Fifteen Months: The ramblings of a crazy mom

Monday, September 1

(He's wearing self-applied bronzer in this picture, FYI.)

Life with Clark at 15 months is outrageous.  And I mean that in the best possible way. When Clark turned one in May, it was as though he immediately morphed into a toddler. He will always be my baby, but I'm pretty sure no one else sees a baby when they look at him. Especially when he's just casually walking up and down the aisles of every store EVER pulling items out one by one and throwing them on the floor, leaving a path of destruction for his poor mom who is chronically two feet behind him, trying to bend over and pick everything up.  (A challenge since my belly is currently the size of a McMansion, by the way.) 


Which really means full on HUMAN, you know what I mean? Suddenly Clark has opinions about things. And preferences. And even more importantly, now that he can walk and communicate, he has the ability to make these opinions known AND....walk away from me if he doesn't like what's happening.  And honestly, until you have a child, you really don't understand how quickly they can run away from you.  Their little legs are like freaking spider legs, and I swear Clark can run faster than me.

I recently read some stupid article on Facebook written by some BRITISH NANNY, which immediately annoys me because who the heck cares if she's BRITISH?  An accent does not make you smart, right?  But anyway.  She made all these points about raising children that aren't spoiled, and one of her rules was to not give in to a toddler when he or she wants a particular cup or spoon or whatever.  And you know what?  Whatever. When Clark has an opinion about which sippy cup he'd like to use, at this point, I think it's great.  It tells me he can recognize colors, and he's able to find small differences in mundane things.  I mean, don't I do that every day?  I drink coffee from the same stupid green mug every. single. morning.

Except THIS morning because our Keurig broke, and you know what?  Completely unacceptable.  How am I supposed to survive life with a miniature tornado, single handedly I might add! (Jared's gone for awhile), with no caffeine?  Today I had to make two emergency trips to McDonald's for coffee until I finally broke down and went to HEB to buy a mini coffee maker and old-fashioned filters for a total of $9.  I'm so depressed.

And now, lest anyone think I'm complaining or whining, I would like to state for the record that 15 months is probably the most fun age we've experienced yet.  I absolutely love this age.  I mean, sure, there are moments that are completely terrifying.  Like when Clark is chewing on something and I squeeze his cheeks and a drywall screw flies out.  Or when I DARE to walk into another room long enough to plug my phone into the wall, and return to find Clark standing up in the middle of the dining room table, literally trying to hang from the chandelier.  Or when it gets really quiet all at once, and I find Clark sitting on my bathroom floor eating adult toothpaste directly out of the tube, and I have to google "fluoride poisoning.").  Really though, it's mostly fun.  The fun outweighs the scary.  I think.

At fifteen months, Clark...

...still eats anything and everything.  The only food he won't eat is yogurt.  His favorite foods are brussels sprouts, broccoli, curry and apples.  I don't understand it either, but we are riding this train as long as we can.

...loves to be naked.  But isn't that all boys?

...wears a stethoscope around his neck all day long for some reason.  You can't remove it or he will cry and it's just too pitiful. the biggest helper.  He loves to help me unload the dishwasher and throw things in the garbage.  Sometimes he does the latter without being asked which makes us wonder if maybe our video camera is somewhere in a dump in New Jersey?  Because it's no longer in our home.  Anywhere.

...loves to lift my shirt and give the baby kisses.  Also, inexplicably, likes to pull my shirt down in public and expose my boobs to strangers.  Not sure if the two are related.

...loves music and knows how to turn on his music on the stereo.  And hey, in case you were wondering, you won't ACTUALLY go insane if you listen to "Rise and Shine" (the Noah and the Ark song) 55 times, although you may want to bang your head into the wall for some mental relief.  I wouldn't judge.

...loves coloring and writing his "name" with crayons.  We are working very hard on learning to color only on paper.  There is currently a trail of green crayon across my tile floors and on my white couch, and whoever labeled the crayons as washable is a complete liar.

...can point to the parts of his body.  So far, he knows hands, nose, eyes, ears, hair, toes and belly button.  I often ask him to point out mommy's body parts too, and when we get to belly button, Jared says its actually an unfair question, since mommy doesn't even have a belly button anymore.  He's right.  But it's sort of fun to confuse a baby, okay?

...loves to hug everyone.  Adults, other babies, the dogs.  He will wrap his arms around anything that has a neck and sweetly pat his hands on their backs.  We are working on being more gentle with the dogs.

