Big Things

There are lots of changes happening. As if the last few years haven’t been crazy enough, we’re going to toss in a few more changes.

First: I got a job. I got a job! Doing something I want to do. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better job. It’s in a field I am interested in, at the hospital I wanted to work at, working with the population I love and the intensity I wanted. It’s perfect.

Second: We are going to buy a house. We are going to buy a house! House hunting is exhausting. And exhilarating. And emotionally draining. And so very much fun.

A few months from now, we will be living in a new house (hopefully), and I will finally be a working gal.

Big things are happening.

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He Has Great Ideas

“No, Alex, you may not have a fourth serving of fruit snacks.”

“No, Alex, you can’t have cool whip for dinner.”

“No, Alex, you may not throw your action figure at me. Or anyone.”

He almost always asks. I guess that’s a good thing. Instead of just doing something he knows he isn’t supposed to, he asks first. He generally still does it, and then gives me a look like what are you going to do about it, huh?

His obsession with candy and dessert is no surprise. Not only is he a kid (what kid doesn’t love sweets?), he comes by his love of sugar honestly. My weakness is definitely sugar-laden foods. Brownies, M&Ms, ice cream. If they are in my general vicinity, I have a really hard time not consuming every last drop.

This love of candy and sweets can make it hard to get him to eat anything real, so generally we bargain. Actually, we bargain everything. Or threaten. “If you don’t let me brush your teeth you don’t get to have story time before bed” works like a charm. “If you don’t let me get you dressed for the day I won’t wrestle with you on the bed” convinces him that getting dressed is a good idea.

He’s figured this bargaining out, though, and now tries to use it on us.

“I know what’s a good idea! I’ll go into the kitchen and eat a carrot, and then I can have the entire container of cool whip.”

More often than not, though, he goes straight for what he wants and doesn’t even offer up an enticing offer. “I know what’s a good idea! Let’s have cookies instead of chicken!”

Yeah, you wish, kiddo.

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Osmosis

Everything you say to or around a young kid is absorbed.

There is no such thing as them not understanding. They get everything. Alex may not understand the exact words, or get the sarcasm, or even know how to respond, but he still gets it. Everything sinks in.

At some point in the recent past, he heard a swear word. My best guess is that one day at daycare, he overheard one of his caretakers saying the word. It was probably when they thought no kids were around, or maybe they were heading up the stairs and assumed the kids couldn’t hear.

Zach was taking the diapers out for garbage night, and Alex ran up to him while he was walking them out and said: “Let me see the damn diapers.”

Um, what?

After asking him to repeat himself it was clear: he definitely said those words.

Alex talks like the people around him, whether that is good or bad. If someone says the d word, he will, apparently, repeat it. For all I know he heard that word months ago. For all I know I said it without even realizing it.

He absorbs it all, and I’ve definitely learned that I have to be very careful. No swear words. Proper grammar. Correcting any inappropriate pluralization or change in verb tense.

He’s not allowed to say “slippy” just because he hears other people using that word. “It’s slippery, Alex.”

He is, however, allowed to start most of his sentences with “so.” And correct everyone by saying “actually…”

But no more swear words. And definitely no slippy.

(I still love that he can’t say his ‘r’ sound. Cheese boogers are way more humorous than cheese burgers.)

I’m Probably Doomed

When I took Alex to his three-year well-child appointment, I expected the usual: Alex would refuse to talk to the doctor. He would probably cry as the doctor attempted to look in his ears, mouth, eyes. The doctor and I would have a hard time talking, as Alex would insist that I not talk to anyone but his small self.

As per usual, I was surprised. Every question that the doctor asked Alex was answered. When the doctor asked Alex to open his mouth, he did. Alex walked up to the doctor and initiated conversations about our plans for the day (playground), what he had for breakfast (waffles, three of them), and, the new favorite topic, farting.

“Wanna hear something?” Alex asked the doctor. He then pretended to fart, sticking his little hip out to the side and looking over his shoulder, laughing at his own humor.

When the doctor was finished checking him out and asking questions, he told me that the nurse would be in shortly with the vaccinations.

The nurse came in and gave Alex his two shots. One in each arm. When she left, Alex cried. And cried and cried.

“Mommy, it huwts. She put two big holes in my awms! Look!”

I tried to tell him that it would be okay. That the “holes” were covered by super! cool! bandaids! and that he would feel better soon. I told him that I knew it hurt, and that it was scary, but that it was all over and the nurse was just trying to make sure he didn’t get sick in the future.

“I don’t wike her. I don’t wike nurses. Nurses are bad. Dey are mean.”

I guess I shouldn’t tell Alex that one day I had to give a baby three shots, and that I will have to be that mean nurse over and over in the future.

Pretty much, I’m bad and mean in Alex’s eyes. Good thing I’ll never have to be his nurse.

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No One Prepared Me

No one prepares you for parenthood.

It’s not their fault. It’s impossible to prepare someone for it.

I was told, countless times, that having a child would change my life. That having a child would be exhausting. That having a child would be unimaginably difficult. That having a child would bring more joy, and devastation, than anything else ever had or would.

I listened. I nodded. I thought to myself, of course it will be difficult! I get that!

No one can prepare you for the sleep deprivation you face when your baby is a newborn. No one can prepare you for the tears you will shed as you attempt to take care of a small, helpless, being on two hours of scattered sleep over the previous four nights.

I listened to advice. I nodded. I smiled. I get it. I know having a baby is hard, I thought.

No one can prepare you for how quickly your baby will learn to crawl. And then walk. No one can prepare you for the fear that will race through your spine as you see your baby take their first nasty fall.

Over and over people warned me that these things would happen. I listened. I understood. Babies fall. They hurt themselves. They crawl, they walk, and then they run.

No one can possibly prepare you for the joy that you will feel with that the first smile, the first giggle, the first “mama” that comes through their little mouth. “It’s the most amazing feeling in the world!” I heard them say. I listened. I knew that it would be.

Everyone told me that two would be worse than one, and that three would be harder than two. I get it! Three is hard, blah blah blah. Three year olds will fight you to to the death, they told me.

No one can prepare you for the guilt you will feel as you attempt to raise that fighter of a three year old. The awful feeling of knowing you are doing the right thing only to have your child exclaim, “I hate you!” through tears.

I was told it would come. I expected it to come. I get it!, I thought, of course he won’t mean it!

Everyone told me that it would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, the hardest thing I will ever do. I thought, I get it.

No one prepares you for the laughter. No one can prepare you for how much joy you will take out of the silly things they say. “We weren’t very close,” Alex told me when I asked if he missed one of his daycare friends who had started preschool.

No one can prepare you for how much joy you feel for your child. How what they do is the most amazing thing any child has ever done. How what they say is funnier than another child saying the exact same thing. How when they say they love you it gets stored away forever, and how when they say they hate you it also does.

No one can prepare you for parenthood.

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