Monday, June 30, 2008

The Shiner

My daughter has her first shiner.

It’s not a black eye in the traditional sense, really. The bruise is more of a line, which extends from her eyebrow and swings down to the middle of her cheek.

She had been running on the playground next to our house this morning, and I was watching from a short distance away. As she ran toward the metal climbing dome, her back was to me. So I didn’t see where she hit when she fell down, but I saw her tiny feet fail her, and then heard a dull *thunk* as she whacked her head on one of the metal bars.

As my own feet took flight, the internal mommy monologue was going full speed: Oh my God she hit her head it sounded bad she probably has a concussion I have to check to see if her pupils are the same size as soon as I’m close enough…

Violet, in the meantime, stood up, rubbed her head, and started to shriek. I scooped her up and started toward the house, asking if she was alright. Instead of the usual response, “Yes, I fine,” she continued to cry.

Oh my God where is my baby book I’m calling Jerry and we’re going to have a fun family trip to the hospital…

Violet really began to shriek when she realized that we were going inside. She was still upset from having hit her head, but she was not about to let me use her injury as an excuse to cut her outside playtime short.

Ok, calm down, I thought. She didn’t lose consciousness. Give her a few more minutes outside, and see what happens.

We walked to the other little playground area across the street. When we got to the basketball court, I could see the bruise starting to form on her precious little face.

As much as I hate to admit it, I was a bit relieved. I thought she’d hit further up on her head, thereby making the possibility of a concussion far more likely. I’ve already consulted What to Expect the Toddler Years and Baby Center, so I’m going to watch her like a hawk for the next forty-eight hours, just the same.

Curse you, confounded, outdated metal playground equipment.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

And a One, and a Two, and a…

My princess is lately quite confused. She thinks that her throne is merely a chair.

This is not the only communication problem we’ve had regarding her potty. The verb “go” in relation to said potty is apparently misunderstood. When I ask Violet to “go potty,” she usually picks her potty up and takes it somewhere else. As a result, I’ve tried to use other verbs in conjunction with the potty. “Can you make poo poo?” “Can you put your pee-pee in the potty?” Violet indicates that indeed, she can.

But she hasn’t yet.

Also, she seems extremely humiliated by the prospect of having to make the dreaded number two while there is another soul around. We’ve given her no reason to feel shame: in fact, if one of us happens to catch her in the act, we encourage her. Once the awful deed is done, we applaud loudly and exclaim “Yay!!! Good job pooping!”

She hides behinds the rocking chair, holds her hand out in a stop sign, and insists that we “just go away!”

Last night, as she was playing in her room, we heard her yelling. My husband graciously realized that it was his turn, and ran downstairs to check on her. A few seconds later, I heard his voice from the monitor: “Come down here, Honey. You’ve got to see this.” I complied. When I arrived outside of her room, I saw that she had taken off her clothing.

Okay. This was not unusual. So?

Her father then inquired if she had pooped (as if his sense of smell was failing, somehow). She reached her hands out in supplication, and said “Yes.”

Pardon my language, but NO SHIT.

Both of her tiny hands were covered in poop. My husband and I burst out laughing. I continued to laugh as I helped her wash her hands repeatedly, though the poop juice leaking from her diaper was staining the back of my shirt.

I suppose I should be thankful she didn’t have time to use it as finger paint…

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On Packing Hats

Though it is very cramped, and has its share of problems, I am going to miss this house.

I will miss it for no other reason than it is the house that I brought my daughter home to. It contains her essence, and perhaps her earliest memories. For now, it contains the ballerina wallpaper border her doting father put up when she was still in the womb: delicate, girly, and watchful over the playtime giggles to come.

I will miss this house because in it, I found some measure of stability. When we were in this house, we were whole: we were family.

Without this house, we are apart. God knows for how long.

I will miss this house, and pray that its new tenants are successful on their own journey through this strange life, with the orders and the inherent unpredictability.

