Bedtime Questions

Wednesday, 13 March 2013 16:17
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We have a pretty simple bedtime routine. Around 7:00-7:30 (ideally, sometimes later) Nesko or I start herding Niko toward the back of the apartment. After brushing teeth, he gets his night time medication and then he changes into pyjamas OR opts to sleep in his clothing (a battle I am willing to surrender, who gives a fuck, seriously) and we make sure he has his lovey du jour and his water. Then he selects two stories and whoever’s putting him down cuddles up with him and reads two stories and then, if I’m the bed time parent, I sing him a special song which is as follows, sung to the tune of “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady:”

Nikola my Nikola, oh my sweet Nikola
Oh, my pretty baby.
Nikola oh Nikola, my funny Nikola,
joking, laughing baby.
Nikola my Nikola
arms and legs Nikola
growing bigger baby.
Nikola oh Nikola
I love you Nikola
Because you are my baby.
Na na na nana na
Na na na nana na
Na na nana nana
Na na na nana na
Na na na nana na
Na na nana nana

Sometimes I also sing him “twinkle twinkle little star” or “london bridge” or “wild rover” or “lord randall” or “greensleeves” or “crazy train” or something. Lately he’s been requesting “peanut butter jelly time.” WHATEVER, CHILD.

Then it’s snuggles time. Nesko usually falls asleep because he is a HUGE JERK who I am HUGELY JEALOUS OF, who can fall asleep pretty much anywhere in about five minutes LIKE A JERK. I, on the other hand, am very good friends with Insomnia. We play cards together nightly. Anyway, sometimes, to help Niko wind down, I ask him little questions like “what are 3 fun things that happened today” and “where are 3 places you’d like to go” and “if you could swap your tata for anything, what would it be?” (answer: a big fluffy bed. LOL WHAT.) (he would swap me for a pillow.) (he would swap baba for a big giant dump truck.) And we generally talk about his day, his week, what’s going on, etc.

Sometimes, while reading or afterwards, he asks ME questions.

The other night, we were reading “The Runaway Bunny” and he asked me a very important question.

Why Is Her Butt In A Pot?

“Mama,” he asked, “why is her butt in a pot?”

I started laughing, because seriously. That is a funny question and it tickled me that all these years we’d been reading the book he’d just assumed that the mother bunny was sitting in a pot or something in the middle of the river. I explained to him about really tall boots but I don’t think he believes me. In his personal head canon, that rabbit’s just fishing while sitting in a pot.

Insert pot to piss in joke here, I guess.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko bounced into our bedroom this morning, bright and early.

I’m awake! It’s time to be awake now! The sun is shining! The birds are singing! It’s time for every body to be awake! All the adults have to be awake and get up and get all the way out of bed!

And then he climbed around us pulling off blankets and turning on the light.

How did I give birth to a morning person? HOW?

It’s especially tough for me right now because I am in the middle of a shitty cold and was up until about 3:00 am coughing (which means, of course, I also kept waking Nesko up, but that fucker falls asleep in about five minutes LIKE A JERK so he always gets way more sleep than me) so I was tired. Tiiiiiiired. So tired I couldn’t say tired and could only say tarrrrrhd. As I lay like a lump in bed, I was vaguely aware that Niko didn’t sound great. Cheerful, yes. He sounded cheerful. And excruciatingly awake. But he also sounded stuffy.

“You sound congested,” said Nesko.

“Thanks!” said Niko.

I’ve been stuffing him full of vitamin C having things (orange juice, strawberries, red bell peppers, etc) for the past two weeks trying to stave off this cold, but he persists in doing shit like LICKING MY SNOTTY NOSE OH MY GOD WHY WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK etc so I’m not really surprised he sounds like he’s been eating cigarettes. However, I also predict that he’ll be fully recovered in about 3 days, whereas I’ll still be struggling to breathe by this time next month.

I’ve basically been laid up all week doing the most slack ass parenting possible (you want pretzels and gummy worms for lunch? HAVE AT IT) which super sucks because I had Big Plans to do a deep and thorough cleaning of the entire house so that this coming week I’d only have to do light maintenance cleaning in preparation for Niko’s birthday party on Saturday. But whatever I’m sick with is so awful that my joints all hurt. Back? Hurts. Knees? Hurts. Shoulders? Hurt. Neck? Stiff and hurts. Tiny joints in feet and toes? What the hell, why do you hurt? This makes it hard to clean stuff! Also: the vacuum cleaner broke. Uhm. And so did the washing machine.

It’s possible we have somehow angered the gods of domestic cleanliness, I don’t know.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.

