Bug,  Life Lessons

First, the Sentimental Post

Where to start? I have so many posts in my head. First, there’s the sentimental “Baby Bug the Terrible” post and then there’s the “Stroller” post and of course there’s the “Exploding Desk Story” post… I think I’ll just type what’s in my head and go from there.

Let’s do the “Baby Bug the Terrible” story first. I know I told you she’s into everything. But did I tell you about how she’s into everything and so obstinate? I love her little independent free will. I love her motivated and determined mind that makes her do things that are a little too difficult for her and makes her eyebrows bunch up in an adorable scowl. I love her mischievous grin and the impish sparkle in her eye…

BUT alright already! Is she three? Why is she such a little trouble make already? It’s funny how just as soon as you think you’ve mastered parenthood, another curve ball hits you straight in the face. Thankfully the last curve ball is long past and you can focus on this new curve. Still, why so many curves! I never know what’s coming next! And even if I do, even if I hear about it or I read about it, why am I still so shocked and amazed by the sheer over-whelming-ness of it all?

Yesterday was one of those days that I have a feeling is just the start of “one of those years”. Baby Bug fought me at every turn. If I took a pen away from her, she screamed bloody murder. If I ignored her for a second in her high chair (you know, to do the dishes or check an email) she rang the house down with her incessant whining. She didn’t want to eat. She didn’t want to drink. She just wanted out of her high chair and now. She wiggled when I tried to wash her up. She wiggled when I tried to diaper her. When I told her “No, don’t touch your poop,” she cried like I had taken away her pen. What to do! Nothing made her happy

Maybe it was because yesterday was laundry day (at the laundromat) and I tried to fit in too many errands before her nap time. This is a huge mistake. I kept her up a half hour past her usual schedule and of course she fell asleep in the car on the ride home. I hate it when this happens because the ride home is only 15 minutes. She was asleep for ten. What does that mean? It means that’s all she slept! Ten minutes and she’s completely recharged and ready for the rest of the afternoon except extra grumpy! Woo Hoo! it’s Baby Bug the power napper! Who needs sleep when you can terrorize Mommy and the cats instead!

We fought and struggled and scolded and cried and whimpered and whined and kicked things and dumped food on the floor and generally made hell for Toby who was trying to get some work done. After her bath, a game of catch-the-naked-baby and a poop-squat in the living room, I was so fed up. It was 7’oclock but not too late for a walk to Starbucks for a shot of espresso. We both needed that walk. Stroller walks seem to calm her down. They help us both to chill. I should just permanently move outside.

As we were walking, I saw a little boy across the street arching his back and throwing a temper tantrum in his stroller. He was twisting this way and that and it was all his mom could do to drive the stroller straight. He was just a little bit bigger than Baby Bug. When I stopped at the cross walk to wait for the light to change, I said a little thank you prayer to God that Baby Bug has not learned how to do that yet. I know it’s only a matter of time. But for now, thank you.

Of course she did get a little bit whiney and wanted out of her stroller desperately when we got to the beach part of our walk. Who wouldn’t? But I didn’t want to let her play in the sand because it’s so dirty and she already had a bath. I let her play in the grassy park that is overlooking the ocean. True to form, she tried to get away from me as soon as possible. No hand holding. No sitting on the grass looking at clover. She just wanted to run away to the edge of look-out point and scare the crap out of anyone nearby with an imagination of what it would be like to watch a toddler roll down the ice plant covered hill and into the spiny cactus below.

She wanted to dig in the dirt in the cracks between the sidewalk and stick her finger in the holes in the railroad ties that hold the landscaping in. Thoughts of spiders and oily slime made me bite my lip. But sometimes I find it’s just easier to let her lose interest on her own than to fight her. Sure enough, she eventually came back around to the grassy knoll where I first let her lose and we sat together and contemplated the plastic green cover to an irrigation valve.

I read everywhere that it’s important to discuss things that you see with your toddler. For the life of me, I couldn’t think of an easy explanation for an irrigation cover. I don’t even know what it is. It’s a plastic lid thing that covers up some pipes or something. I rambled on a bunch of nonsense and she seemed to take it in stride. Just like all the other nonsense I ramble on about all day. Finally after just sitting there for a while, I felt like I had a handle on the day again and we packed up and walked back home. I can’t say it was an easy bedtime after that but eventually she fell asleep in my arms.

Usually, I’m itching to put her down in her crib so I can get on with dinner or some project I’m working on. But last night I was so tired I just sat there in the half dark room, staring at her closed eyelashes and wondering how so much trouble could fit into such an innocent little body. She’s so beautiful. I can’t believe how blessed I am to have such a baby. I could never have picked out a better one. Maybe I sat there because I had a lot of graphic design work to do and I was procrastinating but I like to think I sat there just to stop life for a minute. The days fly by so crazy all the time. I hardly ever feel like I know which end is up. Maybe I should sit in the dark and reflect more often. At least to take a minute and stare at this creature who has turned my whole world upside down.

