DIZMOMMY > September 2014


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September 29, 2014

Who Am I Kidding Here?

Yesterday was my niece’s birthday and we went to Chuck-E-Cheese to celebrate. I was super excited because I’ve had Chuck-E-Cheese on my mind since the gestation of Dylan! Running around and blowing money on kid games is totally my thing. So before we got there, I had a mental list of favorites that I wanted to play; and when we arrived, the list doubled with all the other things I saw flashing and calling my name. Like the three-seater quarter ride that was monster truck shaped, mimicked off-roading, and had big bright headlights that flashed on and off. I mean, HELLO! Dylan loves trucks! It was fate. But you know, Chuck-E-Cheese requires patience. And on weekends? A Xanax. 

When it was finally Dylan’s turn to ride the truck, he was too confused to really enjoy it. And I was confused too, because I saw the truck tip back and it wasn’t tipping back for Dylan. But there was no time to experiment because the ride was way too short and the pressure to get off was real, as parents waited for their children’s turn to hop on. FINE. We moved on to other things…like basketball and flaming finger and things I couldn’t figure out but were fun anyways because they gave me us tickets and played excitable music. Then it was back to the truck because I’m obsessive like that. It’s genetic I think. 

I spotted a couple of kids riding the truck but there was no line so I ran towards it and waited for the rats to finish up. As they hopped out, I jumped in to stand guard. I motioned for my husband to bring Dylan over and when he did, I put my hand out for some tokens. The heavens opened up as I stuck ‘em in the monster truck. “Are you ready Dylan!?” I was delighted! I noticed a foot pedal and instantly knew I had solved the truck tipping mystery. I couldn’t wait to show Dylan what this thing could really do! And it was awesome. We rode that thing until we ran out of tokens. It was SO fun and definitely made Dylan’s first trip to Chuck-E-Cheese a success. 

Once we got home, my husband mentioned that he couldn’t believe I rode the truck. “I know! Me too! It was so fun.” There were so many kids, yet Dylan and I got to ride it like…5 times in a row with no line! 
"When we started tipping back, Dylan clenched onto my arm. It was so funny, I think he was scared!” I reported. 
“It’s a good thing you rode with him. I don’t think very many adults are riding those things.”
Wait. What? “Really? Why, was it weird?” 

But come on! It was a three-seater! And I’m short! So I practically fit! And without my assistance, how else was the truck gonna tip back? I like rides! And games…and to be honest, I don’t pick up on kid-only restrictions. But then I saw the picture- and now I understand. Who am I kidding? It changes nothing! You see, I’m a fairly oblivious person. And as a result of overlooking things (like groups of people and social norms), I’m not easily embarrassed. So in a lot of ways, I am an embarrassment. 

Sorry Dylan! But guess who's growing up weird?

September 24, 2014

The Full Circle Effect: Parents Gone Grand

My relationship with my grandparents always came easy. The love, the treats, and the lack of discipline equaled full-time fun. Whereas the relationship with my parents was a bit more complicated because growing up there were uhm…rules and expectations. But just like my parents predicted so many times before, I’ve come to value and appreciate all they’ve done for me. And as life will have it, the roles have been reversed and they’re finally the freewheelin’ lovebugs I always knew they could be. Only instead of giving into everything I’ve ever wanted and letting me get away with way too much, Dylan gets to reap the benefits of parents gone grand. And me? I’ve become them. Specifically, I’ve become my dad…and I couldn’t be more proud. 

Though it is evident that I’m my mother’s daughter, let’s just say if people started calling me “Carl,” I’d respond without wondering why. Because: 

Our middles names are “Fervent.” I mean, not technically, but practically. I genuinely find excitement in everything, just like my dad. This zestful nature makes life really fun for Dylan (and for me). Though that same enthusiasm and passion for all things can evolve into… 

Intensity. Because I’m easily interested and engaged in each moment, my passion can spill over into being hands on, in your face, and quite frankly, a bit intense. And if I go a little overboard, especially with the rule breaking, at least… 

I have no problem apologizing. Wrong, right, who cares? Even if my intensity is seemingly justified (NO KICKING THE DOG DYLAN), even if my intention is pure (DON’T RUN INTO THE STREET!), even if I don’t have to apologize because I’m the parent, I will and I do. Being “right” is less important to me than the impact my reactions can have on others. Even if… 

