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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sharing a bed with a toddler is a f***ing nightmare

I'm late on this post, and it's going to be rather hastily-written, because Audrey has been sick and oh god, handling a sick toddler is a rough business.

It all started on Monday afternoon, when I picked her up from daycare with a big fat fever. She was listless and miserable, only wanting to lie down with a binkie firmly in her mouth and her eyes open a quarter of the way. Anyone who has ever seen a toddler before, even for five minutes, can testify that they do not EVER sit still unless they are being bribed with either food or some incredibly engrossing activity (such as "drawing on the walls with markers" or "dropping various items into the toilet to see if they float") ... so for Audrey to just lie there on the couch absently watching TV was very, very odd. She didn't even care what we watched, which was ESPECIALLY crazy because she always has an opinion on that shit. She's even more of a remote-hog than Jesse is. 

So, I pumped her full of baby Motrin and waited for her fever to come down a bit. Eventually, she started to feel somewhat better, drinking some juice and a squeezie pouch of food. Shortly thereafter, I put her to bed, and she fell asleep instantly and did not move a muscle.


But of course, OF COURSE, everything went to hell as soon as it was my turn to go to bed. (Jesse was away doing Army things for the night, so I was a solo act.)

Just as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard a single cry come through the baby monitor. A couple minutes later, another single cry. On the third little cry, I figured her fever must be coming back, so I grabbed the bottle of baby Tylenol and headed into her bedroom.

No fever. Only vomit.

She had coughed really hard and made herself throw up in her crib, and was just stuck there lying in it, letting out sad little cries every few minutes. Poor wee thing. I picked her up and started carrying her to the bathroom so I could clean her up, and she started coughing again rather violently. In a moment of parental instinct, I put my hand up in front of her mouth just in time for her to vomit directly into it. (It was all liquid, so I had to hold my hand cupped to keep it from dripping out onto the carpet.) But I was not disgusted, no sir. This was my sweet little baby! My only concern was how to make her feel better enough to have a good night's sleep.

Once Audrey was cleaned up (which involved running the bath, taking off her sleep sack, pajamas, and diaper, washing her in the tub, then dressing her again, all while she cried piteously), I decided the best choice was to bring her into bed with me. If I put her back in her own bed, I reasoned, I would hear her coughing through the monitor and would endlessly wonder if she had puked again and needed me. I mean, she had JUST NOW puked into my hand, so clearly it was a possibility. I'd be up all night walking back and forth between our rooms to check on her.

I thought that if she was in bed with me, I would sleep better. We both would.

How very, very wrong I was.




I laid her down on a towel, snuggled up next to her, and gave her a kiss. She fell asleep quickly, but was coughing every so often. Each cough woke me up. This was Phase 1. Phase 1 lasted around 2 hours, followed by Phase 2: the tossing and turning. 

Phase 2 was not just regular tossing and turning, but full body flop-abouts that required an area the size of our entire queen bed to pull off. I found myself squished over to one side as far as I could go, all to give Audrey the space she needed to execute her maneuvers. She threw her body around without a care in the world. Kick Mommy in the stomach? She shouldn't have been lying there. Punch Mommy in the boob? Well, stay out of my area. Nearly fly off the edge of the bed despite the pillow barrier built to prevent that exact thing? NO PILLOW CAN CONTAIN ME. Phase 2 went on for longer than Phase 1 -- perhaps 4 hours.

Then we got to Phase 3: sleep-whimpers (perhaps she was having a bad dream?), so I grabbed her and pulled her close to me to calm her down. It worked, and she fell back to sleep.

But then Phase 4 stared: the flails. Apparently, Audrey is able to flail her entire arm without waking up. The arm will start down by her side, and then wrench upwards and punch me in the face, and then return to her side. Over and over again. She was completely asleep while this happened. I tried to scoot her away from me so that the arm could complete its up-down circuit without involving my face, but it seemed that no matter where I moved her, the arm would adjust its flight pattern to ensure contact. Her sleep-brain just desperately wanted to punch me in the jaw.