William Makepeace Thackery said that but if you’re anything like me you might remember it better from “The Crow.”

Niko is still in that stage where he thinks I know everything and can do everything. If he asks me a question and I don’t have an answer, he thinks I am holding out on him and gets angry at me. I gave him some blueberries and didn’t pluck a dried bit of leaf off one of them, and he was offended. “Why would you even think I like this?” He asks me to draw an Ornitholestes and takes it personally if I draw it “wrong” (holding an egg/not holding an egg/too big/too small/too happy/not happy enough/dancing/not dancing/etc). He had a hilarious looking pratfall the other day out of NOWHERE (usually you know why a kid falls down. They slip on a piece of paper or step on a floppy sock or stumble over a toy or slide on that slippery patch of floor they’d rubbed butter into earlier or something. He just flew right down.) that ended up fairly serious, with a badly bitten lip. He clung to me, sobbing, upset that he was crying so much and unable to stop. Then he blamed me. “You should have SAVED ME. You should have CAUGHT me.” It was my fault he fell, you see. Because I should have intervened. Like lightning. Like god.

I can’t save him. I can’t read his mind and make him happy. I can’t make everything all better. He’s still grappling with the idea of mortality, of death; with the idea that some day he might not have a mama and a tata, that he’ll be alone. I can’t just make that better.

He has nightmares, and night terrors. Maybe this is the side effect of a medication he’s on, or maybe it’s just his age or his relation to me (I get nightmares frequently, as in several times a week… during times of high stress they can hit every single night multiple times a night. It’s… not restful.) He screams and cries and thrashes and he’s seriously upset, and it just kills me that I can’t make everything right. I hold him, I try to calm him down. One particularly bad one I tried to reassure him that he was in his own little bed and he was safe. “I’m not safe. I’m not! I’m not safe anywhere!” he wailed. It was like a knife through the heart. He didn’t remember it at all the next day.

“Why didn’t you save me? You should have saved me!”

I’m trying, kiddo. I’m trying.

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4 cheeks! CHEEKY!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013 16:57
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I was chasing Niko around his room the other day threatening to pinch his cheeks while he squealed and laughed. He flung himself onto his bed, covering his face with his hands, and I pinched his butt. He protested mightily!

Mama, those are not my cheeks! My cheeks are on my face! THAT IS MY BUTT BUTT.

LOL FOREVER AT BUTTBUTT, which he says solely to make me laugh.

I told him that the two slabs of flesh hanging off his cocyx were called his butt cheeks, and he did not believe me. OBVIOUSLY I was making shit up AGAIN and just calling body parts by random wrong names. I told him he could ask Tata when he was at home the next morning. He did not, however, question my use of the word “banonkers,” a portmanteau of “bananas” and “bonkers” which makes him laugh. Sure enough, he asked his Tata about butt cheeks and Nesko agreed with me and Niko was AMAZED that he has FOUR CHEEKS and I chased him around pinching various cheeks on his body while he laughed and squirmed.

A little bit later I was lying down in bed resting just a bit (I have a cold, it’s settling in my chest, I might cough myself to death). He joined me in there and was walking around on the bed. Then he said:

SOMETIMES my pants fall down…

and I heard a patting sound

And it shows my…

he gave a little bounce and I turned to look at him


He was standing there with his pants pulled down, slapping his ass. He laughed uproariously at the “punchline” (BUTT CHEEKS) and I laughed too because butts are HILARIOUS let’s face it. Then I called him banonkers and he laughed so hard he fell over and I laughed so hard I triggered an asthma attack and ALMOST DIED. AGAIN.

Butt cheeks.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko’s been having a hard time lately.

He’s been really wild and out of control, ignoring us quite a bit, temper tantrumming, insisting on sleeping with us, speaking in a baby voice/refusing to speak and just pointing at things, and having pants accidents. The kid who’s been potty trained for MONTHS is suddenly soiling himself. It was a pretty big, and worrisome, regression. He’s also been refusing to try to do things like look at letters, count, etc. This is the kind of stuff kids do when there’s something huge and new in their lives: when they move, when their parents divorce, when there’s a new baby, when zombies attack, etc. But nothing is going on!

Last night I sat with Niko as he sobbed and cried, after over an hour of walking him (or carrying him) and his pillow back to his own bed. I told him it was time to sleep. His brain needed sleep. His body needed sleep. He sobbed out that he didn’t WANT to grow up.


Let’s look at that, shall we?

I asked him some more questions. Why doesn’t he want to grow up? Is he afraid of growing up?

He told me that he didn’t want to grow up because that means I’d go away and he doesn’t want me to go away ever and leave him all alone.

