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Ah, to boob, or not to boob ….

There’s been quite a spree of in-your-face images of breastfeeding as of late, and it’s made me curious as to what is up with the guerilla breastfeeding agenda. I know, I know, I tend to push the “whatever is best for your family” slogan when it comes to motherhood. And I’m about to do it again. Kinda.

First we’ve got the hot button “Mother’s Milk” article from Time magazine (May 2012), and really, I should say, the image is more of the hot button than the article itself. Or is it the headline?

I get that the image is intended to be provocative. I get that attachment parenting encourages breastfeeding well after the first year. I even get that in some way, these images were intent to promote breastfeeding, via starting a more explosive conversation than “Are you going to breastfeed?” But, “Are you mom enough?” Please. Jamie Lynne Grumet (mother on the cover) is not any better at motherhood than me, or you or the next hundred yous.

In contrast to the Time cover photo, the other controversy, found in the image of Terran Echegoyen-McCabe and Christina Luna nursing in uniform, was not intentional according to Echegoyen-McCabe, who told NPR that the images were not meant to become an Internet sensation. The photographs seem to promote breastfeeding, taken of moms in all kinds of situations, and the uniforms merely a way to show that military moms too breastfeed. And yet. Here we are with comments on what is and isn’t appropriate in a uniform. (Re: Showing your breasts is a no-no.)

Brynja Sigurdardottir/Courtesy Terran Echegoyen-McCabe

In my circle of moms, aka friends that all started having kids at the same time, deciding to nurse our newborns was kind of a no-brainer. Yet I have several friends and mom acquaintances that have genuinely tried to nurse and for a myriad of reasons—baby’s tongue thrusting, going back to work full time and not being able to pump enough, babies not gaining enough weight—they quit.

The strange thing to me, about the moms that had to switch to formula, is the majority of them felt the need to keep explaining their rational behind the switch. As if there really is a lording Court of Motherhood transferred from Kate Reddy’s imagination into the real world.

There’s not.

There’s not. The truth is, pretty much every mom I’ve ever met “gets” it. Really. Which is why I take offense to the concept that mothers that do not parent their children via Bill Sears philosophy (me), or breastfeed their children until they’re six, or spend all hours of the day (and night) with their children makes them better parents. It doesn’t.

On the other side of the coin, I’m a total proponent of breastfeeding. And all of this hububalloo, is taking away from supporting moms that may be struggling with breastfeeding. Or ones that don’t want to consider it at all. This whole concept of raising awareness about breastfeeding shouldn’t be about getting the rest of the non-nursing world to start a cheer every time a mom unsnaps her bra. It should be about educating moms about getting started, and encouraging them to continue even when it’s tough.

As for acceptance when it comes to nursing in public, I say eff the haters. In the moment, say a crowded holiday airport, when your baby is hungry and needs to nurse, you’re going to do what is best for your child. And a little flash of skin never hurt anybody.

Mommy Bodies

It is 6:45 p.m., the night before my cousin’s wedding. We are getting ready to attend the rehearsal dinner at 7:30 p.m., and I already have tried on and rejected two outfit options for the night, for legitimate reasons. I look a polka-dot and/or flower-stitched stuffed sausage in either outfit. Dammit.

No kids, this is not a picture of me.

I am now desperately trying to squeeze on a full-body piece of shapewear, in an attempt to smooth out my insanely puffy midsection, which to my eyes now resembles my first trimester of pregnancy. At the same time, I am trying not to sink into a full-on hormonal meltdown.

The post-baby mommy body varies for woman to woman. For me, it has fluctuated. I have Eh, I Don’t Care days, or I’m Getting Better, Allllmost Fit Into Those Jeans days. Sometimes it’s Dammit, Shouldn’t of Had The Cake nights or Why I Am I Still So Fat mornings in front of the mirror. At any rate, I am like most post-baby moms: Way too hard on myself about shaping up my body.

