This was a special Christmas for us, because we had an authentic child staying with us–the real item, past manger-size but not old enough to know what Christmas is. Furthermore, it was a Grade-A button-headed toddlemuffin of a child with a freight of eyelashes and a disarming wobble. A real peanut. There’s no adequate defense against one of those.
This particular child belongs to a niece we distinctly recall as having been a child herself, only yesterday, but now she’s a genuine mommy and a wonder to behold. We had the privilege of their company for only three days, but I am left to puzzle how anyone accomplishes this mommy thing, because it can go on for quite some time. It requires a raft of patience and stamina and wipey-cloths, and it sort of makes me think I should have had more appreciation than I already did for my own mother, although, as I remember it, I was never a speck of trouble.
Because since the last time we saw this child, she has elected to stand up and walk around, and by gum that is what she wants to do. There is nothing in the house so interesting to her that there might not be something even more interesting around the corner. And as much as it seems clear she is a bright child, did you know that you can’t trust the little bugger to keep herself alive for one second? You have to follow her around all the time. There’s no “Mommy’s going to shut her eyes for a moment so be good.” No, she’s going to throw herself down the stairs or touch fire or eat glass just the second she gets a chance.
And by “you” following her around, I pretty much mean Mommy. Sure, Dave and I did some toddler-following, but by far the largest share of it was by Mommy. Mommy who is a walking maternal Swiss Army Knife of pertinent items, her pockets bristling with binkies and string cheese and toddler kibble and pacifiers and baby-mops. Mommy who swings that baby onto her hip like it’s a potato chip, and does it twenty times an hour, even though it actually weighs a thousand pounds. And Mommy herself looks to weigh about a hundred pounds soaking wet, which by the way is the condition she is most likely to be in. Babies are leaky. Did you know that? They’re squirting every which way. There’s usually a pacifier around but that only plugs one of the holes, and meanwhile the rest of them are churning away more or less continuously.
|DANGER: Do Not Touch.|
This is especially true if the toddler in question is a little sick, which this one was. Poor little bean was running a bit of a temperature and making with the occasional petite cough and adorable sneezle. No matter: her joy and good cheer were distributed with equal generosity, as well as her virus in the form of a fine green mist with intermittent chunkiness; Dave took a direct shot to the open mouth, which is not fair, because of course you’re going to be bent over a baby cooing, they know that. I wasn’t worried. I figure babies get sick because of lack of exposure, but we’ve had time to get most of the viruses already.
So when my own temperature spiked, it gave me plenty of opportunity to appreciate that if I were a Mommy, I’d still have to be tending to my baby, even though I was pretty sure I was not capable of any such thing, or even washing or feeding or wiping myself. My hair hurt. Dave trotted off to the store to get me orange juice and he cleaned up the house and made me soup. He has always basically been a very good Mommy in a big fur suit. I don’t like to push it, but I thought about crapping my pants and seeing how that goes.
He went down like timber a day later.
Upon sober reflection, would reasonable older adults willingly let a Trojan horse of a contagion bomb into their house again just because it’s this cute? Oh yes indeedy. In a hot, fevered heartbeat.
It's a good thing I never had kids, because despite the fact that I can coo and laugh over the eaglets on the eagle cam, when someone shows me a picture of a baby human, the only thought that goes through my head is "Yup. That's a baby, all right." I haven't got a maternal bone in my body.
This weekend, at a holiday party for employees where my husband works, one of his co-workers brought in his two toddlers as well as his wife. They spent the entirety of the party chasing after them. The subject of naps somehow came up, and Paul revealed that we like to take naps. Well, this couple looked at us like we had just grown an arm out of each nostril. "Naps! We just have another cup of coffee!" Each of us shook our heads and rolled our eyes at each other.
They are superhuman, and I am not. I could have added: "I don't need naps. I sleep through the night."
At Christmas at my son's house, we and his guests built a village of gingerbread houses. We laid it out on the dining room table and went to get coffee. Things were quiet for around two minutes, then someone heard a contented sound from the dining room. And there was the two-year-old grandson, up on the table, driving his toy cars around the remains of the village.
A very contented sound indeed! If it wasn't him, it would've been the family Labrador.
