Thursday, April 30, 2009

Behold My Future!

The other day, I called my little sister on speakerphone just to say hi and rag on her for always leaving her cell phone off (augh!). She asked what Sam was doing, so I told her Sam was sitting on the floor playing with her Little People. Maddie asked if Sam could hear her and when I said "probably" she shrieked at the top of her teenage lungs--
"Hi there, Booger!!!" (Why in the world she thinks Booger is an adorable nickname is another post for another day).
Sam response? "Whut?" She even used the oh-so-charming surly teenager tone in which the a sounds like a u, and didn't bother looking up from her toys. Even from across the room, Maddie could feel the crankiness and just said "Jeez, sorry. So, did she just say what I thought she said?"
Now, I realize that she is way too young to know what the word "what" even means, or use that tone on purpose. She just happened to make a sound so bizarrely appropriate to the situation it sound like an actual answer. In fact, I would probably have found it completely hilarious if it wasn't for the fact that I felt a strange out-of-body experience at the time, as if I had just time warped 12 years into the future and was beholding my darling baby girl as a surly teenager. Instead of cracking me up, it's given me a little oogy shiver and brought back all the reasons I was terrified of having a girl in the first place. I'm so afraid of the drama and attitude--ranking it only slightly under my secret of not being able to do hair to save my life (the fact that she's bald has hidden it for a while, but she won't stay that way forever and soon the world will know my manly shame)!

I have seen my future, my friends, and it is snotty.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Proper Way to Go to the Doctor

Today, we have a guest blogger on It's My First Day, and it is none other than Samantha.

Hello everyone, Sam here! Today, I'm taking over Mommy's blog to share my wisdom with the babies of the world, and my first installment will teach you how to go to the doctor--correctly. Let's face it, none of us like getting shots. It's a miserable experience and I don't think our parents realize just what they're putting us through. I always end up with a fever that wears me out and puts a serious damper on my climbing for at least two days. Then, when I'm sick, they won't even take me to the park, even though their stupid shots are what made me this way! Jerks! Fear not, fellow babies of the blogosphere, because if you stick with me, I'll teach you how to make sure that going to the doctor is just as miserable for your Mom or Dad as it is for you! Use the wisdom wisely.

Yesterday, my Mom told me we were going to the doctor. She told me the doctor would check my ears, eyes, teeth, arms and legs, while pretending to give me a check up. If your mom does this, it is important to giggle and smile and play along. This will lull your mom into a false sense that you are going to be better than expected at the doctor.

When we got to the doctor, the receptionist told my mom that need her to fill out some forms at the 1-year visit. This is what you might call a lucky break, one you may or may not get to encounter. I was lucky because when mom is trying to fill out a form on a clipboard, she can not also hold a very wiggly toddler who likes to "help" with the pen. She had no choice but to put me down. If you get this opportunity, DO NOT waste it. This is the perfect chance to run around the waiting room and touch everything. More importantly, you can try to touch everyONE. I've never met a newborn I didn't like to poke, and fortunately for me, there were several in the room. This made sure that Mom and to get up and yank me back to her chair roughly every 30 seconds. Not only did this extend the form-filling-out time exponentially, but it mortified Mom, because if some strange kid had hovered all over me when I was two days old, she would have popped something internally and wanted to bust some heads. It's easy to embarrass parents, but acutely mortifying them takes more skills. When all the newborns were gone, I found a kid my age who couldn't walk yet. I would run over, grab his toy (so much better than my own that I will not play with outside of my own home) and run off with it. Again, this ensured Mom could not finish the form. If your mom tries to bribe you with snacks, I have a little trick to make that fail, while still getting you the goodness you seek. Grab handfuls of whatever it is and then run back around the room shoving them in your mouth. You get a snack, but your mom still has to get up to keep you in check, and as an added bonus, you leave a trail of cheerios behind you mom has to clean up. Win, Win, Win! The trick to making all this work without reflecting badly on you is to wave and smile at the other people in the waiting room while you wreak havoc. This way, they will think of you as a total sweetie who must not have any boundaries at home, instead of a demon seed. You do not want them feeling sorry for your mother, you want them shooting her annoyed looks. This can continue until your mom gives up on the form and hands it back.

