hollow leg.

seriously? last week i was force-feeding you spaghetti. (which...as we all learned, that didn't go so well) you refused every bit of sustenance that i would all but inject into your throat....

and this week? well, specifically today....you have eaten:

a pancake.
a pouch of apple sauce.
another pouch of apple sauce.
a chicken biscuit.
a pack of gummy bears.
a cracker.
a cookie.
a pack of cinnamon graham crackers.
and chicken nuggets.

it's 11:00 in the morning. youve been up since 9.




the bill:

we had a very frustrating weekend, you and i. and your daddy, too.
friday night two things happened that were key to this story:

1. your daddy bought a new truck.
2. i fed you spaghetti.

those things aren't related in the way that you would probably immediately visualize. no. you didn't throw-up spaghetti in daddy's new truck. that would have been far less agonizing and waaaay less costly. you and i aren't the types to do things the easy way. or be cheap, either. we are NOT cheap girls.

lately, getting you to eat has been one of the most grueling, intensely frustrating, and altogether hateful parts of my day. 3 times daily. i get so mad at you when you politely shove my hand away as i try to fork over some food. i mean. it's not rude at all the way you do it. it's rather sweet. "iiiiiiim through!" you proclaim with a little shove.

no. you have haven't had one bite. you are NOT through.

the only thing you want in your body is milk. and though infants can live on milk alone...toddlers can't. and i know this. and honestly? i don't really care if you starve. it's not MY tummy growling. or MY low energy. or MY malnutrition. but? it IS me that is being scrutinized by your doctor...and your mimi.

and i don't like that kind of judgement on me. it's not fair for you to refuse ALL the food and then i have to be the one to suffer for it. and so? this is the whole of my frustration: i don't want the judgement.
i typically end up giving you an ultimatum. do you want to go to bed? or do you want to eat your food? your choice.
and darnitall if you don't always choose bed.
but while you sit in your crib crying, i fester in my resentment towards your little stubborn eating preferences. at which point i always turn the battle inward onto myself: since i've put her to bed and she is straight up SQUALLING in there...do i give her milk so she doesn't die from hysterics? or do i just sit here, with both of us crying uncontrollably? it's all really rather ridiculous, jovie. if you would just EAT SOMETHING then all of this pain and suffering would be spared.

[i am SO GLAD that i am able to get onto you for this when you actually read this and are able to understand. and i fully expect you to either call me or come to me or text or email a giant "i'm sorry i was a brat, momma".]

but until then, i will battle you with your dinner.

on friday night while your father was out buying a truck - becoming a MAYN. a truck-driving, junk-hauling, errand-running, meat-eating MAYN - i was holding out the forkfuls of pasta begging you to take a bite as you bawled. those little tears in your eyes and that "momma? WHY????" look on your face - ugh - so irritating.

you opened your mouth to take a breath to rev up the crying and i shoved the fork in. i then waited in breathless anticipation. will she spit it out? will she swallow it?

oh my god you sneezed. ew. gross.

that was NOT the desired effect. spaghetti was all over the place and you pulled a big chunk out of your mouth that (i thought) came from halfway down your throat. so fine. you win this one. just because that was gross. and, if i'm being honest? slightly tragic.
so milk and snuggles it is. let's just go to bed and work this out tomorrow.

speaking of tomorrow....

the next day was a busy day filled with a friend's birthday party and your dad was using his truck to do manly things. you know. going back and forth to lowe's 800 times to get things to do man-projects around the house. he was so proud of his truck. he even was more than happy to take the two of us to Ikea to buy large items that we don't need just so he could use his truck to haul them. RAWR.

and thats where things went south.

after we purchased a few large items at the store, he took you and all the diaper bags and purses and such to the car and i waited with the large furniture bits at the loading dock for you guys to come with the truck. and i waited. and waited. and...then?

i see him running towards me. no truck. no jovie.

