Sometimes persuasive speaking really does work. Dwight Howard.
I did, however, have a deer bound out in front of my car this morning during my drive to the gym. But that deer bounded out of someone else's woods, which aren't really all that close to my woods. And that bounding deer did not get hit by my car. So really, not my problem.
Given the veritable roll I am on, I decided to sit down, mom-o a son-o, with my 9-month-old. He's been going through what I like to call a rough patch recently. Said rough patch is hallmarked by near-constant fussing during the hours he's awake, and abrupt, screeching announcements (by him) that he is no longer asleep. Those announcements have been coming in the 4AM-5AM range the past few mornings.
No one is enjoying this patch. Patches of the strawberry -- even cabbage -- variety are far superior.
There are only so many toys I can try to distract him with. Only so many dissolvable fake crackers I can offer him. Only so many oral analgesics I can apply. Only so many tunes I can
So we talked. And here's what we said. Or at least, here's my best translation of what he said. (Not to brag, but I'm much better at talking than he is.)
Me: All right! All right! All riiiigggghhhtttttt! What! Is! Your! Problem???!???
Son: Whoa. Mom. Let me answer that by asking you this: what is YOUR problem?!?
Me: (choking back gentle but angry tears) I'm just...it's just that....I'm spent. Remember how much I love you when I tell you this: you are driving me crazy. I don't know what to do with you. I pile toys in front of you and you don't want them. I tuck you in to every comfortable contraption your father and Target.com would let me buy, and you don't like them. I'm going to make you assume you have an eating disorder with all the different ways I try to bribe you to eat. You maintain your hunger fast. The only thing that calms you down is me carrying you around on my hip.
Son: And that's not convenient for you?
Me: "Convenient" is not the word I would use, no. I mean, sometimes it's okay and you're cute and all, but I'm not a kangaroo. It's not like I can stash you somewhere and still have relatively full functionality. And I'm not comfortable having you flailing at my side when I do things like open oven doors, slice onions, or wash my face. But at the rate we're going, my next job will be Abby The Amazing Acrobat, a traveling circus act I perform from a high-wire while carrying the Jolie-Pitt children, brushing my teeth and preparing bananas flambe.
Son: Well thanks a lot, mom. I'm glad you appreciate our together time. Jeesh. I'll just find another hip that's happier to have me.
Me: No, no, no! I do appreciate our together time. What you've got to understand, though, is together time is something peaceful and blissful and worthy of an annoying Facebook post. What we have been doing lately is not that. It's crisis management. It's applying a band-aid to a stab wound.
Son: Well, if you think you're so smart, what do you want to do about all this. Huh? HUH?
Me: You watch your tone, mister. And stop clapping your hands above your head. This is serious.
Son: Fine. Bring me closer to you so that I can grab some of your hair and concentrate.
Me: Better? Okay. Ow! Anyway, what we need to do is get down to the root cause of what's making you behave this way. I have my own theory. I think you need to sleep more. You're not napping as well as you usually do, and you're waking up way, WAY too early in the morning. You need to stop that. Enjoy your sleep. Luxuriate in it. In a few short decades you'll consider moving to Spain because it will risk national bankruptcy even if it means maintaining a "siesta" hour in the middle of the workday. The Nap Years go by in a blink. You've got to embrace them while they're yours.
Son: MBEEEEHHHHH! Wrong answer! That's not the problem! The problem is deeper than that. Gosh. What DOES it take to become a parent?
Me: That's a conversation we'll have in 15 years. Or never. Definitely not right now.
Son: Whatever. The problem isn't the sleeping...
Me: NOT sleeping. The NOT sleeping.
Son. Okay, the problem isn't the not sleeping, it's what's preventing me FROM sleeping.
Me: I'm intrigued. Go on.....
Son: The problem is these frigging teeth that all want to join the party at the same time. They're KILLING ME! I push out those bottom two, and that was bad enough. But before I can even say ADAHHHHHH, I've got these top two coming down. Then in the time it takes you to overheat a bottle, I've got the two beside those ones knocking at the door. How much can one infant take? This is torture!
Me: But I give you every plastic thing you could possibly fit in your mouth! I've let you gnaw on cold beer bottles. Slathered your gums with ointments. And nothing. You act like it's nothing! If you were old enough for emotions beyond happy, cranky, and death-defying, I'd call you ungrateful! What more do you want?
Son: A little understanding wouldn't hurt here. Try being a little sympathetic, perhaps. It's a lot for this body to deal with. I'm barely equipped to grasp a Cheerio, and here I am being asked to push teeth through bone. You just sit there and watch and act all proud and excited when they finally break through the gum-line, but I'm the one doing all the work. I'm the one suffering all the pain. And you won't even grant me a little squawk of discomfort every now and all the time?
Me: Oh come on. It's not that bad. It's what your body is made to do. Buck up! Appreciate what I'm doing for you and just tone down the hysterics. Could you please?
Son: Oh sure. I'll do that. I'll use you as my example in martyrdom.
Me: Is that sarcasm I'm detecting? I'm both proud and nervous.
Son: I'd like to take you back 9 months, to September 23, 2011. On that morning, you were engaged in a process I like to call gifting me to the world. Others might call it childbirth. The process your body was made to perform. Think about what you're telling me, and compare that with your behavior on that little morning. I'll give you some time for your reflections.
Me: Do you want to try your first scoop of ice cream?!???!!!!