Friday, February 27, 2015

Not-So-Baby Baby

It's been a weird few weeks with the Monkey girl. There has been drama and crying and ravenous eating that is impressive by its sheer magnitude (and the related issue of where all of that is going, because I swear this kid never poops anymore).

She has been saying for months that she has a loose tooth. When asked to demonstrate, she will rub her finger back and forth on one of her bottom front teeth. MDD and I have repeatedly had to burst her bubble by telling her that all that's actually moving is her finger.

But at her most recent dental checkup, along with the all-clear for no cavities (yay!), there was actual confirmation by trained dental professionals of the looseness of the toothness.

But it's not one. Oh, of course not! Why would we settle for that?

Nope. All FOUR of her front bottom teeth are loose.

Which certainly explains why the two middle ones are looking kinda snaggly lately. They are pushing up and out and starting to look like they are trying to be the "Y" in the "YMCA dance."

Monkey is of course excited and proud, if a little scared also.

I am...I don't even know. It's so weird and kind of stupid, because these things are supposed to be happening, of course.

It's just...those were the first two little teeth we saw for her. The first brave stragglers poking through just before she turned a year old, after MONTHS of teething pain and horrific diaper blowouts that Ti-Ti still swears may have peeled the paint off her walls.

Monkey's happy, because although she is the second oldest kid in her class (one girl beat her by literally ONE DAY), she is one of the last to have any loose or missing teeth. So I think she is feeling relieved to be reclaiming her oldest/big-kid status in class.

Mommy is conflicted.

It is one more set of firm, tangible proof that every day is one day closer to her growing up and never being this same little kid anymore. It is hard to imagine and bittersweet to grasp and I wind up simultaneously clinging to her little-ness and bursting with pride at the amazing person I see her becoming.

Slowly, but surely, bit by bit, my baby is no longer a baby.

She will of course tell me she hasn't been a baby for a LONG TIME. Duh, not since she ditched the binky, because those were FOR BABIES. 

Every once in a while I ask her to make me a promise. Sometimes she rolls her eyes, but she always complies.

My sweet little Monkey has promised that somewhere in her, she will always stay just a LITTLE BIT little. Just for her Mommy, who looks at her no-longer-chubby cheeks and her ankles poking out of the pants we JUST BOUGHT a couple months ago...

For her Mommy, who now cringes when she brushes this child's teeth because the move in weird ways and Mommy's stomach flips a little bit every time.

For her Mommy, who knows this most unexpected and ridiculously loved blessing will be the one and only person on earth who will ever know what my voice and heartbeat sound like from the inside.

For me, she will hold some part of her childhood, in acknowledgement that I will always see her as my baby. Even when she is forty years old herself and dealing with who-knows-what in her own family and career.

Even then, I will look at her smirky smile and remember those two brave teeth poking their way through her then-empty, gummy mouth.

I will remember the open-mouthed, drooling baby "kisses" and the sound of "Mama!" uttered in joy but muffled by the ever-present pacifier.

I will remember that we ate "be-seens" and "go-go" and watched "El-MO-mo" together.

I will remember the distinct movement she makes as she falls asleep on my chest. Which has not changed, in 6+ years. If she is snuggled on me, I can tell you exactly when she has fallen asleep. There is a settling to her snuggle and a warmth to her head that I would know anywhere.

There has been a lot going on with me lately. Medical stuff and tests and doctors and things I don't want to get into right now. But it's made me look around and realize that I need to be present IN the present. See. Smell, Hug. Live.

Because if those coltish legs and lumberjack appetite are any indication, she's growing like crazy and OK-- she's supposed to, it's good.

But it also takes her, by little baby steps, just a wee bit further away from being that round little baby with the smiling, chubby cheeks.

She has friends and activities and homework and this whole life of her her own that is just starting to make its fuzzy landscape known. Much of it will involve me-- as much as she will let me, really, when it all comes down to it.

But the whole point of raising tiny humans is to give them their foundation so they find their own way into the world. I don't know that I really saw how torn that makes every parent...

When your child is an infant, you are kinda consumed by infancy. There are schedules and feedings and serious sleep deprivation, and laundry (dear GOD, the laundry!). Then they get mobile and it's all about making sure they don't eat rocks or put things in the outlet or fall down steps.

It's all such a blur sometimes, and they are just changing and growing and developing. That's why I started this blog in the first place. I haven't kept up with writing as often as I had hoped.

I write so I will remember, and share that with her. I want her to know how much every little nuance of her being has changed my entire world-- and I wouldn't want it any other way.

And yes...all this because of some loose teeth and outgrown pants. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The White Mouse Will NOT Explode...Maybe

So, I have to admit: we caved. This year's edition of Disney on Ice was "Frozen" and we all know Monkey is obsessed. Somewhat thanks to the nine million and four commercials, it has been REPEATEDLY brought to our attention that ELSA WILL BE IN CHICAGO, MOM.

Sort of. But, whatever--she's six.