My blog has often taken on the confessionary tone of a lock-and-key diary when it comes to my mommy body, and exercise, and those still-hanging-on baby pounds. And frankly, it’s exhausting. Some weeks are awesome, I have time on my hands to yoga, or curse at Bob Harper while doing a workout DVD. Some weeks I want to eat Oreos. Or consume nothing but ice tea and lettuce all day.

But darn it, I wish I could find some acceptance of my body.

The issue with squeezing into black Lycra before putting on a rehearsal dinner dress is that the act is so damn embarrassing. I want to look hot again. And get a few cat calls. Max is almost two. Isn’t it too late to use the baby excuse for being overweight?

So as I laid my head down Thursday night, I sent a little something into the Universe, so I at least could continue walking around with my head held higher, no matter what type of water retention tricks my body was planning for the next day.

That morning, while easing into my first cup of coffee, I saw this segment on GMA.

Turns out, there is a movement out there to help us learn to accept our mommy bodies. Although the piece does focus a bit on the celeb angle (I didn’t have a “celebrity body” before Max, I’m not aiming for one now), it does teach an important lesson: Kids became the priority. Life changes. Time is precious. Being healthy is more important than a beach body. And that’s okay.

To check out CT Working Moms and their goddess gallery that inspired this story, visit http://ctworkingmoms.com/goddess-gallery/

It is four thirty in the afternoon, and I am breaking apart peanut butter sandwich crackers and placing the pieces next to my son’s head as he’s lying on the floor, pushing a car back and forth. He reaches immediately for the snack and pops it in his mouth. I smile and walk away, inside doing a mental cartwheel. Yes!

They say that when trying to lose weight, it is not about sticking to a diet, but rather, taking on a healthy eating lifestyle. When you are trying to gain weight, it is the same concept. Except instead of grilled meats and salads life becomes a blur of cheese, dried fruit, peanut butter bread toast cookies, Pediasure, butter and heavy cream.

It’s no joke. We buy a pound of butter every week. Haagen-Dazs ice cream, woman’s most verboten food, is now always in my freezer. I’m making pudding, cookies, muffins, and adding chocolate chips to everything. And yes folks, I’m seeing a nutritionist.

Beside the mental roadblock of what Max is eating, there is the added stressor of getting him, once again, to eat anything. In another twist of parenthood, we have learned that two-year molars do not wait to appear after a baby’s second birthday. Max is teething in full force, which means we’re back to squishing berries, crushing cereal and smooshing bread. Don’t even get me started on the scraping lunch into our booster seat or tossing bowls onto the floor.

On the whole, I am trying to stick to my mantra of keep calm and carry on. But some days, when Max is sitting at dinner, smashing up his green beans with his forefinger and completely ignoring the grilled cheese I’ve made him, it takes everything in me not to try and just stuff it down his throat. Especially when I’m calculating the day’s calories in my head: ½ slice peanut butter toast, ¼ cup of milk, five Cheese Its, ¼ pear ….

Ned will catch my eye and say, “It’s okay. He drank half of his milk.” All I can do is shake my head and say, “It’s not enough.”

So I step it up a notch. I do things that I never thought I would be doing in my relatively clean, normal adult life. My coffee table now holds remnants of peanut butter crackers, raisins, and a cup of milk 24/7. I chase Max around the house with pieces of buttery, syrupy waffle so he’ll take another bite after breakfast. When I put him in the car seat, I don’t hand him a toy, he gets a snack bowl and a sippy cup of milk spiked with cream. After dinner he gets pudding, or cookies, or ice cream and every night, he’s carrying a Pediasure up to bed with him.

And yet. It still doesn’t feel like enough. I mean, I can could offer him brownies every half hour for an entire day. But if he doesn’t eat them, what else can I do?

I have another week before we weigh in again, and I’m seriously contemplating buying a scale so I can see if we’re on track yet. In the meantime, I will contemplate dinner, and pray my menu hits one of the foods Max has approved to eat today.

