Posted by: mountainmomma18 | May 8, 2010

Survival

Monday starts finals week at my University here in the mountain state. This means that last week I spent my time running around and dealing with students, this weekend I will spend grading left over assignments and writing finals. Next week I will spend giving said finals, grading them, filling out a bunch of paperwork and then attending commencement. I am in survival mode now- just trying to get everything done and get some sleep and tickle time with the bug. But summer vacation is in sight- and with it more time to ignore housework and blog- see you in a few!

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Posted by: mountainmomma18 | May 1, 2010

Long Gone

I am blogging from the road this weekend. We headed up to Des Moines, Iowa to participate in the CureSearch Walk to raise money to fight childhood cancer. It is an awesome organization and if you would like to find a walk near you or donate some money click here.

And why I am here in Iowa doing it? My niece is a survivor- she is a gorgeous six year old blonde whirling dervish. When she was five months old she was diagnosed with Nueroblastoma, a rare type of cancer. She went through two rounds of chemotherapy before her first birthday. She has been cancer free for over four years, and the awesome people at Curesearch had a hand in that. So I walk for Evie and all of the other children that have to walk this very hard road every day. Please help if you can- and don’t forget to pray (or do whatever it is that spiritually moves you) for kids everywhere whose childhood includes a fight against disease.

Posted by: mountainmomma18 | April 25, 2010

For Frog’s sake!

So currently at our house it is frogs, just frogs and only frogs ALL. OF. THE. TIME. It’s probably our fault, it seems to have all started when we bought the newest Disney movie The Princess and the Frog DVD. I should totally make some excuse as to why this was done by two PhD’s, but I’m kind of tired from the frogapolooza over here, so I’ll be honest. I totally wanted to see it. I love Disney World and have been 6 times since my first visit at 25. My daughter was conceived there. You wouldn’t know it to look at me, it’s not like I wear Tinkerbelle tee shirts or anything, but I love it all. Maybe it’s because when I was a kid my hippie parents were not too hip on all things cooperate and consumerist- now I am redoing my childhood with my money- and I hope Mickey buys some stock with it because I don’t care. And the bug has three princess dresses, which she likes to wear when she plays choo-choos- and I totally look forward to the day when the bug is old enough to take to the movies to see the newest movie and we can gorge ourselves on overly buttered popcorn and fizzy sodas (another no-no for my parents). But since I do not think that the movies is an appropriate place for a two year old- except on free summer Tuesdays when the whole place is filled with small children and it is super noisy and no one cares because it is free- I waited patiently for two months for the thing to come out on DVD. And I enjoyed it- the first like 20 times I watched it- but now on viewing 17, 562, not so much. The bug has fallen in love with the movie- in spite of the actual people in it. What she really, really loves are the frogs, and the gator, and Raymond (but my friends call me Ray) the Cajun lightening bug.  And it’s constant talks about frogs, and ribbiting and hopping up and down, and while I know this is just one of many phases she will have as she gets older, it’s the cursing that is causing most of the problems.

You see it seems that we need to really work with the bug on her R’s, because when she yells frog, it does not sound like frog, it sounds like “fuck.” Ah yes, and let me tell you it is fantastic. The first time it happened the husband and I looked at each other like “dude do you see where your potty mouth has gotten us?” But then she grabbed her frog and we figured out what she was saying. She did the same thing when my mom was here and I got a not nice look from my mom before I explained the linguistic stages of children who substitute easy letter sounds for ones that are too hard for them, thus frog becomes fuck. I think she bought it, but I did get the side eye. But the best part of all of this when we were at the mall and went into the Disney store where there was a whole wall of frogs and lightening bugs and gators.  Of course the bug yelled “frogs” and ran toward them, but that isn’t what she said. The whole store stopped to stare at us, and I could see their brains working- parenting FAIL.  But did we learn our lesson there? No.

About a week ago we decided to get a small fish tank because both my husband and my daughter seem to enjoy looking at fish swim around in a circle- hey who am I to judge? While we were at the fish store we saw some- you guessed it- albino frogs. And once again the bug cursed up a storm in her excitement. I tried to explain to the clerk what she was saying, but I don’t think she believed me, especially since the husband was laughing so hard. And now I hear it everyday because of course the frogs came home with us. Again, we are awesome parents. Now we are having the same problem with her sidewalk chalk- I will let you guess what chalk sounds like when toddlers substitute sounds.

