Toddler Intelligence

Toddlers are smart. It’s like they have a built in mechanism to push your but so far before they get all cute and you get all melty. Babies are automatically, evolutionarily cute. Who is going to eat something with such big eyes? But Toddlers? A wolf would eat one of those no problem. So, in defense, toddlers got smarter.

Let’s say, for example, you’re a toddler showering with your mom. It’s relaxing, it’s fun, you like the water. Let’s say she decides, without consulting you, that the shower is over. You, of course, are livid. You lash out. You, duh, try to scratch her face. You are thwarted beause clever Mama has clipped your nails. This infuriates you. You demand to be put down. Now Mama has wrapped you oh-so-lovingly in a towel, but you are not to be appeased. You thrash and howl and demand to. Be. Put. Down. Now! You want to slip and slide on the shower floor. That’s exciting. Sure, you might fall and crack your head open , but safety is for babies. Eff that noise! Again, your attempts at a good time are rebuffed and she only puts you down on the bath mat. You gave her little choice with your slippery little body trying to throw yourself head first out of her arms. Meanwhile, she’s naked and freezing, cause far be it for her to wrap up in a towel when you aren’t dressed yet.

(She could’ve taken the time to put on underwear, but last time she did that you peed on the floor. You didn’t think it was a big deal yourself, but she no puts on her underwear before she puts on your “underwear.”)

Phew! Finally you are down. You wriggle out of your towel and walk around a bit. You try to spin the toilet paper out of control in that special way you do, but Mama, the fun killer, picks you up and begins to put a diaper on you. What?! Diaper? When you could be walking around flapping in the breeze? No thank you, Captain Never lets Me Do Anything Awesome. So you kick and moan and make her life miserable. Not cause you don’t love her, you do, but come on, naked time is so great! Why is she ruining it? Then you look at her. She’s about to lose her mind. She’s breathing all crazy and her mouth is pursed into a weird straight line. May-Day! May-Day!

Luckily, you’re a toddler and at some training school or innate sense of danger managemaent has taught you how to deal with this situation. You smile. You stop your devilish squirming and reach your wee little hands out to her. You snuggle in and ask for Babas. You two lay on the bed and you nurse. The food is delicious, (all that mischief, who wouldn’t be famished?) and you are a bit tired. Mommy calms down instantly and you snuggle in like a champ. Crisis averted.

 

See? Toddlers are geniuses. Nursing release calming, happy, loving hormones that prevent crazy actions you’d regret later. It puts toddlers to sleep. And they are still so very cute. And they can hug you back now. And their smiles? Melty. Just in the nick of time, they stave off impending doom with teh cute. Thank God they are to small to run for office.

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Stranger Danger

I love living in Harlem. It feels very neighborhoody. You know the guys in your corner bodega. They play peek-a-boo with the baby. We have a fantastic fruit guy with yummy bananas and lychees. We do a lot of neighborhood walking, the baby and I, so we see some of the same people many times.

On Friday, we saw this older dude near the fruit stand. Nice Interesting dude. Last week I saw him tell a little girl that if she didn’t mind her mother, that the dog on the street would “get her!” Gross. I don’t want my kid afraid of dogs. I don’t want my kid to listen to me out of fear. But, she wasn’t my kid and the mom seemed okay with the story, so I just minded my business.

On Friday, he sees us and says hello. Scooba is very friendly. He smiles at folks, laughs, waves his hands and jabbers emphatically at people. The people love him. This guy said hello and I replied. Then dude asks me if Scooba was my son.

“Yep.”

“Really?” (No, I’m lying to a stranger, but since you said ‘really’ I’m gonna come clean.)

“Yep.”

“How’d he get so bright?!!”

Really, stranger? How did my son get so bright??! My son isn’t ‘so bright’. Sure, he’s light-skinned, but, “so bright,” no. And where do you get off being so nosy. You don’t know my name, but you want to know about my son’s  genetic heritage?

“Black people come in all kinds of colors.”

“Well, now, that’s true.”

So. What do I do with this? I’m not going to lie. it really bothered me. It’s not that I don’t want people to know that Husband is white. It’s not that I am ashamed that my son is biracial. So why did his comments bother me so much? I talked to husband and he pointed out two things. One, it is extremely rude to be forward with a stranger. Two, I don’t like strangers all up in my business. We were once harassed on the street for being together and I got very upset about it. Husband just took it in stride. He felt like strangers’ opinions didn’t matter.

I get that people are curious. If you’re my friend, and you ask about my son, I’ll tell you and be fine with it. But for a stranger to ask why my son is ‘so bright’ is a judgment and he isn’t seeing my son for the whole person he is. He is more than a shade of brown. And you know what? There isn’t anything wrong with being “bright.” Dude said it with the same tone as asking, “How’d he get so ugly?”

