Wild Thing

Yesterday as I walked through the doors of Nellie’s daycare, I was not prepared for the fact that my curly-headed tot had been replaced. I entered her classroom and much to my surprise, my spunky little girl had morphed into something completely different. It was not my Nellie who ran over to me as I walked through the door. I was instead greeted by a wild, blue, furry monster! This toddling mass of blue fuzz was so adorable,  I couldn’t resist and ended up taking her home. I mean, really.. How could I have said no?

 

 

You can go ahead and carve it on my tombstone:
Natalie G.
Killed by Cute.

 

 

Adventures in Daycare: Day One.

Yesterday was Nellie’s first day of “school”. We’re calling it school to kind of get her used to the term and the concept, and her daycare does a lot of teaching so it just seems appropriate to call it school.

I had planned on getting here there by 8:00 so she could eat breakfast, but when 7:45 A.M. rolled around and my little boo was still sleeping, I figured that breakfast at school was a bust. I ended up waking her up around 7:50, getting her dressed, feeding her and off we went.

She was shy at first and didn’t want me to put her down. She clung to me like a little monkey until I brought her by the toys when she squirmed and declared, “Down. Down!” I put her down and let her play with a little toy keyboard they had while I chatted with one of her “teachers”. I told her I was going to put Fox back in her diaper bag and she started whining and ran over to me, throwing her arms around my legs.

Uh oh.

I took her with me to put Fox away, to sign her in for the day and then hung around her for a few more minutes while she played. Each time I mentioned that I was going to have to leave, she started to whimper and hug my legs. Before long, I really did have to go so I scooped her up and hugged her. She buried her face in my neck and wrapped her arms around me as tight as she could. Feeling like my heart was breaking, I gently pried her off me and smiled brightly at her. I told her how much fun she was going to have today, that Mama would be back later and handed her over to one of her teachers. She started to cry hard with big fat tears running down her cheeks. Every Mama instinct in me cried out, “GIVE HER BACK! GIVE MY BABY BACK!” I was tempted to grab her and run out the door and never look back, assuring her that Mama would never ever leave her again. Hope you like rooming with your Mama at college, Nellie.

I didn’t do any of those things. I smiled at Nellie and said bye bye, and forced myself out the door. As I walked away I heard her cries and my heart broke just a bit more.

I held out until around lunchtime before I called school and asked how she was doing. The woman who answered checked, and assured me that she had been doing really well and had been playing all day. I felt better, but Nellie had yet to encounter her first naptime her new environment.

When I went to pick her up, I walked into her room and she had her back to me. “Nellie,” I said to her. She didn’t turn. “Neeeeellliiieee,” I repeated, smiling. She turned to face me. A huge smile broke out on her beautiful little face and she ran to me. I grabbed up my baby girl and hugged her tight.
“MAMA.” she declared, pointing at me.
“Mama,” I agreed with a smile and a kiss.
I collected her daily report and talked with her teacher briefly. Nellie played hard, ate a little lunch and only napped thirty minutes. Not a terrible day considering it was her first, but hopefully today she will nap longer. I know it’ll take some getting used to, napping in this new place.

So both Nellie and Mama survived the first day of “school”. Let’s hope that today will be easier on us both.

Nellie’s first day of “school”. Pardon the quality; cell phone picture.

As a matter of fact, if you’d like to see some way better pictures of Nellie plus her adorable and awesome friend “Ee-um” (and also read an awesome blog), check out Michelle’s amazingly sweet post about her summer watching Nellie here.

To Daycare We Go

We’ve been lucky in that since I returned to work last May, Nellie’s caretakers have been either family or close friends. In the beginning, we alternated between my mother in law and Josh (he worked 12 hour shifts and had days off in the middle of the week). That worked out well until Josh’s Nana got sick, and my MIL had to drop out as caretaker for a while.

Then Josh lost his job, and pretty quickly got another one but this time it was a Monday through Friday, 7 to 3:30 gig. Which left us with my mother in law, who could only watch her about two days a week. Luckily, my friend Michelle stepped in and agreed to watch Nellie three days a week. I was excited for Nellie to have someone with such great experience with kids watching her, plus she’d have the added bonus of a playmate in Michelle’s son Liam.

Things worked out pretty well despite the fact that I wasn’t getting a lot of hours in at work. As tends to happen when you rely on people and not facilities to care for your children, I had to miss days of work for sickness, doctor’s appointments, prior engagements, etc and as a result my paychecks were light. We put Nellie on a few daycare waiting lists and the other day, one called and told us there was an opening. I excitedly set up an appointment for the very next day (I was off work anyway) and Nellie and I headed down in the morning to check the place out.

