Yesterday afternoon, I leveled up as a mother. But being that I was so caught up in mothering, I failed to notice my powers growing, building, and.. well, leveling up until after the fact. I feel like a lot of being a mom is like that – you need to be strong, creative, and able to adapt to whatever gets thrown at you, literally or figuratively, and it isn’t until you take a few steps back that you realize everything it is that you’re doing.
Right now, we’re spending a long weekend on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Our plan? The beach. Yesterday’s weather? Stormy – lots of rain, fierce winds, and even a couple of tornadoes not far from here.
What do you do when your beach vacation gets rained out? Head to the local cinema, of course! My sister-in-law was surprised that I wanted to go see a movie with a four month old and an almost three year old, but hey, what’s the worst that could happen? Live dangerously.
A week or so ago, Pony Monkey decided that diapers are better suited to babies and now prefers to do her business on a potty or toilet. Did she need to use the bathroom right before we left for our movie? No. Of course not.
We got our tickets, got our popcorn, selected seats strategically located nearest the exit, and settled in to enjoy our show. Little Dude was amazed by the big screen, as well as the new sounds and smells. Shortly after the movie started though, he fell asleep.
And at that moment, Pony Monkey whisper-shouts, as only toddlers seem to do, that she needed to pee.
Did I attempt to pass off a sleeping babe and risk waking him up, crying no doubt, as my toddler wets herself? No, I mom’d up.
To the bathroom we three went, sleeping baby slung over my shoulder. Pony Monkey peered into each stall, noting that there were only big toilets and no little potties like back home.
“Mama, help me. I need to pee.” An accident wouldn’t have been the end of the world, but we’d all prefer to avoid it. The sense of urgency kicked up a notch or two.
Genius Mama dressed Pony Monkey in jeans and a onesie (i.e., snaps at the crotch); both items require adult disassembly. No worries. Shift the weight of the sleeping baby. Use free hand to tug jeans down. Slide fingernails in between each side of the snaps in the onesie, thereby opening the shirt. Tug down undergarments. Instruct toddler to hug her mama around the neck and hang on. Lift toddler and position her on toilet seat such that neither pee sprays out nor bum falls in. Warn toddler that if she lefts go, the result may be unpleasant. Wipe. Dress. Herd toddler out of stall. Angle baby away from toilet. Flush. Wash hands. Praise the air dryer for not being one of the loud ones. Exit bathroom, baby asleep, both toddler and mama beaming for all that we’ve accomplished.
Over the course of the last almost three years, I’ve had a handful of moments where I’ve felt like I’d bitten off more than I could chew. I’m happy to say though that I’ve had a far greater number of moments where I’ve felt like I’ve got this. Now if only I could figure out how to keep up with everything else..
We’ve been keeping busy this year, and I’ve not been posting as much as I had hoped I would be. A few big projects have been in the works, and now, a month out, I’m ready to unveil one of them – a new human.
Introducing Little Dude Karim, born 8 April 2016 at 23:31. Pony Monkey says we should keep him.
His interests include nursing, sleeping, and staring at the sky, and today, on Mother’s Day, he is one month old.
For weeks now, I’ve suspected that something is not quite as it seems with our Pony Monkey.
Like many toddlers, I imagine, she enjoys listening to us tell her stories. And one story in particular, she likes to have told over and over and over again. The more I tell her the story of “when Ninja got hurt,” the more she inserts herself into the story, filling in details and explaining why she opted to ride on a small camel instead of a big camel, or what she was doing when my friend and I left to get our grand taxi out to the edge of the desert. Keep in mind that we lived in Morocco from 2010-2011 and Pony Monkey was born in 2013.
Last night, my suspicions were confirmed when she started talking about wormholes and how they’re best used. I’ll add that to the list of things I hadn’t anticipated encountering when I became a parent.
One of my favorite memories of childhood centered around reading a book we created as a class when I was in first grade. My teacher had each student write cooking instructions on how to cook a turkey, and then the collection of student work was compiled into a book that was gifted to parents at some point during the school year.
