Thursday, August 31, 2006

On the Lighter Side

I have been wallowing, the past couple of days. I've had a week where a box of Kleenex kept migrating, only to be rediscovered at the last place I was sitting. Usually the computer, checking out other blogs and crying for fellow miscarriers and myself.

But I decided that today I'm feeling chipper. Or at least, chippier. My problems with moving will sort themselves out. And, who knows, my life could improve greatly if B actually luuuuuuuvs the new job so much that he suddenly wants to golf less. (Hey, a girl can dream.)

The thing that seems to make me happiest in the world right now is my daughter. She'll turn three next month. And she is a complete hoot. This morning we attended a party at her new school, arranged so that all the young 3's could meet their teachers and fellow students. My daughter was pissed that I was not dropping her off, that I had the chutzpah to actually attend the party with her. (Granted, B and I have been prepping her for the real thing, whereby I will drop her off and not attend.)

She got over it, and fell into playing pretty quickly. I tried to bond with some of the other mothers there (which, I'm sure, was also part of the plan) and ended up telling one mom a story that I can't believe came out of my mouth. I'll tell it in a minute, but first I have to say that I was not as eager to pal up with moms who had babies there. It's awful to say. Even the woman to whom I told the story revealed that she had a baby at home, and immediately my mind started doing the math. (For instance, "well, that makes her kids 20 months apart, and I wanted my kids to be 3 years apart, but now that's never going to happen and argh....") I can't really understand why I do this, other than maybe I have a little OCD and can't help but repeat some patterns in my head to ward off unwanted feelings of jealousy or sadness. (However, when I hear about, see or meet families where the kids are four years apart, I feel conversely calm and reassured. People do it. They have kids four years apart and everyone survives. Again, this is my own issue, one that falls under the categories of "control freak" and "having to let go of the dream.")

Anywho, the school thing went great, but I'm sure I felt my heart starting to break a little at the thought of my little girl doing such big things as going to school. All by herself. We'll see how next Thursday pans out (the first official day of school. If I send her.)

So the story that I laid on this mom (who was actually very cool, perhaps aiding and abetting my outburst) goes like this:

Last night I was tucking my daughter in. She sleeps in a double bed in her room and for many months now, she goes to sleep on her own. Or doesn't, which is the case most nights. So, sometimes there are multiple tuck-ins. But last night, I let her "read" a book in her bed before I came in and turned off the light. When it was finally time to turn off the light, as I was sneaking in the last of my smooches and "I love you's", my daughter said, "Mommy. Are you and Daddy going to have a baby tonight?"

Which made me catch a laugh in my throat, all the while supressing the panic that, "Holy shit, did she hear us last night?" which morphed into, "No, no, you tart, she didn't say 'Are you going to make a baby tonight,' followed by "She's too young to be asking that, isn't she" followed by "Those damn neighborhood kids" finally landing on "But still, this is a pretty advanced inquiry, if I am understanding her correctly. " When I finally stopped talking to myself and refocused on her, I managed to ask her who taught her that. (Okay, I was stalling, and trying to pry more information out of her on what exactly she was getting at.)

She said, "you did." There was some additional dialogue consisting of how she thought she needed a baby, and I told her that Daddy and I want one too, but then she insisted that she needed one immediately, and I explained that we would try, but that a baby still was a long way off, to which she replied "like four minutes?" and I said no, that she would probably forget about this whole conversation before the baby actually came, at which point she insisted on helping to pick it out (and really, in my head I'm thinking what you're thinking, that this almost-three-year-old doesn't need the kind of serious counsel that I'm giving her, so it was probably more for my benefit), when finally we agreed that when we woke up the next day (today) that we would pretend to have a baby, and feed it, dress it, burp it, etc.

My daughter is very verbal. Has been for over a year now, and endless people remark about it. However, she's still a baby in many ways, cries at the drop of a hat, is scared of the neighbor's dog, etc. So this whole thing, while adorable to her mother if no one else, sits uneasily with me nonetheless. I wonder, how much does she know? Is it just that there are babies all around us, and that I am constantly pointing them out to her to ready her for a future sibling and the kindnesses that she will be expected to bestow upon said sibling? Or is she in tune to the fact that I desperately want another baby and am having trouble with it? Can she understand my phone calls to friends and family about our situation. Could the appearance of not one, but three imaginary friends (hers, not mine) over the last six months have any connection to my miscarriages? (I realize this is way out there, but if she's a genius who knows what she knows?!)

To think that I told a perfect stranger about this exchange actually mortifies me. What could I have been thinking? To any of my friends, who know about my miscarriages, my daughter's comments mean something entirely different than to this woman, to whom I had uttered all of five sentences before launching "world's most awkward toddler story." She's probably on the phone to her husband right now, telling him about the first day at their son's school, and the crazy mom who doesn't apparently understand verbal self-censuring. (In all honesty, it probably didn't even phase the other woman...we'll just see, won't we?)

To temper my rantings, let me tell you just one more story which makes me delight in being a mother to my daughter. This is the one I should have opened with at preschool. Not the "we're a procreative mess and not afraid to let you know (although you don't really know me, so you have no idea what deeper meaning that story holds) story."

Before I begin this final story, if anyone out there thinks that my daughter is not a challenge on a daily basis, you are wrong. She's turning three for Christ's sake. I'm thinking of getting her a tattoo of a giant middle finger for her birthday. (Don't laugh, she asked for a tattoo for her birthday. Thanks, Daddy. [He has one]). But I try, on the days when my patience is in full supply, to realize that she is supposed to be testing my every last nerve. I admire competence in all forms, even if it is boundary-pushing.

Here goes. When my parents were in town for my D&E (I didn't just make that sound like a festive occasion, did I?), we all went out to dinner. The sight of me dressed up (casually so), with makeup on, my hair blown dry, etc. is a novelty around this house. So, my daughter took one look at me, sucked in her breath and said, "Oh, Mommy, you look so bew-ee-ful!" Which made my eyes water with pride and appreciation.

So I bent down to hug her and respond "Oh, sweetheart, that just makes me feel so good. Thank you!"

While still in my embrace, and no doubt wanting the love-fest to continue, my daughter took my face into her sweet hands and said, "Yeah, and you have a mustache!"

Oh, the sweet agony. Made even better by the fact that my husband was witness to the whole exchange. Perhaps I'll consider it for my epitaph: "She was beautiful. She had a mustache."


At 5:44 PM, Blogger Kath said...

Oh, Casey, that last bit made me laugh out loud. Out of the mouths of babes, eh?

I don't think you should worry about what that mother thought about your anecdote. It's a good one, and it needed to be told. And yes... the question from your daughter was a bit freaky. I wonder what's going on in her little head?

At 3:20 AM, Blogger Hetty Fauxvert said...

Hah! Well, if it makes you feel any better, I have a 'stache of my very own, too. I just don't have a sharp-eyed, smart and charming daughter to make note of it. :)

It's a good question how much young children comprehend. My cats sometimes seem to get large chunks of what's going on, and other times they're clueless. (I hope it doesn't offend you that I equate cats and young children, but they do seem to me to act alike in many ways!) It sounds to me like your daughter is at least sensitized to the concept of having babies, as a result of having them pointed out, plus also probably her natural development. Doesn't sound like a big deal to me (for what little MHO is worth!).

I wouldn't worry about the other woman's reaction to your story. She probably forgot it before she reached her driveway.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Kathy McC said...

OMG that's a trip! Aaron always says I look beautiful when I've just rolled out of bed...


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