Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Tubes - She's A Beauty

This is the story of my beauty... and holy terror...


I don’t know if you have noticed thebear in the comments yet or not. That’s my Bear. Somehow or other she has talked me into watching not one toddler but TWO TODDLERS again today.

Am I clearly out matched by this tag team of tiny terror?

Can a single grandma hope to cope with duo diapers?

Will I survive another day long viewing of I Carly and Spongebob Square Pants?

Well, I did survive the Bear… who was much more terrible than these two together. I know… darling little girls are so sweet. Bull crap! I was traumatized by this one bitty bear. Near driven to insanity. She was a nightmare child. The Omen kid had nothing on this babe. Not a thing.

For one, she just plain arrived. We got to the hospital and did not get to see a labor room… she exploded out on a wave… and the doctor barely caught her by one foot! As a newborn, she hated people. My tiny despot would shriek until visitors ran for cover. Then she pretended to be sweet until the next visitor arrived and the wails began anew.

I made the serious error of breast feeing my monster. In the middle of the night, while I snoozed in exhaustion, my little darling would awake ready to eat. She did not seem to have the concept down of the proper location for nursing. I would wake up to a terrible burning sensation… to find that my baby had latched onto any old bare spot on my body and was giving me a horrendous hickey. She would be livid when I pulled her off. I’m not sure which of us was screaming louder. She also liked to bite. I was abused!

When she was two I stepped out on the balcony to feed the cat. We kept her food out there where the Bear could not eat it. Behind me the door clicked softly shut and with a chill, I realized that the next sound was the lock being poked in. My toddler had locked me out.

“Bear… open the door for mommy please.”

Bear giggled. I knocked on the door and tried laughing, hoping if I sounded like it was all a joke, she would relent and open the door. No frigging way!

I began to beg. She began to climb. Up the side of the sofa… up the sofa back. Her chubby little legs heaved her onto the wide window sill…where she stood in front of the open window… tiny hands held up and began to bang on the flimsy window screen. She said “Mommy… Hi mommy… mommy… hi mommy!”

Understand the terror here. This is a toddler in a big picture window separated from certain death in a second story fall to a concrete walkway below. Yes, I was on the balcony… to the left of this window, where the balcony ceased to be. Below her was only the drop. The screen held in place by springs. I watched it bend each time her tiny hands slapped against it.

There was only one thing to do. I climbed over the end of the balcony wrought iron railing and hung by one foot and one arm… at an angle… to stretch out far enough to put my hand on the screen to hold it in place. The entire time I am calmly saying to her “Bear please unlock the door for mommy.” I was still repeating this mantra 45 minutes later when a neighbor finally walked past below and called up to ask me what I was doing. The manager was quickly brought back to open the door and I was helped back over the rail. No, I did not beat her. I sat down and cried.

When the Bear turned three we walked past a booth in a flea market selling tiny bikes. They had tiny training wheels. Too cute to pass up, she became the proud owner of a miniature blue bike. She got on and took off… there was no training involved. She rode the darned thing until one of the training wheels fell off. I thought it might slow here down, but it did not. She rode it sort of sideways.

Then one day, a helpful neighbor noticed that she was not really using the one remaining training wheel at all, but rode upright. So he took the wheel off of her bike. She hopped on without noticing and rode off. That was the start of my next wave of terror. Now that she did not lean to one side, she could go faster and farther. I was within a few weeks of delivering Max, and had long past lost sight of my feet. I was supposed to be in bed for all but an hour of my day, when a light walk was allowed, because of complications.

Bear did not like being locked up in the house with me. She quickly figured out the lock. She hopped on her bike and took off as fast as her feet could pedal. I… not mildly walking as I was supposed to do… was running full tilt down the mobile park streets shrieking at her to stop. Her dad installed a dead bolt that could be opened only with a key. The key hung from around my neck.

The Bear quickly figured out that the window in Boo’s room opened onto the porch and she kicked out the screen and hopped out… jumped on the bike and took off in the amount of time it took me to go “What was that noise?” I was again running after her. Her father bolted the window shut.

She pushed a chair to the dryer, climbed on it and flipped the hinge lock on the laundry room door… out she went and away I ran.

This is the child who was bitten by a nasty spider and we fought to keep her arm from rotting off in front of our eyes.

This is the child who once escaped the house while I had my back to the door doing dishes...and while I went looking in one direction, she ran in the opposite to the busiest street in the area during rush hour traffic. A herd of adults were shooing her along like a lost goose… she glared at them but would not allow them to get near her. When I ran up, an old lady gave me the lecture of my life about how some people should not be allowed to have children.

This is the child who was so well known at the poison control center that as soon as I said my name, they asked what the Bear… by name… had ingested today. (Tums, a small poinsettia, air freshener, deodorant, toothpaste…)

I really was not a bad mother. I truly did watch her. She was very fast, very curious and very bright. Not to mention very stubborn.

