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Feb, 2010

I Love You. You're Disgusting.

Ready for a little TMI? If you’re not, then too bad. Read about the glamour, the beauty of the motherhood that is my reality right now. I dare you…

I was ill prepared for how disgusting motherhood would be. It started right away too – pregnancy is so gross. I don’t care how much you LOVED being pregnant (I didn’t), you have to admit it was rude. The gallons of toxic vaginal mucous and crusty stuff coming out of my nipples made me wish I had saved all those latte dollars for a surrogate.

At any rate, I made it through. Then came the super yucky delivery – placenta pate anyone? Truly horrifying recovery – fourth degree tear, couldn’t wipe my ass clean after a bowel movement for almost two months. And infancy – poop pee poop pee poop pee and so on and so on and so on. I had changed dirty diapers before, as a babysitter in my teens, but I was really disenchanted by the other grossness of motherhood.

My little girl, Aubrey, is almost three. Three in June. She’s sweet and kind. Snuggly and girly. She loves her baby doll and her stuffed animals. She loves to smell flowers and help mommy bake in the kitchen. She’s also the grossest person I’ve ever met. Every day seems to bring a new level of yuck into our home, especially since using the toilet is still so funny, exciting and scary all at once. Lots of potty talk.

Now, before I go any further, I’d like to state that I do NOT have a weak stomach. I grew up with three older brothers and it’s almost impossible to truly gross me out. I just can’t believe how rude motherhood can be.

These are three actual, verbatim conversations I’ve had with Aubrey recently:

(Opening to Aubrey’s bedroom door upon waking up in the morning.)
Aubrey: Mommy! Look! (running up her bed to her pillow, pointing to a gray, crusty blob on the wall) That came out of my nose!!
Me: Wow! That’s great sweetie! Is that a big boogie?
Aubrey: YEAH!!

(She was SO excited.)
(Aubrey sitting on the toilet but not going potty, starts poking around down under. Like REALLY down under, to door number two. Then she sniffs her index finger and yells.)
Aubrey: What’s that smell?! (holding her finger out to me) Smell it mommy!
Me: No thank you. I don’t want to smell your finger. Are you done trying? Let’s wash your hands.
(Aubrey is digging ferociously in her ear with her pinky. She pulls it out and offers it to me.)
Aubrey: Taste it mommy!
Me: Ummmm… no thanks.

I often wonder why I still like this person. If this were an adult, I would not want to hang out with them. Young children are so primal – like little animals. Sometimes I feel like I have a magical talking pet in the house. And it’s times like these that make me realize the mother child bond really is something special. There’s no one else in the world whose offer of “smell my finger” after touching their butt, would make me laugh and inspire me to write.

I know it’s my job to teach her it’s inappropriate to do these things. The trick is to do it without making her ashamed of or self conscious about her body or feel like she’s naughty for exploring her world. It’s a fine line and no one wants their child to be the gross-out kid at school.

I’m enjoying the humor in all of this while I can because I know, soon enough, my daughter will be a big kid who likes the feeling of being clean, washing her hands and brushing her teeth all on her own. I think it’s right around that time she will start thinking I’m totally lame and embarrassing and I’ll be writing about ungratefulness instead. So for now, I’ll take the boogers and stinky fingers in exchange for all the hugs, kisses and I love you mommys. Totally worth it. Gross, but worth it.

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Dec, 2009

Ho Ho... On Second Thought...

Now that my little girl is two and a half, I’ve had to put some serious thought into whether or not I want to “do” Santa Claus. I think this will be the last year I can get away with not addressing the big Santa question and I’ve made up my mind as to how I’d like to handle it. Now if I can just get my ex to agree with me, we’ll be all peachy and fine…

Decision made. I’m going to leave the mom-guilt on the shelf and make the decision that feels right to me and that is: I am NOT going to teach my kid the Santa Claus myth. This is always a hot parenting debate around this time of the year and I’ve heard every good and bad argument for and against Santa Claus and his whole posse of reindeer, elves and that very supportive wife of his. I’m talking EVERY argument and people are cut throat and passionate about their position on the matter to the point of being absolutely rude. Bottom line, I don’t think the pro-Santa parents need to be so mean to the non-Santa parents and vice versa. Can’t we just agree to disagree?

My daughter just turned two and a half and this is the first Christmas she knows who Santa is. She recognizes his image, but she hasn’t been taught that he flys around the world in a sleigh pulled by magic reindeer to come down the chimney and leave gifts for good boys and girls. At this point, I’m pretty sure she just thinks he’s a pretend character that is a lot of fun. Wacky, huh?

I’m really ok with her knowing the Santa story – in fact we have the Tasha Tudor The Night Before Christmas book at our house and we love to read it together – and even talking to the Santa at the mall. Last week we were lucky to catch him during a slow period and he was kind enough to chat with my daughter for free. I just don’t feel right about teaching her to believe a fake story just to get into the commercialism of the holiday. I’m also not into the “if you’re good you get a present” philosophy of life. Probably explains why I’m not a Christian. No offense, but Santa-anity and Christianity are VERY similar, you must admit. I’m trying to teach my child to be good because that’s the way human beings should be, no matter what. Intrinsic goodness. Kindness. Generosity. Love. Just for the heck of it. What a concept.

