make sense of this new linguistic frontier we had just so casually embarked upon. There were silent accusations of wrong-doing, expressions of surprise at how long it took for this to happen, an offhanded remark about being convinced it would be the other parent who would open Pandora's box, and finally, a curious confession.

"You know," said Bree, after having thoroughly reprimanded me for having befouled our child's previously virginal vocabulary, "she may have repeated something I said the other day, and dropped an f-bomb." Really? "But I'm not entirely sure," he quickly added. "And this is the first confirmed cursing."

Perpetrated by me. How convenient.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Everyone Poops

WARNING: In the interest of full disclosure, I must begin this entry with a warning. What follows may be may be WAY TMI for some of you. But such is my life of late, that if I didn't over share, I'd have nothing to share at all. So, if you're feeling a bit squeamish, or just aren't interested in reading up on Otter's potty habits, move along. There's nothing to see here. Even though you'll be missing out on some terribly clever and humorous writing.

Everyone poops, or so the book would have us believe. What this enlightening text fails to mention, however, is that when the "everyone" happens to be the 2-year-old living in my house, the pooping may be less a "gimme" and more of a power struggle/test of willpower and patience with a dose of medical condition thrown in for good measure.

In brief - for reasons known only to her (as she refuses to explain this current trend), Otter has decided that bodily functions that the rest of us find involuntary are merely optional for her. This has had several results:

Stomach aches, which lead to...
Daily 5am wake ups, which lead to...
HIGHLY unhappy parents and child, alike.

On the upside, we are saving on diapers.

The battle came to a head, so to speak, 2 nights ago, when Otter decided to finally answer Nature's call, only to discover that her body was being less than cooperative. What transpired was 45 minutes of child screaming, parents coaxing, Internet searches, calls to the doctor's answering service (after hours, of course), hugs, tears, crazed attempts at any viable remedy, all culminating in partial success and exhausted collapse in sleep by all of us, only to repeat the following morning.

By the next day, Operation Poopy Otter had been hatched. New menu guidelines were drawn up. Words of encouragement were uttered. Bree was dispatched for mysterious medicines that, at best, looked mildly menacing. SB was going to poop if it was the last thing she did.

To take a soft left turn here... Have you ever noticed how utterly unhelpful directions on children's medicines are? They all claim to offer useful suggestions on how to best administer said remedy, conveniently overlooking the fact that no 2-year-old is actually going to cooperate with their instructions. For example:

Have child lay on their left side bringing up their knees and relaxing their arms.

The rest of the drivel is irrelevant, as the battle of medicine vs. toddler was lost at "have child lay." What 25-month-old is going to stay still, let alone lie down, for over 5 seconds without first being seriously sedated? And how am I supposed to administer the downers to begin with?! Perhaps the phrasing should have been:

Gather medicine, your iPhone, and 2 other able-bodied adults. Convince toddler that you're going to be looking at 'mommy's phone." Lay child down on side as best as possible. Have Adult #1 sit on the phone side of the configuration, distracting toddler by shaking the phone, talking about how much fun this is going to be, while simultaneously positioning him/herself to control flailing arms and legs. Adult #2 should be positioned on the opposite side, on the ready for when Adult #1 inevitably loses his/her grip. Grab medicine, and work gently, yet with lightening speed to administer before your child breaks free from all restraints and runs for the hills.

Sure you may need a bigger box to fit it all, but THAT would be helpful, and far closer to what actually happens.

Still, I am smarter (or at least stronger) than a pre-schooler, and after two mornings of hand-to-hand combat, we seem to have won the battle, if not the war. But perhaps I shouldn't be so self-congratulatory quite yet, as SB seems to have already parlayed her digestive issues into a new scheme of extending her bedtime. Last night, she waited until she was already in her crib and ready for lights out before announcing, "Want to poopy. Poopy on bed."

After all we've been through, how can I say no?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thanks a Latte, mom...

I suppose it was cruel. But my regular travel mug is way too big and clunky for easy playground use. And Otter does have 2 distinctly colored, perfect size thermos sippy cups. And I did warn her.

Still, the look on her face as she grabbed for "my" cup and took her first big old swig of coffee was, as the commercial says, priceless.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kitchen Aid

It is no secret that children's toys are unnecessarily complicated to put together. Furthermore, there seems to be an inverse correlation between the straightforwardness of the object and the ease of it's assembly. The microscope? That comes in one piece, give or take a couple of glassslides. The big wheel? Yeah, that bad boy needs a graduate degree in engineering and some night classes with the local auto-mechanic to put together.

