Mommy, kiss it!

1 Comment

My 2-yr-old daughter, Lyla, recently discovered the healing powers of mommy kisses. And, as a mommy, I recently discovered that it is AWESOME to be able to so quickly and easily kiss away my daughter’s tears.

It’s true. A mother’s kisses are nothing less than mystical and magical, kind of like unicorns. I’ve actually known this since way back when I was Lyla’s age since my mom also has magical kisses. My mom’s kisses had the exact same effect… and sometimes they still do. Now that I think about it, maybe it’s hereditary? Nah, I’m pretty sure it simply comes with the job description.

But isn’t it amazing how something as simple as a kiss can make the hurt instantly go away? When Lyla bumps, falls, bruises or scrapes, a kiss from me is enough to stop the tears. It’s kind of wonderful actually.

So at my daughter’s request, I’ve kissed everything… well, almost everything. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Without hesitation, I’ve kissed her forehead dozens of times. I’ve kissed elbows and knees, arms, legs, feet, hands, fingers and even toes. I’ve kissed the top of her head and her tummy.

I even fell for it the day Lyla said, “Mommy, kiss it” and then puckered her lips. With no questions asked, I puckered up too but as I leaned in for what I’d assumed would be an innocent peck on the mouth, at the last second the little turd stuck out her tongue. I realized too late that she must have bitten it and thought a kiss from me would heal it. I’m not sure if it helped but I now have my guard up for next time she tries to trick me and lick my face. Yuck! But I can’t blame her for trying since biting your tongue sucks and, to her, nothing quite compares to mommy kisses.

“Mommy, kiss it,” she says after each and every ouchy. Bump her head or stub a toe? Better find mommy! It doesn’t always involve a boo-booed body part either. There are times when she asks me to kiss something that wasn’t even an ouchy at all.

On special request, I’ve kissed her best friend, Tags the Tag Ball (it’s sort of like a security blanket-ish item but it’s a ball with tags whose name, for obvious reasons, is Tags). I’ve also kissed a bear or two, a dolly and even a Dora and a Wubbzy.

I know my husband’s jealous too. He’d never admit it, but I’m 100% sure that he wishes his kisses were as magical and mystical as mine. I mean, while he’s no unicorn, kisses from Daddy are obviously good too and they will certainly work in a pinch… I guess. But, in our house, nothing compares to Mommy’s kisses.

If only this could last forever! But I know she’ll someday have a hurt that can’t so easily be kissed away. And, perhaps before then, she’ll probably outgrow asking for kisses altogether. So I’m cherishing this time while it lasts and, at her request, I will happily kiss it–whatever it is–no questions asked.

Well, like I said earlier, almost anything.

I admit there was one time when I turned her down…

Recently, after a rather rough bout of stomach flu and a weeklong case of the runs, Lyla’s tummy was finally feeling better but my poor little angel had a very sore tushy. And I guess baby powder was no longer doing the trick.

So far, that was the only time I’ve drawn the line when she innocently looked up at me and said, “Mommy, kiss it!”

Mommy’s Law

2 Comments

We’ve all heard about Murphy’s Law. Well, here’s some Mommy’s Law:

  1. The later mommy goes to sleep, the earlier baby will wake up.
  2. Baby will always get a rash, bruise, scratch or some other sort of unexplainable injury the night before a pediatric checkup.
  3. Guinness World Record breaking growth spurts are more likely to occur the night before any occasion for which a formal outfit and shoes have been selected and purchased for baby than any other day of the year.
  4. If mommy should happen to win either a date with daddy or a girls’ night out, the baby’s energy the following day will be multiplied by the quantity of glasses of wine mommy consumed the night before.
  5. The moment the house is finally clean, baby’s diaper will explode.
  6. If mommy buys a new dress, baby will immediately vomit all over it. If said dress or alternate article of newly purchased clothing happens to be white, baby will be sure to have consumed a full tummy’s worth of something in the darkest, most disgusting shade imaginable (strained peas, anyone?).
  7. When mommy decides to bring the stroller along, baby will want to walk. But when no stroller is available and mommy’s hands are full, baby will demand to be carried.
  8. Baby will happily show off clear pronunciation of all her new words and numbers behind closed doors but will only speak baby talk when others are around. If “others” should happen to include mommy’s in-laws, baby will jump at the opportunity to showcase her mastery of the letter “F” and attempt to rhyme everything with the word duck.
  9. The moment mommy brags about anything, baby will enforce a strict no bragging penalty (i.e., “My baby loves to eat her veggies!” Penalty = Baby will never eat anything green ever again)
  10. Baby will be an angel throughout the supermarket, enticing mommy to shop till she drops. But the moment mommy pulls her overflowing cart into the checkout line, baby will turn into a demon. The longer the line, the more head spinning action will ensue.

