It’s almost fall, and the other day Olive said defiantly, “It’s not fair”
These two things seem unrelated, but they are one and the same, my friends. These two things – the sudden bite in the air in the early morning and late evening, and the rage-fits of a tiny dictator – are markers of the unrelenting marching forward of time. Winter becomes spring becomes summer becomes fall. Swollen bellies become babies become toddlers become hotly sassy almost-three-year-olds who are, by turn, infuriating and inspiring.
The other day Olive asked me while she was peeing, to put my hand in her pee. I started laughing and (obviously, I hope) refused. She was instantly plunged into a deep pit of despair, filled with heartbroken sobs and wails of Whyyyyy, mummy? Whyyyy are you not putting you hand in my pee?
They don’t cover THAT in parenting books. I think. I mean I’m just assuming because I haven’t actually read any parenting books (which may be why I now have a child into pee-games, actually, come to think of it).
My dad and I took Olive on two day hikes this past weekend. It was originally going to be a camping trip, but we took the aforementioned chill at night into consideration and decided it might not be the best idea to have her first camping experience be freezing in a tent. So! We headed out each day for the hills and took this little tyrant adventuring.
The first day was a bit iffy. Fifteen feet after we’d stepped out of the car she looked right into my eyes, “Mummy, I think my feet are tired.” she intoned, ominously. I managed to convince her to continue, and we carried on.
My dad was wearing the pack with our first aid kit, lunch supplies, etc. and thirty minutes into the hike, getting a tad frustrated with our glacial pace, he suggested I pick her up.
“Maddie, how about you just carry her for a bit?”
Oh! Oh, just carry her, you say? Just pick her up and carry her! Sure! I’ll just pick up this THIRTY-SEVEN POUND ball of squirming, stick-mongering, rock-hoarding kinetic energy and just CARRY her! No problem! Have I mentioned I love hiking?
We fared much better the second day. Whether it was a better sleep, a fuller tummy, a better understanding of what we were doing, or just a blessing from above, Olive was a boss on this hike. She walked the whole way herself, she listened intently as my dad pointed out the Indian Paintbrushes, Alberta roses, and thistles, she eagerly picked her way up rocky inclines and down steep embankments.
I hated these hikes as a teenager. I was sullen, surly, and unappreciative. In response to my dad’s enthusiastic appreciation of the towering mountain range in front of us I once responded, no joke, “Whatever, Dad. It’s just a pile of rocks!”
But this time it was fun – I know. I don’t even know who I am anymore. The slowed down pace suited me just fine and seeing Olive absorbing all of this information like an eager little sponge was nothing short of incredible. It was a good lesson to re-visit things I think I know about myself. Question them, test them. Allow for the possibility that I’m not the same person (thank god) I was at 15.
Last night I dreamed that I was flossing my teeth and my left front tooth fell out. I stared at it and remember thinking, “Oh fuck, oh fuck. Not again. Not again!” I’ve had these teeth-falling-out dreams a few times before, and they’re always terrible. Sure enough, four more teeth fell out, and I walked around panicked and trying to find help, with the loose teeth clicking around in my mouth like tic-tacs. My family drove me to the States to find a dentist. They were talking and laughing in the front seat while I tried not to get swallowed by my anxiety in the back.
I mean, WHAT? Who the hell has dreams like this?! Dreams like this are called nightmares, and they should be outlawed. I woke up in a cold sweat and promptly started chugging coffee, hoping to slingshot myself into my day, forget that strange dream space and move on to something better.
These, my friends, are called “coping skills”. I hope you’re taking notes 😉