Into the unknown

I haven’t had too much to say since we’ve been enjoying the summer–at least, the summer, such as it is in Northern England. But briefly, I’d like to say a word about parental instinct.

For a host of reasons that I’ve been gathering, tracking, and as of today actively journaling over the last few weeks and trying inadequately to describe to far-away family members, we’re bringing Maggie to the pediatrician for a referral to whatever the UK’s version of Early Intervention is. Whatever…this…is, if it is anything at all, I am not sure. I’ve had nothing to go on but a few incidents and a nagging feeling in my gut that something was not…quite…right.

There’s something about the way Maggie processes the world that makes me wonder. Hating the feel of the hairbrush and toothbrush or the feeling of water coming out of the faucet. Becoming upset and repeating “Loud noises don’t hurt” over and over to reassure herself when she hears an unpleasant sound. Most heartbreaking of all is backing away from children her own age in a defensive posture, hands up, visibly nervous that they may engage further. It doesn’t happen that way every time; she’s been able to play with some friends’ kids. But most of the time it’s “hands up, back away.”

And most recently, today: a full-blown panic attack (body locked, hyperventilating, sobbing, begging to go to the car) at a baby ballet class that until now she’s made a few attempts to endure, if not happily. This is not the first meltdown in class or the first one that forced us to leave and find a dark corner to calm down; it was the first time we had to leave almost as soon as the class started. It was thirty minutes before I could calm her down enough to even attempt to figure out what might have triggered her reaction. She calmed down enough to agree to go into the adjoining kid’s gym play area, where she buried herself to the neck in the plastic ball pit and remained as motionless as a lawn ornament for twenty minutes before she requested to go home.

I’ve read the literature and I’m quite confident this is not autism. I’m also feeling good that it’s not full-blown sensory processing disorder; she likes to fingerpaint with her yogurt as much as the next toddler, adores the sea and sand, and would eat rebar if only we covered it in tomato sauce. Nobody is going to be more excited than I am to hear that this is nothing; just a phase (albeit a long, protracted, well-predating our move to England phase) or something easily dealt with. I’ve hesitated even saying anything when all I have are a few hunches and a couple incidents that make me say “Hmm…”

I hope I’m overreacting and that we are not about to leap over the edge into an unknown world. I really do. But our instincts say that we need to talk to someone. And so we are.

The Emerald Bile

The following post contains graphic tales of stomach upset. For those who want their hilarity sans vomit I shall direct you to a delightful post about a 5′ chicken.

I’m not sure if this is a common side effect of pregnancy, but I have found that during my time of incubation I am far more prone to motion sickness than I usually am–and under normal circumstances I am very prone indeed. Sea Bands help enormously but only if Maggie doesn’t notice I’m wearing them because she gets jealous that I’m wearing “pitty bwacelets.” I bought her some pitty bwacelets of her own but she’s managed to lose both sets. Anyway, the point I’m slowly making is that aside from a nice cup of mint tea there isn’t much that alleviates motion sickness for me.

On Thursday we left for four days and nights in Dublin, Ireland and got a fast, cheap dinner at the little cafe in the Leeds-Bradford airport (an international venue that’s roughly the size of the parking garage). Let me say a few words about Ryan Air: if a subway car and a flea market merchant had a baby that could fly, it would be a Ryan Air 737 plane. Ads cover every possible space (that reminds me, I need to check out that one ad for a trip to Provence), everything from magazines to smokeless cigarettes is for sale, and the landings are as quick and fast as your standard Southwest descent. So by the time we boarded the bus into the city I was already feeling a mite queasy.

In past travels, I had always carried either gallon Ziploc bags or plastic shopping bags. You never know when you might need to carry muddy socks or…whatever. Since I had Maggie you’d think this tendency would be multiplied, but we use cloth diapers and as such I have two very handy “wet bags.” These are reusable bags meant to carry soiled diapers home in a diaper bag without ruining the rest of your gear. And hey, REUSABLE. I like that! That goes right in the diaper bag even when we travel and use disposables because…whatever. You never know.