Happy mommying!

Have you ever seen a cow riding a bicycle?

1 Comment

Well I have and it was awesome.

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays (3rd favorite to be exact). And ever since way back when I was a kid, I’ve always loved getting dressed up for it, typically alternating clever and disturbing costumes year after year.

Against his will, I usually “urge” my husband to dress up too. In fact throughout our relationship, I’ve tortured him with one awful costume after the next. He claims he hates it. But I don’t believe him since he almost always gives in to whatever I want. One year, I made him dress up like a turd. Yep. It was a group theme. I made the costumes myself. Corn and all. He was a good sport about it… even though it was a little shitty of me. Another year, we were simply ketchup and mustard. He said “no” at first but eventually he agreed and there we were, two condiments at a New York City bar together. He even let me be mustard. That’s love. But he drew the line the year I wanted him to dress up like a vampire. I didn’t see the big deal, really. Honestly he was fine with it until I admitted I planned to dress as a tampon.

Whether I’ve been single, half of a couple or part of a group, I’ve always had fun on Halloween. But being a mom at Halloween is the greatest. Playing dress up with my daughter is so much fun. And rather than simply play dress up once, I get to do four straight days of Halloween festivities with her this year. She and I have already been trick or treating twice in two different towns and it’s not even the 31st yet. If you ask me, that’s pretty awesome.

She’s being a cow for Halloween this year. It seemed fitting since we’ve seen plenty of real cows since moo-ving to Iowa. Like most 2-year-olds, she loves mooing back at them. But she is by far the cutest cow I’ve ever seen!

Today, I put my little cow in her child seat and we went for a bike ride together through town. That was a first! I mean, have you ever seen a cow on a bicycle? I would (probably) never have done that in New York City. But it was great! And you know what? She had a blast being a cow on a bicycle.

Admittedly since Lyla entered our lives, I’ve focused more energy on her costumes than mine or my husband’s. Last year, I didn’t even bother getting dressed up. My husband was stoked when he learned he didn’t have to get dressed up either. Instead, I focused all my creative energy on our daughter. She was a strawberry. Simple enough. But. Cutest. Strawberry. Ever!

My husband doesn’t know it yet but this year, we’ll be making a soft comeback as a family. To expand upon our daughter’s costume, all three of us will be dressing as cows tomorrow night at his parents’ Halloween party.

It’ll be our first Halloween together as a family in Iowa. I can’t skip this one!

But rather than make him dress from head to toe in plush cow apparel like our daughter, I’m simply giving him a button that says “Moo” and a hat that says, “More cowbell!” So yes, I’m going easy on him. But next year… well, that’s a surprise… but if he thought being a vampire was bad!

Tomorrow night, I’ll be wearing a hat that says “I love cows.” And although I’ve never put much thought into that before, this year I know it’s true. If my husband and my daughter are cows, then I must love cows.

Together as a family we plan to party till the cows come home… but really we’re already home so I guess we’ll just party till our little cow needs her nap.

Happy Halloween!

You’re It

Leave a comment

My husband and I made a trip to the DMV yesterday.

That’s never fun… right?

Well I wasn’t looking forward to it. That’s for sure. But we’d put it off long enough. Finally, after (practically) receiving death threats from the New York DMV, we gave in and got our vehicles registered in Iowa (a task we should have done much sooner but our titles had been lost in the seemingly bottomless abyss of boxes still stacked in the garage from our not-so-recent relocation).

