Monday, February 23, 2009

The Dreaded Holiday Day

February 16, 2009
For the entire day on Sunday, I tossed back and forth in my mind how I would handle the next day, President's Day. On a typical day, I'd rather eat glass than spend a day stuck at home with my husband and toddler. I decided I'd work on President's Day, just to get out of the house. But wait! Paid holidays are an "earned" benefit at my job, and I'm entitled to take the day off! I decide to stay home on Monday, mostly because a young mother who forfeits her holidays in lieu of staying home with her family appears mentally unstable.

Rather than spend the entire day cooped in our 950 square foot house, I decide that a family trip to the aquarium is in order. Getting my husband ready for an outing is not unlike getting AC ready for an outing: both lack the attention span necessary to do so in a smooth and timely manner. Surprisingly, I had to do little yelling to get my husband up and out the door.

We arrive at the aquarium, and AC delights in the displays, running from tank to tank and shaking with excitement. She discovered the highlight of the aquarium: the otters. She waved and yelled, "Hey, buddy!" to them while the crowds gathered around her laughed with glee. She refused to watch the otter feeding demonstration, and looked shocked, as though people were invading her personal otter display. We decided it was time to leave for lunch at McDonald's.

The McDonald's Play Land was joyous as always. Such a visit always reminds me of a recent discussion that I had with my mother: who has to clean up the mess when a child vomits in the ball pit? Thankfully, if any vomiting occurred in this particular ball pit on this particular day, it was not commited by my child.

Valentine's Day

February 14, 2009
Typically, I hate Valentine's Day. I hate any holiday that has major expectations attached to it: New Year's Eve, Halloween, Valentine's Day...I prefer the holidays where I am expected to play no major role, such as Labor Day. However, my husband still asked what I'd like for Valentine's Day, and I replied, 'nothing'. Now c'mon guys, all men should know that women don't really mean 'nothing' when they say 'nothing'. Figure it out! Needless to say, I assume that my Valentine's Day will play out just like others in the past, and I will receive nothing.

My mom calls in the early afternoon to report that AC has informed her that I am getting pink flowers for Valentine's Day, because we all know the tellings of a 2-year-old can be relied on. Not taking much stock in this report, I went back to bed for a few hours, because what could be better on a day off than sleeping all day?

AC arrived home with my husband after work, with no pink flowers. Instead, he selected a necklace for me...not really my style, but I would never tell him this, of course. Well, I would. Just not when the gift was presented. AC received a plethora of gifts, including tracks for her Thomas the Tank Engine. She spent her evening gleefully causing her trains to derail. I spent my evening thinking of excuses for avoiding sex with my husband on the Most Romantic Day of the Year.

Man-ney! Man-ney!

February 13, 2009
The day has arrived for AC's annual wellness checkup. Mercifully, we have been blessed with a child who has been extraordinarily healthy from day one, and we have rarely visited the doctor outside of checkups and shots. I explained to her that she would be seeing her doctor this afternoon, and she spent the day chanting, "Man-ney! Man-ney!" If only all patients showed such enthusiasm.

As AC was playing this morning, I mentally plotted out our day: the doctor appointment was at 4:15...or was it? I had a photographic flashblack to the calendar on the wall in my office at work: I was certain it said 3:15. I called to verify her appointment, and sure enough, forces that I don't understand had combined and led me to make this 3:15 appointment, which meant AC and I would be facing a napless day. Sigh...naptime signals alone time for Mommy. Not today, apparently, which is unfortunate, because this now means that I will have to get ready with an audience.

I hopped in the shower, AC in tow. She screamed and cried, as though she was filming that shower scene from 'Psycho'. Having no other choice, I placed her on the bathroom rug as I finished. She acted as though she was certain I was being sucked down the drain. Following the shower, we got to do her favorite getting-ready task: applying makeup. Other mothers do not allow their children to apply makeup before high school. My toddler wears it now. She proceeds to dig her fingernails into my cream blush, smearing it across her own cheeks. This was topped by a generous dollop of Bare Minerals powder all over her face, my hair and the carpet.

At 2:30, I prepared for the inevitable departure by popping a Klonopin. After we got ready, I let our nasty golden retriever out for a quick pee break. He took advantage of his independence by deciding to carouse around the neighborhood. As AC stood at the door yelling, "Kenn-dee! Kenn-dee! Walk! Now! C'mon!", I captured him with his leash and hauled him home. When I approached to leash him, I had a sudden, violent flash of anger: it was all I could do to control myself from beating him in the head with the plastic part of his leash. I figured that serial killers probably get a similar flash before commiting a murder.

