Bathroom Door

Over the past few days, Edith has been doing a weird new thing. Three times now I have heard her screaming in heartbroken rage (heartbroken rage is an emotional combo I did not have much awareness of prior to having a toddler but now I get to witness it several times every day) somewhere in the house, and when I find her, she is standing outside my closed bathroom door, beating on it and weeping, having convinced herself for some reason that I am in there ignoring her.

I don’t know why she is frequently leaping to this conclusion all of a sudden, especially since she usually has wandered off from where I actually am only minutes previously.

When I come around the corner and say, “hey! I’m right here!” she doesn’t look abashed or confused, but rather turns to me and seamlessly continues to cry angrily at me, as if I am still somehow responsible for her mistake. Which just further supports my theory that we all start out naturally as men and only become women through aggressive social conditioning.

Food

When my mother first went back to Tennessee, I dreaded figuring out dinners for Edith. At first, though, this went ok! She would eat protein pasta, so that was one or two nights set. She loves beans and rice and eats it every day already, so that would do for dinner in a pinch. She’d eat any sort of fruit. She would sometimes eat roasted veggies, so I could do a big tray of those once or twice. Overall, I had enough options to get us through a week without spending an age on it.

But then, one by one, Edith decided she wasn’t eating any of this anymore, and now she will only eat beans and rice, and sometimes only rice. She still eats fruit with her nanny during the day, so there’s that, but she usually won’t eat it if I give it to her. I can’t feed her beans and rice for lunch and dinner every single day, can I? I mean, I can, and I have been, but it concerns me.

It’s weird that human beings are primarily supposed to eat vegetables, and we all hate them from the minute we’re born. No matter what form or type of vegetable I give Edith, she tosses it immediately onto the floor as if I’ve given her something that is clearly inedible. You’d think we’d be drawn to the foods that are most nutritious for us, that we’d crave them and favor them. Instead, we spend our whole lives trying to force them down our throats (not YOU, I know, you LOVE vegetables, you don’t need to comment and tell me that). I don’t mind them myself, but they rarely seem like a solution to hunger; I have to eat before I get too ravenous if I’m going to include vegetables and eat like a sane person, and not just cram a bunch of bread and dairy down my gob.

Anyway, watching Edith’s outright rejection of them often makes me ponder how strange it is that a taste for vegetables usually needs to be acquired when they are so necessary for us.

Downtown Kyle

I took Edith to the playground downtown this morning again. She was tired and clingy so she didn’t really run around that much, but I enjoyed it. The park is shady and pretty, and there are always other toddlers and parents there, and it’s nice to chat with the moms. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger and maintain it when you both have toddlers. Taking Edith there is exactly like taking a dog to a dog park, socially.

I took this little video of the town square; it’s got a real Stars Hollow thing going on with the gazebo and the giant pie.

Evening Spruce

Every night after I wrangle Edith into bed, I do the following chores:

  • Pick up the bathroom, rinse out the tub, put Edith’s clothes in the laundry room
  • Clean up the kitchen, wipe down the table and high chairs, load/unload the dishwasher, wipe off the counters, vacuum the crumbs up
  • Pick up all the shit in the living room and toss it into the playpen
  • Pick up all the shit in the hall and toss it into the playroom, pick up the playroom and put all the toys and books away
  • Dustbust the playroom where all the snack crumbs have gathered, wipe down the shelves if necessary
  • Spot clean the sticky spots up and down the hall and living room floors
  • Take out the trash and/or recycling if necessary; otherwise toss Edith’s diaper can trash bag into the garage
  • On Friday nights, I clean out the stroller and spray down and scrub the seat

It occurs to me that probably most people in my position would not bother with all this, but I just feel like doing this quick spruce on a nightly basis keeps the house from becoming overwhelmingly disgusting in between biweekly cleanings. It takes 20-45 minutes depending on how bad it’s gotten, and I listen to a podcast and make a game out of how fast I can do it.

This is the sort of thing where sometimes I think if I were married, I might not come out of the bedroom at night completely exhausted and then also have to do all this, too. But then I remember that I probably actually would still, if going by the married couples I know is any indication, and this way at least I don’t have to suppress my resentment while I do it. It’s really not that bad, and can at times be contemplative in its way.

Purse

Every weekday morning, when Edith hears her nanny’s key in the lock, she drops whatever she is doing and wheels out into the hall. Her nanny comes in, drops her bag, and plops on the floor at the end of the hall, arms spread wide to receive Edith, who is now running full out toward her, crowing in delight.

At the last minute, Edith swerves around her nanny’s outstretched arms, and starts burrowing through her purse to see what snacks she’s brought today.

It cracks us both up every time.

Girl

Yesterday morning, I took Edith to the new playground in “downtown” Kyle. They recently redid the town square with new landscaping and a large playground and when we arrived, I was thrilled to see that there is a toddler-sized playscape. Edith is constantly climbing up the regular sized ones and she’s really too little for them and then I have to climb up behind her hanging on to her arm, and chase her around and worry about her falling off. This little one was Edith-sized and she could climb up it all by herself and go down the slides and everything! Plus the playground had a soft, spongy artificial turf for safe falls. It was perfect.

So of course, I couldn’t interest her in it at all. When presented with the perfect playground, Edith immediately ran out of the playground and spent most of the time running around in the landscaped rose bushes, trying to play with some boxes of electrical equipment, digging in the dirt running path, and climbing up and down some extremely steep concrete steps. Every time I picked her up and set her in the playground again, she ran at full tilt out of it. So I resigned myself and just followed her around ready to intervene as she exposed herself to myriad hazards.

