I was wondering out loud what I’d blog about today, and my daughter said, “How about me?” Well, she’s better than nothing, but what do you write about your teenager?
I guess I could tell about what an evil baby she was. Oh my gosh she was ornery! She hated to have her diaper changed. HATED IT. I’d put her on the same changing table I’d used with my son without incident, and she’d commence to scream bloody murder. Moving her did no good – she just didn’t want that diaper changed. Either that or she didn’t like me putting her down – I held the child continually either with my arms or a baby bundler that pressed her close to my chest all day long – facing out so she could be entertained by the world.
I should mention that she was born with a full head of red hair, and the stereotypical temperament that goes with it. If something didn’t suit her, she’d scream until her face was as red as a crayon. Which is interesting because she was also a very good-natured baby overall – a lot more mellow than my son had been. There just wasn’t any middle ground with her – she was either hot or cold, angry or angelic.
She had made up her mind as a two-month old that there was no reason she needed to have a new diaper when the old one was serving her perfectly fine. She had other little quirks like this, but the diaper thing impacted me several times a day. I got to where I could change a diaper in a matter of seconds – I was like one of those cartoons with arms waving in zip time and a new diaper on practically before the old one was off because her bellowing was brutal to my ears. I never liked the sound of a crying baby – it breaks my heart. It’s all I can do not to go over and pick up crying babies in stores and restaurants. There’s not a baby I can’t quiet down because it bothers me so. I’ve got a list of tricks as long as a freeway.
One day when my daughter was about 4 months old, she had done a particularly large quantity of greenish, sticky…well never mind, let it suffice that this wasn’t going to be a quick fix. I gathered everything needed, then braced for the squalling which erupted immediately at the onset. I worked like a Tasmanian devil trying to get the job done quickly, but she was clenching her fists and letting me know she wasn’t happy one little bit, arching her back and having a good solid hissy fit when all of a sudden her “inny” bellybutton popped out. Popped right out of her stomach! I about fell over backwards. It scared the crap out of me! You don’t just see a one-inch mass of creamy skin pop out of someone’s stomach everyday. It would make a good horror movie. I finished the diaper and, as always happened, the minute I was done and picked her up, she started cooing.
I nearly broke a leg trying to get to the phone to call the pediatrician. “It’s okay,” the advice nurse said, “happens all the time. It will go back in one of these days.” But it wasn’t okay, it was ugly. I didn’t know belly buttons went so deep. It truly stuck out about an inch. And it was full of air – like a cream colored balloon. I’m not sure it was air, but you could press on it and it felt like there was nothing in there, but it filled right back up when you let go.
It took several years for that thing to disappear. In fact, I don’t know when it did; I just know I worried myself sick thinking it would always be that way.
Okay, I have space for one more thing. I nursed both my kids for a while because I read it made them smart and I like smart people, so I was in no hurry to wean them. My daughter was about 7 months old when she grew her first tooth. Cute as could be! But she was nursing one day and I was staring down at her full of motherly love and sweet joy, when she got an odd little look on her face that I can’t describe as any other thing but just pure mischief. A couple of seconds later she bit me. SHE BIT ME! Bit one of the most sensitive areas on a human body! If you’ve ever been the victim of a purple nurple, it doesn’t even come close. It was like a cattle prod – an electric shock. It hurt like the dickens. I yanked her loose, which brought on even more pain, and she looked up at me with absolute delight, like she’d just seen a scampering puppy for the first time. I verbally chastised her royally to discourage it happening again. She was really smart even back then, and I know she understood the cause of my displeasure, and it amused her.
A few days later I got the look again, and again got the shock of pain. After that, I watched her like a hawk, and she watched me. I was on the lookout for “the look,” and she was waiting for me to let my guard down. When I got the look, if I didn’t yank her immediately, I got bit.
The funny thing is, my son was very kind to her until she was about two and started going into his room and rifling through his toys. Then he turned into a typical big brother, they’d get into fights, and if it got physical before I could break them up, she’d bite him and practically draw blood. We were all scared to death of those teeth! When you were unlucky enough to be stuck between them, it was like you’d been caught in a bear trap.
You’re going to ask, “Why didn’t you just wean her?” Because I wanted her smart, that’s why. She’s a 4.0 student, a math and science whiz, and she’s a great athlete with strong bones and good teeth, so I guess it paid off. Makes for a good story, too, don’t you think?