that’s right. today is my thirtieth birthday. three decades. i know what you’re thinking, “oh spare me your age-related crisis dribble.” and you’re absolutely right. what have i got to complain about? thirty is still pretty young. people would kill to be thirty again. my only point is this: it’s not thirty that gets me. it’s that forty looming now right at the edge of the foreseeable future. in ten years, i will be forty, and it feels a little too close for comfort. i’m being silly, i know, and probably offending people who are forty and older. but i guess, for me, personally, it’s because i’m not even close to having my shit together and i feel like that’s something that a forty year old has. right? their shit together? correct me if i’m wrong. well, enough about that.
a friend of mine with a son who is a few years older than ruth told me once that as they get older, they will become less cute, more annoying and you will find yourself yelling at them more. i didn’t believe her. until recently. ruth has discovered the brown sugar in the cupboard and often goes over and begins eating it with a pincher grasp, dropping little piles all over the kitchen floor. “stop ruth,” i say. she ignores me. “ruth, please stop. i don’t want you to eat so much sugar. it’s bad for you.” she eats faster and begins to laugh. ok, she’s testing my limits, i think. now, it’s time for action. “ruth, listen to mom when she tells you something. stop eating the sugar.” i say, trying to keep the snarky edge out of my voice and failing while getting up to replace the lid on the sugar and close the cupboard door. then, i literally have to pry her hands off the container while she whines and yells and fights against me. i place it up on top of the fridge where she can’t reach and she immediately climbs up on the table to try. “no, ruth! i said, ‘NO!'” i say and grab her down as she begins to convulse and cry in earnest and slap herself and me. my friend was so right, i think to myself, looking at ruth in a disgusted “who are you” kind of way. when did she get so…annoying?
this is, of course, not just true of the sugar eating fiasco, but permeates our entire day and pretty much everything we do. it can take twenty minutes to wrestle her into her car seat, while we try the firm voice, the polite asking voice, the guilt trip voice, the berating voice, the disappointed voice, the angry voice, all the while, she stiffens her legs and laughs in our faces. very unpleasant to be patronized like that and come face to face with an unflattering fact: we are her bitches. diaper changes, same thing. getting dressed, don’t even go there. “your will just has to be stronger than theirs” someone told me recently. oh, is that what it is? i thought to myself sarcastically, all this time i thought it was about a mix of letting them feel in control of their lives and setting necessary boundaries. i didn’t realize i should just crush her will with mine (as if such a thing were even possible. i have an iron will at times, but my daughter’s is more like titanium. you can even dent that shit).
but besides the fact that she is two, and not just an average two-year old, but a taurus to boot, she is also a joyful little being a lot of the time, when she’s not caught up in a struggle fighting for control in every aspect of her life, often putting herself in peril and pushing me to the brink of insanity. she has taken to re-naming people in the family. greg is anna, which i really enjoy, i am valentine, our dog, formerly doofy, is now ali, and the cat formerly known as ernie is now sadie. she loves books, especially curious george and olivia and sits through, often, as many books as you would care to read to her. she does a lot of artwork, her favorite is putting stickers on things or using a glue stick and then sticking things in the glue. the other day, she even went into the other room, got a piece of paper out of her desk, got a purple marker out and drew a gorgeous purple picture, showed it to me and hung it up with magnets by herself on the fridge. she loves swings and could spend over a half an hour just being pushed on a swing if you were willing. i have to say, i am jealous of her. most of each day is spent just enjoying herself and seeking out happiness in all its forms.
i am twelve weeks, no picture though. maybe for the next post. so, i am past the first trimester? or, almost past it? does anyone know how this works? in any case, i still haven’t felt any movement, but i am always focused down there in case a little flutter does come along. i wouldn’t want to miss it. this time, i am looking pregnant right away. my belly looks this time at twelve weeks what it looked like last time past twenty weeks, i’d say. greg looked at me the other day, a sort of frightened edge to his voice, and said, “you’re gonna be huge.” thanks, greg.
ok, so i did take a picture just now. this is a real time shot, folks. also, no photo shopping. i’m lettin’ it all hang out there…