Monday, January 30, 2012

More on Little E

Little E is a different kid. He is not the average five-year-old. He is shy. He will ignore you. He will pretend that you are not there. He will make hand signals instead of speaking. He is scared to do a lot of things by himself. He is scared of the shower. He doesn’t eat a lot of foods. He has a big goofy smile that melts hearts if you’re lucky enough to catch it. He dances for no reason. He is the smartest kid that I have ever met. 
For a while, my office at work was a converted kitchen. My real office was still being built. He was at the office with me one day, and he asked where his mom was. I said “She’s in my office”. He responded. “That’s not your office!” I asked him why it wasn’t my office. He said “It doesn’t have a computer in it!”
Yeah. He’s THAT kind of smart. The kind of smart that means it’s basically impossible to get one over on him. And he’s 5. 
After that fateful brunch, I carted Little E off to go run errands. He was fully aware that Target, where I needed to go, had a very large toy section. And donuts. Lots of donuts. When we started to drive off, I asked him what school he went to. No answer. He had commandeered the sheet of bubble wrap that I have no idea why was in my car, and entertained himself while totally ignoring me. We had planned to go for toys and ice cream. 
I asked him if he wanted to go for toys or ice cream first. No answer. I asked again. No answer. I told him that he would have to choose or we wouldn’t be able to do either.
In the smallest voice ever, he finally said “” 
I looked back at him in the rear view mirror. He looked away. Still no good on the eye contact. 
We got to Target and I let him out of the car. I told him he had to hold my hand before he would be allowed to walk across the street. He gave me his wrist. Close enough.
I got a cart and asked him if he wanted to get in. He nodded, and I went to lift him into the seat. He shook his head and hoisted himself into the place where groceries normally go. I shrugged. He is kind of tall for his age. Whatevs.
We started into the toy section. I don’t remember the last time I was in the toy section at a mega store. I know nothing about what is en vogue from the under 4-foot crew. This was like China to me.
We walked the aisles and he would stop and point at things. I would let him look, and he would put them back. Clearly not good enough. Finally, we happened onto these tiny little things called Squinkees. I had no idea what they were or what they were supposed to do. It turns out that they aren’y really supposed to do anything other than be really tiny replicas of bigger things like cars and super heroes for boys and animals and cupcakes for girls. They had them in a display case with the individually packed sets above. He stared at the display case and pointed to the Hot Wheels. I picked them up off of the shelf. Something tiny and obnoxious that my brother would have to clean up? A’ok with me! As I put them in the cart, Little E shook his head and pointed to the case again. Oh, he wants the Cars pack. Okay. That’s fine. I put the Hot Wheels back and got the Cars. Nope. He shook his head again. 
Let me remind you that he had used one word so far for the entire trip. Everything else was gestures. 
Little E started to make a sweeping motion over the entire display case. All of it. He wanted me to buy the whole thing for him. I said no. He had to pick one. He crossed his arms and pouted. “Okay. Then how about none?” He uncrossed his arms and pointed to two packs. Hot Wheels and Marvel characters. I told him to pick. He picked up the Hot Wheels. Then the Marvel characters. Both went into the cart. I said “One.” and gave him my best “I’m not a pushover!” face. 
I’m also a liar. 
He looked at me with his gigantic melon head and his big, adorable eyes and held up two fingers. He wanted two. And he was really flipping cute about it. 
“Fine.” I said. “Two”.
He smiled a big cheesy smile.
He proceeded to get way more than two. He also got donuts. And chocolate milk. And wafer cookies. And a lego boat. And my dignity.
I am not exaggerating when I say that some of my best days end with a trip to see Little E. When you ask him for a hug, he turns around and gives you his back to hug. I think it’s quirky and adorable. He draws me pictures that hang in my office and are constant reminders of what a sucker he has turned me into. He got a 100 on his sight words test for Kindergarten, and it’s taped to my computer at work. 
Seeing him always ends like this: I want him! Or one of my own! Now! Just let me take him home! Or give me one to like just as much! 
I fully understand that kidnapping is against the rules, and his mother is not likely to want me to have him. That only leaves one option...
Blissful turmoil. I go back and forth with every passing day. Love, marriage and babies, right? Right?
Please help me. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hug and Kiss

Today, Little E gave me a real hug and kiss. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was one to me.

Little E has some attachment issues. He is a wonderful kid, but he has major trust barriers. It takes him a long time to warm up.