Oh, sweet child.

So we cuddled and we talked about growing up and parents and how mamas and tatas always love their kids and we talked about how Nesko and I are still close to our parents. We love them and they love us. He calmed down and fell asleep and slept soundly in his bed all night.

This morning we had another talk about growing up and I reassured him that growing up is a gradual process. You don’t just wake up one day grown up, it takes a long time. We talked about how long it would take. He demanded to know an exact age when one is grown up and I told him 25. I promised him that I would always love him and would always be his mama. He said he didn’t want to have kids instead of a mama. I told him he could have kids AND have a mama, and I would be his kids’ baba, but that he didn’t have to have kids if he didn’t want to. He could choose not to have kids. He said he wanted to choose to have kids and also have a mama. He told me that he wanted to be a mama and have kids.

IF YOU ARE CURIOUS: the difference between a mama and a tata is tatas have DEEP VOICES and mamas have high voices. He demonstrated for me, including doing a pretty spot on impersonation of Nesko.

He’s been a little less clingy so far today, although the day is still young. We’ll see how he does tonight. I’m really tired of him joining us in bed. He pulls my hair and tries to push me out of bed. He jams his feet up under he and scrapes his toenails along my body. I hate it. I HATE IT. So hopefully he’ll sleep in his own little bed tonight.

IRONICALLY a few days ago he got super pissed and fired me, told me I wasn’t his mama anymore and I needed to go away and find a new home because a new mama was coming to our home. I told him I’d wait until his new mama got here. “NO DON’T DO THAT” he said. “YOU WILL BE HERE FOREVER. YOU WILL NEVER GO AWAY.” My firing offense? Not letting him eat candy for breakfast. WORST. MAMA. EVER. Later that day he forgave me and rehired me, though. And, yes, this current behavior regression predates this event.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Lately, I’ve been putting Niko down for a nap– or “a rest”– and he’s been highly resistant and not falling asleep until, like, 4:30. And then I wake him up at 5:00 and he’s groggy and out of it, and acts like a huge jerkass when it’s bed time and frequently doesn’t wind up falling asleep until after 10:00 pm (I like to get him into his jammies, teeth brushed, starting story time, by 7:30) and over two hours of screaming and escape attempts.


So today, we’re totally skipping that nap.

Because maybe the inactivity and final late nap are just too much for him, and then he’s not tired at bed time.

And maybe this bedtime will be less horrific and I won’t be tempted to sell my child to wolves. Wolves are good caretakers, right? Nurturing, motivational? Human children wolves raise are well adjusted go-getters, yeah? They found cities and make something of themselves?

IN OTHER NEWS, Niko is playing with his trains and apparently they are full of bees! I DO NOT EVEN KNOW. I have no idea what’s happening here! Whew.

“Mama, this train is going so fast that I took a picture of him running away. And he ran out of bees! See? I took his picture.”


“But I buried him under the mountain before I took his picture. He’s deep in a mound.”


We’re going to be using our tax return to do some repair work in the kitchen, do a teensy bit of remodeling, and also to do a bit of work in Niko’s room. Ideally I’d like to gut his room down to the studs and put in new insulation (I don’t think there’s any at all) and new wallboard, but we might not be able to do that. We also want to make a bunch of built in looking (but not actually built in because it’s a very small room and the next people who live here might not want built in) shelves and cabinets to hold his toys and books. Again, might not be able to do that either. BUT!!! We ARE going to paint one of his walls and the inside of his door, at his request. He’s specified red and held tight to that choice for months now, and consistently picks a similar shade of red. I brought home a bunch of red paint samples and he’s settled on Behr S-H-190 “Antique Red.” We have a bunch of glow in the dark stars and some glow in the dark planets that you’re supposed to hang from the ceiling and I tried to talk him into painting the wall dark blue so we can make a night sky with glowing stars but he would have NONE OF THAT. It’s RED OR NOTHING. So I’m considering painting his ceiling (or part of his ceiling?) dark blue and putting planets and stars up there. I don’t know if that would work or if it’d be over whelming, with a dark red wall. Thoughts? Suggestions?

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Tuesday, 12 February 2013 18:27
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I was reading on the couch when Niko grunted and huffed and carried a big box over toward me. He set it carefully on the floor, draped it with a blanket, and arranged two short pieces of string in an X across the top.

“Mama, mama, do you know what’s in this box?”

“Uh, what?”

“It’s…” he threw off the string and blanket, dashed off the lid, and scooped up a double armful of beanie baby dogs “PUPPIES!!!” and tossed them joyfully in the air. Then he gathered them up and made them swarm all over me, “kissing” me.

