Screaming Mimi

Florida sunset!

Florida sunset! (Photo credit: Odalaigh)

I haven’t yelled at my daughter in over 24 hours.

I can’t believe I am able to say that.  I can’t believe I have to say that.

We’re still in the midst of our move from Louisiana to Florida, though we are in Florida.  We’re currently homeless, but staying in a borrowed vacation condo owned by a very generous friend.

On the way here, 400+ miles from our destination, our rental truck broke down.  This fiasco included 5 hours roadside in the middle of the night with an exhausted, hungry toddler, a fight with the truck rental company, and eventually an overnight tow of over 400 miles.  Thankfully the tow truck had a sleeper car.

We stayed with my inlaws for a few nights (the longest days and nights of my life).  The house is filled with dogs and breakables, and I think I spent about 90% of my waking hours screaming “no!” and “get away from that!” and “stop!” as my poor, bored child tried to enjoy herself.  Unfortunately, the waking hours were also very long since I couldn’t seem to sleep.

Our move had gone from well-planned to nightmarish.  Since the truck was broken we couldn’t drive it to the storage facility, so we had to borrow a box truck from friends, hire some movers via Craigslist and move everything from truck A to truck B to the storage facility.

We got to the borrowed condo yesterday afternoon in the pouring rain.  I hadn’t slept in 3 days, I had to walk around on eggshells with my mother in law and this poor sweet baby girl was bored, exhausted and frustrated.  My anxiety level was through the roof.

Since we arrived we have: eaten, slept, napped, cuddled, snacked and enjoyed the moments of sunshine between rain storms.  She is more relaxed and happy.  I am more relaxed and happy.  I haven’t had to yell, she hasn’t had to cry.  Life is good.

We just have to find a real place to live now.

Momentary Panic

Renoir maternite

Renoir maternite (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re in the middle of a long distance move, so things in our house are rather chaotic. The things that stay as “same” as possible have to do with Miss P’s schedule.

I completely forgot about the time change in all of the madness, so we didn’t get a chance to ease her into it.  She has handled it pretty well.  I haven’t.

This morning we were preparing for the usual library story time (our last one in Louisiana) and I was running a little late.  I went back to my room in my pajamas and came back to the living room carrying the clothing I planned to wear for the day.  This was so I wouldn’t be out of the room for very long.

Miss P oohed and aahed and exclaimed “BEE!” because I wasn’t wearing a top.  I glanced at the clock – there was time for a quick nursing session before we needed to leave.  She eagerly climbed up in my lap on the recliner and I leaned back, and… she took my shirt off the end table and draped it over my chest.

“No?”  I asked.

“No, no,” she intoned.

I lifted the shirt up.  “Boobie?”

She pulled the shirt back down and slid off my lap.

I felt a lump of fear in my throat.  Are we done?  Just like that?  The unremarkable morning nursing session where I wasn’t really paying attention was going to be the last nursing session?  Really?

I got dressed, trying not to think about it.  I fought back tears all morning.

When we got home from library and errands Miss P matter-of-factly went to the door of the spare bedroom and pounded on it.  This is where we go for naptime.  I put her up on the bed and pulled up my shirt and she nursed to sleep.

I guess we’re not quite done yet.

Thank God.

The Social Butterfly

Spurred butterfly-pea at Sanibel Island in Lee...

Spurred butterfly-pea at Sanibel Island in Lee County, Florida, U.S.A. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week we went back to Florida to visit family and friends.  When we left there I was 5 months pregnant, so most people there were meeting Miss P for the first time.

Over the course of the nine days we were there Miss P really came out of her shell.  She’s still a little wary of almost all adults, but she loves other kids and dogs.  It was great seeing her interact with others.  There is precious little of that at home.

We realized a little while back that our current home base is quite isolating.  There are some super nice people here, but most people here were born and raised here so their friends lists are all full up.  There are conversations at baby boot camp or the library, but nothing beyond that.

For me it is compounded by my natural shyness and introverted nature.  Not entirely my problem, though.  My husband is so extroverted as to have conversations with furnishings, and he hasn’t made any friends here either.

Going back to Florida reminded us of what it is like to have friends and family nearby, people who know and love us and couldn’t wait to finally meet Miss P.  The sunshine and warm beach days didn’t hurt, either.

We got back on Sunday, and Monday we went to the library for story time.  One of the mothers pulled me aside after to get our address so she could send an invitation to her daughters birthday party.  Her daughter is turning 2, and we’ve been seeing each other at story time for 6 months or so.

I’m thrilled for my daughter, even though I know she and this other little girl don’t really have a relationship – they’re just too young.  I know it was my overtures with the other mom that got the invitation, and even so I still don’t feel comfortable going to their house where I don’t know anyone.

I will, though, if only for the experience for Miss P.  At story time she was walking up to the other kids and saying hi and waving.  She is really the cutest little thing.

