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Posts Tagged ‘Talky McWontshutup’

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was cursed with insomnia by her wicked biological mothers’ crappy DNA. This mother’s DNA also gave this little girl a fear of telephones and big thighs but whatever, I can bitch about those later. From the time this little girl’s memory started keeping track of things she knew she was different. Her younger sister fell asleep before her head even hit the pillow and I know you’re thinking that’s impossible but I assure you she was a freak of nature- her soft snore would kick in halfway between the sitting to laying positions. (If she leaves a comment to deny this, don’t bother reading it- for she is LYING TO YOU.) Why was the little girl, OK fine, was why I so different?

My parents would put us to sleep together in our shared double bed, me on the left side, Snoreface on the right. After receiving a thoroughly entertaining reading of Dr. Seuss by my father, many nights my mom and dad would come in, sit on the end of our bed and sing us folk songs with the prettiest, sweetest harmonies that could lull a rabid bull frog to sleep. Then they would retreat to their room, where if they left the doors open just wide enough, I could see them reading their books or magazines in bed.

We didn’t have white noise of any kind but if I listened closely I could hear the low buzz of the streetlight on the corner, AC/DC ‘s dulcet tones wafting over from under my brother’s door and some Hair Band coming from my older sisters’ room. The room was peacefully lit from the soft blue light emanating from the antique painted miniature bulb lamp that rested on our shared dresser, a little more than a night-light’s glow but this went unnoticed by me until I was older.

So the scene is set. It was an environment conducive to the nurturing of a young ones sleep. Only I didn’t. I spent much of the beginning of the night taking turns looking out into the hall and after getting annoyed with that, turning over to study the contents that lay outside the big window to my left. Trees? Check. Streetlight? Check? Neighbor’s lawn? Check. That one big ass rock? Check check. This got boring fast. So, most nights I would try to poke Snoreface awake. In a fervent whisper: Susie? Poke her forehead. Suusie? Poke her cheek. Suuuuuuusie? Sometimes I would stick my finger up her nose and sometimes I would whisper things like There are gorilla’s under the bed!, The house is on fire! or There’s a tornado outside our window! Sometimes she would wake up but only long enough to give me a dirty look, flick me off, and fall back asleep as she was flipping her back to me (a freak I tell you!).

Once I got a little older I would lay in bed until my parents flipped off their light and then I would get up after I counted a reasonable amount of Mississippi’s to feel safe from being busted. I would line up my stuffed animals on the edge of the bed, try to find the moon outside the window or go sit at the top of the stairs. This last one was my favorite because I happened to have a very naughty older sibling who liked to sneak in late and as I’ve found out since she was none too sober on many of these occasions.The upstairs of our house was situated as such: The stairs came up the middle of an open rectangle with a room at each corner. I would sit here and wait until said naughty sibling stumbled in and she would sit with me, letting me chatter her ear off as many 8-9-10 year olds are apt to do when given the opportunity. Being in the state she was I’m sure she found this plenty amusing and I had company.

I was never received well when I went in to my parents’ room because I was scared or just so tired of not being able to sleep. My mom had so much on her plate with 7 people to keep alive and she had trouble sleeping as well, so she didn’t have much patience when I interrupted her during the brief time she had to recuperate. Also I was always too nervous to wake her so I did that really creepy thing where I would just stand next to her face and stare at her until she woke up. I think I scared the bejesus out of her so many times her sympathy was running on the low side.

Being a mom now, I certainly don’t blame her but those years spent shifting so endlessly in a bed have left their impression. Rowan is an awesome sleeper for the most part. The first four months of her life were spent getting up 4-6 times a night for feedings and popping her nuk back in, but after that things have been fairly smooth sailing. Short lived regressions here and there, a nightmare, a potty accident or a lost-in-the-covers Woobie. On night’s where these things have happened I jump out of bed, eager to help her because I have such enormous empathy when it comes to sleep issues- I want to be there in a way that just wasn’t possible for my mom. I gladly offer a snuggle with her on the couch at 2am after she’s had a bad dream and she takes me up on the offer, curling her tired little body up next to mine but after only a few minutes she lets me know that she’s ready to go back to her bed. It makes me happy. And also a little jealous. Clearly she doesn’t have the talents Snoreface possessed but she definitely doesn’t lay awake for hours on end every night.