I feel important. Not more important than you, which is the whole point. We’re all equally special. I take everyone seriously, kids included, Dylan included. I can’t help but listen and consider what he feels and what he has to say despite the fact he is a 1 year old. Unfortunately my consideration can appear misleading when it involves something like his desire to eat cookies for dinner, so uhm…sorry kid. But hey! I very briefly thought about it, therefore… 

I expect some things. It’s completely unrealistic, but I expect Dylan to listen, follow instruction, or convince me why he shouldn’t have to. I’m open to clever persuasion, though again, there are no guarantees. But at least… 

I’ve held onto my inner child. I genuinely enjoy being silly, making up stories, coming up with games, and chalking everything up to be a result of magic. The kid in me gets it. So it’s highly likely that Dylan will still be writing letters to the North Pole when he’s 17, and he’ll be super bummed when can read and figures out that “Arrow Burger” is actually In-N-Out; but all the fun of childhood will be just enough to spill over into his adult life. 

So that way, when it’s Dylan’s turn to be the enthusiastic, intense parent who still feels like a kid but is compelled to make rules that he will later feel the need to apologize for enforcing too harshly, he will be proud to assume the position because he’ll appreciate the results. And this will allow me to be the freewheelin’ lovebug parent gone grand, returning to my childlike nature and spoiling the crap out of my grandkids like it’s a full-time job. Sigh. The circle of life- it’s a beautiful thing. 

And To My Dad: Thanks for making my childhood magical, and for making me, you. You are free to overindulged Dylan because hey, you've earned it! Happy Birthday. (PS. If I’m you, does this mean it’s my birthday as well?) I love you Dad!

September 22, 2014

Breaking My Back

I take loving my son to a whole new level, which my husband likes to refer to as being “a pushover.” Though “pushover” isn’t a word I would use to describe myself, when it comes to Dylan, sometimes…it happens. 

What can I say? He’s my firstborn, the son I dreamt of, he’s my little baby everything, and he won’t stop growing. He’s thriving through the thick of toddlerhood; tantrums, independence, wonderment and all. He’s ready to explore, discover, and marvel at this big ol’ world and I’m sitting here like, “Do you wanna baba little baby?” My point is, I’m not a “pushover,” I’m Tinkerbell. I just want to hang out with a young Peter forever! But dang, this fairy dust business is breaking a girl’s back. 

You see, I still consider Dylan a wittle baybee- all 28lbs of him. So naturally, I disregard his ability to walk and instead, opt to wear him like a vital accessory. And up until my arms go numb and my sides ache, I LOVE carrying him. I didn’t expect babyhood to whiz by as quickly as it has and lugging the kid around on my hip is the ultimate metaphor for how I’m feeling about his maturation: I’m holding on as long as I can. 

Yet the days of accessorizing with Dylan are quickly dwindling into a thing of the past because I’m no longer hauling a baby, I’m towing a freaking child who is constantly requesting to walk, to go down, and to do his damn thang. And though it is my responsibility to let him grow-up (within reason), I continue to “shh” Dylan’s requests because Tinkerbell’s back ain’t broken yet. And until I literally am pushed over, I’m holding onto Peter Dylan as long as I can.

September 15, 2014

Liebchen - Together Through Life

This past weekend I had to say goodbye to my 14 year old mini-dachshund, Liebchen (Leeb-shen, German for sweetheart/treasure/darling/etc.). But she wasn’t just a dog to me, as our pets often aren’t, she was my dear and cherished friend, the one that knew me, that loved me, and the one that accepted me without judgment. My love for her was strikingly obvious. People liked to ask me what I’d do when she’d die and my response was always the same, “She isn’t going to die! Liebe is going to live forever.” And when she turned 10, I really believed it. And when she had a lifesaving surgery at 11, I was convinced. But you know, time happens. And it’s too easy for me to be sucked into the depression that comes with losing my pack leader, my little 8lb alpha. And it’s too easy to wallow in the reality that I will never hold her again, pet her, kiss her, or scratch her favorite spot beneath her chin just to watch her foot thump uncontrollably on the floor…great, now I’m crying. 

Liebe deserves more from me than the tears over what’s been lost. So instead of going through the details surrounding her health, I’m going to skip the past years’ worth of amounting deterioration, the tumor regrowth, and the moment when it became clear that it was time to say goodbye, because her life was 14 years more than that. I want to celebrate her in the only way I know how: shamelessly bragging. So here’s to Liebchen, my little good girl who will forever be mein Liebe. 

- She lived 14 years, 9 months, and 13 days. Knowing these precise details would be a little creepy for any other dog, but it was too easy not to track with Liebe! She was born on the millennium, 1/1/2000, and was originally named Y2K Katie. 

