Low Point

Edith likes to stick things in my mouth — food she is enjoying, to be companionable; food she is not enjoying, with a sort of “here, I know you like this” attitude; her toys, because she thinks it’s funny when I spit them at her.

This morning she woke up about an hour earlier than I was expecting, and as I had stayed up late doom-scrolling for the fourth night in a row, I was really not feeling getting up, so I did my usual stalling techniques:

I put her in bed with me and tried to cuddle her back to sleep. When that inevitably failed, I let her romp around, mess with the blinds, throw everything handy down behind the headboard. When she wanted down, I put her on the floor and let her destroy the place. She emptied the bedside drawer and threw its contents into her crib, then went full havoc on the diaper station. I hung a hand over the bed as she emptied an entire packet of wipes, and carried them over to me two at a time until it looked as though my outstretched hand had been buried in a damp snowdrift.

Then, I put her back in the bed and showed her Twitter for awhile.

Eventually she wore out even on that, so extreme was my stalling this morning, and began to romp around the bed again. By this time, it was a full hour since she had gotten up.

Then, she pushed something onto my (mercifully closed) mouth. I couldn’t see her coming with it because she had pitched my glasses under the bed long ago, but I could still smell.

It was a tiny poop.

After that, I got up with a quickness.

Scorpion

Well, it finally happened. After four years of shaking out my shoes preemptively, I have come face-to-face with a scorpion in the house.

I was taking a shower last night and a massive one appeared from thin air and started running around the perimeter of the shower. I am usually a catch-and-release person, but I beat this thing to death with a nearby shower brush I have never once used before I could even consider its humanity (arachnidy?).

Then I stayed up late googling all about scorpions and scorpions in the house and scorpions in the bed and whether scorpions could scale a pack-and-play and the effect a scorpion sting might have on a 22-lb fourteen-month-old. Which sounds stressful, but comparatively speaking, it was actually a light diversion from the doom scrolling I had been doing prior to the scorpion encounter, so in that respect I am grateful to it.

Uvalde

Food Again

I have always heard (and witnessed) that feeding toddlers is a constant and frustrating battle, but I didn’t really understand why until I had one (a toddler, I mean. And a battle.).

It’s because toddlers never want to stop moving, and they are also always ravenous. This means that they always need to eat, but they can’t sit still for it. What meals here look like: I prep a full meal. Edith excitedly climbs into her high chair to eat it. She eats two bites of it and then tries to launch herself out of her high chair. She refuses to eat any more of it and instead dances frantically in her high chair while chattering at the top of her lungs and pointing all around the kitchen, clearly telling me all about her busy schedule and all the things I she needs to be doing that I am now keeping her from. I finally relent and let her down. She goes back to playing while I put all the food away.

Ten minutes later, she has a meltdown because she is starving. I give her a string cheese. Repeat one million times.

What Edith would really prefer is to have a snack in one hand at all times while she runs around at full tilt. Her nanny generally allows this, but I don’t prefer it for a couple of reasons: I find it hard to passively watch her coat the entire house in food, and also eating while literally on the run is not the safest idea for someone who has not fully mastered swallowing or perambulating at any speed, much less doing both together as fast as possible.

I guess like all things this will pass.

Water Toys

I’ve been wanting to set up Edith’s wading pool and little splash pad in the backyard on the weekend, but it always seems like so much work to get it going. I have to set the stuff up, get Edith into all her gear and sunscreen, prep the back porch with towels and water and snacks — every time I thought through the process, yet another step or detail would occur to me, and it just seemed like it might not be worth bothering with.

But on Saturday, we had four hours between her nap and dinner and it was blazing hot out, so I finally did it. It took a lot to get everything set up, especially as Edith insisted on coming out with me and being held under one arm like a 22 lb. sack of potatoes while I fought with various hose attachments, and there was an incident where I had to set her down for a second and disappear around the house, which she reacted to as if I had abandoned her on the side of the interstate and told her to find her own way home, but finally everything was set up and Edith was in her full rash guard and sun hat and water shoes and zinc oxide and mosquito repellent and I had brought out a towel and water and two little oranges for a snack, and it was time to play!

At first, Edith wasn’t into it, mostly because of the Earlier Incident and also because I was too invested — she smelled a rat. She toddled around the porch with an orange in each hand eyeing me suspiciously while I stood below her in the yard, sweating profusely and calling, “come on, Edith! This will be fun! You will love it! You love the water!”

I think I remember childhood more distinctly than many people, and I recall what it feels like to have various adults constantly looming over you with giant grins pasted on their faces and urging you to partake in some sort of heavily arranged “fun” with barely concealed desperation behind their frantic eyes. It was so apparent that the other half of “you will have fun” was “you had goddamned better or I am going to lose my whole entire mind” and that was never conducive to a relaxed good time.

So I tried to be genuinely ok with Edith never getting in. But eventually she did, and she had a really good time tossing the oranges from the wading pool to the splash pad and back and chasing after them.

And I had such a great time watching her have a good time! This is a big reason why I had a kid — I have never really been able to have fun, because first I was too self-conscious to enjoy myself, and then I was too anxious/depressed, and by the time I had gotten over all that, I was bored with everything and hard to impress. But I knew it would be really fun to watch a little kid have fun all the time, and it is. And it’s so easy to do! I mean, this whole thing was sort of a hassle, but it was so easy to turn the back yard into a marvelous, unexpected, summertime adventure for Edith.

