Monday, August 20, 2012

From fiesty fetus to tyrant toddler

I went back into the archives of my blog and found this little 'foreshadowing' I wrote in October of 2009 when I was 22 weeks pregnant with Baby Sister: 

We have officially entered the part of pregnancy where I am no longer the boss IN MY OWN BODY.  Don't get me wrong, it does come with good and bad but this week has been very eye opening in the "what will my baby be like" department.  She is already a very demanding little fetus who makes herself known and imposes her wishes whenever she wants.  Specifically, she does not like it when I sit in an upright or leaning forward position.  Whenever I try to (or forget!) she delivers some pretty nasty kicks and punches to my insides.  And they downright HURT!  The funniest part is when I adjust to accommodate her wishes she immediately settles down.  If it is any indication of the level of stubbornness or feisty attitude we are in for after she is born, we are in trouble.  More specifically, I think I am in trouble since she will be a fiery Aquarius - JUST LIKE ME!  I do love the active bonding that goes on with these clashes of wills but I hope it is not a foreshadowing of things to come.

From the very beginning Baby Sister has been fiesty and strong willed - just as she was in utero.  But lately she has turned into a down right tyrant.  No big surprise since her third birthday approaches in the next few months. She has a knack for wearing all of us down with her whining - Daddy calls is "the attack of the whiny butt" which actually makes the whining worse.  But it's better than beating her into silence which I sometimes drag myself into another room to avoid.

For example, she was mostly potty trained and then decided she doesn't want to do that.  She actually demands diapers now.  The best part is her screaming 'NO' at the top of her lungs - accompanied by kicking and hitting on occasion - whenever I try to force her to use the toilet.  And there's always crying first thing in the morning with circular arguments about "no potty!"  Do I think she just had a relapse?  No way.  Not when she tells me WHILE she's peeing in her diaper that she's peeing.  Nor when she demands that I 'thange bum, Mommy' as soon as she's wet.  We've tried everything to coerce her - potty treats, promises of visiting Mickey (her favorite character) at Disneyland, of trips to the beach, of a big girl bed - and she just soils herself then lists all the things she won't get now.  It is infuriating.

Another of my favorites is when she tries to put her own shoes on and can't.  She screams.  I try to help.  She screams louder and bats my hands away.  She tries and fails again.  Screams even louder.  I try to help again.  She screams louder still.  And about that time I have to walk away.  Her sense of self and desire for independence is stronger sometimes than my will to live.

I think the hardest thing for me has been overcoming my initial arrogance that just because she was going to be an Aquarius like me that I would miraculously know exactly how she ticks and thus exactly how to deal with her.  I was so wrong.  Where logic prevails with me, she could care less. 

The very worst part of this stage is when I say - in the mean mom stern voice - not to do something and then must watch as she narrows her eyes, shakes her head almost imperceptibly, and does it anyway keeping direct eye contact.  I just know that when she is a teenager she's going to do the same thing with 'oh yeah, watch me' uttered from her adorable rosebud lips.

Poor Big Sister, who dreamed of a day when she would have a sibling, actually said to me last week she wishes we could give Baby Sister back.  Baby Sister antagonizes her so much.  When no grownups are looking, Baby Sister is poking and prodding and sassing and then looks angelic when Big Sister finally complains.  If Big Sister is sitting anywhere on the couch, Baby Sister demands that it is her spot and kicks (and sometimes hits) until Big Sister finally laments and moves to a new spot.  Sometimes the new location becomes the coveted location and the cycle begins again.  Big Sister has also learned the art of walking away - usually with her hangs up shouting "I'm done!" in her 'tween melodramatics.

I'm officially too old for these shenanigans and most days understand the natural fertility cycle of a woman.  Where I logically know that women in their late teens and early twenties are far too young and inexperienced in the ways of the world to be the kind of mom I want to be - which is why I waited until my thirties to pro-create - I must concede that I had far more energy and patience when I was 'waiting to have kids until I was ready'.  Definitely paying for it now that I have to deal with a tyrant toddler in my FORTIES. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Olympics through new eyes

The Olympic Games happen every four years.  And every four years, since I was a small child sitting on the couch next to my mom cheering for gymnastics and following the swimming with my dad who was a swimmer in high school, nothing much has changed for me whenever they roll around.  Until this year.

I still watch - with my own children sitting next to me now - cheering on the women's gymnastics team and hoping they win gold; cheering and appreciating amazing performances from top gymnasts from all over the world; cheering on our swimming team; watching the diving; watching volleyball in all its forms; and being fascinated with glimpses of other not-so-popular sports when there is prime time coverage.  But this year something has changed.

This year, I'm also watching track and field events.

Four years ago, I was not a runner.  Four years ago, I was overweight and unhappy with my life.  Four years ago the only thing I didn't watch in the summer Games was the track and field.  I even remember being irritated with Hubby who ran track in high school wanting to watch.

Now, I'm a runner. And I can't get enough of watching the amazing athletes.  And I'm answering questions and correcting the misconceptions from my daughter about 'why they are running so slow' because it's fifteen hundred meters instead of one hundred.  I'm appreciating the difference between a sprint, a middle distance and a long distance and am inspired and awed by those who do multiple events.

I guess one could extrapolate from this that it only takes four years to fundamentally change your life.  Thank god I have the Olympics to measure the distance I've come from that other girl who ran the corners and walked the straights hoping just to pass the required mile in P.E. class in junior high.  The one who took dance the next year so I wouldn't have to run.  Who drove aimlessly through parking lots as an adult looking for the closest spot so I wouldn't have to walk so far.  I like my new life and how I feel and appreciate how much effort it has taken me to get here from there.  I'm strong.  I'm fit.  And that makes me powerful.  And although my body isn't perfectly chiseled, and there are always setbacks along the way that constantly test my will, I'm still active and I'm still a runner.  That fact alone means I will live longer and feel better than that old girl I used to be.  More Olympics to watch that way, too!