Posted by: mountainmomma18 | April 22, 2010

What should have been

Today I took the day off of work. I just could not imagine being in any kind of state of mind to discuss thesis statements and metaphors in Charles Dickens. Because today I should have a baby, I should be counting little toes and remembering just how exhausting having a newborn is, but I’m not and I am pretty bitter about it. I keep thinking about what should be happening, what I should be doing, what I should have that I think this week I have been neglecting the present.  Yesterday I woke up in a particularly grumpy mood and after some coffee took the bug outside to water the flowers, one of her favorite things to do lately, and as I set on the steps watching her poor copious amounts of water on some lawn dandelions with her little turtle water can I thought about all the things that I do have. It struck me that maybe instead of spending my day thinking about what could have been I should spend it celebrating what I have, and remembering the little life that made us so happy for 19 weeks. Maybe that would be a better way to spend a day that was supposed to be filled with promise- to make it be filled with promise. So today we will go to the park and maybe water some more dandelions. We will plant some new flowers, and one very special oleander bush, and we will set free some balloons in remembrance. I will kiss little strawberry blonde curls and tickle little feet and promise that no matter what happens in the future, I will always be thankful for what I have this day. Now I am aware that this attitude is a bit at odds with my normal angst and dry wit, so I know I will never be perfect at it, but it’s a journey and I can try- and fail and try again. In the meantime there are turtle watering cans and a little girl who loves dandelions.

Posted by: mountainmomma18 | April 17, 2010

Accidental Hipster

So deciding that maybe one outgrows a black thumb, and needing some bright colors at the new house, the husband, bug and I ventured to our neighborhood Lowe’s to purchase some hanging flowers and plants to grace the front porch. Now I know nothing about gardening and have successfully killed every green thing that has ever entered my house, but I thought what the heck- besides the husband assured me that he knew something about planting. Also they had this totally cute Dora trowel and rake set that I knew the bug would love to play in the dirt with.  So it was decided- I would attempt to garden- and don’t worry funny pictures are coming, but that isn’t the story for today, today we will talk about how my husband called me a hipster- and then proved it and now I have to get a new haircut and all new clothes- or maybe I will just keep denying- that works right?

So there we were wondering around the gardening center, which was huge and awesome by the way. The bug kept yelling flowers and then laughing her ass off- which was totally awesome. But then we passed this total hipster couple who totally gave us a look when the bug laughed, probably to let is know that you know public is not a place for children.  Of course to do this they had to stop their haranguing some poor employee about not having enough organic potting soil or ladybugs for pest control of something like that.  I rolled my eyes at the husband and said something along the lines of “Uggg Hipsters,” when the husband laughed and actually said to me: “Honey you know that you are totally a hipster too right?

Me: The fuck? I am so not a hipster.

The Husband: Yeah, I know that you like to think that- but you’re wearing skinny jeans.

Me: That does not a hipster make- lots of people wear skinny jeans.

The Husband: You wear black framed glasses- also you got bangs last month.

Me: Uh.. I have to see don’t I? Also I got bangs because I totally needed a change-

The Husband: And when is the last time you had bangs?

Me: 1989- and what is your point?

The husband: And what are you wearing on your feet?

Me: What?

The Husband: Wellies? Pink wellies?

Me: It’s raining- besides they’re from Target.

The Husband: And the jacket?

Me: Uh..a fleece?

The Husband: What kind of fleece?

Me: You shut your whore mouth about my awesome eggplant fleece!

The Husbad:  Yes I know the color is “fab” but what is the name brand?

Me: Hello it was 60% off!

The Husband: Where?

Me: ::mumble::

The Husband: What was that?

Me: The Northface- and you suck and we are divorced for 10 minutes.

The Husband: I’m sure that there’s an app for that- check on your iphone-

Me: Also  I have the keys and your wallet because you cannot carry anything so have fun getting home.

The moral of the story is that I may in fact be a hipster- but not a douche- so there is something. Also my husband sucks- and probably a little bit of a hipster himself.

Posted by: mountainmomma18 | April 14, 2010

A healthy dose of fear

At her two year check up my daughter’s pediatrician looked her up and down, taking in the bruises and the scraps on her legs and smiling. “I have a feeling we will see you often you little daredevil.” I had to agree. I mean at first I was all “dude the doctor is going to think we beat this child look at her!” But then the doctor put me at ease, “All toddlers look like this, if they don’t then I start to worry because that means they are not exploring.” But then she added “But this one is probably going to keep you on your toes- is she afraid of anything?” No, really, she’s not. I mean at some point in the day I guess you could say that she is afraid that if she takes a nap she will miss something- but as far as the world my daughter is not afraid of anything or anyone. She runs headfirst into whatever life presents without a thought to the consequences. Of course part of this is her being 2, this is what 2 year olds do. But I think the other part is that stubborn streak rearing its head. When she falls she gets right back up and tries it again- it’s mostly an admirable quality except when she hurts herself- but even then she rarely lets on. I find new marks on her all the time with no idea how they got there because she never made a peep about them. She’s tough, that kid of mine. But as her mother I have to tell you I think a healthy dose of fear would help us both. Maybe she would learn to be a little more careful and I would not have to insulate the house in bubble wrap. My own mother finds this endlessly funny and while she was visiting last week made sure I knew where this all came from. But then I asked her where I got it..hahaha gottcha mom!