Less than five minutes from our intended stop I knew the possible was going to become the inevitable and I would meet dinnertime’s cheese toasty once again. Foolishly, I clung to the hope that I could at least get off the bus and on to the street; surely I would not be the first or last person to befoul the streets of Dublin with partially-used dinner. But I felt that awful watering sensation in my mouth and knew it was not to be. Scrambling to think of anything that could hold what was coming, I reached for the wet bag and let loose.

Now, a wet bag is meant to hold sodden clothes and soiled diapers. They are NOT designed to hold enormously large volumes of liquid–particularly liquid deposited in a violent manner into a bag that has seen two years of twice-weekly washings. As we exited the bus just seconds after my episode I noticed small beads of cheese-scented bile beginning to ooze out of the seams. And because that bag was ten dollars (plus shipping!) my pride and Yankee frugality held out and I decided the best course of action was just to hustle to the hotel and clean the whole mess out.

It’s a reusable bag, guys. I had to REUSE IT, because I am a RIDICULOUS PERSON.

You know where this is going, right? There was a problem with our hotel room (several, in fact, but that is a post for later); seems that the notation that we needed a separate bed for Maggie was not heeded and they didn’t have a room that would fit all of us. Tom, fully aware of his green wife, her reeking, leaking bag of cheese chunks and bile, and the antsy small child in his care, just said to send us to the original room and we would make it work. And so we did and I was finally able to tidy up my mess–although that bag did not accompany us on any of our Irish journey. I swore that for the return journey, I would bring at LEAST two plastic shopping bags just in case.

I don’t know if there actually is a citywide ban and I’m too lazy to check, but there was not a single plastic shopping bag to be found in our travels in Dublin. Like most halfhearted hippies I am very much in favor of plastic bag bans and enjoy the smug moral superiority of my canvas bags, at least until it directly affects my needs and what I needed was a leakproof, disposable vessel in case of…whatever…on the return trip to the airport and I didn’t want to buy a full box of gallon Ziplocs. Tom, in his genius, noticed the trash can liners in our hotel room were the perfect size and scored a few from housekeeping. I married him for many reasons but time and time again it is his resourcefulness and general ability to solve my immediate crises in an efficient manner that reaffirms my love. Who else but the love of your life would invest so much time in the efficacy of your vomit receptacle?

Naturally I didn’t need it on our return trip to the airport yesterday. Possibly we had a better driver and better traffic; possibly it was also that the driver had Michael Jackson cranked and the kids on the bus were singing “Billie Jean” with some gusto. I defy you to notice your nausea when schoolkids are rocking out to MJ. But as a nice bookend to our trip the little toddler sitting in the airplane row in front of us spontaneously erupted about halfway into the flight. She managed to hit the airsick bag on the second gag and we were right there with baby wipes and hand sanitizer to help them out, and I would have happily offered my plastic bag if it had been needed. I’m a little surprised with the way that they nickel and dime you that Ryan Air doesn’t charge extra for airsick bags.

But as it was, safe in the knowledge my plastic bag was handy in case I needed it, I was able to reassure her frazzled mother with the utter certainty of the wizened traveler: “Don’t worry about it. It happened to me just a few days ago. I’ve been there.”

