Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Me and My Shadow

"What's that, Wallery?"
"That's a shadow."
"Shadow?" ...
"Yes. A shadow. It's made when the sun is high up in the sky and shining in behind us."
"What's that?" ...
"That's another shadow. That one's of my hand. And look! There's a shadow of your head."
"Shadow?" ...
"Yes. A shadow."
"Wallery? What's that?"
"A shadow." ...

"Wallery? Where's cow's shadow?" ...
"Cow's shadow is hiding in your shadow."
"Where's cow's shadow?" 
"Cow doesn't have a shadow right now. His shadow is inside of your shadow."...

Exhalation of a huge WHEW! I never imagined shadow-talk could be so lengthy and complicated.
But it can be.
Both girls have an innocent fascination with shadows. Pretty cool, eh? We looked for them all day long. Shadows of trees and shrubs. Shadows of parked vehicles, stop-signs.  Sweet Pea liked 'em too. Frankly, I appreciated the fact that she had absolutely no need to ask repetitive questions about them, but rather accepted shadows for what they are: awesome, magical, dark impressions to gawk over. Actually, Sweet Pea doesn't give a shit about shadows. Well, not in the way The Cousin does.
Her curiosity is sparked by more tangible, concrete things like

dental floss...
knitted caps...
and curtains...
Shadows come and go but curtains remain. At least until Mighty Isis pulls them down.

Things weren't so happy dappy on the lappy lappy this past week. Things change.
Last week, The Cousin issued a full-on invitation for Sweet Pea to sit on her lap. Sweet Pea, if you recall, obliged and even permitted her to feed her a bottle.  But you see, it was all on The Cousin's terms. This week, Sweet Pea took it upon herself to not only sit on the lap, but she decided cow was a toy to be shared equally.

Nothing like a good kick to end this joyous moment. Future soccer player, perhaps?
They're both strong-willed.  The Cousin's will is tinged in jealousy. There I said it.
I'm thinking she needs to let that shit go and concentrate on toilet training. Seriously.
That's the #1 goal. Well, number one goal of her parentals.  They have good reason.
They have another lil munchkin arriving in October and MY GOD! how many diapers can
one human change in a 24-hour period?! So they are trying all kinds of things, especially bribery, to get The Cousin to use her Elmo "big girl" toilet.
I just came across this and I think it has the potential to be their next purchase:

Welcome to 2013. This is an iPotty.  You can purchase it on for 39.99 plus shipping.
This handy dandy toi toi went on the market in March, and there are even potty training apps out there that'll reward toddlers for accomplishing "the deed." The company is also examining whether the potty's attachment can be adapted for other types of tablets, beyond the iPad

Can you say ridiculous?  Then again, The Cousin might bite.  Right now, they're giving her a sticker each time she does "her business" in the bowl. I noticed 3 stickers on the seat of the god damn contraption; 3 sticky reminders of delicious victory!  And yet, she'd much prefer a soggy, smelly diaper.

"Let's go to the lie berry, Wallery!"
"Good idea!"
"I have good ideas."
"Yes, you do. And where do your ideas live?"
"In my brain."
"That's right."...

By the time we reached the "building of higher learning,"and this particular section, they were both out. THANK GOD!

So I parked the rig and sat my ass down amongst the rows of fiction.
And much like Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, I had my own precious
55 Minutes of Solitude.  That makes for one happy nanny.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Two Little Birds

Things change from one week to the next. Last week, The Cousin loved that we sang Happy Birthday over and over again while she blew out the candle on her Playdoh birthday cake. 
She and I must've sang that f@*king song 2 dozen times. This week, after the cake was prepared and decorated, I sang the same song and she looked at me with those big brown eyes and said, "Wallery. Stop singing. Stop singing, Wallery. It's over." This little shit gives a whole new meaning to mood swings.  And bluntness.  I never could carry a tune.
One minute she's all bubbling over like a bottle of cheap champagne and the next, she's flat on the floor, all limbs stretching outward, throwing a full-on fit of frenzy.
You're right.  I understand her.  I do.
This has been the story of my life since I was old enough to belly up to the bar with my old man and drink a Shirley Temple. It's just the gift many of us were given and The Cousin is no exception.
It's as if, while she was lying all wrinkly and new on God's conveyor belt with all the other babies being born on her birthday, God took an extra special moment, and with his thumb, poked her little pink chin and said, "You will be tempestuous and you will feel every damn emotion, every day of your life."  And she does.  And sometimes, there's about a baker's dozen in a single minute.  
So proud of this puzzle completion AND my mood swings.
But you know what? We have an unspoken understanding for one another.

