Archive for October, 2008
Enter the wee pirate, arrrrrr. See how he goes straight for the wee baby doll. Arrrrrrrr! That doll will walk the plank as sure as a parrot will spit in my eye—-the eye without a patch—arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!……etc.
When he wakes up at 1:40am, 3, 4, 5, 6:45am for good and amazingly you feel not bad, ready for the morning walk, which you do amicably together with no stroller horror, a fun walk despite the guy sweeping steps in front of the post office who makes a rude comment about cell phone users as you pass with your cell phone glued to your ear and who won’t look at you when you stop and turn and glare at this nasty, pavement-sweeping stranger and grapple with whether or not to leave him in a bloody mess on the steps of the post office for someone else to clean up, then realize, watching him sweep and grumble that you should try the path of non-reaction and compassion, trying, taking that with you as you cart your baby into the condo to find you’re going to be late to Coffee Talk with the fabulous mommies-and-babies because the cats have pissed all over your baby’s room, I mean ALL over, hitting curtains, cushions, your treasured full length Boppy pregnancy pillow you wanted to keep forever, the spongy pads of your baby’s primary colored ABC’s rug and while your baby watches Elmo and totally misses naptime because you can’t put him in the room with the chemical smell of that ineffectual, cat-piss-odor-eating solution you’ve been scrubbing into the carpet on your hands and knees and that the stupid guy on the radio swears by, because of scrubbing, the morning nap is thrown off and that’s too bad because you were timing it so that the second your baby woke up you’d be off to Coffee Talk and now you’re just off to Coffee Talk with the reek of cat pee stinging your nostrils and a tired baby and at least you remembered to bring the pumpkin bread, but you hardly Talk because your baby obsesses on the doorstop in the home’s little hallway, away from the fabulous mommies-and-babies and you notice the tip is missing from the doorstop, but you don’t ask the hostess if there’s supposed to be a tip because he’s in the little ball pit crawling over a younger baby, smashing vital digits and then he’s pulling at your dress, ripping the ripped pocket and you realize he must nurse and you take him home but it still stinks in his bedroom so you nurse him on the living room couch and he knows something’s up and refuses to sleep so you put him in his chair and offer him spinach, but he refuses it, which is unheard of and you wonder if after all there was a tip on that doorstop and he ate it and you telephone the Coffee Talk hostess to ask, hoping that if your son has indeed eaten the doorstop tip you will nevertheless be invited back for future Coffee Talk and the hostess isn’t sure if there was a tip, but just in case wisely advises you to watch for it in your baby’s poop and as you’re examining your baby’s diaper your husband phones and says he’ll be home late for lunch and in the meantime the laundry remains on the front stairs waiting for cat-piss removal and feral-mama-cat who lives below the building and whose kittens you and your husband “rescued” by trapping and taking them away from her gives you dirty looks because she not only wants the food you’ve promised her, but her babies back and she makes this known by wailing endlessly outside your front stairs, wails that rip out your heart and now your baby is in the poisons cupboard which you forgot to close and he is just reaching for that useless solution stuff when you catch him and he scream-cries when he hears your NO, NO and you soothe him distractedly as you change his diaper again, looking for the tip of that doorstop and then your husband is home and he plays with your son while you slurp down some soup because you’ve started your new yogurt/string cheese/lowfat soup diet of all days and you can’t breathe you’re so hungry and 30 seconds later your husband is leaving and you nurse your baby and put him in his crib having decided the reek has aired, but he won’t go down for another two hours and sleeps for 45 minutes and wakes up scream-crying and won’t go back down until he’s screamed and hated you for half an hour and then when he’s suddenly quiet you get scared because what if the tip of that doorstop traveled from his stomach to his windpipe and you peek around the door and he sees you and screams and you leave, humiliated, and tired, and finally he sleeps, but you can’t, you can’t, so you call your husband and tell him things have to change, you need more room, you need a herd of nannies, you are useless, a disgrace to mothers and by-the-way you want the cats euthanized and your husband listens even though you hear people clamoring for him and you disconnect and collapse and instantly your baby wakes up and you repent for the day of dubious mothering by staying down at his level of baby breath and drool and wild gibberish playing and playing and playing and playing as the sun sets behind the vacant lot next door and feral-mama-cat wails and your husband phones to tell you he will be late.