Odds and Ends

I’m pointedly ignoring Maggie singing a song in her bedroom (about a…tomato? Okay then!) and NOT napping because 1pm-3pm is the Time of Quiet at this particular monkey house. Since I am a Bear of Above Average Brains I assume that her full transition to a big girl bed is also impeding her progress to the land of Nod. When we first moved into our new house, she slept on a spare crib mattress–for a crib we never owned, I might add–that we brought from Hawaii on the off chance Maggie would have to sleep on the floor. This bit of sense proved…well, sensible. However, a mattress placed directly on the floor is entirely too close to all the toys and books we unpacked and the temptation proved to be too much for Maggie-bear. I don’t mind if she plays with a toy or two IN bed because if she’s tired she won’t climb down from an elevated position and will eventually fall asleep; however, simply being able to ROLL out of bed and directly into a pile of toys was a thrill of decadence usually saved for the back rooms and Vegas. I canceled this out by putting her in MY bed, but because the new couch was being delivered in the same IKEA order as her new bed I did not have anywhere to comfortably sprawl during MY quiet time. And I need it. I need my quiet time. Gestatiion, Round 2 is pummeling my expanding self all around the ring and I need two hours to doze on a soft surface and occasionally refresh myself with a hit of tea. Thankfully the balance of life has been restored, Maggie is loving life in her big girl bed (and her free reign to access her toys), and my daily sessions of Tea and (Self-) Sympathy have resumed.

*****

Parenting Pro Tip: It doesn’t matter how many IKEA flat packs and pictogram instructions you’ve navigated since entering the Land of Adulthood. When you see a 20-page pictogram instruction booklet and roughly 80 different parts to assemble together, DON’T START BUILDING YOUR CHILD’S BED HALF AN HOUR BEFORE BEDTIME. Or you know what, do. Maggie was so tired by the end of the process, two and a half hours later, that she crawled into her freshly made–and I do mean FRESHLY MADE–bed, pulled a quilt over her head and dropped off to sleep without a sound.

*****

We have put the iPad away and not used it for over a week. We don’t plan to get it out again until our trip to Dublin next month and Lisbon/Sintra in August. It feels nice to temporarily fire the electronic book-toy-game-babysitter.

*****

A return to cloth diapers: yes, we are still using them. No, Maggie has not fallen in line with the theory that cloth diapered children learn about the potty faster because of the moisture. No, I don’t know why, but my theory is that sitting over an open hole (even in the form of a toddler potty) disturbs her (and I know for damn sure that the noise of a flushing toilet–and a vacuum cleaner, and a food processor, and loud cars, and really anything that makes loud noises in any form) sends her into hysterics. Anyway. Since we are coming into our second year, some of the diapers are a little worse for wear and could either be fixed (by me, whenever I get around to rousing myself to find the needles and thread for new Velcro and elastics) or replaced. I left the decision to Tom, who voted replace. If I had it to do all over again, I’d buy all the same products–the Bum Genius one-size pocket diapers, the newborn prefolds, the nighttime fitteds with Thirsties covers–but I would not buy them with hook-and-loop closures. All the replacements we’ve ordered have snap closures, and I will never go back. The fit isn’t that much better with Velcro tabs, and they seem to hold up in the laundry exceptionally better. So there you go.

*****

It is May 16 and I am wearing long sleeves, long pants, and wool socks. WTF, England? I feel only slightly better knowing my American bretheren in New England are similarly frozen this spring, but golly. Maybe next time we do a tour in a warm locale we should do an in-betweeny climate before moving to an area that shares a latitude with Labrador, Canada. That leather couch we just bought is CHILLY when you plunk down on it first thing in the morning.

*****

I wanted a Storchenwiege wrap since I started researching babywearing when my sister was pregnant with my nephew in 2007-2008. Since this is likely my last ride on the Baby Go Round, I bought one (in Inka, for the curious). I have no regrets. Nor do I regret dropping an iPod’s worth of cash on new flannel sheets from L.L. Bean. Consider my nest snugly and almost completely (with the exception of one or two other baby items I’d like to buy, and oh, yeah, a new CAR SEAT JESUS THOSE ARE PRICEY) feathered.

*****

Ahhh…Maggie is asleep, doll in each hand. Bliss.

Some garlic, grapefruit, and a nasal bulb walk into a bar…

One of the wonderful things about travel is that it exposes you to all sorts of things and people.  This is great, except from an immunological perspective: being exposed to all those people means that you in turn are exposed to their cooties. And when you have a toddler running about, especially one who demands “keeee-ses!” multiple times a day (not that I mind, it is heart-melting), you’ve already got a lot of cooties around anyway.  So it came to pass that my wee diapered Petri dish and I headed into the holidays with a bit of congestion and a minor case of the sniffles.