"Wallery, why you look so tired?"
Moody mamas zoning out.

We can handle it.  This thing called Life.  It's just that feelings, moods, melt-downs, sensitive moments, they all seem to pose as pebbles in the road for girls like us.  But they're rarely boulders and we never ever remain face down in the dirt for too long. We always f#*king get back up and back on track.
I tell her, she'll have days like this; days where the rocks seriously cause tumble after tumble. I also try and be a good listener as she explains her plights. Then, I offer up some tools of survival for when the rocks seem massive.
We usually have these "therapy sessions" over juice cocktails, when "you-know-who" 
is sleeping.
"I'm catching some zzz's away from those two emotional train wrecks."

One day, I'll vote for her for Congress because people like The Cousin, those rare individuals who have passion and conviction, are clearly non-existent in politics.  
And, she don't take no shit, nor can she be bought.  Sweet Pea absolutely places her on a queen's throne.  In Sweet Pea's opinion, The Cousin is Queen Cleopatra.  
End of discussion. 
I think one day Sweet Pea will see her shortcomings, but not now. Now, Sweet Pea is at her beckon call. Anything The Cousin does to her, including bite her cheek, is fair game because she's The Cousin.
"I'm all yours, baby."

When it changes for Sweet Pea, and it will, The Cousin is in for the biggest surprise of her life. Those rocks we've been talkin about, will turn to boulders in her road.  She will climb over them, but they will require some serious climbing gear.  Because the longer I'm around Sweet Pea, the more clear it becomes. She's going to be a "Don't-mess-with-me-kind-of-girl."  It's not the mere fact that she could sign-up now for a roller derby team; No, it's not just her physical strength.  It's her mental muscle.  She's an ardent observer and she's absorbing all the persons, places and things around her. 
She's taking mental notes, which she will use appropriately at the proper times   
For now, she's just high on life.  
And she's teaching me not to sweat the rocks in the road. She's advising me, showing me how to just let go and move on.
"Life's a summer day, Baa Bee."
And The Cousin?  She's my mirror. Always reminding me to be who I am, feel what I'm feeling, stay in the moment!

Another note about The Cousin: 
She dives into blue paint like she dives into her emotions: with gusto!       Sweet Pea can handle that, and her.  For now. 

I think these two little birds, though different, are just about as sweet to my thirsty soul as honey to a bee. Yesiree.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Here's Johnny!

"Here's Johnny!"
This is Sweet Pea's dad.
He's either going to inspire Sweet Pea to be a wildlife veterinarian, or fuel her fear of owls for life.  Evidently, he puts on the owl towel every night after Sweet Pea's bath and chases her around the apartment, screeching and moaning, "Whooooo! Whoooooo!"  Evidently, she digs it.  At least for now. If I hadn't met the man, I'd think he was a whack job, but he's actually pretty cool.
Handsome too. If you take a good look at his eyes; that is eye, due to the purple towel on his head and the "beak patch" over his right one, you can see a beautiful resemblance between the two of them. With his permission, I posted this.   I'd like to add a Happy Father's Day shout to him and the other papa as well. These dads rock. And not because they change poopy diapers.  Men who think this action deems them extraordinary or reserves them a place at the righthand of God, are ridiculous.
It merely makes them, well... a dad.

I've been bombarded with poopy diapers these past couple of weeks. I've been changing 6-8 in a nine-hour day. I think it's the enormous amount of fruit these guys ingest. They love strawberries, mangoes, blueberries, bananas (which I thought were 'plugs' but evidently I thought wrong) juices and their seasonal favorite: cherries! They can't get enough of the damn things. Sweet Pea shovels 'em in faster than I can "de-pit" 'em, while The Cousin, who has trust issues like I do, is a bit more skeptical.
TC:"Is the seed in?"
Me:"No. I removed it."
Me:"Yes. I'm sure."

SP: "Mo Cher wees!"

"I dig cher wees."