"where is jovie?"
"in the car. where is your phone? oh god it's in your bag. in the truck"
"why is she in the car and not with you?"

before he could answer, he was running into the store.
i'm a smart girl, jovie. i was able to use context clues to figure out that he had managed to lock you in the truck. which was kinda funny until i realized (milliseconds later) that you were probably in there with the ignition off. in the shade it was 110 degrees out. so that means in the car it is roughly 130 degrees which means you are slow-roasting in a truck that i don't have a spare key to.


immediately, my head was flooded with thoughts of the nightly news and yahoo new stories of children left in cars in the heat and dying within an hour. and child protective services coming and taking you away. and going to jail for child endangerment. then more gruesome visuals like my dog Hummer that was hit by a car, and how i would ever be able to even talk to your dad again after he kills you. and....it got ugly in that 10 second period that all of those thoughts crashed onto me.

and i saw out of the corner of my eye as i was frozen there in the loading dock..your father running back to the car. do i go? do i stay? do i leave this huge cart of junk that we don't need? do i take it with me? there's a rock!!!! bust the window! of the new car? YES THE CAR! who cares about the car?! this is your daughter! man. a locksmith will be expensive and they take forever to get where you need them to be, but a window is expensive-er and messy. and shatters of glass in jovie's eyes and mouth and....

before i knew it was was running with a dolly of furnishings being pushed with one hand and a giant landscaping stone in the other. ikea workers were yelling at me because i ran off with the stolen stone...i didn't even pay them any attention. this is my daughter!

so your dad punched the window with the rock. and nothing happened. not even a scratch. the truck moved. you laughed inside the car. but the window was perfectly intact. so he punched it again. and again. and again. at this time, we had drawn a small crowd. people gawking at a man beating up a car with dealer tags still on it. and a woman screaming "OH MY GAWD! OH MY GAWD!" over and over on the top of her lungs. i am sure we were a silly site. i mean, at least you were laughing at us. we making all the loud noises and yelling and jumping around being silly...you probably thought "man! my parents are so silly! look at them entertaining me! dance monkies! dance!"

finally, in what seemed like 3 hours but was more like 10 minutes....the window was broken, your dad unlocked the car (cutting his hand and arm up pretty good, too) and you were a big ball of sweat in my arms. safe and sound. what a relief that was. that you were OK.

but you weren't.

as i was putting you to bed the night of the truck window smashing, i noticed you had a stuffy nose and you were having trouble breathing. i could easily see a big ol' white booger in your nose, but the nose-booger-sucker thing that we have wouldn't make that stubborn thing budge. i had your dad help hold you while i tried to suck it out, but you were out of control angry about it, which seemed a little excessive, really...it's just a booger. or was it?

you know what. that is some THING in there. a toy? a bean? your brain?
it called to memory the story your nana tells me about the time i shoved a peanut up my nose. i was about your age when i did it. so in humor, i called her to tell her that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. she didn't see it as funny and actually told me to take you to the ER.


and duh! why didn't i think of that? if it's a small toy, you could accidentally suck it back into your lungs and choke on it. or if it's a bean, it could sprout in your nose like the story your great grandma used to tell me about your great uncle Robert getting a bean stuck in his nose. he had severe infection because of this bean and when they finally were able to get it out, it had sprouted roots and was beginning to grow in his sinuses. which. i always thought that was a tall-tale, but your nana made me a believer that night when she told me to take you to the hospital.

so. we did.

it was rather awkward there. none of us were worried about it. you were happy to play on a big beg and watch cartoons and your dad and i sat in the chair by your both of us playing on our phones. we were just doing what we were told to do, and i think your dad and i both felt it a little over-the-top to take you into the emergency. but. whatever. it's only money, right?  : /

the doctor had us wrap your little body tightly in a blanket like a burrito so that you couldn't move your arms and legs. your dad held your feet in place, i held your little arms and body and the nurse held your head while the doctor used a little scissor-like tool to dig the "thing" out of your nose.

she got some of it in one try, but not all of it.
so she filled a nose-booger-sucker thing full of water and shot the water through your other nostril trying to force the rest of the "thing" out. got a little more, but not all of it.

we inspected the object that came out. ha! remember the spaghetti sneeze from friday night? yeah. i had forgotten that, too. apparently, you sneezed a chunk of noodle (about an inch long) into your sinuses and it was stuck there.


anyway. the doc had us make an appointment with the Children's Hospital ENT for the next day, where i found out that if she couldn't get it out, they would have to operate. lucky for you and my wallet she was able to fish it out while you sat in my lap your legs trapped between mine and my arms wrapped tightly around your body and a nurse holding your head still.

girl, you are strong when you are pissed off. i think you get that from me.