I stayed with Nellie for a while in her classroom until it was time to fill out paperwork. She played with the other kids while I signed the necessary forms a hundred and eighty times, ate lunch with the kids and then we headed home for a nap. As I watched her interact with the other children I realized that she has a lot to learn. Nellie’s not used to having to share time and attention with that many other children, and she’s also not used to a day so structured. She’s going to have to learn to share her toys, to let others play with her, and to interact with other children. She’s going to have to learn to sit still when she’s eating (a habit we have not enforced at home; we let her roam when she eats) and is going to need to cooperate when it’s time to wash hands, sit for a drink, lay down for a nap.

I’m excited but I’m nervous. Not for her safety but for the transition. It’s a big change not only for her but for myself and Josh as well. I’m entrusting her to people I don’t know for the first time. Not only that, but the atmosphere of this daycare is very school-like, so enrolling her here feels suspiciously like her first steps toward preschool, kindergarten, etc. Which makes me all sorts of teary-eyed when I think about it. Right now it’s just labeled sippy cups, diapers and blankies to worry about but before I know it it’ll be pencils, backpacks and crayons.

Just another part of the constant process of letting go that begins with that cord being cut, I guess. *sniff*

 

 

Social Media Detox

I haven’t been blogging much lately. I haven’t been Tweeting much lately. I haven’t been on Facebook much lately. I opened my Google Reader this evening and screamed in terror at the number staring me in the face.

The Internet and I have been strangers lately. I don’t know if it’s the medication, or the fact that I’ve been busy but there’s been a shift in my life. Where I used to spend a lot of time online blogging, Tweeting, and chatting and feeling disconnected from my “real” life the opposite seems to be happening now. I’m not blogging every other day. I’m not obsessively checking my blog’s stats. I’m not eyeballing other witty bloggers and Tweeters with envy, wishing that I had their following and their traffic. I’m feeling very disconnected from the little Bloggy Bubble I’ve put myself in for the past year or so.

Okay don’t get me wrong, I still wish that I were as funny as The Bloggess pretty much every time I read one of her posts, and I do get a tad green with envy when I see someone with one million and forty comments on something they’ve written but I’m not obsessing over it anymore. I think that I’m done. I think that I’m done worrying, stressing, and trying to achieve something that I just don’t think I’m cut out for. For a while now, I’ve been envious of “bigger bloggers” and the opportunities they get. Followers. Sponsorships. Free products galore.. And my jealousy and envy have been making me feel inadequate as a person. I’ve felt like I can’t “run with the big dogs” so to speak. That I don’t have what it takes and it’s been hurting my self-esteem. Laugh if you will but it’s easy to feel rejected when you try your best at something you like to do and it doesn’t seem to be enough to get you where you thought you wanted to go.

And you know what? Maybe I don’t have what it takes. Maybe I would with a little more effort. And maybe, just maybe, I don’t care anymore. Don’t get me wrong; this post isn’t bashing bigger bloggers or those who gets  fabulous opportunities because it’s awesome that others are getting all that stuff, and they totally deserve it because they work their asses off to build their blogs… I just.. I’m not in that place anymore. Do I get a little bummed when I don’t get a lot of feedback on a post? Sure. But I’ve found myself stressing out a lot less about it and just blogging when I feel like I have something to say, a story to tell, an anecdote to share.

People began reading my blog for a reason. Whether it was because they thought I was funny, because they empathized with my story and where I was in life or because they just felt invested in my journey but I feel I’ve lost sight of myself in this blog. I know I’ve written posts similar to this one but I’ve just felt sort of a shift inside of myself and don’t really care if I’m popular anymore. The blogosphere can feel like a big popularity contest, complete with cliques and snobs and all of that high school bullshit. It’s easy to feel inferior and let that actually affect you as a person. I’m done with all of that. If you like me, you like me and if you don’t, you don’t.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading, and continues to read my words. The fact that you care about me, what’s going on in my life, or even the fact that you like reading my attempts to be humorous means a lot to me. Everyone likes to be heard and I’m no exception.. But if things are a little more quiet around here, don’t be surprised. It’s all good, I’m just waiting until I have something to say.

Not to say that I won’t still do the occasional review or giveaway, of course. When something cool comes along sometimes you just can’t resist.

 

 

To Nellie Rose, 18 Months Old.

Nellie Rose,

My darling girl. It’s been a long time since I’ve written something to you.. I used to do it all the time when I was still pregnant with you. I even wrote you a few letters before you were even conceived, telling you to hurry your little butt up and come to your daddy & me already. Those days of waiting and wanting and wishing seem like a million years ago, and at the same time just like yesterday.