And in other news, my husband sent out a resume while we were in Florida.  He got an email that evening requesting an interview before we left town.  He interviewed and we expected more news in a few weeks, but no.  They want to fly him out there this weekend for a second interview.

Looks like we’ll be moving back sooner rather than later.  Moving = ugh, but being back around friends again is a delicious thought.

PS – thank you WordPress for getting Zemanta back!

More on Daddies and Babies

I recently got a friend request on Facebook from an ex. I’d been thinking about him recently (in a general way, as I was thinking about a topic with which he will always be entwined in my mind) and so I accepted the request.

He popped up to chat minutes later and we got caught up.  He is married now, living up in the frigid north, and he has a six year old daughter.

I couldn’t remember if he and I had ever discussed having children. I knew we had discussed marriage, but I don’t think the topic of kids ever came up.

I know how Miss P is with my husband/her daddy. She adores him. She thinks the sun and moon revolve around him.  When he gets home from work she squeaks and runs for him.  Anytime he is home she is sure to be stuck to him. Their relationship makes my heart feel like it will burst.  They are totally inseparable, those two.

I love it because I am a daddy’s girl.  I have a wonderful relationship with my dad – he was even in the delivery room when my daughter was born!  I’m so glad she has that strong male presence and that strong bond in her life, like I do.

So I asked my ex if he was a doting father.  Is his daughter a daddy’s girl?  He told me that they are planning a trip to visit his family in a few weeks and it will be just the two of them “so that will tell.”

I don’t know if he realizes it but that was a big fat NO.  If you haven’t established a strong bond with your child by the age of 6, it seems unlikely you ever will.

I guess not every girl has to be a daddy’s girl, but it makes me a little sad for both of them.  I’ve seen both my husband and my daughter blossom because of their relationship.

On Daddies and Babies

Recently on a motherhood forum I belong to a mom posted a lament about how she thought her marriage was failing.  Her husband and baby daddy (they just got married last summer) spends a lot of time on his phone and doesn’t spend a lot of time with their 18 month old when he isn’t working.  He works long hours, comes home, tries to spend time with the baby and she cries so he just watches TV or plays on his phone.

Here’s the thing about parenthood: it takes work.  Some of it, especially when the baby is really young, it SUCKS.  It’s hard and thankless and seems neverending.

Boohoo.

We all go through this.  Even mommas.  We have the upper hand because we carried the kid for 9 months so there is a a bond there already.  Daddies? They have to really work at it.

Someone posted and told her that some, if not most, daddies just don’t know how to deal with a kid until they are 2.5 or 3 and can communicate on their own and play for real.  I call bullshit.

The reason daddies don’t like being involved with littles is because it involves so much work and they lack the equipment (milk-filled boobs) to get the kid calmed down quickly.  It is so easy when baby is crying to hand him or her off to momma to be nursed and comforted.  Why can’t daddies do the comforting?

My husband was 53 when our daughter was born.  In all of the time I’ve known him I have never seen him hold a baby.  Not once.  We have friends who adopted the sweetest little boy and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on him.  We all cajoled him into holding the baby but it didn’t work.  He retreated outside to have a cigarette instead.

While I was pregnant he talked to her in my belly.  When she was born he was there in the room.  He would give her a bottle when he first got home from work in the evenings.  He participated in bath time.

They are very close now.  She’s on him like velcro the minute he walks in the door at night.

Now there was a time even with all of this that she only wanted me.  We fought through it.  I would leave her with him while I went grocery shopping on Saturday mornings and some days she would cry the whole time I was gone.

He figured it out. He figured out how to calm her, how to engage her in play.  My intelligent, well-spoken Harley-riding husband will play with baby dolls, he will sing to her, he will dance with her and he will even change poopy diapers.

Of course, he’s older, and he never thought he would have a child of his own, so to him this is a golden opportunity that he isn’t going to pass up.  Maybe younger guys just don’t feel that way, and that’s a shame.

My advice to the forum poster was to talk with her husband and explain that the daughter cries because she doesn’t know him and if he doesn’t put in the effort, then she never will.  Pick her up and she cries?  Deal with it.  Find a way to calm her, whether it is showing her pictures on your phone or making her a sippy of water or making an ass of yourself dancing to some goofy Elmo song for her amusement.

If you have to make a non-Facebook pact, do it.  I’ve got some super-ridiculous pictures of my husband clowning around for his baby girl.  I cherish them, but I know that they would embarrass him if posted online so I don’t.  I save them for my own amusement.

Another Milestone Down

Image courtesy wikimedia.org.

It’s only Day 2 of 2014 and I’ve already had enough excitement to last a lifetime.  If there is never another repeat of today it will still be too much.

I’m in purge mode.  The clutter around here is driving me crazy so I’ve got boxes stationed in most rooms so that I can just toss something in the box when I want it to go away.  Today I decided that while we were out running errands I would drop a few things off at one of the many donation centers that dot the parking lots around town.

