Archives for the month of: January, 2014

It’s right around one year of age.

No kidding.  If someone would have asked me that very question a couple of weeks ago, I would have guessed that kids don’t get it until sometime after high school graduation.  I vaguely remember our pediatrician mentioning to us at her 12-month appointment that we could start showing Smushie some boundaries.  (Of course, I nodded my head in agreement.  Sort of.  I was really nodding as an answer to my own thought, “Should I make a ham and cheese panini for lunch today?”)

There was no way in hell that a baby who’s self-feeding procedure of:

  1. Grab applesauce off plate
  2. Place applesauce gently on forehead
  3. Tilt head back slightly
  4. Catch food in mouth
  5. Clap hands
  6. Repeat

would understand that certain things were “off-limits” let alone the concept that her nose was more than a food slide.

Yes, I’m talking about the same Smush that tries to chew through power cords, lick the dog bowls,  dive off the changing table, and shoves everything into her mouth, edible or not.  Daily.  None of my parenting techniques on “house rules” seemed to matter until the other day.

It was a lovely morning, with the sunlight beginning to wash over the window sills as it burned off the dewy moisture from the glass.  I saw the Meatball in front of our TV entertainment center.  Again.  For the 50th time, she was pushing the on/off button on the A/V receiver.  (Why do manufacturers put lights on the damned things!  I don’t need it.  I’ll know if it’s on if I can HEAR and SEE the TV!  Or at least they could offer a childproof option that disables buttons on the front panel when little hands are dangling nearby.)

Before she could blow out the expensive piece of equipment, I walked over with my estoque and capote de brega to lead Smush away from her “toy”.  As I advanced nearer, she looked up at me wide-eyed and mouth agape.  Then, she dropped down on her butt, kicked her legs furiously and hauled herself away from me at full speed.

Now, there’s no disputing what occurred.  We both knew what we was going on.  Since I’m part neanderthal (given the slope of my forehead), I use more physical action than verbal expression when parenting.  But even my actions have meaning.  No actual words filled the air, but this was the conversation my little girl and I had, each in our own communication style.

Noise: *click* *clock* *click* *clock*…ad nauseum.

Me:  *stomp* *stomp* *stomp* “Meatball?  What are you doing?  This is not a toy for you!”

Smush:  “Red light!  No red light!  Red light!  No red light!  Wow, this is the most amazing toy EVER!”

Me:  “Alright, let’s move you to a safer part of the house.  How about I strap you into your restraints high chair?”

Smush:  (Looking up with surprise.)  “AH!  I know this looks bad, but this time it’s not what you think it is.  Besides, how could you sneak up on me like a Ninja!  I gotta split!  You can’t catch me with an empty diap….ohhhh nooo!” *pffft*

Me:  (Scooping her up with extremely well-muscled outstretched arms.) “Gotcha!  Hey, what’s that smell?”

And so a lesson had been learned.  If anyone needs to have boundaries, it’s the Smushter.  She’s just that type of baby.  Hence the baby gate, the wall outlet covers, the padded helmet, the muzzle, the straightjacket, etc…

I can’t think of anything more fun and joyous than disciplining a baby.  Maybe I’ll look into a citrus spray shock collar.

Smush, Everything You Say Will Be Held Against You in The Court of Honeydaddy...

Smush, Everything You Say Will Be Held Against You in The Court of Honeydaddy…

I almost never post twice in one week anymore, but not because I don’t want to.  With the craziness of our household and the current orbital state of Mars in retrograde, it’s tough for me to complete a meal let alone a few sentences.  But this week’s different.  Smushie Meatball is turning the big single digit, one.  Wow.  What a year!

I can’t believe that she’s lasted this long!  I mean, with the Worm and the dogs, she’s not really a top priority for me as her caretaker.  But the Smushter is scrappy and feisty, just like a second child needs to behave in order to feed herself and survive.  Sure I’ll throw her a bone, both figuratively and literally.  It doesn’t matter.  She bites in with gusto.  (It’s a disgusting habit and 100% true, unfortunately.)  The plus side of chewing everything is that she’s building immunity to every strain of microbe that lives in our house and getting some form of nutrition at the same time!

Since today’s the big day, you know what she gets?  Vaccinations!  Hooray!

She also gets plenty of kisses from mommy and daddy!  At this age, kids are cheap.  I could wrap a…hell, I could just hand her a toilet paper tube and she’d feel like she won the lottery!

Smushels, you bring a lot of laughter and joy to our lives!  I hope that it continues or you’ll be spending a lot of time in your crib.