- Girlfriend was a serious hunter. Years ago, an outdoor storage revealed itself to be the breeding grounds for a family of mice. Liebchen wasn’t having it and went after the tribe, sniffing out and catching each pest, killing them with one bite, then dropping them to the ground. She had no interest in playing with the dead, chewing, or eating them. She was in it for the kill- 9 kills total. Boy was she proud! 

- She was noticeably gorgeous. Liebe was the star wherever she went. People always wanted to talk about how pretty she was, how small she was, how fast she ran, yada yada. She had the spirit of a puppy and constantly shocked people by her age. They’d try to pet her but… 

- She was a notorious snob. If you weren’t family, she had zero interest. She’d walk away from admirers and avoid being touched by anyone she didn’t know. She simply did not care for meaningless affections, nor did she share hers with just anyone. I loved watching her reject people from afar. 

- We frequently referred to her as “World Police” because she enforced her own set of rules at the dog park. If a dog was running too fast, making too much noise, or messing with one of our other dogs, Liebchen chased after them until they either slowed down, shut up, or bugged off. Size and breed didn’t matter, she feared nothing. 

- She was a family dog and when we took her in, I hated her. I referred to her as a rat for the first 2 years of her life because I was hurting. My parents had just given away my first dog, a pitbull. They basically replaced my big, smart companion with a tiny little black rat and I took my grief out on her. Until…. 

- I healed. And my younger sister/roomie, Angela, taught me how to love Liebe by regularly leaving her in our room. So when no one was looking, we’d bond. And before I knew it, I was 19 and moving out with Liebchen. She became MY dog. She loved me despite our rough start and I love her for that. 

- I still shared her with Angela, and when Angela had a place of her own and wanted a Liebe slumber party, I dropped her off. But a couple hours later I received a frantic phone call that I needed to immediately pick her up because my gentle, 8lb little lady, for the first (and only) time in her life, had bitten someone. And by someone, I mean my sister’s boyfriend (who I couldn’t stand). I was shocked! Oh, and he’s an ex-boyfriend now. What can I say? Liebchen knows. More proof can be found… 

- When she first met my husband…by accident. I was 18, still living at home, and he was dropping me off on one very late night. I ran into the house to quickly retrieve something and when I entered my room, Liebchen bolted out. It was so unlike her! I was confused, rushed to figure out where she went only to see the front door wide opened. I freaked and ran outside, unsure if she escaped. Then the weirdest thing happened. I watched my snobby, stranger-hating dog leap into my boyfriend’s passenger door, hop onto his lap, and kiss him on his face. It was so strange for her to take to someone she never met that I took a picture of it as it happened. He’s now my husband. Liebchen just knew. 

- Her song was “Wild Thing” by The Troggs because she was obsessed with slithering through cracks to run free and explore the back hills of our house. She’d always return with leaves in her hair and ticks behind her ears. Oh Liebe… 

- At least she loved baths. She loved being clean! There was a ladylike air to her. She was the classiest of them all. And way too smart. I mean… 

- She faked injuries for attention. My perfectly healthy dog would suddenly limp and hobble about, careful not to put pressure on whatever leg. I’d pick her up and ask her what hurt, what happened!? I’d yell for someone to come look, help, anyone! And when someone else came, she’d bounce all around and light up. Faker, prankster, little brat. 

- She refused to play with dog toys and scoffed at any attempts to encourage her otherwise. But every once in a while, she’d grab a sock and pretend like she was going to play with it. 

- She loved our Beagle, Schnuggie. She constantly humped him, which was weird, and she refused to sit anywhere other than right next to him. They had to share a kennel. 

- Her ultimate weakness: Chili-cheese fries. She was well-behaved until you threw some chili-cheese fries away. Then she’d tip the trashcan over and lick the container clean.  

I love my little girl. She was good to me and everyone I cared for. And as expected, it’s extremely tough losing her. But to all of those who knew and witnessed the beautiful love I felt for my dog, and questioned what the heck I’d do when she wasn’t around anymore, my answer has not changed. Though I may have held her as she took her last breath, the fact is that when you love something enough, it doesn’t just die. It lives on forever, just like mein Liebchen, and just like I've always said. 


Our last picture together.

 My favorite picture together.

Liebchen aka L.A. Lieb 1/1/2000 - 9/13/2014
"Liebchen will live forever."