I’m not a religious person at all, so it’s not important to me to celebrate the holidays like a maniac, but I’m not above celebrating a special season. I love the music and the lights. The general festivity of it all. I grew up with big, traditional Christmases and I have many fond memories of thinking Santa was coming and then getting crap loads of toys. But no matter how fond those memories are and how grateful I am to my parents for doing so much for my three brothers and me, it’s not quite what I want for my child. I don’t want to foster a love of “things” in my child.

I’d like her to understand the holiday season as time to celebrate togetherness with friends and family, a time to be grateful for what we have and to share with others. We try to act this way all year round actually, but the holiday season can be a special reminder of just how lucky we are.

I’m not a total Scrooge either. I did finally break down and buy a tree this year. A small Wal Mart number. It cost $20, the string of lights was $1.84 and I have a nice box of beautiful ornaments that my mother collected and saved for me over the years. I did my super single-mom duty of lugging the tree home, assembling it, lighting it and getting out the ornaments. My daughter was enthralled for the first three ornaments and then she found an orange luggage strap that just happened to be in the box of ornaments. She got REALLY excited about that, ditching the tree decorating completely. While she pretended the luggage strap was a seat belt, a necklace, a jump rope a back pack and more, I decorated the Wal Mart tree… by myself. And I’m sure I will be un-decorating it and putting it away the same way.

I understand the many reasons some parents “do” Santa Claus with their kids and I’m a-ok with it. To each his own and I will do my best to teach my child to respect other peoples’ traditions and family celebrations and hopefully she won’t spoil the fantasy for her Santa believing peers. I just hope that all those parents pretending to be Santa Claus each year, ask God for forgiveness for lying to their children. Just kidding. Happy Hanukkah everyone!

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Sep, 2009


As if I haven’t embarrassed myself enough already, here is a true tale from the trenches of motherhood…

So I have a tendency to post things that many people would never admit to (pinching my child, having to leave a restaurant because my kid wouldn’t stop screaming, crapping my pants on Obama’s inauguration day) so why stop now?

My girl is 27 months old tomorrow. She has been going pee in the toilet for several weeks now and I couldn’t be prouder. She’s still wearing diapers and pull-ups but she recently starting telling me when she has to go! This is a GIANT leap for toddlerkind, yes?! I was excited when this started happening. So after a week or so of her announcing, “I have to potty!” and making it to the toilet successfully, I thought it would be a good time to start a little more poop talk as she was still happy to wallow in her own #2 for hours on end if I’d let her. My nanny told me that she was starting to talk more about pooping in her diaper though, so I decided to continue on.

When I started potty training, I asked for any and all advice and I read tons of websites and parenting boards. Many people and experts suggested letting a child of the same gender as you watch you sit on the toilet and go. I was raised in a super conservative family and like many fine Evangelical Christians, we were fairly ashamed of our bodies. This type of potty training wouldn’t have happened in our house. I’m no hippie, but I do want my daughter to feel comfortable and confident about her body and part of that is showing her my confidence and comfort with my body, teaching her the proper names for body parts and at this point in life, making potty training fun and no big whoop!

The “let your child watch you go to the potty” technique had worked like a charm for peeing. Aubrey loves to come into the bathroom with me and watch me pee. She even squats down in front of me and takes a good look at everything going on: “It’s Mommy’s gina! It’s go pee-pee! I see it!” I’m not trying to brag, but yesterday she even announced, “It’s CLEAN!” So there.

Anyway, this morning I thought she might like to watch the poo-poo in action too. She had pooped in her diaper a little earlier and I thought it would be a good opportunity to show her how Mommy does it and what big girls do with their poo-poo. You know, while it was still fresh in her mind. Well, I guess I was wrong.

Aubrey got into her regular front row seat to watch the action. She made her regular exclamation of, “It’s Mommy’s gina!” and when she saw the kids dropping into the pool…

well, the reaction was not positive. First she made a horrible face. I thought, well, she doesn’t like the smell – who can blame her? But then she ran out of the room and said something like, “I don’t want it! I get out.” I had successfully managed to terrify my child with my poop. Great.

This all happened this morning, about 6 hours ago from now. Since then, she has peed in her diaper throughout the day, not going on the potty once. When I ask her if she’d like to sit on the potty and try for a sticker (the photo is actually her with her sticker “chart” – we let it turn into more of a freestyle expression of sticker placement rather than a chart) she says, “No thanks”.

So a giant leap forward and, hopefully, just a small step back. I know with this, like everything else in motherhood, I need to have patience and just give it some time. Pushing (sorry, no pun intended) is not going to help anything and finding that fine line between pushing and encouraging will always be a delicate balancing act. Oh well. At least I have a clean vagina.

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