Yo-Yo Yoga

It’s time for this mommy blog to turn once again to mommy and mommy issues. Yeah, I’m talking about skinny jeans. And my lack of yoga.

I in a quasi-anonymous fashion, I have admitted many embarrassing things on this blog. I am about to do it again. My son was born 20 months ago, my husband and I are talking about another baby, and I am yet to fit into any of my pre-pregnancy pants. That’s right, I’m hanging on to that last 10 pounds like an … ugh.

I write that, or think that thought, and my blood just begins to boil. Now, it’s not because I have yet to make any progress in the weight loss department. I no longer fit into my “fat” clothes; in fact, most of those clothes make me look like a clown in training. (Picture me, too big pants, a toddler and a diaper bag navigating a crowded Chik-Fil-A parking lot. I’m turning into Justin Bieber.)

So I’m falling outta my fat clothes, and yet my pre-baby clothes are still one, single, out-of-reach size away. I’m a solid 12. I own one item of clothing in this size:

These are my pants. My hole-almost-in-the-crotch pants. I discovered the hole about a month ago, while sitting crossed-legged in a library music class, with twenty other caregivers and children in the room. I have worn them and washed them to the point where they couldn’t handle it any more. They have exploded. (And yes, I have thought about wearing them around the house in emergencies. But, the irritated voices of Clinton Kelly and Stacy London then pop in my ear and stop me.)

Those same famous fashion voices would tell me, “Molly, buy pants that fit your body now.” I know, that seems logical. But … and this sounds whiny … I can’t. My whole tall-shopping-catalog-cost issue is just too much to contemplate it. Plus, I have an entire closet full of beautiful, already-paid-for size 10 clothes.

This entire scene just makes my O positive temp rise. Why can’t I be skinny?! (For that matter, why can’t cigarettes and chocolate chip cookies be good for you?) Really. Some of my mom friends, those naturally tiny, sizes fours (or twos or zeros) don’t even look like they carried a baby. Me getting skinny (in my proportion to a natural-size-four mom) requires either near-starvation or training for a triathlon. What mom has time for this?

On a pretty famous television show about losing weight, there was a theme of not letting excuses get in the way of weight loss. One of these, of course, was I don’t have time to work out. And although that is true, the follow-up was forgotten: I am just too damn tired to work out.

I did an aerobics workout DVD one night, gleefully finishing, showering and collapsing into bed. I thought, “I have found it! Work out at night. It’ll tire me out for sleep, not interrupt what I need to do during the day!” Yeah, that was like, a month ago. Turns out it was a freak accident that I was even awake enough at that hour to do more than roll off the couch.

And beyond the tired factor, between those regular, daily mom activities—participating in a mom’s group, work, husband and house—I don’t get where it is supposed to fit. Yes, when Max is sleeping I could work out. More than likely though, I am doing one of the aforementioned activities instead.

The truth is, I miss my active days, and that freedom to wake up, have some coffee and take off for a walk, or put on my yoga pants and breathe through my stress in a quiet, empty house.

So, besides complaining about it, I’m forcing myself to do something about it. If I want to have another baby, I need to lose the remnants of the last one. My new tactic is to start yoga again, and if I can get it in more than once a week, I’ll be happy. I write this with the qualifier of having done yoga today. Go me! Now I’m ready for a nap.

Or as I like to call it: Help, My Toddler Won’t Eat! (All the time.)

Last week was our one-month check up with the nutritionist. The good news: Max gained almost one and a half pounds and now weighs in at a hefty 24 pounds, 8 ounces, a mere jump from the 15th percentile to the 27th.

But it’s not over yet.

He has come around to eating again, but meat is not on his menu. Nor eggs, nor cheese. So it’s a new wave of creative ways to sneak more protein into his diet: lima beans, edamame, milk, French toast, rice and beans etc. And of course, Pediasure supplements. Ugh.