And you wish that, after all, you had beaten up that pavement-sweeper who made the rude comment because somebody should pay for this day and you really, really want it to be him, even though by thinking this you have taken 1000 steps back in the line of your personal evolution, back to babyhood, baby, big baby and you conclude there should only be one baby in your condo and you take a breath and grab the board book your son tried to eat and you read it to him over and over and over and over again until you’re sure he’s ready to move on—-
and then you move on with him.
I. Baby Board Books
As any mommy mgiht tell you, the most challenging portion of the day is after the afternoon nap and before daddy gets home. During this must-be-filled-with-activity block of time T and I often visit the swings at North Weddington Park–however, especially when colds and (like now) evil things like hand/foot/mouth virus are going around, sometimes its best to stay away from other babies.
So we go to IKEA and wander the displays of kid’s rooms and maybe pick up a few colored plastic dishes.
And then we cross the street to Barnes and Noble and hang out in the children’s books section where T enjoys touching the Touch and Feel books and I enjoy fiercely imagining my children’s novel on the shelves, next to ‘Twilight’ and ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘The Golden Compass’ trilogy…Inevitably I will purchase a book for T. Or several books. The last time we were there I purchased five board books and gave him one for the drive home.
As we neared the fringes of Noho, I heard him cough. Hm, I thought. Is he getting a cold, performing the fake cough, or actually maybe choking on something? Hm, I thought. But if he’s choking, what could he possibly have back there that would–GAH!
I screeched the minivan to the curb, cut the engine and barrelled into the backseat, crying, Look at me, baby, look at mama, LOOK AT MEEEEEE.
To my horror, bits of white paper coated his chin like sticky sugar granules.
Open your mouth, baby, open your mouth, I said urgently, shoving my finger between his lips. As he gagged and protested, my finger fished out two good sized chunks of slimy, gummed board book. I snatched the book up. Oh my god, I whispered. He’d eaten the entire bottom right corner–a good three inches of book cover. I was not holding three inches of paper in my fingers, wadded though it was. I looked at T. His cheeks were red and he was yelling at me, one angrily uttered vowel sound covering several octaves. I grabbed my cell phone and pressed the button for poison control. HE SWALLOWED BOOK, I hissed at the voice on the other end. HE SWALLOWED BOOK! The voice assured me that book was not poisonous to babies and that whatever he ate would pass through him without incident. I wanted to believe, but–HOW DO YOU KNOW, I hissed, smiling at T, who had stopped yelling and was staring at me like I was a scary stranger. We know, the voice assured me in a tone that meant it was time to disconnect. I did and phoned T’s doctor and was given the nurse who echoed poison control, pretty much verbatim.
I fell back against the seat, breathing hard as T moved on to analyzing his toy tree frog and making motor sounds with his lips.
Okay, I sighed, feeling my heart calm a little. Okay, T, okay–those bastards better be right.
II. Brown Paper Grocery Bags
As any mommy might tell you, there’s a window of time after the morning nap and before lunch not big enough for an outing to, say, an indoor playground, but just right for a Trader Joe’s run. T and I went to TJ’s yesterday. As I plucked Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies from the shelf and contemplated the many intriguing flavors of chicken sausages, T—from his belted seat in the cart—amazed me with his reach, almost pulling bottles of olive oil from the shelves (quick catches by the mama) and definitely plucking a large carton of ice cream right out of the freezer. So strong! Back at the minivan, I placed the brown paper grocery bag filled with bottles of sparkling water next to his seat, thinking he’d like to try and pull the bottles from the bag on the brief drive home. Which he did, I discovered, when, back in our carport, I slid open the van’s door to find bottles all over the seat and floor, the brown paper grocery bag dented and missing a handle. Oh, ha, ha, I thought, Isn’t that sweet, he had a good time on the drive, yadda, yadda.