"The seeds are all gone, Wallery?"
So I attempted the library with both of them this week. Holy Mother of God! I'm sure the librarians were having mini-strokes watching Sweet Pea go down each aisle pulling books out one by one,  walking on top of them as she went. The joint was packed.  Evidently some super juggler brought kids in like herds of wild boar. I was slightly overwhelmed, yet trying not to show it.  The Cousin reeked of poop towards the end of our visit, but I just couldn't undertake the bathroom changing table and manage "Book Wrecker" all at the same time.

We needed a good dose of fresh atmosphere, so we headed across the street to the gazebo and boogied. The gazebo has a fantastic wood floor; dancehall quality.  We shook our sillies out and wiggled our waggles away. (We also chased birds into the street and played in the mud.)

The park was nuts today. Kids out for summer.  Flying footballs. Running little boys who knock anything down that gets in their path. Adults who use every curse word know to man.
Graduation celebrations. Birthday parties. I felt like a mother hen trying to skirt my baby chicks away from constant inappropriate behavior and danger.  Sweet Pea wanted a birthday balloon so bad she could taste it. One mom finally gave her one to play with. She was sooo happy. Then this spoiled snot of a girl stomps over and grabs it out of her hands.
"That's my balloon!" she screamed in Sweet Pea's face.
I now know how parents feel. Every hair on my arms stood at attention. My heart felt a searing pain right through it. I saw red. Instantly, I envisioned my hands around that kid's throat. Suddenly, I felt as if I could lift her up and throw her against the jungle gym and not let up until she gave Sweet Pea the balloon back. Luckily, maturity won out.

Party Crasher

Pole Dancer

Wood Chip Explorer

It's hard to recall life before these two.  It is hard to stay awake past 7:00 p.m. on the day I watch them though. I never cook on Wednesdays. No 'effin way!  My partner knows it too.
"If you're not up for preparing the supper, serving it to me and doing the dishes, I'm fine with drinking my dinner in a throwaway cup." I inform her.
When I arrive home, I walk in, toss my things on the "catch-all", then strip out of my clothes.
That's an absolute must. My shirt sleeves have peanut butter and jelly, my socks have dirt and wood chips stuck in them. My jeans have God knows what down the pant leg. I strip out of my clothes, jump into the shower and yes, pour myself some wine. Same story every Wednesday. However, this past Wednesday, during my cleansing routine, our doorbell rang.
Sweet Pea's mom was standing there with a large brown bag in hand.
"I brought you dinner." 
I could have tackled her to the ground and smothered her with kisses of appreciation.
We invited her in for a small glass of vino.
We hadn't really had her all to ourselves since Sweet Pea entered the world. It was nice.
So we're all three sitting in our living room, chatting it up. I share my day with her.  I'm unsure how the subject came up in the course of the conversation, but she says, "I haven't introduced Sweet Pea to ice cream yet. We did give her some frozen yogurt a few days ago and she loved it."  (Actually, I took her to PinkBerry about a month ago, but I neglected to say that.)

Hmmm...I'm debating whether or not to unleash my upcoming comment, which is perched at the tip of my tongue...

"This shit is good."

Owner of ice cream store in a Beatles freak.
Of the two flavors we sampled, Sweet Pea preferred strawberry.  The Cousin really couldn't make a decision. As you can see, she's in "the zone".  She inhaled both, while Sweet Pea jumped down from my lap, after a couple bites, to drive the boat.
"Call me Captain!"

I know I overstepped my authority with this one. But if God hadn't intended for us to eat a little sugar now and then, why did She invent dentists?
Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

"That Car is Beautiful, Wallery"

