“Motherhood Absentmindedness”

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to share my essay, “Motherhood Absentmindedness,” which was published in Brain, Child last week.

The essay begins:

You think I’d learn not to rest my coffee cup on the roof of the car while buckling my daughter Nora into her car seat, but sometimes, I only have so many hands. How many times have I backed out of the driveway and heard the clunk of a thing hitting the pavement? My phone, my sunglasses, a water bottle, a lunch bag, a juice box. And I have spent much of my existence searching for lost items, so much so that my two-year-old has a habit of walking into my closet with her hands in the air, saying, “I’m just looking for something”….

To keep reading, click on the link. http://www.brainchildmag.com/2014/09/motherhood-absentmindedness/

Thanks!

Sara

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There’s a coyote downstairs

Nora’s words/phrases
“Just”: “I just have a poop.” “I’m just eating cereal.” “We’re just having a birthday party.”
“Berry (very)”: “I berry need the bunny right now.”
“Doe (though)”: “No, but I berry need the bunny right now doe!” “I’m still berry hungry doe!”
She often starts a sentence with “but” that are not supposed to be contradictory: “But the doggy is eating his cereal.” “But, they’re sitting in chairs.”
“Mines” (instead of mine): “This one is mines and this one is yours.”
“I fink (think)”: “I fink these are not pajama pants.”
“Maybe”: “Maybe we’ll see a bunny.” “Maybe we’ll have a snack.”
“Should I?”: “Should I throw this?” “Should I put this in my mouth?”
If she wants to be carried, she says she wants to carry you: “I want to carry Daddy!”
She still thinks if someone gave her something, that they made it. “Rachel made this glider chair.”

Her guys
She has named her guys. Baby is “Babia,” Bear is “Bearia,” Bunny is “Bunnia” and you get the idea. She also named one dog “Fluffy” and one bunny “Fluff.”
Nora and her guys have a really great time in the crib when they’re supposed to be sleeping. Nora sings to them, changes their diapers, feeds them and talks to them.
Kevin goes in to check on her.
“We’re having a birthday party,” she says, surrounded by her guys.
“It’s time to go to sleep honey,” he says.
“No, but we’re berry having a birthday party!”

Fears
Nora has an active imagination. One night she tells us there’s a coyote downstairs. “Oh really?” I say. “Where is it?”
“In the kitchen,” she says.
She wakes up talking about the coyote and won’t let go of my leg as we walk into the kitchen. Maybe she had a dream about it – who knows.
And one day, she would not step outside.
“What’s the matter?” I say.
“There’s no bear outside,” she says, laughing nervously.
“No, there’s no bear,” I say.
This nervous laugh, this attempt to soften or mask her fears sort of breaks my heart. How did she learn to do this?
She is afraid of my sister’s dog, Morgan (a very sweet dog) – she won’t put her feet on the ground when Morgan is in the vicinity, but she does that funny laugh. “Oh there’s Mooorgan! Ha ha! She’s a nice dog! Ha ha! She’s berry, berry, berry nice!” She runs over to me and climbs on my lap. “Haha. I’m ok. I’m not scared.”


Potty training
It’s sometimes funny how coherent she can be and how level headed she can sound, when the truth is, she needs somebody to wipe her bum for her.
One morning, Kevin went into her room to get her out of bed. She sat up and said, “Hi. I just have a little poop in my diaper. I better take a bath.”

Her idea of a joke

We’re all eating dinner together and Kevin and I are talking and catching up on our day.

“I said, ‘I don’t want to wear the hair bow,'” Nora says, and laughs hysterically.


Mommy’s work
A few nights a week I teach yoga. When Daddy isn’t home, he’s “at work.” When mommy isn’t home, she’s “teaching yoga.”
“What does mommy do for work?” Kevin asks her.
“Um… baseball,” she says.
Wha???

Here are some pics of Nora and her cousins from their fun in the sun.

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The bear is ready to go!

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Can you believe Nora is two and a half?

I just love the imaginary life she has with her “guys.” She likes to pretend she’s mommy. Today, she carried Kermit the Frog around and had a little conversation with him: “Let’s have a picnic. You wanna hold my hand? Come. We have a special picnic. K? You wanna sit here? Put you on the high chair. K? Put your feet through. We have special food for you. Here’s your bib. You wanna get down?”

Sometimes, her mommy/teacher voice doesn’t sound so sweet. Another conversation with Kermit: “Sit right there. I want you to listen. Okay? No! No! I want you to listen to me.” (Ugh, I hope I don’t sound like that.) “Don’t do dat! Don’t put popcorn on the floor.” And, “Don’t hit.”

But more often than not she’s nice to them. “What’s wrong turtle? He had a boo boo in his hand” (Gives him a kiss.)