After we checked in to see "Man-ney!", AC gleefully checked out the aquarium while I filled out her questionairre. We were given a pager that would vibrate when it was our turn--just like the restaurant!--and I smirked to myself over the given reason: privacy. After all, I'd hate for anyone to witness AC's name being called for a wellness exam. After her weigh-in that indicates she's still sitting at the 97th percentile for weight and 87th percentile for height, AC put on her big girl panties and promptly hid behind the exam room table. Luckily, she obliged with Man-ney and came out for exam, and got a clean bill of health. She was given a green "lilly-pop" for her cooperation.

Since it was Friday night, it meant I got to drop AC off with my mom. We arrived at my mom's house before she did, and AC immediately demanded that she watch 'Dumbo'. I rolled my eyes in agony, as 'Dumbo' is about as politically incorrect as you can get: the beat-down of circus animals coupled with the depiction of black slaves. Leave it to my mother to screen such fare.

Baby Daddy Drama

February 12, 2009
I have not spoken with my father, albeit a few mail correspondences, for nearly a decade. I last saw him at an engagement party hosted in my honor...when I was engaged to my first fiance. Upon dumping him and calling off a wedding in favor of my current husband, he has all but disowned me. I don't see this as a terrible loss, as he has never been involved with my life. He did not attend my wedding, has never met my husband and certainly has never met AC. In conversation, he is commonly referred to as "Sperm Donor", as this was the most major impact he has made on my life.

Alas, he periodically sends holiday cards. As my birthday and Christmas fall within the same week, I typically get either a birthday card or a Christmas card--never both. This year, a generic Christmas card arrived with a check indicating that he was "consolidating all holidays into one check this year." Okey-dokes. I promptly cashed the check, which I inevitably used to pay the power bill, so at least the Christmas tree would have lights for the holiday.

In my defense...I am really, really busy. I mean like, Superwoman busy. I work full time, and I take care of my ferret the rest of the time. On top of that, I try and service my husband to his satisfaction, keep the public health department away from my house and anything and everything else that goes with parenthood and adulthood. So, I will admit: I was behind on my written correspondence. Hey, that's life. I am quite prompt with my online correspondence, and since Sperm Donor hasn't hopped into the 21st Century yet, he's not into that.

Today in the mail arrived a card in a pink envelope, addressed to me, but presumably for AC's recent birthday. I cringed upon seeing the return address: Sperm Donor. Crap. I STILL hadn't gotten around to writing that thank-you note for the holiday card, had I? I opened the card to find a generic-looking children's card and a check...along with a note from the Sperm Donor himself, indicating that while he knows I am busy, he is disturbed that he did not receive a card from me, and takes this as a sign that "we want nothing to do with him." However, he would like to continue acknowledging AC.

Yeah, I know. I should've gotten around to sending that thank-you note. I bet my icon, Jackie Kennedy, didn't procrastinate on her written correspondence, though I suspect she probably had more time for such pursuits. All the same, it was a slap. My mother--or my husband's parents--certainly would understand the circumstances I am under time-wise, and frankly, Sperm Donor could not relate as he's never been in those circumstances. When I was a toddler, he was married to my mother, but he was disassociated with my upbringing and did not participate: of course he can't understand what it's like to raise a toddler, much less work on top of that!

So, I finally got to the thank-you letter, apologizing for my "delay in written correspondence"--which is an excuse he used with me when I was a child and he did not respond to one of my letters. I explained that he is welcome to continue acknowledging AC should he choose; however, as an adult, I hope he thinks this through, as AC has a grandfather who is very active in her life and sees her once a does he propose that we explain his "grandfatherly" presence to our innocent child? Think about it.

My mom asked if I felt guilty. No, I do not.

A Classroom Beat-Down

February 10, 2009
Every Tuesday night, I rush home after work, race in the house, quickly change AC's clothes and swoop her out to the car, when I take her to our ECFE class. Tonight is no different. When she first started her classes, AC hated them. She cried and whined, and one night refused to even go in her classroom. After that, we had an upswing, and she now loves class. In fact, Tuesdays are probably the best day of the week for my husband, as he can bribe her to do virtually anything by reminding her that she has school in the evening.