I got the sense that the trip to Maine would be difficult health-wise as we were driving to the airport in Honolulu. Passing by Waipahu and through the valley, I realized that my ears weren’t clearing as we went down the hill. Crap. This boded ill for the flight. Sure enough, the descents on both legs of the flight left me in incredible pain–the second didn’t clear for a full 48 hours.  It didn’t matter how much Emergen-C I drank, how many salads I had, or how much vitamin D I took. After six days in the dry, wintry air of Maine and another 13-hour travel day, the first days of 2011 saw me felled by the worst head cold I’ve had since we moved to Hawaii–one that morphed into infected sinuses almost immediately.

Rendered almost completely out of commission and being the good little millennial that I am, I crowdsourced solutions for my sinus pain on Facebook.  Suggested remedies included grapefruit extract, juicing raw garlic, teas, and coconut oil. No problem, I thought. I can do all that fairly easily; I have all that stuff at the house!

First up was the garlic remedy: “take the juice of some raw garlic and use an eyedropper to put it up my nose. Hold nose shut for 5 minutes so it can take effect.”  Now, I know a thing or two about remedies, and I actually wrote an article that says RAW GARLIC MAY STING. Did I remember this? No. Pity.

And sweet lady of blessed garlic bulbs, that is completely correct. It stings. It hurts. I screamed like I had not screamed since I was trying to birth an 8 pound infant and scared Maggie so badly she dropped to the floor and hid under Blankie. Forget holding the nose shut for 5 minutes. I ran for the bathroom, beet-red and pouring water from my instantly bloodshot-looking eyes, to try to get something cool in my sinuses.  To call it a scourging would be putting it mildly. But the thing is, it worked. As soon as the sting passed, I felt better–but only for a bit.

Since I lacked the emotional fortitude to climb back on the garlic horse, I went to the next step: grapefruit extract in a neti pot.  Grapefruit extract has phenomenal bacteria-killing properties, so strong that I keep some on hand to add to my laundry to disinfect Maggie’s diapers. Since I didn’t have a neti pot, I used an infant aspirator bulb as had been recommended to me by my surgeon after I had my sinus surgery in 1998 (I’m a sufferer from way back). But grapefruit extract is bitter, bitter, bitter as…a bitter bitter thing that’s bitter. And the other issue is that if your sinuses aren’t clear, that water may very well drain into your ears.  What’s worse is that  also might become inflamed, fail to drain and then pressurize and expand, and create a double ear infection.

If you’re REALLY lucky…you’ll feel a sharp pain, a bit of blood and yuck flowing out of your ear, and determine you’ve ended up with a ruptured eardrum.

Lucky me.

I’ve been doing that kind of sinus cleansing for almost twelve years, and that’s the first time this has happened to me. After spending the remainder of the day rocking myself and praying for ear drainage (having almost totally forgotten my poor nose), I was ready to attack again after dinner.  The final thing on the list was coconut oil, but that was mostly a preventative.  The benefits of coconut oil are disputed but I’ve seen the antibacterial properties myself in dealing with Maggie and skin conditions, so I figured the advice to take a tablespoon or two to let it work an internal flush was sound.  Also, it didn’t involve me putting anything liquid or plant-like up my nose. Win!

About 45 minutes later, I was on the couch Googling “does coconut oil cause nausea” and what do you know? IT SURE DOES. If you aren’t used to taking it, you have to build up your dosage…and plopping two tablespoons in your lemon tea is like going from 0-100 in twenty seconds.

I went to bed shortly after, both ears throbbing and one ruptured, nose plugged shut, lungs rattling, and stomach flip-flopping like it was sitting on a wobble board. If 2011 wants me bedridden, I thought, then bedridden I shall be.

