It’s official, I have a toddling, almost two year old and it hurts so good. Happy 20 months, Otto! After Dave (Daddy) gave me the morning to sleep off the insult he innocently lobbed at me before bed and the Theraflu I had to take last night, legal heroine it should be called, I rose up and got ready to occupy Otto until his afternoon nap. The insult was as follows. While trying to understand why Otto is being so much sassier with me that his father, Dave said that his parenting style is very different than mine (oh be careful here, Dave) and that that he is more esoteric (his word, not mine) and that he is more of a go with the flow kind of parent. I stopped him right there with a mouth full of toothpaste and potential venom and told him that the conversation would be better, um, never. I went to bed high off cold medicine and cranky.
As I said, Otto is acting up lately, but mostly with me. He is testing my boundaries by throwing things at my head and hitting when he gets frustrated. Not really hard, just a warning slap, I would say. Uh oh, that is the kind of thing an abused wife chirps in defense of her violent, drunky husband who chug-a-lugs motor oil and cheap whiskey after playing a round of golf on her face. Of course, I am bummed by his behavior and strict, sitting him down each and every time to explain that that is not acceptable and using the words "no", "boo boo" and "sad". This is where my idea of what to do next collapses. Feel free to comment with any suggestions, jokes or stories of your own to make me feel like less of a freak.
While out killing time today, we ventured to the local outdoor mall to see the fountain, a favorite pass time for overweight tourists and tired nanny’s. This fountain on steroids has water spouts dancing in sync to oldies by Frank Sinatra and Donna Summer. Unlucky for us, the entire fountain was covered up by a stage for the special Christmas tree ceremony this coming weekend featuring Jon Lovitz and Natalie Cole. What? My kid is way too young to know who the hell those two fifty-somethings are and why we don’t care about them. He needs the water ballet, STAT! Hell, I need it. I do love the Master Thespian, though. But Natalie, I never got her.
To my overjoyed surprise, Otto was happy and unfussy as long as I didn’t pick him up, try to force him to walk in a specific direction or put him in his stroller. He barely noticed the lack of fountain fun. He walked along the shops and smudged all the clean windows with his sticky fingers, at one point demanding that we go into the MAC store and play. Sure, great idea! “Hello, do you have an extra iPod I can show my small son? He will stick it in his mouth, push all the buttons simultaneously with his dirty paws and then throw it across the store at that security guard who looks bored and angry.”
I won that battle and we did not enter geeks paradise but he was pissed and only forgave me when I showed him Santa’s workshop a few stores away. Forgive me, my Jewish in-laws for I have sinned and shown my child the wicked ways of the Christians. I even pointed out Rudolph and his nose so bright. But I could not remember the rest of the reindeer’s names or their specific placement. Bad Christian. The workshop was covered in fake candies the size of car tires while a possessed teddy bear spun in circles on the roof. This creepy, Christmas mobile home used up a whole 20 minutes of our day. Hurrah!
After a stop at Barnes and Noble with a few small crying fits and two little kids stealing Otto’s books, we ended up at eating at the Farmer’s Market where Otto proceeded to smear a whole bowl of beans all over his face, drawing smiles and jeers from the surrounding patrons. He made the homeless man to his left look really, really good. As he was on his last mouth full, looking like more like a dog poop than a human boy person, I noticed a woman two tables over flossing her teeth. To be more specific, flossing as if she had a foot stuck between her teeth. Her urgency, focus and lack of self consciousness was appalling and I found myself staring at her for far too long with my jaw between my breasts. She was totally unaware and never looked in my direction, which was more disappointing that I thought. I felt someone should explain to her that flossing is on the list of personal hygiene activities that should never be done outside of the home. No, make that the bathroom. It is #3 on the list. I wanted to type up the list and hand it to her wearing rubber gloves and a paper mask like those over made up hygienists at my dentist’s office.
THINGS NOT TO DO WHILE SITTING AT A RESTAURANT
1) Brush your hair
2) Blow your nose
4) Pick your teeth
5) Pop a zit
6) Clip your nails
7) Wash your hair
8) Shave your legs
9) Change your tampon
The woman was freaking me out and I wanted to get out of there immediately. I turned back to Otto, cleaned up the table, wiped off his face with three diaper wipes and put him in the stroller. As I turned back around to grab the diaper bag, I looked down and saw regurgitated beans and rice, a few stray tortilla chips, a glob of guacamole and two half dead pigeons eating what would most likely be their last meal. The busboy came over and after apologizing profusely for the mess, Otto and I ran away, leaving the destruction in our wake. I knew at that moment that I was no better that Flossy, the tooth fairy at table #12. I told myself that I tried my best to clean up by wiping down the table and stacking the plates. Good, right? Then I rationalized that there were fifteen minutes left on my nap clock to get Otto home and in bed. If I missed my window I was screwed like a Thai hooker on a Bangkok New Year’s Eve. Also, very valid reasoning.
Most days this is not a concern but Otto Pilot is on his third day of not taking his afternoon nap. Remember yesterday, when I joked about him sleeping until 4 P.M.? Well, the joke was on me. He cried, screamed and snotted on his crib rails for two plus hours, with a few breaks when Mommy came upstairs to ask him what the f*@k he was doing. Each time he would do a nose dive onto his blanket collection the moment I walked in and then lie on his stomach ignoring me. Then, I would get up and leave and the one man show would start all over again. He never did sleep and I cried inside.
After leaving the scene of the crime, I got him in the car, strapped in his car seat and wheels moving in less than five minutes flat. Yet, as I was pulling up to our apartment with time to spare, I felt bad about the mess and about myself. It dawned on me that not only did I leave a pile of half digested Mexican food for some poor slob to clean up but that I have not been flossing nearly as much I should.