The Mothers’ Curse

I don’t know if this is a female thing or not. But when I was a kid (meaning all the years I lived in my parents’ house), my mother would always say, “I hope that one day you have a daughter who is just like you, so you can understand what you’re putting me through!” When I would hear those words, I would think to myself, “I don’t know what she’s talking about. She is so dramatic and up-tight!” And then I had a daughter. The first time Caylie did something that drove me batty (and there have been so many instances over the last 4 years that I can’t recall even a fraction of them all), I called my mom and told her about it. You know what she said? She said, while laughing, “Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it?!”

Well, I have to say, my mom is right. Payback is a bitch. I don’t remember being a hellion. I used to listen to the stories that family members would tell about my childhood antics and I’d laugh. But now, I cringe. Because I feel horrible for what I did to my mother. I drove her crazy, just like my child is doing to me. So I think back and realize that my mother’s words were not just an expression of frustration, but a curse! I have been cursed to have a child just like me. When I realized this had happened, I vowed to myself to never curse my own daughter this way.

This morning, I woke up, checked on the kids who were playing peacefully in the playroom, and took Buddy outside to do his morning business. When I came back in, Caylie had emptied the entire contents of the playroom closet out onto the floor. This is the closet where Mike and I hide half of the stuff the kids have so we can bring out “new” things every few months and swap it with something that’s been out for a while. The kids know they aren’t supposed to open the closet. And they weren’t in there before I got up. So, during the 5 minutes I was outside, Caylie decided to reek havoc. While I was putting everything back in the closet, Caylie let the dog off his leash and he pooped all over the floor. While I was cleaning up the poop, Caylie went into the bathroom, shut the door, and proceeded to empty the entire tube of her brother’s non-fluoride toothpaste INTO HER MOUTH. Yes, she ate a tube of toothpaste. Yes, I think a blood vessel burst inside one of my eyes when I saw what she was doing. So I put Caylie in the shower to get ready for summer camp. (Thank God for summer camp!!!) While she was in the shower, she washed her hair with my bar of soap instead of her kid-friendly shampoo and dumped the entire contents of my expensive organic facial scrub down the drain. I kid you not, I was actually afraid to get in the shower this morning because I was terrified of what she might do next!

A few weeks ago, Caylie was playing outside while Mike mowed the lawn. I looked out the window and couldn’t see her. So I walked outside, walked around the entire house and then tapped Mike on the shoulder to ask him where Caylie was. He told me to check the garage. No Caylie. We started canvassing the neighborhood. Finally, I let the frantic mother out and started shouting her name at the top of my lungs. My neighbor, who I’ve spoken to maybe 5 times in the four years we’ve lived here, comes running out of her house waving, “she’s here!” Apparently, my child just walked into my neighbors’ house and sat down on their couch with their dogs. Seriously, she opened the kitchen door, and walked into their house and surprised them in their living room. What can I say about this? I was speechless for a moment and then apologized for her behavior. When I told her it was time to come home, she got off the couch and bolted down their hallway into one of the bedrooms. My neighbor had to go find her as she was HIDING IN A CLOSET!!

Last week, I came in from walking the dog and found my son, screaming and crying, locked inside the dog’s crate. The culprit: guess who? I vacuum the playroom and come out to the kitchen where I find the bread dough that’s been rising for an hour with a Caylie-sized handprint in the middle of the now-deflated loaf. When the kids were coloring with markers (and I knew this was a bad idea from the beginning and was trying not to be so up-tight), I left the room to answer the phone and came back to see that Caylie had drawn all over her brother’s face with a brown marker, and was coloring her face magenta. During quiet time (aka, mom’s mental health time/serenity) I heard a thumping noise in Caylie’s room. I opened the door to find her on the floor with the electrical cord to her sound machine wrapped around her ankles. She was flopping around on the floor, trying to free herself from her own bondage. I’m not making this stuff up, people!

I still haven’t cursed my daughter with The Mothers’ Curse. Instead, I seem to be making this garbled, guttural “Urrrrrgh” sound that keeps my head from exploding. But someday. Someday its going to come out. And Caylie? PAYBACK’S A BITCH!!!!! Muhwahahaha!

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Me and My Buddy

Months ago, I got one of those junk emails forwarded to me about amazing animal stories. One of them was about a mother Tiger in a zoo who had lost her cubs. She was so distraught that the zookeepers were worried about her health. Around the same time, a mother pig had died leaving her piglets behind. So the zookeepers wrapped the piglets in tiger fur and introduced them to the mommy Tiger. Amazingly, the Tiger adopted the piglets and came out of her depression.

I thought of this story because 3 weeks ago, we adopted a puppy. Our adorable little Puggle, who Caylie named Buddy, has essentially become my piglet.

Getting a puppy wasn’t a spontaneous decision for the family. Although Caylie has been begging us for a dog since she could actually say the word “dog”, Mike and I have always felt like we had enough going on in our life without adding anything else to it. But a few months ago, I started listening to Caylie beg for a dog and I thought, why not? I just potty trained my son, so I’m used to cleaning up messes on the carpet. We have the yard space for a dog to run around. The kids are both very gentle with and genuinely love animals. So I started my campaign on Mike’s reservations about pet ownership. Obviously, I won!

The cutest moment so far has been watching my son, who both loves animals and is wary of them, hold Buddy on his lap in the car, lean down to kiss him and whisper, “I love you, Bud.” I also peeked into the playroom one morning to see Caylie and Chase sitting at their little picnic table, with Buddy on the tabletop. Caylie was informing both Buddy and Chase of proper behavior during circle time. So Buddy has already experienced playing school with the kids!

Buddy has quickly become part of the Noyer family. He is, surprisingly, a quiet dog, but very playful. He plays hard and loves to snuggle up with us when he’s tired. One of the first nights we had him, I commented to Mike that even Buddy’s eyelashes were blond. Mike response was, “Sounds like everyone else in this family!” Within the first few nights, Buddy was calm in his crate and sleeping through the night. After 3 weeks, he knows his name, comes when called and will sit on command. He is smart, cute, amazingly stubborn and follows me all around the house. Meaning, he is exactly like my children.

Becoming a dog owner is much like having a new baby in the house (without the sleep deprivation). He eats, sleeps, poops and is so adorable that everyone who sees him makes this squealing little noise and speaks in a higher-pitched voice. There is just something calming, for me, about feeling his warm little weight asleep on my chest. Buddy has been a wonderful form of therapy for me. My little surrogate puppy has filled part of the hole in my heart. And the complete chaos of having a puppy in the house with 2 young children has kept me so busy, there is no time or energy for me to think about anything else.