Not only was it kind of hard to part with my New York plates (silly, I know), but who wants to spend a day at the DMV? Last I checked it still wasn’t the happiest place on earth. In fact, it’s usually the opposite of that.

But if you were at the Mills County, Iowa DMV yesterday, you wouldn’t have known it by looking at my kid. Nope.

She was as happy as could be, skipping and hopping and having a grand time running up to random people (as if there’s any other kind at the DMV), smiling and joyfully shouting “I see you!!!”

Yes, she was playing Hide ‘n Seek. And, perhaps by default, the people at the DMV ended up playing Hide ‘n Seek too because a 2-year-old reminded them that it was OK to do so. I was amazed how she so easily transformed one of the most hated places on earth into a magical, whimsical playland in a matter of minutes. She actually managed to make it fun.

It was wonderful to see complete strangers playing along. Some were DMV employees, while others were patrons waiting their turn or simply passers-by. Some were far more serious than others. A few were dressed in business suits, possibly on their way to the court house. They certainly weren’t dressed for play time. They had other things on their minds. But eventually everyone gave in and played. It was nice. A little odd at first but nice.

In fact it rather quickly turned into Play Day at the DMV. Everyone participated. My daughter saw to it that no one was left out. That’s for sure. People, both children and adults, were peek-a-booing at one another playfully. It made it so, for the first time in my whole life, not only did I enjoy my time spent at the DMV but I didn’t want to leave. Have you ever truthfully (and without sarcasm) been able to say that?

Children are wonderful, aren’t they? Who else could make the DMV fun? If an adult had done what my daughter did today, he or she would have likely been arrested or shot with a tranquilizer dart or something. OK, maybe that’s extreme. But certainly they would have received strange looks and maybe even a twirly-finger-around-the-ear type gesture or two.

Perhaps it’s simply impossible to stay serious when approached by a child, smiling from ear to ear with sweet, inviting “let’s play!” eyes and a face beaming with innocence and excitement.

And, really, what better place for an impromptu game of Hide ‘n Seek than at the DMV? Seriously, I can’t think of one… can you?

Granted, the Iowa DMV is nothing like the New York DMV. Sure, they do the same things. But, for example, my husband and I were first and second in line to have our cars registered. Crazy, huh? Even crazier? It’s a holiday week!

In the past, we’ve waited hours (and not just the minimal quantity of hours to technically qualify as the plural form of the word hour but an actual # of hours long enough to fully cultivate an urge to stab yourself in the eye). New York DMVs have serpentines and electronic number machines and dozens upon dozens of lines, each one with a separate function, and hundreds of rows of chairs full of people who honestly look like they’d been waiting for days, weeks, months maybe. My husband and I once waited for over 4 hours only to be told we were in the wrong line and then had to start over. And it smells there! No, not like cookies. And you wait so long that you inevitably become numb to that smell, then eventually you become that smell.

Here in Iowa, like I said, we were first and second in line. I can prove it too. Our license plates are literally one number apart. Weird, huh? I would post pictures but I’m not sure what the rules of identity theft would say about that (and I’m too lazy to look it up). So you’ll have to take my word.

Even weirder? The people there are nice! They gave my daughter a lollipop. Sure, banks do that all the time… but the DMV? Really? And I feel confident that had I asked, they’d have given me one too. The only thing I’ve ever gotten at the NY DMV was a headache and a receipt.

Not to bag on New York. I have huge love for the state and the city, the people (even those at the DMV) included. I’m just saying that maybe, just maybe, they would benefit from an impromptu game of Hide ‘n Seek. Or maybe Tag is more their speed?

Do you remember how wonderful it was to play games like Hide ‘n Seek and Tag? I loved both, especially Tag though I hated being “It.” I still do.

Sometimes I too want to run up to a random friendly face, smile and say “I see you!!” I would like it if someone (preferably not a violent lunatic with a knife) did that for me. But it’s nice being seen. Isn’t it? Who wants to be invisible? Maybe for a moment but not forever.

