The Joy of Body Discovery

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The moment when your baby discovers his or her hands….

“Holy cow, I have hands! Just look at em’–aren’t they amazing! I can stare at them for hours. Did you know they can fit in my mouth?!”

Adorable.

The moment when kids discover they have a penis or a vagina. Or will get breasts.

“Look at my penis! Look at my penis! It can grow big, too!!”

Not so adorable.

But, funny as hell.

My children have experienced an awakening. Not the Kate Chopin version, either. Their eyes have opened to the fact they have genitalia, will be getting breasts, getting a period, and could have fur, I mean hair. Down there. So much truth to the Kindergarten Cop scene where the little boy shares with Arnold Schwarzenegger that boys have a penis and girls have a vagina. Check, check, double-check.

Also note, very ok with being naked, all of the time. Inappropriately so–regardless of people, places, or time.

My son walks around with just a shirt on, like Donald Sutherland in Animal House after having a romp with an undergrad. Only there is no undergrad and he seemingly can’t find his underwear. Or his underwear is on his head. Or, it’s backwards, sporting the thong look, ready for the French Riviera.

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Penis this and penis that. Hot dog if he feels so inclined. Dropping his drawers to show friends his undies or to slap his butt in jest, to make other four year-olds swoon. His butt dance is a favorite at dinner time or usually around large crowds where he can get the most laughs.

His penis has been his favorite bath toy at a very young age. It has evolved to, ‘Penis tricks,’ and ‘It’s a sword,’ or ‘Got you, Carly.’ How many times can I say, “Stop playing with your penis! It’s not a toy.”

He smugly smiles as if to say, “Bullshit lady! This is just the beginning.”

His oedipal complex is full throttle as he sticks his paw down my shirt, searching. We have been done breastfeeding for ions and the reflex is downright frightening. We’re reading a book on the couch and bam! Down the shirt. Followed by, “I love you so much, I love you the most. More than daddy. I’m gonna marry you.”

My daughter has realized that females have breasts or ‘breasteses.’ She has incorporated them into all her artwork, depicting family members to friends. Every female has boobs. I had quite a set the last drawing and was feeling pretty good about myself. It was a definite promotion from my usual status quo, which resides in the training bra arena. The artistic rendering is usually two swirly circles placed on the neck, followed by torso and appendages. I only get slightly jealous when she draws her breasts bigger than mine.

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Carly wants to be Wonder Woman for Halloween next year and is deeply worried no one will know who she is without breasts. To her credit, Lynda Carter’s outfit left little to the imagination. Every bump, curve and line was illuminated. Boys across the nation soon had a new found love of tiaras and secretly wished to be the recipient of the Lasso of Truth. I told Carly not to worry-people will definitely know who she is. She told me she could stuff socks up her shirt, just in case.

We were at Target the other day in the feminine product aisle. She skipped ahead of me, grabbed a box and announced to the woman next to her that she gets to use these when she is older. Like maybe eight. The green ones are the best. Sweet Jesus…. they’re not popsicles!

She also wants to shave, is worried about ‘fur,’ thinks we should pluck her brother’s eyebrows tomorrow and wants to know times and dates for future hair growth.

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And please don’t get me started on ‘Naked Time.’ Naked time is all the time. It could be -15 degrees outside and the dance party just got steamy. My kids never saw Dana Carvey’s stand-up routine where he used the phrase, ‘Naked Time.’ They have been calling it that since they could talk and love to strip in front of strangers, the mailman and at parties.

It’s hard not to laugh at their questions, comments, and behavior regarding all things anatomical. It is all developmentally normal and par for the course, but teaching and explaining appropriate discourse can be tricky. You don’t want to embarrass or humiliate them for asking—but you also don’t want them to think its ok to tell strangers they will get their periods someday. And right now, my daughter simply associates breasts with women, and nothing more. We haven’t even gotten to the upper level sociology course, which is forthcoming.