Because really, let’s be honest. My husband knows that when I set my shoulders and squint my eyes that the stubborn has set in, or as my grandfather would put it “my Irish was up.” I have never quit anything, ever. I don’t quit even if I am knocked down I get right back up and try it another way because I will win- at what who knows it could be working my way through school or getting the top off of the milk- to me they have the same significance. And while my mom is always telling me to pick my battles, that sometimes it is prudent to stop I have never listened to that advice, which is probably why I am where I am today. But all of that comes from somewhere and that is a long line of very strong, very stubborn Irish women. In my family the women are the center, the foundation, the backbone. They do what has to be done even when it’s not pretty and even when they have to do it through sheer force of will. This is my heritage. So it is not surprising that my daughter, after various attempts, finally managed to get to the Oreo Cakesters on the kitchen counter by dragging her toy box, emptied of all toys, over and turning it upside down to climb. The fact that she fell on her ass the first few times she climbed up on the thing didn’t really seem to deter her. And so I should not be surprised that now that we have been cleared to reproduce again I want to get down to it. And I want to show no fear, but that is not always so clear-cut. Because while we can say we have no fear, what we really mean is that the fear is there, we are just pushing it aside.

When my therapist asks me how I feel about having another baby I tell her I’m scared, but I want another kid- so I will just have to get over it, I need to get a new plan and get on board. Surprisingly she does not think that is entirely healthy, mentally that is. I told her I am not one to wallow- I don’t whine, I don’t wring my hands, and I plan a new attack. She told me maybe I should stop intellectualizing my pain. I think she may have a point.

Since the start of the new year I have been so busy going through tests and circling dates on calendars and preparing to get pregnant again that all of the sudden I looked around and it was April, and it is a week from my due date, April 22nd. And I want to be pregnant again- or rather I want to have another baby. I was never one of those women who relished being pregnant, I mean it’s fine and there really is nothing like feeling that little kick and roll in your tummy. But then she jams her feet under your ribs and your heartburn will not go away and you are reminded that being pregnant is not all puppies and rainbows. But oh how I want it again- and I want something to distract me from the fact that instead of snuggling a new soul come April 22nd, I will just be preparing my students for finals, and doing dishes that do not include bottles and washing clothes that are not so tiny they hardly take up any room and the only diapers I am changing are princess pull ups that my daughter calls underwear. And my husband thinks it’s time for a big girl bed because the bug has started trying to climb out of her crib and all I can think of is that my baby is not going to be in a crib anymore and I have no one else to put in it.  It’s time to face the pain. But honestly I don’t really know how because I always push the fear back, I won’t let it get me, I will overcome it. But as I contemplate another pregnancy I would be lying if I said that the thought didn’t make my heart race and my mouth go dry. When I close my eyes at night I am hounded by the what if’s- what if I can’t get pregnant again? What if something goes wrong again? Could I deal with something happening so late? Giving birth to another still child?

I wonder if I will be a basket case with a new pregnancy, as trepidatious as I was with my first, like a new mom all over again. And while pregnancy is not all fun, there is something about walking around knowing what is going on within you that is special in a way that cannot be articulated. I wonder if I have lost that feeling, will I spend a new pregnancy constantly worried, analyzing every twinge and pain?  This is one time that I am really, really worried that I will bypass my healthy dose of fear and head straight to I’m losing my shit land. This is especially true of me because I tend to compartmentalize and repress my feelings, so I can sort and intellectualize them. I tend to walk around pretending I am fine thinking that through sheer force of will I can make the pretend become real. I probably need to work on that. But this week will be a tough one, no matter what I do.

Posted by: mountainmomma18 | April 12, 2010

Long enough….

Ok, it has been long enough I think I need to come out. This week I actually posted an avatar on my twitter, it was liberating. And I am tired of remembering to rename the family, so without further ado….

This is me…

Jumping on the bed on a Sunday morning

my name is Jessica

this is Lilly- who I mostly call bug anyway….