I had three plastic shopping bags full of books – books I paid good money for many years ago and then never even cracked open – and a bag of really fat clothes (as in, I don’t ever want to be really fat like that again).  I popped the trunk lid open from inside the house, then gathered up these bags.  Miss P was hot on my heels so I slipped out the front door saying “momma will be right back” and kind of kicked the door closed behind me.

Ten steps or less to the car, dump the items in the trunk, shut the lid.  Ten steps or less back to the door.  Which is locked.

WHA???

The door knob itself wasn’t locked, but the deadbolt just above it was.  The deadbolt cannot be locked from the outside without a key.  Specifically the key that is on my key ring, sitting on the shelf next to the door.  Next to my cell phone.

So, yeah, my almost-17-month-old locked me out of the house.  The windows on either side of the door are frosted and leaded glass, so I really couldn’t see in.  I pondered whether she could unlock the door and decided against it.  I doubt she realizes she had locked the door in the first place.

My guess is when she tried to follow me she stood up on tiptoes to try the door and brushed the deadbolt latch with her fingertips, thus engaging it.  She probably wouldn’t be able to undo this action, even if she knew what I was saying.

I ran next door to the neighbors and rang and knocked.  The wife answered the door.  “My daughter locked me out of the house.  Can I borrow your phone? Does anyone here know how to pick a lock?”  She called out “Rusty!” over her shoulder (her husband) and handed me the house phone.  I called my husband twice and it went straight to voicemail both times.  In all the time I’ve known him his phone has never gone straight to voicemail, ever.

Her husband slipped on some shoes, told me to go over and talk to the baby through the door to keep her occupied.  I ran back home, banging and yelling through the door because I couldn’t see her.  Rusty came over and went into the backyard.  Through the back window into the living room he could see she was in the living room, happily watching TV, completely unaware.

He started trying windows.  I knew they were all locked.  He told me to go back to his house and get the cell phone to call my husband just in case.  I got hubby on the phone and he said he would be there shortly.  When I got back to our house the neighbor was in the yard.  “I got in, and she doesn’t like me,” he said.

He had managed to jiggle the lock open on our bedroom window and climb through (leaving wet, muddy, leafy footprints on my bed, but who cares?), walked down the hall to the living room where she squawked indignantly to have a stranger in her house.  Thank God he got in, but wow, my house is that easy to break into?

His wife told me it’s best when you have small children to keep a key hidden somewhere outside, just in case.  She said this happens a LOT.

I was proud of myself.  I didn’t get panicky until I realized I really couldn’t get in.  I had hoped I’d left the spare key in the unlocked laundry room (not attached to the house) but no.  I had hoped I had left the back door unlocked while doing laundry earlier that morning.  Nope.  Could I pick a lock?  Probably not.  Was there any way my daughter could hurt herself in the house?  Probably, yes. Even her regular activities could result in injury without supervision (ie riding her rocking giraffe too vigorously and getting thrown).

I’m so grateful for helpful neighbors.

*Brushes Off The Dust*

English: Christmas-themed check mark

English: Christmas-themed check mark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been here.  Life has obviously been really busy, but in a great way.

Little Miss P is growing like a weed.  Her vocabulary grows every single day, and she’s a confident walker and climber.  The older she gets, the more I enjoy being her mother and the more confident I feel mothering her.

We have tried not to go crazy with Christmas presents this year, but it is so difficult to stop once you get started!

Our first investment was in an Android tablet.  She has been using my old cell phone to play games, and while it isn’t hooked up to anything, the possibility that she could call 911 accidentally is still there.  The tablet allows for a lot more parental control over what she can and can’t access, and the screen is bigger than the cell phone.  She has been playing with my new Kindle Fire for the last week or so, and I know having her own tablet is going to make us both much happier.

If you’d told me I’d be buying my 16-month-old a tablet for Christmas I would have said you were nuts, yet here we are.

The other thing I am super excited about is something my husband is building – a helping tower!  Since Miss P likes to help in the kitchen she’s been standing on a stepladder.  It works, but it makes me very nervous.  I know most kids stand on chairs but ours are bar height so that isn’t really practical.  This tower is going to be perfect!  DH has already purchased all of the lumber and most of the hardware, save the hinges he’s getting this week.  I can’t wait to get her in the kitchen to help safely.

And in that vein, I got matching mommy and daughter aprons for us to use in the kitchen.  They are so cute I got set for my sister-in-law and niece, too.

Who knew being the mom of a daughter could be so much fun?

Among the other items we got her: a toy camera, a xylophone, Mega Blocks, tub toys, coloring books, board books and a ton of stocking stuffers.

Tomorrow is pictures with Santa at the mall and I can hardly wait!  We have a frame ornament with last year’s Santa picture in it and I can’t believe how much she has changed in 12 short months.

Back soon, I promise!

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