So it should have come as no surprise to me that when I opened the play kitchen SB had received for her birthday, instead of seeing 3 large plastic sections (that I was fully prepared to snap together) I was confronted with about 500 miniature plastic pieces (in four snazzy color selections) along with a mysterious bag of screws (in 2 different sizes) and some black and white directions with images so blurry that it was hard to tell which side of what piece was "up." All I could gather was that I'd need a screwdriver and, inexplicably, some wire snips.

Now I consider myself a rather handy, and somewhat clever, girl. No one's suggesting I can build high-rises and suspension bridges, but I've put my share of Ikea furniture together (with a minimum of extra bits left over). But this? This kitchen was a whole new ball game.

To begin with, the various plastic pieces were identified by letters, starting with "A" and ending with "ZZ" - which should give you an idea of how many there were. Add to that the fact that you couldn't actually read these identifiers on most of the pieces and I was left to either cross reference the component to a 6-digit number that identified the actual mold that these bits came attached to or, far less usefully, attempt to match the mystery part to the microscopic picture on the aforementioned guide.

A woman of less grit and gumption than I would have given up right then and there. But I am not that woman. Or is it that I am that woman? This is all very confusing. At any rate, spurned on by a sense of obligation to my child, and (primarily) a stupid prideful stubbornness that wouldn't let me be defeated by a box full of plastic, I spent the next 3 hours poring over incomprehensible instructions, cutting and shaving plastic bits, screwing numerous screws into mysterious holes (and btw, screwing into plastic is not as simple as one would be led to believe), and finally, sticking on stickers. All in time for the nap to end.

Finally, victory was mine. And the kitchen stood assemble in all of its plastic (although slightly crooked) grandeur for Otter to admire. Am I unreasonably proud of myself for having conquered the plastic behemoth? Hell yeah. Now, when Otter makes her next batch of pretend eggs, she'll know those splatter marks all over her toy are mommy's blood sweat and tears.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

No skot! No skot!

When SB was but a She-Blob, I often worried about giving birth to a super girly-girl. You know - the pink-clad, bow wearing, purse carrying toddlers who, for inexplicable (and slightly disturbing) reasons have their nails painted before they've reached the ripe old age of 2.

Maybe it's my deeply rooted understanding that the next logical step to these Lolitas' development is the kiddie pageant circuit; perhaps it s my barely concealed envy that even before they've entered pre-school, these future Paris Hilton clones are better attired, know how to match their clothes, can walk the walk, and all in all are better groomed than I will ever be, but I found myself making all sorts of promises about the balanced (read, tomboy) upbringing Otter would have under my Doc Marten wielding tutelage.

Once SB entered the world however, my post-feminist agenda was somewhat undermined by all those darling, precious, ruffled frocks and skirts that friends and relatives love to pile upon you as soon as they realized it won't result in a cross-dressing disaster. So SB's feminine wardrobe grew, running the gamut from the funky rocker chick tu-tu's to dresses that made her look like a refugee from David Williams' YFZ ranch. And admittedly, I contributed to the collection too.

Still, in the practical day-to-day outfitting of my child, I found it hard to select times when dresses and skirts were appropriate. While she was really little, she spent most of her time crawling around on the floor, where dresses seemed more of a hindrance. As she grew older, and spent much of her days at playgrounds and parks, putting on frilly gowns appeared misguided and frankly, downright cruel. Sure, we'd roll out a dress for the occasional birthday party - but let's face it - kiddie parties are all about running around and playing, not showing off your chique wardrobe. So, at best I'd pull of throwing something that could pass as a long shirt over a pair of leggings or jeans and calling it a day.

And perhaps I've done my brainwashing a touch too well. For her second birthday, we decided to outfit SB with clothes suited for the opinionated, independent girl she was becoming. Including some very cool, very hip skirts. I happily displayed my new purchases to Otter, expecting her to grasp the fashion-forward approach I had taken to her wardrobe, and to understand, once and for all, that I was ONE COOL MOM. Instead, she looked at me in horror and started screaming, "No skot! No skot!"

She won't even let my put the damn skirt on her stuffed animals.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Today, SB accidentally kicked me in the face. "Ouch," I said.
"Ouch," she repeated. Then leaned back and followed it up with, "Oh my god."