Until it is demolished, this house will always be new to someone…

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mommy’s Muddled Math

How fondly I remember word problems from my elementary through college education. I am not a math whiz by any means. In fact, it takes all the brain power I have just to balance our checkbook. But, reflecting upon my recent days as a housewife, I think some of the math problems should have gone a little something like this---

A sleep-deprived woman is attempting to make lunch for her daughter. If the French fries need to be cooked at 450 for 10-15 minutes, and the fish sticks (which need to be flipped after 12 minutes) must cook for 17-19 minutes on 425, and the chicken nuggets (an alternative, in case of fish stick rejection) need to cook for 13-15 minutes on 400, how long will it take the incompetent mother to burn the house down?

I’ll let you know the answer when the sirens start wailing…

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good Mourning!

For no apparent reason, my daughter decided to sleep in this morning. This was a happy coincidence, since I downed half a bottle of wine last night and stayed up until the alarming hour of one a.m.

My remaining brain cells, which presumably are still in mourning for their dead comrades, thank her profusely…

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Feline Frets

My cats have no idea what they’re in for tomorrow.

They’ll know as soon as the cat carrier is set in the foyer, though. Yes, it’s time for another traumatic trip to the V-E-T. Never mind the fact that the vet’s office is less than five minutes away. First the required but ineffective hiding will commence. Then, pathetic yowling will prevail when they are forced by their dear Daddy into their roomy pet carrier, destined to be stuck with needles.

Poor kitties.

I admit I’ve been a lousy pet parent these last few years: I only remember to update their shots if we’re about to move. Once in a while, if Violet is in whirling dervish mode, I even neglect to feed them again in the afternoon. I was hours late today when Turbo hopped up on the computer chair and meowed directly in my ear. And, being the freaking genius that I am, I still couldn’t figure out what was bothering her. Another hour later, I finally looked at their empty dishes, and apologized profusely to my furry friends. As if my Rubenesque beauties are under-fed or something…

There are a number of other reasons I feel guilty about Nermal and Turbo. A few years ago, I developed an allergy to cats. Naturally, this makes living in this small, carpeted house an interesting and phlegm-filled experience. I’m not able to pet them or brush them as often as I’d like, because my nose runs, my eyes water, and my hands start to itch. And naturally, I feel bad when I cannot adequately defend them from the affection and curiosity of my child. “Don’t do that to kitty!” is an oft-used phrase in the house as of late, as my daughter pulls, pinches, and points out body parts (“kitty eye,” “kitty ear,” etc.).

Of course, my biggest source of guilt is that these poor creatures, who do not travel well, are going to be forced on a two-to-three day venture to Idaho soon. There, they will be forced to live with the dreaded D-O-G and another, unfamiliar, feline.

I’m not sure they will ever forgive me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

For Her Dad

There is nothing I love more than listening as Violet makes her Daddy laugh. Jerry was an exceedingly loving and devoted father from the moment she was born. In fact, Jerry’s vigilant care for his daughter helped create the funniest story of Violet’s first days. He was cradling her, a naked newborn, in one arm, headed for the changing table. Before he reached the table, she started to pee, and poor sleep-deprived Jerry tried to catch the falling urine with his other hand. I laughed so hard that tears rolled down my face…

When he is across the world from us, every time Violet asks me where he is, it’s going to break my heart.




For My Dad

My dear father was always outnumbered by the women in the house, and so the responsibilities of insect eradication fell primarily on him. One evening in the summer, there was a beetle on the deck so huge that none of us females would dare go near it. Since we kids had a habit of playing pranks with plastic insects around that time, my father assumed the beetle was fake. He kneeled down, stretched his hand toward it, and was on the verge of picking it up before it sensed danger and scurried away. My father leaped backwards like a cat. It was the only time I ever heard him scream like a girl.

We miss you, Dad. Every day.



