February 3rd, 2016
If I leave my phone sitting around, I may come back to it and find a three or four scrolls worth of these pictures. I can’t bring myself to delete them; look how much fun she’s having. Selfies capture some pretty cool moments, and I’m very familiar with what the infamous set of duck lips and wide eyes has done to our gaggle of photo galleries. But kid selfies are the best. I love how there’s nothing pretentious or self-aware about these photos. She’s just having fun and seeing what she can get away with.
Toddler Phone Takeover! My friend and writer Katie had a perfect post on her daughter’s phone-takeover pictures, and it inspired me to share this picture that my son took yesterday:
One may take a look and just see four sets of feet–one belonging to Layla, to Zade, to their uncle, and to me. Looks innocent enough.
I love that Zade took this picture because it will help me remember a stage. How many times we all switched seats because the kids wanted me sitting next to them or because Zade wanted to jump on his uncle or because Layla wanted me to taste her strawberry milkshake. And the napkin on the ground? That was one of several that coasted down to the floor, which is where Zade nearly rolled himself on in a moment of restlessness.
This is why I avoid eating out at this toddler-stage. I’ve become that “image”–that mom who can’t remember what she ate because she’s stressing out about her son rolling on the floor or tossing his fork in the air. Layla can sit like an angel and eat each morsel with appreciation; Zade’s not quite there just yet, to say the least.
Zade took this picture after I handed my phone to him in a desperate attempt to get him quiet in a restaurant. He cancelled some apps, rotated a few folders, and took a series of dark-nothing photos (which I noticed yesterday when we came home). Here’s a small sample:
All of you who have tried the “Here’s mommy’s phone [please, I love you, but for the love of GOD, let this work for a few minutes]” know the rationale and the consequence of this action. Most of the time, though, if we look through the hundreds of “take-over” pics, we get a funny picture that reminds us of an angle we’d never think was picture-worthy but that, quite literally, is worth 1,000 words.
Sophia! Sophia the First really tried hard to have an episode about Sophia’s internal battle with being part of a blended family in the Mother’s Day episode. Sophia reluctantly reveals she does not want to share her biological mother with her “new” siblings, so she tries to carry out a doomed (literally bewitched) plan to keep her mother all to herself.
It was probably nice for Layla to see Sophia struggle with (and overcome) feeling territorial and jealous; however, this episode has been the turning point for Layla in our house. Usually, she is so patient and maternal with her brother, but every so often, she gets fed up at his constant need to “race” her and his consistent request to be “the first” to do something. This episode, unfortunately, has helped put her over the edge. I remember watching her patiently and holding my breath while we somehow ended up watching the episode together.
So, she asked me uncharacteristically the other day, “Mom. Why did you grow him in your belly again? I never asked you to do that.” I went through the “for you to have a sibling” rundown and reminded her of how much they love each other. Now, she asks me to tell her memories from when she “was 3” and to sing her the “old songs you used to sing me when I was a baby” and to do the bedtime routine with her only.
Consequently, Layla and I have a special date coming up. I suppose Sophia reminded me to make these plans and to set aside some alone time with Layla. We’re not a blended family, but Layla is becoming more aware of how attention is divided in the house. People said she’d feel that when Zade was first born. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. It’s really only now that she’s older that equality is under a thicker lense.
I really hope, oh please, that Sophia doesn’t have an “All kids need to go to Disney World before they are 5” episode or an “If you want to be happy in your life, you must have a dog” episode. I will be seriously out of luck.
Sleep! Everyone is familiar with the story of a mother who doesn’t get any sleep after her baby is born, but it’s only moms who really know what that feels like–the burning, heavy eyes, the memory loss, the haze that accompanies your auto-pilot gear, the fear you’re forgetting something big. My great friend’s child is 6-months old and has recently started to wake up again every 2 hours. I gave her my empathy and wished her a good night’s sleep, and then I said something more realistic: “I hope that like a superwoman, you won’t need what you don’t get.”
Motherhood tends to remind you of this phenomenon. And it’s not that you really don’t need sleep; it’s that somehow you manage to take care of your family even though you need some taking care of.