Keaton’s sleep saga has been an adventure and is entirely too long to fit here but long story short he’s been sleeping great for the most part since he was eight months old. Let us not speak of the eight months before that. I hope that these two buggers will not be afflicted with the trouble I have had my whole life. It does go up and down but on average I fall asleep an hour and a half after my head first hits the pillow. I’ve tried a number of sleeping remedies from herbal teas and supplements, to drinking copious amounts of alcohol, to the 2.5 years where I took between 2-6 Tylenol PM every night, sometimes with the alcohol (SEE YOU IN HELL LIVER. I NEVER LIKED YOU ANYWAY.)

Maybe insomnia skips a generation or two like my mom’s beautiful olive skin must (WHERE IS MY OLIVE SKIN DAMMIT. (Accursed father and his stupid norweigoness)). I so hope for my kid’s sake that they don’t ever have a problem but if they do they have a mama who is well equipped to help them through it- even if it means getting drunk, sitting at the top of the stairs and listening to them tell me all about what their best friend said to them during lunch today, which girl/boy is a poo-poo head and/or the mating habits of grouse in the wild. I will be there. And not just because I can’t sleep either.

Honk...

Honk...

Shoooooooooo

Shoooooooooo

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When I think of the moments I’m not particularly proud of in my parenting history, more than a few instances come to mind. The Yelling has got to be on the top of my list. Wishing I would get a terminal disease when Keaton’s crying was at its worst. Popping a dirty nuk in my kid’s mouth for no other reason than the sink is just SO FAR AWAY. Any parent’s list could get frighteningly long; from the mundane passive mistakes to the oops-I’m-gonna-be getting-the-therapy-bill ones if they thought about it hard enough, which, {shudder} I don’t really feel like doing right now. However, I don’t have to think too hard or long to know that swearing is a BIG problem for Bill and I.

After Rowan was born we both acknowledged we had a problem but figured we had time. As long as we swore in a sweet, high-pitched voice around her we were OK. Fast forward to 2 year old Rowan and a very bad moment in my parenting history. I was driving my sister, Rowan and my very pregnant self when a car cut me off. I held my tongue. Rowan had entered the age of Extreme Sponginess so I had been making an effort to curb my explicatives. Then the car proceeded to go 15 miles under the speed limit. Again, no swearing- I didn’t even ride their ass. Perhaps they are lost or have a medical condition that doesn’t allow them to push down on the gas pedal correctly. Then they slammed on their brakes in the middle of a 50 mile per hour road, nearly causing an accident.

“YOU FUCKING SHITHEAD FUCKER” flew out of my mouth almost as fast as my middle finger flew up and bashed against the car window. Then to my absolute horror, a high pitched fairy voice squealed out from the backseat, “Fucking Fucker!” Nooooo, I thought, Fuck! Ahhh! I mean CRAP.

“Rowan! Mommy’s upset, Don’t say or repeat that word!”

“OK, mama.” A pause, and then, “Shithead! Shithead!” Oh my god WHAT HAVE I DONE. My sister (who, incidentally, is the most foul mouthed human being on planet earth) was absolutely no help to me at this point because she had gone from politely trying to hide her giggling by clasping her hands over her mouth to full out belly laughs. Real helpful, ya jerk. After we got home I tried to explain to Rowan why adults sometimes say bad things and that mama needs to try harder to watch her language and that Rowan needs to help mom and dad by letting us know when we say a bad word. And we are SO paying for those instructions. She never fails to let us know when we slip up which you’d think would help us stop but, no. You’d be wrong.

We are parents who swear. I know, I know. This is wrong. It is stupid. But LORD WE TRIED TO STOP! We were unsuccessful! When we made an effort to stop swearing when we got upset in front of the kids, swear words just started popping up in our casual conversation because they NEEDED A WAY OUT. Let me demonstrate: Instead of saying  “SHIT” when I dropped the pepper shaker, I would bite my tongue and say nothing or “darn” or “dang” or some other useless word, but then later at dinner I would totally by accident say “Can you pass me the fucking pepper?” You see? I was mad at the pepper and by not allowing the innocent swear when the pepper pissed me off, a much worse and uncalled for swear took it’s place.

