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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Wednesday
Apr212010

Newsletter: Month Fifteen

Dear Violet,

You are actually fifteen months old today, the very day I'm typing this. Gold stars for me! I'm sitting on the bathroom floor next to the tub. You are playing with your very favorite tub item; an empty shampoo bottle. You've got boats and ducks and squishies and whatever in hell kids allegedly like in tubs, but generally you go for the empty shampoo bottle. Second favorite, the red plastic boat.

Not that you play with any of these things, you just chew. My little pirhanna chawing on anything you can get your paws around. Check that, you don't even have to get your paws around said item. Like when we first brought Milo Kegstand Bielanko home, you'll just mosey over to a chair arm and start chewing. Amazingly, you've only tried to chew on your ever-lovin' parents a few times.





Lately, if I'm on the computer on the floor next to the tub while you're splashing around sometimes you do this really cute thing. It'll go really quiet and that's my signal to look at you. So I do. You're sitting there anticipating the look and the second I peek at you you crack a grin the size of a California fault line and we sit their grinning like loons until I go back to whatever I was doing and you continue splashing and chewing on things until thirty seconds later when the whole thing starts over again. That grin could cure depression, stop wars, cause a person to want to be the best person she possibly can... for you.

You really dig the water. I like that about you. You aren't afraid of anything, so far. You like dogs, water, all the usual suspects that strike terror in the hearts of children everywhere. Dad found a little, floatie thing that has a seat in it. Perfect for hanging out in Grandma's hot tub. Last weekend we turned down the heat and plopped you in and you splashed around, lazing in the Spring sunshine like a vacationing movie star. We joked that we should find some tiny sunglasses and attach an itty bitty umbrella to a bottle for maximum baby lounging.



This month has been a big one for you, filled with important milestones. You started walking! I thought you never would. I mean, you were about as interested in walking as a certain population segment at Wal-Mart. You know, the ones that like those scooter carts? But one day Pop called me up at work and said you were walking all over your bedroom and then he sent me the video to prove it. I sat there at my desk, bawling like an idiot because i was stuck at work and my baby girl was home toddling around her bedroom, taking her first steps in this world. And you haven't looked back. It's all walking, all the time.





In fact, we have to be careful where we set you down to walk because we can't plan on picking you up any time soon or you will throw a tantrum that rivals Madonna when her botox doc is all booked up.



So here's the thing: you are cool as hell. And I'm not saying that in a proud-mom-my-daughter-is-the-best kind of way. Okay, maybe a little. But seriously! You are such a cool, little girl. I hear nightmare accounts from several parents about how difficult their kids are but I am telling you what; you rock. You can play by yourself for hours, entertaining yourself in your play area. You dig tottering around, watching Charlie Brown and climbing in the backpack with Dad to head up in the mountains with Max and Milo. You rarely cry. You take your naps without a fuss and if you aren't into sleeping you just bounce around your crib babbling, pulling the curtain aside and peering out the window.



HOWEVER:

You are starting to show your personality and I'm thinking I could be in for a challenge. You know what you want and aren't afraid of making that clear. If I try to hide something I don't want you playing with you look at me like, c'mon, do you think I don't know you just hid that behind you? Nobody can pull a fast one when you're on duty.

Two days ago you had a doctor appointment, which, by the way, you recognized the doctor's office and you do not like it. The minute we walked in the door you got all squirrelly on me, clinging and climbing like you knew a Chicken Pox vaccination was about ten minutes in your future.

The doctor said you should only be drinking a couple ounces of juice a day. What? Between the two of us your dad and I have been enabling you to drink maybe three bottles of juice a day. Big bottles. Milk too! I am a big, fat, shameful drinking enabler. Doctor said twelve to twenty-four ounces of milk and NO MORE and here I've been foisting bottles on you becaused, it's milk! Everyone's always bullying us into drinking milk, all those damn celebrities with their stupid mustaches. Got milk? Drink milk! DRINK IT! And now they're telling me you're drinking too much milk?

The doctor also said no more bottles. I was kind of surprised. I mean, everyone said you'd walk when you were ready to and you did so I kind of figured you'd get rid of the bottle when you were ready to as well. Apparently not. Apparently it's my job to get you off the bottle. You mean I have to teach her things, I said to the doctor? Yep, she said. No more bottle. Which kind of makes sense. I would totally walk on my own because then I could get into more trouble, but I wouldn't give up the bottle on my own. Who would give up a bottle on their own? If my mom hadn't tossed mine I'd still be using it for beer and wine and stuff.

But I'm taking this teaching/motherhood thing to heart, you know? I immediately broke out the sippy cup that's been languishing in the cupboard and filled it with water. I handed it to you and you promptly dropped it and pretended like it didn't exist. Okay, fine. One step at a time, I told myself. We'll get to the sippy cup in good time. For now we can focus on detoxing you from the juice.

So I filled a bottle with water and handed it to you. You took one swig, pulled it away and looked at it, made a face AND THEN YOU THREW IT AT ME. Like, listen you plebian, get me my juice and get it now. I ain't fallin' for no water in the bottle bullshit. I know what juice looks like and I WANT MY EFFING JUICE, LADY!



Suddenly you were Naomi Campbell and I was your personal assistant. You were demanding I bring you drinks, eying me all suspicous-like, and babbling crazy talk. I picked up the bottle of water and pretended to drink it and love it. MMMMmmmm, yummy bottle, I taunted. DEE-lish! Violet want some?

You. Were. Not. Having. It.

And then, in pure Naomi style, you started to cry. It was a full-blown juice withdrawal. Now it was an episode of Intervention and you were shaking in your desire for JUIIIIICE.

Okay, okay! Juice! Juice is coming. I made a big, animated show of pulling the juice out of the fridge. Dancing it out of the fridge and trilling JUIIIICE like the star of a Broadway musical. But, by God, you weren't winning this round. If you wanted juice you would drink it from the sippy cup! There was another Broadway quality production of pouring your beloved amber liquid into the sippy cup and then I handed it to you. And you threw it at me! The crying, oh my goodness, the crying. This? This is what all those parents are talking about. Maybe you just weren't old enough to give me the business. But now? It's on, apparently.

In the end, we compromised. I unscrewed the lid of the sippy cup and you glugged down your juice, adult-style. Juice drizzled down your cheeks and onto your neck as you gulped like an alcoholic at a beer buffet, hands gripping that sippy cup like a vise. Every last drop, gone.

But the important thing, baby-love, is that we compromised.



I love you more than the moon and stars and sky and clouds and grass and trees and and and.

Love,
Mama