Meanwhile, a little girl came up to us as soon as we arrived.

“Who do we have here?” she said, and I introduced her to Edith. “This is Chuck,” she said of a purple stuffed triceratops she was holding.

From there, this little girl attached herself to us and followed us all around the park (as Edith did her parkour and I tried to keep up with her), prattling away. It took me awhile to figure out what was going on, but around about the time she started talking about how she knew a guy named Romeo of all things who was interested in her and called her at her job, and she said why are you calling me at WORK, what are men thinking, I realized that she had presented herself to me as a fellow Mom. Chuck was her “baby” and we were now moms hanging out. This was confirmed when she asked Edith’s age, and I said that Edith was 14 months and she said that actually Chuck was also 14 months and not one as she had said before, he was clearly much too small for one, she didn’t know what she was thinking.

After we had hung out for fully half an hour and I had heard everything about this little girl’s imaginary life as Chuck’s mom, her own real life mother (who she’d previously referred to as her aunt) got off the phone call she’d been on and called her over to her, where she clearly told the little girl to leave us alone.

After that, the little girl played alone, looking abashed, and every time Edith ran up to her or I smiled at her, she shot us a resentful glare and ran in the other direction while trying not to cry. Later another little girl came to the playground and our little girl went up to her and said quietly, “would you like to play with me?” but the second little girl was too young and ignored her.

The pathos of childhood is fucking brutal. I don’t really know how I’m going to survive it again, it breaks my whole entire heart.

Cold

My poor little boo has a cold, and I hate that she feels badly, but also about an hour into the morning, I realized, “oh. So I guess the snot is going to free-flow in two steady, unimpeded streams until the cold is over…and…that’ll just be that.”

I have always found it notable that being a person is a terribly messy affair that we take great pains to contain, but you don’t realize how much work we all have learned to do to contain it until you have a baby who doesn’t know how to do any of that. And then you realize how much of it there is to learn, slowly and laboriously, while you live in amongst it meanwhile.

Like, for example, Edith’s favorite food is rice. And I never really thought about the fact that eating rice without rice getting into every cranny of the house is a miraculous feat of coordination, a real ballet. I know this because Edith doesn’t. Without mastery of those tiny micro-skills eating rice is somewhat like popping a giant balloon filled with sand in your living room in front of a leaf blower. So we just live in rice now, and that’s that.

Living with a domesticated animal is also a study in fluids management and the incompatibility of a creature who exists in a state of nature to a suburban environment, but I find having a toddler to be even moreso.

Books

Edith has become very interested in books lately and mostly wants to sit in my lap while I read to her endlessly. This used to be my dream, but I now feel like I have read every one of Edith’s books probably 5,000 times. The more familiar she is with a book, the more she wants to read it, and I now have the words of various baby books running through my head all day like stuck songs and in my dreams at night.

There’s a particular maneuver that Edith does and that I have experienced other toddlers doing. I think they all do this. It’s where I’m reading a book to her and she takes the book from my hands and shoves it right back at me, as if to say, “read it harder.” I don’t know what this means? I am already reading the book as she demanded, I can’t read it more than I am.

I wonder what toddlers are thinking when they do this, what outcome they are actually expecting. I guess we will never know.

Another Regression

Early Sunday morning, Edith got up hollering at 4am and before I thought about it, I just pulled her into bed with me. She tried very very hard to go back to sleep, but she couldn’t, and so we were basically up from then.

I was worried that I’d set a precedent, and sure enough she woke up at 2:30 last night. This time I made her stay in her bed, but I sat by her and rubbed her back a bit, and at one point I gave her half a bottle. She was enraged, and stayed up more or less until I decided it was wake-up time at 5:30. She threw her pacifiers out of the bed a lot also, and I retrieved them.

Sleep regressions are hard because when you go months with your kid sleeping through the night, you get so smug. “I’ve figured this out,” I think to myself, smugly. “It took awhile, sure, but it wasn’t so hard. And now we’re all set!” I know that’s not true and I try to remind myself of that when I’m feeling self-satisfied, but every time, I really think the regressions are done. I know they aren’t done till she’s a teenager; you don’t have to tell me that.

I’m finding it harder to hold out against her as she gets older. I don’t know why — you’d think it would be the other way around because she’s tougher and more independent now, and easier to communicate with. But I did fall asleep reading a book about a woman who’d been fucked up by her emotionally withholding mother who would never let her get in bed with her, so that might have been part of it.

Pacifiers

Edith sleeps with a pacifier; usually I put a few in her bed, just so she has them. Lately, she has started a very obnoxious routine where I put her down to sleep, leave the room, and she immediately throws all the pacifiers out of her bed and howls until I come back in and return them to her. After which, she settles down and goes to sleep.

This started right after she uncharacteristically cried after she went down, which she doesn’t normally do anymore, and I came in and patted her a couple times, but figured she was just having a hard time falling asleep. After I realized she’d been crying for like 40 minutes, I finally realized she’d pooped.

I felt really awful about it, and the very next night, she started doing this pacifier thing. I feel like it’s very much a test where she reassures herself that I will come back in if she makes me, and that’s fine, but I am concerned that after awhile, she’ll decide she needn’t stop at one round and then I will be fetching pacifiers for an hour every night.

Fingers crossed.