25 random things about mom-me

Almost two years ago, I allowed myself to be swept up in the “25 Random Things” Facebook phenomenon, a high-tech version of writing out 25 facts about oneself and mailing a copy to 25 friends (see http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/PCWorld/story?id=6824074 for further explanation and the origin of the critiques quoted below).  After wading through the first few lists sent my way, I opposed the fad with vehemence.  Then I received my good friend Scott’s list of factoids.  Sure, some of the lists posted by mere acquaintances came across as “try[ing] too hard to be funny” (because I don’t care for their sense of humor), “shar[ing] way too much” (because I don’t give a hoot about their lives), or “descend[ing] into creative narcissism” (because I don’t see how anyone else could find their output interesting), but a considered selection of illuminating and/or silly personal information written by a true friend proved informative, entertaining, and heartwarming.  Rather than “dumbing down . . . the way we communicate with each other,” the format actually enabled some of my closest confidants to reveal experiences and facets of their personalities – both significant and entirely trivial – that never arose in conversation, yet in a more respectable and less coercive way than via the drinking game “Never Have I Ever” or the slumber party standard “Truth or Dare,” both longtime favorites of mine.  As I sat at a computer struggling to repay the favor, I felt Vivienne kick for the first time.

Since I first shared 25 random things about me, seismic shifts rocked my daily life and even subtly altered the foundation of my personality.  By way of update, I present “25” (I agree that a full list is way too long) “random” things about mom me:

1.  Poop on my hand is the new ink on my clothes, professionally speaking.

2.  Ian and I tell Viv, “I love you,” on a regular basis.  As I’m dropping her off at daycare or leaving her alone with her daddy I sometimes holler, “Love you!”  Awarding this offhanded behavior strict precedential value, Vivi now shortens phrases at her convenience, including responding to “see you later” with “later” and telling us “I love!”

3.  I cook.  I combine more than one ingredient and apply heat, sometimes in different stages, and – gasp – occasionally add a spice or two.  It turns out all I needed to get over my perfectionist block on the culinary arts was a hungry child who eats actual food.  (Starving husband who’s willing to consume anything technically edible apparently does not cut it.)  It also helps that Basma, who served as flower girl at our wedding, gave me her elementary school cookbook for Christmas.  Recipes written for a 10 year-old fall just within my reach.

4.  My daughter loves to “help” me fold laundry.  Though she relishes the praise received when she successfully transfers clean bibs from the laundry basket into her bib bucket, lace unmentionables are her absolute favorite item.  She delights in using them to play peek-a-boo since she can cheat, ambitious little thing that she is.

5.  My attempts to model desirable behavior for Viv often make me happier.  For example, I read that one ought to refrain from criticizing his or her own body in a child’s presence, especially a little girl’s; any imperfection in appearance ought to be blamed on a man-made object not a person, or so the theory goes.  “My butt looks saggy in these pants” has been replaced with “these pants don’t do my figure justice.”  “I look like a hairy beast with these eyebrows” cedes to “I wish there was room in my schedule for a wax appointment.”  It’s a subtle shift, but one that makes me less critical of myself, both aloud and internally.

6.  As soon as she learned to wave, Viv began saluting almost every person she encountered.  Now that she talks, she greets just about anyone she sees, including each person riding in any elevator she boards.  Some days I walk along the bustling urban sidewalk to a constant refrain of “hello,” “bye,” “hi,” “bye,” “hello,” “bye.”

7.  I thought the invention of the Blackberry introduced a revolutionary level of multitasking into my daily life.  Turns out technology has nothing on nature.  Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, I’d estimate that my attention is divided 90% of the time.  Not helping matters, Vivienne doesn’t just crave attention, her actions (such as hoot-hooting like an owl at an impressive volume whenever Ian and I attempt to speak directly to one another) suggest a claim of divine right.

8.  “Bibi,” as she calls herself, spoke her first unprompted sentence last week in response to my homemade pho:  “I like soup.”  Following closely on soup’s heels were “I got diaper” and “Sit mama lap please.”