Even though it sounds like I complain complain complain about all her crazy antics there are so many bright bursts of happiness that counteract the tearing-my-hair-out moments. Even our walk was an example of how much better she makes my life. Every where we go she exclaims loudly “Hiiiiii!” to everyone we come in contact with. She’s so social and happy. She smiles when people smile at her and if they don’t, she says “Hiiiiii!” even louder and smiles even bigger until they do. Her happiness is infectious. She makes me proud. You should see how she’s charmed every single teller at the bank, the checkers at the grocery store, the homeless people who walk along the beach picking up aluminum cans… She has no prejudice. She smiles at everyone.

Then there’s her strong will and determination. I apologize if I’m going on too long. But just last night she was trying to put her animal alphabet flash cards back in the box and getting so frustrated. She knew how to put them in the box but would invariably put them in short ways when they needed to go in long ways. After enough fussing, I finally gave up doing whatever I was doing and sat down with her to show her how to turn the card so it would fit in the box easily. She didn’t get it every time but she listened to me and would turn it and turn it and then push the card down hard. Eventually, the card would go in and then she’d turn around and pick up another one. She did this one by one until all twenty-six cards were properly put away.

This makes me so happy. It is true that you can train your children to put things away. The best part was when she was done. She didn’t smile when I praised her over and over for being such a big girl but I could tell she was proud of herself. She puffed up her little chest and walked around the living room like she was a “big person who gets things done.”


  • BeachMama

    Sounds to me like you have a wonderful strong willed child. I love how you took time to reflect and watch her sleep. I still do that three and a half years later. Sometimes after a particularly long day I will go and watch J sleep, just to remind myself that I am so blessed and why I love him so much.

    Hopefully BB will always love the stroller for you, we had great luck with ours, so much so he still loves it but hardly fits anymore. One last summer.

    I hope today was much better and that BB got her proper nap. Naps make the world of difference sometimes.

  • sbukophile

    What a sweet post! She sounds like a beautiful little human! I just have to say that although it’s quite artistic, the first photo in this post sends shivers down my spine–we have those doggone spiky things all over our yard because we have 3 trees that drop them! I hate them! But I can appreciate why you would photograph them artistically.

  • MissMocha

    Well, I have come to the conclusion that she’s an equal opportunist with her antics and willful behavior. She really is easier to handle when she’s being pushed outside on a walk because there is so much for her to take in, and she doesn’t get so bored.

    And she’s very friendly. I even catch her waving to people that she sees in the ally or on the roof.

    Hopefully, she will get her nap time sorted out soon and will avoid the poop. I thought girls were supposed to be easier in that regard (diaper changing).

  • Annika

    Sam is so much like Baby Bug! Right down to the power naps. When he falls asleep in the car, I just drive around until I think he’s slept long enough (or until I have to stop driving for whatever reason). I hate it, though, because I don’t get a break!

  • Amanda

    I love this post. I feel like I can relate on so many levels. My days, lately, have been filled with so much whining and wiggling and poop touching and pinching and book eating and the temper trantrums… don’t get me started! Then at the end of the day today, I’m sprawled out on the living room floor, counting the minutes until bedtime and he crawls over to me. Gets right in my face. Kisses me on the lips (closed mouth, at that) and leans back and smiles. And I want to die I’m so in love with this little man.

    Ohhh, I can totally relate.

  • Jennifer

    Yeah, me too.

    Both of my girls (1 1/2 and 4 1/2) are blessings beyond belief and terrors in beautiful packages. It doesn’t get any easier but you get better at handling the ups and downs. Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done but those moments sitting in the dark looking at an amazing little person make up for the chaos.

    I wish you a tear and scream free day tomorrow.

  • Writer Girl

    Motherhood is a challenge, but you seem to take every curve ball head-on, armed with a can-do attitude, oodles of creativity, a sense of wonder, and down-to-earth perspective — and a boatload of love. Your joie de vivre and enthusiasm are really inspiring, and your recounting of your daily adventures with Baby Bug is really just a joy to read… your blog is a bright spot in my day!

    SAJ says: Wow. Thank you.

  • Gretchen

    “But sometimes I find it’s just easier to let her lose interest on her own than to fight her.” Truer words were never spoken.

    What a wonderful post!

  • The Chatty Housewife

    I love how big the nut-thing in the first photo looks and how tiny BB looks in the second photo.

    Oh, and your post made me want to have kids even worse. Bring on the wiggling and whining…

  • ramblingmommy

    You have such a way with words!
    Your post brought tears to my eyes, those moments when you stop and soak up their little essences (sp?) are the moments that you want to go on forever. I try to paint a picture of those moments and catalouge them in my head, they are my happy place! I live for them, especially on ‘poopy’ days.