Baby girl. My sweet, amazing, hilarious baby girl. What are you up to lately? The better question is.. What AREN’T you up to lately? You are a blur; in motion more often than not. I feel like I only occasionally catch glimpses of you holding still and the rest of the time you are just a curly-headed whirlwind of activity too busy exploring your world to stop for even a second. I want to freeze the sweet, fleeting moments in time when you lie still against me; those precious seconds that you lean those soft, dark curls against my chest. I breathe deeply and try to memorize you in those brief episodes of stillness because I know all too soon you will be on the move again, my busy little toddler.

You love music. You love to dance. You love the Avengers. Seriously. When your daddy plays the Avengers cartoon show on Netflix you dance by swinging your arms in the air. You point at The Incredible Hulk and shout, “Ulk! Ulk!” You carry around your Thor action figure and say, “Sooooorrrrr.” You say new things every day, each more astonishing than the last. You can sign “more” and “eat”. Your laughter is the sweetest music I’ve ever heard and the quickest way to get it out of you is to tickle under your arms. You begin to laugh; a joyful sound from your gut that fills my heart from top to bottom with happiness.

My Nellie. My daughter. I am so sorry I’ve taken so long to begin to really experience you. I mean really, truly, and fully experience and enjoy you. Mama’s been living in somewhat of a fog, but the fog is lifting and I feel as if I’m really understanding and living what it’s like to be a Mama. I am learning how to take each breath, each moment with you and really let it wash over me as we live it together. You inspire me to be braver, to be more curious, to be more adventurous and to see things with eyes that have been blind for a long time. My child, your existence is a miracle and has breathed new life into me.

You are a very picky eater. You’re too busy to sit down for a meal. It takes something really special for you to sit still long enough to eat. You would rather take your food to go so your adventures don’t have to end. You’ve finally begun saying my name regularly and you say it with gusto. The other day, you came to me and gave me a kiss right on my lips completely unprompted for the first time and such a wave of love crashed over me, I felt as if I might be swept away by the intensity. Sometimes when I’m sitting on the floor you will toddler over to me and kiss me on the arm, then walk away to explore something else.

You love Yo Gabba Gabba. You love Super Why. You love being read to. You love the Adventures of Brer Rabbit and the keyboard at your grandparents’ house. You love watermelon, fruit snacks, and hot dogs. You love a capella music and sing along in the car.

Nellie, my love, I have asked you this before but I must plead with you once more: please slow down. 18 months have passed before me as if in seconds, and I fear before I know it you will be giving me that mischievous smile of yours as you climb the stairs to accept your high school diploma and I will be sitting, proud but disoriented and wondering how in the world those years flew by so quickly. Being your mother is the most wonderful, most frightening, most beautiful and most painful thing that’s ever happened to me. Each moment is bittersweet because each moment is new and a wonder to behold, and yet at the same time when it passes I know it’s gone forever. The baby that you are today is not the baby you will be tomorrow, next week, or next month. You will evolve into someone completely new, just as amazing and just as exciting.

I look forward to all of the moments you have to share with us. To all of the laughter, to all of the memories we have yet to create. If you become a mother yourself one day, my child, then and only then will you understand the beautiful, bittersweet heartache that is Motherhood.

Nellie, you are more loved than you will ever fully realize. Thank you, little girl, for the greatest 18 months of my life so far.

Love, Always,

Your Mama.

 

You ; 18 Months Old & Full of Mischief

 

 

Terror In the Freezer

One would think after being terrorized multiple times in the past few months that I’d learn my lesson and stop doing nice things for my husband. Not me! Nope. My husband’s struck again.

While watching Sanctum after Nellie’s bedtime, my husband asked if I’d mind making a pot of decaf coffee. He doesn’t often drink coffee, and said he was craving a cup so being the sweet and awesome wife that I am, I told him of course I’d make him some coffee.

I went into the kitchen, rinsed out the carafe from this morning and replaced the filter, opened the freezer and found that in addition to the coffee, chicken nuggets, popsicles and vodka there was also this.

 


HI, MY NAME IS CARL AND I’M HERE FOR YOUR SOUL. I ALSO DRANK ALL YOUR VODKA LOL.

Luckily this one only gave me a slight start, I jumped a little and said “gah!” and turned to face my grinning, giggling husband. He clapped like a small schoolboy and did a little victory dance.

Seriously. I’m gonna piss in his shoes one of these days. Or in his hat. One of the two is getting pissed on by me.

