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An Open Letter to My Fellow Restaurant Patrons

Dear Fellow Patrons of the Fabulous Little Cuban Restaurant,

I know.

On Saturday night, through no real fault of my own, I became one of THOSE parents.  I’ve never been one of THOSE parents before, and I assure you it was as traumatizing to me as it was to you.

You see, we purposely chose this restaurant because not only does it have fantastic food, but also an open-air dining patio.  This patio enables us to make a quick break for it in case our 18 month old gets squirmy.  We are well aware that the mood swings of a toddler are, shall we say, unpredictable.

Anyhoo, the lovely people at the table next to us, you were being very sweet to her. Especially when she unleashed her version of “hello” on you, which is to basically scream at you until you are forced to acknowledge her.  It’s cute the first time she does it, but gets reeaallly old by the third time.  I’m well aware of this.  You were even playing peek-a-boo with her, which is really above and beyond the call of duty.

And that is why I felt especially bad when, in a fit of pique and knowing that her Dad was distracted, my daughter managed to grab our bread basket and hurl it at you and your table.  She wasn’t trying to be mean, she is merely extremely interested in the laws of physics.

But, I guess I didn’t take into account that even though the open-air thing is good for getaways, it also means the tables are sort of scrunched in closer together than they would be at a normal type of restaurant.

You truly did not deserve to have pieces of French bread all over your table, and I was mortified.

We apologized to you profusely, and you were extremely gracious about it, which sort of made me feel worse.

All I can say is, she doesn’t get it from my side of the family.

Thanks again,

Glinda

Just Talk, Already!

When my daughter was an infant, she was a constant babbler. All kinds of consonants, vowels, and syllables came out of her mouth, I even have videotaped proof!  I smugly congratulated myself on my obviously superior parenting skillz.

Everyone, including myself, was CERTAIN that my daughter would be an early talker. Family legend has it that my sister was speaking in sentences by the age of one, and I secretly harbored the belief that my daughter would be right there.

You see, much angst was visited upon us as my son was a late talker.   He was our firstborn, we didn’t know any better. At eighteen months he said “Mama,” “Dada,” and “Uh-oh.” And that was it for quite a while.  I think he began truly stringing words together at around age two, and he completely bypassed the baby talk phase, with every word crisp and enunciated as could be.

So when my daughter’s first birthday passed with nary a word in her speaking arsenal, I didn’t think too much of it.

I mean, she was constantly being spoken to, if not by myself, then by her brother or her father.  Everything was described for her, every action explained, every object given a name.

So I figured the talking was just right around the corner.

Silent Bob, as I call her, had other plans.

Those plans include giving a bloodcurdling shriek when I don’t understand exactly what her grunting means, or what object she is pointing to.  She knows a phone is for talking, as she holds it up to her ear, but anyone foolish enough to try and converse with her is only rewarded with some heavy breathing a la Darth Vader.

So as of nineteen months my daughter has a vocabulary of absolutely zero words.

Not mama, or dada, or brother, or hi or bye or anything at all.

Sure she says things that could possiblby be words, but they are applied in a completely random way and I would be fooling myself if I thought she was really saying anything.

I’ve done some research and it seems that a tendency toward late talking can be genetically influenced, as my husband didn’t talk until he was almost three(!) and so my children apparently come by it honestly.

I know that years down the road I will be standing there, wishing she would stop talking for just a nanosecond so someone else can get a word in edgewise, but damn if it isn’t annoying.

Sleep Deprivation Makes You a Jerk

According to this article in the Washington Post, researchers

… found that a lack of sleep led not just to poor performance on tasks that require “innovative thinking, risk analysis, and strategic planning”—though studies have shown all those to be true—but also to increased deviant and unethical behavior in both groups. Examples included rudeness, inappropriate responses and attempts to take more money than they’d earned.

And that is why my friends who are also mothers of young children and I have decided to go ahead and form a posse.  We’re toying with the name “Bad Muthas” but someone else suggested “Bad Mamma Jammas” and I’m sure we’ll have an argument about it before the final decision.

We will go around town with our strollers, terrorizing the locals with our rude behavior.  Why, when we order something at the local Starbucks, we WILL not tip.  

Then when someone asks us about how our day is going, we will point to our “special snowflakes” and ask them how they think it is going when we have to deal with twenty pound dictators all day long.  We will then rough them up and take their wallet.

Membership in the posse will be terminated once your child starts sleeping through the night, no exceptions.

We can’t afford the chance that one of our number might act ethically due to getting enough sleep.

When you see the stroller brigade coming your way, be very afraid.

The Crow is Being Cooked As We Speak

I did the one thing parents are never supposed to do.

And now I’m paying for it, big time.

Quite a while ago, I made a generalization about parents who use leashes in this post.

