Arm pits come in all shapes and sizes

My daughters current bestie is a stuffed, red, Clifford the Dog. She found him in good condition at Savers for $3.99. We purchased him, stuck him in the washer and the minute he came out of the dryer they became inseparable. He has a very lovable tilted head and a friendly wobbly smile. Clifford (or Clippard as she pronounces it) does everything with Sarah, from going to the dentist (and being seen first) to sleeping with her at night. The other day my husband discovered something -- Clifford has arm pits (kind of). Sarah was THRILLED! So, I showed her that she too had arm pits, zowie! She reached over to me, pulled my tshirt sleeve back and discovered that her mom ALSO has arm pits, a bit hairy and pokey arm pits. Dad also has arm pits. I happily shouted for him to show Sarah his pits too. Daddy has arm pits too and they are HAIRY! Sarah was wide eyed and astounded. And then, the icing on the cake, I told her that "someday she will have arm pit hair and she can even shave it if she wants to!!!" She was overwhelmingly thrilled with the very idea, just speechless with joy. Armpits!


I don't have a cell phone. I would rather look at my daughter.

Anyone who knows me knows of my distain for cell phones. As a society, we used to be happy, live just fine, feel fulfilled even back before cell phones became extensions of our bodies. Really. I know it's hard to believe but it's true. And guess what else? More of us could just sit back then. Just sit and listen to ourselves, to our surroundings, acknowledge our kids (heck our spouses, friends, what have you) when they wanted to show us something. We enjoyed being alone even. We enjoyed reading, actual printed material. We used to be able to go to dinner with another person and actually talk to them, enjoy their company. I loathe seeing people eat a meal "together" while on their personal cell phones. Makes my heart hurt. People don't seem able to sit on a train, rock, bench, seashore, park, name it, without checking to see what inane thing the internet is spewing out at that moment. People used to be on their phones all the time. What I mean by that is they used to talk to people on their phones all the time. The first time I saw someone with a blue tooth I thought they were crazy, talking to themselves. Then I noticed a little metallic and plastic device on their ear. Now, when I see people, they are still on their phones but they aren't talking anymore, they are touching screens or texting. I like the ease having  a phone would bring but I hope never to have one. I want to really see what is around me. I want to see my baby. My husband. My friends and neighbors. And this is where we come to my admission:

Hi. My name is Kara and I am a helicopter parent.

There. It's out. I'll admit one thing further. I ADORE my almost 3 year old. I LOVE looking directly into her beautiful intelligent eyes and listening to what she has to say. She is hilarious. She is aware. She draws her own thoughts and conclusions and will share them with me. We can TALK. Can you believe that? She listens to me and I listen to her. We never have to stop what we are doing because a call or text came in that was "more important" than her.  I love going places with her. We talk about what we are doing, all the time as we travel through our lives. We try on makeup together at the mall. We spend time going for walks, talking to the neighbors. When she shows me things, I look at them. I see so many parents completely ignore things their children are excited about because they are glass eye glued to a ridiculous screen.. Sarah and I enjoy reading together. We enjoy working together. She is a smart, kind and helpful child. We play with friends together. We love playing with other moms and their kids. My daughter loves playing with other kids. She is brave and will just walk up to other kids and say hi. And we do it all without the annoyance of a cell phone.

Don't misunderstand me. We have our bad days. Nothing in life is perfect. I have plenty stories here to attest to just that. But you know what? My daughter knows that I am her mom. I will be there for her. I will fight for her. I will help her. I respect her. I LOVE playing with her at the park, the mall, the library, the farm or any of the other place we go. We are friends and I AM her MOM. All in one. I get hate seeing kids run up to their parents at the park, library, what have you, and be shushed and waved away because there is something far more important on the phone to look at. Life with small children is short. Put down the damn phone and look at your kid. Play with them. Talk to them.

This doesn't mean that you can't have mom friends. I ADORE my mom friends. They are a lifeline to me. This doesn't mean your child can't have and play with their own friends. But if giving  a damn about my child, looking at her, playing with her, talking to her, being PRESENT with her makes me a helicopter parent, BRING IT ON. If you wanna hang back and be cool while your kid does their own thing, fine; but, don't give us more "hands on" parents crap for parenting just a little differently than  you. (Perhaps you're just feeling a little guilty? Just a bit?) Nah.


