March 2, 2004 -- The dreaded "B" word.
Jennifer may not have a problem changing out of her dirty clothes or even picking clean clothes out to wear.
But what she does have a problem with is when I say the dreaded "B" word.
"B" as in "bath."
I guess her inborne tendency to be dirty, like all kids enjoy being, has really kicked in. She has revelled
in playing in the dirt and getting food all over herself in her attempts to eat.
Yet when it comes time to getting her into the tub to clean her up, she runs away to hide. There are even moments
I have had to pick her up, while she is kicking and screaming, to take her to the bathtub.
At first I thought maybe she has some kind of psychological problem with taking baths or she's afraid of the water,
afraid of getting into a tub filled with water or she's bumped her head against the wall one too many times.
Yet it doesn't seem to be some kind of underlying fear she might have because she is just fine after getting settled into
the tub. She plays with her toys, "paints" the walls with her toothbrush and enjoys playing with the bubbles. Then she
starts to kick and scream again when I try to take her OUT of the bathtub.
So my thinking here is not that she's afraid of getting into a bathtub. She's just afraid of getting CLEAN!
March 16, 2003 -- Me and my Lapchild.
Most people have a laptop. I have a Lapchild.
Yep, you read that right. LAPCHILD. This isn't a typo.
But unlike its lap-sitting technical counterpart, my Lapchild does not have a manufacturer name embossed on it, it does
not turn on or off when I want it to and it doesn't run on any batteries (though if I'm lucky, there are days it will recharge
for an hour or two).
My Lapchild loves sitting on my lap. I am constantly required of one task after another which my Lapchild may demand
of me ever so often: "FEED ME" "BATHE ME" "CHANGE ME" "HUG ME" and the more common "READ TO ME." And if
things really get hectic, "HOLD ME." These are, unfortunately, all demands I must tend to every day as I try to get
some writing or housework done. I sometimes wonder if editors I send e-mails and work to are actually aware of how much
of that typing gets done with one hand on the computer while the other is tending to my Lapchild.
Being a writing parent, multi=tasking is a common practice for me every day. And the other thing I am doing while
writing (or trying to write) is monitoring my Lapchild while it is running in "Draw," "Read," "Import" or
"Play" mode. It's never easy to do this while trying to put together a 1000- or 1200-word feature article and it's
a nice fantasy to think I'll be Lapchild- free after most normal people have gone to bed at night. But knowing I won't
have my Lapchild forever, it makes the experience bearable.
March 20, 2004 -- Motherhood and the octopus.
A writer friend I know recently
sent to me a funny quote she came across. The quote is by Ed Dussault: "If evolution really works how come mothers only have two hands?
I wrote back joking to her that not only
do we need more hands but also more eyes, ears and arms! This echoes my occasional plea heavenward, "I need more arms!" And
with a very active 2 1/2-year-old, having an extra arm or two wouldn't be such a bad idea! Just today as I tried to make Jennifer
her lunch, she was going through cabinets, getting into one thing after another. She even almost pulled down my bowl
of salad from the counter! I had to drop everything to grab it so that lettuce and carrot shavings didn't rain onto her. Of
course I told her "Jennifer, PLEASE let Mommy do this ONE THING really quick. Okay?" And of course she didn't have the
slightest idea what I was saying.
I'm sure many mothers out there can empathize, especially if they have more than one
child to take care of. It seems you can never sit down because they go from one thing to another, ready to cause one disaster
right after another. First they try to climb the bookcase. Then they try to pull something off the shelf. And just as you
grab that precious vase before it topples to the ground, you turn around and screech because your little darling has
happily trotted off to empty the refrigerator of its contents. (Thank goodness for Pine Sol!)
I have a sister-in-law who I rarely get to chat with on the telephone. She has three
children all under the age of five and any phone call I make to her contains her shrieks and exclamations because one or all
of her boys has gotten into something, pulled something down or broken something. There are also times she's had to
drop the phone in her rush to stop a pending catastrophe or save a child from falling off of the kitchen counter.
It's times like these I start to envy the octopus. Never mind having one child (or
three) with eight arms, too; those extra arms that YOU, their mother, has are enough to get the job done in
stopping one child's imminent disaster and another's at the same time. Given the fact how many things we often have to carry
in addition to a 35-pound toddler (and a 50-pound diaper bag!), having extra hands or arms would come in, well, "handy." We
may look silly with several hands carrying several things, but, hey, it would certainly make life easier.
And less stressful.