Okay… bring on the toddlers. How can they be worse? Wait… NO scratch that. I’m sure that they can be. I’m sure that they will be awful. Let me spit quickly three times and erase that curse!


  1. at first, i thought - oh the poor bear will have to read this about herself, then i thought - she was a bit like dan-du - who never did half the things thebear did, then i thought - wow you worked hard to keep that kid alive, then i thought - how quickly we judge, not knowing enough to make a comment about anything, then i thought - write about the bear all you want - she should thank you each and every day for her life.

    wonderful mother and father and wonderful post!

  2. crazy4coens-- She was so fast! If I turned my back at all she was off. I had to take her into the bathroom with me to pee. She was so scary that I had her photographed, finger printed and put on file at the police department for the day she vanished. Sigh.

    Fortunately, she is a good adult. We are very close. But I watch my nose and keep one eye on her. Somethings you can't forget. :)

  3. Well at least you can look back at laugh now, right? I don't know if my ticker could handle those type of adventures if Baby Shifley follows in the Bear's footsteps. Well I hope you are surviving the babysitting. And thanks for sharing the Bear adventures. They are quite amusing.

  4. What no teenage adventures? Now those were quite exciting days. I think Turkey has a perfect blend of Mikey and I, do they have baby jails?

  5. Mr. Shife-- The Bear is an unusual case. My three boys were so easy to raise in comparison! Angels, all. Its pay back according to my mother. I once tried to eat a razor blade and cut up my mouth. I tried to eat a Christmas ornament and cut up my mouth and had to have my stomach pumped. I ate snail poison. I could go on.

    I used to tell the Bear that I tried to sell her to the gypsies but they wouldn't take her, even if I gave her to them for free.

    Your baby is sweet and wonderful. I can tell by looking. You have no worries!

  6. thebear-- Oh, don't worry... those were too juicy to pass up. They'll be posted one day. Now you get to worry which one! hee hee

    Remember what they say about pay back!

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  8. I think the funny thing is that you went on to have two more children! That little gal would have cured some people - hee hee!

    My granddaughter Miss Personality is a bit of a Bear, I think :-)

  9. laura b.-- Well there is a funny story that goes with that. I was told by a very dumb doctor that I would not be having any more children. Imagine my surprise as I walked down the stairs on the way to the zoo and felt Max turn over inside me! I sat down on the steps in utter shock. Boo says "Is something wrong mom?"

    Fortunately Max was such a cuddle bug who never left my side that there were no more baby traumas. He was like a koala bear. No running away, only running to mom.

  10. Never ask if they can be any worse, because we all know they can. My youngest was like that. I always say that she made me be a better parent.

  11. Churlita-- That is a great way to look at it and so true. I had to be on top of it all the time. No slacking! I learned to be aware and watchful.

  12. HOLY CRAP!!! I was anxious wondering if she or you survived, until I realized that you are typing it and The Bear is commenting.

    I do want to hear the teen year stories, please post them.

  13. AlienCG-- She really is the reason that my hair is so grey. I will have stories for you and maybe she will consent to doing a guest post for us... and she can tell you a story from her perspective.

    Of course you all know she is my greatest treasure... or a nice chunk of it. ;)
    While she was often very bad, she was just as often very, very good.

  14. GREAT song. GREAT song. Criminally underrated.

  15. Michael-- I truly agree! I don't know why it took me so long to use it. The Tubes were great.

  16. Alien CG stole my thunder because my first thought was, "HOLY CRAP". You are both lucky to be alive today.

    I was a BIG brat back in the day, but if I had pulled those kinds of pranks, I think my father would've beaten me to death.

    Bear should give you thanks for her life every day.

  17. I give thanks often and I do believe that I have a 2 yr old who is living paybacks for all terrible things I have ever done. I must have been so awful, I am suprised she never did beat me- I am sure she did want to atleast.

  18. Cube-- It all worked out in the end. She is much loved and my best friend now. She had to grow up fast when her dad went to prison and she became my only support for a long time... she stepped up, took care of the house and her brothers so that I could work three jobs to keep us afloat. She made mistakes,and kept scaring me for a time. But she was also there when I truly needed someone to be. She has paid me back in full measure. And I know she is aware of how much I have given to them and her in particular.

    I really did want to beat her, but it's not in me.

  19. thebear-- I love you kiddo... and I am so glad that child is yours! That I get to get in my car and drive home. But you know I love him just as dearly as I loved you and he is always my number one sweetie even when I'd like to beat him and can't. Just like his mommy.

    All the way to the moon and back... bunches and bunches and bunches...

    Don't worry he'll out grow it one day and then you will be very proud. It's a big investment but very worth the exasperation and patience.