My Puppy

My Sarah is a puppy a lot of the time these days. She has been a puppy for oh, 2-ish months now. She makes a SUPERB puppy. She crawls around, picks up things with her mouth, drinks from a bowl like a champ, barks (a variety of barks), and pants with authority. She has obviously studied the dog they have at her babysitters carefully. I am very impressed. Several weeks ago my puppy got upset because I was calling her Sarah. "NO," she hollered, "I am a PUPPY!" So, I started calling out puppy names and asking her what she thought about them.

Me: how about Fido?
Her: no.
Me: Spot?
Her: no.
Me: Brownie? Rufas? Rin Tin Tin?
Her: NO.
Me: hum. Well, how about Big Red.
Her: increase in panting and an affirmative head nod.
Big Red was born, so to speak.

I tried to tell Big Red not to bark in the house once but was met with such a heartbreakingly sad, slumping puppy that I took it back. "Ok, how about softer barking?" Deal.


Warning: beware giant sequins

Our neighborhood library hosts various activities for kids almost every day of the week. They are saints to put up with chaos so often. Mondays, Sarah and I go to a dancing story time. Lots of dancing around and being silly with one or two stories thrown in the middle for good measure. Wednesday they have a story time where kids are supposed to sit on the ground and listen to 5-6 stories. Mostly what happens is wide eyed moms chase kids around or loudly hiss at their bundle of love to sit down as he or she gleefully stands in front of everyone, picks their nose and shouts a play by play of what is happening from their view to their parent at the back. Sarah and I especially love Wednesday story time because after, there is a CRAFT project. We're talking GLUE! SCISSORS! Paper, markers, crayons, sequins, pom pom balls, you name it. Each project varies. Well, as luck would have it, the project at the end of story reading several weeks ago called for large amounts of sequins and glue. The recipe for true happiness for many a child, including mine. By the time we finished, our project was loaded down with great lumps of glue, marker drawings, and various sizes of sequins (somewhat attached) to a superhero mask. Sarah and I were both thrilled by the end product and we proudly took it home where it would spend some time on the fridge before being moved to a box in the office to make room for the next creation to be honored on said fridge.

Several days later, Sarah found a dime sized red sequin from her super hero mask in the "big mom and dad bed." That particular morning Sarah had woken up and wanted to start her day slowly by hanging out with me in the big bed watching PBS kid shows. All was well until I suddenly felt Sarah putting something in my nose. I didn't know what she was putting in but my fight or flight instincts kicked in. My body was certain that the object being inserted into my nose was something that spelled d-a-n-g-e-r. I shrieked, "Sarah NOOO!" as she simultaneously finished shoving, what I now realized was the large sequin, all the way up my nose. I instantly started pushing air out of my nose as forcefully as I could. I reached in, I pushed from the side, nothing dislodged the sequin. And then, blood began to geyser from my nose. There was blood all over. I was lost in panic and Sarah was gleefully jumping on the bed, excited about the chaos she had caused. I ran to the bathroom and finally managed to snort the large, even more red now, sequin out of my poor bleeding nose. By then Sarah had simmered down a bit. I was able to stop the blood and then have a serious talk with my tiny child about how she is NOT to put anything up her nose or anyone else's nose. By this time it was 8:30am. ONLY 8:30??? And people think mom's (or SAHD's) just sit around with their cuddly, clean, angelic children all day singing Kumbaya. Real parents will snort and agree with me when I say, NOT.

As always, still love you S.


What did you just say?


Dad: Sarah let her go. When she screams like that it means she hurts! 
(Giving the cat "a hug”).

Mom: Sarah did you eat your yogurt?
Sarah: Poo.
Mom: I’m not sure how that answers my question. Did you eat your yogurt?
Sarah stubbornly: Poo.
Mom: (nodding slowly) I see.

