Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sudden change of subject

I was going to post something asinine about how small children develop language skills and how parents develop code systems to understand them. As I was composing a suitable title sentence my daughter came into the living room with the syrup bottle. She stopped and opened the lid.

My cat, Zarya sat staring at me, her back to the pink trouble maker. "Put the syrup back." I said, still not standing up, or removing my hands from the keyboard. Blue serious eyes connected with me. The little girl then upturned the syrup bottle over the cat. "Lotion" she said.

You can make it from the computer to the door to the kitchen in one giant step. It probably should take six, but you CAN make it in one, and it saves a lot of time cleaning sugar goop off of a cat that hasn't fully groomed her coat to normal after the petroleum Jelly Incident.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Secret calories of motherhood.

Last night I bought easter candy for the young one. I didn't buy too much, because we've been trying to limit the overall candy level in the house. I had the cashier place it in a separate bag, hid it without telling my husband where it was, and thought to myself, "I have prevented the premature raiding of the easter candy."

Before I went to bed though, the thought of Cadbury cream eggs overcame my own self control. Its hard to lose weight as a mother. All the junk food of the house is hidden from everyone but you.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

How much is that Doggy in the Window?

There are always two stuffed dogs in the window at the book store/ coffee shop. My daughter adores them. She will go to that shop instantly, wave at them as she enters, and then fetch them down from the window. She will pet them, read to them, hug them and cart them from one side of the store to the other.

Today, in the midst of her adoration, something appeared in the coffee shop that startled her, and interfered with her routine; a boy about her age. Cora stared. Her look seemed to say "Are you talking to me? Am I supposed to understand you?" The boy proceeded to take one of the dogs from her, telling her it was his, and she should put it back where it came. She tried to retrieve her fake fur companion. He yelled and waved a finger around. She stopped.

Then she waited patiently. When the dog-napper lost interest and babbled off in another direction she ran up, wrapped her arms around the dog and took off. Unfortunately, while she was petting and talking to the reunited twins, he was able to re-steal the dog. Again she waited. Again she reclaimed. This time, the boys discomfort came out in louder more threatening tones and his grandma stepped in to lay down the law.

Cora took great care to avoid the boy after that, but she didn't yell, push, or cower away. As a parent I was impressed with her tolerance, her silence, her self control, and most of all her patience. As an adult trying to peer inside the mind of a child, I'm curious as to just one thing; If she felt comfortable talking to the stuffed dog, why didn't she try talking to the little boy? I can only conclude that she felt, after listening to his half formed words, that he was incapable of understanding.

The Five AM of Children

There are many different five AM's. Times when you roll out of bed, staring at the alarm and thinking that there is no medal for beating the sun out of bed. Farmers, for example, see this illuminated time frequently. I see it occassionally, usually on mornings of exciting trips, when the goal is to drive for four hours and arrive somewhere at ten AM. Arrival is marked by the realization that my sleep hazed mind forgot to put on my pants. For that reason, and that reason only, I throw the suitcase in the car the evening before.

Today I saw a five AM I was introduced to a little over two years ago by my daughter. At least I remembered my pants for the trip to the Maternity ward. Five AM became a time of feedings. When she started sleeping through the night (four hours straight!) five AM became a time of checking. Well trained, I wandered across the hallway and tucked legs and arms back into the warmth of the blankets. The older she gets, the less frequently I find myself standing over her bed trying to remember the difference between blankets and body parts. This five AM was no such zombie-fied incident. A cold, a few head wonks, and too much caffeine (note-to-self: throw out Nannies soda pop after she leaves and before Cora finishes it) made one small uncomfortable child at bedtime yesterday.

Being a Mom, I worry. I wake up at 5 am and decide the house is too quiet, what with only the usual snores and odd japanese word drifting up from the pillow next to me. I roll out of bed and traipse across the hallway. There she is, arms and legs akimbo, in need of re-blanketing and still breathing. She looks peaceful, healthy, her body wrapped around that green blanket, and a stuffed puppy sharing her pillow with her feet. Her thumb slipped out of her mouth, leaving it bowed up in a delicate pucker. I sit down for a moment to watch.