And let's not forget Phase 5, which involved her suddenly sitting up, shouting "Ommy!" (which is what she calls me), then lying back down and returning to sleep. She was probably asleep the whole damn time, actually. Just wanted to make sure that I wasn't. These shouts came every five minutes or so during our final hour of "sleep."



All told, she kicked me in the stomach and ribs at least twenty times, and punched me in the jaw no fewer than fifteen. She flailed, she shouted, she coughed, she flopped, and then at 4:15AM, she sat up and decided she'd had enough sleep and started trying to crawl over me to get my phone from the bedside table. All in all, I'd say I slept for about two hours in five-minute increments throughout the night.

The next morning, she was chipper and well-rested. All she wanted to do was play with toys, read books, and get into trouble. She'd never slept better in her life.

I, on the other hand, was in worse shape than I ever was when she was a newborn. I had called in sick to work so that I could keep her home from daycare and take care of her, but I felt so terrible after our night together that I ended up taking her to daycare anyway. I TOOK A SICK DAY TO WATCH MY SICK BABY, BUT I HAD TO USE IT ON MYSELF BECAUSE SHE WAS THAT SHITTY OF A BEDMATE.


The moral of the story? DON'T SHARE A BED WITH A TODDLER. JUST DON'T.

They're evil.


Evil.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Reviews of a few children's shows on the Sprout channel

I'm not even calling this post "totally legit product reviews" because there is nothing legit about these reviews.

My favorite channel to watch with Audrey is Sprout, especially on weekdays. We get our Disney Channel in on the weekends, but Monday through Friday we are an all Sprout household.

Sprout has shows from all over the former British Empire (MAY THE SUN NEVER SET!), and they are ... ummm ... great?

Here are my thoughts on some of the ones we watch most frequently:

Zou 
(pronounced "zoo")



This is a show about a family of zebras with giant heads that wear human clothes and live in suburbia. It's fine I guess, and Audrey seems to like it ... but in the intro music, the singer refers to "a fine young zebra by the name of Zou" and he pronounces "zebra" like it rhymes with the name "Debra" and that is just unacceptable. The zebras all talk in American accents, and none of them pronounce zebra like this, so I'm confused as to where this bizarre pronunciation even came from? Do British people pronounce the word this way? If so, KNOCK IT OFF!

So, I don't really like this show because every time I hear the intro, it bothers me like nails on a chalkboard. Just thinking about it now is getting me all riled up again.

Zee-bra. Zee-bra. Zeh-bra. Zeh-bra.

Goddammit. F***ING ZEEEEEEEE-BRA. ZEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEBRA.

Okay that kind of fixed it.


Sarah and Duck



This show is most definitely British, and it is WTF incarnate. It's a show about a young girl named Sarah and her ... pet? ... duck. They live in a house with no adults (as far as I can tell), and there's this mysterious narrator who always encourages them to do weird things.

Let me put it this way: I have never been a fan of marijuana or the way it makes me feel, so I don't partake in it and haven't in a very long time. But watching Sarah and Duck makes me feel high in a way that helps me understand why stoners would want to smoke as much as they do. I f***ing love this show.

It makes no sense. No. Sense. Just to give you a feel for the weirdness ... in one episode, Sarah and Duck find one of those machines that you put coins into and it dispenses bouncy balls: 


She buys one for Duck, and then buys one for herself, but unfortunately her ball doesn't bounce when she tosses it at the ground -- it just plops like a little sandbag. So she writes a customer complaint letter saying that she's upset that her ball doesn't bounce ... and then shit gets seriously sideways.



She somehow puts the note back up into the ball machine, and then a door opens in the side of the machine to allow her and Duck to enter. 

Wat.

Inside, they find a weird little elf who explains that she can trade her defective ball for another one. They are in a huge cathedral-like room filled with balls bouncing from floor to ceiling. Sarah is about to trade, but then she decides she feels bad for her poor ball that can't bounce, and doesn't want to trade it for another one.

