Conversation

It had been a rough day and Chinese was on our menu for dinner. After that BB and I had to drive the half hour to my parents’ house, then to the airport to pick up RB; he had been gone since Wednesday at conference in Albany and I felt guilty because, as excited as I knew he was going to be about it, I didn’t really care. RB had a retirement party to attend back in our neighborhood immediately following his pickup. Although he had said he wouldn’t go I insisted; it was an important networking opportunity. I was supposed to go glamping (glamorous camping, I was told) with some girlfriends, but my mother was unable to watch BB over night due to my father’s ailing health. I would miss one night but was planning on attending the next day. I did my best to not make her feel guilty about it.

We were rounding a traffic circle, finishing up a conversation about my father; I had told BB that his Papa was very sick (he was at the hospital for the third time in four weeks) and there was a chance he’d be going to see GG [my maternal Grandmother who passed away last year] soon. “Why Mommy?”

I told him that everyone goes to see GG at some point, but it’s okay because they can fly. I’m not a religious person and am still working out the kinks as far as talks about death. Even though he’s (almost) only three, I wanted to give him the heads up.

“Where’s my buddy Papa going?”

“Hopefully nowhere for a while.” I had been crying all day at work; my eyes were swollen and my head hurt. My mother was getting Hospice involved.

“Oh.” I glanced back at him; he was staring out his window, half paying attention, half already engaged in our next conversation. “Momy, look at that!” His still kind of chubby index finger pointed at the cemetery we were driving past.

“That’s like where GG lives. Can you say cemetery?”

“Cim-it-awy.”

“Good. Do you remember visiting GG?”

“GG is up on the mountain!” (She’s buried on top of a hill; I took BB to visit her for her birthday a couple weeks ago.)

“That’s right, baby.”

We kept driving, the flowers and headstones disappearing in my side mirror. “Mommy, that’s super awesome!”

I actually laughed out loud. He’d been saying that, super cool, and never ever for the past couple weeks; I’m still not sure who he got it from. Tom Petty played gently on the radio in the background.

“You know what, baby? You’re super awesome.”

“Mommy you’re super awesome!” As I turned onto the main street to get to the restaurant I beamed. Did he know what he was saying? Probably not. But it made me feel awesome for the first time that day.

“Aww, thanks baby. That was really kind of you to say.”

“You’re welcome.” I watched his sweet face in the rearview mirror as he continued to stare out his window and just take it all in.

The world is huge and there are so many wonderful things to see. I hope he never stops looking for them.

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Morning Of the Toddler

7/31/17, 7:04am

Ok buddy, let’s get dressed. What would you like to wear today? (I pull out a blue striped shirt from his dresser as BB watches from his changing table, unimpressed.) Here’s a blue shirt you haven’t worn in a while, look no tag (he’s refusing to wear shirts with tags). You like blue — No, no blue.

You sure? It’s really nice. No blue.

Ooh, how about your bunny shirt? No bunny. But the bunny is blue! No blue.

Ok, how about your monster shirt? (I fake growl and he whimpers.) No monster!

Ok then, how about your red shirt? It’s red like a fire truck. Fire truck? Yes, fire truck. Fire truck? (BB physically inspects the t-shirt looking for a fire truck.)

Yes, wait – no, no. It’s red like a fire truck, not an actual fire truck. (BB stares blankly at me.) There’s no truck. He starts to sing: Hew-wo fire truck, fire truck hew-wo.

Whatever – yes, hello fire truck! So you want the red shirt? Yeah!

Ok, great! (I put the shirt on him, temporarily basking in the mild waves of accomplishment falling over me before I realize…) Wow… That shirt doesn’t match your cool football shorts whatsoever now (they were already picked out). Whatever, looking good bud!

(I stand him up on his changing table. BB bends over, picks up the the first blue shirt I suggested and holds it up to his legs, then looks at me.) Buddy that’s a shirt, you can’t wear it as pants. I want it.

No, I’m sorry buddy. You can’t wear two shirts, you can only wear one shirt. (I think of a time long, long ago in the early thousands when we did, in fact, wear two shirts at the same time. It was college, and it was a strange period in my life.) But I want it. (BB tries to put shirt on his head.)

Honey that’s not a hat, that’s a shirt. (BB stares blankly.) Do you want to wear the blue shirt? Yeah!

(I exhale a heavy sigh as he struggles to escape from the confines of the red, truckless shirt, and eagerly slip on the first fucking shirt he said no to ten minutes ago.)

Another Day

Two minutes before this photo, BB’s beautiful smile was downturn, tears streaming down his red face because we wouldn’t let him watch Daniel Tiger before bed; two minutes after he got a time out for hitting Daddy (again) and erupted on the bathroom floor when he was asked to brush his teeth.  We also had moments of unbearable sweetness: trying to hug & kiss Papa through the phone when we Skyped, despite Papa’s new neck brace; huge, beaming smiles as he rode a tricycle for the first time; elated shrieks as he played hockey in the driveway with his Uncle Tommy, Buffalo Sabres music blasting out of RB’s phone.  

Toddlers are like us: complex creatures capable of wild mood swings and irrational rages, but they also possess the innate ability to be kind and joyfully break into song and dance for no particular reason.  RB is doing a great job at being a father; his patience truly is a virtue.

Family vacation day 3

We rushed out of the apartment like a whirlwind by 6:30am after several unsuccessful attempts to get BB back to sleep; he woke us up at 5:15am by jumping as high and hard as he could inside his rented pack ‘n play, throwing his stuffed buddies and shouting demands of a bottle, despite falling asleep a little later than usual last night.  RB and I came to the conclusion that at home that probably happens too but he’s easier to ignore in his room and he eventually gives up and falls back asleep.  Here, he snoozes at the foot of our bed in the second bedroom of the apartment my parents rent for the winter in Seminole, Florida.  The walls are thin and my parents are no longer used to waking up early or life with an energetic, screaming toddler.  (Granny tries to impress the concept of an “inside voice” on BB; he usually looks at her and screeches louder.) 

Found a hip breakfast place.  Enjoyed eggs Benedict served on crepes until BB began to choke on his French toast.  Caught most of the puke in my hands, RB assisted with napkins and cleanup.  I was impressed by our calm demeanors and minimal spillage on BB’s clothes/floor, but I think the waitress was too flustered by another table with young business types who requested 5 separate checks.  RB was polite and threw out the mess for her.  I still finished my breakfast and coffee before we left.  

#parentingwin 

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