It didn’t take long for Eryn to become a video whiz on my smart phone. Before she was two years old she knew exactly which buttons to push to watch her favourite YouTube songs and stories.

It took even less time for me to realize that I had to monitor everything she was watching. Everything.

I taught her that when she was allowed to watch videos, she could only view the ones listed under our “favourites” — which included home videos, a few Islamic songs and one or two Sesame Street stories. But eventually she learned that watching one favourite could bring up a whole list of new, exciting and unfiltered videos. At best I’d catch her watching Winnie the Pooh in Italian and at worst, the Trololo guy.

But I never thought I’d have to talk to her about little blue men.

Recently I caught Eryn looking at this:

and this:

And my personal favourite:

Yes, you’re looking at a picture of a little boy surrounded by deamon-like creatures forcibly holding him down by chains to keep him from waking up for the morning prayer.

Now, this is not the sort of thing I want my three year old exposed to. Nor something I expected from Islamic instructional songs.

(more…)

Leave the house without makeup on my face, or at least lipstick.

Value, really cherish a long, hot shower.

Not care that I have rice smeared into my wool sweater. The one that has care instructions so delicate it reads, “No dry cleaning. Pat gently with a damp cloth.”

Wear the same clothes 3 days in a row (not underwear).

Labour over a lovely dinner, just to have it rejected, and settle for a cream cheese and carrot sandwich.

Write only between the hours of 10pm-2am (well, I did in undergrad, but learned the value of sleep. Now I just don’t get sleep at night).

Require and love having two naps a day.

Be okay with waking up to a) a bum in my face, b) someone’s fingers up my nose, c) being smacked repeatedly on the head.

Lick another human’s fingers (well.. I *may* have done that before), instead of grabbing a towel.

Sing little ditties in my head, get really excited because, “I love this song!” and then be crestfallen when I realize the ditty is just a midi-file from one of Eryn’s extremely repetitious musical toys — and not the next coolest hit off the Top 40.

Let someone else brush my teeth for me, feed me masticated food, or bite my fingers.

Undress, only to find food underneath my clothes, and not be ashamed to eat it.

Not care that I’ve become that annoying mother who holds up mall traffic because her baby insists on walking assisted, very slowly, against the flow of haggard Christmas shoppers.

Carry a 22 pound sack of potatoes all day long. Receive compliments on how I’m carrying her and offer tips and tricks like I’m some kind of expert on baby wearing.

Search every corner of the Internet, mall or local farm for petting zoos or pet stores.

Get a sinking feeling in my stomach and feel my heart break when people don’t wave back at my perfectly happy, smiling baby or when a loved one is expected and she misses seeing them.

Feel my heart soar and smile with the goofiest grin each time Eryn truly laughs (they are so few and far between).

Go to bed excited to have my face smacked in the morning.

🙂

Eryn colouringEryn only says “baba” now.

Before, it was “dada”…  all the time.  “Dada” for water, for this, for that, for car, for mama and for baba. I used to make the other mothers at the park uncomfortable when they’d compare how brilliant their “eieio” singing babies were to my one consonant baby by saying, “Oh, she only says ‘dada’ which is too bad because we don’t have one.”

We don’t have a “dada.” We have a “baba” and I know that he’s over the moon at how much she repeats his name, calls him and obsesses over him. And it’s not just random repetition or testing a new sound. She begs for “baba,” implores “baba,” sweetly calls “baba,” and exclaims, “baba!” Every. minute. until. his. return.

No, I’m not in the least bit jealous.

We had a brief “mama” phase. Very brief when compared to how much she’s called for “baba” over the last 48 hours. I know it’s because she sees me all the time and is reassured that I will always be there for her if she needs me. It’s also about time that she becomes enamored with her baba — they both need the exposure and love playing with each other. Baba however, is away for 8 hours, and when he comes home he has that cool, nonchalant way of interacting. While I’ve been “on” for 12 hours: singing, playing, jumping, throwing, carrying, feeding, chasing, cleaning, bouncing, nursing. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum.

He just has to smile and give a pat on the head for all to be right in the universe.

Lucky bugger.

Eryn up on baba's shoulders

Eryn has entered a new phase of eating…

It involves rejecting my hand, my spoon and my fork.

