- working on this blog,
- helping the Bear adjust to toddler preschool,
- obsessing over HGTV, real estate, and my dream to become a superstar property flipper,
- and finally, baking lots of wonderful goodness with the bounty of my CSA subscription and meager garden (including a roasted tomato strata and a peach cobbler).
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
The Bear is a toddling, jibbering little thing, as sweet as a peach -- with a few small spots of rotten! She is a planned child who came a little sooner than planned, our happy little being, who is oh so loving and snuggly!
Just last week she officially hit 18 months. She is barreling toward the infamous “terrible two’s” and like many toddlers, she is increasingly defiant. For instance, she will persist in a behavior precisely because I have asked her to stop it. Examples include throwing food on the floor, turning her sippy cup upside down, pulling cabinet doors open as far as safety latches will allow and then banging them shut again and again and again....Oh, how I love my little Bear!
“I kinda don’t want her to stop when we tell her to,” the Husband admitted one evening as our cabinet doors were banging, banging, banging. “I want her to be a little stubborn.”
“I think she is stubborn” I said. “Just a smidge.”
The Bear presides over her kingdom (our living room) with the assistance of her loyal followers: the Giraffe, the Tiger and the Kitty Cat. She tosses aside most dolls, but the stuffed animals are her babies. And she has become quite the little mother! The first time I saw her give the Giraffe a drink of water, I choked on my own tears. How did she learn to do this? Well...I guess that would have to be from watching me! She gives her babies hugs and kisses, brushes their fur, and pushes them around in her tiny toy stroller. Last week, we were playing outside, and I all but stapled her white sun hat to her head. She was so peeved, her soft baby cheeks red with annoyance as she yanked on the chin strap. And yet, a few hours later I found her serene as a saint, lovingly placing the same sun hat on her Giraffe.
By now you might have guessed that the Giraffe is her Number One, followed by the Tiger and then the Kitty Cat. However, I am sensing a shake up in this hierarchy; it seems the Puppy Dog (not to be confused with the Doodles) is advancing into the top three. I’m not sure who he’ll oust, but I promise to keep you posted.
Like any good librarian mama, I have been reading to the Bear since her first week outside the womb. (Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t recall reading to her in utero). Naturally, the Bear loves, loves, loves her books. I wish I could say she gets this from me, but she could very well get it from the Husband. In the last couple months she has been known to take my hand and force a book into it when she wants a story. And she is not shy, she will force books into the hands of virtual strangers. (Such a sly little book worm!)
These days her big thing is talking. Talking, talking, talking! Earlier this summer, she went through a phase where she stayed awake in her crib, chitter-chatting with the Giraffe for at least an hour. But now she is starting to say real words. And she repeats everything like a mischievous little parrot! I have been racking my brain for some toddler-appropriate swear words, so let me know if you’ve got any ideas. Even the seemingly benign “crap” is now followed by her tiny echo: “Cwap! Cwap, cwap, cwap!”
A few weeks ago I tormented myself with the thought of going back to work. I somehow managed to stumble on an opportunity I wasn’t sure I could pass up. For days I agonized over the pros and cons: career advancement and increased financial security versus home, hugs, and time. (I realize this is a super simplified summary of a dilemma many mothers face, but I’m going to breeze by it so I can tell a story about the Bear, who is the subject of this post). One particular morning, I woke up absolutely sick over the seemingly real possibility of going back to work, and when I went in to get the Bear, I found her standing in her crib, tiny fingers curled around the rail, wisps of hair in her eyes. She looked up at me and said one word: “Poop.”
And that was it. She said “poop,” and I knew I would stay home a little longer.
You see, this was the first time I’d ever heard the Bear say “poop.” And oh, how avidly I praised her when I realized there was actual poop in her pants! We were such proud parents that week. Unfortunately, the Bear misconstrued our initial enthusiasm. I think her mind emphasized the word, but de-emphasized (or discarded altogether) the fact that the word communicated the physical presence of doo-doo in her diaper.