 

When Mommy Met Daddy : Part Six

It’s been since November since I wrote a chapter in the story of how my husband Josh and I met in love. For those of you who might need a refresher, you can start from the beginning and work your way through. Here’s a list of previous posts:

Which brings us to When Mommy Met Daddy: Part Six.

*****************************

I left with my Ex that night. We drove around for a while, talking. We went to Wal-Mart and walked around, talking. Finally we arrived back at the home that we’d shared and you guessed it.. More talking. We talked in circles; about how it hurt to split but how it felt right at the same time. We talked until the wee hours of the morning. I finally had to stop my ex from talking because it was 2 A.M. and I had to be at work the next morning. We said our good-nights, and I went to sleep in the bed with him on the couch.

The next morning I woke, feeling clear-headed and confident in my decision. We parted with a hug and I drove to work. The sun was shining and I felt lighter than I had in a very long time. I had done something I never thought I’d be able to do and I felt on top of the world.

The next few weeks aren’t very noteworthy. Josh and I hung out a lot. I went to work, I searched for an apartment, I vomited all over Josh at a party, you know. Normal stuff. I stayed with Josh’s brother for about three weeks while I looked for a place to live. One week in November, Josh’s brother went to Orlando and left the both of us to house-sit. Josh didn’t see the use in commuting back and forth from there and his parents’ house so he stayed in Tim’s room and I stayed in the guest room. We hung out a lot. Went out to eat, watched movies, etc. I forced him to watch both Jesus Christ Superstar and Chicago in one evening, which is not unusual for me but for someone who doesn’t love musicals? Zzzzzz.

There was a lot of weird tension between us. The desire to be together was there in both of us, but I was acutely aware of wanting and needing space in order to figure out what I wanted. I desperately did not want to mislead or hurt Josh in any way. I was feeling very confused. Josh was being a wonderful friend, cheering me up when I was feeling sad or lonely and giving me little gifts and flowers. It wasn’t unusual for him to appear at the restaurant holding a single rose he’d picked from somewhere. I felt myself falling for him and it terrified me.

One night, we came back to his brother’s house after watching a movie. We chatted about the film for a few minutes and I went off to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. When I was done, we said our good-nights and I headed into my room. I was changing into my pajamas when I noticed something lying on my pillow. I went over and picked it up. It was a small, square object with a piece of paper wrapped around it. I gently unfolded the paper and read in Josh’s handwriting:

I know I give you flowers, but flowers wilt and die.
You deserve to look at something beautiful anytime you want.

I set the piece of paper aside curiously, and opened the small wooden object in my hand. I was greeted with a startled, scared reflection of myself.

It was a mirror.

My breath caught in my chest and I sat down on the bed. I stared at my reflection and watched as my eyes welled up with tears. I quickly shut the mirror and clutched it to my chest. The tears began to fall and I became overwhelmed with feelings of affection, of happiness, and of fear.

I knew right then and there that we could have something beautiful but I just wasn’t ready. I couldn’t love Josh yet. I knew that we had to have a talk, and soon.

Terror in the Microwave.

If you’ve been reading my blog for the last few months at least, you know that my husband likes to scare the ever-loving shit out of me. On Mother’s Day, he put a stuffed squirrel on the back of our toilet. The next day, he hid a prop rat in our linen closet. I even wrote a post about the beginning of his reign of terror.

My friends, Daddy Green has struck again.

We were sitting on the couch watching a horrible movie about some crazy chick that kills her neighbors in weird ways (we’re normal, I swear) when my husband says sweetly, “How about we make some popcorn?”

Now, I loves me some popcorn. I excitedly agreed, and he suggested, “Why don’t you go make it and I will rub your back?”

I also loves me some backrubs, so I leaped off the couch and headed to the kitchen. I pulled a bag of popcorn from the box, turned to face the microwave, opened the door, and came face to face with this:

 

EXPECTING TO COOK A DELICIOUS SNACK? GUESS AGAIN BITCH, IT’S TIME FOR RABIES.

As my brain processed the impending doom and infection of rabies that lay before me in my microwave, I made a slight “Ohhhhhh!” noise and did a little hop. I turned around to face my husband, who had slithered off the couch and was laughing so hard he couldn’t produce any sound. All that came from his mouth was a slight wheezing as he turned red in the face. I walked over to him and looked down at him as he gasped for air and flapped his hands at me. I wondered for a second if he was going to pass out from lack of oxygen and decided that if he did, I’d take a pee in his shoes and draw on his face as payback for scaring the shit out of me. Alas, my husband did not pass out so his shoes are dry and his face is safe.