The good news is that the combined treatments and about 10 hours of sleep left me feeling like an entirely new person the next morning.  I still saw a doctor and had a prescription for antibiotics filled, but I haven’t felt the need to take them. Everything seems to have cleared on its own.  I seriously doubt that the way I went about it was a good or sane strategy, and my left ear still kinda aches, but the abject misery I found myself in has passed.

Travel sometimes kicks my ass. And I just keep going back for more.

Countdown

In four days, we will be in Seattle.  A week from today, Vancouver.  And a week from Monday, back in Hawaii after a grueling-but-awesome five and a half month runaround.

I swear to you, Internet, I am going to sleep through the rest of August. We’re not even going to go to the other side of the island. And if I find a grocery delivery on-island, we’re not going to even leave the house. My brain is so deep-fried tired that I can’t bring myself to sit down and get into the routine, and as such my writing has gone stagnant for the moment. To not have a regular creative outlet is horrible for me and for Maggie too; I have a billion product ideas for Examiner, god knows I have a LOT I could be pitching to family travel websites, and in the background percolating in my head are a bunch of ideas for trying to figure out a way for us to homeschool Maggie and the as-yet-unconceived 2.0. But the words aren’t quite gelling together right now.

[Side note on having another child. Me: "I think I'm ready for another, Maggie's old enough, we have a name we agree on, it's time." Tom: "Well, see if you can wait until we're in the same state." ...Twit.]

I’ve been reading so much on the Montessori and Waldorf and unschooling educational models and equal amounts on the general failure of a lot of public schools and now I am obsessed with creating a curriculum for our kids at home. This is INSANE, people. I’m already going a little crazy at home, but so far my experience is that I’m better at being a mom than I have ever been at anything else. Which…yeah. I’m not even saying I’m such a great parent, but I feel best about myself when I think I’m doing right by my kid. So why not see if we can find a way to run with it?

This is also a good way to distract myself from not thinking about how busy our fall is going to be. We’re signing up for Stroller Strides again once I get my house back together, toddler Spanish on Saturdays and possibly family music lessons on Sundays, baby yoga on Mondays and then babywearing and LLL once a month. I am determined to bust out of my antisocial grumpy shell and give Maggie some socialization (and me too).  I will also secretly be trolling for trustworthy types to babysit my kid so Tom and I can go see a movie and eat food that we don’t have to cut into teeny pieces to share. For my own sanity, I’m looking at starting Bikram once a week to get out of the house sans Maggie.  I’m going to a wedding in Vermont this fall (by MYSELF, holy shit) and we are taking a big trip in late October/early November.  Oh, and sometime between December and March…we’re moving and leaving Hawaii forever. And we don’t know when we’ll move, to where or for how long.

So you can see why I am spending my free time scanning Etsy for pretty Waldorf toys and, you know, not writing or thinking about a damn thing.

2010 has been a total kick in the junk for tons of our friends and comparatively, I can’t complain. We’ve only been mildly inconvenienced at best. But it has been an endurance marathon and I nearly burst into tears last Sunday flying from Manchester, NH back to Tampa when I realized I’d have to get Maggie to Seattle by myself, with a stopover in Denver and at a lousy time of the day for her schedule. It’s just.one.more.time. I can do it. But I’ve been counting down the days until I don’t have to do this alone anymore. Real single parents: a hug, a tip of my hat, and a standing offer of free babysitting to you. This is the hardest grind I’ve ever gone through and I only have one child and a vast network of family support.

Most importantly: four more days until Maggie can see her Daddy and I can see my favorite person in the world. It’s going to be awesome.

Odds ‘n Ends

Things on my mind at the moment:

1. I hate folding diapers, but I love cute diaper covers. I just picked up these in Alice Brights and Warm Stripes and mostly I’m just thrilled that I can put more prefolds into the rotation because those are much easier to fold than the pocket diapers. When we get back to Hawaii in August, I’m not folding another load of clean diapers for four or five months. I may just push up toilet learning in the meantime.

