Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Overlooked Art of Parenting and Surviving

So today, I succumbed. I read the little e-mail in my overflowing inbox that said, "Have you taught your 18-month-old about circles and squares yet?"

Well dang it, no, I haven't.

I looked for her little head, hanging upside off the couch. "Maddie, do you know what a circle is?"


I took that as "no". My obsessive instincts took over and like the maniacal girl I am, I was suddenly determined she would do something intelligent today.

I scooped up a ball of the playdough I made yesterday. And yes, let's just talk about that for a second. I made it.


Why did I make playdough for my 18-month-old daughter who would do the inevitable?

She took one bite, spit it out in disgust and from there on it didn't matter how many cookie cutters or garlic presses I gave her. The playdough was not magical nor pretty. Because I had no food coloring, this lump of white, salty dough was tossed aside.

"What about coloring?"

"EEEEEEEEEEE!!!" she exclaimed. I gathered some paper, crayons and markers. My stomach flipped with joy as I drew shapes.

"See? A circle, a square and a triangle!" She blinked, mouth agape with a tiny string of drool stretching down to her collar. I don't know what I imagined for this moment, but I think there was a part of me that hoped she would grip a crayon in one hand and outline each, smiling brightly while saying the alphabet backwards.

I left her to her ingenius craft, and came back to discover she had decorated her entire body in pink marker and the dog was snacking on the crayons.

"What about bubbles?" A desperate attempt at entertainment? Yes. I gave her a bottle, something which is normal now for her. She's familiar with the technique and enjoys blowing her own bubbles. I gave her strict rules to not leave the kitchen rug, which is probably why she dumped the entire bottle of bubbles onto the kitchen rug and ran to me singing "bubbles! bubbles!"

We retreated to our respective corners. She to watch Elmo sing on T.V. Me to unsubscribe from whatever company sends me e-mails written by people who have obviously never spent time with children.

Please excuse me to rescue my couch from my dog, as he now is burying is newly wet & slobbered "meat" toy under my pillows.



  1. Hang in there Andrea!

    And when did you get a dog?

  2. Thanks Rachel :) I'm actually not too stressed out, just laughing at the life of being a parent! :P And we adopted a dog about 6 weeks ago.

  3. Cracks me up. You're doing just fine. My first kid knew her abc's by age 2. Kid #2 wasn't too far behind. Kid #3 is almost five and has just now mastered them. Poor kid #4 is on her own :-)

  4. Danielle-I think we're a ways off from hitting abc's by age 2. Sounds like my girl is right on par with kid #3 ;)

  5. I love that you can look at life and help us laugh at the regular stuff... In life we need to learn to laugh instead of stress, and I am so glad that you break it all down to bottom line... Maddie probably knows her ABC's just can talk them yet,(she can however sing them quite well) and she has already mastered the circle square thing, she showed me the other day on skype, while your back was turned.
    So thank you again for brightening my day with laughter!

  6. If it makes you feel any better, my son bites the tips off the markers, drinks the bubble soap and I don't even dare play doh with him right now! Come to think of it, I'm not even sure Adriana knows circles and squares and the like... love you!!!

  7. You are so funny! I love reading your stories...and I have done the maniacal momma thing, too. I sang the ABCs with Matthew the other day (he's 3 1/2) in a panic because I've never purposely done that with him. It didn't go too well.... :)

    Guess I've got some work to do...

  8. Your stories always crack me up! I could so picture this in my mind.

  9. keila - that DOES make me feel better :)

    maureen - i can totally picture you singing the abc's with a slight look of panic on your face. i've been doing that with animal sounds since i asked her what a cat says and she grunted.

    jennifer - my life is full of these stories. if i don't laugh at them, i could go insane.

  10. Andrea. This I promise you.
    When she is 10. She will know every single shape. She will read. She will write. She will use the potty. Use the ideas for fun :) Not as a dictator. I hate it when these "do your children" comparisons and instructions begin. They usually all catch up with one another naturally. Learn the fine art of not paying attention and enjoy your girl. Sing and draw for fun! buy the play doh. It's only a dollar ;) Love you!