It’s pretty neat having you with us.  You’re very different from your brother, that’s for sure.  You’re not quite walking yet, but when you’re standing, you’ve often got a toy in each hand while you’re shaking to your own rhythm.  I just keep getting these flash-forwards of you at 16 with your brand new driver’s license trying to video chat, put on makeup, and paint your toenails while driving down the freeway.  Your brain is definitely wired differently than your brother’s.  That, I know.

Your smile lights up a room and it’s infectious.  I can’t tell if you’re laughing at me sometimes, or with me.  Either way, I find it adorable.  Your tiny, slightly crooked teeth remind me of a box of mini-Chiclets.  Which makes your 5-tooth smile even more cute!  Since you do put everything in your mouth, I keep my fingers away.  You bit papa’s finger a few weeks ago and I don’t even want to imagine the bite strength you have.  Which is why I feed you with utensils and from a distance.

You are fearless.  Nothing scares you, except your stuffed animals.  I love your tenacity and your boldness.  You go after things, even if you need to jump off your high chair to get them.  I’ve been your parachute and safety net for the past year, but I’m getting older and my eyesight isn’t as sharp as it used to be.  I hope that I may teach you to use thought before action before real bodily damage can occur.  For now, you’re pretty pliable, but when those bones fuse, the hard knocks of life may break appendages.  Enjoy it now.

Happy birthday littlest one!  You’ve taken us on a roller coaster ride thus far!  If there’s one characteristic our family could use, it’s someone to think and jump outside the box.  I believe that person is you.  I love you Smushie Mushie Meatball!

She's Either Going to Be a Professional Eater or Professional Fighter...

She’s Either Going to Be a Professional Eater or Professional Fighter…

 

I love the holidays.  Spending time with the family, sharing laughter, eating great food, and the most memorable part: getting help taking care of the children.  Almost everything is wonderful.  Almost.

We do our best to make it a happy holiday season, but with small children, that happiness comes at a price.   (I often pay in sanity and the black of my hair…)

Travel.  Ugh.

I hate travelling.  We live on the left coast.  Both sets of grandparents are on the wrong coast.  Air travel is a must and becomes part of our holiday planning.  Before children, I loved flying days.  Years ago, I’d fill my backpack with magazines (yes, the paper ones), music headphones, and arrive at the airport early just so I could hang out and putz around (what people without kids call ‘living’).  I didn’t have to do anything, save for getting on the plane before it left the gate.  After having spawned a pair of mini-me’s, air travel officially sucks.

Nowadays, before we leave for a trip, I fill my backpack with my son’s dvd player, his headphones, his movies, forty-seven of his favorite toys all piled on top of my trusty laptop and camera (neither of which I’ll get to use during the flight).  My backpack isn’t quite large enough to hold the essentials, of course.  So, I also carry a diaper bag (or my purse, as Worm calls it) with food, drink and diapers to manage a full day of bodily functions for dos pequeños niños.  This 40 lbs of stuff must stay close (read: under the seat in front of us) to prevent our children from spontaneously gushing fluids, suddenly starving, or imploding from stimulus deprivation.  (Translation:  I can’t stretch out my legs without crushing gummy bunnies and teething crackers.)

Then for the entire trip, I’m basically shushing, wiping, grabbing, restraining, carrying, feeding, smelling, changing, holding, pushing, dragging, or cleaning someone.  Sure the kids nap.  But once either of them senses my guard dropping, he or she wakes up to put me back on duty.  (They work in shifts, I swear.)

Sure travelling with small children is awful, but it’s not really what’s eating at me.  Steph and I eventually want to build our own family traditions.  We want to bake cookies, decorate gingerbread men, sing Christmas songs, play games, drink hot cocoa, make snowmen (yes, there’s snow nearby), draw holiday decorations, read the Night Before Christmas on the night before Christmas, and all of the other fun things to do while waiting for Santa to come down our fireplace on Taiwan’s Constitution Day.  The pandemonium of going across the country with two small children doesn’t provide us with quite the opportunity to instill those things on our children.  We’re too focused on all the trip details, schedules, and logistics planning.  And these next few years for our children are the ones that can be molded into those magical memories that they will cherish.  We want it to be exciting for them and (to be a little selfish, here) fun for us, too.  I don’t want Worm and Smushie to remember the inside of the car and the airport when they recall the holidays.  I wish we weren’t so far away from the grandparents, but we have to work with what we’ve got at the moment.  In an ideal world, our holiday would be more like Christmas Vacation (maybe minus Cousin Eddie) and less like  Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.  I just don’t know how to work it all out so that everyone gets what they want for Christmas.

Come on Worm, Put a Smile on Your Face!  We'll See the Nanas and Papas Soon!

Come on Worm, Put a Smile on Your Face! We’ll See the Nanas and Papas Soon!

 

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