2. In order to get my hands on some fresh poke (poh-kay, Hawaiian sushi) I would commit highly illegal acts.

3. Maggie crawled into the kitchen while I was making her applesauce today. I said “Hi sweetie!” She responded “Hi Mama!” This is far cuter than the other night, where I fell asleep nursing her in bed and she grabbed my arm in the dead of night and said “Hi Mama!” then. Same sentiment, exponentially different level of startle. She also says “Oh boy!” and claps her hands now. It is thoroughly adorable. Makes up for all the biting. (Dear God, teeth, when are you coming in?!)

4. I’m supposed to be booking tickets for our New Zealand trip soon, but I am having a hard time motivating myself to get info on our frequent flyer miles. I did book for Seattle and Vancouver in August and plan to go straight on back to Hawaii from there, so right now I have a one-way ticket for August 3. Depending on the difficulty of the flight with the baby, I may just set up a home in a van by the water rather than do one more flight by ourselves. Theoretically we’ll be meeting Tom back in Hawaii, so that will be awesome.

5. The fabulous mind behind www.everywhereist.com has agreed to post an entry of mine in her guest blogger series. It will run June 7. Thanks, Everywhereist!!

6. My nephew is visiting next week! I hope he sings “Bad Romance” to me again.

ETA: Almost forgot to mention: The World’s Laziest Baby stood on her own, unsupported, for the first time yesterday. Unfortunately it was in the pool and she was shoulder-deep in water, so she felt like she was being suspended and had better balance. She absolutely refuses to try to stand without help out of the water, so I think walking is still several weeks if not months off. Our official line to well-meaning playground parents is “If she isn’t walking by her 18 month well-baby visit, we’ll worry, but not until then.” I do wish I had bet money with everyone who said at Easter that she’d be walking within weeks; I told them there was no way and I could have cleaned up.

I feel better already!

With the weekend news about the infant Tylenol recall, I went looking for more homeopathic remedies. I did so on Facebook fan pages and with my old friend, Dr. Google. Big mistake. Now, I guess some people would consider me a crunchy hippie mom. Others would probably think of me as mainstream. I don’t know. I never thought about it long enough to give myself a label. I’m just trying to do my best. But some of the comments, some of the attitudes I see in my research, it’s just so upsetting. So hurtful and judgmental; so angry at “mainstream moms.”

Reading some of the comments, I was really beating myself up for using a commercial painkiller to help Maggie’s teething. I actually was tearing up, I was so upset. I don’t know what I don’t know until I look, and some of these women would make you feel terrible for even asking why they think some action is wrong. I got good tips from a very sweet, non-judgmental friend, but it bugged me terribly.

I’m just exhausted. Truly, bone exhausted. I’m tired in my soul. It was too much to read; thinking that so many would hate me for using commercial products without questioning them. Like I said, I don’t know what I don’t know and it’s just me here until Tom gets home. Was I wrong for wanting something to be simple right now when right now is so hard?

It was breaking me up, these mothers and their opinions, until (if I may paraphrase Good Will Hunting) something occurred to me, I fell into a deep sleep, and I didn’t think about it again until I sat down to write this.

They don’t want us to change.

Now, for all the high-minded talk about changing attitudes–wishing more moms would wear their babies, serve organic food, question authority, whatever–it isn’t true. Take babywearing, for example. If everyone wore their babies, it would be awesome for the kids. But who would ask these mothers for their opinions? Who would ask them for advice? No one. They wouldn’t be able to look upon mothers with strollers and say “My choice is better.” Not all mothers do this. Not even most. But enough do.

It seems to me that these women have no identity outside of their motherhood. Their kids are all-encompassing. They consider themselves superior, and their superiority is their shield. They are in love with “being right,” “doing right,” and if everyone did what they did, how could they be superior to other moms? They couldn’t. They love their elitism as much as they love to tear down others. The worst thing in the world for them would be if we all acted as they would like, because then they could no longer believe that they weren’t just like everyone else. They would become the mainstream. And to them, that’s worse than seeing a “mainstream mom” in action.

