• The doctor’s  office really needs to get some child-size face masks.  It takes a saintly child to agree to wear a mask that slips off her dripping nose over and over but completely blocks her vision if she pulls it up. Turns out if you loop the ear strings over the little ear at least twice, pinch the part of the mask near the nose, and basically never take your hand off her face, the whole thing works like a charm. 
  •  The more you get up during the night to comfort your feverish, screaming child, the deeper one’s husband keeps falling back to sleep. It’s remarkable, really. Even if you poke said husband REALLY hard accidentally on purpose when getting back into bed, nothing. Zip. Seriously, that’s skill you just can’t buy. 
  • The definition of sanitary becomes fuzzier as your sleep debt increases. The toy on Monday that needed to be cleaned five times with antibacterial wipes is now simply rubbed on my mucus-crusted sweatshirt sleeve.  I mean, who are we kidding here? You can’t get the swine flu a second time by playing with a shoddily wiped DoodlePro, right? (Will report back on this theory.)
  • The thermometer you slide across your kid’s forehead? SO much better than the one you stick up her bum. Yeah, sure, I’m pretty sure it’s not always accurate and it told me this morning I was 74.6 degrees, but man, is it easy to use. Makes a long, drawn-out beeping noise, too, neatly confirming a mother’s suspicions that her child is indeed hot enough to boil her own tea water.

The thing is, she doesn’t even drink soda.  Sure, the very occasional root beer now and then, but honestly, she’s a water-milk-and-apple-juice kind of girl, with a penchant for seltzer. I place the blame for the World’s Longest, Loudest, and Overall Worst-Ever (Ever) Tantrum squarely on the managers of Pizzaella, the hole-in-the-wall pizza spot in the neighborhood mall’s food court.  They put the transparent fountain dispensers right by the register, gleefully choosing to offer drinks with colors never, NEVER found in nature. The one that caught Aura’s eye Saturday (after I had already paid) was what I have come to think of as Sucker Blue. As in, “Parents! Ha HA! We got you, suckers! We made this soda such a gut-wrenching, stomach-churning, ultra-disgusting blue that only your children would ever think of it as potentially delicious!”

The rest of the story is sadly predictable: Aura saw the blue soda and wanted it. I said no, though I did hint at a future dessert if lunch went well. Suddenly there was a meltdown to beat all meltdowns, and when it didn’t end, I was forced to carry through and take her home with no lunch. As I gazed down at her, half-prone on the filthy food-court floor, her tears mixing with other people’s dropped french fries and crumpled receipts, I found myself oddly devoid of any embarassment whatsoever. Sure, I was spitting magenta flames of rage as I dragged her through the mall screaming and sobbing, and I certainly considered slapping her for the first time ever (deciding against it upon determining the resulting wails would be even louder than the current ones). But embarrased? Nah.

This is a fairly big deal for me, someone who has always worried too much about what others might think. It seems that parenthood has realigned the stars a bit for me, refixing emotional priorities and redefining “judgmental.” Before we had Aura, I’d raise an eyebrow at kids who screamed uncontrollably at Target, or gave Adam a knowing that-will-never-be-us look at restaurants when tantrums went on and on. But now, well, I just know better. Yes: Several of those tantrums I witnessed in stores and restaurants were probably the product of parents spoiling their kids, or setting a precedent of giving in if the screaming became loud enough. But I am sure many, MANY others were just parents letting their kids scream until they realized that things weren’t going to change–that they were just not going to get that blue soda. And to those parents, I say: More power to us, stay strong, and just don’t make eye contact on your way out of the store.


Update #1: Aura screamed through the parking lot, all the way home, and while being forcibly carried to her bedroom and deposited in her bed, fully clothed and unfed. Wailing continued for one minute after the door was shut, and then there were two glorious hours of nap. When she awoke and Adam sat down with her for a tete-a-tete about tantrums, she readily admitted such behavior was naughty. Then she attemped to negotiate a blue soda on a future trip to the mall, offering to have it for dessert. Really, you have to admire such cunning tactics in a preschooler.

Update #2: In the spirit of full disclosure, Aura’s typical disposition is more like this:


Hmm.  Perhaps we just need to move closer to the ocean.  I’ll get right on that.

Then She Was Three

October 6, 2009

Wait–really? How is it possible that three years have come both so quickly and so slowly?