"That car is beautiful, Wallery. It is nice."
You know children are so cool. The Cousin said that to me on a walk we took in the morning.
She was referring to a beater '86 Corolla with torn, vinyl sun visors and large dents in the side. Walking the neighborhood with a one-year old and a two-year old is an art in and of itself. One likes to run (Sweet Pea) and the other likes to leisurely stroll and smell every goddamn flower on the block. And we definitely need helmets for the sidewalks. When one is vertical, the other one goes full-on horizontal.
Following our shadows
It's amazing how many changes occur in kids this age in such a short amount of time. I've been away from them for 2 weeks and Sweet Pea is saying so many words!  Of course, there's the usual: 
"mama" "dada" "baa baa" but she's become a walking dictionary overnight!
"tank you" "peeze" (She's polite as hell) "keen up" (my personal favorite) "mee ow" "woooof" 
"book" and her request these days, "cheez" (The kid's a human disposal)  Then, as if a miracle occurred, I've got her strapped in her highchair in the kitchen while I'm in the other room changing 
The Cousin's diaper.  Suddenly, I hear this voice yell out, "Baa Bee! Baa Bee!" 
I come runnin in and am greeted by a huge smile and a face smeared in banana ... 
"Did you say my name?!"  So, I'm now Wallery and Baa Bee and that's how the story goes.  At least for the moment.  Pretty cool, eh? And The Cousin is modifying her lifestyle as well. She's actually using her words, instead of her fists when she feels perturbed with Sweet Pea. She even offers up some lovin, now and then, when Sweet Pea's feelin down.
"Don't panic. This is a love hug not a choke-hold."

The embraces, the taking time to smell all the petunias, the thought that an old clunker of a car is beautiful...All of these things are simplistic reminders for all of us.  Appreciate the world.  
I needed that this week. And I needed them. 
"Nature's cool but where's the basketball court?"
"Smells delicious."
After doing a couple laps, we decided to change our mode of transportation.  This was quite relaxing for the girls, but gave the nanny a much-needed, but not necessarily desired, upper body workout. Pushing these two "bikes", one of which had a broken wheel, proved challenging.
"Wanna race?'

"Hey, I need to stop for fuel."
I always try to give it up for the team. And you would too. They are so worth it. Worth more than their weight in gold even at today's prices.  Sweet Pea was "spent" after the walk and ride. During her morning nap, The Cousin and I made good use of our time and got out the Playdoh. Hopefully, I have enough tech ability to attach the video of our playtime...

No, I do not. 
I made numerous attempts for over a f*@#ing hour to no avail. Sometimes I frustrate myself and there's absolutely no way out of it. I'm "tech-clueless".  
Photos will have to suffice.
"Don't eat it, Wallery. It's pretend."

"Blow out the candle."
When we look at life through the eyes of a child, we are humbled and clearly brought to the core of all that is important, and quite possibly, essential.  In their company, the pettiness and ugliness of the world dissipates and all we are surrounded by is joy and wonder. The Cousin believes in wishes and magic and pretend. She believes in Playdoh birthday cakes.  It's so cool how she teaches Sweet Pea the way to "pretend to eat the cake."  
Sweet Pea hasn't mastered the concept of pretend yet. Therefore, Sweet Pea needs an armed guard sitting inches from her when she handles the clay.

Sometimes, we just break all the rules. Rebels that we are. I probably shouldn't post these next pictures; kinda like letting the cat out of the bag. 
The recommendation is to give The Cousin her allotment of cereal in a miniature plastic cup and Sweet Pea a single Cheerio, one at a time, so she doesn't choke due to her "special eating style" which focuses on the cramming technique. 

"I love Wednesdays!"

"Do we have another box?"
And after one has a full belly, what better to do than exercise? 

"Pole dancing is great for the abs."
 Sweet Pea, along with her rapid mastering of the English language, has also mastered how to open the "kid gate". The box, which the gate came in, clearly states that it "should be a good safety device until the child reaches the approximate age of three."
 Bullshit!  They obviously don't know Sweet Pea.
This is a problem.

And on a lighter note, the parentals shared that they were finally seeing some progress on the toilet training horizon this last week.  Seems The Cousin pooped and pee'd twice in her Elmo toilet. 
So, I poured on the encouragement and eventually she said she had to go. We walked to the bathroom and as I started to pull down her trousers and remove her diaper, she sits down and states emphatically, 
"I go pee pee with my pants and diaper on."  
Works for me.  No toilet clean-up. She's also a fantastic "multi-tasker".

" I can do both all by myself."

 I gotta be honest. Things get a little crazy at times.
"Get out of my egg!"     "Make me."
And when they do, we resort to videos and food, something I swore I would never do when I was in the teaching program in college. That kind of parenting/teaching/care-giving was for those who didn't know how to interact and be present with children.
Food and videos. Lifejackets when seas get turbulent.

I know by this final picture, y'all might think I could easily handle three.
Y'all might wanna lay off the booze.

See y'all next week! Take time to smell the flowers and enjoy all the beauty around you!