But not my chopsticks.

Stab. Stab. Stab.

Morning, 8am

Zzzzzzz…zzzzz…zzz..z.. *SMACK* “Ow! Eryn, not in the face.”

“Read me the book mom. Read me the book. No, not that one. That one. No. That one. Yes. Read me that book now.”

“Once upon a time there was a little boy who wore red pants and red shoes. He went hiking in the Alps every day. See the mountains? Here are his friends skiing and sledding. One day he got caught in a Zamboni…”

“Ma, you’re reading it wrong. You forgot to thump your hand on your leg. Here, let me. Thump, thump, thump.” Ridiculous grin.

“Yes baby, the rescue beaver is coming to thump his tail. Be patient.”

Breakfast

“Eryn, eat your oatmeal.”

“momgivemethatandthatandthatandthat. I want this. This. This. This.”

“The banana? No. The water? No. Milk? No. The book? No. Stop signing milk, you already said no milk. What do you want — use your words. The rubber band? You want the rubber band? Yes? Nod please. Fine. Take it. Eat. Bismillah.”

“Yum!!”

“Will you try some cheerios? [singing] Cha-Cha-Cha-Cheerios. Some girls like them, some girls love them, I think they’re okay. But when you eat your breakfast, you really make my day-ay. Cause baby we are living in a Cha-Cheerio world and you are a Cha-Cheerio girl.”

Dances, wiggles and final eats.

Potty Time

“Eryn come here. Come here. No don’t eat the Vaseline. Come here. Diaper change! [she signs diaper change] Yes! Now come here. Don’t pee on the bed. Wait!  Hold still. No Vaseline I said, come here…”

(more…)

You’ve all seen this parent. A mom or dad who comes to playgroup with a sweet child in their arms. The baby is all smiles and is excited by all the excitement around them. The colours. The noises. The pandemonium.

The parent and child team get settled in their corner, and then the parent lets the baby loose. In a matter of seconds, baby is off like a rocket — crawling over younger infants, taking toys away from unsuspecting victims, crawling up to other mothers urgently pointing and gesturing for toys, bullying the older toddlers, ripping out binkies from the mouths of babes, and horror upon horrors, smacking everyone in the face. The parent watches all of it, quickly growing pale and runs behind destructobaby, apologizing, redirecting, distracting, and eventually just picks up the the child, withdraws to their corner to regroup and calm down. It’s all over in about 5 minutes. The parent is flustered and shocked. The baby is frustrated and restrained. The playgroup silently marks the baby as being a bully.

Yeah. That would be me.

Yesterday I took Eryn to a new playgroup at a free centre and experienced the above scenario. The parents were super nice about it, but I couldn’t understand what was going on. Eryn isn’t violent. She’s not usually a bully. She’s spent the last month attached to my hip and terrified of leaving whenever she’s confronted with strangers. I completely didn’t expect this assertive, talkative and pushy baby to fly from my arms.

In retrospect I’m so proud of her. She scared a 3 year old boy, wasn’t afraid of any of the adults, shared a few of the toys without being prompted and had a really great time.  I’m more worried about the face hitting. She gave a really good whack to a 5 week old infant — and that’s just not acceptable.

We’ve been modeling gentle behaviour with her recently — she rocks her “baby” (Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas) to sleep, and gently strokes my arm when I ask her to show me “gentle touch.” So I was really taken aback when she ruthlessly attacked every child in the room. And for no apparent reason.

“dum, da dum, dee dum. I’m crawling, crawling, crawling… oh hello! Nice toy you have there.. WHACK! What’s over there? crawling, crawling, crawling. I see you sitting in your bumbo seat. Nice rattle. You want some of this? KAPOW.”

Maybe we shouldn’t be teaching her how to fight Crouching Tiger style.

Eryn play fighting with a friend

Thankfully, I think it was just circumstantial.  Babies are individuals with their own moods and needs.  Today I took her to another, bigger playgroup. She didn’t hit anyone and even offered some empathy. My heart melted when she crawled past a 2 year old girl, paused and sat up to pat the girl on the back. Like the hitting, she did it for no apparent reason.