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Topping the Toddler Train of Thought

Since taking Violet to see Thomas the Tank Engine the other day, my husband and I have been bombarded with requests to see him again.

“See Thomas? Ok, go see Thomas.”

“Outside? Go see Thomas?”

“See Topham Hatt?”

“Go car. Go see Topham Hatt.”

Sometimes, she requests to go in a whisper, as if her tone will change our minds.

“Pssst, hey, Mamma,” she says softly. “Go see Thomas?”

Jerry and I have tried our best to explain that seeing Thomas in person is a once-a-year event at best. My husband eventually resorted to telling her that Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt had to go home to the Island of Sodor.

This approach worked for about two days.

This morning, as I was checking my email, Violet was watching one of her Thomas DVDs. She approached me, and looked at me hopefully.

“So-dor?” She said uncertainly. “I-da Sodor? Okay, go I-da Sodor!”

Wish me luck with explaining that the Island of Sodor is an imaginary place…

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Limbo (How Low Can You Go)?

It is approximately seven weeks until we move (or so we think). I know where we are going for the year, but my husband still has no official orders, and no indication of a follow-up assignment.

I am about to go absolutely nuts.

Since my daughter and I are not immediately moving to the follow-on base, the bulk of our household goods will be in storage for the year. Until I know where we’re going, I can’t pack or ship anything to my Mom’s house. Because, if by some miracle we are assigned Mountain Home AFB, our stuff will be in storage locally, and the shipping expenses would be a tremendous waste of money.

Arrrrrgggggg.

To make matters worse, our shoddy base house seems to be falling apart lately. I have to make yet another appointment for the shower, which wasn’t really fixed the last time the maintenance man graced us with his presence. He half-assed it and improvised, so now I have to call back and complain like the whiny, bored housewife that I am. The dial on our dishwasher has also taken a crap for some reason. The wash cycle works, but the timer doesn’t, and the dial is very hard to turn. I feel it will break off in my hand every time I run the dishes through.

I’m also not doing so well regarding the lovely prospect of being away from my husband for the year. We recently learned that one of his best friends will be stationed at the other AFB in South Korea, which is good news. At least he’ll have some measure of support a few hours away. And thankfully, Violet and I will have my family. I vow this time to be less of a depressed-hermit-bitch during the separation period, so I am hoping to see a few old friends while we’re in the Boise area.

Speaking of friends, I’m trying to figure out when we’ll have the opportunity to socialize here before we leave. With illness and other obligations lately, we haven’t been very good about keeping up with many people. My bad attitude and crap-I’m-about-to-cry-in-the-grocery-store-for-no-good-reason episodes aren’t helping matters. I pretty much just want to crawl into bed and have Jerry wake me when it’s time to move.

When I look in the mirror lately, I see Tweak from “South Park” shuddering back at me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Surly 'Bout my Fringe on Top

Armed with the how-to section of a recent edition of Hallmark Magazine, I was determined (possessed?) last night to cut my own bangs. The results were not quite as scary as they were on my first attempt, but the process was more difficult than I’d initially anticipated.

The magazine’s instructions were useful, but incomplete. The article suggested a method of trimming similar to what I saw my stylist use. Yet, the editors of Hallmark should have included a disclaimer for us illogical types, such as: BEWARE, MORON. When you trim your own bangs, the risk of scratching your cornea is approximately 90% higher than if you just fork over fifteen bucks and let a professional do it.

Oddly, when you cut your own bangs as instructed, common sense dictates that a lot of it will fall directly into your eyes. As it turns out, the whole seeing thing is kind of essential when one is holding a sharp pair of scissors so close to one’s face. I’m quite lucky that my eyelashes are still intact. Unlike the smiling, serene woman in the final illustration, I ended up swearing profusely and clawing at my eyes, trying desperately to rid myself of the tiny pieces of hair stuck to the surface of my eyeballs…

All that effort, and I still look like the bastard child of Diablo Cody and Mr. Spock.