Oh, be still my heart.

“The Great Mouse Detective” is vying with “The Aristocats” for ultimately place of love within his heart and he’s proclaimed many times that he wants to be a detective when he grows up and is big. We’ve talked about some of the different mysteries detectives solve, including fighting crime and doing police work, being a private detective, being a historian, being an anthropologist, and being a paleontologist. He’s decided he is going to solve the mystery of how dinosaurs lay their eggs and take care of their babies. Right after he takes his space ship to the alien planet Minnebonie, which is where aliens (also known as “slide bugs”) live. It’s a far away planet that nobody knows about yet and it’s where aliens live. DUH. Also he’s going to visit Mars.

He’s got a busy future ahead of him.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko was running back and forth through the house the other day, screaming and barking, while Nesko and I finished dinner. Then there was a big crash in the living room. We called him in to find out what he’d been doing.

“Well, Delilah–”

I’m going to break in for a moment here and explain something.

Delilah is a stuffed animal.

Delilah is a stuffed dog with curly fur and floppy ears.

“Well, Delilah was chasing me and barking and then I was chasing her and yelling and then she was chasing me and barking and then I was chasing her and yelling and then she ran into the living room and said she was going to dump my balls all over the floor and I said NO DELILAH DON’T DO THAT, THAT’S NAUGHTY and then she dumped all my balls on the floor and I stood there and I said HOLY CRAP–”

We interrupted him at this point, to laugh.

I tried to keep a straight face. I did! I swear. But then I saw Nesko trying to keep a straight face too and I lost it. I kept dissolving into snickers.

“And then I said NO DELILAH THAT WAS NAUGHTY and she chased me into the kitchen and what’s so funny?”

“No, nothing. Nothing’s funny.”

“Is it because I said HOLY CRAP?”

“Noooo… Tata told me a joke and I’m laughing at that.”

He insisted on hearing the joke, Nesko told him a knock knock joke, and then Niko resumed running through the house arguing with Delilah. Yes, arguing. Taking both sides.

Holy crap.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko, like me, grows hair and nails super fast. So we trim his nails frequently or else he claws us up, and we cut his hair and then like two days later he looks like wolves have been raising him. He was fretting over being “chupo chupovee” (a hairy man) recently and kept asking for a haircut. At one point I went into the bathroom and someone had removed the bathmat (draping it over the garbage can in the kitchen) and put Niko’s little pink chair in the middle of the floor. WHO COULD HAVE DONE THAT. Why, Niko, of course! Preparing for his haircut. So Nesko finally took him in there and trimmed his hair. I tried to slip in there to use the toilet and the floor was entirely covered in hair and Niko was shirtless and I pretty much had a glimpse of what he will look like when he is 40: a dude with a hair sweater. It’s your destiny, dude. Sorry. Or maybe you’ll like being super hairy and bask in the glory of never being fully naked even when unclothed, I don’t know.

Nesko’s gotten pretty good at cutting Niko’s hair, but the problem remains that Niko has my hairline. Namely, his hairline almost reaches his eyebrows near the temples. It’s the opposite of Nesko’s hairline, which is very high up, giving him a smooth high intelligent looking forehead, as opposed to my brutish almost Neanderthal look. It’s like I married a dolphin, y’all. And Niko very obviously takes after me. I expect his unibrow will start coming in when he’s 12 or so.

Anyway, he’s all groomed now and looks like a tiny human and not a feral beast child, so that’s a great change. Unfortunately, he’s still acting like a feral beast child roughly half the time. It’s less than ideal.

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brigid: A fat faced baby in a cap is stuffed into a mail sack worn by a postal carrier. (what.)

A few weeks ago we were at Target and I told Nesko to buy a shelf to go over the key hooks by the front door to hold his wallet, comb, coins, receipts, knife, and other pocket stuff that tends to get scattered around OR clutter up the dining room table. He picked up a 3-pack of different sized shelves, figuring the other shelves could go someplace else. We got home, just the two of us, Niko at Baba’s and Djedo’s, and he put the shelf up. We decided to put the other two shelves up in Niko’s room, next to his bed. We put one right next to his bed to hold his night time cup of water, and the other slightly above to hold his dried gourd, little metal cars, books, or whatever else he wanted. We did some other things around the house and then got ready to visit some family members for their Slava. We swung by to pick up Niko and told him there was a surprise at home. He was upset with us, reminded us that we were going someplace else and NOT HOME, IT WAS NOT TIME TO GO HOME YET and we said yes yes yes but when we DO get home there’s a surprise!

