Tuesday, May 17, 2005

are you enjoying the ride?

Another Tuesday update. Mondays are too crazy to get around to blogging, and by the time Wednesday rolls around my motivation is pretty low.

Our beach weekend was, for Duckie, incredibly fun and exciting. I think I was more excited for her than for myself – she had her first meeting with the Atlantic Ocean, and the biggest sandbox she had ever seen. She took full advantage of both. The first day we took her to the beach, she approached the waves with some caution. The water was cold (as I can attest), but she was completely fascinated by it anyway. She sat for a long time right at the edge of the surf, where every seventh wave or so would sneak up under her pink-bikinied bottom, triggering a screaming sort of laughter that I’d never heard from her before. Brian and I each took a hand in ours and swung her up over the waves, her little feet kicking in the surf. No worries about sunburn – the weather wasn’t so sunny for most of the time.

Getting the sand out of her various crevices, though – that’s the big downside of the beach. The first day Brian had to go pick up his dad from Sunset Beach and I was left to deal with the sand issue solo (after the initial hose-down outside). That won’t be happening again anytime soon, I can promise you. Much better with Brian to hand her off to – especially on Sunday, when it took two washings to get the sand and sunblock out of her hair.

She really bloomed with all the attention and new people. Initially her reaction to new folks (or those she didn’t remember straightaway) was shyness, then a sly sort of flirting that was just terribly cute. Eventually she warmed up to everyone, especially her Uncle Jimmy and second cousins Kip and Trent. Kip & Trent were the youngest of the kids there, and they had no qualms at all about running her ragged Friday night. She learned all kinds of new tricks – she tried a headstand, walked on her knees (no carpet burn, surprisingly), and played an informal game of tag for what seemed like an hour solid.

We do have pictures, which I will hopefully get into albums in a couple of weeks. She’s adorable, and there are, surprisingly, a couple of good shots of me in there, too. (Although to be perfectly honest, I was shocked and horrified at my photographic appearance. I really didn’t see myself as that big anymore. Kind of a let down, to say the least.)

She’s learning new words almost daily. At the beach, she learned “cheese” and (according to her Grandma Mary) “pretty.” She has also learned the power of the word “Mommy” – whether or not she uses it to refer to me. Someone will respond if she says it, so she does – repeatedly. Right now, that’s really cute, but I have a feeling that may change soon. Since she’s been home I’ve heard her say “juice” a couple of times – and Sunday night I saw her step partway into her shoes all by herself. Yesterday she said "Wow." (I was taking off an incredibly full diaper at the time, and I said, with much appreciation, "Wow." She dutifully repeated it back to me. I am obviously going to have to work harder at restraining my profanity.)

I wasn’t used to the grandmotherly attitudes at the beach. The sweet tone that Brian’s mom invariably took with her, no matter what nutty thing she was doing, is a far cry from my stern invocation of her full given name in response to adventures like, say, investigating an ashtray or trying to climb the window blinds. It’s not that I want to be mean, understand, it’s just that if she’s into something that could really cause some damage, she needs to understand that on some level. And now she’s started looking down and putting her little hands over her eyes when I’m stern with her, which makes scolding that much more difficult. It does serve to remind me to follow up with a kiss and “I love you” – who wouldn’t, faced with such incredible cuteness?


We had a rough night last night – my headache and her fatigue did not combine well with the brief conversation I had with her new teacher or with the trip to the grocery store after work. See, I had shown up and seen Duckie across the playground in a little purple smocked top that, despite its purported 24 months size, showed her toddler belly in some of its endearing glory. “Hi, Belly Girl!” I shouted, and she came running to me (or maybe it was only that I was on the way to the Lil’ Coupe cars that she likes so much.) Miss Sherry started in with the apologies – it was the only shirt she had in her cubby that was short sleeved, and the sun kept going in and out, and the only other outfit was bright yellow, and she thought the purple shirt would match better.

Like I give two shits about what Duckie is wearing when I pick her up. What really dismayed me at the time was the dark grey color her hair had turned from the handfuls of sand she had doubtless been rubbing in it – that looked like a double-wash job for sure. Bath time was going to be a challenge.

Miss Sherry also picked this less-than-opportune moment to ask me if we had been working with her on drinking from a cup at home. I kind of shrugged and said we had tried, but she had a tendency to dump it down her shirt instead of drink from it. I asked how she handled it at school. “Well, this morning we tried with her and she dumped the Fruit Loops all down the front, but if she’s not in too much of a hurry, she does all right.” Lovely. They’re feeding her $%^&ing Fruit Loops. I freak out if I don’t provide the right balance of protein and vegetables at every meal and they’re feeding her $%*&ing Fruit Loops at school. Sheesh.

Bad Mommy Syndrome kicked in right about now. (I am assigning the acronym "BMS." Pay attention, or you might get confused if it comes up later.) It was my fault there wasn’t another outfit in her cubby better suited to the ever-changing springtime weather, or better color-coordinated. It was my fault the 24-months purple shirt didn’t fit her anymore (even though she’s not yet at 20 months.) It was my fault she wasn’t doing better with the cup, because I’d been too lazy to really look for the tiny Dixie cups for her to try at home. It was my fault I had her in school in the first place, to be tormented by the Fruit Loop Demon from Sugar Hell. And it was definitely my fault (because I’m too stern with her, no doubt, and because I don’t play enough with her) that she threw a tantrum about the damn Lil’ Coupe cars instead of being willing to “come quietly” out to the truck.