September 11, 2014

Why I'm Okay With Working Overtime

I’m no workaholic but I love putting in overtime. Knowing that I’m exceeding the call of duty pleases me in itself, but the hefty supplemental pay is what really gasses me up. So sure, overwork me! But you’re gonna have to pay for it. Labor laws, baby. And speaking about babies, I’ve been chasing after a ridiculously swift 1 year old who’s automated response to everything is now, “NO!” Which, by the way, also happens to be the funniest thing he’s ever heard because hysterical laughter ensues with each shout. And the last I checked, keeping my cool in the face of taunting rebellion counts as work too. Plus! I feed Dylan, I wipe his butt, put him in clothes, and get down during playtime. But thankfully there’s no need to file a wage claim lawsuit against my 1 year old employer because he’s familiar with the merits of overtime pay. So as the tantrums and violence in the workplace increase, so does the compensation. And this, my friends, is what a paycheck from the toddler boss en casa de Dylan looks like: 

- A plethora of kisses! Not just your run of the mill kisses either. I’m talkin’ smoochy sounds followed by Dylan exclaiming, “Awwww!” Kisses for me, kisses for toys, kisses for everything! This is how I know for sure that he’s mastered the art of affectionate manipulation. 

- Pulling of the hand. Just picture it: I finally get my tush situated on the couch for a whole minute when suddenly a little baby hand is pulling on my sausage fingers. I follow baby hand’s lead and before I know it, I’ve turned corners and I’m plopped on the floor playing with a pile of toy trucks. Aw! I’ve reached playmate status! 

- It’s exactly how I imagine the end of times beginning: an unfamiliar and strange silence suddenly rears, prompting panic. I run to check on Dylan only to find him sitting safely in the lap of his gigantic stuffed bear, “Boog,” reading a book. Fuzzy wuzzy feelers alert! I know better than to interrupt. 

- He’s being weird. The kid is robotic, moving throughout the room like he’s in the military. And he’s shouting something...”Marth-ing, Marth-ing..” Then it clicks- OH! MARCHING! Aw, he doesn’t just go to school, he actually learns things too! I don’t question it, I accept and join in. We’re a parade! 

Though I often consider demanding a raise from my superior, I’m actually not underpaid…just greedy. It is both an honor and a privilege to work alongside Dylan and quite frankly, I’d do this for free. Just don’t tell that to my boss.

September 9, 2014

My Son, the Snob.

It’s no secret that I’m my son’s biggest fan…but dang, the kid wastes no time making me look bad. His quest for independence is at an all-time high and in turn, his behavior is ruthless, cruel, and flat out show-stopping. At first glance, it’s hard to see him for the terror that he truly is. He runs around pointing out airplanes and trucks, spreads that highly contagious kid laughter that melts even the coldest of hearts, and he sports a smile like he invented it! But the moment you try to slow him down, he’ll shit on you…and it’s humiliating. 

On Sunday, we attended my sister-in-law’s 10 year wedding vow renewal ceremony. We were surrounded by family who love Dylan and were excited to see him- but the feeling was far from mutual. Instead of saying hi to familiar faces like a polite toddler would do, Dylan pretended he couldn’t hear their calls. And instead of visiting with grandparents and enjoying their affections, Dylan delivered his disinterest with dramatic rejection, not limited to falling on the ground and screaming in protest. Having to acknowledge someone’s presence? What an inconvenience. And quite frankly, how dare you exist. 

No one wants to deal with a fussy child, and that’s where things get tricky. Dylan seems totally approachable. I mean, just look how happy he is! Running around, being all cute and stuff. But don’t be fooled. Dylan doesn’t care if you’re the photographer just trying to do your job, grandpa just wanting a kiss, or anyone else simply wanting to stop and say hi to the cute little guy; Dylan won’t think twice about pushing you out of his way and screaming bloody murder should you try to stop him. 

Though it can be tough to admit as I watch Dylan hypothetically swat people from a distance, that’s my boy! So on behalf of my snot of a son, I’m sorry. Just consider his blatant disregard for your feelings and his atrocious social skills as part of the whole Dylan experience. And like a bad breakup, please remember that it’s not you, it’s him! And uhm…we’re working on it, thanks for understanding.