We had a really good time at the Slava and as usual headed home much later than we should have. We hauled Niko into his bedroom to show him the shelves. Surprise, we said! He looked around. Aw hey, shelves! Neat! So… what’s the surprise? The shelves, we said. That’s the surprise. Surprise! Shelves!

This was not good enough.

He insisted that it was NOT a surprise and he’d SHOW US the surprise. He told us to follow him while he lead us to the surprise and he stomped into the living room. There was no fantastic train set or pile of pirate gold or mountain of pie or whatever the hell he was expecting and he just collapsed emotionally. Nesko wrangled him into bed, showed him how he could put his water on the little shelf and pointed out how his gourd was safe on the bigger shelf, etc.

By the next morning, Niko cheerfully informed us that Clover (one of his stuffed animals) really liked the shelves. When pressed, he admitted that he liked them also.

But there was a problem.

There’s always a problem, right?

The lower shelf was lose. It turned out there was something inside the wall (a small brick chimney? A vein of lead? WHO CAN SAY) that could not be drilled into, so the shelf could not be securely attached to the wall with screws and anchors. So Nesko busted out the command strips and velcroed the fucker to the wall.

He and I both had talks with Niko about not pulling on the shelves or climbing on the shelves, etc. Niko, at one point, was eager to tell me how tata had fixed the smaller shelf and ripped it off the wall with a flourish TADA! and I had another talk with him about Not Doing That.

And all was pretty quiet, you know? Putting his water on the little shelf became part of his bedtime routine. He put different treasures on the big shelf. All of his rocks and the gourd and his favorite sticks, or a bunch of books he was fond of, or a selection of his favorite cars, or one single wooden train engine. They were just shelves, a part of his life, a part of his bedroom.

And then I put him down for a nap today.

Internet, I was so ready for him to take a nap.

In between trying to Do All The Things (including laundry, cleaning the bathroom, washing dishes, making bread, making lasagna, cleaning the dining room, sorting through junk to donate/discard it, moving furniture, sorting paperwork, etc) I also had to clean crushed raspberries off of wooden tracks and the wheels/undercarriage of trains; move the (not hooked up) laser printer up high so nobody could shove toys into it; check the VCR for DVDs; rescue a piece of religious jewelry; refill his cup with water that was EXACTLY THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE; put away the finger paints; AND MORE. Niko’s usually good about playing calmly, absorbed in what he’s doing, checking on me from time to time but otherwise happy. NOT TODAY.

So I finally wrangle him into bed, get him settled, and leave. This takes over an hour. There is much fake crying.

About fifteen minutes later I hear a clatter, a thump, and what might be a small child whimpering. So of course I head quickly toward Niko’s room. It’s really quiet so at first I think it was the upstairs neighbors but then I think IT’S TOO QUIET so I peek into his room. Niko’s burried under the covers, lying perfectly still, the smell of baby powder thick in the air, the shelves ripped off the wall.

What the ever loving hell.

One of those shelves was attached to he wall with screws and anchors and he just ripped it right out. Everything that had been on the shelves was on the floor. Where did the baby powder come from? Why did he feel the need to dump it liberally all over the place? Why do I bother asking these questions?

I confiscated the shelves.

I’m done.

I’m ready for bed. Or a Tom Collins and a trashy movie.

One or the other.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

One of Niko’s favorite books right now is this coffee-table like book that’s full of photos of Chicago. It’s about fifteen years old, so there’s some photos of Marshall Field’s, and the Carson Pirie Scott building isn’t a Target, etc. Niko likes to look at the buildings and Nesko and I talk to him about what buildings we’ve been in, and he likes to look at the skylines and try to find CTA trains and buses.

We drove down to visit my parents and their dogs yesterday, and on our way back we detoured through downtown Chicago. It was night and the buildings were all lit up, and Niko could pick out the John Hancock building and the Sears Tower (fuck you, “Willis”) and looked for the CNA building but couldn’t see it. He kept enthusing “Oh, oh! This is just like my Chicago book! This is just like being in my Chicago book!” so that was really cool. And now we have a list of places he wants to walk around and visit when it’s warmer, including the Buckingham Fountain and having a picnic on the green grounds outside of the Shedd Aquarium, and going on a boat tour on the river.

We had plans to go to the Aquarium or the Museum of Science and Industry today (some glorious angel gave us a family membership to it) but it’s cold as hell out, two of us are recovering from illness and one of us is tiptoeing in illnesses direction, etc so we’re staying in and spending some family time together instead.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Because I have the light and joyful heart of a child, I laugh at fart jokes and enjoy hiding behind things and jumping out at people. However, in part because I have the light and joyful heart of a child (READ: am really immature) I usually give myself away by giggling while hiding. It’s pathetic and hilarious, I know! But my big question is this: does Niko giggle while hiding because it’s his NATURE to hide and giggle or because I’ve NURTURED a hiding and giggling set of behavior in him?

