8 months and 3.5 years

Our baby is an asshole. To quote comedian, Tom Papa, children “are the worst roommates ever” and our children are no exception. Owen wakes us at 4am to chat. And by chat I don’t mean talk at a reasonable volume and cuddle. No. He wakes up jabbering, clawing, pinching, flailing, kicking, farting, grunting, and generally sounding like a disgruntled old man that’s hard of hearing and throwing a tantrum in a quiet theatre. I would rather hear the old man. At least I could call the cops and get sympathy for the general abuse and injury I receive to my breasts. We’re working on modeling “gentle” affection and touching but so far that doesn’t include stroking hair. Nora is very patient and kind to him considering he growls like Frankenstein and launches himself at her hair with the intent to eat it.

They adore one another but fight over me for attention. Nap time is a two hour process of going back and forth between the two now because they fought over me when I tried to nap with them in one bed. So I nurse Owen to sleep in my own special Greco-Roman wrestling submission hold while singing Edith Piaf and Patsy Cline tunes. I know he’s falling asleep when he pulls my hand up to his head and drops it as a request for a scalp massage. He’s learning to be gentle in his own way.

Nora is improving her spelling and reading skills minute by minute. My favorite moment recently was, “O is for Owen….and O is for owie.” Owen took his first steps this past Sunday, the 11th, and there are lots of “owies”. He is hell bent on scaling things and letting go to try and stand on his own. The results are not reassuring. If this was a business venture I would expect it to shutter anytime now, but never underestimate a little brother’s motivation to annoy and be part of the fun.

Last week, Nora began her first swim class and ballet class. She was brave and attentive at both. Owen was disruptive and obnoxious at both. He enjoys his echo and likes to talk to his sister and everyone else about that and his general excitement about being alive. If only it was a little quieter than the decibel level of a music festival on drugs. Even the ADHD candidate spazzing out next to Nora in the pool shot us the “keep it down over there” look.

I tried to take him away so as not to interrupt but then Nora would panic and get upset. So, instead, I tried to distract him and spent the entire class jiggling, bouncing and humming to him. Which I got the “keep it down” look from the adults then. Meaning, I had the pleasure of paying for strangers to watch us interact like we do at home when my intent was to wear out the kids but the only one worn out was me, my nerves, my back, and my patience. Nothing like being financially extorted while being physically uncomfortable and humiliated by other’s judgment. I imagine it’s how men feel shopping for condoms or how homeless people feel when a Republican is in office.

Speaking of Republicans, I can only assume the other parents at the ballet class were of that mind. I felt like we were outnumbered by the tutu-clad Hitler youth and their cold hearted frauleins. The hippie girl teacher (septum ring, Cosby sweater and velvet tutu were part of her outfit), Miss Amy, asked Nora to make a slice of pizza with her feet. Apparently my daughter was hungry and playing her own word association game because she shouted out, “Spaghetti and meatballs!” I smiled and laughed with her but two little girls, about five years and six years, started laughing at her. I turned and gave their mother a look that I can only imagine conveyed “shut your kids up or else”. She stopped laughing and egging them on to tease Nora and shook her head at them instead.

It was too late, Nora’s feelings were hurt and she threw a tantrum at the end of class, most likely because she was hungry and refused to eat earlier because she was excited, but I couldn’t help think it was because of the other kids as well. Which explains the next morning when we were awoken by Owen fussing at 3:00 a.m. and woke Nora who decided to poop in her pullup and paint her room to pass the time in retaliation. Nora acts out by occasionally painting her room in poop because she assures us that she “can do it herself”. Our poopoo-Picasso has some strange hygiene beliefs but I’m pretty sure most people would agree with me that wiping your ass on the carpet is not an acceptable way to clean yourself.

Personally, I don’t really mind cleaning up poop as much as hearing whining and screaming and being woken up before 6:00 a.m. for the last three years. I’m ok with Owen learning to walk early. It means we’re that much closer to less diaper changes, Nora having someone to chase her, and hopefully he wears himself out enough that he’ll let all of us sleep.

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