Dear lord, what is happening to my brain?? I’ve been insanely busy and barely keeping my stress level to a pre-freak out level.
The day after I posted the pics of Emmett being buried in a box, I almost did something even more neglectful.
Phil took my car to run a quick errand. I was taking Fia to a birthday party. I needed to leave and he still wasn’t back. Emmett was upstairs sleeping.
I look outside and see his car. Duh, I think.
“Fia, we can go. We can take Daddy’s car!”
She was coloring and kept doing so.
“Come on Fia, wheels up! Let’s go!”
She stops coloring, looks up at me, and says,
“But Mom, what about Emmett? We can’t leave him by himself.”
Silence. More silence. Then me: “Oh yes, silly mama, of course we can’t leave him! Hahahee (fake laughter).”
To myself I think: You are FIRED from motherhood. Then…Thank God My 3-Year-Old has her sh-t together.
I mean, benign neglect (that I wrote about) is one thing. BUT ALMOST-LEAVING-YOUR-KID is quite another. Phil came home shortly after. I didn’t mention my asinine train of thought. He doesn’t regularly read my blog, so I think I’m safe. I certainly don’t want him firing me, too…
But seriously, what the f–k is up with my mom brain lately? I have heard of moms leaving their kids before by accident. I can actually see how that could happen, as crazy as it sounds. I have got to get it together. I refuse to be that mom.
Pic of frazzled mom via Shutterstock
We love taking pictures of our babies, right? I mean, who doesn’t. I can’t help myself…good god, as I’ve written before, I think Em is one of the most beautiful babies on the planet. And Fia is such a character with her ethereal beauty… Of course I’m biased like all moms and dads. My dilemma is what to do with them all?
I think back to when I was growing up. Film was expensive. Phones with cameras didn’t exist. I have a couple really sweet photo albums my mom put together over my growing up years. She also had an accordion file with each of our names on a folder. We could go in anytime and look at our pictures. There were probably about 10-15 photos for each of us.
I sit here in my office and look at 2 rows of photo books on a shelf. I never wanted to get too far behind the game in printing out photos of the kids. From when Fia was born, I would upload photos every few months to one of the sites where you can then order prints. I would guess 90% of the photos I take, I eventually upload. Which means I end up getting probably 900 prints over the course of a year to put in albums. Then, I have to sit down, put them all in order, put them in the albums, then write captions. It’s a fairly large undertaking.
At the rate I am going, I will need a house just to store all my photo books. But I like having hard copies. What is the point otherwise? Let them sit on a computer? And if that computer crashes without backup?
I try and be judicious when I’m picking out which photos to print. But I get so caught up in, “Well, this one is so sweet, I should print that one.” “It’s only 9-cents, may as well order it.”
What’s funny is my system seems far more “old school” than most of my friends. They don’t order prints. They just keep them all on their computer. Which means they probably don’t really have a “system.”
But I’m looking down the road. Your child will never have your computer. So someday are you going to export all the photos to them? Or will they just die with your computer (and with you) and never see the light of day?
I feel overwhelmed by the many photos and albums I have but I don’t only want my pictures to be on an electronic device. And the online photo books you can make and order would probably take just as much–if not more–time. And then you still have books and books of photos.
Is there something I’m missing here that would make my life easier in this regard? Any system you guys have that you care to share? Many thanks!
Fia, Emmett, and I were all in the kitchen this morning. I was trying to juice a bunch of oranges Phil (finally) picked from our tree. I had been bugging him for a week. When he was done, he announced he was going back to bed. Oh, okay.
So I am trying to keep the kids distracted and alive. Em was playing with a box. No big deal, right? Until…I look over and Fia is trying to close him up in it.
“Fia! You can’t do that!” I screamed. Then….”actually, hold that pose while I take a picture.”
“Okay. Fia!!!! You can’t do that!”
Ten minutes later I’m washing away the mess of a cheap juicer breaking while grinding 50 oranges to produce a half quart. A lot of work for little payoff. There is a cabinet below and to the right of my sink that we don’t use (it’s gross/in disrepair) but Emmett often likes to open and close it. I hear Emmett whimpering but I can’t see him anywhere.