What sorts of behaviors have you observed in your kid that could be nature or nurture?

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Are you familiar with Candle Cove, that brilliant bit of horror by Kris Straub? It’s a relatively short piece of fiction in the format of an internet forum dedicated to old tv shows. Some users reminisce about a horrific low budget kids show called “Candle Cove” that was pure nightmare fuel in the most literal sense possible. It’s atmospheric and creepy in the best possible way, the unease and horror build slowly.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Ugh mike, I got a chill reading that. Yes I remember. That’s what the ship always told Percy when there was a spooky place he had to go in, like a cave or a dark room where the treasure was. And the camera would push in on Laughingstock’s face with each pause. YOU HAVE… TO GO… INSIDE. With his two eyes askew and that flopping foam jaw and the fishing line that opened and closed it. Ugh. It just looked so cheap and awful.

You guys remember the villain? He had a face that was just a handlebar mustache above really tall, narrow teeth.


Niko frequently creeps me out. FOR INSTANCE, there was the time he stared solemnly up at the sky and then told me “there is a storm coming and we will never see the day again” or the time he informed me that he ate the sun and we would thus be in eternal night.

Today he stood in the middle of the living room and intoned in his spookiest voice “YOU HAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE… TO GO… INSIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE” while waving his arms ritually, a blank look on his face. He crawled under the coffee table. “YOU HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE… TO GO… INSIIIIIIIIDE… THE CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE.”


And then he started talking about picking up a cargo load of coal and making chugging and puffing noise because he was a train.

I mean, talk about your Occam’s Razor moments, right? The most obvious solution is the correct one. He’s never heard of Candle Cove, but he HAS read/watched a lot of stories about trains going into dark, spooky caves. Also he seems to delight in fucking with me and being creepy on purpose. <3

I told Nesko about this and he said “Well, we’re going to have to leave the television on AT ALL TIMES NOW so he can’t find any static to watch.”

<3 <3 <3

What’s the creepiest thing YOUR kids do? What have you done that royally creeped out someone else, all unintentionally?

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

A friend of ours was here the other day when Niko woke up from his nap. We heard the two of them talking in the kitchen, and then said friend rejoined us in the living room.

“Was Niko wearing pyjamas earlier,” he asked.

“Yes, why? Is he… is he not wearing them now?”

“No. He’s wearing black pants and slippers and no shirt.”

“Well that’s… that’s odd.”

“And he’s… he isn’t supposed to go outside alone, is he?”


“Yeah, that’s what I thought! He tried to tell me it was ok but I made him come back inside.”

“How outside did he get?”

“All the way! He opened the back door and went downstairs and opened the outside door. I was afraid he’d get cold. He claimed there was an angry bunny outside that needed a piece of bread or something? I don’t know. I made him come back inside.”

Later conversation with Niko revealed that he had a tiny train inside his mouth that was telling him things. Also, his pants were on backwards and he wasn’t wearing underpants. I think he wasn’t fully awake, and we obviously need some kind of advanced security on our doors. We had a long talk with him about not going outside without an adult, and had to define that as an adult PERSON who is a HUMAN who he KNOWS. He is not allowed to out out with an adult stuffed animal, an imaginary adult, an invisible adult, an adult alien, an adult book, an adult dog or other animal. Nor is he allowed to go outside and find an adult who is a stranger and just chill with them.

Details, details!

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I tried to put Niko down around his regular time and he was riled up and fussy and kept popping out of bed and wanting just one more thing etc. His negative behavior ramped up until I was standing outside his door returning him repeatedly to bed as he escalated his screams. He begged me to stay with him, said he needed me, begged me to let him sleep “in the big bed” (our bed) etc. He finally insisted that he needed to tell me something and I relented.

“Don’t get lost!” he begged me.

“What.” I said.

“Don’t go into the woods and get lost!”

We discussed how I wasn’t going to go into the woods, I wasn’t going to get lost, I wasn’t going to sneak out in the middle of the night while he was sleeping, I wasn’t going to run off with wolves or get eaten by wolves, I wasn’t going to get hugged by a hug wolf and turn into a hug wolf and go on a hug wolf rampage. I wasn’t going to leave him.

“Are you going to die like the seal’s mama did?”