There is this special five AM that belongs solely to children. It is the sleep you give up to ensure their survival that first year. It is the constant nighttime checks you make throughout their lives to ensure that they are indeed where you expect them to be, and that they are still breathing. It is that moment of peace when you can gaze down at them, un-blurred by movement, and forgive them all the misbehaving and mischief they accomplish during the day. Of course it belongs to Children. Nobody else was awake enough to claim it.

Designer Doodles and Poo's? I smell a rat.

It started with the labradoodle. Some acquaintances of mine had me over to their house last Sunday (I invited myself, and they were quite gracious), where I met a wonderful Labradoodle, Gena, and a great dane named Daisy. Both were sweet dogs, but I was informed that the Labradoodle, contrary to popular belief, still sheds.

For those of you who don't know Labradoodle from poo, these are designer dogs, bred from Labrador Retrievers and Poodles, to provide hypo-allergenic or non-shedding medium sized dogs. For those of you who don't know what a great dane is, think of a small horse that you let sleep on the living room rug. The great dane isn't really important to this article, it's just huge.

Designer dogs are a new trend that has taken America by storm. Consider it this generations breed of choice. Labradoodles, cocker-poos, golden-doodles; all these cute and lovable creatures come from a mixture of past loved breeds, and though they are paper traced like pure bred AKC canines, they are mutts. Worse than that, they are mutts the owners paid a lot of money to own. Don't get me wrong. I love mutts. I love them for their sincerity, occasional lack of class, overall health and uniqueness. I also give great credit to the person or people who convinced Americans to pay top dollar for a mutt when they could achieve the same sort of specimen (remember they still shed) by simply walking to their local pound.

Perhaps the word Designer gives these dogs a touch of class that strays or mutts lacks. In truth, the only design involved in their creation is "letting nature take its course." The names that end with doodles and poos lend elegance, brand power and a touch of naughtiness. Wait, I have the next great idea! A Bull-mastiff Shi-Tzu mix and call it Bull-Sh...never mind.

What with the overpopulation of media by advertisements, people buy designer and brand names almost on reflex. An appealing name and a little branding is all you need to launch a successful idea. Luck helps. Who knows what the next wacky idea is the USA might buy into...designer rats that cook French cuisine?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Concept Learning; How baby will affect you.

My biggest worry with another one on the way is the feelings that will assault our 2 year old when baby is brought home. Baby will make both Mom and Dad tired. Baby will need a lot of attention, and worse yet, will distract people from their previously favorite household item, Cora.

We've slowly moved the most important parts of Coras existence to try and lessen the feelings of replacement. The crib changed at thanksgiving, the rooms at about the same time. Now Coras room has all her toys in it, and a bed with sheets she helped Mommy buy. How she handles baby came as part of her Christmas haul. Two different dolls to help her learn to cradle, support the neck, and be gentle with baby. She is infinitely tender, wrapping her up, tucking her in to bed next to her, kissing her softly.

Dad has taken over either bath or books in the evening, so that she doesn't feel that Mommy is rejecting her, when she can't do both in a row. Cora herself picks out cloths and helps mommy put on socks. Her independence will help her cope with a new sibling.

As I grow bigger, we watch a show all about babies being born. Cora talks about where the baby is, in mommy's belly. We tell her that soon, Nanny will come down and stay with her while Dad and i go to the hospital to have her little sister. She nods sagely. She understands. Then she bites the babys ears, crawls into the crib, only wants Mommy in the evenings and insists that every belly contains a baby.

Concept learning, how parents delude themselves into believing that they have prepared their children for a change that will be so fundamental, there is no method besides experience to communicate it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Silly Ideas about Two year Olds

Two year olds think cleaning is fun. They decide that popcorn is better for breakfast than cereal with the second and fourth ingredient being sugar. They choose "treats" consisting of few calories, or worse yet, decide yogurt is better than pudding. Two year olds want to help do everything, cook, paint walls, fold laundry, make beds... They remind you to make coffee in the morning. They keep you in their routine.

What do we do to them that, by the time they reach sixteen they no longer want to eat healthy, they refuse to wake up before noon, escape the "jail" before they do their chores and only remind you of their routine after you've managed to forget about them somehow?

Hey! At least at sixteen, we're not responsible for changing their diapers and wiping their butts. You win some, you lose some.