Or simply tag them “It” so I don’t have to be “It” anymore. Sometimes I need a break from being “It” all the time. I’m sure it’s not just me. Do you ever feel that way? Maybe you and I could share a laugh and frolic together instead for a moment, letting go of the stress of the day. It might be nice to share “It” – whatever “It” is with someone else rather than struggling with “It” or through “It” on our own, or keeping “It” buried inside. The burden of “It” can be a big one. “It” isn’t always easy. Is it? But if we share “It” maybe the burden of “It” will become easier to bare.

Maybe it’s not appropriate in everyday life to break into Hide ‘n Seek or Tag or any other childhood game. Red Rover, maybe? Nah, probably not. After all, we are grownups and we have very serious matters to attend to. We don’t have the time for silly childish things like games or recess or naps.

Well that’s too bad.

But wouldn’t it be great?

Check that. It is great. Life. Who says we have to be so serious all the time? You’re not the boss of me. Saw that one coming, didn’t ya?

I think children have it right. The world doesn’t always have to be such a serious, uptight, stressful place. After all, it’s full of butterflies and daisies and kittens. I want to laugh and be silly, frolic (yes, frolic! what? you don’t frolic?) and have fun. I want to enjoy this moment while we’re in it.

I bet you do too.

So tag! You’re It!!

Bubbles

Leave a comment

If you ever find yourself depressed, sad, lonely, irritated, bummed, unhappy, bored or any of the other negatives, I highly suggest buying a bubble machine.

I recently purchased one for my daughter’s 2nd birthday party. I bought it on Amazon for $36, free shipping, bubbles not included. It was a huge hit at her party and although her birthday has come and gone, we still use it all the time.

I know what you’re thinking… and you’re right. The bubble machine was more a gift for me than for her. True. But she really does love bubbles (almost) as much as I do. I simply wanted to entertain her and see her smile. Her smile makes me happier than anything else in the whole world… even happier than bubbles. And since one of my jobs as her mommy is to make her smile, I decided to buy a bubble machine. So, really, it was an investment. I promise it makes perfect sense when you think about it. But don’t think about it too long.

Sure, I could’ve bought yet another bottle of bubbles with yet another simple bubble wand, but I like to think outside the box. Our new bubble machine makes more bubbles in less time than I could ever possibly blow myself. And yes I said “blow myself.” Take a moment… Breathe through it…

OK, now once you move beyond that, you will see the point I’ve been trying to make is that more bubbles mean more smiles. And to this work from home mommy, more smiles mean everything!

In the interest of entertaining our children, we mommies (and daddies) do the strangest things. But isn’t it also in the interest of entertaining ourselves? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Being happy is important. We should do something each and every day to make ourselves and the ones we love happy.

If you’re like me, many things make you happy. Bubbles are just one (or a million) of those things. I love bubbles. You do too, right? I mean, who doesn’t?

I once told my dad that I love bubbles and he replied, “I once met a stripper named Bubbles.” I love him. My dad, not the stripper. And I am simply assuming the Bubbles in my dad’s story was/is a woman, but then I wasn’t the one who met Bubbles the Stripper and I didn’t think to ask. I’m not even 100% sure that Bubbles the Stripper really exists but if he/she does, I bet he/she is/was a very nice person. I think with a name like Bubbles he/she would have to be.

I challenge you to try to walk through a sea of beautiful bubbles (actual bubbles, not a sea of strippers – although depending on your point of view I guess that could be fun too) without smiling. It’s hard to do, maybe even impossible. And smiling is good for you. It feels good too. Doesn’t it?

Lyla and I will be having our lunch outside today. I will fill up and turn on the bubble machine. As we enjoy our time together, there will be bubbles in the background, up above and all around us. There will be bubbles floating high in the sky, up over the trees, down the street and off into town. It will be magical. People will look up and see bubbles floating and drifting everywhere, smile and wonder, “Where did those bubbles come from?”

Some agitated souls may get irritated as the bubbles pop on their newly washed cars or cause them to have to clean their windows and sunglasses. Those people need the bubbles even more than the rest of us. I am doing them a favor.