I am not going to let it get me down. I worked hard for that one pound, six ounces. I have endured tears, and food thrown at me, and mopping up yogurt off my hardwood floors. I have endured constantly thinking about feeding my child; shopped until I couldn’t look at another nutrition label hoping for more calories and fat.

I have learned much over the past month when it comes to toddlers and picky eating. At least I know I’ve not resorted to this:

Below, however are a few things that have worked, and may help other moms out there.

  1.  Keep calm, and carry on. This is the hardest and most truthful rule. It’s incredibly stressful worrying about your little one, but even more so when his ability to gain weight, or lose it, hinges on what you’re feeding him. If he doesn’t eat a meal, take him out of his seat and move on to the next thing. If he disses that banana bread you made just for him today (and he will), just save it to try again tomorrow. If he screams and cries through meal time, remember there is always another meal time. It’ll be okay.
  2. Don’t let the doctors freak you out. Yes, it is an issue to simply overlook if your child is overweight or underweight. But don’t flip out. (See rule number one.) Even when the doctors give you that look: Oh, isn’t she delusional, getting excited over a little more than a pound? Even when the nutritionist comments about how she’s surprised your toddler is eating peanut butter and almond butter before the age of two—when at your last visit, she recommended you increase his nut butter intake. You know what is best for your child, so don’t be overwhelmed by all the suggestions they offer you. Just try one at a time.
  3. Switch up the eating pattern. For us, this meant swapping from the high chair to the table, in a booster seat. We added putting food in bowls and on plates, and when appropriate, spoons or forks. In other words, encouraging independent eating. Adding an additional snack also was helpful.
  4. Don’t stick to standard meal times. Max naps over lunchtime, and trying an “early” lunch did not fly, he wasn’t ever hungry for a meal. Our schedule looks like this:
    7:00 – 7:30 a.m. Wake Up
    8:00 a.m. Breakfast
    10:30 a.m. Snack
    11:00- to 12:00-ish Nap Start
    3:00 p.m. Lunch
    5:00 p.m. Snack
    7:00 p.m. Dinner
    8:00 p.m. Snack
    9:00 p.m. Bed
  5. Keep mealtime etiquette. Try to eat with your child, something about mimicking your eating works. Also, it offers more opportunity for them to reach for what’s on your plate. You can’t always eat with them, but you can have a cup of coffee, or hang out, or read them a story. Most importantly, just be nonchalant about the whole thing. Don’t offer praise or correct them for eating or not eating. Some days if they are eating, it’s better not to make eye contact. 🙂

So we move on to the next thing. And hope tomorrow, Max will eat that awesome chai peanut butter bread I slaved over this morning.

Mommy Manual: Nutrition

Or, as I like to call it: Help! My Toddler Won’t Eat!

Last week, we found out at our 18-month wellness visit that Max, our little superhero, is in the 21st percentile for weight. To be exact, he weighed 23 pounds, 11 ounces, just a little bit more than his 9-month weigh in. So, we made a date with the nutritionist the following Monday.

Now Max was nursing a cold, courtesy of Mommy, plus he is teething, plus he had five shots at the doctor’s office, which meant that weekend, he wasn’t interested in eating a damn thing. We show up to discuss Max’s weight on Monday, and learn that he’s lost half a pound. Way to kick start that conversation, eh?

Now, we’ve already been through the masses of blood tests, back when he dropped weight at a year. So we move on to summarizing Max’s eating habits and getting a recommended list of foods to add to his diet, which includes

  1. One tablespoon of almond, peanut, or cashew butter on toast, bagels, waffles etc.
  2. One ounce of heavy cream per eight ounces of whole milk.
  3. Lots of dips: ranch, dressings, cheese sauce, with dippers like proteins, mini bagels and soft pretzels.
  4. Cream cheese, drinkable yogurt and puddings.
  5. Butter or olive oil on all veggies, breads etc.
  6. Pediasure for the days where he won’t eat a meal.

