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I Woke Up To a Toddler Today

I had always wondered how that worked.

How long was a baby a baby? When did it become a toddler? What was that process like? Was it gradual- a long, drawn-out affair? Or did it pounce on you like a lion from tall grass?

Well, this morning, I woke up to a toddler.

I had seen the signs coming for weeks. It has teeth now, 7 of them in fact, and they’re all garishly large and disorderly.

It has a pot belly where it used to have a flat tummy, and its fingers are of the chubbiest quality that Hansel and Gretel’s witch could only dream of.

It says a few words here and there, or iterations of words that its parents can understand, such as ‘Buh’ for bird. ‘Ah Duh’ for all done. ‘Daddo’, fairly self-explanatory. It even does an adorable fake cry when it’s angry sometimes.

I have seen all the parts coming along, but today Sadie become the whole.

The whole toddler package, in all of its glory.

She woke up at 8:30, and I was exhausted by 11:00 am.

It started with the back deck.

Babies can wait. When you have a nice little baby, and you need to pressure wash the bird poo off the deck after the winter, and finally take down your Christmas lights adorning the deck rails, and put up a baby gate so the baby doesn’t fall down the deck stairs, and patch up that one rotten board on the deck that broke last summer that can now fit a size 10 shoe through it… the baby has no goddamn idea these things exist, and when it naps, you can fix them.

This morning, Sadie saw sun, and the dog, on the deck, and she wanted to be there too.

Baby Sadie would have been content to sit at the glass door and watch the deck from inside.

Toddler Sadie stood up and banged on the door repeatedly, and being 100% bored of my house’s interior, I acquiesced.

How bad could it be?

First, she dragged her cute little jeans all over the bird poo/dust on the deck and dirtied ’em up real good.

Then, she made a beeline for the size-10-shoe-sized-death-trap-full-of-jagged-wood-splinters hole in the deck boards.

I lovingly steered her towards her water table on the opposite side of the porch, where she splashed around for 6 minutes and thoroughly soaked her cute little shirt.

As soon as I glanced down at my phone, she made a beeline for the death trap again.

And again, and again, and again, until I dragged her water table over it and covered it.

Then she discovered the baby-gate-less stairs down to the yard.

So we practiced her going up and down the stairs about 14 times (there are 10 stairs).

Every time I tried to lovingly redirect her away from the puddles of mud at the bottom of said stairs, I got one of those adorable fake cries I thought were so cute, before today.

Finally got her back on the deck, dragged our patio furniture storage trunk across the top of the stairs and blocked them. Makeshift baby gate, and a perfect fit! Voila!

Then I turn around.

See that toddler Sadie is busily unpinning all of the Christmas lights on the porch railings one by one and wearing the string of lights as a giant necklace. Creative- and helping Ryan and I with our outdoor to-do list! Nice!

After some more crying, she had a nap and it was time for snacks and a walk.

I’ve always said there’s a certain way I’m Never going to dress my child, and I’m Always going to use washable Norwex cloths to wipe her face and hands after she eats, Never with diaper wipes.

And then I fed angry toddler Sadie an open-face peanut butter on bread and tried to wipe her face after with a Norwex cloth. Much squallering. I gave up. Came at it later with a diaper wipe when it was crusted over and she was happy so I got a quick chance.

For the walk, it was very sunny, so I put Sadie in an SPF 50 long-sleeved shirt from Walmart and the only sunhat she won’t rip off her head.

Somewhere along the walk, I turned around to look at my baby girl in her sunscreen-stained hideous pink train conductor hat with peanut butter smeared all over her face, her little potbelly jutting out of her brightly colored hideous Walmart shirt that says ‘Purr-maid’ on it with a cat dressed up as a mermaid, her dirt-stained jeans, and her hand-me-down ripped up sneakers- and I thought ‘this is it.’

She is officially a toddler, and I am officially a toddler Mom.

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She’s Still My Christmas Morning

I remember the first week that we got to take Sadie home from the hospital. We had one of those big cardboard Baby Boxes from the maternity clinic and we had placed it on top of our dresser at the foot of our bed.

I worried and fussed that she would fall off the dresser in her box, and obsessively pushed it further and further back against the wall until there was No way in Hell our 3-day-old baby would be able to roll off the dresser. (New mom thoughts- the child did not move from its back-sleeping position more than one inch in any direction until at least 3 months. Anyhow- safety first.)

I had set the Baby Box up there as a pregnant lady, having no idea what was coming next. Just that a baby was coming into our house soon, we needed somewhere for it to sleep, and I wanted to be close to it when it was sleeping.

I remember putting Sadie, all swaddled up to sleep, into that box for the first time and thinking ‘Oh my God. We made a Person. We have a Person that lives in our room and sleeps in a box at the foot of our bed. This is Wild!’

I remember trying to sleep and straining my ears to hear her little noises coming from the box. At some point, I finally fell asleep.

I remember waking up at first light and feeling like it was Christmas morning. As soon as my eyelids unsealed, I remembered that there was a tiny person, sleeping in a box at the foot of my bed and I couldn’t Wait to see her!

I popped out of bed like a piece of toast and ran over to check on her. Her perfect little face, her exquisite nose. I remember my heart feeling like it was going to pop from the excitement and joy of having her in my home, and getting to wake up to her perfect little face every day.

I remember feeling bowled over by the intensity of the emotion and thinking ‘Holy Shit. These feelings are so powerful! Moms Certainly can’t feel like this for Ever! There’s got to be a point where every morning doesn’t feel like Christmas Morning anymore.’

And here we are, 13 days from Sadie’s first birthday, and she’s still my Christmas Morning. She sleeps in like her Mama, so I get the honor of waking her up every day. Every morning as I walk down the hall to her room, I’m already filling my lungs with enough air to squeal out my customary morning greeting. I swing open the door, lean into her crib and squeal ‘Baaaaabbbbbbbyyyyyyyyyy!’

And that little poppet always shoots her sleeping little head right up and gives me a Giant, rosy-cheeked, sweaty-haired ear to ear grin.

Yes, the intensity of the feelings isn’t what it was in those first few weeks of being her Mama (and thank the Lord for that!), but it’s still here, every day, that feeling of gratitude that we got to make a person, bring it into our home, and have it live with us.

My little person is almost a year old now. I have photos and videos that can show me how, but I still can’t fathom how the time passed. But I remember, like it was yesterday, bringing that little present home and wondering how long I would get to feel so much joy.

So far- there doesn’t seem to be a limit. 🙂