She was upset about something or other at the store (gee, whatever could have upset her?) and I was hurting so badly I couldn’t figure out what she needed. I gave her a cookie, which ended up by turns on the floor, then in my pocket. I gave her a cereal bar, which also ended up on the floor, then in my pocket. I gave her a block of cheese (still in the plastic – she used to like gnawing on it), and it, yet again, ended up on the floor. We got up to the checkout and the nice lady said, “Awww. Is she hungry? You know you should open up a cereal bar and see if that helps.” I did manage not to bite her head off – I know she was only trying to help. But after all that, I’m pretty sure Duckie was thirsty (I didn’t have a sippy cup on me, bad Mommy!) And I’m pretty sure I won’t be taking her to the grocery store after work anytime soon.

By the time we got home, I was almost incapacitated by the throbbing in my head. Thankfully, the combination of lots of fluids and several hundred milligrams of blessed ibuprofen brought things back to a manageable level. We made it through the evening routine without much more fuss (once she was home and back in the Routine, she calmed down a lot). Bath time was, as I had suspected, a challenge, but not as bad as I had thought. By the time I got her in PJs and into bed, she was more than willing to lay down, kick her legs a few dozen times, and go to sleep.

Some Monday nights, depending on when the Braves are playing during baseball season, TBS does two hours of Friends. I more-than-slightly encouraged Brian to stay out late last night so that I could indulge while folding the laundry that had been left over from before our trip. I didn’t manage to put it away (or clean up much after dinner), but it did get folded.


Despite my photographic reality check over the weekend, I don’t think aiming for daily walk/runs is going to work, at least not for a few weeks. I miss my daughter, you see. And there’s lots of light left by the time we get home, so I’m hoping to spend some of it weeding the front garden beds, cleaning up the front porch, and in general straightening up outside. Most of this I can do with Duckie’s help, or while she plays on her slide.

Believe it or not, I’m actually hatching plans to plant a small garden in front of the house, where it gets morning sun. Definitely gladiolas, possibly hostas, and some herbs to fill in the empty spots. It’s a little late to plant the glads, but the lady down the street has had great success with hers, and with a minimum of upkeep. I’ve always loved gladiolas, and if I can manage to get even a few to bloom nicely, I will be very pleased. Wish me luck!


The Whiskey Sisters are on temporary hiatus due to interminable scheduling conflicts. Which really sucks, because we were about to start trying out some open mikes and possibly working in a guitar.


My boss’ negativity is starting to annoy the crap out of me.


We got busted this morning for expired tags and inspection sticker on the Hyundai. The cop was nice enough to Brian, and ended up giving him a $25 ticket for something else not as severe – blocked inspection sticker, or something like that. Could have been a lot worse.


Sam’s improve troupe, The Feral Chihuahuas, are participating in a theater festival the first weekend in June. Here’s the link to the showtimes and how to get tickets - the show is called Kumquat. Thank you, Sam, for giving me the opportunity to check my spelling on “Chihuahua.” Who knew such a tiny little dog had all those “h”s?


As usual, the world seems to be going to hell in a bucket. Sometimes I think George W. had the right idea going into Iraq, but just didn’t take it far enough. I know that Buddhist philosophy is essentially pacifist, but I have also read that sometimes a bodhisattva warrior has to take violent action to prevent more violence. Nukes, anyone? (Before I get slammed for this, let me make it perfectly clear that I am indulging in a rant and I am not serious about the nukes.) Jihadists are engaging in a suigenocide (and isn’t that a crappy new word to have to make up) and they don’t even see it – because they don’t see other people (their victims) as part of themselves, their own family. Or maybe they do – and they’re following the logical extension of their belief that to kill off heretic Muslims is actually a form of salvation for both themselves and their victims. Maybe that helps them justify it. Maybe they’ve been brainwashed. Maybe it’s a combination – even scarier. God forbid we begin to think of jihadists as people who are as hungry for freedom in their own twisted way as we are. What an unbelievable frigging mess.

Iraq is in flames. Africa is suffering from civil war, famine, Marburg, AIDS and other atrocities that I can’t bring myself to write about. Here in America we’re so insular in our thinking that as a nation, we don’t have a clue how lucky we are. We don’t know about the subcultures inside our borders that are suffering as badly as the victims of violence and neglect in other parts of the world. We don’t want to acknowledge that we have the technological and financial resources to lift our population, our families, out of poverty, ignorance and suffering because let’s face it, we do have the material resources, but we sure as hell don’t have the spiritual ones, no matter how powerfully our Churches work in the world.

There’s a huge piece of our collective soul that’s gone missing, folks – do you feel the lack? Or is it just me?


Stewart said...

Here's another acronym for you: BMMA: Bad Mommy My Ass!

You're great, don't let these bozos make you doubt yourself.

Whenever you feel BMS looming, throw an indignant BMMA right back at it!

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