Saturday, February 28, 2009

If You Don't Like Barf, You Should Definitely NOT Come To Our House Today

On Thursday morning, I got out of bed, too early as usual, and somewhat tired from a long night of Maggie-wrangling as usual, but otherwise the picture of health and well-being. As I smelled the coffee that Ian was making, however, it occurred to me that I didn't want any -- not at all as usual. It further occurred to me that the reason I didn't want any was that my stomach felt a little queasy. And then, for the next 12 hours, I was either throwing up or thinking about throwing up. I can't even remember the last time I had the stomach flu, but it was definitely before I had kids. It turns out that, while children are wonderful and soul-enriching and life-changing and a constant source of delight, they do nothing whatsoever to enhance the flu experience. Ian took charge of child-care, which was wonderful, but Max kept coming in to check on me and give me healing kisses, and his sweaty-boy-with-pepperoni-pizza-breath scent was less than easy on my already tormented stomach. Poor little Max has never met with such a lukewarm reception for his affectionate advances in his entire life.
By Friday morning, I was more or less over it, just in time for Ian's Friday evening announcement that he was feeling a bit nauseous, himself. He spent most of last night in the bathroom. (Is this an exciting story, or what? Man, you all must be on the edge of your seats!) He is home from work today, no longer barfing but not exactly radiating his usual exuberant good cheer, either. Lucky for him that he's home, too, because otherwise he would have missed both children catching the barfitis simultaneously, and that would have been a shame. Neither kid has ever had the stomach flu before, so in addition to his bee sting, Max has now had the pleasure of another milestone breached -- learning how to puke in the toilet. I would say we've made it to the bathroom 3 out of 7 times so far. Good times.
So, what's new with you?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ah, The Milestones Of Childhood

Max just got his first bee sting. He was stung on his index finger. He did not care for it.
"Mom!" he said conversationally about an hour ago, coming in from outside, "There's a bug on here!" And he indicated the bucket he had just carried in (illicitly, by the way, because buckets are supposed to stay outside at our house, and let the rest of this story be a lesson to you all that crime doesn't pay). I glanced over, saw a bee crawling busily around on the bucket handle, and said "Yike!"
"I don't like that bug, Mama", Max said, still calmly, but with an edge of squeakiness in his voice.
"It's a bee", I told him, with an edge of squeakiness in my own voice. And, realizing that I was the parent and therefore the authority and therefore the one who needed to take the situation in hand, I added, "I'm going to take it outside, okay? You just stay still."
"Yeah", Max agreed. And then his eyes filled up with tears all at once and he wailed in an ascending crescendo of volume and pitch, "Yeah, Mama, that bug canNOT be in the house because that bug BIT me and I don't like it AT ALL that hurts my feelings it BIT MEEEEEE!"
I escorted the bee and its bucket outside hastily but with an eye to caution. Then I looked at Max's finger, saw that it was red but not puffy and that there were no protruding stingers, and got him some ice for the sting. "Those are bees", I told my caterwauling firstborn. "They like flowers, like the flowers outside our window right now. If you ever see another one, make sure you remember not to touch it, okay? Your finger will feel better in just a second."
"Yeah, Mama. But --" with renewed sobs of outrage -- "but that bee that bug needs to remember to not bite me anymore! Owie owie owie owie it's better. Mama, it feels a little better. Can I have some chocolate milk?" His righteous anger is great, folks, but his attention span is small.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Like This Girl A Lot

In spite of her recent aversion to sleep (hers, ours, or anyone else's), Maggie continues to charm (me, herself, the world in general). She will often express affectionate feelings for me, especially right before hitting me up for something she wants ("A hug, Mama? I want a kiss? Hey! How 'bout Nemo? Yeah yeah! Sure!"), but she never says, "I love you". She always says, "I love you, too", even if you haven't said anything. This delights me. It also, I feel, sums up Maggie beautifully: Cuddly, loving, supremely and unquestioningly confident and completely comfortable assuming that her position in our hearts is secure, even if we have the bad manners not to say so. And, of course, a little bit of a hustler. That's my girl.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Independent, With A Side Of Conflicted