“Fia, where is Emmett?”
I hear the sound again. I look down and this is what my crazy boy has gotten himself into:
“Oh, poor baby!” I say. “Come here…no, wait.”
I grab my phone.
“Hugs sweetheart. It’s okay. Mommy’s got you.”
Then we all drink orange juice. Phil remains in bed.
One hour later I look over and well, you know the drill…Benign neglect at its best.
I complained in my blog last week about how hard it is to change Emmett. And I may end up trying to potty train him early–like at 18 months. Yesterday I ended up with feces on my wrist. Not fun. Then, I came across this: an article in the New York Times about the EC movement. Elimination Communication. Oh, if only I had known this existed…
Actually I was aware of this movement, but honestly didn’t know it had taken off so much. I should have guessed my old stomping grounds of Park Slope was leading the way. Next time I visit I will wear disposable covers on my shoes. Lest I step in kid sh-t.
For those of you who aren’t aware, EC means toilet training your baby from the moment of birth. Read that again. Yes, the minute they come out of the womb, in a sh-t storm of activity, you are supposed to start “observing” their bowel and urinary cues. Yeah, don’t focus on breastfeeding or your recovery, or bonding with your baby. What you need to focus on is when they are about to take a dump. Then rush them to the toilet, hold them over it, and boom, you are on your way to a diaper-free world.
I’m sure I’m going to get everyone hating on me because I’m sure moms and dads who subscribe to EC love their babies just as much as the rest of us. I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here. But I do have to wonder–if you’re spending literally every moment looking for these cues, doesn’t it get a bit distracting? Maybe I’m just jealous since my kid is a disaster to change. But I honestly can’t get my head around infants being able to grasp toilet training. For many, it’s hard to even learn how to latch on. Or to sleep a good stretch. More importantly, when you are a new mom, you are so overwhelmed and exhausted, I can’t imagine putting this “task/pressure” on your plate.
The part where I am torn is, I do recognize how awful diapers are for the environment. So I dig that those parents aren’t contributing to the landfill. But I don’t want to start seeing signs in the city next to “Curb your dog” that says, “Curb your kid.”
(Sidenote: cloth diapers aren’t necessarily the answer either unless you launder yourself. I researched it a bit in New York when I was pregnant. If you get a cloth diaper service where they pick up your dirty diapers and give you a fresh set, they apparently still have to launder them like 7 times in bleach. Then the trucks emit carbon gases and burn fuel doing all the deliveries. So it doesn’t seem like a full-on solution. Now I think they make inserts for cloth diapers that are probably a good idea…)
This goes to the root of my annoyance on stuff like this. As in the homebirth movement and the co-sleeping club. If you want to homebirth your baby, go for it, but don’t say it’s because “that’s what they did in centuries past.” Because they did a lot of things back then that I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be down with. Like putting crocodile excrement in your vagina to prevent pregnancy. It’s true–at least according to some historians researching ancient Egypt. I’m pretty damn happy I live in the modern world. And I’m pretty sure my vagina appreciates it, too.
In all the mommy wars, I don’t get why the go-to argument is often about ways to mimic ancient times. Like the co-sleepers who say we should do it because that’s what they did “back then.” No, actually, that shouldn’t be the reason. In past centuries families had no choice. They were often crowded into one room, and so exhausted from working the fields or the sweatshops that they’d all collapse together. I’m sure they would have loved a crib for their baby. If you want to co-sleep, do it because you love to cuddle with your baby. But then don’t complain when they’re 5 and still sharing your bed. And for heaven’s sake, please don’t make it because of “what they did in the 17th century” Infant mortality rates were horrendous–from curable things like diarrhea–which again, thank god, we have the modern medicine and sanitary conditions of the present day.
But I digress–I’ve said all this before in my blogs on these topics.
