Saturday, September 25, 2010

Small Victories

I've heard of computer games in which you "play against the computer," or a pre-programed player that is intelligent in that it "learns" from your play and changes its behavior accordingly, making it harder and harder to beat the game.  Even the small victories turn into larger battles because, yes, you've managed to temporarily defeat the monster, but that monster was paying attention and will not be bested so easily on the next level.

Parenthood is my computer game, and Anna is my monster. 

Don't get me wrong, she is a very sweet little girl.  ("BIG GIRL!" as I'm reminded every time I affectionately refer to her as "baby.") But she doesn't miss a thing!  If I tell her at bedtime one night that maybe tomorrow we can go to the park/have chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast/watch a certain annoyingly loud explorer girl and her pet monkey on TV - she ALWAYS remembers.

Small aside - How old is Dora supposed to be?  Six?  What parent in their right mind lets their six-year-old go traipsing through the woods and over rivers with a blue monkey and other various bilingual mammals, constantly pursued by the most easily deterred thief I've ever seen?  Seriously.  Anna's going to grow up thinking if she says "Carjacker, no carjacking!" three times fast, she'll be safe on any city street in America.

For a while I thought I was clever for figuring out I could bribe her to let me put pigtails in her hair by giving her a Popsicle.  Then one day when I tried to brush her hair and she looked at me, offended that I would dare to even attempt this, and demanded "Pot-errs" (which is how she says Popsicle).  When I tried to give her a half a Popsicle (because it was 6:30 in the morning and what mother in her right mind gives a two year old a Popsicle for breakfast), she looked at me like I was the dumbest person she'd ever encountered and demanded, "BIG Pot-errs."

To get this smart little gremlin into her car seat, not only do I have to let her climb into the car by herself (and heaven help us if she has mud on her shoes!), but I also have to tell her that her 13-year-old uncle (whom she adores more than anyone else in the world), is going to beat her into the car and steal her seat if she doesn't get buckled before he gets to the car.  This, for now, works whether he is present or not.  I dread the day when she realizes that he won't actually take her seat when he's clear on the other side of town!

One day she and I had gone to share a bagel and an apple juice for breakfast (because I was so organized that week that we had no milk or anything resembling breakfast food in the house).  We were planning to head to the grocery store after we finished our breakfast, so I asked her what kind of cart she'd like to ride in - a shopping cart where she could sit near me and we could sing songs (regular old boring shopping cart that I tried to spice up a bit because it was likely that this would be the only one available upon our arrival at the grocery store on a Saturday morning) or one of those fun (i.e. horrible to steer, run into everyone and everything around you) shopping carts with the car on the front so she could "drive" through the store.  She wanted to drive.  I thought she meant the cart. I soon realized, as I wrestled a flailing, shrieking banshee into the back seat amidst horrified stares from the coffee drinkers on the patio at Stone Creek, that Anna had thought I'd meant she could DRIVE THE CAR TO THE GROCERY STORE.  Um, sorry, kid.  I like my car in one piece, thank you very much!

You'll often see me doing the happy dance after one of my "Jedi-Mom" tricks has worked on Anna.  You may also see me suddenly stop and look around ashamed.  That look of shame - that's me realizing that I'm celebrating outsmarting a TWO-YEAR-OLD, which, really, should be a lot easier than it usually is.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tough Times in Toddler Town

Things have been a little tough around here lately. And none of it is related to parenting a toddler, surprisingly!

My Two Year Old Knows the Phrase "Cat Pee":

Our cat, fueled by a raging UTI, decided that our bed and couches so closely resembled his litter box that he no longer actually needed to use the litter box. After several frustrating weeks of sitting directly on the box springs of our sofas while the cushions, drenched in Nature's Miracle, dried in the yard, Mac has successfully completed his round of antibiotics. They have still been relegated to the basement overnight (which means I get to listen to a chorus of yowling for most of the night) and when we're not home, but have been invited back up to join us when we are home on the weekends and in the evenings.

Anna, who witnessed many of the urine-soaked cushions and their aftermath, has taken to asking me periodically, "Cat pee, mama?" or exclaiming at any spot of wetness in the house or out, "CAT PEEEEEEE! Mama, Mac peed!" I fear I've ruined her.


Wheezing and Swelling and Hives...OH MY!:

Our house was hit by a crippling bout of sinus/bronchial mutiny that left all three of us in coughing, sniffly, exhausted heaps for 2+ weeks. (I'm officially firing my immune system for insubordination!) Finally when I couldn't take the burning in my chest any longer (and most frankly because one of the girls I work with who had the same symptoms had been given antibiotics that seemed to help), I went to Urgent Care and got myself hooked up with the handy-dandy z-pack. Five days to freedom! I took every dose exactly when I was supposed to. And my cough began to clear.

Steadily on the road to recovery, that Friday, I spent the evening out in the yard with Anna, my mom and our neighbors. When I came in, I noticed I had some bug bites on my legs and rear end. We've got bugs galore in our yard, so I chocked it up to sitting in the grass. The bites itched a little bit on Saturday as well, but seemed to go away, so I didn't think any more of it.

Anna and I were getting ready to go meet hubby at church Sunday morning when I realized, "man, I'm ITCHY!" This thought was quickly followed up by, "man, I'm BUMPY!" Naturally, I called hubby in a panic. "Something is really wrong with me. You should come home."

Then I did the only smart thing I could think of - I stripped down to my underwear and SCRATCHED. Anna stood next to me asking,
"It itchy, mama?"
"You better believe it, sister."
"I not sister, I ANNA!"
"Yeah, yeah, make yourself useful. Scratch!"

Because I'm an incredibly patient, smart and mature grown up (Hahahahahaha), upon hubby's arrival home, I began running through the house, still in my underwear, yelling, "It's ITCHY!" Naturally, my party-time playmate, Anna, joined me. Amidst the cacophony of screeching and thudding of footsteps, hubby grabbed my phone and took a photo of the backs of my legs. Hip to toe - covered in hives.

"Shut up and go to the doctor. Now. Take a Benadryl first."

"Aye Aye, Captain."

So off I marched to Urgent Care for the second time in a week. After what seemed like eons of waiting (was only an hour, which really isn't bad at a walk-in clinic), I was joined by a very nice doctor who kindly asked me to drop my pants (nice to meet you too, sir) and took 30 seconds to diagnose the severe allergic reaction I was having to my miracle antibiotics. A reaction that will likely last for 7 to 10 days. Awesome. And I should take Benadryl. Done and done.

Back at home, heavily sedated, I napped the day away, periodically awoken by an enthusiastic toddler climbing on top of me to see if I was "Feelin' sick, mama?" Finally around 5, hubby offered to make some delicious dinner while I rested on the couch. But rest, I did not. For my lips, they were a-swellin'.

"Uh, hubby? Do I look a little like Angelina Jolie to you?"


"Hmm...hubby? Do my lips even look like lips any more?"

" look like Will Smith when he has that allergic reaction in Hitch."

"So is that a definitive 'no' on me ever getting collagen injections in my lips...??"

Thankfully I haven't experienced swelling to that degree again, but have had quite a bit of numbness/tingling in my face and hands. And some really fun bouts of wheezing. And hives every day since. So. Not. Cool.

My mother in law has often said, "If you're going to laugh about it later, then why not just laugh about it now." I'm done with sick. I'm done with allergic reactions. I'm done with cat pee on my furniture. But I'm still laughing.