While mom is cleaning up your cheerio trail, the nurse will come and call your name! It is your turn to see the doctor! Make sure to shoot a parting wave and toothy grin at the waiting room crowd (ahh, how cute!) and then just run over to the nurse and follow her. Don't bother looking back for your mom, you didn't hear her yell "Samantha and Mom" did you? Besides, she is busy stuffing all your toys and stuff into the diaper bag and running behind both of you while unknowingly dragging your blankie on the floor. She'll catch up soon enough, I'm sure, but pretending you have any concern for your mother's whereabouts only makes her feel loved and needed. You don't want to get a clingy mom on your hands.

If you swing it right, you can get one more chance to frustrate your Mom before you get to the exam room. Walk right next to the nurse and your Mom down the whole hallway, polishing your halo and waving at all the other doctors and nurses. This will help mom relax slightly and stop sweating from the waiting room fiasco (if your mom is actively sweating, you have done your job). Right before you get to the room they want you to go in, dash as fast as you can in another direction, just for kicks. Randomly running off is good, but it's a rookie move. If you can make it to someplace there are other people to see you (and shoot your mother more annoyed looks when she finally catches you), you have mad skills. Myself? I made it behind the receptionist's counter and into the main office. Booyah! At this point, your freedom is over, and you will be carried, preferably kicking and babbling, into the exam room.

The nurse told my mom to put me on a table that was covered in paper. They say it's there for your protection, but it is not for your comfort. I decided I wouldn't stand for it, ripped off one end and and shoved the paper out of my way before sitting down on the table. Don't worry about germs, that's your mom's job to stress about! To keep the cuteness going, while mom tried to undress me, I literally danced out of my pants. That helped balance the yelling when she tried to take off my shirt, and the fact that upon removal of my shoes, I picked one up and licked the bottom of it. Being naked in public is it's own reward, so go ahead and behave yourself while they measure you, besides, you don't want them thinking you're shorter than you are. Give that measurement a good stretch!

When the nurse leaves, cling to your mom, give her smiles, and make her think that her ordeal is over now that she's got you captive. While you wait for the doctor, do all your favorite tricks! Point at everything she asks for, "Where's the door? Where's mommy's hair? Where's your shoes?" Say a few words on command. Throw the woman a bone, she's been through a lot today. Then the doctor will come in the room.

Instead of greeting him with a smile, stare at him suspiciously. Whatever you do, do not return his wave, and do not do anything your mom tells him you can. When she says you know 10 words, refuse to say a single one on command. The point is to make her look crazy. When the Dr. is explaining important things about vaccine side-effects to your mom, it's time to decide that you are starving, the fact that it's not time to eat means nothing. Start screaming and yelling "num num!" at random intervals. Scream through the entire exam, remember, if your doctor can actually hear your lungs when he is trying to listen to them, you aren't trying. After the exam, when it's time for mommy's questions, she will give you a snack and you can eat ravenously and say "Num, num" to your heart's content. Here is an excellent time to decide you will wave at the doctor, so do that. If he doesn't wave back, because he's talking to mommy, give him the business in a loud angry voice.

Then, the nurse will come back to give you several shots. The only advice I have here is to yell "mama!" heartbreakingly when the nurse puts you back on the paperless table to maximize pre-shot guilt. While you are getting the shots, scream and sob, but keep your eyes open and stare at you mother reproachfully as if this is all her fault. If you have a very advanced vocabulary, you can say "Et tu, Mama?", but if you are like most of us babies, you'll just have to let your eyes do the talking. Look betrayed, look upset, but mostly, look miserable. After the shots, mommy will give you your blankie or lovey and cuddle you on the way out. Some kids think the continued screaming is the best route, but I disagree. I've found that screaming automatically puts mom back into "problem-solving" mode to get you out of the office without a scene, while quieter sobbing, and the occasional gasp from the depths of your soul, will win you the most sympathy and guilt. On the ride home, lay in your carseat like a slug. Make sure that when she looks in the rear-view mirror, she sees 1) your many bandaids, and 2) the look on your face that shows you've lost the will to live. A master of these skills can get Mom's eyes to well up along with yours. Your work here is now done.