Then the narrator suggests that she "teach" her ball how to bounce. And she's like "yeah, let's do that!"



Among other strategies to teach the ball to bounce, Sarah and Duck ask the sentient shallots growing in the front garden of her house to show the ball how to bounce. Because the sentient shallots are excellent bouncers.

WAT.

At this point in the episode, I was lying prostrate on the ground absolutely covered in Flaming Hot Cheeto dust while Audrey and I called each other "man" and "dude" and wondered about things like "what if shallots really could teach a ball how to bounce, but we didn't know it because we didn't speak their language?"

And every f***ing episode is this weird. All of them.

Go watch some Sarah and Duck. Then share your thoughts with me. And eat some Cheetos. It's the right thing to do.


Caillou



Caillou is a show about the most insufferable four-year-old boy that has ever walked the earth. How much do I hate Caillou? If there were an episode where a piece of space garbage fell onto Caillou's house and put him in a coma for six years, that would be my favorite episode. If there were an episode where Caillou left the gas on in the kitchen despite his parents telling him it was dangerous (because Caillou is an idiot who doesn't listen to anyone) and it blew up his house, that would be my second favorite episode.

Caillou is awful, and the theme song for this show gets stuck in your head forever, and also his name is really stupid, which isn't his fault but I still hold it against him. The episode where he became school Safety Helper for a day made me suicidal.

Go f*** yourself, Caillou.


Anyway, we also watch Astroblast (love it), Pajanimals (Audrey is all about it), and Stella and Sam (though by the time this show comes on, Audrey just wants me to read her books instead of actually watching the show). But I don't really have anything to say about those, except to wonder why Stella spends so much time with her brother who is clearly significantly younger than her. Why doesn't she have any friends of her own? Anyone her own age to hang out with? And where are their parents?

I'm just saying, Stella, that it's a little weird. A liiiiittle weird.


Oh, and Chica the chicken that only "speaks" in hideous squeaks and squeals? You'd better pray you never run into me on the street. Because let me tell you what I like to do with chickens that annoy me:



I'm not threatening you, though. I'm just ... making conversation.

Yeah.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Common everyday behaviors that my daughter is ABSOLUTELY AGAINST

My one-year-old is a lot of things ... but dammit, she's got one strong moral compass. She believes what she believes, and I respect her for it!

The problem is, she insists on enforcing her beliefs on me, even though I don't agree with most of them. I think it's a really unfair and shitty thing to do, but no matter how many times I explain that to her, she just doesn't seem to get it. Maybe someday, right?

Here are a few of her more hard-line beliefs that she insists on enforcing against me:


NO JACKETS IN THE HOUSE

She is always taking off her own jacket, but hey, that's her right. (no it's not, Audrey, YOU'RE JUST A BABY AND IT'S THIRTY DEGREES OUTSIDE. YOU NEED TO WEAR A JACKET)

But the other day, I was a bit cold in the living room so I grabbed my zippered hoodie jacket off the arm of the couch and put it on. I didn't zip it up or anything; just put my arms through it and went back to the book we were reading.

Audrey would have none of it. She refused to sit back on my lap and return to the book. Instead, she stood in front of me making a grumpy face and tugging my sweatshirt down off my shoulder.

At first, I thought that maybe she was just trying to play with the string that tightens the hood? But no, she was definitely trying to take the jacket off me. She pulled it down, I pulled it back up. She grunted in disapproval and started to pull it down again.

Eventually, I gave up and started to remove the coat. This made her happy again, and she helped me take my arms out. Once it was off, she picked it up and carried it to the laundry room, throwing it on the floor. No indoor jackets on my watch, Mommy.


NO TOUCHING CERTAIN THINGS

Her rules on this one are both arbitrary and incredibly frustrating. We'll be at the grocery store together, with her sitting in the cart shouting and throwing stuff on the ground like a normal happy kid, and then all of a sudden she's grabbing my hand and trying to take it off the cart handle. Like she's suddenly decided that the cart handle belongs to her, and I can't touch it without her permission.