...doesn't say many words.  But dang, that baby hears EVERYTHING.  If you even mention the bathtub, he will walk to his bathtub and wait for you.  Mention taking the dogs on a walk, and he will go get their leashes out.  Say something about the garbage, and he will start throwing things away.  I wonder when people start using Pig Latin?  We may be close.  In the meantime, he's being very good about following simple directions.

...has eight teeth.  And they are adorable little chompers!  

...absolutely CANNOT have his feet covered when put to bed. The blanket must neatly stop at his ankles, okay?

...likes to talk on the phone. And by "phone" I mean anything that can be held to your ear and jabbered into. Bananas, shoes, tubes of diaper rash cream. It all works.

...enjoys taking his plastic turtle on walks around the house. He just pulls it behind him with the attached string, stoping every few paces to turn around and make sure he's still there. Then ONWARD they go.

Fifteen months is amazing.  Clark will be eighteen months when the new baby comes, so let's hope the fun continues to outweigh the scary, shall we?

The Fuzz and Us

Thursday, July 31

Last night, I was awoken from a very deep sleep by the sound of Clark crying on the monitor around 12:30AM.  I laid there for awhile, hoping he would fall back asleep, but after about five minutes, his crying had turned into screaming, and Jared rolled over and asked me to please go "take care of the baby" because the crying was disturbing his sleep. (Ahem.)

So I got up and shuffled to his room, scooped him up, and I rocked him in his chair until he finally settled down, found his fingers, and started to close his eyes again.  Just as he fell asleep, as I was sitting there in near silence (I mean, we can't forget about the Sleep Sheep, of course), I suddenly heard our doorbell ring.  Except...Clark's door was shut so I wasn't entirely sure, and after I heard it, the dogs didn't bark or even come out of our room, so I thought I must have imagined it in my half-sleeping state.

Then, about ten seconds later, the doorbell rang again.  I was positive now that this WAS, IN FACT, the doorbell.  I sat there for a moment, suddenly terrified, because WHO could possibly be ringing our doorbell at 12:30 in the morning?  I was a little scared, but I thought maybe we left our garage door open again, and it was the neighbor?  I don't know.  So I quietly (and with shaking hands) laid Clark back in his crib, and walked to his door, except you guys...suddenly it was light in the hallway.  Like, not the hall light.  There was a flashlight beam in my freaking hallway.  I cracked his door a tiny bit and saw someone standing at our front window shining a light INTO MY HOUSE.  Which is good and bad I suppose because at least they aren't inside the house?  I guess?  Except about two seconds later, a flashlight beam came through Clark's window and I was paralyzed momentarily trying to decide what to do.

And THEN!  Then I suddenly realized that I still hadn't heard the dogs bark a single time.  And I didn't hear Jared walking around.  And suddenly I became very, very scared. Have you ever watched Criminal Minds?  If so, you know that when things like this happen, you suddenly remember every sick episode and you can imagine all the horrible scenarios that could be happening in your house RIGHT NOW.

Sidenote: When I first had Clark, I suddenly became very morbidly aware of all of the danger around me.  Anyone else?  I remember being completely overwhelmed by it.  Like...I couldn't walk on the top level of a mall because SOMEONE COULD THROW CLARK OVER.  I would drive down the road and worry that his car door would somehow open and he would be sucked out.  And I would often worry that someone would break into our house when I was in Clark's room, and then what would I do?  Well, my paranoid thoughts have subsided, thankfully, but maybe it's good I had them because one thing I remembered last night was my escape plan should a psychopathic maniac break in the house.  

When faced with the possibility that the dogs and Jared had all been murdered by a serial killer that was probably now trying to find and murder me too, I realized that my plan may have to come to fruition, and I began trying to figure out how to get Clark QUIETLY, and run out the garage door as quickly as possible while screaming to alert the neighbors.  I'm not kidding.  This is how my mind was working.  I have never been so scared in my life.

Except I suddenly realized that since the flashlights were still outside, maybe Jared was still alive?  So I decided to look out Clark's door, wait until the flashlight beam moved momentarily out of the window and away from me, and I sprinted across the house to our bedroom, jumped on Jared, and was yelling at him to WAKE UP THERE'S SOMEONE TRYING TO BREAK INTO THE HOUSE.