Anyway, Monk's obsession with the movie, and moreover, the MUSIC, of said Mouse Production has become legendary in our home. Her birthday was "Frozen" and she sang "Let It Go" to the adoring throngs. Or sugared-up kindergarteners...same thing. 

We are lucky to be close to such amazing feats of cultural importance due to our proximity to the Second City. Big shows come here, folks, reallybigshowwws...

There were several funny things about this whole event. First was determining who would be going. MDD asked Big Sis if she was interested. We had all gone (the four of us, and Big Sis' mom) a couple of years ago. That was an interesting day. I was right in the midst of Kidney Stone Hell and loaded up on narcotics. Ariel skating to "Under the Sea" with BLACKLIGHTS? With narcotics on board? Good times!!

This year, no one was screaming in agony, at least. Well, Big Sis might have been, because she hates "Frozen" with an intensity I have to admire, actually. She might not hate the actual movie so much...probably more the music, as it's been sung/screamed ad nauseum by the Monkey for well over a year now.

Anyway, the showtimes we were researching fell during crossover times where Big Sis either could go with us, or go back to her mom's early. MDD asked if she wanted to see Disney on Ice. Their conversation went thusly:

BS: Uh...depends. What is it?
MDD: ...Frozen.
BS: NO. Nuh-UH. N. O.

MDD: And it's advertised as a sing-along.
BS: ...Not even a little bit. No.

Tell us how you REALLY feel... ;)

So we made arrangements for the crossover for Big Sis and got our tickets. Folks, let me add something here. The producers of these types of events are not playing around. There is SERIOUS money being made here, and we all know it, and we're all sucked into it anyway. It is mind-boggling.

I am part of a couple of Facebook groups for parents in our area. Selling used toys/furniture, etc. One mom posed a question to one of them about these sets of shows. It seems these same few seats were available for EVERY showing of this blessed event, and she was wondering why. Was there something wrong? Obstructed view? How were these available for all shows, when we're talking several options daily??

She added a snapshot of the seating chart with the seats highlighted. They were basically rink-side. Someone responded to her: Those seats are probably still available because no one wants to shell out that kind of cash for tickets to this thing. Get 'em if you want 'em, lady.

I did not opt for such an expensive purchase. I don't need to get snowed on by Elsa for my kid to have a good time. We can see just fine from the upper level, thanks.

One of the most often-recurring issues in our home seems to be time management. MDD and I have vastly different ways of doing things and while most of the time, we figure out our own rhythm to achieve common goals, sometimes our methods class horrifically.

This excursion seemed destined to demonstrate the latter. Big Sis was picked up early. I got Monkey changed into her beloved Elsa shirt and appropriately sparkle-ized with tights and accessories. A proper princess must have her BLING, darling!

I kind of wanted to leave then-ish. But we hadn't printed the tickets out yet. Oops. MDD sat down to do that...

Half an hour later, we are still at home. Then MDD had to change his pants. Then there was snow. And traffic. And, ho boy, LOTS of people headed to the SAME FRICKING PLACE we were.

The GPS countdown to arrival was not looking good for us being on time. I was holding my tongue. MDD was already irritated by the traffic and delays and it was a bit tense in the vehicle. Except for Monkey, who just kept asking if we were close to the arena yet. Because THAT helps. Always.

MDD took a moment to talk to her, and apologized upfront that we were running late, and probably going to miss the first song at least. But that we couldn't really do anything about it and the traffic was slowing us down more.

My sweet, overly-excited, bursting-at-the-seams child, responded, "That's OK, Dad. I don't really NEED to see the first song, anyway. It's fine."

I didn't know how to take that. If she really was fine with it, that's one thing, but it was hard to tell. She might have just been saying what she felt was the right thing to say to placate her stressed-out parents stuck in the off-ramp of the highway. Or, she might have really thought it to be true.

Either way, that was an amazing thing for a six-year-old to say, IMHO. 

It wound up actually being moot, anyway. We got to the parking lot a few minutes before the scheduled show time. Courtesy of my handicapped parking placard (these stupid semi-functioning legs have at least a few perks, sometimes) and our untimely arrival, we wound up getting waved into a parking spot literally just outside the door.

Getting into the actual seats was interesting, as we had to find a staircase that was NOT roped off, and we were definitely salmon headed upstream to find our section. Music started playing from the main arena right as we were getting through the gates, so the sense of urgency was huge.

As it turned out, there was a "warmup" skating group out there, talking to the crowd and making sure everyone was "ready to DANCE? And SING?" Blah blah, sure-- where are our seats, mouse? 

We got situated JUST as the real opening number started. Hall. Le. Lu. IA.

It was certainly engaging and included all the music Monkey loves, though some songs were expanded and others condensed, which I found interesting. They also took a couple of scenes out of order, and that just completely made me twitch. The universe has RULES and ORDER and things go 1, 2, 3, 4...not 1, 2, 6, 3. GAAAHH. 

Le Monk cared not. She was vibrating and squee-ing and laughing and clapping. All the things she should be doing. MDD and I shared many loving, contented looks over the top of her bouncing head as she wiggled between us.

