Friday, August 19, 2011


This may come as a surprise to you, but there are days when I think motherhood is anything but a walk in the park.  In fact, on many occasions I find myself fantasizing about sending Mackenzie off to boarding school.  
I kid, of course.  
Boarding school would mean that she'd have to come back at some point.  
OK, OK.  
In all seriousness, I love my daughter to death and have a hard time spending a measly few hours away from her.  But if you've been following this blog you won't be shocked to learn that there are times when I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown and -- despite my undying and unconditional love for Mackenzie -- I sometimes wonder why I ever chose to take on the most challenging job in the world.  
But these are the moments in which Mackenzie pulls me back from the brink.  
Here's how she does it... 

* the cute factor: 
Mackenzie does certain things that make my blood boil.  And nine times out of ten I'm convinced that she knowingly does these things just to push my buttons.  She drops random items behind the changing table while I'm dressing her.  If I'm in the bedroom folding laundry she'll sneak into the bathroom and pull enough toilet paper off the roll to wrap a mummy.  And if that kid throws one more morsel of food off her high chair I may actually run away from home.  But then she'll throw her hands in the air and shrug and say, "Uh oh!" Or start a game of peek-a-boo.  Or flash a mischievous smile that I can't help falling for.  She's smart.  She's sassy.  And she's winning, no doubt.  

* unexpected farts: 
I can be just about ready to claw my own eyes out after a long and difficult day dealing with whining, crying, and foot stomping, and Mackenzie will crawl up on top of me and let out a huge, long fart and just like that, I forget about all of the crap she's put me through and I burst into laughter. 

* dance party: 
Whether we turn on some cheesy '80s tunes or march to the beat of our own drum, there's nothing quite like an impromptu dance party in the living room.  When I hit the 4 o'clock slump and can't imagine pushing myself another four hours until Mackenzie's bed time, I challenge her to a dance off.  Watching her snap her fingers, stomp her foot like it's a backyard hoedown, and twirl until she's too dizzy to walk is just the pick me up I need to keep trucking along.  

* nose picking: 
Utterly gross and disgusting, yes.  A nasty habit we're trying to stop, yes.  But it's freakin' hilarious to watch a 14-month-old waddle around the house and stop just for the sake of shoving her finger up her nose.  HI-larious.  

* unintentional charm: 
Sometimes I can have one of those moments where I feel I have no steam left, my patience has run dry, and my ego has been bruised beyond what's humanly possible.  Like tonight, when Mackenzie had a major meltdown in the bathtub.  I thought I was going to melt down right there along side of her.  Thirty minutes later though, she had me in stitches.  As it turns out, "GEEEE!" means "cheese" in her world, and the fact that she kept repeating "GEEEE!" when her Fisher-Price camera told her to "smile" and say "cheese" had Doug and I rolling with laughter.  

* fun with phonics: 
Trying to teach a toddler how to speak can be as stimulating as watching paint dry.  You begin to wonder if she'll ever say anything remotely recognizable.  And then, all of a sudden, you can't shut her up.  And it's incredibly annoying rewarding.  
Like when Mackenzie fights me to the death in an attempt to prevent me from changing her, then points to the Diaper Genie, holds her nose, and declares, "P-U!" Or when she wakes up screaming from her nap and then says, "Bye bye" to the crib as I pick her up.  Then there are the times when she's so adamant about having something that I inevitably give in (tsk-tsk) because I'm too damn tired to fight her anymore.  "Say, 'thank you' Mackenzie."  And she says, "tay hooo" and my heart just melts into a pile of mush.  

* maternal instinct: 
I've heard it starts young.  But I never imagined it could begin this early.  Mackenzie has suddenly taken a liking to dolls.  And boy, does she want to care for them.  We're actually trying to hook her up with a babysitting gig, she's so maternal (Hey - those diapers aren't going to pay for themselves.)
While I go absolutely crazy running in circles trying to get Mackenzie to finish her milk before bed, it cracks me up to watch her give "baby" a bottle; she even moves her mouth to make a sucking sound.  Priceless! 

* fashion obsession: 
While I'm ready to throw myself out the window whenever I do laundry around Mackenzie, I have to say that watching her play with clothes and accessories is just about the most entertaining thing I can do.  She likes to wear my thongs around her neck, put Doug's boxers on her head, and wear t-shirts as capes. And because she loves to say the word "hat" she will repeat it over and over until you actually put one on her head.  She prefers to wear them sideways or backwards, so we think she has a future as a rapper.  

* indecent exposure: 
So... Mackenzie doesn't quite get the whole privacy thing yet.  Especially when it comes to private parts.  She's extremely comfortable with herself (no body image issues here).  So it's hard to teach her that she can't sit spread eagle in her stroller or lift her shirt and play with her belly in the middle of the playground.  It's even more difficult to explain why she doesn't need to play doctor every time her mother steps out of the shower.  I try to reason with her, I really do.  But after a hurried shower that's anything but relaxing (toddler banging on the glass door, bloody knee from shaving, and stinging eyes from shampoo residue) it's actually quite comical to watch Mackenzie giggle while she's poking and prodding me.  

* random acts of kindness:  
I never knew just how amazing it would feel to have my daughter walk over and kiss me for no apparent reason.  How grateful I'd be when she hugged my leg while I chopped onions at the kitchen counter.  How comforting it would be when she touched my face and gazed into my eyes.  Or how heart-warming it would be to watch her blow kisses as Doug whisked her off to bed tonight.  I took a deep breathe, choked back a few sentimental tears, and told myself... These are the moments worth living for...

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