Swearing makes me feel better. It is my tension releaser. I can be a very physical person when I’m angry and if I wasn’t allowed a good shit or fuck or some combination of the two I would be libel to throw a chair out the window or worse, at you. This is genetic; my mother was a thrower too. Her weapons of choice were pots and partially frozen poultry or other meats. (I should clarify she only ever aimed at my unsuspecting and mostly deserving father, never us kids.) You see? I need the swears, lest I throw bone-in chicken breast at Bill’s pretty face.

When Rowan started preschool, Bill and I were very afraid. Would she tell her teachers to “pick that shit up” or tell them the “fucking book page tore”? Seven months in and we’ve had no such reports but we really do live in constant fear of this. I don’t want her to be punished or ostracized because we can’t seem to get a handle on what comes out of our mouths. And now the fear has gotten worse since we’ve caught Rowan inadvertently swearing to herself or her toys. GREAT. My kid just told her stuffed animals “To quit with all the damn noise!” or “Get into line, you dumb-ass”. It’s sad but 80% of me laughs when she curses. Rowan has a helium powered voice, strong and high-pitched. I’m sorry but pair that with swear words and it’s nothing short of precious.

Part of me is at peace with how we’ve chosen to handle swearing and the other part of me knows it can’t go on like this. We know it’s going to come to a point when it will no longer be cute, but flat out obnoxious. Like when we get a phone call from another parent asking us what the hell we are teaching our kid. We’ve already decided that crap will not be deemed a bad word in our house and that has bought us some leeway. We haven’t figured out much more, other than to only swear when absolutely necessary, and from there, admit our mistake and apologize. Beyond that Bill’s face would greatly appreciate any suggestions…

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chatterbox

Who, me?

Let’s talk about my wonderful daughter and her 3 and a half year history of being biologically incapable of shutting the hell up. Oh, OK, I’m exaggerating a little. Wait….nope… I’m definitely NOT on this one. Rowan came into this world on August 17th, 2005 and she hasn’t been quiet since. From the time she was a tiny infant, right up until 30 seconds ago when I told her to please shush her mouth for the 498,777 time, she has been motor-mouthing it in one form or another.

It started with the grunting (no, not mine and Bill’s get your damn mind out of the gutter). Baby grunts. It’s a thing, I swear. I was totally weirded out by this little petite girl-baby making grunting noises at all hours of the day and night. I had never noticed my nieces or nephew doing this and thought something was wrong with her, although she seemed quite happy with herself and with life in general. I have to admit I was a little embarrassed, since it kinda sounded like she was trying to push out a poop or something- and that’s what I thought it was about, at first. But, nope. This kid just liked to make noise. All the time. Turns out this particular brand of grunting comes from her PATERNAL side- I was later told by my mother-in-law that Bill had been known as ‘Grunter Gunter” when he was a baby. I wouldn’t try calling him that now though. He’ll probably throw something at you (not that I would know anything about that).

She went through the typical cooing stage, right around 2 months and this continued in various forms of melt-your-heart cuteness until she hit 5-6 months when she started to perfect her coos into babbling. She repeated phrases bababa, dadada just like all the developmental books, that I was so fond of reading at the time, said she would. Except she would never stop. She was constantly babbling through meals, during story time, you name it. She would wake up at 6am and be perfectly content to babble in her crib until 8am. This baby loved the sound of her voice. And, incidentally, so did we.

Next came the “Ot’ stage at around 7 months. We are unsure of where this came from or how it started but oh good lord ‘Ot’ was the only word to come out of her mouth for a good 6 weeks. She used it for everything, like she knew what she was saying.

“Good Morning, Rowan!” “Ot!”

“Would you like some banana?” “Ot.”

“What story do you want?” “Ot?”

“OT OT OT OT OT”

OK, you get it, right? It was so very confusingly cute for a while but it went on and on and I honestly thought she had contracted some neurological disease that prevented her from saying anything other that THIS ONE THING that is not even a real word. In my finest first-time-mom glory, I was pretty sure she was going to be a special needs case because of her excessive use of “Ot”.