It’s rude to ask strangers personal questions. Don’t act like my kid’s color is the only interesting thing about him. He’s smart. He’s tall. He’s a marvelous climber. I feel like I should have one of those “Ask me about…” stickers for him. Maybe the lesson for me is to worry less about what some dude on the corner has to say. He is a jerk, but it’s up to me to decide how it’s going to affect me. Boom. Got a little Dr. Phil on myself there. Nice.

Bottom Line: Don’t be a weird old guy asking rude questions of strangers on the street. It’s not a good look.

The Stinker’s Stash

Phew. Sigh. It’s all I can do. I have to laugh. And breathe. I have spent the last hour frantically searching for my phone. I can not lose another phone. I just can’t. It would be too humiliating. Right now I have a very basic, no camera, no email, no google maps phone. Why? Because I lost my iphone. Lost it in the house mind you. And it looked like it was happening again.

I know I had my phone. I checked a text on it. (Which, BTW, takes forever on this phone.) Then we came in the house. There are my keys, but where is my phone. The same thought keep circling around my head: I can’t lose another phone. I can’t lose all my phone numbers…again. What will I tell Husband? How dumb am I gonna look? Of course, when you look for stuff you have to clean up. Is it under the puzzle? No, but to check I have to put away the puzzle. So the living room has lots of toys out and about. Lots of noisy toys.

So I am trying to clean and look ever so quietly so as not to disturb the sleeping baby. Still nothing. I’ve re-traced my steps. The living room is now clean. Still no phone. I check all of my pockets. I check underneath all of the furniture. Still nothing. I’m startig to figure out if it’s worth it to buy a new phone or just wait and penance for my carelessness. Then I remember the baby. The sweet, toddling, cherubic soul who has a penchant for picking up items and laying them down somewhere else.

Where would he put a phone? I have to think like a baby. I get low, because I want to see the world from his vantage point. The towers? Nothing. Where does he like to go? The kitchen. I purposefully stride into the kitchen afraid to hope and preparing myself for more disappointment. I open his favorite cabinet (Lower cabinet, full of pots and pans) and find my phone nestled in a pot.

Phew. I have to laugh.

Really, Giggles?

Note: I wrote this at the beginning of July, before we went on vacation.

I’m a shopper. I’m a Black shopper. I usually get treated well when I go to stores. People say how are you, can I help you, etc. Today I was treated badly. Maybe not badly, but not well.

So I go into Giggles looking for a floppy hat for the beach for the baby. I’m also in the market for some California Baby sunscreen. I love California Baby. Their bubble bath is out of sight! Anyhoo, I enter the store and no one says anything. I look around and no one says anything. I look at the strollers, checking to see if they have the uppababy g-luxe. Then I move onto the bath area and notice they have the bug repellant and sunscreen I’ve been needing. Then I mosey over to a table with some summer clothes. I see a pair of swim trunks with the diaper inside and some floppy sun hats. Score. Then I notice the nalgene straw sippy cup that I’ve been looking needing. This place is a jackpot! I wonder if they have more swim trunks because they only have 6 months on the table. I look around and several sales associates are in the back, stocking or something. One lady is behind the counter and another is walking around. So I ask the chick behind the counter if they have more sizes of swim trunks. The answer is no. Bummer. So I am about to decide what to buy, but I had another question. I look around for some help, again, and there’s no one there. I call out, “excuse me…” and still nothing. Now I’m upset. No one can help me? Another set of people has since entered, they were helped immediately and were working with a salesperson.

I swallow and decide I’m leaving. I felt ignored and confused. Was I not wearing the right clothes for this place? Was it because I’m Black? They weren’t even busy. I felt myself getting tense and angry and frustrated, so I turned to leave. As I got to the door I see an uppababy stroller. It just so happens I’ve been looking at those bad boys on Amazon. So I start to check it out, and lo and behold, guess who wants to help me now?

Seriously? Now that I am touching a stroller near the exit you swoop in and want to help me? Now when I needed help or had quesions, but when I’m looking at a stroller near the door? I hate when people are rude. MAybe they don’t know, but there’s a recession out here. If a customer is coming into your store, be nice to them. They ignored me and at the last second as I wheeled around the stroller they come in as if I’m taking the stroller with me. Giggles’ loss is Diapers.com’s gain. I bought $60 worth or stuff there instead and got it the next day.

Flying Baby

Air travel is a butt-kicker. Even the best of flights is still just trying to get from point a to point b. With a baby? Sigh. .It has it’s ups and downs. we just got back from the beach and had a not so great flight with the baby.