  • Super Sarah

    thank you for putting into words so eloquently what (a lot) of us feel! My daughter is only 10 months but is already asserting herself like a teenager!

  • Keri

    My little girl is a couple of months younger than BB. I can also relate to this post. I become so frustrated sometimes and then she will do something that totally melts my heart. My little one does the “HI” thing too!

  • DeeJay

    Love the part about the cards and the grassy knoll too. I like to do that with my husband, but he’s 55. Just sit and observe him doing stuff. It’s most fun when he doesn’t know I’m even close enough to see him. He concentrates and contemplates and figures the best way possible to accomplish what he is trying to do. There’s even a little lip pursing done when concentration levels reach a max.

    Baby Bug sounds like quite the thinker and analyzer which is great! My daughter was just as you describe Baby Bug. Only when it came to naps I would literally have to hold her still on my chest to get a nap out of her. I’d do as you described and would contemplate many things during the quiet time. In about 20 minutes to 1/2 an hour (if I was lucky) she would be fully charged and on the go again. My son…would sleep for 2 – 3 hours and still go to bed at 8 that evening. Both kids turned out very smart but they could not be any more different if I’d planned it myself.

    Baby Bug is gaining her independence and thinking things through which is a new world for her. Luckily she has a mama that indulges her adventurous and inquizitive mind. Most parents wouldn’t let their 1 year old explore as much as you do. To me you seem to have the knowledge that I didn’t have until I was taking care of my 2nd child and knew that as long as nobody was getting hurt…it’s okay.

    I’m babbling. Sorry. Bye.

    SAJ says: Babble on sistah! It’s nice to have the company. :)

  • kate b.

    What a fantastic post! My baby is only a year old, and already I feel like “Holy Cow, what will two be like then?”

    But those “bright bursts of happiness” really fill you back up, don’t they? I try so hard to consciously relish those moments – if I didn’t, I might go crazy.

    I was recently in California for vaction, and being able to go to the beach to relax is really such an incredible thing! I am in Pennsylvania and so I have the woods and lakes to walk through and to, but oh, the ocean, it is such a beautiful, grounding thing. You lucky girl. (Not that I think you are ever not aware of your luck, and I don’t ever think you complain too much or anything, but I’m just saying, the ocean is really great.)

  • Jennifer

    Loved reading this. My first remains to be the most strong willed. Sometimes it’s challenging but I wouldn’t have her any other way. I’ve been thinking about the quiet times we used to have together when she was the only one. Your post tugged at my heart a bit.

  • Kuky

    Baby bug is asserting herself. I can totally relate. Some days Isabelle is just such a handful. Lately she’s been insistent on playing with the markers. And she knows the difference between the ones that can draw anywhere or only on paper and she lets me know her displeasure at being given the paper only ones. I just have to take a moment and laugh. Usually drawing on her gives me a giggle and I feel loads better. :)

    And sitting down and reflecting…I couldn’t recommend it more. Since we co-sleep I get lots of reflecting time. I love it when she falls asleep and she’s laying next to me and I can just breathe her in. LOVE IT. So much so that sometimes I get out of bed and grab the hubby and we just stand there and stare at her like loons. Yeah do more of that…sitting down and reflecting not the grabbing husband and staring at baby like loon part. :-D

  • Becky Z

    Oh boy am I in for it. Eric is not 7 months old yet and I’m almost starting to dread it when he turns 1. It’s a good thing that our babies are so cute huh? :)

  • andrea

    You just described my day. Naps didn’t happen when they are supposed to (my fault) and when I finally had the kiddo almost asleep the exercise ball I was bouncing on to sooth him to sleep popped out from under us, hows that for a rude awakening!?!

    He is suddenly so active and into absolutely everything–and he prefers anything but his toys. I am so tired by the end of the day from chasing him around the house I want to throw him into dad’s arms the second he walks through the door. All the kid has to do is look up at me with his big eyes and I am ready to start it all over again tomorrow.

    Baby Bug sounds like a such a inquisitive little thing. She is very lucky to have a mom who indulges her with all the wonderful adventures the two of you go on.

  • Susan

    Your post put into to words everything Ive been feeling for the past few months!
    My son is 19 months now and boooyyy have the past few been crazy. So full of fun and so full of tears. It seems like toddlers have a unique brand of schizophrenia because these moods change from minute to minute. Here are some things Ive learned….

    1. ignore people who say “what? I thought this didnt start until two?”
    2. even though it seems like you are saying “No” 20,000 times per day stick to your guns on the important stuff.
    3. the more language the child has the easier they are to deal with
    4. without sleep and exercise this stage of parenting is especially tough. its like a marathon!

    This past month has been a bit of a break through because my son knows and speaks more words. This and a lot of outside activity has helped us.