Happy birthday, baby girl. Thank you for giving us so many wonderful reasons to get up every morning, including:

your exceptional taste in all matters culinary...

your exceptional taste in all matters culinary;

the fact that you love trucks and trains and cement mixers as much as you love pink and purple and shoes with sequins...

your love of trucks and trains and cement mixers, rivaled only by your love of pink and purple and shoes with sequins;

your impassioned dedication to public transit...

your impassioned dedication to public transit;


your ability to be goofy whenever we most need it...

your ability to be goofy whenever we most need it;

your willingness to care for others, both animate and inanimate...

your willingness to care for and groom others, both animate and inanimate;

...and so, so much more.

and so, so much more.

May this fourth year be your best yet, Aura Layne. We can’t wait to experience every moment of it with you.

When Aura was a newborn, I whiled away countless sleep-deprived hours holding her on the couch, watching TV and nursing and, you know, doing more holding. Once in a while I would wonder vaguely if this early exposure to television would result in a prematurely-TV-addicted child.  Then I would calculate the number of hours I had slept in the past week, look at my ginormous, swollen, and in all honesty, kind of grotesque breasts, and think, Eh. Whatever. TV is goooood. 

Turns out the bits of worrying here and there were for nought, since although Aura likes her a good show, she is far from hooked.  Her fixation on certain shows, however, has caused me my fair share of insanity. First it was Elmo. Only Elmo. Not the rest of Sesame Street, despite my manic enthusiasm toward the Count and spirited post-show reenactments of Cookie Monster. But no. NO. ELMO ONLY. And so I listened to the theme song from “Elmo’s World” a billion times and saw parts of Mr. Noodle that no woman my age should ever witness. What I learned: Elmo is not particularly bright; if he was not a primary color, there is no way in hell he would be popular.

Then there was an abrupt–and thankfully short-lived–switch to Thomas and Friends. I would sit there watching with Aura, my brow furrowed as I struggled with the combination of Alec Baldwin’s oily narrator voice with thoroughly age-inappropriate “lessons.” (Example 1: If freight cars push you, the cheery engine, off the tracks, causing you to crash and burn, simply be thankful for the cranes who come to tow you home; my choice of interpretation to Aura: If some kid pushes you at the playground more than once, you take that bugger out. Example 2: If you are grumpy about your job and complain endlessly, you will shortly become a hero during the next landslide at the mine; my take: If I tell you to pick up your toys and you don’t, I will eat every single gummy bear in the package you picked out at Walgreens, SO HELP ME GOD.) What I learned: There is a good reason trains don’t speak; they’re as dumb as dirt. (See Elmo, above.)

Right around the time I realized the Thomas fixation was a wee bit out of control. (And yes. The train really did go around that actual, absurdly-overpriced little track.)

Right around the time I realized the Thomas fixation was a wee bit out of control. (And yes. The train really did go around that actual, absurdly-overpriced little track.)

And then, for a full nine months, there was Dora the Explorer. And when I say there was Dora, I mean THERE WAS DORA.  We no longer walked anywhere in peaceful contemplation; instead, every move was announced with ¡Vámonos!There were references, both while awake and asleep, to Swiper, Boots, Benny, Tico…the whole freakin’ jungle-lovin’ crew.  The TiVo almost burned itself out recording and cross-referencing Dora episodes across three cable channels, prompting me to create a complicated series of DVR folders: Dora Episodes Aura Has Watched Already; Dora Episodes Aura Has Watched Already More Than Twelve Times But Must Be Kept Anyway; Dora Episodes That Are An Hour Long and Must Be Saved for Snow Days, Sick Days, and Early-Wine-Drinking Days, etc. But then, after months of brief, jungle-centric conversations in (admittedly pretty good) Spanish, Aura suddenly lost interest. That or she realized she had finally exhausted the Dora canon. Does it matter? One should not dwell too long on one’s good fortune. What I learned: If you count among your friends a shod monkey, the world’s dumbest cow, and a convertible-driving squirrel, it might be time to move to the city.

And so we arrive at present day. Coincidentally, we find ourselves teetering on the edge of the world’s longest mommyblog post. If you want the lowdown and life lessons of our current fave, Imagination Movers, come back soon. I’m suddenly busy: The TiVo light just came on and I so know it’s recording a quality CW show, like Gossip Girl or Vampire Diaries. While Aura might have questionable taste in programming, mine is impeccable.

(What I have learned from the CW: Everyone has the potential to be born into a ludicrously wealthy family. Oh, and have hair with the perfect amount of volume.)