Max to Mama: Mama! I need to go pee!
Mama: Okay. Do you want me to come with you?
Max: No! I want (holds up hand forbiddingly) to be ALONE. I need my privacy.
Mama: Okay. Go pee then.
Max (from the hallway): Mama! MAMA! I need you to turn the light on!
Mama: Okay. (goes and turns on bathroom light)
Max: Where are you going?
Mama: I was going to leave you alone. You know, like you told me to.
Max: No, Mama. Don't go in the living room.
Max (a second or two later): Mama! I'm all done peeing.
Mama: Okay, good. So let's --
Max: You didn't -- I never got to be alone, you know.
Mama: But, but ...
Max: You have to respect my privacy in the bathroom.
Mama: I -- I'm -- but you said ... (sigh) Sorry, Max.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Artistic Endeavors

The bratty, shriveled, sleep-deprived part of my being would like to devote an entire blog post today to the fact that Maggie continues her love affair with the night, that she now can get out of bed independently (a fact that we discovered when she strolled out of the bedroom at 11:15 pm last night and interrupted our watching of "Battlestar Galactica" to nonchalantly ask, "What are you doooing, Mama? Daddy, I wanna play?" and then sat down on the living room floor and began playing with a puzzle, for all the world as if she had a perfect right and reason to be there), and that this quirk or phase or whatever it is has now been compounded by sickness (hers, mine, and Max's, and I am not amused at all). But no one likes a whiner, and so I have decided instead to focus on how delightful the offspring have been recently (during daylight hours -- the delightfulness diminishes in direct mathematical proportion to the hour of the night in which we enjoy their company).

Maggie is very into drawing right now. In fact, a pile of paper and a few crayons will keep her in her high chair seven times longer than any kind of food. She is a very focused artist, and something about the face she makes while writing or painting (lips pursed, brow furrowed, shoulders hunched, eyes steely with determination) makes me giggle every time I see it. Ian calls it her Little Gorilla Face. It is, like much of what Ian says, more accurate than it is flattering. When Maggie is sixteen and steals our car, I am planning to blame Ian.

In the very beginning of their siblinghood, Max and Maggie more or less ignored each other. Max had bigger fish to fry, and Maggie was pretty much all about the mama, so they'd tip each other a nod every so often and that was about it. When Maggie started crawling and Max turned two, there was a brief but fierce battle for dominance, which Max mostly won. Then they went back to ignoring each other, and so on in six month increments. It is only recently that Maggie is old enough and Max patient enough to facilitate real play, and while this sometimes (often) means that Ian and I get tag-teamed by the two of them, it is a delight to watch and listen to. Max burbles on in his Maxese to Maggie ("Hey Maggie! You hold one end of this, and I am your pet, okay? Thatwise I am a dog and you and my next sister are not dogs, okay, Maggie?"), Maggie responds in her strident little voice ("Okay, sure! I a doggie! Woof woof! Because I'm ME! Yeah yeah yeah!") and they play together until Maggie loses focus and wanders off to request milk. They get along quite beautifully, Max's 1 1/2 year advantage offset by Maggie's, um, independent ferocity of spirit, and I am filled with glee.

You can see a bit of the Little Gorilla face in the background here, while in the foreground Max is either making an "x" with his crayons (he likes the letter "x") or warding off artistically-minded vampires with a colorful crayon cross.

This is an example of Maggie's
handiwork. When she turns three, maybe we'll send her to Auntie Jill for a mentorship program. A note to Auntie Jill: if you like this plan, and are going to be rooming with Maggie at any point in the near future, guard your shoes and prepare not to sleep much. Oh, and I hope you like Shrek.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pot, Kettle, Both Black

Maggie to Max: That's MY Mama, Max! Go away!
Max: That's BOTH OF OUR MAMAS, Maggie!
Maggie: Because I'm ME! (holds both arms above head in primal gesture of triumph)
Max: You're not making any sense, Maggie.
Maggie: No.
Max: Yes!
Mama: No or yes to what?
Max: You're not making any sense, Mama.
Maggie: I want milk. I'm ME!
Mama: What do you mean, I'm not making any sense?
Max: (holding up a hand imperiously) I'm working things out with Maggie, Mama.
Mama: Okay. I'll just ...okay.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandpa Tillman!