September 4, 2014

What Being a Parent Actually Means

Nothing could've prepared me for what being Dylan’s mom would actually mean. I knew there’d be diapers, nurturing, guidance, etc., and I’ve heard of the whole sacred, built-in love thing that brings parents to their knees, that can’t truly be understood until it strikes. I was even aware of the whole annoying factor new parents beam as they mistake celebrate insignificant events as monumental revelations of superior intelligence. I was ready for it! (My baby just tried to open the front door! He’s so smart, he knows it’s a door! Obviously he’s a genius.) Color me guilty. Still, the books, fellow parents, and the whole world left a lot out. It’s not like they didn’t want to prepare new parents such as myself...it just can’t be done. There’s no one-size-fits-all with kids and I can prove it! Here’s a list of things I’ve learned on the job about what being Dylan’s mom really means: 

Being Dylan’s mom means I will not be taken seriously…by him. Sure, I can say, “No, don’t put your shoe in the dogs’ water bowl!” but until I relocate the water, my words are merely a suggestion…a bad one. 

Being Dylan’s mom means spending 15 minutes at daycare trying to convince my child that it’s time to go home. He likes to play the whole “I don’t know you” game that involves avoiding eye contact and running away upon my arrival. The chase is form of art. 

Being Dylan’s mom means I can’t keep him from discovering things. So my plans to raise him as a water drinker have been challenged by his discovery of milk. Who gave Dylan milk?! No idea. But now? It’s all he wants. Pop! Goes the weasel. 

Being Dylan’s mom means saying, “No cracker,” at least 40 times in a day because apparently, polly wanna cracker. 

Being Dylan’s mom means being woken up each morning to the sweet sounds of a toddler incessantly repeating, “Truck? Truck? Truck?” 

Being Dylan’s mom also means learning accepting that one toy truck will never be enough. The kid knows he has two hands, therefore he needs two trucks. “Two? Two? Two?” 

And of course, being Dylan’s mom means coming up with creative ways to pry those trucks out of his hands at the end of the day. If there are trucks in the bed, guess who’s NOT going to sleep? 

Learning what it means to be someone’s mom is a lesson that just keeps on teaching. And despite knowing nothing, I’m actually a lot more prepared than I thought! Parents adapt, conform, teach, and referee, even when they don’t [think they] know how to. So when you see me with two trucks and a bag of crackers, trying to convince my son to drink water instead of milk, let me explain: Hi, I’m Dylan’s mommy. And ain’t no book gonna teach you that! 

What does being a parent to your kid include that no one could've prepared you for? Please note: The freakier the better!

September 2, 2014

My Husband's Son

“Children are a reflection of their parents,” they say. “That’s pure hogwash,” I’d reply. The notion that Dylan’s serial killer antics reveal my own flip out nature just doesn’t add up. Plus, there’s no way I’m taking responsibility for the bulk of Dylan’s infamous behavior e.g. going for dad’s jugular; refusing to share anything; or rubbing meals in his hair. And the high pitch screams just to get a rise outta ya? So not me. But then life happened as it often does, providing its unsolicited perspective to reveal the fool I truly am, all whilst battling a ballsy, over-confident, pest of a fly who had it out for me. (Let the record show: I won.) 

“STUPID FLY! I’M GOING TO TAKE YOU DOWN AND ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS TOO!” I shouted at the fat, buzzing fly that was harassing me. He was one of those extra annoying bugs that enjoy the chase, taunting as he whizzes about, practically laughing as he flies past unscathed. “OH, YOU THINK YOU CAN SIT ON MY SON’S HIGHCHAIR? CONSIDER YOURSELF DEAD, IT’S PERSONAL NOW!” I yelled, wielding an empty box of Honey Nut Cheerios back and forth in the air because I'm totally normal and have my shit together. Then I got ‘em. “OH YEAH! GOTCHA! TOLD YOU I’D KILL YOU, YAY!!!” I dropped the box and disposed of the enemy. But before I could relish in the victory, I was stopped in my tracks by a Cheerio box flinging toddler, grunting and hopping around the kitchen. Oh…so that’s what I look like. 

Watching Dylan imitate my fly catching performance was horrifyingly funny. I guess I just didn’t consider what an idiot I looked like, trash-talking and swinging at Mother Nature’s undesirables. I was too occupied with taking the enemy down to even consider the imprint my questionable behavior would leave on my sponge toddler. So I did what any other self-respecting parent would do in the face of an offspring induced mirror, I paid the emulation no mind, took back the box and tossed it. Blatant denial, ya know? 

But my mind wandered and revealed a plethora of Dylan behaviors that could be traced back to me…like when he talks to things that don’t talk back, or when he lifts his sippy-cup in the air to “cheers”, or when he repeatedly tells my husband, “Let’s go!” when we’re supposed to go “bye-bye.” So fine. I’ll accept the whole “children are a reflection of their parents” thing with one unwavering condition: if it’s bad, if it’s embarrassing, if it’s sadistic or questionable…it's from his dad.