Bedtime. Sarah has run away from me and climbed up to sit by dad in the family room. Dad is watching baseball. 
Mom: Sarah you ran away. We have to get ready for bed. Let’s go read a story and drink some milk. 
Sarah with her head resting casually on her hands (behind her head as a pillow): 
No, watching game (with) daddy. 
(Baseball usually makes her bawl. So we knew she was faking. But, this was such a creative move on her part that we all sat and watched baseball for about 3 minutes).

Just now Sarah walked by brushing her teeth with a comb.
Dad: Are you brushing your teeth with that comb?
Sarah: Yeah.
Dad: is that effective?
Sarah: (sad sounding) no.
Dad: I wouldn't think so.
They make me laugh!

She's such a tall little baby

I forget how tiny my little girl is sometimes. She has always been top of her age group in height, makes it easy to forget she is still just a little baby type person.

The other day we (Dad, Sarah and I) went to our favorite place in the mountains of Salt Lake City to play. There is one place that Sarah always heads to after we finish our “hike” (ie. look at every stick, bug, duck, and animal, touch every rock). The bike rack. She calls it “the cage.” She loves to put rocks into the holes on top, climb on it, have me sit with her behind the cage to play with the gravel, and whatever else we come up with. Well, this day, 5 or 6 little boys came over to talk to us. They were cute little boys, full of energy and enthusiasm. I asked them how old they were and was told all were between 4 and 5. My Sarah was as tall as any of them! She is only 2.5 years old. She is so smart, funny, creative and competent that I forget just how young she is. 

I credit her with being able to do all sorts of things. The astounding thing is, she can do most of them with very little help. She is so cool. She can use a spoon and fork like a champ. She doesn’t even hold them fist clench style. She can color and put colors in actual shapes in coloring books. She can name most of her colors. She knows an amazing number of words. She knows such things as crabs, coffee, octopus (puss! she calls them), Clippard (her stuffed dot Clifford) shower (shaur). Most cats are called “Frankie” (our cat is Frankie). She can ask for food: "eat me." She often says please (peas) and thank you. She can tell you what she wants to do: “T!” (let’s watch tv), sit me (sit with me), milkie! (can I have some milk, she still drinks bottles at naptime and nighttime), cakes (can I have a pancake?). She can tell you where she'd like to go: store  movies, park, side (meaning can we go either outside or inside depending on which side we currently are on). She can stir when she helps me cook. She can put trash where it belongs (trash can silly reader!). She can take off her clothes. She loves being naked in our (very secluded) backyard. In the backyard she digs in the dirt with large plastic spoons, drags her inner tube around, she throws rocks, she looks for bugs (she is a CHAMP at finding ants), she sucks water from sprinklers. She is brilliant and can do so much. I feel like if she were in charge, the house would run like clockwork. OH wait. She's only 2.

To Sarah: 
I forget, my little one, how young you are. You are amazing, so smart and fun. You hold my heart in your tiny capable hands. I am so glad you are my baby and friend. 


Darkness Our Old Friend

You know how some people are scared of the dark? My baby isn't one of them. 

Several months ago I put my little girl in her crib and wished her a good night. About a half an hour later my husband and I were watching grown up tv, the sort of tv that bores any kid to tears (I think we were watching "Bates Motel" at the time - which I highly recommend) when we heard a soul achingly loud cry. We looked at each other with alarm. What could be happening to make our little bug cry that suddenly and loudly. We went running. 

What we saw next has us laughing still. 

I had forgotten to turn off Sarah'a overhead light. Her usually dark room was bright as noon. Little S had piled up all of the blankets in her crib and was laying spread eagle on top of them crying like she would never stop. Her little face was drenched with tears and she was just howling. We were really concerned until  our little bug sobbed out the trouble, "liiiights! Li-sob-ii-sob-ights. Sob." We were relieved that something worse wasn't happening and giggled just a bit, we couldn't help ourselves. We wiped her tears, hugged her and left our now comfy baby to sleep in the DARK, no nightlight for this kid. From that night on, Sarah sometimes finds herself being teased at bedtime, "would you like the lights on or off?" She responds in panic, every time, "NO LIGHTS!"  She is one cute and funny kid. 

Post Script: I like the dark too. It is quiet and peaceful. Ahhh.