They just want to figure this stuff out. We have to teach them the social mores of it all and keep a straight face. Stripping at a church luncheon isn’t the best idea. All around life lessons if you think about it… regardless of age.

Related post: Your Penis Won’t Fall Off And Other Things Boys Should Know

How To Induce Labor, According To Your Facebook Friends

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It is a conundrum that people become so interested in you as you decide to procreate. People mostly offer advice to first time moms, because after that they might actually know what they are doing and be able to knowledgeably defend their birthing decisions. Where’s the fun in that?

About a week before you are due, you are going to start seeing inquiries about your current state of labor. These are sincere and nice, but also make you feel bullish because you are the actual size of a bull with the temperament to match. My condolences to anyone who goes past their date.

Wondering how to induce labor? Here’s how… at least according to your Facebook friends.

1. Eat spicy foods: “I ate chipotle peppers straight from the vine and was in transition 15 minutes later.” This will not happen to you. You’ll get heartburn. Just heartburn. Eating a spicy burrito at 40 weeks will not send you running to labor and delivery, just the toilet.

2. Sex: Oh come on really? This suggestion comes from only your boldest friends. The pot stirrers. They were looking for a way to drop this bomb on someone and it never ceases to give them a little thrill. There is an overwhelming chance this will not work.

Pregnant wife: “Hey babe, I think my mucus plug is getting loose. Let’s have sex and speed this baby train on up!”

Nervous husband: “Did you say mucus plug?”

Give your husband a pass.

3. Sitting on a balance ball: I bounced on a ball through 2 seasons of vampire diaries before I gave birth to Owen. It sped up nothing. It did make the ball a little nervous though, on account of my maternal fat stores. “I have limits you know!” Shut up ball. Stop judging me!

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4. Walking: This may or may not work. But you could probably walk to Timbuktu and back and still be 2 cm dilated. Hell, you could probably jazzercise and if that baby is of a mind to stay in, he’s staying in. Personally, I like to take the time closest to my due date to lay on the couch and be grouchy.

Hey, if you need to, beg to be induced, and if that doesn’t work, make your intimidating husband demand it. This is sure to incite ire among your crunchy friends: “Don’t you dare get induced! I find it best to pre-labor inside an isolated Mongolian yert. #namaste”

Good luck, mamas to be!

Related post: 10 Ways to Piss Off a Pregnant Woman

10 Reasons Why I Respect The Toddler

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Let me start by saying that I have the utmost respect for that often maligned creature, the toddler. As a local toddler once said “Toddlers are a lot like real people. But better.”

Ahem.

It’s a complicated age. The age of innocence, on the one hand, but also the age of, how shall I put this delicately – being a little d-bag. It’s a strange time in the evolution of a person.

During the toddler years emotions run very, very high. Logic and reasoning run very, very low. That was charitable of me. Logic and reasoning are nonexistent. In short: A toddler is an emotional powder keg packaged in dough. He is Kanye West at an awards show.

I think I’ve lost my way here. What was I saying?

Oh yes, that I respect the toddler. I feel like I haven’t built up the strongest case in support of this declaration just yet. So let’s shift gears and focus on the positive traits reserved largely for the 2T set.

1. CONSISTENT GRATITUDE. Look at these kids:

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They are keenly aware that their parents have made a herculean effort to get them fed, changed, dressed and out the door for a play date. They know it means a lot to their parents that they have a great time, or more essentially, do not embarrass the family.

They will NOT let their parents down, because of the gratitude that runs deep within them. Gratitude for the very fact that their parents gave them the gift of life and also, in many cases, goldfish crackers. In the above photo, what looks to the naked eye like a group of toddlers either sobbing or looking entirely bored is actually a group of toddlers whose faces are contorted in ecstasy. The boy on the far right is so pleased that he’s trying to hurl himself onto the floor in a spasm of delight. The girl in the pink sweater’s head is about to spin 360 degrees and spew green vomit because her little body cannot contain her gratitude.