Nora in her crib in the morning holding her bear to me: “The bear is ready to go.”

Me: “Where is he going?”

Nora: “Uh… pizza.”

I love the face she makes when she holds one of her guys up close and says, “aww he’s so cuuute,” endearing little lovey face, little coy smile, chin tucked to chest.

She’s started using the potty more frequently before bed and in the morning. She even asked once to go in the middle of the day and she went pee pee!

She got her two bottom molars and one top one. She was not a happy camper when that top one was breaking through.

Nora in the car: “I want a bar.”

Daddy: “We don’t have a bar.”

Nora: “But we have a packet maybe?”

Sometimes she sounds Russian: “What I holding in my hand?” “What I wearing?” “What I have on my pants?”

When she wakes up in the morning, she’ll say, “What are we doing today?”

She started saying “Oh my goodness!” Daddy pointed at a building and said it looked like a castle. “Oh my goodness, it is!” she said.

I went in one night to check on her and she woke up for a second, her hair a mess. “It’s sunny outside today,” she said and then went back to sleep.

I just love her adorable pronunciation like “hoteeel” and “baycation” and the way her mouth moves in an exaggerated way when she talks. I love the way she pauses between each word and the way she seems to be thinking so hard about what she wants to say before she says it.

Every once in awhile I rock her the way I did when she was a little baby and it reminds me of that time. She looks up and off into the distance, big eyes, pretty lips, mouth slightly open. Her breathing slows down. I can tell she’s about to fall asleep, her eyelids drooping, but then she reaches out and touches my face. “That your eyebrow?” she yells. “That your hair?”

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What are you doing moon? Are you up in the sky?

 - Nora saw herself in the mirror. A strand of her hair was sticking straight up. “I have a unicorn,” she said.

-  She speaks in full sentences and tells stories about her day: “We meet baby Hanya aaaand see Seryn… aaand run around… aaand eat graham crackers and animal crackers and Seryn have some aaand we play with bubbles.”

-  She seems to finally get it that I’m a space cadet who constantly loses things. She walked into my closet the other day and said, “Uh, I’m looking for my belt. I can’t find it.”

- Randomly, she opened the door again, looked at me and said, “Let me know if you have a poop.”

-  She walked up to a little girl at the playground. “I have my jacket too,” she said, pointing at her own orange coat. “I’m Nora.” The girl just stared at her and then ran away. I was in near tears. How cute is she? Introducing herself to somebody?

(She’s transitioning out of parallel play and starting to really interact with people. This is exciting, but also nerve-wracking, because she’s about to enter a new world in which she cares what others think about her. I will have less and less control over how others treat her and how she internalizes things and that’s kind of scary. But, I realize this is an important step in her development. I’m so proud of her. Sniffle.)

-  While I was trying to pack, she put on my swim cap and held the goggles up to her eyes. “This is my mommy’s hat,” she said.

-   It happened. She climbed out of the crib. Oh boy. I knew this day would come. Nana and Poppop were babysitting and they heard a thud. They ran upstairs to find her quietly standing by the glider chair, looking a little shocked. “I bounced out,” she said. (I’m not ready to put her in a toddler bed! I can’t imagine her left to her own devices in her room! She would probably climb the walls and start eating bottles of Desitin! Has anyone been through this? Advice?)

-  We’ve been dealing with some poopy messes lately in her crib. It hasn’t been pretty, I’ll tell you that. I’ll spare you the gory details… let’s just say she likes finger painting. I’ve been strapping her into those footy onesie pajamas for every nap. I’ve been trying to concoct mixes of lemon juice and mouth wash to get the smell off her hands. I need a vacation! (Advice?)

-  She calls the stuffed animals in her crib “my guys.”

-  She squeezes our faces says we’re “so cute!” in this French-sounding accent. “Mommy’s zo cute, isn’t she? Aw, Daddy’s zo cute!”

-   She holds the page of a book in her little hand and says, “Take care of books. Don’t rip it, right?”

-   If you give her something, she might think you made it. “Daddy made these elephant banjamas (pajamas), right?” (I like the idea of Kevin sitting down at night after a hard day’s work to sew some elephant pajamas.)

-  I asked her if she wanted to hear music in the car and she said, “No. I’m singing Rockabye Baby to my sheep.”

-   Her improvisational skills are getting more and more advanced. “Old MacDonald had a stuffy nose,” “And on that farm there was a pants,” “And on that farm there was a Brianna.” She can sing Row Row Your Boat and Twinkle Twinkle little star to the tune of David Melach Yisrael.

-  She talks to people from afar so that they feel obligated to stand there until she’s done. “I have my leopard bear!” “I take my shoe off!” “This is my mommy!”

