How it went.

I was waiting for it to happen, and frankly, I thought he’d ask about a daddy first, but this morning as we were putting on our shoes and zipping up our jackets, The Who looked up at me and said, “Mama? Why do I have TWO mommies?”

Despite my rush to get out the door (him to school and me to work) and the chaos of the early weekday morning, I registered the importance of the question. One of those questions that, as a parent of a young child (and especially a queer parent of a young child), you wait for and think about and plan for, but are never fully prepared for. Where do babies come from?  Where do you go when you die? What is God? Why do I have two mommies?

I told him that his Mommy and I love each other and got married (hoping that when he is really old enough to know, our marriage will actually be legal and recognized in our home state) and we decided to have a child, so we are both his mommies together. That seemed to sate him. He flipped the last velcro on his sneaker over, pulled the hood of his sweater onto his head, and said, “Oh. Ok.”

So, that’s how that went.

What?

I swear, it just creeps up on me out of nowhere sometimes. I have a kid. Like, I catch a glimpse of a snapshot of him and he looks like me and I know his features so intimately and oh my god. This kid is my kid. Came out of my body. Lives in my house. Calls me Mama. What?

Talk.

“What were you eating, Mama?”
“Birthday cake.”
“Did you have ice cream with your birthday cake?”
“No.”
“Well, ice cream is a lovely thing to have with birthday cake.”

At what point do I stop being amazed with the things that come out of his mouth and just accept that he is now a full-blown talker? The Who was, by all counts, an “early talker” and has been surprising, amusing, and stunning us all (parents, teachers, and doctors alike) with not only his vocabulary, but his seemingly innate ability to conjugate and manipulate words. He, for example, rarely, if ever, says “teached” or “goed.” It has always been “taught” and “went.” And I remember at his 2-year well visit with the pediatrician, he was looking out the window at traffic on the highway and said, “Look at all those trucks and cars driving out there!” His doctor’s jaw dropped and I said, “What? Cars and trucks?” She said, “No. Driving out there.” It was a phrase that, to her, signified a really advanced movement from thought to language, but one that I, as his mama who was with him all the time, didn’t hear as at all unusual or remarkable. I knew he was verbally advanced because people kept telling me, but I was a kid who practically came out of the womb talking and was reading by three, so his apparently ahead-of-the-curve speech never struck me as remarkable.

Lately, though, he is coming out with these complex sentences and using vocabulary in such an intuitive way that I find myself constantly reporting the things he said — in texts to m* or on Facebook or even just repeating to a nearby friend. But then this morning it occurred to me: maybe it’s not extraordinary. Maybe this is the way three-year-olds talk. Maybe I’ve been conditioned to think of his language as advanced because he started early and has always been very articulate for his age. I’m not sure. I don’t spend enough time around other three-year-olds, I guess. The internet seems to suggest that “many kids can string together 3 or 4 word sentences,” and that “you should be able to understand about 75% of what they say (“Communication” par. 8). Really? Is that the norm? Just that one ice-cream-and-cake sentence was eleven words long and that was certainly not his most complex sentence by a long shot. And I would say that I understand 99.9% of what he says and if I can’t understand it, I can ask him to say it another way and he does.

I don’t mean to be a braggart about my Precious Special Snowflake’s amazing genius. I just really don’t feel like I have a sense of what is remarkable and what just is.

What about you? Do you find yourself similarly questioning things about your kid’s development? What does your kid do that is awesome, but that you kind of take for granted?

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“Communication and Your 2-3 Year Old.” kidshealth.org. KidsHealth, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2012.

On Veggies.

I’ve never made beets before, but I’mma try. I mean, I’ve opened a can and drained the juice and eaten those beets. But I got organic beets today at the Fresh Market. The kind that still have a little dirt on them from the ground and everything. What do you do? Peel them? Slice and then roast? Boil? Steam? I’m going to add them to my Brussels sprouts and carrots recipe because the recipe said that Brussels sprouts and carrots bring out the earthiness in one another. And beets are earthy. Plus, red. Plus, like I said, I’ve never made them and I have wanted to. It’s the tiiiiiime of the seaaaaaason for making beeeeeeets.

This particular veggie dish had us eating veggies with our fingers, cold, in front of the open refrigerator, even as it angrily beeped at us for leaving the door open too long. (My car angrily beeps at me when it thinks, apparently, that I should have a seatbelt on my backpack in the passenger seat. I finally decided to keep the damn seatbelt buckled all the time. End of the beeping. I have not yet found a similar fix for the “stop eating at the open fridge” beep.)