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2. UNPARALLELED ATHLETICISM. Ask yourself this: Can you stick your toes in your mouth and/or run back and forth across your living room floor for seven hours straight on nothing but dairy products and blueberries? CAN YOU? I didn’t think so. You know who can? Your nearest toddler.

3. PATIENCE. This is truly one of the toddler’s hallmark traits. Toddlers are able to wait and wait and wait to get what they desire. They never get agitated or frustrated when asked to delay gratification. They are a veritable study in Buddhist doctrine.

4. APPETITE FOR KNOWLEDGE. Toddlers are voracious readers. Sometimes they are so voracious about it that they eat the pages of their books. Do you eat your books? And while we’re at it, when’s the last time you learned a new word? Any new word? It’s time for some introspection here. FACT: Your toddler may seem like a simpleton when he kisses the dishwasher, but he is learning more in one day than you have learned since 1997.

5. KNOW WHAT THEY WANT AND GO FOR IT. Do you fight with passion for what you want? It’s worth asking the question.

Common desires of toddlers:

  • Lick dirty objects
  • Eat out of the garbage bin
  • Touch electrical outlets
  • Dogs

Would you be willing to throw a tantrum because you weren’t allowed to, say, stick your hands in a toilet? I think not. That’s because a “strong reaction” requires commitment, which adults are sorely lacking. Keep the toddler intensity and focus in mind next time you’re going for a promotion at work. Just ask the first toddler you see for tips. It will serve you well.

6. STELLAR COMMUNICATORS. Many if not most toddlers communicate through an elaborate dance of grunts, whines, hand gestures, and strategically timed feces deliveries. A lot is said with their eyes. Also sometimes with their lips. The other day my son was babbling away in his crib and he sounded an awfully lot like an auctioneer. I can’t be sure, but I suspect he’s live streaming to a QVC affiliate.

7. NO SHAME IN THEIR GAME. Do you feel free to grab your own junk while grocery shopping?** Do you run up and down your hallways naked, thigh rolls jouncing to and fro? The toddler not only accepts his or her physique, he/she delights in it. No part of the body is off-limits, at any time. No shame in their game.

**This may be illegal in your state

8. STRONG CONVICTIONS. A toddler lives by a set of deeply held convictions typically reserved for religious converts and Amway salesmen. This belief system was discreetly implanted into your toddler’s brain by some divine combination of biology, Daniel Tiger, and a secret manifesto available only to babies on Amazon Prime. It is unflappable.

For example: 100% of toddlers are aware that possession is nine-tenths of the law. A toddler holds this and many other truths as sacred. Just try to reclaim your iPhone from a toddler who has recently gained control of it. You will see what I mean.

Toddlers know that “sharing” and “compromise” are just buzz words thrown around by hippies. They stand by their personally held belief that all objects are their objects. This is called conviction. Look it up.

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9. FREEING DISREGARD FOR SOCIAL NORMS.

“Why hello, friendly lady at the mall. I see that you’re trying to engage with me by complimenting me on being ‘such a good boy.’ Social norm dictates a response on my part. But you know what? I think I’m just going to stare blankly at you. Yeah. That’s what I’m going to do. Social norms mean nothing to me, if that wasn’t clear.”

“Why yes I am hosting a play date with some gal pals. But you know what I think I’ll do instead of be charming? Shit my pants and throw a tantrum. Boom.”

10. UNBRIDLED ENTHUSIASM. A toddler is naturally enthusiastic. This enthusiasm extends to many situations in which it is not entirely prudent, but that never stopped a self-respecting toddler anywhere. Toddlers know that zest is a trait associated with increased likelihood for college graduation. Parents: do you want your child to go to college? Ok then. Stuff your ears with cotton balls and put on a padded suit if you need to. You’re riding this crazy train and there’s no getting off.

Related post: 25 Easy Ways To Annoy A Toddler