We also are to add a snack at night, and to try and increase his meat eating. For the next few days, this brings about a whole new shopping/food prepping reality that I’m still adjusting to. I’m checking yogurt shakes (RE: Danimals, Gogurt) to sneak a snack in him before naptime, but they’re all made with lowfat milk; same with prepackaged pudding, totally sans the added calories of whole milk. I’m giving him Tagalongs as snacks, the peanut-butter-filled Girl Scout cookies, because they’re an awesome 70 calories a pop. I’m smearing butter on everything, and making full crockpots of stew meat and pulled pork so he has some consistent meat choices.

And yet. He won’t eat.

At the most, he’ll snack on dry cereal and raisins and occasionally eat a slice of toast or a few tablespoons of peas. He’ll drink milk and some Pediasure. And for the past two days, running a low fever, I can’t even get him into the high chair.

We have tried a litany of excuses and suggestions for this new behavior, which began 12 days ago after his visit to the pediatrician. He’s teething. He’s running a fever. He’s trying to exude control. He’s not feeling well. He’s getting over the shots.

We also have tried adjusting mealtime behavior: from high chair to booster seat, at the table; not praising nor scolding him for eating/not eating; giving him smaller portions of food; remaining nonchalant during meal time.

Some days, I am so angry I cannot see straight. I literally have to walk away from the table, because it makes every neuron in my brain explode when he doesn’t eat. French toast? No. Pulled pork? No. Buttered corn? No. Grapes? No. Just no no no no no to everything that he once ate with vigor. Thank god we haven’t taught him how to say the word yet.

In discussing this with other moms that are dealing with similar issues, we find it’s the exhaustion of not finding a solution to the issue. It’s exhausting exuding so much effort and energy into preparing food that our toddlers turn their nose up at, or worse, squish it in their little baby fists. It’s wondering what to do now, when the problem isn’t just that they won’t eat, but that they need to gain weight, not contribute to losing more of it.

At the end of our conversations, we tell one another the same thing. “Keep calm, and carry on.” So for now, I shall.

Last Tuesday, our morning started with this:

Little Max was done with a diaper change and Ned watched him run into his bedroom, trip, and eat a face full of rocking chair. We went off to the pediatrician’s office to get him checked out, crossing our fingers that he didn’t need stitches. (Sidebar: We learned the hard, expensive way that most trips to the ER for cuts and whatnot result in no stitches, but instead just a $100 copay for the visit. And nurses goo-ing over our son.)

Luckily Max is tough, tougher than Mommy, I think. The day before his tumble we were at the peds office to see a nutritionist, reason being that our most recent wellness visit revealed that Max has only gained one pound since we left Florida in November. Which in the battle against his weight loss during month nine to month 12, we’re back to his original 9-month weight.

All of this is compounded with a giant immunization/Hep B shot cocktail given at his wellness visit, which basically causes Max to completely lose his appetite for the four days prior to our nutritionist meet and greet. We show up for that appointment to learn he’s lost half a pound over the weekend.

Top that off with the barrage of questions at our first talk with our new doctor. Is he able to stack blocks? Yes. Throw toys? Max had just thrown my newly-found sunglasses across the room mere moments before. That’s a yes. If you ask him to locate body parts, say his nose, will he point to it? Well, he puts his finger in his nose, does that count? Does he know at least seven words? Um, not all at once. Does he say “mama” and “dada”? Not directly to us, no.

At the end of this the doc looks at me and says, “Okay, well, be sure to work with him on that.” Hmm … maybe I should be working on a new doctor. By the time we hit up the nutritionist and then Mikey hit up the chair, I was at the end of my momma rope. What am I to do to fix all of this?

The lovely Kelly Ripa always tells this great joke, about how when you take home a new flatscreen television, you get a user manual thick enough to rival War and Peace, but when you take home a baby, they give you a single sheet of paper. Darn it, right about now, I wish there was a Mommy Manual.