I remember being 10 or 11 years old and reading over what my classmates had written with regards to Thanksgiving day kitchen preparation. It was, as one might imagine, pretty humorous to see what most 6 or 7 year olds know about cooking. I’m hoping that we unearth the book at some point while going through boxes after we move.
In the meantime though, I thought it’d be nice to start conducting interviews with the Pony Monkey as I’m sure that I’ll enjoy reading them years from now, and she may get a kick out of it too.
I’m also curious to see how her language will continue to develop, and would love to have some sort of written record; I wish I would have documented more of her language acquisition as she has grown because I have some serious gaps in my memory. Like I had mentioned yesterday, I have a good idea as to where she was with vocabulary at 17 months of age, and I’m pretty sure that at that point, she was communicating in single sound or word chunks. She has since progressed to using complete sentences with noticeable changes in intonation that typically help listeners differentiate between questions, statements, and commands. I also recall her having a huge jump in vocabulary from 20 months to 21 months, and she may have started using phrases and shorter sentences around then too.
Anyway, Pony Monkey and I were talking earlier, using a list of questions that a friend of mine had posted. She didn’t have much to say, but here are her responses:
Q: What is something that I often say to you?
A: Love you.
Q: What makes me happy?
Q: What makes me angry?
A: This. (Held up a stuffed toy leek) Your lunch makes you angry.
Q: How do I make you laugh?
A: Doing “hahahahaha.”
Q: What was I like as a child?
A: Playing with these. (Held up some of her Touch and Feel Picture Cards)
Q: How old am I?
A: 3 age.
Q: How tall am I?
A: 3 pounds tall.
Q: What is my favorite thing to do?
A: Eat pizza.
Q: What do I do when you’re not around?
Q: What am I really good at doing?
A: Doing eating.
Q: What am I not very good at doing?
A: Doing that. (Pointed to pile of toys on the floor)
Q: What do I do for a job?
A: Doing that. (Pointed to the holiday cards we received that are displayed on the living room wall)
Q: What kind of job do you want to have when you’re grown up?
A: Uhh, no. No. I got it. Clown. That clown one.
Q: What is my favorite food?
Q: What do you enjoy doing with me?
Q: What is my name?
A: Tracy, no Karim. Karim Mama. Write Mama.
This week, Pony Monkey turned 28 months. I more or less stopped thinking of her age in months nearly a year ago, but when I’m thinking about milestones or measuring her development from one point to another, it’s useful.
The last time I gave much thought to her language acquisition, she was 17 months old. I attempted to maintain her growing vocabulary list, but truth be told, I just couldn’t keep up with her. The latest vocabulary bomb dropped? Treacherous. Her pronunciation could use a little work, but given that she’s two years old, we’ll take it.
She added another new word this week. Anemone. And specifically, sea anemone. Her pronunciation is spot-on here. She learned about sea anemones during an outing we took this week, and I chose this picture as my favorite shot of the week not because it was better than the numerous other photos I took, but because when Pony Monkey saw it on my screen, she started jumping up and down exclaiming “anemone! anemone!”
A one-two punch of extremely cold weather and not feeling well resulted in me and the Pony Monkey being cooped up inside for much of the week. One effect of this? I took fewer pictures because less was going on. Another, perhaps less anticipated effect? We’re turning into goblins of some sort, or at least that’s what it looks like.
2016 – One full week in, and so far, so good.
I’ve managed to take pictures every day thus far, with both my phone and my camera, and I’ve just added them to the first of the year’s hopefully many folders.
I had originally envisioned posting a picture from each day of the week, but back on the first of January, I caught of glimpse of something that made me change my mind. A friend had posted a relatively short video of her 2015, which featured one second or so of footage for every day of the year. The timing for my discovery was perfect, so I’ve decided to give that a try while keeping up with taking and importing pictures on a weekly basis. Either way, I win by having fun things to look back on, and I enjoy the little bit of a creative outlet.
Of the 96 pictures I took with my camera last week, almost every single one was of family, and they were split between activities of daily life and things like my niece’s birthday party and celebrating the New Year.
My favorite of the lot? A shot taken on an ordinary weekday afternoon, shortly after the Pony Monkey absconded with my phone. Girl has got to work on her hiding skills.