I don’t normally let Niko watch “Caillou” because the protagonist’s whiny voice is irritating and I don’t want to model that tone, or negative bullshit behavior, for Niko. But yesterday I was elbow deep in sprtiz cookie dough and using a new press I wasn’t as familiar with so I was having some few problems and hiking out to the living room to change the channel wasn’t at the top of my priorities. It apparently should have been, as an otherwise innocuous trip to the zoo involved meeting a baby seal who’s mama died so it was being hand reared. And apparently that concept soaked in Niko’s brain for awhile only to surface tonight in a fit of terror and screams and neediness.

So I hugged Niko and kissed him and promised him that I would never die. I would never leave him. What if I get sick? I’m not going to get sick. What if I get hurt? I’m not going to get hurt. What if I get old? I’m not going to get old. I’m never going to die, I’m never going to get old, and I’m never going to leave.

These are promises I can’t back up.

I have no way of keeping these promises.

And it was utterly useless to try and soft shoe around the issue, to make vague claims that I simply would never leave, that I would always love him. No. He wanted the full deal, the full promise.

I will never die.

I will never age.

Jesus, I can’t keep that promise and it’s tearing me up.

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Santa Came!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012 15:39
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We visited Nesko’s parents last night, Baba and Djedo, which Niko always loves. It was a chill, pleasant evening but (as usual) we didn’t get home until very late. Niko was super excited about Santa, of course, and he helped Nesko hang the stockings (with care) and he selected cookies for Santa and carried them carefully (with both hands!) to the fireplace. It took him awhile before he found the very best spot to leave them, but Santa found them with no problem and had a lovely nosh.

We ordered a copy of “The Night Before Christmas” which arrived, fittingly, on Christmas Eve. Nesko read it to Niko (and I read it again today before nap time) and Santa came while Niko snoozed. He brought 2 Rudolph coloring books, an alphabet work book with wipe-off pages, a pack of dry erase markers for the alphabet book (convenient! thoughtful!), warm slippers, a batman hat and mittens, a big plastic Diplodocus, some glow in the dark bracelets which were a big hit last year, and 3 freight cars with removable freight (cable spools, bricks, wooden crates) that his magnet crane can pick up and move around. Also candy, nuts, etc. Niko got a little over whelmed by all the loot and everything was “what I always wanted!!”

We’re going to open presents on Bozic on January 7th. We’re planning on getting him some CTA brownline trains, some more wooden track and some bridge supports, and a copy of the book “the Polar Express” since he is currently IN LOVE WITH the movie and will start talking about it at a moment’s notice. Or even without any notice at all. I kind of really dislike the movie, and not for the reasons everyone else does. I don’t care so much about the uncanny valley aspect of it. They tried something new, they pushed some boundaries, it is what it is. No, it’s a nightmarish and horrifying movie complete with verbal abuse, abandonment, danger, terrifying threatening hobos, and evil clown dolls. I guess one could say it harkens back to Christmases of yore and scary stories around the fire, but frankly it gives me the heebie jeebies.

Nesko worked early yesterday and late today, so we got to spend Christmas Even and Morning together, which was nice and cozy. We had a leisurely morning with sweet rolls and coffee and wide eyed Niko delight and it snowed for even more delight and fun, and now Niko is asleep. I predict some leisurely train games this evening, dinner, and an early bed time since he’s been up pretty late pretty regularly lately. All in all it’s been a pleasant Christmas.

How have things been for you?

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko’s overnight at his grandparents’ went well, to a degree. He ate all the clementines in the entire world, so if you’re having trouble finding them in your kitchen or store, it’s because of him. He ate a bunch of other fruit and veg as well. Child acts like that stuff is candy. <3

He missed his nap on Friday, didn’t get to bed until after 9:00 pm, and missed his nap on Saturday as well as again going to bed later than usual Saturday night. Now, he slept all night long on Friday, he cooperated with bedtime and slept well. But he’s running on a sleep debt and that caught up with him last night (Saturday night). He woke up screaming and sobbing several times. Well, I say “woke up” but at least at first he was still asleep.

The first time he woke up he was sobbing and screaming and thrashing around. I asked him if he was awake and he said no. I told him he was in his own bed in his own room in his own home and he was safe, and he sobbed that he wasn’t safe, he wasn’t safe at all. He demanded to touch Nesko’s hair and then cried because he wanted Christmas presents from Santa. He was really out of it. I picked him up and held him and then Nesko took him, and he woke up and was very different, calm, awake. We eased him back down and left.