I’m doing my best. Most moms are. But my best isn’t someone else’s best. That’s okay. I only have to answer to Maggie.

And she’s awesome.

Bullmer

Friends, I have been granted that elusive pearl, that shining gem of priceless worth and exquisite beauty: a full day and night off to do whatever the hell I want.

Don’t get me wrong, Maggie is more delightful now than ever. I loved the soft, wrinkled newborn stage enormously but talking and crawling Maggie is a scream. It’s a blast to sit and read with her and have her point to photos and yell “Who’s that? What’s that? Ohhhhhhh.” I dig it.

But I have been going on almost eight weeks alone after a year of not having much of a daytime social network in Hawaii, and Mama needs a night out. Fortunately some friends decided to get married next weekend in Baltimore, Tom The Banker opened the purse strings, and my mother agreed to babysit, thus I will be attending. I leave at 9am Saturday morning for a 5:30 wedding and return at 11am the next day, so I will literally only be gone about a day. But oh, dear God, what a day. These are the same friends who convinced Tom that he could drink eleven Irish car bombs on our wedding day on top of the 24oz Redhook he already consumed AND they helped me pour him into the car later.

I’m a little afraid, because I know I have totally lost my edge drinking. The statistical likelihood of me making an arse out of myself is pretty high even under the best of circumstances, let alone after a year forced by motherhood onto the wagon. I plan on drunk-Tweeting the whole affair, which means I should be writing things like abohihosghuewhhos after the toast.

What I’m really excited about is the bag. I am so freakin’ excited to just have a small backpack. My dress is wrinkle-free, I can do my hair before I get on the plane (flat iron and fly, baby), and the bag only needs to be large enough for my in-flight amusements. It won’t have diapers. It won’t have toys. It won’t have those remarkably tasty even though they are soy-, gluten-, and dairy-free teething cookies and a baggie of MaggieCrack (Cheerios).

The only extra shirt in there will be SEXY. And it won’t have ANY access points for a nursing child. And it won’t have milk stains. (I might have just peed a bit.)

I will miss Maggie terribly. She has, of course, been the light and joy of my life and I like hanging with the wee tot. But holy cats, am I excited to have a night off with hard partiers who use their hands to hold beers, not sippy cups.

Things I Have Learned

So! Maggie can crawl. Not just the halting wiggles of two weeks ago. She’s like the speed skater of crawling now, just as I knew she one day would be. But despite knowing that academically, I don’t think I really internalized the consequences until today, when I learned the following in a rather rapid and harrowing sequence of unpleasantness:

1. Maggie can crawl into the bathroom faster than I can finish my business and is fascinated by the roach bait trap. (The BUGS are still a minor problem, as is my potty mouth. I need a cuss jar like my Nana had back in the day when we charged her $0.05 per swear. Or I can just get more creative with my epithets.)

2. Hawaii Poison Control needs brand names to make a determination, leading me into the kitchen.

3. Our IKEA dining table chairs are an ineffective barrier for children who need to be kept out of the kitchen because…

4. …They are light enough that a burly 9-month old can pull the chair down on top of her head while you’re looking for the box of roach baits.

5. You can’t hear Poison Control over a screaming baby-turned-air raid siren…

6. …But if you have one ready, frozen water-filled plastic teething rings are good for swelling lips and comforting the bruised and battered…

7. And once you have silence, then you will hear that roach bait doesn’t have any elements that are harmful to mammals…

8. Which still isn’t going to stop you from throwing them all away in a fit of paranoid pique.

Fin.

In the immortal words of Robin Williams from The Birdcage, “I’ve never had so much go so wrong so quickly!” I begged Tom to report me to child services, because I am so clearly unfit, but he laughed it off and said something about “normal bumps and bruises” which is a crock of roach bait because competent mothers don’t lose control of this stuff. Except when they do, and they do all the time.

Hardcore childproofing begins this weekend.

ETA: I just noticed my “Idiot at Life” tag is really getting a workout this month. I hereby declare February to be the Month of Personal Awesomeness.