I'll eat you up I love you so

this is my husband, also a J- Jeff -let’s leave it at that because he doesn’t have a blog….

Trying on my strappy shoes - getting ready for spring

I know fun right. So leave me lots of comments about how I look so young- not like I will be 35 this summer…right? Also all the pictures were taken with my iphone using the Hipstamatic app, of which I am currently obsessed.

Posted by: mountainmomma18 | April 7, 2010

I know it’s cheesy but it’s important

When I was in the fourth grade all of us girls were taken aside by one of the nuns (yes I went to Catholic school which is a whole other story I will discuss one day, but not now) to discuss how some of the girls were being very mean to another girl. No names were mentioned of course, but we were lectured about good Christian behavior which did not include name calling or exclusion. Not being part of the “popular” cliché mostly because I would rather read a book than discuss TV, something my mom limited anyway, I had never been mean to this poor girl, but I had seen other people do it and had done nothing and now I felt bad. It is not a surprise that even as a child I felt bad about something I didn’t even do, I have always had an emotional streak- I feel things too deeply I think- but my dad has always said that is one of my best qualities- so I guess I come by it naturally. I also grew up with hippies for parents, so I was raised to believe that injustice was something we had to fight- because it was our job as humans. Yeah, I’m lucky my name is not Rainbow or something. Anyway when I told my mom what happened and how I felt she suggested that we invite the picked on girl over to play.

I have to admit that I was leery, I mean all of the other girls teased her and I would rather stand outside mean girl culture- I never had a sister- I didn’t do girl world very well. I was also not sure that this girl and I would get along, she never fought back when the other girls were mean- that was something I didn’t understand. This is probably why I was never the object of teasing- I mean on paper I was a perfect target- geeky, nose always in a book- but I was also athletic  and played sports and had a very smart mouth, and a backbone, so I was usually left alone with my books, which is what I wanted to begin with. But my mom reiterated again and again how important it was to invite this girl over, to do the right thing because it was the right thing. That was a lesson that always stuck with me, not only because my mom told me this once, but because she told me again and again- and she lived by that. My mom, she didn’t just talk the talk- she did and still does walk the walk. For her you do what’s right, even if it’s night easy. It’s her I thought of when I first read about the cruel joke that some soulless people pulled in Mississippi. Once I picked my jaw up off the floor my first thought was about the parents who masterminded this bullshit. What the fuck were they thinking?

I guess this really speaks to the responsibility I feel about making sure my kid is a good kid, that she says please and thank you, that she knows to be nice always, until the rare times comes when it’s time to not be nice. I want her to always do the right thing, even when that causes you some personal pain. Which brings me to the question what the fuck were these parents thinking? That is ok to teach your kid to be liars and evil fucking people? That’s it’s ok to discriminate against someone because they aren’t like you? Because they are different in ways that will never really affect your life at all? This is the model that you want to be for your children? Is this how you want your children to live? To hate someone for no fucking reason? This struck me so much because I know exactly what my mom would have done in this situation, and now what I would do with my child. Namely that you do what is right, no matter how much you think that your prom may be ruined, because doing the right thing is not always easy, but it’s important. And that is what I will teach my daughter, I hope that I can do it half as well as my mom did.

And if you could not tell already, I am a gay ally and I am damn proud of it.

Posted by: mountainmomma18 | April 4, 2010

There is totally a tone…

Back in our good old graduate school days (which was not that long ago thank you very much) we would occasionally (read most weekends) need some distraction from books and grading in the form of cocktails and other people, unfortunately our University was located in a small college town surrounded by cornfields. This meant that forays to the local watering holes would mean we would inevitably run into students, which did not help the whole- get together with friends and bitch about stuff which includes students. So mostly we got together at each other’s homes. Everyone would bring libations and depending on the weather we would cook out or order pizza. And if there was enough alcohol, sometimes we would bust out the board games to play some drunken Yatzee or something like that.

On one such night our friend Mike convinced us all that we had to play the game Sorry. Now you know you are in for fun when you put some pretty competitive people around a child’s board game especially when they have gone through quite a few bottles of wine. Let it be said that we did take totally delight in sending our friends back to start with a snotty “sorry” followed by an evil Mr. Burns laugh. After a few rounds Mike had to call a time out for what he saw as a serious breach of the game. The Sorry, he contended, was meant to be more of a ‘oh, sorry I landed on your piece and sent you back to start, but that’s ok you will probably get me next time” not so much a mean “hahahaha sorry I sent your loser ass back to start- but you can’t hate the player” kind of way. We all decided he was a pinko commie bastard and we called Karl Rove on his ass. Not really of course we love his hippie dippie big heart- but now that whole conversation is coming back to me full force as I try to teach the bug some manners.

