I remember when my baby was five months old, we started going to Baby Group. It was my savior, my safe place, my guide to being a mom. I have eleven nieces and nephews but I hadn’t been that interested enough in babies to become informed about them. I would go over to one of my sibling’s houses, love them and then get the hell outta there. I am the youngest of six kids. I was unmarried and then eventually married but still child-free. I had happy hours and parties and openings and premiers and tons of fun things to do to actually give a crap about “raising” a baby. I left that shit to my awesome siblings. And then, one fine Christmas Day, I peed on a stick and ” PREGNANT” was pushed on me like a joint on a teen at a Lourde concert. Ooooohhh, feck.
I gave birth to that much wanted baby and yes, it was GLORIOUS and by glorious, I mean hellacious. I had PPD and mourned my old life more than one can explain with words. I was never happy. I wanted to be happy like all of those ladies in the magazines but I was not. Fast forward five months when the baby got chubby and started becoming a human who actually smiled and laughed at me, that was pretty cool! After five months of colic and hell, I started going to mentioned Baby Group. A place where parents went with questions about their kids and some amazing GURU gave you ALL of the answers! It saved my life. In this group there was a lot of talk about “floor time”and I was all, “I have to get on the floor with my baby?” I thought that was the place where my cats slept and where dirty shoes passed the time, I did not want to go there.
20 minutes of floor time a day was recommended. Ugh OK, so now I am on the floor with my kid, putting her on her acid reflux belly to make sure she didn’t end up totally daft. She hated it and I hated it but we stuck with it and she evolved faster than she had been when I was plopping her in the old Rock N Play Sleeper (which saved my life btw) and tuning in to “The View“. My kid is four now so bear with my TV references.
Time passed and many years of excuse making and most days, giving the poor kid some play time, she became a full-on preschooler. “Mommy, let’s play…”. Nails on a chalkboard to my ear holes. I don’t want to play anything, with anyone, ever! Ask Daddy, he loves to play. Daddy also owns his own business and has seriously limited time to play during the week and the kid was tenacious and wanted to play with me. I had to play every day at some point. It felt like Guantanamo Bay. You be the mama dog and I’ll be the baby dog. You be the mama lion and I’ll be the baby lion. You be the bat leopard and I’ll be the merpup. Shit got crazy and elaborate and I didn’t care for it one bit. Also, she’s very mandating when she plays, which I am fully aware will benefit her later in life but so would a little flexibility.
Now, Chutes and Ladders is laid out on the table like this year’s taxes.Those tiny squares preschoolers are supposed to move along while counting each one – RIDICULOUS AND IMPOSSIBLE. Face painting? She asks me to make her a cat and then cries and says she looks like a spider. Go Fish? I can see all of her cards, no fun. Old Maid? She still doesn’t fully get it, plus it’s totally insulting to strong, single females. War? Kid can’t even count correctly yet so where are we going with this? Pogo stick? I have to hold the stick the entire time. Ride bikes? I have to carry the bike 3/4 the way home. Painting? Yes, I like it but she differs from the allocated materials and starts painting her vagina, exclaiming she now is a grown up and has hair on her vagina! Woohoo! Paw Patrol? I damn the day I ever bought those over-priced little assholes. Her rocket ship looks like a giant penis and it just makes me feel uncomfortable. Barbies got into my house somehow, which means me dressing and undressing them the entire time because her little hands get tired of shoving those freaking plastic daggers Barbie calls fingers through holes half the size of the eye of a needle. I am not good at this stuff, people.
I love to take care of her. I love to read to her, I like puzzles and taking her out on the town. I like to make her lunches, buy her clothes and map out her life for her 🙂 I love being her mom but getting down onto the cat’s bed, A.K.A. the floor, where I start to wheeze and sneeze and God forbid start spotting all of the crap in the shag carpet, always ends up in me pulling out the vacuum and thank the tiny, little, blessed 7lb. 4oz. Baby Jesus, she thinks vacuuming is the best, damn game ever.
I know, I know, soon enough I will be appalled at her eye rolling and I will be SO heartbroken when she chooses her friends over me and acts like spending time with her parents is some sort of punishment but I think I’ll miss playing like I miss getting my heart broken, getting a pap smear or getting bamboozled into a play date with someone I can’t stand. I have my strengths, I know them and embrace them and I just hold my breath everyday and pray that she masters the art of independent play sometime soon. Ya’d think for an only child she’d already have figured this out!