Maybe she’s playing good baby/bad baby? No matter. She can hold her own in a room full of strangers, and that’s awesome. (we’ll just have to work on the hitting)

Apparently, all of the other mothers’ babies are smilier, talkier, walkier, smarter and have more hair than my baby.

All she has is the most teeth.

Well… that, and the ability to take instruction in 3 languages and can feed herself with a spoon.

But, you know, I’m out to make friends, not brag.

sigh.

In three weeks today, Eryn will be a year old (God willing).

Because her birthday for the next few years will fall in the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, we thought it would be a good idea to celebrate her birthday a week early with a “summer is almost over–we’ll be fasting during the day for a month–let’s party while we can–oh yeah, it’s Eryn’s day too” BBQ with close friends. That way, the adults can be adult and throw around a frisbee while eating yummy burgers, and the babies can be babies and stuff their faces with cake (ok, the adults too).

We didn’t want to have a kids’ birthday party with extravagant invitations, party hats, kid-themed games, clowns, air castles (although, I’d love that), because really, what does she care?  Eryn probably won’t remember the day and will be entirely embarrassed when I showcase her cake smeared cheeks to her tween friends.

We also only have three close friends with babies, everyone else is newly married or single. I even themed the “save the date” e-mail to be an Alice in Wonderland unbirthday celebration, and emphasized a BBQ for us and our mostly babyless friends — who do indeed love the summer BBQs. All of our couple friends throw at least one each summer and we rotate through monthly BBQs, pulling out kites, bubbles, football (that’s soccer for some), and even friendly games of cricket. Everyone contributes a dish and we cook up a storm in a local park. Good times had by all.

Now that almost everyone has replied back with a resounding, “sorry! we already have plans” and Hubby might be in Seattle for work, I’m upset.

I can’t believe my little baby isn’t going to get a birthday party! Only one couple can make it (the single guy with his new girlfriend whom I haven’t met), and the grandparents of course.

I’m going to have to cancel her unbirthday and every time I think about it, I get a little more sad, nostalgic and like an irritable mama bear. She should have a party!  She deserves horses and eco-friendly party favours; helium balloons and a new party outfit; a three-tiered cake and a magician! Who cares if she doesn’t remember.

I’m just going to take her to the museum on the 13th and then have cake with the grandparents.

*Grumble even though she deserves a novelty party hat with all of the people who came to see her at birth grumble.*

Image credit: AnitaInverarity

That’s what I said to Eryn this evening.  She’s been biting me.  Same boob. Over and over and over.  And usually with a sneaky gleam in her eye.

It’s either because she’s teething (number 5 showed up yesterday); just not interested because darn the pretty Kuwaiti mall lights, the world is suddenly so much more brighter, shinier, and filled with people wanting to smile at her; or it’s because I opted to go with a spouted sippy cup and she’s learning to bite to get liquid.  Before we’d just feed her water from a water bottle or straight from a cup. I thought the sippy would be just easier for travel.

And it’s not a “bite and won’t let go” manoeuver. Oh no.  It’s a “oh so you want to nurse me, do you? Well let me open wide for you, and just as I’m fooling you into a comfortable latch, I’m going to chomp down and let go before you can smother me with your breast. MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

Not pleased.

Well that sucked.

I’m in the car now on my way home from the conference session. I spent the first 15 minutes keeping Eryn occupied, away from electrical plugs, smiling at the kind people who saw me struggling and who smiled back (“oh she’s so cute!”), worrying that the ground was too dirty for her to be crawling on, staring down mommy haters who were pissed that her two “ah!”s were too loud for them, and certainly NOT listening to the speakers.

So we left and played in the park instead and had a great time.

Not that I would have completely comprehended the topics at hand. As soon as the first speaker started defining “obtuse” Heideggarian terms, all I could think of was, “Rolley polley, rolley polley… Up, up, up!”

Le sigh.

Perhaps I’ll get my hands on some of the papers, because the topics were really interesting.

What really pissed me off was that they charged me $5 for the day, even though I told them I was just going for the one session. And the woman who charged me SAW me hanging out in the lobby for half the session with an active baby and even offered to get me a seat.

No. Thanks. I’d rather be getting my money’s worth in there.

So I grabbed $5 worth of yummy conference cookies.