Sunday, November 11, 2012

V is for Victory

I cannot begin to address the lapse in time since the last installment of Annabelle's Chickens.  All I will say is that I have a toddler.  A toddler who knows exactly when I try to take 5 minutes to do something all by myself. 

Additionally the weather has gotten a bit chilly and therefore our time interacting with the chickens is limited to egg collection and occasional snacks.  Our hen and rooster population has decreased since my last post, due to Bryan preparing for hibernation (or possibly the Apocalypse I can't be sure) and sadly due to vehicular chickenslaughter which continues to occur and never ceases to be sad.  I am sure some of you reading are clucking your tongues at our continued irresponsibility and for that I have no response other than despite the danger the chickens continue to cross the road, don't ask my why.

I'm hoping Annabelle will be old enough for chicken chores soon as the brunt of the work has fallen on Bryan to perform.   Since the weather is unpleasant I no longer enjoy my little jaunt to feed the chickens and collect the eggs. Now it seems like work.  And quite honestly, I fear it is not safe for me either.

 A few weeks ago I needed to send some eggs with my mother and amazingly we were out so I had to go collect eggs during the day. As it turns out we have a few very broody hens. Bryan cautioned me about this and assured me that all I had to do was make a fist and reach my fist under the hen and it would be fine.  I do not know what Bryan's definition of "fine" is exactly, but I can now say with complete certainty that it is different than mine.  As I approached the nesting box, the hen started growling (yes, growling) and stared at me out from the side of her head with one eye, and all that was going through my mind at that moment was Quint.  "Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'."  Those eggs were not collected that day my friends.  Eggs I can get at the store, fingers are hard to come by.

So with the turn of the weather we must briefly shift our focus from the chickens, to their caretaker, Annabelle.  Annabelle is almost 14 months old and all I can say about this is... I am tired. Please send help.  I am a prisoner in my home.  Everything is locked!  My stairs are gated, items from bookshelves were removed months ago,  cabinets all locked, any items on surfaces must be pushed toward the center of said surface (in fact at the exact moment I typed that a very small hand found its way to the scissors I carelessly left on the edge of the counter- HEY. Don't judge. We're all learning and growing here), and essentially everything I own must be suspended from the ceiling.

So you're probably reading this wondering where all of the darling pictures of one-year old Annabelle are.  You're probably thinking that she most be so sweet, toddling around the house.  And here's your answer.  All the pictures we take of Annabelle now look like this:
So life with 13 month old Annabelle is a little different than life with baby Annabelle. I know in previous posts I have spoken of rejoicing in small victories.  This is still very much the case.  Yesterday I took great pride in Annabelle's pigtails.  Annabelle often comes home from daycare looking adorable in pigtails.  Annabelle does not let me fix her hair. She lets her teachers at daycare do it, but not me. And usually while in my care she immediately destroys any sort of hair style.  So I was very optimistic about our weekend plans when I was able to get her hair in almost perfect pigtails. 

But more often than not,  victories are rare and I am no reduced to the parental jackassery I have for years sworn I would never engage in.  In fact just yesterday I found myself in Kohl's department store having an out of body experience.  I was floating high above the racks of the Vera Wang collection and all the early-morning customers watching a mother saying "Sit down on your bottom please" to a toddler  who was standing backwards on the edge of a stroller with one pudgy foot missing a sock and shoe.  This toddler was yelling and wielding a metal travel cup as weapon.  I thought "Jeez.  Nice parenting." And then it occurred to me: Crap. This is my toddler beating me up with a travel cup and refusing to "sit nice" or "be a good girl who listens."  And I had to just continue to walk through the store acting as though I had the situation under control, which I obviously did not.

I think what was more upsetting about this scenario was the poor innocent people who were trying to help.  Every single person in that store was kind enough to stop me and tell me that my daughter had lost her sock and shoe.  At first I smiled apologetically and responded wittily with things like "yes, and I lost my mind!" and politely with "oh thank you so much, I have them in purse. Thanks goodness I saw it hit the floor" But by the time I reached the checkout counter my responses turned into angry missiles fired rapidly at civilians just trying to lend a hand "Yeah. I know! I got it!"  These people were just trying to be kind and helpful. So why did it infuriate me?

Perhaps it was all this jackassery that further helped me decided I have lived in the country for almost a year now, it was time to find a church.   I had wanted to find a church sooner, and admittedly it would have been much easier to take baby Annabelle as opposed to toddler Annabelle.  I found a church that I wanted to go to and have been discussing it for some time.  I am just terrified of taking Annabelle to church...alone.  So I sought out advice from the place people get advice anymore: Facebook.  And most people offered very good advice, sit near the back, bring snacks, bribes, crayons, books, etc.

I suppose what perplexed me was that no one seemed to acknowledge that toddlers don't sit. And the last time I let Annabelle color, she ate thr crayons.  Is this problem is exclusive to me?  I don't really know. My toddler doesn't sit. There is very little I can do to make her sit, short of duct taping her, or worse, giving her a bottle. Both acts would result in judgement.  I don't know why but there is very little that will captivate Annabelle anymore, except our dogs and cats.  So unless I could figure out a way to pass Bernie and Milton off as service dogs, I had no plan.

Shaky and sweaty, Annabelle and I made our way to church.  Armed with 3 favorite books, 1 brand new touch and feel book, a sippy cup of water, apple flavored puffs, grapes and cheese we politely asked the greeter if there was a nursery.  We checked it out and introduced ourselves to the brave souls manning the nursery and stated "Well, we hopefully won't be back down here.   We're going let Annabelle give church a try." I swear one of those adult rolled their eyes.  But I am a cynic and these people are christians so I'm sure it was my imagination.
17 minutes.  Annabelle made it through exactly 17 minutes of church. She was absolutely amazed by people speaking into a microphone, she smiled and squealed with delight when we said "Peace be with you" and shook hands with our neighbors.  And then she sat sweetly on my lap eating grapes and cheese.  And then we ran out of grapes and cheese. Annabelle started to squirm so being the awesome parent I am I let her stand on the pew.  While standing on the pew with my hands gripping her ankles, Annabelle did a back bend and yanked on the hair of the woman in front of us.

It is very hard to to lift your heart up to the Lord with this going on.

So about the time Annabelle began to physically assault those around us, I decided that it was time to head for the nursery.  So once again, I floated high above the church watching a mother hissing at a yelling toddler which she carried out of the sanctuary by one leg.

Believe it or not, I have tallied this church experience in the victory column.

So I have to try and control my fury when innocent people at the store tell me that my daughter as lost a shoe and sock.  Furthermore I have to not be humiliated in when Annabelle doesn't sit perfectly silent and motionless during church.  I am sure all the mothers I know will agree, I have come to the conclusion that fury and humiliation seem to go hand in hand with accepting the fact that you have lost control of your home, you no longer pretend to style your hair, and you act like a jackass at all times because you are the parent of a toddler.  And each day you think, well it cannot get any worse than this.  And then you look in the rear view mirror and see your toddler remove one of her pigtails, and eat the rubber band.

I would like to say a special thank you to all the heroic veterans who have served our country, espically my dad.