And so, now she says “poop” all the time. “Poop, poop, poop.” It is her favorite word. She says it sometimes when there is poop, but more often than not, she says it when there is no poop at all. I warned her that she might become known as “the little girl who cried poop,” but she only cocked her head and spoke it again, like a question, “Poop?”
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Just before the Husband’s third year of law school, our landlord decided to convert our inexpensive, yet charming, perfectly located apartments into condos. Needless to say, they did not care that I had planned for us to live there, in that perfect location at that perfect price, until the Husband was out of law school and we could afford to buy a house. No, no, they would not renew our lease.
After a few hours of sheer horror at the prospect of moving, I had a revelation: we would rent a house with a fence and we would get a dog!
I had never had a dog, but I had developed a friendship with my sister-in-law’s Chihuahua, and I had heard many stories about Sissy, a Chihuahua mutt the Husband had grown up with (may God rest her little doggie soul). And so, on my whim, we decided to become dog owners.
During the next week, any time I’d get stressed about moving, the Husband would tap his fingernails on a hard surface, reminding me that soon we would enjoy the rap, tap, tap of our new puppy’s nails as she scurried across hardwood floors. The house we eventually rented had no hardwood floors, but we loved its big fenced-in yard.
One of the most illogical things the Husband and I have ever done is rent a moving truck, park it, and then drive to Central Kentucky (four hours round trip!) to pick up a puppy the night before we moved into our rental house. We met the Chihuahua breeder at a Taco Bell of all places. The Husband kept saying “Remember Jaelithe, if the dog looks sick, we’ll say no thanks and get the hell out of here.”
Thankfully, she was one healthy pup. I’ll never forget the love that surged through my chest the moment I first saw her. She was teeny-tiny and panting, her long pink tongue dangling below eyes that were way too big for her head. (It would take some time for her to grow into those huge, buggy eyes!) I had known in advance her coat was chocolate brown and had planned on calling her Cocoa, but somehow we decided to name her Chloe. She would have many nicknames over the years including (but certainly not limited to) Puppy, Doggins, Puppy-Doggins, Meatball, Tiny Dancer, Boo, Moo, Chlo-Bobbins, Chlo-Bobs, Chlo-Meister, Noodles, Doodles, Doodle-Bug, Do-Bubs...With the exception of Meatball, I’m pretty sure I came up with all these names. More often than not, the Husband calls her Chloe. In the blogosphere, I will call her the Doodles.
The Husband is always trying to remind me that the Doodles is “just a dog,” but she’s more than that to me. She was our first baby, the first living thing we parented together, and the first creature to compel me to refer to us as “Mommy” and “Daddy.”
“I’m not that dog’s Daddy,” the Husband says, which I can respect; however, I am her Mommy.
Ever since we had a human baby, I have tried (with varying degrees of success) to maintain my bond with the Doodles. She came into my life when I was dealing with a lot of anxiety about the possibility of parenthood, and if it weren’t for her, I’m not sure I would have been able to make the leap to parenting a real baby. I’m grateful for her companionship and the many things she has (unwittingly) taught me.
Perhaps the most important lesson gleaned from my life with the Doodles is this: as a parent, you need to love your “child” for who she is, not for who you hope and dream she will be. In the beginning, I tried to take the Doodles on walks, but she really, really hated them. (The other dogs in the neighborhood stressed her out to the max!) I kept hoping she would adjust, but eventually I realized our walks were creating major stress in her life, all because of something I wanted -- that she clearly did not want! Now whenever I go for a walk, the Doodles stays at home.
Another hope and dream for my little doggie child was fashion. I loved to dress up the Doodles, and in the beginning she had an adorable little wardrobe (complete with doggie-sized hangers!) but she absolutely hated wearing clothes. In time it became clear that regardless of how I felt about tiny dogs in clothes, the Doodles was happiest in her own fur.
A few more things about the Doodles: she likes cigarette butts, eats whatever rot she can find in our back yard, and sleeps about 23 hours a day. Now that I have left the workplace to stay home and chase after a toddler, I have discovered that the Doodles can very often annoy the crap out of me, but I still love her just the way she is.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
|The Husband and me, December 31, 2000|