He woke up again about an hour later, screaming and thrashing. I got him resettled. He woke up again and I dragged myself out of bed, glassess-less, to resettle him again. He woke up again and came into the bedroom to scream at me for having taken something out of his bed (he was unclear what) (I hadn’t taken anything).

So we took him into our bed and he cuddled in and slept like a log all night.

He is very beautiful while he sleeps. I mean, he’s a good looking kid when he’s awake but when he’s asleep in the pearly light of early morning he just looks luminous and still, perfectly carved, the ideal of a child.

He woke up smiling and alert, laughing, cuddly. I asked him how he slept. “Very well!” he said. Did he have any bad dreams? “No, only good dreams!” He was all bouncy exclamation marks. “You woke up crying a few times. What happened?” “I don’t know, but I stopped crying and I’m not crying now! I’m hungry. Can I have some cereal?”

It’s not even 11:00 now and he’s complaining that he’s tired and cranky and needs a nap, in between singing songs about the CTA (namely, the red and brown lines, and how they thunder down the lines). I think he’ll sleep long and hard this afternoon, and hopefully tonight we’ll all get some peace. My head is killing me.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko came up to me today and asked what a Biyyo is. He has trouble with medial-Ls still so I tried to piece together what he was asking. Billow? Pillow? I told him I didn’t know.

“A biyyo is when you GET RIWEY LOUD JUST LIKE THIS!” he informed me.


He provided a few more examples of bellowing as I loaded the dish washer and then wandered into his bedroom.

Niko’s going on an adventure tonight! He’s going to try a sleep over at his baba’s house. Nesko and I are going to see “The Hobbit” tonight with a friend, but that should be wrapping up around 9 or 10 so Niko totally freaks out and MUST come home, we’ll be able to fetch him home at a reasonable time. And if not, we can grab dinner after the movie. Wish us luck. He’s never been very interested in sleeping anywhere but our house, but if we can get him used to sleeping at baba’s it’ll make life a lot easier for us.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We have a mantel.

Don’t get all excited. We have a non-functioning fireplace and the mantel is a catch-all for junk. Like a junk drawer, but all out in the open where anyone can see it. Also there’s some photo albums, a porcelain “Rose Of Tralee” statue from the Franklin Mint, only slightly chipped, and a massive pile of guitar song books. And dust.

There’s also two houseplants.

I was cleaning off the mantel today in preparation for INCOMING CHRISTMAS and I moved one of the two small watering cans into the kitchen. This, as it turned out, was a mistake.

When Niko dragged his little stepstool over to the mantel, watering can in hand, and informed me that he was going to water the plants I chuckled indulgently and assumed it was all just pretend.




No. He’d put water in the little plastic watering can. And, while trying to water plants that were above his head, he poured all the water onto the floor behind him.

The hardwood floor. Which is about 100 years old.

OH!, I said as the water pattered musically onto the floor.

Then we cleaned it up together.

This poor floor.

IN MORE DISGUSTING NEWS, my child has really bad gas and also has figured out how to blame other people for it. He’s got a whole list of individuals to blame, which includes his stuffed animals. His current favorite fallguy is a red dog known as Red Dog. “But it’s ok, Red Dog doesn’t have to poop. That was just a just because toot. He keeps them in his butt. His butt is attached to his leg. Sometimes he poops on his leg like a cow all over the floor.” He’s still obsessed with cows and their torrential craps.

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brigid: (Default)
We spent the weekend in Champaign having a Thanksgiving sort of event with a lot of friends, and Niko got to play with a bunch of kids who are roughly his age (AND WHO ARE UTTERLY ADORABLE, THANK YOU FRIENDS FOR REPRODUCING AND HAVING DELIGHTFUL CHILDREN). He and L, who is 2, teamed up and wanted to play with some board games on a shelf. I said no because they aren't games for kids, they are games for adults.

"Oh, I can talk like an adult," said Niko. I asked him to demonstrate. He pitched his voice low and said "HAI MY NAME IS BRIGID AND I'M AN ADULT. HAI I'M TATA AND I'M TALKING LIKE AN ADULT. I'M AN ADULT NOW. HAI I'M MAMA AND I'M AN ADULT. I CAN PLAY WITH GAMES NOW." He kind of sounded like Strong Bad pretending to be Homestar Runner.

Later on he imitated Nesko, me, and our friend Gerry. This is what Nesko sounds like: "Yooo llooooo gooolooo booo boo loo goo looo hooolooo boolgoogoo yooo yooo looloo gooloo." This is what Gerry sounds like: "ubga hubga bubga bub bub bubga hubga hub hub hub bubga gugba." This is what I sound like: "Yeeeeee."


In a falsetto.

At least I don't sound like a trombone.

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