Even for us curmudgeonly types they can be hard to resist. With a particularly cute mommy even more so. I do remember they all have serious leakage issues and need to be returned quickly to an appropriately prepared parent. Glad you were able to enjoy that little biological replacement unit.
Our family isn't even coming close to replacement! I'm one of four siblings, with exactly one child among us. Dave refers to his sister as the "rabbit" of the family because she had two.
I do much better with puppies.
They are also leaky.
Toddler Kibble. I sense a business opportunity here…
They've all got it. They have little tubs of kibble all ready to go and there's even a container that the kibble sort of drops randomly out of to entertain the child, same as a doggie treat dispenser.
I so love this tribute to parenthood — your appreciative gaze and tone shore up the flagging spirits of those who are feeling like crap but still have to follow the little bugger around, lest she discover how to turn on the gas range. Also: I hope you and Dave are back to your full selves by now. This writing indicates you are.
Lingering cough here; Dave continues to be mizzuble.
They are adorable little Petri dishes. I did the mommy thing three times. I allowed them all to grow up.
You are generous of spirit, allowing them to live.
Erma Bombeck said, "Grandchildren are God's reward for letting our own children live!!"
Good old Erma.
What a sweet post! I hope her parents keep it for her to read when she is older.
I just hope they can take a nap when she's older.
Chuckling away here … I'm sorry you and Dave got sick, but the carrier is completely adorable and it sounds like you don't regret the price you paid for having her visit. Yes, mommies (and often, daddies) must keep on keepin' on. I recall one virus that knocked out our toddler, then me, then my husband. The worst part was that my husband assumed I was over it after one day. He found out on his third day how I had been feeling on his first day. If you follow. It was a bad week all around. But small in the overall scheme of things 🙂
I love that ad where the parent says "I'm sorry, I won't be able to make it in today…hack, hack…"with the tagline "Moms don't take sick days."
It is a very good thing that they are adorable. They are also hard work. Says an appreciative non parent.
I'm astounded at the idea that there are so many grandparents raising small children these days. I guess you do what you need to.
This is the best, bar none, description of the mother/baby thing I have seen in ages! So you're feeling all leaky and snotful but I hear you when you say you'd do it all again in a hot fevered heartbeat — just not tomorrow, right?
Not next week, neither.
Toddlemuffin! I love that 🙂 and she does look like a real little cutie-pie. Sorry to hear you and Dave got the virus though, I was always careful to stay home as much as possible if any of my kids were in the sniffly, snotty, sneezing stage. Luckily my tribe were rarely ill.
Next time she visits, she may well be beginning to talk. That's going to be so much fun for you.
Huh! I wonder if my parents liked that stage in me. Briefly, I suppose.
My twin lads shared everything they got but I think one of the worst was the kissing virus they got from Melissa in Kindergarten. They got a few cankers and a fever, I was off work for a week with 27 monster cankers and two days of delirium. I couldn't eat because my mouth was so sore. I told them I'd give them away if they ever let Melissa kiss them again. They insisted that they hadn't, she just roared up to them and gave them the old smackeroo. So watch out for that one, Murr. It's seriously not fun.
I guess you have to admit your lads are pow'ful atttractive.
My grands are grown out of toddler-hood and bring less diseases when they visit or when I visit them. That is a good thing. Except one of them likes to walk the tops of fences and climb to the roof of the garage!
Ah yes–now they're in the stage they're likely to kill YOU.
It's funny, I read this post a couple days ago, then today decided to do a different/focus/view than my usual weather or anti republican/trump rants, and do one about the grandkid, Fiona, The Adorable One.
I remembered the post you did, but couldn't figure out where the hell I'd read it. So I referenced you, kinda sorta. You're the one I had no idea where I got the idea, etc.
When my girls were young, the oldest now 41 (collective gasp), I don't remember getting sick from their frequent maladies….cough, whatever. Now, with their brood, particularly the Adorable One, she lurks until she can stick her hand which has recently been in her nose, straight into my mouth.
I then have roughly 18 hours to get from Seattle to Butte before the symptoms of the black plague ease into me like a shroud.
But we love them, right?
Oh my, what an adorable baby. When our grands were tiny we did daycare 5 days a week, and when they started school we dropped them off, picked them up, and spend random amounts of time with them. I had more colds and flu during their toddler and preschool years than in the whole rest of my life. Wouldn't trade a minute of it.
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