Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tackling the Tough Questions

Muffin [poking at my breastbone]: Mommy boobs.

Me: Yes, those are my boobs.

Muffin: Muffin have boobs?

Me: Yes, you have boobs.

Muffin: Daddy have boobs?

Me [judging the concept of man boobs too subtle for a 2-year-old to grasp]: Boys don't have boobs. Daddy's a boy, so no, Daddy doesn’t have boobs.

Muffin: Muffin a boy!

Me: No, you’re a girl. Girls have a vagina.

Muffin: Muffin ‘gina! Muffin ‘gina! Right there.

Me: That’s right, you have a vagina so you’re a girl.

Muffin: Mommy?

Me: Yes, sweetie?

Muffin: Elmo have boobs?

Me: …

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Take Two

Last week the incision on Muffin’s head didn’t look quite right to me. “No touch, Mommy,” Muffin kept saying, swatting my hand away, but after a few days I made her sit still for a closer look and it was clear it was not healing as it should be. We took her back to Dr. Waner’s office, where they took off the steri-strips to reveal an angry half inch-wide gash on her head. They had used dissolvable stitches, but because the strawberry was even bigger than it looked on the surface, they didn’t hold, and the incision had opened up. That was a Thursday. We spent Friday flogging ourselves for making the situation worse when we could have left well enough alone. On Saturday, Dr. Waner himself called to say he wanted her back in for surgery first thing Monday morning.

Although the dread factor was increased this time, knowing exactly what we were getting into, the actual procedure was much easier to bear – at least for me, but I think for Muffin too. An emergency that morning meant her surgery was 4 hours late, so by noon, we were in pre-op with a famished baby who had not eaten or drank anything since the night before and was rapidly approaching naptime. So they took pity on us and gave her “goofy juice.” I’m not sure what it was, but all I can say is that, dude, she's a natural stoner. She laughed maniacally at everything, offered sloppy kisses willingly and completely forgot about the forbidden fruit of the blood pressure cuff. You could tell she remembered having been in that room not long ago, and probably had an idea of what was in store. But hopped up on the goofy juice, she couldn’t really be bothered to care.

Since I held it together better than I did last time, I was coherent enough to behold what a tough little cookie we have unleashed upon this world. She took ages to go under, and even as my throat started to swell, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of pride as the nurses and doctors looked at their watches and wondered when this kid would finally be gassed already. In recovery she woke up pissed as hell, and when the Canuck and I joined her, two nurses were holding her down as she administered enough kicks to make them very sorry they had ever cut her head open and made her wait four hours for the pleasure. Offers of juice and cookies couldn’t have been more enthusiastically rejected than if we had offered dirt pies with grasshopper garnish. That is, until she decided she was good and ready, and then she downed two cups of apple juice and six cookies in 4 minutes flat.

While she was under, the wonderful nurse that assists Dr. Waner gave her little French braids so she’d look cute until we can wash her hair next week, which was the one time I did almost cry (what can I say? Hair is close to my heart). Even right after surgery, she looked amazing; the incision is so clean and thin that you almost can’t tell she’s had anything done. By the time she went to bed that night, she was back to normal, and has been kooky and chatty and delicious this entire week. We are back to thinking we did the right thing. But even if we didn't, I know she'll be just fine.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Bell and/or Whistle

So this is my secret shame (secret in that I have complained to most of my girlfriends but the checkout lady at the grocery store doesn't suspect a thing): my husband does not always read this blog. Ok, that's exaggerating; he does read it...when I badger him...repeatedly. I wrote the piece about him running the marathon, and then waited for him to read it and bask in all the lovely things I'd written about him. After 3 days, I dragged him over to the computer to finally take a look. By then I was considering adding a postscript about how although he is very athletic, he sadly has a third nipple.

In his defense, he's just not really into blogs (I think it's the unassuming Canadian in him), and he is one of those strange people who actually spends all his hours at the office working. Also, this is a man who open drawers and forgets to close them. I can hardly to expect him to remember to read his wife's latest innermost thoughts and feelings.

He suggested that in order to help him remember to read this blog (which he does seem to really enjoy once he gets here, especially the entries about farts, burps and poop), I should set up a mailing list. So I did, at the bottom of this page. Sign up (there's no committment beyond giving your e-mail) and you will be notified when I post something new, honey. That goes for anyone else out there too.

She's So Sensitive

Not long ago Muffin and I were taking one of our patented World’s Slowest Walks, and we passed a woman helping her daughter learn to ride a bike. The mom’s method could only be described as tough love. The little girl was on the verge of tears, but her mom kept telling her to stop crying and keep going. The girl fell, not all the way to the ground but enough to bring on true sobs of fear and frustration, but the mom again insisted that she get back up. No hugs, no kissing boo-boos, just sharp-tongued, Bobby Knight-style mothering.

Of course, Muffin had to examine a crack in the sidewalk just as they were slowly passing, so we ended up kind of inadvertently gawking at them. I couldn’t help but recoil at the mom’s lack of sympathy, even though I realize (in a way I never could have during my pre-mom years) that you just don’t know what kind of parent you’ll be until you’re there.

A few months ago we were at a friend’s birthday party. My friend’s mom was crossing her leg and inadvertently brushed Muffin. My daughter looked like someone had actually intentionally kicked her as her smile headed south and she scrambled over to me, arms out. She clutched me tightly and buried her head in my shoulder. She didn’t cry but I could hear her trying to catch her breath. She didn’t move for a good five minutes.

And here’s the terrible thing: I loved every second.

Muffin is generally too busy to be much of a cuddler. But at random moments she zooms over to me, whispering “hug, Mommy.” Often she’s tripped or pinched her finger, but sometimes someone just looking at her funny is enough to do it. Once the Canuck was pretending to be asleep on the couch and surprised her by blinking his eyes wide open suddenly. She ran off and buried her head in her hands, even as we were explaining that she hadn’t actually woken him up and that Daddy wasn’t mad at all. Guests are a mini-trauma every time; the buzzer rings, she yelps and rushes into my arms for a “carry you” (still working on those pronouns). In these moments, I am The Mommy, and my touch can restore her to her normal bouncy self, and it’s one of the greatest feelings ever.

But I am beginning to wonder if I am coddling her just so my mommy ego can get a stroke. I’m not talking about those times she’s truly injured – in those moments I can feel the gray hairs sprouting from my head, and I would gladly forgo the hugs and take on her pain in a second if I could. But then there are those minor daily wobbles and bumps, where a parent’s reaction can often determine the child’s. Sometimes I am breezy and all walk-it-off. But just as often I am offering a hug before Muffin can even figure out if she is upset enough to need it.

We have friends with a daughter so shy and sensitive that she had to bring a bucket to preschool to throw up in each day before she went in. Now she is 6, and her mom has decided she can no longer accept birthday party invitations, because there have just been too many times where the poor girl cannot get up the courage to leave her mom’s side and join in the festivities. I know her mom is proud of what a sweet and sensitive girl she is, but I also know she’s at her wit’s end trying to draw her out and toughen her up.

Maybe the woman on the street was in the same place.