I know that you can’t predict the health and development of every baby. I know I can’t prevent all trips and falls, and I know there is danger in comparing each child to an imaginary “normal” and wondering if he’s falling behind. Why doesn’t he have a giant vocabulary? Ned and I are both academics. Why doesn’t he say “yes” and “no” and “good-bye”? Why doesn’t he know where his nose is? (Actually, I think he does know, but he’s smart enough to know he doesn’t have to tell us if he doesn’t want to.)

I’m not going to lie; I’m completely freaked out that he’s not gaining weight. He’s growing, he’s in the 91st percentile for height. But clearly, his eating habits are not working. And it’s too much to cover in just 500 words. So we’re taking notes from the nutritionist, starting to use some developmental tools and hopefully making some progress, soon to be reported in future blogs, as I start writing my own Mommy Manual.

The Mom Shame Game

I am unhappy to be writing about my latest rite of passage in motherhood: my first official look of disdain from another mother.

Max and I were at our very enjoyable music class (Loudoun County libraries rule) and Max was having his usual behaviors at the opposite end of the room from me …. Emptying the basket of scarves instead of dancing with them, finding the one cabinet in the corner of the room with a broken lock, not wanting to put his music sticks away …. Normal stuff for him and rightfully so; he’s young, exploring and just learning how to communicate.

When it came time for the pile of rattles, shakers and bells, I see Max across the way, trying to remove one of a pair of yellow rattles from the hand of another mom, who is sitting on the floor with her three-year-old daughter in her lap. The daughter, nonplussed about my son’s lack of boundaries is just sitting there, while her mother is firmly and then with great annoyance, trying to get my son off her rattle. I’m pretty sure I heard her utter a, “Goodness. Stop it!”

By the time I get to them, Max is crying, ’cause this momma is not giving up that toy. I try to comfort him and say something lame like, “Toddlers. What’s mine is mine.” I smile. She glares. That look of, I cannot believe you have not taught your son about sharing! or perhaps it was a, I am not here to discipline your son! Whatever, it was not nice. I turned and took a step away, to meet the lovely librarian, waiting with a pair of rattles for Max. We went back to our spot, he shook them for thirty seconds, and they got tossed back on the floor.

All this time, I’ve been operating on the idea that younger children rule it. This particular group was for zero to four years of age, so I assume that the little ones that aren’t socialized yet get the right of way. Would it have killed this mom to give up a rattle and pluck another one out of the basket a mere two feet over away? Was I supposed to offer up an embarrassed apology that my son, not yet a year and a half old, did not relinquish his desire for a shiny yellow rattle? Did said mom have to throw me the look of annoyance?

I mean really, just the day before; a total stranger handed over his smart phone to my toddler and let him run around with it for ten minutes, despite my embarrassment and attempts (two) to remove the phone from a giggling Max. That guy clearly knew nothing about little kids (except they’re cute, and they really love technology). This mom had two children, including a son that was just old enough to start walking and had been crying throughout the entire class. Shouldn’t she get it?

“Getting it” is one of the joys of having relationships with other moms. If we go to a play date, I don’t have to worry if I forgot to refill my travel pack of wipes. I will sit with two babies in high chairs while the other mom picks up our sandwich order. We automatically reach down for a thrown toy, no matter who’s kid threw it. It’s that kind of shared mom intimacy that is so awesome; clearly, that rattle-hoarding mom is missing out!

T-T-T-Tantrum Anyone?

Oh yeah, the temper tantrums are here. And here to stay I think. Here’s the thing that amazes me about this: Google the phrase “terrible twos” and see what pops up. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now, google the phrase “terrible 16-month-olds” and see what pops up. Again, waiting ….

 

Aha, you got it right? Right? It’s like the same damn results list, isn’t it? Why didn’t anyone tell us about this!? I already know the answer to that: In order to save the human race, moms-to-be are lead to believe that the years prior to that second birthday are blissfully tantrum-free. Saves the risk of people dropping out of this whole parenting gig.