A few of the highly curious will follow the trail of bubbles to our house, where they will find us giggling and dancing and popping bubbles with our noses. I will invite them to join us. And they will because people who follow floating bubbles do so for a reason. They want to participate in the bubble festivities. They want to join in on the foamy fun. They want to take a moment and forget the stresses in their lives and the worries which have been weighing them down. They want to focus, if only for a moment, on nothing but bubbles and smile and laugh instead. They want to be happy. I may even manage to convince someone to pretend to be a fish swimming and eating the bubbles. Lyla loves when I do that. I (secretly) love it too. It makes us both happy.

On that note, bubbles don’t taste the best, but they’re a world of fun. Ooh, in the interest of making the world a better place, maybe you could invent tastier bubbles… maybe bubble gum flavored bubbles or perhaps blueberry bubbles. I would buy those! Would you invent those for me? I would do it myself but I’m too busy playing with my bubble flavored bubbles.

The moral of my story is simply that the world needs more bubbles.

I am doing my part. Are you?

Happy Birthday, Lyla!

Leave a comment

Today my sweet Lyla Rain is 2!

It amazes me how much she has grown in such a short period of time and how much my husband and I have grown right along with her. It’s been an adventure, to say the least, but it has also been the most wonderful time of our lives.

In celebration of her birthday, I’d like to share with you a letter I wrote to her just over two years ago as we anxiously prepared for her arrival…

July 29, 2009

Dear Baby,

Welcome to the world! I am so excited to finally meet you and hold you in my arms! We’ve been on a wonderful journey together over the course of the past nine months and it’s been incredible to feel you grow inside of me each and every day. And now we are finally approaching your birthday! The time has flown by and it’s so hard to believe that the big day is almost here.

Your daddy and I have been looking forward to meeting you since the moment we learned you had entered our lives. We still haven’t met you and yet we already love you so much! Words cannot express how blessed we feel.

We’ve been anticipating your arrival for a long time and we couldn’t be happier or more excited to finally meet you, hold you, protect you and love you. We promise that we will take very good care of you, keep you warm and safe always and love you more than anything in the whole world forever and ever.

Mommy and Daddy love each other so very much. Someday, we’ll tell you the story of how we met and a million other stories of all of the wonderful times we’ve shared together. We have shared so many joyful memories and adventures, and the future holds so much more for us and our family. We are so happy to share our lives with you. Our love is special and you’re going to feel that love and happiness every day.

Today is your daddy’s birthday and he told me that all he wants for his birthday is for you and me to be happy and healthy. Bringing you into the world has made us a family and that has allowed our love to grow even stronger. That love will continue to grow as you grow.

You are surrounded by love.

In addition to mommy and daddy, you have very loving grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins who have been anxiously awaiting your arrival as well. Mum-Mum and Pop-Pop Zane (mommy’s parents) and Grandma Vicky and Grandpa Tom (daddy’s parents) are very caring and special people and you are going to be their shining star. The four of them haven’t even met you yet and they already can’t stop talking about you! You also have three uncles to keep you extra safe as you grow up. Your uncles Frank (mommy’s brother) and Wes and Scott (daddy’s brothers) are all anticipating the arrival of their first niece. You are the first granddaughter and the first niece, and that makes you extra special!

With the support and love of your family around you always, you are going to have a full and wonderful life. As you grow, we want you to experience the world and participate in all the awesome things it has to offer. It’s a great big world and we want you to learn, see and experience all of it.

Have fun and enjoy your life. Smile. Be adventurous. Meet new people and make strong friendships. Try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail. Find your passion. Be good to yourself and to others. Cherish your family. Love yourself. Laugh hard and often. Fall in love. Love with your whole heart.

Growing up can be intimidating and even scary at times, and it’s okay to be scared, but keep in mind that there are so many beautiful and amazing opportunities out there and all you have to do is open your eyes and your mind to them. No matter what life throws at you, please always remember that you are loved. You are a very special and unique person and you have so much to offer this world. Someday you’ll have a million memories of your own to look back upon. And, when you do, you’ll smile at all you’ve seen, experienced and accomplished. It’ll all be worth it, I promise.

I love you and your daddy with all my heart. And I promise to love you both forever and ever.

Love (and big hugs and kisses),

Mommy

Happy birthday, Lyla!!

