Month 31

Month 31

Dear Olivia,

**SARCASM ALERT**  I love Spring!  I love the flowers and the Dublin breeze and most of all, I love the constant sneezing and itchy crusty eyes.  You may be asking yourself, why are you sharing this information with me?  Because, allergies alone are the kiss of death.  Allergies with a 6 month old and a 2 year old is the equivalent of mace in the eyes while listening to someone drag their nails across a chalkboard.  I am blind due to the fact that I have all sorts of nasty all over my contacts and I can’t wear my glasses because Miles has to grab anything that comes within an inch of his face.  All the while, you have to ask me every time I itch my eyes, “Momma, what are you doing?”  I hide in the closet so I can have some reprieve while I attempt to itch my ocular cavities in peace only to hear your little feet shuffling up the stairs.  I rub my eyes faster in an effort to feel some sort of relief fefore you barge in with 20 questions as to why I’m always rubbing my face.  Ugh, leave me alone – let me rub my eyelids raw in peace.  It’s sweet that you say “bless you Momma” after every sneeze but I have sneezed a little over 9000 times in the last 3 weeks which means I have heard “bless you Momma” a little over 9000 times.  You say it when you’re laughing, have the hiccups and even when you’re crying.  There’s nothing like hearing a little whimpering voice say “bless you Momma.”    With as many blessings you have granted me, I must be on my way to sainthood.

We have started up with your swim lessons again.  Now, I’m not going to lie.  I was a little arrogant on your first day back.  I walked in to your swim class proud with my chest puffed out thinking, we got this.  Since you’re not yet 3 years old, you still have to be in the Mommy and Me class but if you demonstrate a level of maturity and can accomplish a few things on your own in the water, they move you up.  I’m thinking no problem.  You’re going to be the best in the class – swimming all over those little babies!  They’re going to applaud your efforts and move you up to the next level right away.  We’re going to rock the Mommy and me class.  Well, the first class didn’t go quite as I had imagined.  You see, something is very different this time compared to last year.  Your vocabulary is much better this year and you have a new self proclaimed independence.  Last summer, I told you to kick and you kicked.  This year I tell you to kick and you say, “uh, no.  I want to jump!”  No Olivia, we’re going to kick.  “I WANT TO JUMP!!” 

A second thing, there are no babies!  Everyone is your age with the same goal of moving their kid up early.  It’s no fun when there is actual competition.  You see, I always prefer bringing the bar way down to boost my confidence.  When you’re going to compete, always compete at a much lower level than where you’re at.  Believe me, it’s just easier that way.  Now, I’m extremely competitive when it comes to swimming.  This is probably partly due to the fact that I was a swimmer and I expect you to share that same natural swimming ability.  I find myself becoming quite flustered in the water when you can’t pick up on something immediately compared to your peers who are swimming all over you!  I’m thinking to myself, no no no – this is not at all how I imagined any of this!  WE MUST WIN AT MOMMY AND ME SWIMMING! 

A third note on the swimming hoopla, is your inability to follow instructions – simple instructions at that.  Giving instructions to a toddler is as easy as giving instructions to a cat.  I might as well be telling our Bulldog to do the things I’m instructing you to do in the pool because you understand none of the words that exit my mouth.  A simple task such as standing on the steps with your arms straight out in front of you somehow gets interpreted as turning around with your arms stretched out to the wall behind you.  I demonstrate, I point to the peers around you and you lose interest and decide to point to a dirty band-aid floating at the water’s edge.  Ok, moving on – let’s try jumping in to the pool.  All the kids line up and one after the other, they jump in squealing with delight.  You’re beaming bouncing ready to go.  You shuffle your feet to the edge of the pool, bend your knees, arms outstretched to me, and you fall like a wet noodle in to my arms.  Well, let’s try this again.  I explain to you that we jump in to the pool.  Again, you fall in to the pool.  At this point I feel my blood pressure starting to rise as I hear all the parents around me telling their children what a great job they are doing.  Suddenly I realize that you don’t know how to jump.  A kid who doesn’t know how to jump is blasphemy!  My competitive nature kicks in and the first thing I do when we get home is set up a makeshift jumping tutorial on the couch.  Your Father looks with inquisitive eyes as I beeline for the living room and I move the coffee table over and start pulling pillows from the couch and throwing them on the floor.  I position you on the edge of the couch and make you jump repeatedly in to the pillows until I’m satisfied.  I feel like that teacher in Fame with her stick that she slams in to the ground while shouting “AGAIN!”  We return to the next swim class and I’m confident that you have locked this down.  You climb out, squealing with delight with your toes hanging over the edge.  You bend your knees and fall in to my arms.  SON OF A BITCH – I don’t have the patience for this!  Suddenly I’m questioning whether swimming is the right extracurricular activity for you.

I suddenly have an epiphany that this is swimming lessons.  LESSONS – learning how to swim!  This isn’t even at a competition level.  I need to chill out!  I envisioned myself 10 years from now at your swim meet being one of those crazy parents with the clothing with your face on them and the buttons and the screaming and it was an eye opener.  I don’t want to be that crazy lady.  I took a deep breath, relaxed and you know what?  At the very next swim class, you climbed out of the pool, shuffled your little sausage toes to the edge, bent your knees and jumped in to my arms.  You worked it out on your own and developed your own confidence to jump.  And, just as fast as you learned to jump, my competitive nature came flying back at me in a flurry.  Oh yea, WE’RE GOING TO MURDER THIS MOMMY AND ME CLASS! 

I sometimes forget how fragile you really are.  You were really never a kid who whined or needed me after you fell and hurt yourself.  You pretty much attempt to figure things out on your own.  I heard a muffled cry one night coming from your room.  I went in to check on you and I couldn’t find you in your bed.  I continued to hear a little cry coming from the far corner of the room.  You had apparently fallen out of bed and instead of getting back in bed or asking for help, you were curled up in a ball on the floor, using your stuffed animal as a makeshift pillow.  There are times when there are few words that can do a moment justice.  ‘Oh sweetheart’ appears to be my choice phrase.  This was definitely one of those ‘oh sweetheart’ moments.  You looked so sweet and pathetic all at the same time that ‘oh sweetheart’ were the only fitting words.

I can’t even count how many ups and downs I have with you in a given day but one thing is for certain, I can never stay mad at you for long.  Today, in the middle of one of our arguments, I was reprimanding you for something.  I had my head down cleaning up whatever mess you made and a little fist enters my field of vision.  I look up to see you looking up at me and in your most innocent voice I hear “Momma, I’m really really sorry.  Fist bump?”  Crap, who can resist a fist bump?  I certainly can’t.  Ok Olivia, you win again.




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