AC tolerates the parent play-together time despite the fact that I am the least cool player in the world, but really, she's holding out for Circle Time and Ring Around the Rosy. She knows that once she knocks these two things off, she will be offered a snack. Much like her mother and her father, she is not one to turn down food, especially if it's free. I smirked to myself as she planted herself down at the snack table and chowed down on her sugar cookie and her apple juice while the other kids around her cried and screamed for their mothers, who were leaving the room for parenting class. Independence. Love it.

Following parenting class, the other toddlers were literally collapsed in heaps around the room, exhausted and whining. Not AC. She screamed in delight at my appearance, and quickly ran to the sandbox. Her answer when I asked if she wanted to go home? "No, thanks." Despite the fact that she does not care to follow my directions, she is at least polite. Eventually, I got her out of the sandbox and we made progress toward going home.

As she was gleefully streaking through the room, she bumped into another student. Head to head contact. The other little cried. And she cried and cried and cried, as though she had been told that someone was taking away her security blanket. AC stood stunned, not understanding what was happening. The Crier left class with her mother, and I packed AC up. All the way home, she repeated, "Sorry! Head! Hurt!" It both broke and warmed my heart that even at her young age, she can show such empathy.

It's Party Time!

February 8, 2009

The day I have been dreading is here: AC's second birthday party. I avoid taking AC out in public at all costs. Our public outings always end up disasterous: she throws things. She screams. The floor is covered with whatever peace offering I have provided, be it animal crackers or M&Ms. I am sweat covered, frustrated and exhausted. We spend a lot of time at home.

As we have no toddler or child friends, I decide to go easy on myself this year and not host a large party for a toddler who won't remember it, like we did last year. So, I invited our closest family to join us at the local neighborhood bar and grill, where we had dinner. AC arrived dressed adorably: her cupcake sweater with matching sparkly pink tutu. She was the star of the show, particularly when she wrangled her way out of her booster seat and cruised the restaurant, attempting to poke her fingers in the meals of other diners. Mercifully, our server was a girl that we know from "school", and I have spoken of AC's behavioral challenges in our parenting meetings, so knows what to expect. When Aidyn's meal arrives, she eats two fries and throws the remainder of her meal on the floor. With this, she demanded to be released from her seat and when AC is done, everyone is done. I quickly paid the check, left a 30 percent tip and raced her home before more damage could be done.

Upon arrival at home, I had balloons, gifts and cake waking for AC, with her grandparents invited to join the celebration. I think that if you could ask AC her favorite part of her birthday, it would be the fulfillment of her two requests: "boons" and "sprinkles". I could've saved a lot of money on gifts, providing her only with her balloons and her sprinkle cake. Needless to say, this did not happen, and AC was overwhelmed with the amount of gifts she received. Given the tininess of our home, I briefly considered throwing all her old toys in the trash and starting fresh. I doubt anyone besides the garbage man would even notice.
February 7, 2009
Today marks the second birthday of my beloved daughter, Aidyn Charlotte. As my efforts to document her first 24 months were essentially wasted--lacking in both photographic and written evidence, thanks to my affinity to being a slacker--I have decided to create a blog for her. The reasons for this are two-fold: I want my daughter to be able to look back and have some remembrance of her toddlerhood; I have found great pleasure in reading through the baby book compiled by my mother, including a listing of my favorite foods at 18 months that as a grade-schooler, I crossed out and made up my on own--which didn't include green beans, like she claimed. Second, when AC reaches grade school, I plan to pursue an MA in creative writing. Seeming as that I very rarely write creatively, I feel it's in my best interest to start, so at the very least, it won't be too exhaustive when they day comes to submit my entrance materials.

Alas, in creating this for my daughter's future viewing, I hope she shares a humor like mine. Should she not, she will grow old believing that her mother is a blunt, rude horses' ass sorta mom. For the record, I am not. I am simply...dry and and dark, much like my current hair color. For those who do not share this offbeat humor, I am simply a horse's ass.

For AC's second birthday, I promptly woke her at 8:30 am, dressed her...and sent her to her grandparents' house. Hey, what can I say? It might be her birthday, but it's my weekend off! I briefly feel guilty, because at the very least, I could've bought her the "Birthday Girl" shirt at the children's resale shop. My guilt is quickly alleviated when I learn that my inlaws took it into their own hands to hold a top-secret party for her, of which I clearly was not invited. Huh. Makes me think I should dis-invite them from AC's real party, scheduled for tomorrow evening.