And then after, we stood on the shady back porch resting and eating the oranges, and that was exactly what she needed to do after getting all hot and hungry and tired, which I had anticipated and prepped for, and it’s just really satisfying and nice to take care of someone and make sure they really enjoy themselves. It’s especially nice when that someone is a wide-eyed laughing adorable little cartoon character whose reactions to everything are unexpected and hilarious.

I really like living with a toddler. She is a 24/7 cyclone of destruction and chaos, but she’s very charming about it, and ultimately I guess it’s worth it.

TV

I wasn’t sure how long I was going to wait before I let Edith watch TV.

I don’t think TV is very good for us, but I want to teach Edith to self-manage all small vices from early on, so that she can learn moderation. I don’t know how I will teach her this, because I am a hopeless binger in all respects, but I’m going to try. I don’t know much about child-rearing, but I did grow up best friends with Mormons and my parents didn’t really keep sweets in the house regularly, so I definitely know that if you make something that is an everyday part of most people’s lives a rare treat or absolutely forbidden, then as soon as your kid gets out from under your thumb, they will swan-dive into that thing face-first, full scarcity mentality, and it will become their completely uncontrollable vice until they go to therapy or find some sort of meaning in their life or something.

So, I’m going to let Edith watch TV, but I wasn’t sure when I’d introduce her to it. I knew we’d wait at least a year, because they are pretty sure watching screens of any kind is detrimental to babies under one year. Then, I read some stuff that they think you should really wait till two, but I don’t think that evidence is as compelling. Still, I figured I’d wait till she was two.

But then this afternoon, I just felt like watching some TV with her, so I pulled her into my lap and we watched an episode of Adventure Time. I really like Adventure Time and I had planned on watching it with her when she was big enough. They are only 15 minute episodes, and Edith sat completely focused and still for the whole time, just riveted. Which is a little disturbing! But it was so nice to cuddle her and sit there for a bit, and when it was over, I shut it off and put the computer away and she didn’t get upset; she just went back to playing.

So I think maybe we’ll watch one every Sunday afternoon. It can be our little ritual.

Carrots

Today, I gave Edith a little toy that’s a box with holes in the top where you can push five little carrots through. She played with it a couple of times, and then she turned to me (obviously having already thought this through) and pushed one of the carrots directly into my cleavage.

That worked so well that she pushed the other four in there, too, and then she plucked them out one at a time and pushed them into the box. When I emptied the box, she put them all back into my cleavage again, and got them out one at a time. And that’s how the game went from then on.

Not sure how I feel about this, but given that another similar stage in many of her games is to put the toys in my mouth and have me spit them at her, I guess this is preferable.

One Stop Surgery

I have to do all this shit to my rapidly decaying body, and I don’t have the energy for any of it. It’s all a whole project; I have to find different doctors and referrals and navigate things and figure out who’s paying for what. I’ve got this to do list section in my planner for my fucking body and I don’t want to get around to any of it.

I’m pretty sure my foot is fractured and it’s not healing, so I need to get that looked at, and I need Lasik and I need to get another sleep study probably. I want to get my boobs taken off and some cosmetic surgery on my eyes.

It just seems like this should all be simpler by now, like there should be a big one-stop center where you can get all of it knocked out at the same time. I mean, almost all those things are done with lasers primarily. Even better, a service that will come to your house and just do your modifications and improvements. Like, I had these guys come to my house and detail my car.

Book

Edith officially has her first favorite book. It is My Friends by Taro Gomi. We have read it about 50 times over the past two days, at a conservative estimate. I’m not sure why Edith is suddenly so into it, but every time I turn around, she is handing me this book. It’s a fine book! Brief, cute. There could (and I’m sure will be) much more annoying books to have to read over and over.

It’s very interesting to watch her sudden interest in this book — she has previously been pretty interested in books in that she’ll sit and page through one over and over, looking at the pictures. And she doesn’t mind me reading to her; she won’t often fully pay attention the whole way through a book but sometimes she will.

But this is the first book that she has initiated wanting me to read to her, front to back, over and over. We always have three bedtime books and I proceed through them each night, with varying levels of interest from Edith, but this week, we are only reading this one multiple times because she’s so into it that she can’t pay any attention to other books and if I try to read her another one, she just picks this one up and looks through it herself while patiently waiting for me to finish.

Edith is behind on talking, which doesn’t really concern me, but it does make me impatient. I want to be able to talk to her and ask her questions. I want to know why she loves this book so much and what she’s thinking about it when she studies it so intently.

Busking

Today, I recommend that you go over to Cintra Wilson’s newsletter and read this delightful anecdote in which Francis Ford Coppola is forced to literally dance for a job. I find this so funny and fun to think about, I can picture it perfectly and it genuinely made my day. There’s something very comforting and human in the thought that you never get so big that you don’t have to eat shit occasionally.

I’ve been a fan of Wilson’s writing for a long time, and her newsletter is fun — it’s a combination of reruns of her older work and newer posts like this one.