Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Teething, Tyrannical, Toddler

When I decided to take a hiatus from school, I had many a grand dream about how I was going to kick my writing career into high gear, start busting my ass (literally) at the gym, and still have lots of time left over for play dates.

Well, all I can say, is reality served me up a nice big can of whoop ass.

I don't know what it is exactly that has prevented me from updating the blog on a more regular basis or why I'm not feverishly writing my book proposal. I have to admit that I'm lazy. That's a fact, one which anyone who knows me will attest to, and that without question, is impeding my progress. But, it's more than that.

It turns out, toddlers are a LOT of work. WHO KNEW? Oh, you did? Well, whatever, smarty pants. I'm not talking to you.

When I began my last quarter of school and work at the tutoring center, I had a 9 month old. She was crawling, but there was only so much she could get into, and she was eating mostly purees. Babies are always a handful, but she was manageable. During those months that Chris and I were equally sharing the baby wrangling duties, a shift was occurring, imperceptible to us at the time.

And so it came to pass that when I resumed primary responsibility for the care and well-being of Charlotte at the end of the quarter, I was greeted not with my sort-of mobile, Gerber-slurping, happy little baby, but a full-on toddler, complete with personality, tantrums, and breakneck mobility.

Don't get me wrong, I am really having more fun than ever before. Her ever-expanding vocabulary is hilarious and awe-inspiring (and maybe some other hyphenated words, too!). And now that she can genuinely show affection with her spontaneous and very pronounced kisses, and now that she can call for me, I am a junkie for her love. What I won't do for just one more stroke of my arm with her tiny hand!

But, holy hell, if it isn't demanding! Every night upon leaving her room at bedtime, I am assaulted by a sinkful of dishes, pots and pans, and a high chair adorned with congealed cheese, globs of yogurt, avocado smear, and the tiniest of broccoli particles. Ah, the simplicity of spooning pureed carrots into her gullet! Then it was as simple as recycling a jar and dabbing her mouth with a washcloth. Now, my kitchen looks as if I've just prepared a Thanksgiving feast. Every. Single. Night.

Then I come into the living room, where the brightly-colored plastic lives. Some of it can be crammed into her toy box, but then there are the cars, the musical table, the bouncing horse, the bouncy ball, all permanent fixtures in the decor. I tidy and arrange as best I can, before preparing my own dinner. Then I pour a glass of wine and spend a little time catching up on the internet. This is a nice, peaceful time. A perfect time to do some of that writing, but I am usually so wiped from all the cooking, feeding, cleaning, playing, driving, etc. that I don't always get around to it.

And then there are days like today. Days where the kid won't nap even though she's tired and falling all over herself. So, I throw a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor, and we watch Sesame Street together. Days where she appears to be cutting a tooth (or forty) and cries inconsolably, periodically throughout the day. Days where she wants to be held only by Mommy (I'm as shocked as you) so she spends hours in the borrowed Ergo. Days where she wants you to read her Llama Llama Red Pajama for the tenth time, but then closes the book and whines right around the time Baby Llama is asking for a drink of water. Days where I am equal parts heartbroken for her and frustrated at her constant unhappiness.

Somehow I managed to compose this rant on a day like this. But, now it would probably behoove me to go to bed. Charlotte's slumber has already proven itself to be unstable, at best, so I should probably collect as many hours of sleep as I can.


  1. Ah, my poor babies.....it does get easier, I promise. Until it gets difficult again. (What? Have I ever lied to you?)

  2. Oh my god, I know.

    I thought we got through the "hard" part. Nope. Now we get a little more sleep, but in exchange there's the feeding, the demands, the stinking teething...it's just all hard. And fun and rewarding, and a lot of other good things, but also HARD.