Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bad Breaks, Mad Skills, and a Howler Monkey

Last year was the year I broke myself. Seriously. New Year's weekend, I was toting a giant toy out to the car, in preparation for a trip to Florida, and I stepped in a hole and broke my leg. Six weeks later, on Fat Tuesday, I came home from the church pancake supper, (which was my first outing on my new walking cast), and stepped into a bathroom my husband had left completely flooded with toddler bath water. Turning to get a mop to clean it up, I slipped (in the walking cast I'd been using for about 6 hours) and broke my wrist. BAD news! Two surgeries and one full year later, I have fairly adequate use of my wrist, though I still can't turn it flat enough to receive change at the drive-thru, and it always hurts by the end of the day.

It's annoying, though, that people are still talking about it. It's been a year, I'd really love to move on, and escape the pitying looks and "How are you feeling?" comments that I'm still getting. Even more, I'd like for all the HILARIOUS jokes to end. SO funny. Now knock it off. Seriously people, I waited until my 40th year of life to break anything bigger than a pinkie toe, and I accomplished that through the careful avoidance of most physical activity. Even now, I'd still be intact if it weren't for those darn furniture moving, floor mopping chores no one else will do!

Speaking of chores no one else will do... after waiting, hinting, begging, assertively requesting, etc, for months, I finally gave up on my husband moving the Small One out of our bedroom, and I bit the bullet and did it myself. Actually, I did make one last ditch effort to get him to do the crib. I rearranged the office to create a crib shaped hole, to no avail. He said "Oh, yeah, yeah, I'll do it!" and then immediately banished all thought of any action from his mind.

The crib, you see, is a behemoth. It is, without question, the most beautiful piece of furniture in our home, but it's one of those cribs that converts into a toddler bed, or a day bed, or a double bed. (Or a hat, or a broach, or a pterodactyl.) No, but really, it's a big, heavy thing. And honestly, with my wrist being only mostly functional, furniture disassembly is not my thing. So I started out with a plan of taking off PART of the crib, in order to work it through my bedroom door. I'd take off one big piece of wood, HEAVE the crib over my head, stagger to the door... no, not fitting through, gah! More awkward allen wrench action, another piece comes off, process repeats, stagger stagger, no. Yeah, you have to basically take the whole thing apart if you want it to fit through a door, in case you were wondering.

During all this heaving and grunting and staggering, the Man was out running errands. Small One was with me, being "helpful", which basically means trying to use tools, climbing on things I was trying to disassemble, and drawing on the walls and floor with a marker. Redecorating, if you will. Good times!

I eventually got all the pieces into the office, at which point I had to decide how to put them back together. Just before I took the thing apart, I'd walked into my room to find Small One, who is not supposed to know how to get in and out of the crib, standing in the crib, having gotten in by herself. I pondered this new development as I was walking back down the hall, and suddenly, there she was, running beside me, having gotten herself OUT of the crib. So, when considering how to put the thing back together, I had to think about the fact that obviously she's capable of exiting the crib whether it's a crib or not. I decided to convert it to a toddler bed. New room, new bed, hooray!

I was impressed with myself, by the way. I had not been absolutely sure I'd be able to do it, and was very pleased with myself, because apparently, I've got mad skills. Or is it "skillz"? As I worked, I sang a little song to encourage myself along. "Who's the boom king?" I musically queried, and answered myself with a resounding "I'm the boom king!" Yes, I see the gender confusion, and yes, I still maintain that I am, in fact, the boom king. Have YOU broken down and put back together any large and daunting pieces of furniture lately? Ok then, hush up.

ANYWAY... Small seemed very excited about setting up the toddler bed. She "helped" me get the side rails on. She brought myriad stuffed animals to share her space. She talked happily about her "new bed".

The Man came home during this stage. I was sitting on the floor screwing in the remaining screws, having gone through a whole process of figuring out how to attach the sides to each other without killing myself, the child, or any of the various animals weaving themselves around my legs, and he came in and said "How can I help?"