Mommy loves you more than all the stars in the sky and all the fish in the sea, added together and multiplied by three…

and I always will.

xoxo

Target

Leave a comment

My daughter, Lyla, turns 2 in about a week. Today, getting an early start, she decided to showcase her terrible 2s in Target. She had clearly been practicing!

In case you missed it, she was the one who wiggled out of her restraints, climbed out of the cart, tore off her diaper, then ran up and down the aisles screaming and giggling devilishly as she removed random items from the shelves and tossed them into our cart faster than a contestant on the retro game show Supermarket Sweep.

My husband was at home recovering from nightshift so I was flying solo. It was toddler verse Mommy. Sadly, I couldn’t compete. I could hardly even keep up.

By the time we made it to checkout, I was sweating, dizzy, unsure of what I was buying or where I was and desperately in need of both a bottled water and a nap! Lyla was ready for Round 2. When we finally made it home (thankfully the little demon slept in the car), I put her down in her crib, carried in every last bag of groceries by myself, then when my husband woke up I told him all about the traumatic ordeal. His response was, “You can’t let her get away with that.”

Hmm… that didn’t help. It didn’t help me and it most certainly didn’t help him.

Before I go on, let me reiterate the fact that I love my husband and our daughter very, very much. My husband is a wonderful father and partner. He happily works his ass off for our family. Our daughter is the perfect combination of me and him. She gets the good and the not-so-good from us both (pretty much) equally. Now that we’re clear on that, let me also state for the record that they are both Leos. I’m not sure this fact has any true bearing on my situation or any other for that matter, but I sometimes blame astrology when I don’t want to flat out blame a person. It’s a defense mechanism.

As a Scorpio, while I am astrologically compatible in many ways with Leos, I have read that there will be times when they will, without even trying, drive me to the brink of insanity. Well, I was there and back today.

Now back to my rant…

What would my husband have done differently? When I asked him that question, he gave me no answer. I would have loved to see how he would have handled our “little situation” at Target. For that matter, I’d love to see him do all of the things I do on a regular basis. In addition to writing, I am a stay at home mom. I change at least 90% of the diapers, clean up at least 90% of the messes and kiss at least 90% of the boo-boos. Everything I do and everywhere I go, there is a toddler at my hip. I write while my husband works and while my daughter sleeps, both during her naps and through the night. I get an awful lot done in minimal time. I take zero breaks and I get very little sleep.

Like most moms out there, I do what I do with little assistance or acknowledgment. When my family or friends are struggling, I stop what I’m doing to listen and to love. When I’m struggling, I push myself harder. Most times, I don’t have time to complain and besides it usually doesn’t help.

While I try not to criticize those whom I love (I said try not to), I seldom get the same courtesy in return. I try to extract positive feedback and constructive criticism, both professionally and personally because those things, while sometimes painful, help us to learn and grow. I try my best not to take too much of it personally and ignore the negativity. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work. Like now, for example.

It is challenging enough to take a toddler shopping by myself. And that, by the way, is something I get to do all the time. I wave and smile to the other moms (or stay at home dads – of which there are many!) as I pass them in the supermarket, as our children pretend to drive the big plastic car attached to our shopping cart while we do the pushing and steering. We are kindred spirits.

I often help other parents when their sons or daughters drop their sippy cups for the 100th time, lunge from their arms in the frozen food section, scream for a cookie or a lollipop or a Dora snack or when they have a complete and total meltdown during checkout (or anyplace else for that matter). I like to think that they would help me too and sometimes they do.

My daughter turns 2 next week.

If you were considering criticizing my parenting skills, voicing your opinion on potty training, reading, haircuts, juice consumption, bedtime etiquette or any other similar topic, this is probably not the right time.

If you see me or another parent struggling, please don’t hesitate to help us. For the record, pointing, whispering and staring do not help. Being critical or judgmental isn’t a bit helpful either. And those snide comments… well, I’ll be happy to suggest a place where you can put those.

The terrible 2s are upon us, my friends. What happened today in Target was just the beginning. I’ve heard horror stories from other parents about what to expect next and I’m not going to lie, I’m more than just a little scared!

If you really want to help me, offer to babysit.