There's just one problem, Audrey: I CAN'T PUSH THE EFFING CART WITHOUT TOUCHING IT NOW CAN I??!?

She doesn't care about that, though. She will just keep trying to take my hand off the cart handle, and I'll keep putting it back, and she'll keep getting pissed, and that's just how our life is now.

Even more baffling is that she sometimes doesn't want my hands on my own phone when we are playing a game on it. I'll be holding the phone in front of her face as she plays Peekaboo Sesame Street, and suddenly she'll be tugging at my fingers on the edge of the phone, as if they are offending her. So I move the finger that is pissing her off, but it has to be replaced by another finger somewhere else because my phone doesn't just levitate through magic, Audrey, but then the new finger pisses her off and she starts poking at that one instead.

It has gotten to the point where sometimes, while playing Peekaboo Sesame Street, I have to grip the phone carefully with my knuckles while supporting the back of it and keeping my hands out of sight. Because she wants to sit on my lap and play a game that I bought for her on my phone, but if she can so much as see a single one of my fingers she is just going to blow a f***ing gasket.

Jerk.



NO OPENING THE CABINETS

Audrey loves opening cabinets and going 'shopping' for toys among whatever dangerous cleaning chemicals are contained within (we put the actual dangerous cleaning chemicals up out of reach, don't worry. I don't think a few Lysol wipes ever killed anyone).

But apparently, this privilege is reserved for her alone. If she's nearby and I try to open a cabinet, she will close it immediately. Immediately. She will close it on my hand if needed, and then give me this dirty look like "you know you're not supposed to be in there."

She is also rather fanatical about the refrigerator door. You'd think she's the one paying the electricity bill or something. It's fine to open the fridge for a moment, but if you want to hold it open while you stand in front of it debating what you want to snack on, you'll have Audrey to deal with. She leans her full weight into both hands as she pushes it closed, which is pretty damned effective. Bonus efficacy points because if I wanted to reopen it, I'd have to knock her over to do so.

The bright side is that I really think about what I want before I open the fridge, though, which I guess is good for the environment. Thanks, Audrey.



YOU HAVE TO SHARE WHATEVER YOU'RE EATING

This is just a no-brainer. It doesn't matter what I'm eating -- it could be ghost peppers straight out of a 500-degree oven and she'd still demand that I share with her.

Even giving her her own serving doesn't usually help. The other day, I cut up a banana with some bran flakes in a little baby bowl and gave it to her. I then poured myself a bowl of the exact same, the only difference being that mine had milk on it too. Audrey immediately climbed into my lap on the floor, facing me, and started shoving her fingers into my bowl to pull out pieces of banana. She had her own helping of banana, but she only wanted to steal mine.

I ended up pouring the entire contents of her baby bowl into my bowl because clearly, she wasn't interested in eating her own food. She ate at least 60% of the banana slices.

Also, the other day, I had a moment of weakness and got some fast food french fries on the way home from the grocery store. Audrey spent the next thirty minutes walking around with a french fry gripped tightly in each hand. She didn't even want to eat them; she just wanted to have them because I was having them and she wasn't about to just let that happen.

And don't even get me started on how much of my black bean chocolate muffin she ate. WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE SHARING THAT, AUDREY. SHARING IT.

When I was a kid, I was always so annoyed when my mom would take french fries or a chicken nugget from my Happy Meal. Now I understand it, though. It's just payback for all the shit I probably stole from her when I was a baby.


Eventually, I hope Audrey learns that everyone else doesn't have to follow her moral code. I can open cabinets, wear jackets, and push shopping carts whenever I like, and that's just something she's gonna have to deal with.

But if she never learns that lesson, then god help us all when she goes through her teenage "meat is murder" phase, or when she starts ranting about the dangers of 'binge drinking' as I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. If she's anywhere near as stubborn about it as she is now, it's going to be WWIII up in our house.