I imagine some of you parents nodding and chuckling after reading this; the newest of you are holding your baby who looks adorable in the new outfit you matched with adorable bow, tights, shoes, and pigtails. Did I mention adorable?
A good day she spits all over herself.
A bad day she spits all over you.
I was forewarned, by many of you, the majority with older kids, imagine that, with your annoying “Just Wait” comments while I would brag tirelessly over the rolling, speaking, giggling, cute little jumbled up words and even sign language shared just between me & my baby.
“You see how she laughs when I blow air on her tummy!”
Most of you dove right in with similar tales of sweet motherhood while every now in then an elevator would ensure a self righteous “Ha! Just wait! You”ll want to give them back! It’s like aliens kidnap them and some come don’t come back until their twenties!”
Had they met my Kat?
I passed it off as never being nurtured themselves or in need of sleep.
I’d nod in sweet empathetic knowing. (I know moms from elevators, I’m sorry, okay?”)
In return, they’d give me the stink eye.
And here I am.
My baby cherry has been popped people and I’m looking into the black abyss of my unknown parenting future.
It was a slow gradual shift I’d say, looking back at the deer I just caught in my headlight and have yet not removed. I’m one of those slow band aid removers when I have a cut and hate waxing for that split second shock, and I’d also say I like thinking on the positive sides of things.
“So stink eye on all you stink eye monsters!”
Motherhood in its milky burp or projectile vomit, is beautiful, in spit and shit. I adore my babies.
That is, until I joined a club I can’t find my way out of.
There were a few changes here and there, a new assertive way of dressing, meaning if you like and bought it, she hates it. Then there was her pulling me into the bathroom, so many times she had before, in the tireless potty days. This was different.
She locked the door and whispered, “Watch for Dad.”
I responded, “Why are we whispering?”
She pulled her shirt over her head and said, “Loook! I have boobies that are enlarging, like the book says.” Then pulling her shirt down, excited like we were going on the slide in McDonalds in my confused mind, she announced it was time for a kid bra.
WTF. When did it change to Kid Bra? I feel violated for not knowing sooner.
She locked herself away in her room reading “American Girl’s Guide to Me” or otherwise named “Daddy Leaves His Body Disorder” to come out yelling just the parts you want to whisper over, like they aren’t there.
“Mommy, do you wear tampons or pads during (she picks up book and mispronounces “Menuustrratyin?”
“Tampons, I mean nothing. I mean it’s not your business Kat!”
She asks me if she will bleed like a scene in a movie during a real E.R. or if it will be slow like a faucet turned mostly off. Then as I choke she reminds me I was ten when I had a period and in ten days, she will be too!”
The one thing I didn’t count on was having a child who prepares to prepare.
How did this happen to me?
ME, MISS FREE SPIRIT, has a child exactly like an officer of the LAPD, just without uniform.
She drills anyone and every one who smoke.
She tells when I text and drive, don’t drink water, have sticky floors and don’t get her started on the hours my bf plays video games.
Beware of any ten second lost car in the parking lot.
She has a journal she swings open with pencil in hand, two inches from your face, asking questions to quizzes which she checks extremely seriously, adding up her totals requires full undivided attention.
She braces me for bad news. “You mom, scored 6. I’m sorry but you are not “Cool as a Cucumber.”
She sighs dramatically.
We both scored “The Worry Wart!” then she lays her head down as if this is devastation.
Her whole life, all she ever wanted is to be “Cool as a Cucumber!”
Who knew. I would’ve changed the theme of her birthday cake long ago.
When I tell her some positives to this outcome SHE could change, she rolls her eyes, as if I’ve ever lived through anything other than PMS, which I hear my voice raising that she doesn’t even pronounce right!”
She shrugs, barely whispering in this new alien voice of sarcasm.
Oh hell no, back up. Is my child making fun OF me? Me? I find myself ready with infantile sarcasm, a showdown right there in the Claire’s parking lot, until she points out I lost the car, AGAIN.
“I didnt LOSE my car Kat for Gods sakes” I yell as we walk in circles.
I find it, three rows over as I hear this mutter, “Maybe you should get an app for that.”
Three weeks after supplying her dream Christmas list, she announces,
“I don’t play with dolls,” she says, “I gave them to Lola” which explains why of yesterday Lola had the best day of her life. Every day is the best day of her life and as her teacher said, “And every table I move her for talking she meets a new best friend.”
Then, came the makeup. She pointed out I wear none quite candidly as I picked my amateur brain and went straight to any parents guide.
Duh. You Tube. Judge away people. I found a celebrity showing blush, powder, light mascara, and lip gloss in an age appropriate way.
That explains also where my lipstick went. Lola had red markings even on her forehead and that next school meeting, her teacher gave me to take home “How to apply Lipstick” by Lola. She’s still in the adorable phase can you tell?
Divorcee and I had been bickering back and forth over when to reveal Santa since birth. I told him “She will hold it over us forever!” I begged but he didn’t have the heart.
Until I had the heart for him. Her tooth had fallen out and she had told me of plans of putting the tooth in a different location than under her pillow.
I thought of her father being woken by the bride of Chucky so I improvised.
Which led to no Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy all in one day. Divorcee took it the worst. Pretty rough day for the most imaginative kid I know, oh, and Kat too.
Afterwards, she laid in her bed deep in thought, completely angry and saddened that life was now meaningless, all her life, nothing was real, that it had been daddy who ate the cookies!
She glared at him in betrayal.
She also accused him of throwing away all her teeth.
Exhausted, I laid down next to her, just as sad.
“Kat,” which she reminded me now she likes Makaila or McKaykay, NOT Kat.
“Kat,” I continued. I’m going to talk to you like an adult cause that’s what you want, isn’t it?
She was nodding profusely, moving in, deep unwavering eyes locked right into my own from anticipation.
“Being adult means things you thought were real turn out fake, things you wish and dream on sometimes die or divorce, princesses lose lots of guys, not just one. And they don’t wear Justice.”
She frowned. “Kisses and PMS and all these things you want so badly (she pushes her flat chest up as I say this) may make Santa not being real look like a pretty good day. One day you might wish this day back as much as you wish 18 would hurry.”
I stop, the gushing positive hopeful mom blocking and talking away anything that might hurt change or be awkward or sad away, finally stopped. I wonder if I just killed her.
“Mom, its about now doing it all for Lola, right? Believing makes Lola happy, but not me.” She sighs and hugs me like she were my baby, squeezing and not letting go.
And again, I was wrong about that hug.
She finished it and did a cartwheel and said, stoic and proud,
“Mom, it’s official. I’m now a preteen.”
I laughed out loud and agreed, For that one brief moment, I didn’t even give her the stink eye.
I saw my baby as Makaila Grey, a teeny body with outrageous Spirit, made through me, not of me.
I will spend the rest of my life, camera in hand, trying to capture it.
But it can’t. That’s what the ladies were trying to say. It passes and no one is prepared to catch it, in perfect motion, just before it vanishes into a dream, a baby book, a billion photos.
The snake eye group is right. You can’t bring innocence back.
And that is the best news I ever heard, in the way the Swine Flu probably feels.
“Just Wait,” is all I can think, now Kat is a “preteen” and I’m in the grouchy snake eye group.
She wasn’t mine anymore.
She never was.
I sob into my boyfriend who is dumb and laughs at the humor in this.
I give the stink eye like a true pro and stomp to the next room, where only Kat would understand.