Welcome to my less than perfect life!

Embracing the imperfections that make my life practically perfect in every way.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"That's Not Daisy!" and Other Ways I Disappoint my Child

I remember the days when I could do nothing but dazzle and amaze The Nugget.  Should I make a funny noise?  Yes, please!!  Crawl on the floor after you?  Never get enough!  Nowadays, I am little but a walking testament to the failure of fate in assigning her parents.  Here is a list, no doubt not comprehensive because it would be impossible to list them all, of the ways I am currently disappointing my child:

1.  I am not an artist, Disney or otherwise.  We used to go out to restaurants and she would get the little crayons and be utterly delighted that I could draw the shapes for her.  Circle!  Square!  Triangle!  I was the queen of the world.  She has long since mastered her shapes, however, and wants Mama to move onto more complicated things.  Like Mickey.  Okay, I can draw three circles so she usually gives me credit for this one.  And Dora.  I can do a reasonably good hair and head shape, so, again, I get credit.  That's pretty much it for me.  She repeatedly demands things like Donald and Boots and, yes, Daisy.  I try.  But she just looks sadly and the picture and then me.  "That's not Daisy!" she says.  I know.

2.  I am incapable of sitting on the floor for hours on end.  When she wants to play with anything, it seems imperative that we join her on the floor to sit down.  We are not allowed to play from the comfort of a chair.  "Mama, sit down" will be repeated 3,700 times for emphasis as to how important this aspect of the game is.  It will not do for Mama to explain that she is old and decrepit and needs to sit up high once in a while for the sake of her back.  She will sometimes give in on this one and let me, say, build a tower with her from chair height, but she is not happy about it.

3.  I will not provide jelly beans in a constant stream.  Enough said.

4.  I sometimes try to sing along with her when she is singing.  Other times, I do not sing along when she expects me to.  Or I try to start a sing-along myself.  Or I DON'T try to start the sing-along.  I wish she would let me read over the contract so that I would know exactly when and where my singing services are approved because the rules seem very unclear and confusing and it hurts my feelings when she yells me into silence.

5.  I won't let her: stand on the couch, drink soda pop, eat only junk food, watch only cartoons, color on anything other than the paper, stand on the kitchen chairs or table, hit the dog, pour water out of the bathtub, eat vitamins constantly, throw things at myself or others, eat her hair barrette, splash in the dog water, smash my IPhone, scream continually at the top of her lungs and much, much more.  Ironically, the denial of any of these things is a near guarantee that she will scream at the top of her lungs.  It is possible that I will then snap and scream back at the top of my lungs.  But don't think this will startle her into submission.  It will not.  It will only make her scream louder because she must be the loudest screamer at all times.

There is more.  So much more.  But I grow weary and must stare into the distance while I ponder ways to survive the age of two.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RemembeRed #1

This week's memoir prompt was to write a piece inspired by the color red - but you were not allowed to use the word "red" in your story.
      The August sun bore down on my neck and shoulders as I stooped in the garden.  Rivulets of sweat ran into my eyes, my mouth, my ears.  I could feel my skin burning; later we would cool it with a cloth dipped in vinegar.  For now, it was no use complaining.  There were crops to be harvested.
Besides, my part of the work wasn’t nearly as hard as my grandmother’s.  I crawled through the dirt, picking beans and peas as I went.  They were then carried to her in the canning house.  She took our baskets, face flushed in the tiny space, and emptied them into the sink before handing them back to us.  Steam rolled from the windows into the Indiana summer.  Humidity squared.
Hours passed slowly in that garden.  I often found myself distracted by a ladybug, only to look up and see that I had fallen a half a row behind my cousins.  Scurrying to catch up then, my grandfather would point out all of the tomatoes I had missed.
At the end of the day, we all moved slowly toward the house.  Drained from the heat and sore from squatting, the kids all collected in the shade beneath the oak tree out back.  It felt good to lie back on the cool grass as the sun dipped below the horizon.
This is the part where we learned about reaping what you sow.  Us kids didn’t help with the planting, but we saw the fruits of our grandparents’ labor and we looked forward to helping ourselves to the goods.  Tired as we were, we were anxious for our mothers to emerge from the house to deliver our dinner.
Soon the picnic tables were laid with a feast to delight every sense.  Crunchy, fresh veggies. Tender fried chicken.  Soft, home baked bread.  For me, though, the best was always last.
At the end of the meal, out would come the warm, ripe watermelon.  My grandfather laid it on newspaper spread out on the table.  I can still hear the sound of the knife slicing through the dark green skin.  My greedy eyes still take in the fresh juice rushing from the cut.  He would cut out large half-moons; they always reminded me of a big, seedy smile.  We waited as patiently as we could until he had cut it all up.  Then it was our turn to get as slice.
Some of the kids dug in as soon as they got their piece.  Not me.  I went to the salt shaker and dashed the lightest of coatings onto my fleshy prize.  This helped enhance the sweetness.  I then carried this, the best part of my day, back beneath the oak tree.  I sat off by myself a bit, my back against the tree.  Closing my eyes, I slowly took the first, big bite.  The warm juice ran down my chin.  The salt bit my tongue in contrast to the sweet, sunny fruit.  Now this was worth the wait.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beautiful, Beautiful Boy

Three years ago today, I gave birth to my first child, a beautiful baby boy.  We spent several weeks in the hospital trying to delay his birth.  I got to know him well as he grew inside of me.  He was a busy little person.  He loved to kick and swim and jump inside of the womb.  He was very much alive.  My hopes for him turned on the calendar pages as I tried to make the pregnancy last until at least 32 weeks.  We inched by and as the days turned into weeks the tiny flicker of hope inside of my heart grew larger.

Our efforts to stave off his birth, however, were futile.  He was born at just 27 weeks.  My tiny boy went to the NICU.  The staff there were wonderful.  I never questioned that he had the best care available.  But it wasn't enough.  He lived just a few short days.

Today he would be three years old.  I watch my daughter, two, and I am so grateful for her good health.  I imagine who he might have been at the different ages that she reaches.  They were very different kids.  She is nothing if not laid back and able to go with the flow (as she was in utero).  I had the sense that he would be a busy little daredevil, the one exploring and carving new paths (as he was in utero). 

I miss him still.  Every single day, I miss him.  I know that I always will.  The Mister always will.  We will teach The Nugget who he was, how important he was to us, just as she is.  She will know that she has a brother who, even though she never met him, was and is a part of our family.

Tonight we will honor his birthday.  My would-be three year old.  We will spend time together, cook dinner, plant a bush.  We will be much as we would be if he were here.  Hopefully, good parents.  Hopefully, good members of planet Earth.  Hopefully, building a legacy through support of March of Dimes in his honor so that other babies and their parents will be more fortunate than us.  We will hug each other a bit more today.  We will shed tears for our lovely little boy.  We will rock The Nugget extra long before bed.  And we will continue to love and miss our Peanut.