People keep telling me I need to exact my revenge, but believe me when I tell you that this is no easy feat. My husband is almost impossible to scare or embarrass. Anything that I could do to scare him would just be mean. I couldn’t tell him I was pregnant, because he’d be elated and then I’d feel like an asshole when I told him I was joking. I don’t know how I’m going to get him back, but I’m going to, damnit.

Suggestions are welcome. Privately, because Captain Pranky McChuckleface reads my blog.

 

Sign

Nellie’s vocabulary is exploding. I began trying to count her words the other day and got to about 35 before I couldn’t think of more words. Later in the day as she chatted away, I remembered words I’d forgotten that she can say. Some of her favorites include:

  • Juice
  • Pop
  • Cat
  • Down
  • No
  • Hot dog
  • Bye
  • Daddy

She doesn’t quite understand the difference between “yes” and “no”, so she pretty much says “no” anytime you ask her a question. One of the cutest things she does is when you say, “Nellie need a night-night?” she shakes her head and goes, “Nooo. No nigh-nigh.” She also informs you when she’s pooped by saying with surprise, “I poop! I poop!”

When she started eating solids, I was diligent with signing “more” to her. When she’d finish a bite I’d make the sign for “more” and say, “more? More?” It never really stuck, so I ended up giving up after about two months. The other day, Josh gave her a couple of small marshmallows as a treat and after she finished her last one she padded into the kitchen, pointed up on the counter and bumped the fingers on both hands together, making the sign for “more”. I missed the whole thing, but Josh was right there. He did the sign himself later and asked me if that was the sign for “more”. I told him yes, and he told me what had happened with the marshmallows. I thought it was cool and didn’t think much else of it until I saw it for myself tonight.

We gave her a few fruit snacks after dinner and when she finished, she looked at me and said “ish. ish”. They were Nemo fruit snacks, so I asked her if she wanted more fish. She looked up at me and signed “more” with a smile on her face.
“More? You want more?” I asked her.
She signed again, and I thought my heart was just going to explode out of my chest. I was so excited! My baby girl was signing! I’m not really crediting myself, because she’s been watching a baby signs DVD at her sitter’s house and apparently it’s sinking in! I need to brush up on my signs to see what else she may be doing that I’m missing.

I’m so proud of my lady. She’s getting so smart, and learning new things every day. It blows my mind, and I am absolutely loving this age.

 

When Internetz Meets Real Life.

I’ve come to realize that there are a few different ways people view the internet nowadays. For some, it’s scary and almost a thing of myth. For others it’s confusing and frustrating. There are folks who know it exist, use it to check their “Facepages” and “Tweeters” but only about once a week. And then there are people like me, who pretty much breathe Internet.

Sometimes, my Internet world and the world of those oblivious to all of the wonders the web holds collide. Tonight was one of those nights.

We were walking downtown and veered into an ice cream shop. As we were waiting in line, I noticed a skinny teenage girl looking at me with her head tilted slightly. I blinked at her and she laughed.
“I was trying to read your t-shirt.”
“Oh,” I said with a chuckle.
Awkward silence.
“….What does it say?” she prompted.
Way to go, slick. Social skills. I has them.

Now, the t-shirt in question is a gray shirt with the words “HONEY BADGER DON’T CARE” on it, and a picture of a fierce-ass honey badger. I love it and wear it at least once a week, because I’m fucking awesome.

“Oh…” I began. “It says, ‘honey badger don’t care.'”
She stared at me.
“What does that mean?”
I laughed.
“Oh! It’s this really funny video… Thing… On.. the…….. Internet….. It’s.. Um.. Funny.. On YouTube.”
She was like: *blank stare*
“Oh…” she trailed off, looking confused.

Awwwwkkkkkwwwaaarrrdddd.

I realized then that unlike myself, some people do not enjoy spending their free time on blogs, Facebook, and YouTube looking up Auto-Tuned newscasts or hilariously narrated videos about vicious wild animals. Some people go outside, play frisbee, hike, and do other things that don’t involve honey badgers and parody commercials. I felt really awkward and dorky for a second, and then I started thinking about how funny honey badger was and decided I didn’t care what the teenage ice cream girl thought of me.

Honey badger and I have two things in common. We’re both mean and like to eat bees, and we both don’t give a shit. Okay so that was three things. Shut up. Here, go watch this brilliant auto-tune video of a crazy lady talking about a robbery.

P.S. If you’ve never seen honey badger, check it out here. It’s not safe for work, or little ears. But it is funny as shit.