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Attacked By Nature

My first mistake was signing Alexis up for something that requires driving halfway across town at 8:00 in the morning. I know that's not that early, but I have a Mila now. Mila doesn't do 8:00 in the morning.

I feel for Little Miss Mornings Are Stupid, so I let her sleep until we're walking out the door. A quick diaper change and she's in her car seat, pajamas and all. It's up to her whether she wants to fall back asleep or not, and that's where my second mistake comes in. I just met the kid seven weeks ago, but I already know she unleashes a special brand of horror every day shortly after waking.

I can sit in a conference room and have Oracle developers explain complicated customizations to me then translate that to plain English for end users in my sleep, but I can't figure out how to contain the special brand of horror that is Mila's first poop of the day. There's some sort of weird trajectory thing that happens if she's in a car seat. It causes the diaper to completely miss out on the action.

Poop. On the car seat. Every. Single. Morning.

THAT is why I shouldn't try to be anywhere early in the day.

Another good reason is that I might make my third mistake. My third mistake involved seeing a sign that said "Trail Head" and thinking "a walk would be a good way to pass an hour." After dropping Alexis off, I pulled into the Trail Head parking lot. I discovered and cleaned up the Pooptastic Horror then wrapped a clean Mila up in the mei tai.

There were multiple trails to choose from, so Mila and I started to the left. We quickly retreated, however, when we ran into a pack of kids. I like kids just fine, but when they're traveling in packs, I run away. We headed in a new direction and I thought to myself, "this is a nice trail."


That's a funny word.

Given that I was in the middle of the sort of neighborhood where people consider shopping at Gap instead of J Crew to be "roughing it," I was surprised the trail was as rustic as it was. I mean, gravel! Not pavement! And it was only about three feet wide! It was practically a scene out of a Lewis and Clark adventure it was so rough and tumble.

I like trails that are like that. A little challenging, but let's not get all nature-y or anything dangerous like that.

50 yards in, I had to move a branch out of my way as I walked. I thought about telling Mila about my act of bravery, but she was asleep. I congratulated myself instead and moved on.

As I moved forward, things started to get a little ... woodsy. It was good, though! You couldn't even tell that I was in the middle of civilization! There wasn't a single soul anywhere! Go me! I thought about how great the trail would be for a photo shoot and trudged on, occasionally stomping on an overgrown plant that was trying to block the trail.

As I walked, the overgrown plants became more common. And more common. And more common. Without realizing what was happening, I suddenly found myself drowning in nature. DROWNING.


It couldn't possibly be overgrown for long, though, so I trudged forward. I climbed over a log (go me!), pushed aside a branch, and shuffled through some plants. All the while, I expected the trail to fully reappear in all of its domesticated glory.

Instead, it disappeared. It shrunk to just a few inches of mud surrounded by woods and wildlife and nature. SO MUCH NATURE.

You know what nature has? Spiders. Tons of them.

Every 20 feet or so, I found myself furiously brushing spider webs off myself and Mila. Then I found myself brushing a mother trucking spider off Mila's head and OMG I DIDN'T SCREAM THEN BUT I MIGHT NOW.

The clearly ungrateful child didn't even thank me for saving her life. She just kept sleeping, completely ignorant to the danger.

I considered my options. I could turn back, but the alleged trail was a loop, so I HAD to be close to returning to the beginning. I could just stand there and give up on life, but Mila. She has her entire life in front of her. I could text a friend and ask if it would be appropriate to call 911.

I texted the friend. She gave me the courage I needed to persevere.

As I trudged forward, it suddenly dawned on me that my car key was in my pocket. I hadn't been checking to make sure it was still there and OMG I SAW THAT MOVIE. It wasn't until the idiot woman doubled back to find her key that the man-sized spider ate her!

Fortunately, my key was still in my pocket. I clutched it tightly as I returned to trudging.



I kept knocking webs down with leaves and little sticks because once you've walked face-first into a spider web, you're done. DONE, I TELL YOU.

Except that I walked face-first into another one, spider and all.

Mila learned a new word in that moment. I mean, she was still asleep, but I know she heard it because I yelled it louder than I've ever yelled anything. The baffling thing is that the rest of the spiders didn't run away scared. Instead, they kept looming over the alleged trail, laughing at me as I struggled to find civilization.

An eternity later (or maybe it was 29 minutes and 57 seconds from the time I started the walk-- I can't be sure since it wasn't like I definitely knew exactly how long it had been), the trail opened back up and became acceptable again. I nearly broke into a run when I finally saw my car because baby wipes! I had a GIANT package of baby wipes in my car!

It took longer to wipe the nature off of me than it did to put it on. During that time, I thought about my mistake.

I will never again put myself in a position where nature can attack me like that. Mark my words.


Everybody's an Expert

If there is one thing that must be done when the Big Kid is busy at a friend's house, it's shop.

Listen, I love shopping with the kid. She is a fantastic little person to spend time with always, but definitely when it comes to walking through the mall. It warms my bargain hunter heart to watch her learn how to navigate the racks to find the best deals. In fact, she recently reached the stage where she has learned to check the price before deciding if she likes something. "This dress is cute, but it's not $50 cute," she'll say before moving to another rack.