Later, once more in the minivan, we headed for North Weddington Park. Here we go, I sing-songed blearily, still groggy from the afternoon nap. To the swings–to the sweeeeengsy sweeeengs–wee hee.
Sweengsy, sweeng, swingy…
He coughed again.
I gunned the remaining few blocks to the North Weddington and screeched into a parking slot. I shot out of the van and yanked T’s door open, saying, Look at mama, look at mama, baby, LOOK AT MEEEE!
Drool gushed rabid-dog-style from his mouth. His eyes were red and watery. My heart popped into my throat and stayed there as I shoved my forefinger into my son’s mouth and fished out a wad of brown paper. I looked at T. The drool was still gushing. Okay, okay, I said, undoing the carseat’s snaps and belts, hauling my baby out of the minivan and placing him over my knee. I patted his back with force. Get it out, baby, get it out, I croaked. I held him up. He didn’t look happy. I knew he was going to scream, but before he could I shoved in my finger and gagged him. I pulled out one long slimy crinkled brown paper grocery bag handle.
I held and rocked T as he sobbed and recovered.
Why hadn’t I looked for the brown paper grocery bag handle earlier, when I noticed it missing? Where did I think it had gone? Into the ether? Although I hadn’t seen it when I fastened T into his carseat, of course it was in his seat somewhere, hiding, just waiting for him to go, Oh yeah, you, I remember you, come here, come into my mouth. Hello? Am I a mother, or a moron?
Babe, my husband laughed as I pushed T in the swing. I held my cellphone away from my ear. His laugh was bell-bongish. His laugh was bar-loud and uncomfortable. Babe, my husband laughed. He’s okay! You’re a fantastic mom. We just won’t put grocery bags next to him, that’s all.
Oh. Okay. That’s all. THAT’S ALL. Fine. Sure. That’s all. That’s all. That’s all.
A child approached me and asked if she could push my son in the swing. I relented and sat two feet away on gritty walk, hoping she wouldn’t get slammed by T’s feet, hoping T wouldn’t fall out of the swing, belted in though he was, hoping I could at least keep him alive until his 18th birthday, at which point I will say, Okay, look, you can vote, you’re off to college, you can live on your own, so give it your best, okay? That’s all. Just—give it your best and mommy will sit down for a while—on a tropical beach. Okay? Thanks, kid. You’re a gem.
When I surfaced briefly from babyworld today I received a baffling surprise. I could not figure out what happened to my arm. What the heck! My eyes drifted to the front door. Closed. I smelled biscuits drizzled in butter baking to the golden brown it’s just always best to achieve—-in my own oven. I felt strongly about purchasing a pumpkin for a centerpiece on our little dining room table. And had the urge to pull my ceramic turkey from its home in the picnic basket on top of the broometcetera closet. Then I was slammed by the silence in our condo–and not silence just because he was napping. That was when I “got” that my arm was sporting a sleeve–a looooong sleeve, that the air conditioning wasn’t running for the first late-morning since the first day of Fall and that, no, I had not broken a sweat, either. It was possible, in fact, that Fall had actually arrived in Noho. I gazed at the sleeve.
Then wandered to the king sized bed currently centerpiecing our living room. I lay down on it, closed my eyes—and dreamed of snow.
Can we PLEASE take back nucular and cut the doggones? Isn’t it time for one to be axed for good because it’s simply INCORRECT spelling and pronunciation and time to never, ever let the other one get a day in, say, the UN? As in: “Now, doggone it President Ahmadinejad, did you just set off a nucular bomb? That was a major no-no!”
And now for something completely different.