So far the kid has flown to Atlanta, San Diego (twice) Boston, Arizona and St. Thomas. He did Atlanta at three months. He’s been preety ideal on these flights. I did the first San Diego flight alone when he was five months. I was terrified. Flying is hard. The waiting, the uncomfortable seats, the air quality, etc. But my grandmother had never seen the baby. She wasn’t really in position to fly so my broter graciously offered to fly us out there. I had so. much. stuff. Stroller, carseat, diapers. Ugh. In the end though, he was great. He nursed throughout the flight, bus especially upon landing and take-off. He slept. When he was fussy I had toys at the ready or i would just sing. About five hours in I was ready for the flight to be over and so was he, but we landed soon after that. The bonuses were a changing table in the lavatory and I din’ drink much water so I did nto have to use the facillities myself. By the end of the flight people commented ow well behaved my son was. Winning!

Fast forward to this trip.

Yay! We're flying!

We arrived on time (early even!) to be told there would be a three hour delay. Scooba was awesome. He played, walked around, snacked and slept. Ideal kid. The departing flight was fine. He slept a little, nursed at take-off and landing and slept a bit more. The car trip was a night mare, but we made it.

Flight home? Ugh. He was the kid you dread having on the airplane. As we began our descent, he started o cry. Looking back, he was probably teething, but at the time I was at a loss as to what would help. We tried to nurse.

He cried.

We tried to sing.

He cried.

We bounced and explained what was happening.

He cried and cried.

Then a man across the aisle started making silly faces at him and gave him a thumbs up sign. This was met with a smile and a baby thumbs up sign.

Then after five minutes, he cried.

Now, the cry wasn’t a piercing scream, but it was a decidedly unhappy sound. No tears, but kind of a wailing thing. We tried to nurse agin. Still nothing. We couldn’t get up and walk him because we were landing. Landing takes forever. I felt like that mom. The mom that’s judged. “Why can’t she take care of her kid? She should have prepared better for this.”

“This is why Malaysia Air won’t let babies fly first class!”

“Babies shouldn’t fly!”

I got super hot and was about to cry myself. Husband wasn’t super helpful. I’m going through all these changes and he’s just kind of looking at me. I ask him (kindly? tersely?) with my teeth clenched to do something. He replies, that I’ve done what he would have done. My arm clenches and I can feel my eyes begin to burn. “Well, we have to do something!”

Then he stopped crying. For no reason. Then we landed and then he was in a great mood again.

Lesson? I don’t know, man. You never know? Kids change just like adults do? Even awesome babies have bad days? Probably that last one. Scooba was good in the car ride home and is a great sleeper. So, meh. Vacation was fantastic. I am sorry to those people on the flight though. I did what I could people. And Scooba will be a very good worker to support your Social Security needs in the future.

Stupid Everything

I hate everything. I hate that my air is dripping, making it hard to look around. I hate that my son grabbed for my contact lens case and now I can’t find one. I hate that my husband acts like it’s so easy and simple to shower, get dressed and go about the day with a baby with ou 24/7. So what if I didn’t put my dirty clothes in the bin?! He never has the baby ALL DAY. He always gets to shower alone.

I hate that I still haven’t found my phone. I dream about finding my phone. In the dream it was in a bureaus thing by the window. We don’t ave a bureau thing by a window. I hate that my glasses are all foggy. I hate that. On the bright side, I’m out of nouns to hate. I thought I could fill a page with hate, but I’m feeling better now.   Maybe I could put my dirty clothes in the hamper. Maybe. Once a week maybe.

Freaking Out

Husband is leaving in an hour. He will be returning in four days. FOUR DAYSS. I will be a single-parent for four days. I’m nervous. I’ve been without him with the baby before. All day. All day and part of the night. For several days when I went to Califonia. But in California I wasn’t alone. There was a myriad of relatives, including my mother, to hold tha baby, play with the baby ad for me to talk to.

Four days.

I’ve invited hos godmother over for one afternoon. We have plans to go to dinner with another friend. The baby-sitter is coming another day. The only days that yawns wide open is today. Husband and I have talked it through. He’s give helpful suggestons like breaking the days into chunks and whatnot, but I’m nervous. Yesterday the baby was fractious and out of sarts. Maybe a cold and maybe teething, either way unhappy and extra crying. Last night, he didn’t want boob he just cried like he was hurt for a while. Him being upset and me not knowing why hasn’t happened since he was pretty little. Normally I have the option of waking up the husband and having a sounding board or a commiserating partner or just back-up. For he next few days..It’s. Just. Me. Chilling. 3am? Just me. I can’t wake anyone up to ask what’s wrong with the baby. Or to hold him when I need to pee or just need a break.

Sure, I have friends, but no one wants a call at 3am to hear how my baby keeps crying. We have friends who live close, but are not super close in terms of emotions. Freinds who I’m super-close with, live too far away. T-30 minutes.

Maybe it’ll be great. Maybe the baby and I will super bond and he’ll be smiley and sleep great. Maybe being lonely will be the only issue. The baby is great, but he isn’t the conversationalist his father is. We shall see. A chunk at a time.