The Marble and Other Unsafe “Lovies”

The marble.

How many two year olds get attached to a marble?

Before you judge me, just know that I got home from work one evening and found the kid with the marble clutched to his chest as if it was the fluffiest, sweetest teddy bear you’ve ever seen. I point no fingers at my husband. Really.

Sweet Cuddly Marble

When the kid fell asleep that night I pried the marble out of his chubby little fingers and hid it. But the next morning he remembered the marble and had. to. have. it. immediately. Or there would be a shitstorm in the middle of getting the older kids dressed, fed, lunches made, homework signed, dog walked, cat barf washed off floor, etc. There was no time for a shitstorm. So I handed the marble to the child.

(The voice of my beloved late Uncle Sam was in the back of my head: Better for the child to cry now then the adult to cry later. But the dog was about to take a dump on the living room rug. And someone was freaking out because he couldn’t get a sock on correctly. Fuck it, Uncle Sammy. I’ll deal with the marble later!)

The marble is not the first impossible small comfort item that my kid has had. Before the marble there was the little red Lightning McQueen race car. He had to have two Lightning McQueens at all times. You know, for symmetry.

I have had nightmares in which all I can hear is my two-year old wailing “AQUEEN! AQUEEN! WHERE YOU, LIGHTAQUEEN!?”

It wasn’t until I’d generously paid for a month of private school for one of the Disney Cast Member’s children via Lightning McQueen purchases (via Target) that the dear boy moved on to the marble.

It can’t be any marble, either, it must be The Blue Marble. You know, the one that disappears for hours at a time and is inevitably located under the refrigerator or in the dark dirty abyss that exists underneath our oven. I shudder.

Why does my two year old refuse to attach to a normal “lovie?”

Why not a blanket? A stuffed animal? Even one of my old bras?

Is it because said two year old is obsessed with nursing the “Shoon” and “Shoonahhh” with the ardency of a fast food addict sitting in front of a Beefy Crunch Burrito? Is it because he is so attached to these fleshy, barely still milk producing mammary glands that he rejects any other soft thing and instead insists on carrying around the beloved blue marble?

I venture to say: Yes.

I am weak in The Weaning Department.

I Will Fuck Up Your Morning

I am afraid to explain to the teachers of the synagogue’s Busy Bee nursery school class that despite its age-inappropriate, choking hazard nature, this little blue marble is actual a comfort item for this kid. It’s either that, or I figure out how to leave my breasts at school for the 2.5 hours he’s there.

So for now, I will continue to keep track of that blue marble. And I will watch that kid and his mouth and his trachea like a freaking hawk until he moves on to the next comfort item. Please, oh please, just let it be soon. And let it be big and soft and not attached to my body. How about my husband’s testicles?

*photo of Theo by David Friedman

Oy! My Baby Is Growing Up

For the third time this week my husband nudged me to finish filling out the forms for our youngest child’s preschool enrollment application.

I’ve been pushing the papers under a pile of mail all month (as if the neon pink emergency slip wouldn’t catch my husband’s eye again). Clearly, I am conflicted about sending off our youngest off to preschool.

And when I’m conficted about something, I worry. And when I worry, it’s epic (as in ep·ic [ep-ik] adjective: of unusually great size or extent: a kvetch of epic proportions. not as in the asshat use of the word epic).

I hate change

Last night I lay in bed worrying about the kids. How many years of therapy will they need to undo my efforts at parenting? Why do you need a license to operate a motor vehicle but not to procreate? What will happen the first time the little one needs a diaper change at his Jewish preschool and the teacher discovers that he’s not circumcised? Will I cry in the hallway when I drop him off on his first day? Will he freak out when I leave?

Then I reviewed our fire safety plan. Then I thought, shit, we don’t have a fire safety plan. Then I worried about the kids’ largely carbohydrate based diet and their sugar consumption and the lack of green, leafy vegetables in their life.

It was at that point that I started poking my husband in the arm until he woke up and told me to stop worrying already.

It’s not as if I haven’t done the first day of preschool thing before. I stressed over it with our first two kids and was happily surprised to find that they were so immersed in the new toys and kids that they barely gave me a goodbye at drop off time. And me? I was thrilled to have some time to myself. I was singing Skippity Freaking Doo Dah all the way to Starbucks.

But for some reason, with our littlest, this time feels different, more monumental. Maybe it’s because he’s our last child? Maybe it is because I am a different person now?

With our first two kids, my mom was living nearby and was over all the time helping out. She was the one who got all sentimental about the kids starting school and I was the one comforting her.

My mom died when our youngest was just 14 months old. He spent the last three months of my mom’s life keeping me company by her bedside, giving my father and me a happy distraction from a very painful situation. When my mom eventually lost her ability to speak she spent time watching the littlest cruise around her bed. Watching him reach developmental milestones as she declined was bittersweet to say the least.

After my mom passed away, it was the companionship of the kids, and most especially the little guy, that kept me afloat through the grief. We took long naps together and walks in the park. His zest for life, ability to find trouble anywhere and always curious mind kept me going during the hardest months.

I think this transition is also difficult because we went the way of Attachment Parenting with this guy. At two years old he’s still nursing and sleeping in our bed (unlike the older two who were sleep trained). We are so often skin to skin that it is hard to tell where I stop and he begins. (The other night he patted me on the chest in the middle of the night and said Mama, you’re good. Then he lay his head on my chest and said, I luff you.)

So, here we are and it is time for preschool, and the thought of letting my little companion go, even for a few hours a few times a week is a bit, well, sad and overwhelming and exciting and nauseating. I know I can wait another year (or two) but I really want the littlest to learn how to stop being a little asshole with his siblings have quality time with other kids his age and have some healthy independence. Plus it will give me alone time during which I can be inappropriate on Twitter. Please wish me luck, or send pills.