Jared eventually, after much confusion and much complaining about me waking him up (and me freaking the hell out and trying to decide if and when I should sprint back to Clark's room to enact our emergency survival plan) eventually got up out of bed.  Just as the flashlight beams were coming into our bedroom window, and as I was pressing SEND on my 911 call, Jared looked out the window and said, as though he was very bored, "There are cops in our backyard."

So here's what you should know, going forward, based on our experience last night.  I hope this can help you all avoid the emotional trauma that I was forced to endure.

IT IS POSSIBLE for a one year old baby to scream so loudly that he will set off the glass-break sensors on your alarm system.

IT IS POSSIBLE that if this happens, your alarm system won't actually sound, but will alert the police department anyway.

IT IS POSSIBLE that the alarm system company will try to call you, but you will miss the call because you are in the other room rocking the baby, and your husband won't answer his call because he "doesn't recognize the number."

IT IS POSSIBLE that the police will then come to your house and ring your doorbell and start flashing their lights into your house to make sure a murder isn't happening.

IT IS POSSIBLE, that even though your dogs bark at the mail lady and every single friendly jogger as though they are all serial killers threatening our pack, they will completely ignore multiple doorbell rings in the middle of the night, and pretend not to notice strangers in the yard, because apparently their beauty sleep can't be disturbed.

IT IS POSSIBLE, that when you go outside in your nightie to tell the police that you are actually fine and are really confused about why they are there, they will ask to see your husband, probably to make sure that there isn't a hostage situation going on, except your husband will never come out because he's already back in bed.

IT IS POSSIBLE that the police will then get a call about a robbery nearby and will run to their cars and leave, even though they have still never verified that there is not a killer in your house.


PS: Forget whatever that stupid doctor said. After all that was over, I sat in my kitchen and ate a massive bowl of Peanut Butter Toast Crunch at 1:00AM.  It was either that or whisky and, well, the know.

The kindness of strangers

Tuesday, July 22

As I sat in the doctors office for my last OB appointment about two weeks ago, a girl walked in and as she made her way to the front desk to sign in, I couldn't help but notice her gorgeous hair. It was long and dark and perfectly wavy. I kept looking at her hair and I just kept thinking how beautiful it was. Then I looked around the waiting room and continued to survey each woman there. One woman had such a cute outfit on. I kept thinking how fashionable she looked. Like one of those women who just exudes style without even trying, you know? Another woman sitting next to me had absolutely flawless skin and makeup. She was so beautiful. Just so, so pretty. 

You see, if you are a people watcher like me, the OB office is a prime location to hone your craft. So many people! So many things to see! So many things to guess about each person! How far along is she? Is this her first baby? What is she having? That one looks nervous! That one dragged her poor husband along. I just love making up stories about each person. I love pretending I know all about their lives. It's fuuuuun!

But back to my point. I was looking around and noticing all of these fantastic features in all of these women, when all at once I had an epiphany. I looked around again with a much more critical eye, and this time noticed that each woman who I had just generously admired was either my size or a little bigger than me. And before you think I'm a terrible person, please let me explain that this has everything to do with this moment of clarity of mine. 

You see, when I look in the mirror (and most especially while pregnant), all I notice is my weight gain. I notice that my thighs are a little fuller. My face looks a bit plumper. My arms seem to have a little extra flab. I stand in front of my mirror and I critique my pregnancy self so harshly. And I realized in that moment that those women may or may not do the same. I don't know, but none of them was smaller than me if I'm being really honest. And yet...what I perceive as my own biggest flaw was something that I NEVER would have noticed on any of them, and I definitely wouldn't ever call their sizes flaws. They all looked beautiful. All I noticed on them was the most beautiful aspects of their physical being. I sat there thinking about how beautiful or stylish they all were, while I continued to feel frumpy and fat.

Why is it so easy for us to see the beautiful parts of strangers, and never even notice what they may consider flaws, while doing the exact opposite to ourselves? Why can't I look in the mirror and, instead of noticing that my thighs look bigger, notice my cute new haircut? Or notice my clear skin? Or notice any one of the things about me that others may see? Why can't we be as kind and generous to ourselves as we are to strangers? 

Or maybe I should ask this...why can't we all view ourselves as objectively as we do each other? Because frankly, those women really were beautiful and stylish. Maybe the problem is our skewed thoughts of ourselves.

Or maybe it's just me.