9.  Like a beachcomber wading in the tide, I constantly feel the pull of organizational complacency.  Every night before Viv’s bath we sing the “clean up” song as the three of us tidy up her playthings and various discarded textiles.  Yet “every night” sometimes morphs into four nights a week, and the dishes look much more daunting when toys and clothes litter the floor – like a cup of water spilled on the hardwood, Viv’s knickknacks create the optical illusion of multiplying in volume apace with the surface area allowed them.  After a few weeks of succumbing to temptation, I recently renewed my commitment to straightening up the entire apartment while Viv and Ian enjoy their nightly bathing ritual.  I came to realize that no matter how defeated I feel at the end of a day, I’ll always find myself more dejected waking up to a messy house.

10. My love for Viv is akin to others’ affection for deep-fried, boneless chicken wings:  thinking about her, looking at her, and indulging in her company makes me feel incredible, until it induces cardiac arrest.

11.  At a friend’s bachelorette party just before Viv’s first birthday, I began to suspect that I’d irrevocably lost a part of me.  Though I drank plenty of alcohol, I couldn’t shake a sense of responsibility.  When the lovely revelers ran out of booze, I volunteered to go buy more; when one of our number got a little too drunk, I enlisted help from a sober source to make sure we didn’t run afoul of a vomit-related liquidated damages clause in the limo contract; when girls seemed to be chatting up the wrong kind of fellow, I intervened; and when everyone else slept soundly, I lay awake worrying about potential supplemental hotel charges.  I’m not saying I behaved responsibly, just that I couldn’t free myself from the desire to do so.  Rest assured, I’m still here.  This New Year’s Eve, Ian and I left Viv with her grandparents on the Upper West Side and traveled to Brooklyn (thankfully no mishaps at customs) where we partied like it was 2004:  I said stupid things I didn’t really believe, engaged in conversations far too deep for the venue and occasion, forgot the rest of the room and shared in the best countdown kiss ever, and drank way more than my body weight or next day’s plans warranted.

12.  Viv recently made the local newspaper (albeit the online version; print leaves us both something to aspire to):  http://www.seattlepi.com/news/gallery/Star-Wars-exhibit-at-Pacific-Science-Center-7714/photo-830170.php?SubID=6493&page=3&GTitle=Star%2520Wars%2520exhibit%2520at%2520Pacific%2520Science%2520Center&pubdate=3/18/2011.

13.  I am no longer the most tightly wound bobbin in the basket.  After dealing with my child’s illness and watching her little life blossom, I’ve lost my edge.  Lord knows I’m not unranked, but I don’t see a trip to the anxiety and obsession national championship in the near future.

14.  As a typical toddler, Vivi loves to emulate adults.  She started by sitting down with a book, opening it to the first page, babbling a stream of “words,” growing quiet, turning the page, taking a deep breath, and babbling some more.  Now she tosses her purple princess purse over her shoulder, places a stuffed animal into her toy stroller, retrieves her keys from her handbag, saunters up to us, says “bye” in the Southern drawl she somehow developed only for saying “hi” and “bye,” waves, and pushes the stroller down the hall toward the front door, sometimes shouting a trailing “I love.”

15.  I’m 14 weeks pregnant!

5 thoughts on “25 random things about mom-me

  1. Dearest Gail, first of all CONGRATULATIONS! I am so excited for you. Second of all when you have children your priorities shift. This perfectionist has grown accostumed to saying ‘let the rough side drag.’ When you realize you cannot control the universe, especially your offspring, a sense of humility seems to pervade. It’s very affirming. You raise your children doing the the best that you can and hope that they have the spiritual, ethical and judicious foundation to flourish. I say this having one child in college and one who is almost there. There’s a small part of me who misses the toddler who worshipped the ground I walked on. My kids no longer have the unconditional adoration that they used to have for me- now I just embarress them, ok maybe sometimes I do it on purpose. Enjoy this time. And again, CONGRATULATIONS!
    lots of love,

  2. Hi Gail – What hugely happy news!!! Since Viv can easily handle Darth- who looks pretty scared- we are sure she will be all set for Big Sisterhood!
    Can’t wait to see you and the V and sidle up to your belly to say hi to Mystery Child!

  3. Last night as I read her stories Vivi looked up at me and uttered her fourth sentence: “Mama loves me.” Then she pointed to the door Ian had used to exit the room ten minutes earlier and added “Daddy loves me.” Well said!

  4. wow, exciting that viv is starting to make sentences — hard to imagine first beginning to understand how to string words together. and congrats again on the great news!

  5. Gail, I am so happy for you. I am so excited about eventually meeting the new addition to the family. I am already imagining you with a boy? A girl? Lots of love XOXO

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