The tantrums started earlier this month, while we were in Ohio visiting Nana and the rest of the fam. The first in a series left me totally bewildered, and with a trio of fresh bite marks on my arm. (Oh yeah, the biting blog is coming up!) It’s amazing isn’t it, that transition to a demon-child that not only bites, but kicks and screams and is completely inconsolable.

The kicker this week was our hunger tantrum that imploded in the service area waiting room of our local Kia dealership. How embarrassing is it to catch the look of alarm on an also-waiting-grandma’s face, when the cute kid she was just playing peek-a-boo with is now on the floor, kicking and screaming away, while his mother is inspecting her arm for the latest teeth marks?

What to do? My method that works 50 percent of the time is to remove Max from the situation, and sit him down with a glass of water. He’s been after drinking from a cup pretty much since we started the sippy, so it will usually focus him away from his hysterics. (The other half, the backfire half, is when he wants to take said cup ‘o water and run with it, which just gives us new tantrum fuel.)

This little article Stop Temper Tantrums in Their Tracks was cute, and I may try a few of these soon.

In the end, my inquiring parenting mind wants to know WHY? Here are a few answers:

  • Failure to communicate. Kiddos like mine that are still sans words will kick, bite and scream their way to get what they want, or say what they have to say.
  • Attention, attention, attention. Tantrums certainly can achieve the attention they seek. I think this is when the walk-away- and-let-them-scream-it-out method works best.
  • They (gulp) like the excitement of aggression. Or alternatively, your child is not evil, he or she just thinks that biting or kicking is “playing.”
  • Sleep deprivation. Since toddlers don’t have a set schedule (mine does not) this can be hard to spot. They need roughly 12 to 14 hours of sleep per 24-hour period, so in some cases, adding an extra nap or earlier bed time can help reduce tantrums.
  • Separation anxiety. Although Max and I are rarely apart, I know many of my mommy readers are dealing with this issue.
  • Cavemen/cavewomen. Yep, a few docs out there say our little ones are just too right-brained, acting with just the impulsive, emotional side of their little noggins.
  • Frustration. In our house, these are mini-tantrums, whining or crying when he drops a toy, or can’t get something open.
  • Independence. Ned and I saddled Max with this one, big time. Toddlers want to start doing it themselves, feeding, reaching an object, you name it, they want to control. When they don’t get it … watch out!

Phew. Maybe I’m not a bad parent after all. I feel better. Now where is that kid? I think we need a second little nap …!

My son is currently lying on his back on the family room floor, happily kicking the wall with his feet, one sock on, one off. Singing “Ah! Ah!” and “Gag a gag ag agaa!” quite happily. This is, by the way, his second pair of socks for the day. The first pair is in my pocket.

Midwinter, one of my favorite times of year, and Max is habitual about taking off his socks and chewing on them. This hasn’t happened since teething began. Normally a good momma would just put his socks back on; unless they’re wet, hence the multiple pairs per day. He “tries” to put them back on, by touching the tube of the sock to his toes, just like a boy, as if it will magically pop onto his foot.

This is not the only crazy toddler behavior I’ve been observing lately. The kid has figured out how to spin in a circle, which I always associate with little girls and tutus, spinning with arms wide open. A little sparkly background and some type of ballet music in the background …. No, my son spins like a man: a little turn around on his inside foot, as if he’s got a baseball bat sitting under his forehead like he’s on a Japanese game show or something.

Also, he now runs around a room, head bent down so he’s looking at the floor, just shakin’ that melon back and forth. I say he’s “playing football.” Really, I just hope he doesn’t start doing this next: He likes to butt things with his head.

My favorite, by far, is when he’s messing around in a laughing fit, and you’re on the floor or the couch, and suddenly he gets a huge giggle, and smiling like a total dorkface, starts running/crawling toward you/over you with such glee, and you think, “Aww, he really loves me,” or “what a little snuggler,” … and then he pokes you in the eye. And you say, “Why did you do that?” And he answers you by going after the other eye, and then you’re laughing and checking him out with one eye open saying, “Stop that!”

Ah, motherhood.