Today, I was appropriately warm. Today, he gave me the best gift I could ask for.

I am so happy.


Le sigh.

My Little Brother

My little brother stopped being little several years ago. I still call him my little brother though. He is taller than I am. He is larger than I am. He has a sense of humor that is very sadly nearly identical to mine. He is raising a kid. My little brother is raising a kid.
My little brother
is raising a kid.
The universe is playing some kind of really sick, twisted joke on itself.
The weirdest part? He’s, like, a crazy good parent. My stupid little brother is a good parent. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Little E

For most of my (short) adult life, I was pretty sure that kids were going to be very far in the future. If my parents had their way, I would have been married by 18 and living my life Duggar-style. Mind you, I have three brothers who are just as capable of procreation as I am, but it’s probably better for the universe that they refrain from spawning. My parents decided early that I, like Obi-Wan, was their only hope.
The day that I got married, I was still on the “kids are smelly” page. A few weeks after, I didn’t get nauseous at the thought, but it still wasn’t happening anytime soon. 
Then I went to brunch.
I should provide some background information. It had been a rocky year in my immediate family, and my younger brother and I were kind of just getting re-acclimated to each other. I had very recently met his girlfriend whom he had been seeing for over a year. I knew that she had a 5-year-old son who my brother was playing stepdad to, but I didn’t know anything about the kid. I also didn’t know how I felt about my little brother raising someone else’s kid. Up until about a year prior, I was still waking his 21-year-old butt up on the rare morning that he actually did anything. Now, he was doing all of this weird big kid stuff, and I was struggling with his transformation. 
When I finally met V, my brother’s no-longer-new girlfriend, I was instantly in love with her. She kept him in line, required him to act like an adult, and didn’t take crap from him. More than that, he LISTENED. It was glorious.
I planned on meeting my parents, Little Bro and V for brunch. I’m not kidding when I say that that stupid brunch turned my whole damn world upside down and left me in a state that I have dubbed “blissful turmoil”. 
The booth in the restaurant looked normal as I walked up. What I didn’t see what the five-year-old hiding in the corner because he was too shy to say hi to... anyone. 
He wouldn’t talk to me. He didn’t like when I looked at him. In fact, the only time I could get him to respond was when I encouraged him to hit Little Bro over the head. That got him going, and it was nice to have someone else to do it for once. 
We’ll call him Little E. His name should really be “pint-sized-brat-who-was-presumptuous-enough-to-steal-my-flipping-heart.” Little E will suffice, though.
Upon meeting him, I initially decided that spending time with him would be awesome payback for the terror who was my little brother growing up. I could fill him with candy, buy him annoying toys, rile him up and hand him back to make my brother understand what it was like to be irritated 24/7. I told Little E that if he came and hung out with me, there would be sugar galore, trips to the toy store, and puppies! SO MANY PUPPIES! He stared at me blankly until I looked back at him, then he looked away. Eye contact was going to take a while.
I kept mentioning the awesome things that we could do if he came and hung out with me, but he didn’t respond. I discovered that I could get him to knock David over the head on command, so we did that for a while. Then, it was time to go, and it looked like I would be leaving brunch without a five-year-old companion. Oh well. I had errands to run anyway. Target (pronounced: Tar-jay with a soft J, like yogging) was calling my name.
We said our farewells and I got into my car and drove away. Not thirty seconds later, my phone rang. It was Little Bro. 
“Where are you?” He asked.
Clearly, I could not have been more than a minute away seeing as, you know, it had been less than I minute since I left the restaurant.
“Making the U-Turn, why?”
“E wants to come with you. Meet us at the gas station.”
From there, folks, it was all over. I loaded him into the back seat of the car, asked if there were any rules that I should know about, and buckled him in. He has had me wrapped around his finger since.
I should note that, for some reason, I had a huge piece of extra-large bubble wrap in the back seat of my car. This may have been an additional enticement for him. 
From that moment, my anti-child stance has been completely reversed. Now, not only do I want them, but I think I want them soon. For a minute or two. Then I ask myself if I’m crazy. Then I think it’s totally normal. Then I think I’m crazy again. 
My day with Little E was wonderful. I’ll tell you about it later. The really important part is that he is the catalyst to this strange purgatory that I teeter on day by day. 
To procreate or to not procreate? That is the effing question. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Not Baby Crazy

I am not a baby crazy newlywed. I am a newlywed who occasionally (read: all the time) considers having a baby. I'm not at the point of longing for the tiny fingers and toes or thinking about outfitting a nursery. I ponder what it would be like to rework my existing life to accommodate for another one. I think they call this "selfish".

