Saturday, February 03, 2007


My poor sad little blog. I've been neglecting you. As per usual.

Today, I'd like to talk about my daughter. At almost 28 months, she is a marvel of human development. Her speech is developing at a rapid rate; every day she acquires new words and phrases with which to communicate. While about 70% of what she says is difficult to understand, she makes her needs and wants very clearly known, and she is even better at conveying her various emotional states (she is her mother's daughter, after all).

I am amused by her status as a "girly-girl." She loves to twirl in a new dress. She danced around her room the other night buck naked but for a pair of velveteen mary janes (with just the slightest little girl heel). If not for dodgy child pornography laws, I'd post a picture here, because it was quite funny. She hates to get her hands dirty. She likes to comb her hair and admire herself in the mirror. It's beyond me where she gets it, because I can actually go days without being the least bit interested in my reflection, except when I'm brushing my teeth or making sure the stains on my shirt aren't too visible.

We have a lot of mother-daughter moments that are truly amazing. My favorite times are the simplest times. She is sitting on my lap, we're either reading one of her many scores of books, or singing, or simply sitting and looking out the window at the suburban activity that she finds so fascinating. I love when we get to giggling. She will make me laugh, making a funny face or a silly noise, and I'll reciprocate, and it will turn into this laugh fest that usually leaves me with tight stomach muscles and sore ribs, and she with the hiccups. Sometimes, she'll look up at me, place one hand on either side of my face, look into my eyes, and say in this way that absolutely melts my heart, "Mommy..." As if she is just so pleased that I am just that, her Mommy. I feel the need to savor those little gems, because I know before long she won't want to sit on my lap anymore. She'll be a big girl.

The most interesting thing about her development has been her affinity for music. I was steeped in music as a kid. My mother has a reel-to-reel tape of me singing along to Julie Andrews' version of "Doe A Deer," from the Sound of Music, at barely 3 years old. Music is so much a part of who I am, and it would seem that my daughter is following in some very worn footsteps. Her infant cooing at just four months old took on all the highs and lows and volume nuances of song. By a year old, she could hum simple melodies like "Twinkle, Twinkle" and now she is a veritable virtuoso. Most notably, her obsession with a soundtrack that I played incessantly whenever I drove anywhere: Wicked, The Musical. I had to hide the CD by mid-summer, because even I have a limit to how many times in succession I can listen to "What is This Feeling?" and "Popular." She walks around the house still, humming and singing snippets of those songs. This morning, she was droning Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and later on dancing along with Panic at the Disco while I cruised a new forum community that's recently sprung up. The instant we wake up, or load ourselves into a car, she's asking, "Murmur go? Murmur go?" That's what really cracks me up -- her word for music is murmur. I try not to parrot it back, because I've read so many articles that discourage using "baby talk" like that in new language learners. But it's just so damn cute, sometimes I can't help it.

My husband has inculcated her into the use of "please" and "thank you" and just the other day she had an entire line of grocery shoppers and baggers smiling as we walked past and she said "Thank you" (enk you) to a woman who picked up her toy that she had dropped, and flashing a dimpled smile while waving goodbye like a little parade queen the rest of the way out the door. Enough to make you desperate for insulin, this kid.

Never mind that she has a wicked temper, or a grumpy streak. Even these things can be adorable (in small measures). There are times when I have to turn my head and bury my face in the nearest soft object to keep from laughing at her misbehavior. I mean, I am the Mommy after all. I don't think I'm supposed to snort and snicker at her when she's being a brat. But she is hilarious sometimes. Nothing that I can really describe in detail, there is just something so mirthful in her intensity.

Our biggest battle right now is her quest for independence, lately exemplified by her penchant for saying "no!" whenever the need for her obedience arises. It's hardly "terrible" but it is a great big pain in the ass. I'm reminded of Louis C.K. talking about his four year old daughter in his latest stand up on HBO.

"She's a fucking asshole!"

*audience laughs guiltily*

"Seriously. Anybody who is with a group of people and holds that entire group of people up because they don't want to put their shoes on, is a fucking asshole! Come on guys, let's get going. Sorry, um, we can't, cuz Bob won't put on his shoes."

Yeah, she asserts her autonomy at the worst possible times. I'm learning quickly that if I show any sense of immediacy in completing a task, I'm dooming myself to a slow-as-molasses approach to whatever must be done. It's a great test of my patience. A lesson in our gotta get there quick society, I suppose. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, stop and smell the roses, or in her case, run around the house in circles as many times as possible until Mommy snatches your midget ass up and puts your coat on for you. What sucks about this scenario is, I used to be late for everything, back in my early 20s, to the point where all of my friends and family would give me one time for arrival, usually anywhere from 20 - 40 minutes earlier than the actual time, just to be sure that arrived at the actual time. I finally pulled my head out and realized how thoughtless I was, and became the model citizen of punctuality. And here I am, struggling with the same shit -- but, I guess I at least have someone to blame it on, now. I wonder, though, if people think I'm just using her as a scapegoat and I've lapsed back into my old habits....

I'd say the most challenging part of being a parent is the constant fear I have of something nebulous and horrible happening to the fruit of my loins. My dreams are peopled by bad scary faceless things, all revolving around my child being harmed in some way. I anticipate needing major therapy if I don't get that fear in check, or else my kid will end up like Carrie, covered in pig blood in a gym somewhere killing her peers in a massive psychic rage, then coming home and skewering me like Piper Laurie.

Yeah, that won't happen, but it was an amusingly morbid fantasy to perpetuate there, for a minute. Seriously, though, I don't want to lock her up in a closet, but the way things are going, I just wonder why we continue to procreate at all. Surely the biological need isn't as strong as the rational realization that this planet is getting throughly fucked.

But I digress.

This being a Mom thing, it really is the hardest but most rewarding job you'll ever have. There is nothing like her tiny hand wrapped around my finger, her breath on my neck, the sound of her voice and her feet in every corner of the house. Even when she's driving me completely and utterly bonkers, I'll drop her off at her grandmother's house, and in an hour, I'm missing her like gangbusters.

Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world, a mother's love is not.
~James Joyce


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