The author goes on to say that parents mostly do EC because they like being “in touch with their babies’ most intimate functions.” REALLY? I don’t know about you, but when Emmett poops, as much as I love him, I don’t smell roses. Poop and pee aren’t the things I love most about my kids. Or even second or third most. Yeah, I get it on some level…like when Fia started to get this far away look and grunt, I knew she was pooping. And as only a mom can understand, I found it cute. She was at least 6 months by then. Nowadays, some of our funniest conversations are when she is sitting on the toilet. So some of this resonates, but to make it an actual “movement” sounds like something for people who have too much time on their hands.
The article quotes one mom who says, “I have absolutely been at parties and witnessed people putting their baby over the sink.” She goes on to say that one person took “…her baby and her bowl to a party, held her naked baby over the bowl…” I guess they were close friends. But still…doesn’t this seem a bit, well, affected?? Indulgent perhaps? Upper class hipster, um, crap?
My favorite part of this isn’t the article but the comments. I guess the people of the EC movement apparently have weekly support groups. One person left a comment saying she had 20 babies at her house while I guess the parents discussed at length the art of pooping. She said no one had an accident…but honestly, I can’t think of anything worse than taking my precious time, and the time of my baby, to go to a support group that revolves around sh-t. A playground sounds way more fun, right?
But the best was from a “Mom of 2″ in New York who says that people who don’t do the EC method are, you ready for this? L-A-Z-Y parents!!! Here’s her quote: “You know when your baby needs to go: after a meal, when wakes up from sleep etc. Just follow the pattern. Not doing it and continuing using diapers under pretense of various theories is a cover for a lazy parent. It’s a shame when your child can walk and talk and wears a diaper.”
People, people, how did we get here? I am seriously flummoxed. Guess it’s time for me to check out. I’ve never been so excited to change a diaper….
“Mama, I scratched myself!” Fia screams, probably about 7 times a day.
“Mama, I fell!!” she yells about 5 times a day.
“Mama, I bumped my (name any and all body parts),” she wails about 4 times a day.
Add it up and my daughter shouldn’t be able to walk, talk or move.
This is my diary of a wimpy girl.
Her eyes well up with tears that never come. She does this grimace that is so fake it is laughable. She limps around for dramatic effect, holding her head, her hand, her elbow or whatever it is that has allegedly been maimed. Is she a wimp?
I finally got so tired of her telling me every single teeny.tiny. little.thing. that my new mantra is this: “Fia, unless there is blood, I don’t want to hear about it.”
I’ve also started to try and do reverse psychology. “Fia, let’s try and be brave!” I say cheerily when she is crumpled on the floor with her numerous painless injuries. “I can’t! I can’t!” she wails. Once again, no tears ever come. If they did, I would pay attention. A mom knows when her kid is honestly hurt, lest you think I’m being callous.
The best is when she finally looks up with the most earnest face you can imagine and says through sniffles, “Mama, you know what would help?” I stare at her, trying to hold back my laugh, knowing what is coming.
“What Fia?” I ask.
“A lollipop. Or a jellybean. Or, (and here she becomes animated) …maybe a yogurt covered pretzel!”
I rarely give into her ploy. Instead I look into her eyes and we both start laughing as I call her out.
“Fia, you aren’t really hurt.”
“Yes I am!!” she says giggling.
It’s a cute scene…if it didn’t happen on the hour, every hour of the day. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but you get the idea.
I know she is dramatic…she’s my daughter. But I’m also pretty tough. I want her to be too–though it’s worth noting I did have an irrational fear of tractors when I was 6. I wouldn’t leave the house all summer. Drove my mom crazy. And in 3rd grade I had one of my dad’s friends who was a doctor design an arm cast for me. I wore it to school pretending my arm was broken. Not exactly sure what this says about my parents, by the way…
So how do I best handle this? I know she isn’t deprived of attention. And it’s not like I gush over every injury Emmett inflicts on himself and she is jealous. The boy is a tank. And a tough one at that. He bangs himself up constantly and rarely cries. He has, on average, 3 bloody lips a week. I have children at opposite ends of the pain scale.
I suspect this is just a phase. I know she’s not a hypochondriac at preschool. Just with me and Phil. Do I ride it out or do what I’m doing or what?
Picture of crying kid via Shutterstock