If you go to the doctor properly, as I've now imparted the wisdom to do, you will make sure your mom or dad is as miserable as you, yet leave them with enough guilt and sympathy that you will recieve nothing but cuddles, love, and excuses for any finky behavior for the next several days. That, my young friends, is what makes me a true artist. You are welcome.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Times Like This...

That make me wish I was a better example to my kid.

The scene: Sam is eating in her highchair while I struggle making dinner for us grown-ups (dinner is pretty much always a struggle for me because I am a lousy cook and hate doing it). Daniel dashes up the stairs, without telling me where to find something he moved that I need for dinner. It may be a small kitchen, but his ability to squirrel stuff away in places I didn't know existed knows no bounds.

Me: (yelling up the stairs after him) DANIEL!!!!!!

Sam: (yelling from her highchair): DAAA DAAAA!!!!

Ooops. Yeah, well, what are you gonna do? I guess I'm going to have to give up my habit of yelling from one story to another in the house. I really don't know what I'm going to replace it with though, because running up and down the stairs a million times a day is never going to happen. Maybe we'll just text to the next room, reaching a whole new level of pathetic.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What do you mean I eat my feelings?

I'm back if you missed me, and hello again if you didn't notice I was gone for an extra long while (no hard feelings, I promise)!
This past weekend we decided spur of the moment (for us, which means 5 days ahead of time) to show up at my parents house in Utah and totally surprise my mom and sister with a visit from Sam (my dad was in on our plans). One of the things we got to celebrate with Sam's grandparents was her impending first birthday! I can not believe how the time has flown by, but sure enough, the big 1 is just around the corner. In honor of this momentous occasion, here is a picture of Sam celebrating her big day with her first piece of birthday cake.
Hmmm, maybe I should be more specific. This is a picture of the cake ritual after Sam licked a bit of frosting off her fingers, and upon discovering it to be tasty, got a glazed yet crazy look in her eyes, proceeded to grab the whole slice with both hands and shove it into her mouth like an adorable bald wood-chipper. It was absolute carnage for about 2 minutes while cake and frosting flew in her general direction, and when there were no pinchable pieces of cake left, Sam opted to lick out the bowl to catch every last crumb, at least the ones that weren't already ground into my sweater. Apparently, Sam LOVES cake. It was like the entirety of her life (all twelve months of it) was a waste until this moment. Learning to walk full-time a few weeks ago pales to the first taste of cake on the list of milestones in her mind, I'm sure.

The next day, we went to my uncle's house to celebrate Sam's 2nd cousin's first birthday too. Miss Molly proceeded to dab her finger in the frosting of her cupcake and lick it off in a lady-like way just a few times, never really getting much into the whole cake experience. In five minutes, Molly had a nearly untouched cupcake in front of her and was itching to get down and crawl. On the other hand, after a few (agonizing) minutes of having to watch her cousin pick at the moist goodness ahead of her, Sam was finally given her cupcake which she--yep--proceeded to grab with both hands and shove into her mouth with a smile of pure joy on her face. Amid sugar-muffled shouts of "Numm!!!! NUM!" she made short work of her treat and cried when I pried her away from the pile of crumbs to clean her off. My dad, as a grandpa, says it was adorable, but honestly, I found it a little embarrassing, especially when one of my cousins chimed in with "Geez, do ever feed that kid?" Yeah, we do feed her, just not CAKE!