Don't you love it when they ask if they can help right AFTER you've done all the hard stuff?

I said "Well, your fingernails are tougher than mine, so if you could untie the little mirror on the back of the crib that would be great."

He started working on that. He sighed. He groaned. He decided he needed a chair, so he could sit down while he worked on it.

There's a large amount of commentary I could make right now, but I won't. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves, though.

Finally, the toddler bed was ready. My adorable toddler, in her adorable footie pajamas, climbed into her adorable toddler bed with all her stuffed animals, and requested that I cover her up with the beautiful toddler quilt that I bought a year ago, and that she has steadfastly disdained ever since. It was the most glorious sight I'd ever seen. And it lasted for approximately three and a half minutes.

Then the howling began. Apparently, there's something very comforting to my Small One about having that fourth crib wall in front of her. After trying in vain to reason with her, I went ahead and took the toddler bed apart and remade the crib.

I sat with her in her beautiful new room, snuggling, loving, reading bedtime stories, doing sweet bedtime things, and then I lovingly placed her into her lovely crib, with the clean sheets and the stuffed animals and the beautiful quilt. The howling began again. "I NOT NEEDA SLEEP IN MY OWN ROOM! I NEEDA SLEEP IN MOMMY'S ROOM! YOU NEEDA GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!"

Etc. etc. etc... The quilt was flung onto the floor, the stuffed animals were tossed out onto their poor little stuffed heads, the complaints became shrieking howls of rage, the mode I lovingly refer to as her "howler monkey impression". I sat by her bed through this tirade, occasionally making suggestions about lying down or calming down or being quiet... such suggestions were pointedly ignored, obviously. After a while, I told her I wasn't going to stay in there with all that yelling. I left, she continued yelling. I went back and told her I'd shut the door if she didn't stop. She didn't stop. I shut the door. She got louder.

I opened the door and looked at her, and she got quiet. "You get to make the choice," I informed her, "of whether the door stays open or shut. If you start yelling again I will shut it, but as long as you're quiet I'll leave it open."

She looked at me, defiant. "I NOT needa say ok to that."

Alrighty then. BUT, she stopped howling. And it should be noted that it has now been almost two weeks since we moved her and, although she vociferously complains each night when we put her to bed, she has not ONCE climbed out.

What is up with that? Why doesn't she climb out of her crib, when she obviously knows how, and just as obviously would like to get out? Any thoughts?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Anthropomorphism in the Dining Room

I made a lovely dinner tonight. Pasta with vegetables and shrimp- really, quite delicious. Everyone was excited about it, and Small One could not WAIT to eat it...until she was actually in her chair with a plate of it in front of her.
Her dad sat down next to her. "Eat your yummy food," he cajoled, "Mommy made it for you! Do you need help?"

"NO!" she yelled, "You not needa help me, Daddy! MOMMY needa help me!"

Because dinner was late, because we were tired and cranky, because we didn't wish to have conflict with our meal, the Man and I switched places.

"Of course I'll help you, Sweetie!" I said brightly. I held out a forkful of tomato.

She eyed me suspiciously. "What's that?" she asked.

"A tomato."

"NO, Mommy, what's his NAME?"

I said: "Grape."

Yup. Because it was a grape tomato. She ate it. And the Man said "Grape? Because calling a tomato 'grape' is going to clear up any confusion?"

I picked up a mushroom with her fork.

"What's his name?" she asked.

"Bob Johnson." I said, and shot the Man a look.

The next shrimp? Clarice Whittaker.

I was amazed that she was perfectly delighted to eat all these things, just so long as she knew their names first. What's up with that? I started getting tired, though, and running out of names. When she asked the broccoli's name I just said "Stuart."

"Eat Stuart," the Man said, "and you can get down."

You have to give us this- our world may be nonsensical, but at least we make a pretty good team.