What was NOT cool:
The grandparents behind us with their granddaughter (who was loving life) and grandson (who clearly wanted to Not. Be. There.). Because the boy was fidgety and not paying attention, and walking back and forth in their row (grabbing my hair/seat every time, mind you), they very "wisely" bought him one of the overpriced light-up toys to occupy him.

Gave it to him. He turned it on and pointed it IN MY FACE. Like, between the seats, in my face, between my daughter and me. I gently shoved it back at him. He took it with him to go get popcorn. On the way back, stepping over grandma, he FULL ON CLOCKED ME IN THE EAR with that $*@$& thing.

I nearly punched him. And his grandparents. Because, HELLO? Other people exist! And-- it REALLY hurt. Like, a LOT.  My ear was ringing for hours.

MDD and I have had many, many discussions about the rampant "boys-will-be-boys" mentality that seems to be a poor cover-up excuse for parents just letting male children run around like crazed lunatics 100% of the time. We see it at school, at church, and just in the general public. Boys are running around tackling each other, screaming, hitting, and just...wild. Moreso than I can recall kids being when I was younger. And parents just either don't see it, or shrug it off, or (worse) think it's "cute."

We are teaching our children to respect themselves and other people equally. The golden rule, and all that. Don't go flailing around kicking people if you wouldn't want to be kicked by someone flailing around like a jackass. Makes sense to me, and yet we seem to be the only ones focused on keeping that crap to a minimum.

He and I have both agreed it is probably a good thing we have female offspring, because our expectations of behavior and consideration of other human beings (and habit of actually following through with consequences for violating such expectations), while firmly lodging us in the minority of parents of this generation of children, would make us quite ridiculously beyond the norm if our kids were male.

Which I think is dumb, and a double-standard, and not helping anyone. But true, nonetheless. 

I mean, someday, our girls will grow up and potentially be dating these "boys-will-be-boys" wolf-raised children. Although not until they are 25, per MDD. He can dream on, on that one. 

Anyhoo, wild-beast-boy aside, it was actually a pretty good show. Monkey was absolutely blown away because "ELSA WAVED *AT ME*!!!" You and 20,000 of your friends, my love, but...OK. 

One of the funniest Monkey moments ever actually took place at intermission of this blessed event. We know our girl, and you can only go so long without some kind of snack to placate the beast living in her belly.

Those Snickers commercials were clearly made with our daughter in mind. She turns into a completely different person when she is hungry, and it is a cross between super diva Mariah Carey and The Hulk. Picture that. Yep. That is Low Blood Sugar Monkey. 

We were not about to try to leave our seats, because scrambling over a whole row of people just wasn't going to happen without injury to ourselves or others. So our options were the vendors coming around the aisles.

They know their markets, these vendors. One had cotton candy and the other had snow cones in souvenir cups. Thus came the adorable Monkey moment.

We told her she could only get ONE. So she had to choose.

Both came with souvenirs. The bag of cotton candy had a (cheap looking) hat attached, and you could get either a princess tiara hat or Olaf. The snow-cone guy had Olaf cups or a combination Elsa/Anna cup.

Cotton candy guy on the left. Snow cone guy on the right.

She stood there, AGONIZING.

MDD and I started giggling. 

She was actually turning full on to each option, and the little gears turning in her head were visible. Should I get the hat? I don't know, it looks kind of small...and I have a big head... I see a couple people whose hats already broke, too. 

Snow cone? But it's messy and I am wearing my favorite Elsa shirt! And then would it be Olaf, or the combo one with the princesses? 

Decisions, decisions...turn left and look...turn right and look...chewing her nails as she tried to decide...

MDD and I were *ROLLING* by this time. OMG. ROLLING!!

Finally, like a Wheel of Fortune contestant beating the clock, she blurted out: "SNOW CONE!! OLAF SNOW CONE, please!!!!!"

It was well worth the $15 (no kiding- FIFTEEN FRIGGIN DOLLARS) to hand her the Olaf snow-cone in the souvenir cup.

Then I realized the top of the cup that flips up to show the snow-cone is actually the top of Olaf's skull, because the cup is just his face.

Thus, it occurred to me that my dear little angel was quite joyfully eating Olaf's rainbow-colored, fruity brains.

Aaaaaaaaaaand that's all folks. Mommy down. I lost it. 

I was snickering so hard I was tearing up. Monkey just kept looking at me quizzically.
MDD raised one eyebrow.

Composing myself slightly and clearing my throat, I asked him, "Um...doesn't this look...a little...morbid... to you? At all? Or, is it just me??"

He looked at her, then at me. Then back to the cup and Olaf's flip-top head and rainbow brain.

Then he lost it, too. Further proof I have married my soulmate. 

Oh, and that little stinker ate nearly the whole thing, too. 
Well, to be fair, she DID offer me a bite. I...uh...I just couldn't. 

She got about halfway through it, and then joyfully declared: "Hey! It looks like I ate his BRAINS!"

Yep. Sure does. 

Family bonding, Disney-style. Come to our show! See your favorite characters! 
Then, eat their brains! 

Good. Times.