I get really tired of saying the word "no." Alexis is in a phase where she throws all of the darts at the board and hopes one will stick. I know she doesn't want that shirt and is only asking so that when she asks for the next thing, I might be more likely to go with it. It's ... exhausting.

With Alexis happily occupied, I grabbed Mila and ran to the Outlets. Mila doesn't ask for much in life. Thus, she's currently a really outstanding shopping partner.


On this particular outing, I had a mission. I am at that awkward post-baby phase where stuff doesn't fit but I don't want to spend money on clothes that won't fit for long. Sadly, I can't go out in public naked. I need to find a few super bargains to get by. I figured I might get lucky at the Gap Outlet since clearance was an additional 40% off this past weekend.

I dashed into the store and began hunting. A pair of capris for $8? Workable. A dress for $12? Sure. How about a pair of $12 shorts and maybe some $18 jeans? OK!

But I needed to try the things on. I truly have no idea what size anything is right now. As luck would have it, Mila was due to eat at about that time, so I set up the fitting room cafe and then prepared to try on some clothes.

But Mila was mad.

Her belly was full. Her diaper was clean. The only other reason she fusses is when she's mad that she's awake. There's not much I can do about that. She has to stop being mad, close her eyes, and everybody is happy. The key there is that SHE has to stop being mad. SHE. She holds the power. Nothing anyone does can make her snap out of her angry spell, so I've learned to just roll with it on the rare days that it happens. She's safe. Nothing is bleeding. After 5-10 minutes, she'll go to take a deep breath and forget why she was screaming. While she tries to remember, she'll fall asleep. The problems solve themselves.

With all of this in mind, I went ahead and started trying clothes on with a screaming Mila safely tucked in her stroller. I paused every minute or so to offer her a pacifier and all of that, but each attempt at assisting with the problem solving was met with more anger.


I could have given up and just left, but ... no. I drove an hour to get to that store and I was determined to at least try to find something wearable.

Mila was fine. Just screamy.

A few minutes later, I had a couple of successes and a couple of failures. I put the failures back on a rack. All the while, Mila sat in my arms expressing her anger at the world for making her have her eyes open. In my arms, in the stroller, it didn't matter. SHE WAS AWAKE WHYYYYYYY OH WHYYYYYYYY.

Whatever. Babies cry.



Apparently not everyone has been a part of this rodeo before and realizes that sometimes babies need to figure things out for themselves. I noticed the employee staring at the spectacle that was Awake Mila and Her Crazy Caravan as soon as we walked out of the fitting room. She hadn't stopped staring. In fact, she was following us around the store to stare.


But, whatever.

I said "hi" and smiled as I walked toward the register.

Mila continued to grump.

There was no line, so I quickly paid and walked towards the door.

Mila continued to grump.

The Staring Staffer walked over. "You should really do something about that," she said.

"Have a nice day," I said as I walked out the door.

I took five steps, Mila inhaled, and then fell asleep before she could exhale.

Of course.


Don't Want to Miss a Thing

Part of Mission Keep Alexis from Realizing this is the Most Boring Summer Ever has been setting her up for fun with friends. It's hard to be bored when surrounded by your besties. That has led to multiple sleepovers.

Multiple in one weekend, even.

Anybody want to tell her how crazy fortunate she is? She doesn't believe me. Instead, I hear "Can I sleep over again?" It's as if the kid prefers to sleep anywhere but at home. If she must sleep at home, she wants company. (Least shocking fact ever? Least shocking fact ever.)

I remember being the same way. The difference is that I never wanted to sleep at my house, not even if there were friends joining me.

The other difference is that I never worried about what I might have missed. I knew the answer was "nothing" so I didn't bother to ask. Alexis, on the other hand, thinks about these things.

This past weekend was the beginning of cheer season, which meant that Alexis had to report for yelling and clapping at ARE YOU KIDDING ME o'clock. I'm not the only one who isn't a fan of delivering a kid somewhere early on a weekend, so a friend's mom and I made a deal. She took one night/morning, we took the other. Two sleepovers in two nights.

Through it all, Alexis ended up at her friend's house for a whole 24 hours. Not that long ago, that would have left her needy and whiney and all up in my business, but she's older and more mature these days. She didn't even call me.

Which, the hell? Who told the kid she was allowed to grow up enough to not need me for an entire day? BLURGH.

At the conclusion of the 24 hours, I expected a chatty, excited Alexis to be all sorts of interested in everything I was doing. I figured she would be attached to my hip and ready for all kinds of attention.

I was wrong.

Instead, she was all up in Mila's business. She kissed the Tiny Human on the top of the head, chatted to her for several minutes, and generally smothered her with love. Then, Alexis turned to me with a worried look on her face.

"Mom, did she laugh yet?" she asked.

"Nope," I replied. "Not yet." I had explained to Alexis that Mila's first laugh might be weeks away, but it could happen any time now. There's no predicting it.

Alexis' face lit up as she retorted, "Good. I don't want to miss anything she does."

I totally and completely agree.