This phase was broken by what can only be described as Extreme Babbling. And not in English. I’m thoroughly convinced, as was her daycare provider at the time who had 20 years of experience under her belt, that she was babbling in Japanese. It was fast, unintelligible, staccato inflected, and like all forms of communication she had utilized previously, it was constant. Oh was it ever constant. This child seemed to be 100 percent sure of what she was saying, and looked at us like we were the idiots. Whatever, baby. Hate to break it to you but Ot is not a word and you are NOT JAPANESE. So there.

One day when she was about 8.5 months I was holding her and she was Extreme Babbling away, and I said “Look, Rowan! Here is our kitty. Hi Kitty!”

And she said “ook eee taa koo guuuu Hi Kitty!” I couldn’t believe it. I thought I had misheard, so I tried again. “Hi Kitty” I said. “Hi Kitty” she said back to me. Whoa, I better go consult my development books to see if that just happened. Maybe with all the Japanese I’ve been listening to, it just clicked. MAYBE I understand Japanese now. I checked my thoroughly thumbed copy of What To Expect The First Year and found that though it was early it was not impossible for Rowan to say her first words. And she continued, at her own discretion of course, to say “Hi Kitty”. Another month and she was saying ‘doggy’ ‘Dada’  and other such things. By the time she was 1, she had over 40 words in her vocabulary and it was growing everyday.

When she was 15 months we stopped keeping track because her word count was over 250. It was NUTS. The only thing she loved as much as talking was paging through her books and being read to (and of course her Woobie). She started to string words together around 16 months and by 20 months was talking in sentences. By 2 we could understand everything that came out of her mouth. Other parents were perplexed by her speech, even her Pediatrician looked at us like we were crazy when we told her Rowan’s word count. She was probably thinking: Great, I got stuck with one of THOSE parents. The ones that are going to inquire about Mensa applications because their kid can say “Octagon”.

Rowan (in my 100% unbiased opinion, *COUGH COUGH*) is a very bright kid, and though there were some moments when she’d say something that would make Bill and I go “Whoa, did that just come out of her mouth?”,  really she is just a normal kid with an excellent vocabulary. An excellent vocabulary that she puts to very good use every second of every day. This is sort of melting our brains since she has a full blown case of the Whys and the Why Nots and the Wheres and the Whos etc. etc. and we are truly in awe that she doesn’t seem to ever grow tired of constantly flapping her jaw. I love that she’s curious and asks so many questions but I have to admit that after a certain point I start to fantasize about shoving a sock in her mouth. Only I don’t think that that would work. Chattering away is such an integral part of her being I would not be phased if her body sprouted another mouth to pick up the slack.

A lot of other parents we meet have commented on how lucky we are to have such a verbal kid, and most days I sincerely feel lucky. This kid knows what she wants and she can tell me. I am grateful for this. But contrary to the common belief that better communication (ie, vocabulary) can prevent most tantrums, in our case we found this to be untrue. Rowan could throw tantrums with the best of them and a pissed off toddler tends to give in to frustration and emotion no matter how many words they know. They just use those words while they are screaming.

Keaton is 15 months and has 20-30 words, most of which are only recognizable to Bill and I , and it’s kind of…nice. And quiet. Rowan is so amazing and truly a one of a kind, smart, clever kid. Every day she surprises me and makes me think and/or laugh at something that comes out of her mouth. I love her chattering (except for when I don’t) but I think Bill and I are both relieved that Keaton isn’t trying to give her a run for her money in the National Chatterbox Mouth Running Freestyle Competition.

"HI flower, I'm sniffing you, you smell flowery not like a bug they smell buggy. Do you like bugs? I do but sometimes I don't and this one time..."

"HI flower, I'm sniffing you, you smell flowery not like a bug they smell buggy. Do you like bugs? I do but sometimes I don't and this one time..."

(Just as an aside, even though Rowan started speaking at eight months old she wouldn’t say Mom. I was something like her 27th word. What kid says “ladybug” and “truck” before Mama? I swear she did that on purpose.)

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