Tuesday, May 15, 2007

29 Pounds of Fabulous

At Muffin’s birthday party, I had a bucket of leis out for the kids. None of the other kids got a chance to wear them:

My friend Jenn commented that perhaps I should pass on to Muffin that golden rule of accessorizing: before you leave the house, take one thing off. That, of course, is next on my list, right after teaching her to poop in the toilet.

On Saturday morning when I went in to get Muffin up, she requested the following, in this order:

1. Ernie
2. Bracelet
3. Other Bracelet
4. Necklace
5. Sunglasses

Before we left the house, she added a backpack and a stuffed mouse. The end result is kind of…pint size drag queen, don’t you think?

I mean, does it not look a little bit like she was out clubbing all night, and has stumbled into a greasy spoon at 6am, a little rowdy and maybe possibly still drunk?

I am so going to have the weird kid on the playground wearing the tutu, the galoshes and the cowboy hat. And it is totally my fault for passing on the style obsession gene and for taking such obvious pleasure in dressing Muffin. Already she is getting very opinionated about what she wears, and I know the day is coming where I will lose control altogether. And when it's up to her -- well, the results are not pleasing to the eye. Doesn't she know when she pairs, say, her red Crocs with green socks and a pink polka dot dress, it kills Mommy a little bit inside?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Leo DiCaprio Would Totally Not Approve

My badass friend A and I once let lettuce come between us. I threw out the dregs of a salad, you see, and she thought that was incredibly wasteful. She’s originally from Russia, so I guess she’s been raised to make every last bit count. I am originally from New Jersey, so I was raised to go to the mall and just buy more. My reasoning for the egregious salad toss, as I recall, was that I figured I would throw it out now rather than pitching an entire Tupperware container a few weeks later, since let’s be honest: I would let the lettuce sit in my fridge until it became too soupy and vile to even think about opening.

A year or two later, A and I were roommates, and under her tutelage, I started hating waste too. I’m not saying I don’t squander perfectly good food now, because sometimes I do. But at least now I have the decency to let it really bother me and I make a genuine effort to avoid it when I can. As a result, I involve the Canuck in things like leftover smorgasbord dinners (you can imagine how that goes over). And sometimes Muffin gets random dinners like half a meatball, a browning banana and a toasted bread butt.

It’s a good thing A lives in Pittsburgh, because if she thought I was bad with the lettuce, she’d be scandalized by Muffin. Although Muffin is an adventurous eater, she’s also two, so at times she will reject things just for shits and giggles. She’ll have one mouthful of yogurt, and then request applesauce. She’ll ask for milk and then demand water. She’ll say she wants a banana – without mentioning that what she wants it for is to squish between her fingers. Some nights I’m great at tricking her into eating what I want her to, other nights we have a big to-do about it, with much discussion about how not-nice wasting is. Other nights, I am too tired to struggle with her over it, and so I serve up options until she is satisfied. My trash can fills up with half-eaten dinners.

And it’s not just food. Every day – usually several times a day – she runs over to the stepstool and points to the sink. “Right there,” she commands. I groan, because what she wants is to “wash dishes,” which basically means standing at the sink with the water running for a good 20 minutes (which is longer than she'll do anything else). Oh, I’ve tried filling up the sink, setting the water pressure to just a dribble or redirecting her to bathtime. She is not fooled. I start to tell her no, but then I see the J. Crew catalog that just arrived in the mail, and calculate that with Muffin occupied I probably have just enough time to page through it and dogear the things I like.

Then this week, a serious violation. I was in the bathroom, doing what, uh, people do in the bathroom and having it all narrated by Muffin. The phone rang, so I quickly finished up and ran to get it. As I chatted with the Canuck for a minute or two, things got quiet. Too quiet. I returned to the bathroom to find half a box of tampons floating in the toilet bowl. At least they were the biodegradeable kind.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Before Shots

I have been so busy working (hence, the radio silence here) that I haven’t had much time to fret in my usual way about Muffin’s surgery. But suddenly, it is upon us, and we are due at the hospital by 8:30am tomorrow.

I’m not really worried she’ll die or anything. It’s minor surgery, and Dr. Waner has never had any of his patients die on him. I’m stressing over the stupid little details – about how we’ll amuse her as we wait, how we’ll distract her from the fact that she can’t have any breakfast, about what time we have to get up to make sure we all get out of the house by 7:30. But really my mind keeps circling around the awful fact that Muffin will be scared out of her mind tomorrow. I will do everything I can to try to make it better for her, but it won’t be enough. This surgery unfortunately coincides with a slew of new fears, like airplanes, loud flushing toilets, and most of all, doctors. During her 2-year well-baby appointment, she started crying almost the second we hit the the exam room. We calmed her down by promising no shots, but I won’t exactly be able to do that tomorrow.

A few people who read this blog (and even some people who have met Muffin in real life) say that you’d never know she has a birthmark. I generally choose photos where it’s not plainly visible, and I’ve become adept at styling her hair so it’s hidden. But tonight we went up to the roof so I could get some shots to remember the strawberry by. It’s funny – it seems like ages that we’ve been looking at it, but I know years from now we’ll squint our eyes and try to conjure up what that thing looked like.

You know what’s weird? I think I’m going to miss it a little bit.

UPDATED: Well, it’s done, and we are all fine. Thank you to everyone who let us know you were thinking of Muffin. She actually handled it all well and was so very brave. The surgery started about an hour late, which meant three hours of wandering through hospital corridors and reading the three books we brought with us approximately 187 times (there’s nothing like having zero left in your bag of tricks to make you welcome the idea of sedation). She asked for food a few times, but dropped it easily when I said I didn’t have any. She was fine with putting on the hospital gown, cool with getting her temperature taken and shy but not scared with all the doctors who came in to see her. She was even okay in the operating room – that is until they put the gas mask on her and she started fighting. Mercifully, it was over in 30 seconds, and then I was treated to the sight of my daughter’s eyes rolling right into the back of her head. That's one that's going to stick with me for a while.

When they brought us in afterward, I could hear her crying from across the room. She was thrashing about and very confused – however, she was lucid enough to ask for her pacifier and her blanket, and calmed down as soon as I gave them to her. Suddenly, everyone was looking at me and asking if I felt ok. I did – until 10 seconds later, when a wave of nausea and lightheadedness washed over me. They actually dragged out a reclining chair – the same kind the adult post-op patients recover in – and made me sit there until I felt better. I fully expect 25 years from now, Muffin’s going to be delving into her mom’s narcissist tendencies in therapy.

She looks pretty worse for the wear, with a big exposed incision, a drain snaking out of it, and her hair sticky and matted from rust-colored antiseptic, which we can wash out in 48 hours. Personality-wise, however, she seems back to normal, asking for Elmo, picking her nose, and demanding meatballs for dinner. It's nice to have her back.