We miss you and we hope you have a delightful day!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Mon famille est beau, ne pensez-vous pas?

Max is not, by the way, choking to death, despite his appearance. He is trying to say "cheese!" for the camera without sacrificing a single sweet moment of cinnamon-bun-eating time. Maggie, as could perhaps be anticipated, has dismissed the camera, the food, the photo, and the entreaties of the person behind the camera, and is forming an escape plot which will have yelling and squirming as its cornerstones.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Don't Be Alarmed. That Noise You Heard Was Not, In Fact, A Newly Resurrected Pterdactyl Running Amok In Suburbia

It was just my daughter.

A freakishly giant-haired Italian gentleman surprised me today at the park by looking up from his laptop and asking me, "Let me ask you this question, Miss? Do you think having children was worth it? In despite of every hard things and all sacrifice?" and once I had blinked twice to recover from the weirdness of this as a conversation opener, I said, "absolutely" with no hesitation whatsoever. My new large-maned friend looked surprised by my answer, possibly because Maggie was smearing banana on me and squawking in my face "I want down! I need down! No banana! I'm not happy! Hey! Hey! HEY! HEY! HEY!" at the time, and I was not therefore the poster child for Parental Satisfaction. Which is my way of illustrating the point that Maggie is, how should I say, going through a PHASE right now. The kind that makes me check her head for rudimentary devil horns on a bi daily basis.

I know that kids go through these charming adjustments. Back in September, Max went through one, leaving us baffled as to why his sunny and agreeable self had abruptly transformed into a maniacal crabby crab. Then he got over it and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Kids have bodies and brains that grow in these dizzying leaps and spurts, and sometimes they get testy while their brains and bodies are catching up with each other. I know this from my schooling, from teaching, and from parenting, and I can mostly roll with the moods with my trademark humor and grace firmly intact. What scares me, though, is that Maggie has always been opinionated. And by always, I mean that as a two week old embryo, she exercised absolute and unapologetic authority over what and when I was allowed to eat, sleep, or breathe, and it has escalated from there.

I am not sure if it's because she is the second kid in the family, or if it's because she's sort of insanely smart (I could offer you proof that this is true, for instance mentioning that she can already identify all her letters and knows how to write an "M", but then I'd be one of those Davis Parents who corner you and breathe, "my child is actually a certified genius" at you every chance they get, and I am definitely NOT one of those parents. Nope.), or if it's just because she came out looking like a Fry and evidently it's internal, too, but it has become very hard to take Maggie anywhere. She believes with every ounce of her being that she has all the necessary skills to choose her own path through the world, and throws a giant, fall-to-the-ground-and-howl-tantrum if anyone dares to even suggest picking her up, putting her in a seat or stroller or cart, or even holding her hand. This would be fine, I guess, if it weren't for the fact that she vastly overestimates her ability to identify and stay out of trouble. Grocery store trips that include Maggie now include a choice between shopping with an indignantly screeching toddler who is pinned down in the cart while other shoppers shoot pointed glances, or failing to get any actual shopping done while preventing a free range Maggie from burying herself in an avalanche of dairy products while climbing the milk shelf. Trips to other places ... well, we don't really try to go other places anymore.

Sure, I know that Maggie will eventually either outgrow the need to exert quite so much independent spirit or grow into better judgement to accompany her independent spirit, and in the meanwhile, she is so very fuzzy-haired and soft and sly-humored that I think we will probably keep her. (It is even possible that, despite all logistical problems associated with her ferocity, we like her all the more because of it.) However, since my grocery store trips are few, far-between, and fraught for the time being, if you want to drop by and bring supplies, feel free.