I have gotten her to say please and thank you when prompted and like a good mommy when she has to go into time out I tell her exactly (and yes I know that logic doesn’t work on a two year old, but I’m laying ground work people!) why she is in time out and then I ask her to say sorry, which she does. And I think the lesson has sunk in a little too much, because now she yells out “sorry” right after she does something she knows she’s not supposed to do. She has pinched me, and yelled sorry as she runs away, grabbed the cat’s tail and yelled sorry when she screeched and bite her daddy and then yelled sorry when he yelped (much like the cat). The problem is though that I think she thinks as long as she says sorry after she does something she is golden. And the evil little laugh she gives when she yells sorry just reminds me too much of the drunken game we used to play because really I don’t think she is sorry at all, she just thinks that is what she has to say. This whole manners thing has just blown up in my face- and I have come to the realization that this kid may be too smart for her own good- or far too much like me. One or the other.

Posted by: mountainmomma18 | March 24, 2010

She’s a Maniac

So let me tell you about the joys of a two year old- oh you’ve already been there? Then for the love of god tell me how to make it stop! I’m just kidding of course, I know that the bug is just pushing boundaries and learning- but holy crap does it test your patience. Last night the husband had to put the bug in time out for telling him to “shut up” which I totally would have done, but I had to run into the other room to hide all of the laughing. This, for me, is one of the hardest parts of disciplining a small child- controlling the laughter because let’s be honest a lot of the times things that toddlers do are funny- like telling their dad to shut up (and seriously she did not get that from us, she did however get that from kids at the park- honest). Or when your toddler gets on her hands and knees to try to eat out of the dog’s bowl because she has spent the last few weeks pretending she was a dog- seriously she has taken to running to the front window with the dog to bark at passers-by. Again I think this is hysterical. This does not bother me, you have to pick your battles- and I remember my nephew insisting we let him take a nap in the dog’s crate when he was around this age- so it’s not strange.

And an aside for a funny story- when my nephew was this age we had just gotten our dog and were teaching him tricks like speak and roll over. Ty, my nephew thought that this was the coolest thing ever and decided that we needed to give him the commands to sit, speak and roll over and then after he performed these tricks pretend to throw him a dog treat- and the husband and I indulged him because- well it wasn’t my kid- I had the fun aunt rep to protect and I did not see the harm. That is until he wanted to nap in the dog’s crate. We convinced him not to do this by building him a little boy crate with blankets and a couple of chairs- it worked well and he actually took a nap and by the time my brother came back Ty was up and “scratched” at the door to be let out of his crate. My brother asked “Did you put my son in a pretend crate?” Uh, yeah- and he took a nap- so who was he to judge?

Now back to my problem, namely the screaming and feet kicking that happens when we dare to tell the bug no. This fits in nicely with her assertion that everything is hers. “Mine!” she yells at the top of her voice- and nothing will convince her that mommy’s glasses are in fact not hers and by the way these are replacements from the ones she broke in October. And the demands when she wants something she deems hers- anything- even things that are in fact hers. My days tend to go like this- “Mine!” “Yes that is your dolly- what’s her name?” “Mine!!” “That’s a strange name, but we can go with it if you’d like.” “Mine!!!!” “Yes that is your sippy wha..” “More!!!” “You want some more water? Can you say please mommy?” “Pease mommy!” And then cue tantrum as I go to the sink to GET HER MORE WATER because obviously I am either moving like molasses or she thought with just the request her sippy would just fill with water- I have no idea.

If it gets bad she goes in time out- but usually I just ignore the tantrums so she doesn’t think “Oh hell yeah I can get whatever I want just by screaming!” This only makes her angrier. She has taken to literally throwing herself down at my feet- I step over her and walk away; she gets up, runs to wherever I have gone and throws herself down again. She is mad and she wants me to know it. Also she really hates it if you do anything to amuse yourself at her expense when she is in the midst of one of these moods- the other day she started with the stomping her feet rapidly when she was told she could not in fact shove things into the heating vent.  As I begged the good lord for the strength not to ship her to my mother, the husband started sing “She’s a maniac, manic” because the bug did look like she was doing that running in place move from Flashdance. I started cracking up, which only made her even angrier and the piercing screaming started. So I started singing the Copacabana at the top of my voice until the bug held up her hand and yelled, “stop” which I thought was snotty even for a two year old. But by the end of the night everyone was laughing and in the end if you can’t make fun of your two year old for your own amusement, what is the point of having children?

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