Today was not one of those days that a baby would have "fit into". It was a work from home day where I sit around, usually in my pajamas, and stare at a computer screen for hours. I give myself headaches from too many uninterrupted hours at the computer box. I was in my home office for 8 hours with a few potty breaks. I did some laundry. It's my "me" day. My "don't bother me" day. Even the dogs know to let me be. They quietly wait for me to show some sign of life before reminding me that they have not yet mastered using the toilet.

I know that there is no such things as 8 hours of uninterrupted work at home when you have a not-school-age kid.

Right now, I have three great loves in my life: my husband, my family (whom I work with) and my job. These are powerful, unbreakable bonds. I cannot tell you how many times my husband has to bring me back from some work-induced brain overload. He is a saint about it. I don't think a baby would be so understanding.

Do I have to make the concious decision that work has to be less important once there is another life involved? Or is there a way to make it all work? I guess I won't know until we're there. I hate to make it sound like my job is everything. It most certainly is not. I just consider myself to be terribly lucky to have a job that I not only like, but love. I love getting up to go to work in the morning. Often, we work 12-hour days. I am fortunate enough to work with my parents and brother, so most days are fun. I don't have to worry about offending my secretary, because he's my brother and he can suck it up. Long hours are perfectly okay when you are spending them with people who you would probably be with anyway. Lightning like that certainly doesn't strike twice.

This (hypothetical) kid better be worth it. My job will never be a rebellious teenager who tells me that I'm the worst manager ever. Odds are, this supposed (again, hypothetical) bundle of joy will at some point. Also, my job's skirt is never to short, and my office doesn't have a thing for scream-o rock. I don't have to worry about my work eating crayons or hanging out with the wrong crowd. I am the crowd, and I'm awesome.

The Precipice

I just got married. Just, as in, got married a little over three months ago. The day we got engaged, it became absolutely necessary for everyone we met to ask us when we were having kids. We weren’t even married yet. Apparently, the second he puts a ring on it, my ovaries are open for business. Except they’re not.
I was completely anti-kids from the second we got engaged until a few days after we got married. The story behind how that began to change is sweet and a little twisted. We’ll get to that. Every time someone asked about procreation, I got nauseous and sweaty and confused. I felt like they were nuts for asking a 16-year-old to have babies. Then I would remember that I wasn’t 16 anymore and that everyone naturally assumes that you spawn as soon as you make it legal. It’s not that they’re wrong. It just felt wrong for me.
I would tell everyone that we didn’t have kids, but we did have puppies. The main reason? “You can put puppies in boxes, but people get upset when you do it with babies.” This was entirely true. We are both incredibly busy with this huge transition to adulthood, and babies need, like, TONS of attention. They cry and refuse to tell you why. They rely on their parents for everything. They grow out of their clothing very quickly.
And they smell.
I felt like not wanting kids right away made me a bad woman and a bad daughter. My parents made it clear that they were only paying for this grande affair of a wedding so that they could get grandkids out of the deal. I knew I would have to provide them eventually, but right away? Eek. My figure deserves a little more notice than that. The pseudo-feminist in me said that I could wait decades if I wanted! The Betty Crocker in me said that if I was going to bake so many cupcakes, I should have babies to eat them.
Now, three months later, I stand at a very strange place. I think I want all of those things, and soon. I think I want them tomorrow. Maybe even today if they don’t mind giving me enough time to get home and straighten up the living room. It raises all sorts of questions and issues and confusion and hyperventilation and awkwardness and things. Just things. So many things. 
I’m not the only woman who has stood on this precipice knowing that life is about to change and not being sure what to do next. I was so vocal about being uncomfortable about kids that it feels silly to say anything to the people around me. They’ll check my temperature and send me for thyroid studies. These thoughts change, well, everything. They make previously important things meaningless and other unconsidered things totally critical. They open up questions that I never thought I would ask. How many kids? How soon is too soon? Do we convert the guest room or the office? These conundrums take my formerly very un-cooing heart and turn it into mushy mush for things I never thought I would be interested in. 
Two roads are diverging in a concrete jungle, and I thought I wanted the one less traveled by. Now, I think I want the one most spit up on. And it just feels weird. 

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