Friday, May 21, 2010

Life. In A Painful Nutshell.

I really don't have time to post now. Naps are being gentled tugged away from my little guys... I should be doing prep work for the cookout I'm hosting. But I just really need to write this post. And I think I'll be glad later.

In the College of Arts and Sciences, we were treated to a whole neat selection of electives like "Asian Religions" by incredible professors. My Asian Religions class had a profound effect on me.. especially the section on Buddhism. Imagine, life being All Pain? Really? Like.. ALL life is suffering. Just have to get through the suffering; without it there would be no joy.

When I was gazing at my adorable cherubic infant who is currently experiencing sharp little razor blades coming through his bottom gum, I thought.. this is fitting. Isn't it?

Here is this little guy, just barely here. Barely six months old. He looks around, he sees a brand new world. Everything is great. Everything is fantastic! Everyone is so nice. Everyone is so accommodating. Everything I need, I am given!! Such joy, in this place called The World.

And then.. the pain.

It starts, probably, as a faint little ache in the gums. (Right? How the hell would we know?) Then it probably moves up to the jaw a little, a constant, dull aching.

Cutting teeth. Ouch! How painful is that? Imagine for a minute how that must feel. Didja ever get your wisdom teeth out? Yeah.

You just barely arrive here, happy as a baby, and then the pain begins. (And then, later, it really begins, when someone steals your toy and won't give it back, or you fall off the playground, or nobody wants to be your friend, or you get your heart broken. Or you forget you left the emergency break on when you start to go and smell an awful burning rubber smell.)

But look. We get through the pain. The constant-ness of it. Never ending, never a break until that tooth pokes through and one kid goes off to school (or college.)

The pain... then the joy... we like all of it.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Timing is Everything

As the moon waxes and wanes, so goes my impulse to write. I feel sudden urges, much like my toddler who is learning how it feels when he has to "go". And I do believe this is a learned behavior, a skill, he is developing.

Take yesterday. On a generous whim, I decided to let him make the decision whether he walked through the grocery store (as opposed to riding in the cart. A much safer enterprise. Less bolting. And broken ketchup bottles. Et cetera.) We piled up the stroller basket with items, my infant eagerly watching how this was to unfold. All was going great. We had probably, oh, 20 or 25 or 50 items in the basket including all the baby food jars.

Time to check out. I was nervous. With my attention focused on loading all the grocery items onto the little conveyor belt, my toddler could seize upon the opportunity to bolt back into the store ("I'M FREE!!! I'm FREEEEEEEEEE!")

But, I come from a strict "Don't Fire Until Fired Upon" Philosophy, so I held the whistle and waited patiently while the chatty, well-meaning grocery clerk checked out the person in front of me. Very. Very. Slowly.

The Chatty, Well-Meaning grocery clerk finally looked up and started checking me out.
Beep! Beep! She starts scanning the items, bagging them, chatting all the way. Beep! My toddler looks up at me, and starts crossing and criss-crossing his legs.

Uh oh.

"Mommy, does this store have a bathroom, do you think?"
Hoo-boy. "Yes, sweetheart, they definitely do. Do you need to... ?"
"Yes, I need to go potty." Legs criss-crossed again. I glance at the conveyor belt. Only 49 items to go.
He shifts his weight and looks up again. "Mommy, I need to make a 'whoa'." That is his word for #2.

We are trapped in the grocery store checkout line with 3 people behind us. And my toddler has to go make a whoa. Right then.

I rattle off the situation to the grocery clerk. With lightning fast reflexes, she speeds up to 100X her previous speed. I run my card through the thing, pick up my toddler, push my infant in the stroller to the back of the store; way, way back. Where he does go. And wow, did he have to go.

Then, (and I'm sweating now) I race back to the front of the store to find out what happened. Do other people do this? I wonder as I run past shelves of cereal boxes I forgot to buy. Am I the first? I think to myself, knowing I am not.

Finally, we make it. Back to the line. Back to back of the line. The Chatty, Well-meaning grocery clerk recognizes me and smiles.

"Did we make it?" She winks.

We made it.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Unbending the Straw

Life is so unfair sometimes. No, really, it's the clock that's unfair. I do not have time to post, yet it's all I want to do at times, write. Lunch is unfinished. Naps are over. I still have applesauce on my shoulder.

So the question really becomes, for me: Does not blogging kill brain cells?

I say yes. All day long, I have to maintain the highest energy level possible, explain every nuance of life from why strangers smile at you when they walk by, to why a cement truck turns the big thing on its back, to what constitutes a picnic.

None of these tasks are difficult to explain to an almost-3 year old. But sometimes I find myself diving a little deeper into the concept, like when I was trying to emphasize why the washcloth sank after it got wet. Or how hot food cools off, the principle behind this. Or why heavy things fall faster than light things. Or why Mommy doesn't want to prop the door open at Starbucks longer than one or two full minutes while my toddler casually saunters through, carrying his milk cup all by himself.

I do feel cliche, at times, especially when I'm rushing around. To fight feeling cliche, I find myself doing things that could only be categorized as uncliche. Or... another word might be... crazy. Wanting to avoid a nearly unavoidable toddler tantrum, I didn't let us sit down in Starbucks recently, instead telling my toddler that we could have a car picnic with our drinks! A picnic in the car! Allll we had to do was get back to the car. Ya with me, parents?

I loaded us in, infant in infant seat. Toddler in car seat. Stroller away. Library books away. Phew. Then, a little voice called me out on my own innovation:

"Can we have a picnic with our drinks.. in the car?"

Of course we can. I got everyone out. I popped the trunk. We spread a blanket in the bed of my (mini)SUV's trunk. Had our drinks (and our pound cake.) A picnic. I answered many questions that came up.. like the foretold cement truck.

Maybe it's cliche to attempt the uncliche. Yet, I feel it's my greatest endeavor to educate my young mind(s) at every opportunity.

And keep educating my own.




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