Of course, that was before I was pregnant with the Munchkinette and had the smugness of a parent who thinks she is done raising her kids.

I should have known better than to tempt fate like that.

Because I looked at my husband yesterday and said, “If I don’t buy a leash for this child, she is never going to be able to go out in public.”

Stubborn, defiant, and reckless do not even begin to describe her.  When we are out in the front yard playing with big brother and the neighbors, her favorite thing to do is zoom toward the street at full speed, laughing and looking back at my panicked face the entire time.  Thank God we live on a cul de sac that gets little to no traffic.

Never mind that I have told her a bazillion times not to go into the street.  Never mind that I constantly try to hold her hand and she impatiently tries to shake me off every single time. 

And she’s only seventeen months old, so this entire process is only going to get worse. 

I tweaked out my back from having to constantly stoop and chase her around, and that was just for an hour and a half in our own yard.

So after I write this, I am pretty sure I’ll be going online and searching for a kids leash that she hopefully won’t try to pull off.

Now, where’s my fork?

I’m Trying to Be Charitable…

Because lord knows I’ve got a toddler of my own and I’m well aware of how easy it is to be distracted for a second, but really?  I know this story is a teensy bit old, but I can’t help myself.

When I’m watching the Munchkinette at home, I’m way more relaxed about it than when we are out in public.  I am well aware of danger zones and things she can get into. But when we are somewhere else,  I put hawks to shame.  She doesn’t take a step without me right behind her.

So, I’m thinking that if my toddler is at someone’s place of work, where there are a million things she could get into, not to mention an open TIME-LOCKED SAFE, I would tend to be a little more watchful than normal.

I’m not trying to minimize the obvious distress caused to the toddler and her mom, but for this mother, I’m going to advocate the use of a leash.

And if this family gets money for exclusive story rights or a made-for-television movie, then I will know for sure there is no justice in this world.

It’s You Again…

 

When the Munchkin left toddlerhood, I packed away many of his DVD’s as he considered them too “babyish.”

I heaved a sigh of regret as I boxed up The Wiggles.

You see, for many a mom, Anthony the Blue Wiggle is the bright spot in a sea of mind-numbing toddler programming.  When your choices boil down to screechy red monsters, blue dogs that don’t talk, purple dinosaurs and trains with faces that don’t move, The Wiggles start looking mighty appealing.

You’ve got Murray, the earnest, goofy one.   Then you’ve got Jeff, the serial narcoleptic.  Then comes the lead singer, which used to be Greg, the nice tall one.  Now you’ve got Sam, who has a fine tenor and is light on his toes.  Anthony?  Well, he’s the hot one.

He made watching four grown men do aerobics to songs like “Hot Potato” and “Get Ready to Wiggle” semi-bearable. 

But my son refused to watch the DVD’s once he hit preschool, and there was no point in having them take up space in the house, so banished to the garage they were.

My pregnancy with our daughter six years later caught us by surprise. I had thought I would never experience another toddlerhood again.

Yet, here I am.  My daughter loves to dance and loves music.  So what else fits as naturally for her as The Wiggles, I ask?  I eagerly dug the DVD’s out of the garage, not to mention bookmarked a couple of the vidoes on YouTube. 

And there he was, in all his glory.

Anthony of the blue eyes and salt and pepper hair.

Hello, gorgeous.

One Toddler to Rule Them All…

One of the joys of dealing wth a toddler is setting boundaries.

Except it’s hard to set boundaries when the person you are attempting to set them with has a limited understanding of English, an insatiable curiosity, and a penchant for ignoring you completely.  But in the cutest way possible, of course.

When we first moved into this house, I adored the open floorplan.  The space!

Now, I curse the open floorplan with every fiber of my being as I would be spending thousands of dollars on baby gates to keep my toddler out of places she shouldn’t be. So instead I chase after her as she makes a circuit of the rooms, hitting every spot of vulnerability with alarming accuracy.  The two kitchen drawers that can’t be latched? Check.  The fireplace? Check.  The cord of the little vacuum I keep in the kitchen? Check.  Around and around we go, always with me trying to block her before she gets there, and redirecting if she does. 

But you know what?  She knows she shouldn’t be doing what she’s doing, limited speaking ability be damned. 

Except, I can’t prove it.

Hmphf.  A Balrog might be easier to deal with…

Signs You Have a Toddler at Christmas

- The tree has no decorations on the lower branches.

- Nativity scene is nowhere to be found under the tree.

- Stockings are hung by the chimney with great care that little hands cannot pull them off.

- Presents under the tree? Fuhgeddabout it.

- Ribbon may or may not have been taken out and been dragged around the house.

- Ditto wrapping paper.

- Advent calendar positioned in an unnaturally high place.

- Santa picture with upset child on his lap? Check.

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