As I watched the look of "Where have you been all my life!?" cross Sam's face at her first taste of frosting, I was reminded of a lot of the experts I've seen lately on TV and in magazines talking about emotional eating. Basically, these people say we don't need to go on strict diets so much as figure out why we have an unhealthy relationship with food and fix that in order to lose weight. When we "love ourselves" we won't be driven to overeat and we won't be fat anymore. And it all sounds pretty reasonable on the surface, but mostly, I think people like it because it doesn't tell them to do any actual work like diet and exercise. Maybe I'm fat because Ronald McDonald was the only person to hug me as a child! If I could stop eating my feelings (and grow 5 inches), I'd be America's Next Top Model! I lost two uncles named Ben and Jerry as a teenager, and I'm just trying to recapture our relationship through Chunky Monkey. I've got to be honest, though. I'm not fat because I've got a hole in my childhood that needs filling. I'm fat because I love food. I love the taste of it, the texture of it, the smell of it. Why do I love it? To me, food tastes awesome! It's not all that hard to figure out. What I wonder is if skinny people understand that?
My husband is skinny, he has been all his life, and he likes to eat, but he can take food or leave it at any given time. He isn't what I'd call "open" to the world of flavors out there. For crying out loud, he won't eat yogurt with fruit chunks in it, anything out of the ocean period, and he hates nuts "but only when they're alone or in stuff" (what that leaves open I'm unsure of, but that's what he says). I, on the other hand have some foods I don't care for, but they are far outnumbered by the ones I love.
I have tried however, to keep my "relationship" with food as healthy as any experts could ever want in front of my daughter. We do eat really healthy at our house, lots of fruits and veggies, very little red meat, and we include Sam in our healthy meal plan while letting her taste the occasional treat. Additionally, we don't harp on the healthy food issue, we don't preach about it, and we certainly don't pretend that high fructose corn syrup is the devil incarnate. We just do our best and make healthy foods the bulk of the menu always. In short, food and I have a good relationship as far as Sam is concerned.
My mom has a theory that there are people out there that have better senses of taste than others, which is why some people love food and other people (who usually have been skinny their whole lives) are like "if you are too fat, just don't eat that. It's not hard!" Maybe it isn't hard for them. Maybe they truly aren't tasting what I'm tasting when they bite into a Krispy Kreme. I have had glasses since age 7 because my eyesight is total crap, I swear my brother has always been slightly deaf, and the sense of smell in pregnant women could rival a bomb-sniffing dog, so isn't it equally possible for the sense of taste to be more potent, more honed, and more pleasurable in some than others? Is it possible that in exchange for the vision of Mr. Magoo, Heavenly Father blessed me with taste buds that can enjoy the flavors of the food I eat on a level that far surpasses my husband, instead blessed (or stuck) with athletic ability and perfect eyes?

Watching Sam dive into her cupcake with unbridled joy and reckless abandon, I have to contend that this is true. Sam is a still a baby, she has no "emotional baggage" when it comes to food, yet she loves to eat. She has never tried a food she didn't love, and mealtime has always been fun at our house. Her cousin however, has never liked to eat. Starting from the bottle, eating always has seemed to get in the way of Molly's life and was a source of stress, while for Sam, it's a great part of her daily routine. Sam isn't a chubby baby, and always makes it very clear when she's had enough food, and hopefully, she will be able to control her love of food better than I have when she is old enough to make her own choices. I now think that learning this control is just the responsibility of having this gift of the heightened sense, and not having it is just that--a lack of control--not a sign of deep-seated psychological issues. If someone has a heightened sense of enjoyment that comes from running (which I totally don't get, by the way) no one accuses them of being crazy or unhealthy mentally because they choose to train for marathons. Okay, to be fair, I call them crazy, but only in a joking way. I'm not crazy for doing a little extra of what I get enjoyment out of either, although I understand that I need to keep my favorite activity in check more so than others might have to.
So, yes, even though I might want to bury my face in Sam's birthday cake myself, I will refrain. I do believe that the desire I have to eat tasty things comes from the same place as Sam's eating exuberance, so I will fully enjoy the wonder of being able to watch that urge played out in it's most innocent form, by someone who doesn't worry about body image, judgement of others, or having to clean the floor for that matter. Plus, it is SO much cuter when Sam does it.