Dear Jo: The Banana Incident

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February 29, 3 years A.B. (after-baby)

Dear Jo,

You know these days you’re not supposed to forget? These “best years that go by in the blink of an eye?” Well, today started with another tantrum over a banana. Who knew fruit could be so frustrating? Of course that’s not how the beauty of your morning began. Lyla woke four times last night. You just got her back to sleep and had transitioned her into her bassinet when Paul’s alarm went off. While you hoped she would ignore it and continue sleeping for another two hours, Paul decided to ignore it instead. How he can sleep through that thing and yet no one else in the room can, is beyond me. After a swift elbow for him to turn off the obnoxious siren, you tried your best to once again soothe Lyla back to sleep. She wanted nothing to do with it. You hoped that maybe she would be like those babies in magazines who lie in their cribs, look around contentedly and coo. But that’s not really her style.

Dear Jo: A {fictional} Dairy of a Modern Mom

Before Paul even got up, you were out of bed and dressed, though to be honest, you had just slept in your yoga pants last night, so all you really needed to do was put on your nursing bra and a shirt that didn’t smell like sour milk. (Note to self: your laundry really needs to be done.) Given Lyla’s early rise, you had plenty of time to consume your caffeine needs before Emerson woke. If there’s one thing you did right it was to teach that child how to sleep in. Of course being a stay-at-home mom means you don’t have to get him up and dressed and out the door before the sun even rises. Instead, he can sleep until 9:00 a.m., which is especially great when it comes to the weekends. Now to get the little miss on that same schedule.

You knew his transition into the day wasn’t going to be a smooth one when the first sounds you heard out of him were crying instead of reciting books to himself in his bed, while he waited for you. Of course Lyla had just fallen asleep for her morning nap, so you tip toed as quickly as possible to his room to see what was going on.

“Bluey’s cape won’t go flat!” he said through tears and a pouting lip.

Tell me you remember Bluey. On second thought, tell me Emerson still has him. When his grandparents took him to Build-a-Bear for his second Christmas, nobody knew that the blue bear carcass he dug out of the bin would become his best friend. He may even be more attached to it than he is to me, as unbelievable as that sounds. I cannot imagine him ever fully separating from that stuffed bear, not even for college. Or marriage.

Of course the problem that morning wasn’t with Bluey (who could never do wrong). It was with the superhero costume he had dressed him in. Mr. Meticulous could not believe the nerve of that piece of fabric to not. Lie. Flat. That kid’s precision can be a great strength and one of his biggest downfalls. Tell me he is using it for good and not bad. Surely he’s an engineer of some sort. Or an architect. Or surgeon.

So, you did your best to not just roll your eyes. You tried to engage. You tried to speak soothingly, calmly, to help him take deep breaths and realize this situation was not the end of the world. For the most part, you talked him off the ledge. Of course cuddles helped, too. You thought you had defused the situation. You helped him get dressed (Thomas the Train shirt, of course) and to the bathroom. You thought you were in the clear when you got into the kitchen. You thought his mood had shifted. You thought his sister slept through the entire episode.

And then the banana happened.

Dear Jo: The Banana Incident

He wanted his typical breakfast of a banana with one piece of toast. You walked to the fruit bowl. You noticed that the bananas were getting low. You looked for the right one (no bruising, has a sticker). Then you noticed it. The bananas were free from bruises. And stickers. You thought back to yesterday. You distinctly remembered taking the sticker off your leg after Emerson had routinely placed it on your thigh after removing it from the banana. You remembered putting it on a banana for the next day. You knew the repercussions of a sticker-less banana and you did not want to suffer the consequences, so you had saved it to be reused. But it was gone.

Then you thought about Paul that morning. He had overslept. He hadn’t had time to eat breakfast. On the way out the door, he grabbed a banana. THE banana. THE stickered banana.

You took a deep breath, wished for more coffee and then handed Emerson a naked banana, hoping Mr. Observant wouldn’t notice. He took it in his hand, turned it over and over again.

“Where’s the sticker?”

You attempted ignorance (you should know better). “Hmmm?”

“The sticker.”

“So, you want a piece of toast, too?”

And then it happened. The tears. The cries.

“I want a sticker!”

“I know you do, Buddy, but this banana doesn’t have one. We’ve talked about this. Not all bananas do.”

“I want a sticker!”

“Well, after breakfast we can find some stickers in the art box and you can….”

“No! A banana sticker!”

And with that, the perfectly bruise-free banana was launched across the kitchen and onto the floor. Of course he got a time out and it was about the moment when you got him settled into his chair that you heard it. One kid had just stopped crying, so the other could start up.

But the thing about kids is that the mood can quickly change. About half-an-hour later, you were folding laundry with the TV on for some company, even though it was that morning show that you can’t stand (do they really consider themselves journalists?). Lyla was under her floor gym and Emerson had been quiet since shortly after breakfast. Maybe it was thanks to post-breakfast, leveled out blood sugar levels. Or maybe it is just because he’s a kid and to him the banana incident was a lifetime ago because he ran to you with such joy.

“Look! Look!” he said as he held out a piece of paper with seven letters on it.

“Did you write this?” you asked him.

He didn’t answer with words. He nodded his head and smiled.

In the early days, milestones happen quickly and consecutively. Babies learn to hold up their heads, sit, crawl and talk. But after the walking happens, the noticeable accomplishments become fewer and farther between. But there he stood, with another accomplishment under his belt—one you didn’t even realize he was capable of.

“You wrote your name all by yourself?”

“Yep.”

So you gave him a high five and you put aside the laundry to help him find a place on the refrigerator to hang the picture. It was right next to the place on the wall where he had flung his banana earlier that morning. Sometimes those quick mood changes are enough to make you wonder if you’re bipolar. But other times they are exactly what you need.

MChurchHeadCrop10_10“Dear Jo: A Diary of a Modern Mom” is a serial fiction story written by Meagan Church. Stay tuned for the next diary entry of one mom’s attempt to chronicle what she has been told are the days she shouldn’t forget…spit-up, tantrums, milestones and all. Be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss a single installment:


 


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{Photo credit: ©pfpgroup – Fotolia.com.}

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