There’s a good deal of butter in this veggie recipe, but it’s unsalted butter and maybe that counts for something. Also, there’s some chopped shallot. Look at me all chopping shallots and including beets in my recipes.

There’s gonna be an inch of snow on the ground in the morning. Mama’s been spoiled by this “winter” and the threat of an inch of snow (though it sounds like it’s raining right now) is enough to have me cancelling all plans and spending the day in jammies. I wish there was also going to be a Superbowl on this weekend. Ideally, one we would win instead of blow in the first two minutes of the game.

I digress.

So, yes. Beets. Brussels sprouts (the ones that come right on the stalk and you snap them off yourself in a very satisfying popping-the-bubble-wrap kind of way) and also baby carrots. Not baby cut carrots, mind you. Did you know that most of the “baby carrots” being sold are actually just regular sized carrots that are cut down in a machine and then dipped in, like, formaldehyde to keep them “fresh?” (Ok, maybe it’s not formaldehyde.) (I totally think it is, though.)** There’s all kinds of trickery. All you see when you’re shopping is “baby carrots.” Somehow you don’t see the “cut” or you do and you don’t know what it means so you buy them anyway. But I read an article. Or I heard something on npr. Or something. Anyway, you gotta look for the real, honest-to-god baby carrots. That’s what I got. Along with my snap-off-the-stalk sprouts and my dirty organic beets. I’m like Mother Earth here with my wholesome goodness. I better do a McDonald’s run tomorrow to keep me honest.

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**ETA: It’s not formaldehyde; it’s chlorine. But still.

Love Me Some.

Goddamn, I love me some three-year-old. Like, when the planets align and we get him up to the shower/bath before he melts down from exhaustion and then he is crazy cooperative and just the sweetest softest little funniest little cleverest little bean that ever there was — yes. That’s when I love me some three-year-old.

Like, tonight. When he earnestly told me that he wants to make chocolate Valentine cookies “with white polka dots” because that’s the kind that the dragon made for his friends. And then he wrapped his little jammied arms around my neck and pulled m* into a big family hug with us before “towing” her down to his room for songs. And like earlier, when he told Siri to “set the timer for 5 minutes” so we could play trains and then when the timer went off, he sighed, “aww, man. We were having so much fun!” but then he chose a toy and carried it upstairs without an argument.

Or like this morning, when I was teaching him how to put on his socks and he just kept at it, occasionally grunting in frustration, but taking suggestions and then: “Look, Mama! I did it! I put my baby toes in first and then my bigs!”

Mm. Yeah. Ask me tomorrow and my answer might change, but tonight, I love me some three.

Easier.

The plan for today was to go to the playground while m* had brunch with her friends. Then maybe the grocery store. An early nap and then some playing before dinner, bath, and bed so that we could watch the game (ugh — the game.) But at some point in the morning, it became clear to me that going to a playground where there was no potty was going to be a bad idea. He had already exhibited some of his classic “I have to poop” moves and I could just see it: we’d be at the playground, he’d know he had to poop, know he didn’t want to and/or that there was no place to go, he’d be clingy and miserable, I’d be miserable, no one would have fun, I would potentially lose my temper, the whole thing would suck, the end.

The gauntlet was thrown: “We can go to the playground after you get your poop out.”

We never got to the playground. I have to say that it’s not for lack of trying, though. To his credit, he did do two 20-minute tries (and was rewarded each time; first, with the rest of my bagel, which he really wanted and next with helping me bake cookies.) But y’know, it turned out to be one of the best days we have spent at home together. We never got out of our jammies. We played and laughed a lot. I never sent him up for a nap because I kept thinking he might poop and we could go to the playground and so the time just marched on until it was suddenly dinnertime.

I was shocked, I have to tell you. I am a great lover of nap time and have been ever since his newborn days. I rarely napped with him (as I was instructed to do) and instead spent it online, desperately reconnecting with the outside world. And since then, nap time has always been my “me-time”, some days barely able to get him into the crib fast enough. Lately, though, it’s been more sporadic. He still will sleep a solid 2-3 hours if I put him in bed, but more often if we don’t make it or if his nap is cut short, he manages — and so do I.

This makes it easier to understand why people start having second kids when their firsts are about 3. It’s getting easier.