-  A woman was carrying a baby in a sling, and Nora said from afar, “See the baby hugging the mommy?”

-  She has so much ENERGY! She sometimes holds both ears, makes this weird face and shakes like the hulk. She does this while running around the yard.

-  Other funny/random things she’s said: “My name is cutie pie,” “Oh I found this in my hand!” “I wanna take a little bath and watch Dora and pelay (play),” “Kermit’s going for a ride! To the grocery store!” “That’s a biiiig poop,” “I want to hear Led Zeppelin. Is this ‘I Gotta Woman.’?” “Don’t break Daddy’s watch, right?” “The kitty cat is zo cute. Hiii kitty cat.” “I’m zo cute. I’m little. I’m a baby.”

-  We took a walk one day and you could see the white moon against the blue sky. “I see the moon,” Nora said from her stroller. “I see it,” I said. Then she yelled, “What are you doing moon?! Are you up in the sky?!”

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Wanna play a little minute?

Nora is a little person who speaks in complete sentences, who knows what she wants, who makes me laugh every day. Of course, she’s two, and some moments are challenging, but mostly, there is laughter and silliness. I can’t count all the words she knows because her vocabulary has gotten so big!

“I want…” is her favorite thing to say right now. “Um, uh, I wanna EAT. I wanna EAT.” “I wanna go downstairs.” “I wanna watch Dora.” She once said, “I wanna throw things.” And if you give her what she wants, she might laugh and say, “Oh, thank you. Thank you, Mommy,” or shove it away and say, “No, all done. I’m all done with the mango. I don’t wanna EAT anymore.”

She likes to say what things are not. She might point to a picture of a goose and say, “Not a doooog! Riight?” “I wanna play, not naaap. Not naaap.”

One morning, I went in to her room to check on her because she was sleeping so late I was getting worried. She was standing in her crib with a stuffed toy in her hand, looking suspicious, her hair a mess. “Um. I’m throwing things,” she said.

I love that she says, “Wanna take a little bath?” and “play a little minute?” and “eat a little minute?” She asks you the question in a high pitched voice with her head cocked to one side.

When you read her a book, she points at every single thing and says, “That is? That is? That is?”

She has started saying, “I wanna watch Dora today,” because when she asks me if she can watch it for the millionth time, I usually say, “You already watched Dora today.”

She is very interested in names. She’ll sometimes shout at strangers on the street: “Name?” It’s a little embarrassing if it’s someone I’m supposed to know. The other day, she pointed from her stroller at a man walking into his house. “Where’s the boy? Where’s the boy going?” She’s interested in our names too: “Daddy’s name is Kevin, right? My mommy’s name is Mamma.”

She has a good ol’ time in her crib while she’s supposed to be napping. I hear jumping, banging as she drops books to the floor and laughter. She sings all of her songs. “Merry, merry, merry, merry, life is but a dream. He he! That was fun! It’s so funny!”

She’s still so good at improvising. “Old MacDonald had a cheese with a yum yum here and a yum yum there.” And “Mommy mommy mommy ma” or “onion onion onion ah!”(To the tune of twinkle twinkle little star.) She can pretty much insert any phrase to any of her tunes.

When Kevin came home from work one day, I was giving her a bath. She heard him unlock the door and said, “Hi Daddy! We’re taking a bath! And singing!”

If someone approaches her and she’s feeling shy, she’ll poke my arm over and over, look the person straight on and say, “This is my Mommy. Right heeere.”

She’s trying to figure out the difference between poop and gas. Everytime she has gas she says, “I pooped,” so we tried to explain the difference. Now she says, “I pooped gas. Riiight?”

She peed on the potty for the first time last month. It hasn’t happened again since. We let her sit on the potty every night. She’s so excited about it, but then is “all done,” after five seconds of sitting there.

She just talks and talks and talks….

“The fork is aaarang” (orange), “the leopard bear is reading a book” (this is actually a teddy bear in a leopard costume), “he’s sitting in his high chair,” “I have green on my hands,”  “the onion is very spicy right?”, “he kissed his mommy” (making a sea horse and an eagle kiss), “excuse me” (after a burp), “I see crickets at the quarium, right?” (that’s what stood out to her about our visit to the aquarium — a cricket. I think the cricket was actually food for the frogs, but she doesn’t know that), “I’m a boy!”, “I’m drinking milk and water together!,” “I’m singing the water dirty song!,” “she’s a tiny baby,” “I’m eating soup with yooogurt!”… and on and on and on…

She keeps me laughing. Hopefully she made you laugh too. ;)

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Flower girl

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Congrats Matty and Jackie!

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Nora and Carrot the Snowman

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