so. moral of the story? food is expensive. especially food that isn't eaten. if you'd just EAT YOUR STINKING FOOD, you wouldn't have to have metal things shoved up your snout. and if i'd just let you not eat, i would save a lot of money.

to date, for all the junk you have put us through in the 19 months of your life, you owe us:

-$5000 in health insurance deductibles for pregnancy and labor/delivery fees
-$5000 in health insurance deductibles for the first er visit that i never wrote about....but it was that nasty staph infection you had a few months ago. and man. THAT was a nightmare. : (
-$450 for a new window on daddy's truck
-$50 dollars for the new tinting on the window on daddy's truck
-$10000 to me for pain and suffering you cause for not eating like a normal fat baby would and getting yourself locked in a giant rotisserie.

but don't worry. i'll just garnish your allowance for the first 18 years of your life. that should just about cover those costs.


this is an intervention.

i'm writing today because i love you, and i want what's best for you.

honey, the spit baths have GOT TO STOP.

i can't, for the life of me, figure out where you picked this atrocious habit up. i've grueled over it. and ruminated in it. and trust me. i got nothin'.

your pretending to talk on the phone all the time? from me. 
your absolute DEMANDING to wear my fancy shoes? from me. ('atta girl!)
your love of running? your daddy
the throwing yourself down on the floor, weeping and gnashing your teeth? your uncle sean. (jk)
your love of water and to swim? from your grandpa.

but the spit bath? really, jovie? really?

i would say you were pretending to be a cat. but. we don't have cats. the only cats you have seen are on the tv or books, in which case, you yell "BUBBA!" and then bark like a dog. which. i get to the outside viewer, that may be a little awkward? a toddler thinking that dogs are her brothers. and i'll take the blame for that. i have called the boys "bubba" since, like, forever....so it only was natural for you to refer to them that way, too. sorry if that screws with your head a little. (we will work that out later). 

so. here's the deal. and? maybe you can help me understand the reason for this now that you are older?
it started one night after your bath and you were sitting in my sink in the bathroom "bosh"ing your teeth for the 7th time that day.  your towel had fallen off, so you were in your skinnies in my sink. i stood behind you first drying your hair, then mine.

you got bored with brushing your teeth, so i handed you one of my old cosmetic brushes for you to pretend to put make-up on with. and that's where things went south. your version of putting on blush includes pinching your lips together and spitting - LOUDLY - onto the brush's handle and then wiping it all over your body.

armpits? yes. knees? yes. face? yes. neck? yes. feet? yes....you get the picture.

it was weird, but i let you alone because you were being you and i want you to be you. 

but then.
then the spit baths moved onto spitting on your toys and then rubbing the toys all over. 
then while in the car, once you'd thrown all of your toys and bottles and shoes at me, you use your fingers. 

spit. everywhere. jovie.


all over your hands.
all over your neck.
running down your face.
soaking your shirt.
making you smell like day-breath all the time.

and it inevitably ends up on me, too, because i am always right by you. (rude!) 

so. in trying to get you to stop, i started with a simple "no ma'am". polite. didn't work.
i tried the guilt trip tactic by proclaiming that you are "making mommy sad". bah! you didn't care.
i practiced the shame approach. "BLGH! Jovie. that's YUCKY! BLGH". and....while that appeared to have done some good, your self esteem won't allow me to keep you down for long. (that's commendable)


that noise coming from the backseat sends my head spinning. i don't care how fast i'm driving, it's NEVER fast enough to keep me from giving you the DEATH STARE OF DOOM!!!! so i'll whirl my head around to give you "the look" and you hide your hands under your legs as if you were simply pondering life's great mysteries, like a good little girl.

i'm smart, monkey. i see the incriminating evidence dripping from your chin.
your innocence is lost on me, kid. i know what was going on. i know you were trying to hide your nasty habit with no intention of quitting anytime soon. O' the lies! the deception! the sneaking behind my back!!!! (literally).

shame tactic again:  "Jooohhh-viieeee!"

so i chose to watch you in my rear view mirror. so i could witness you losing your innocence. and you know what? it's not like you couldn't see me seeing you. you are on to me just as much as i am on to you. you were WATCHING me watch you. i honestly don't understand why you can't just sit in the back seat like a normal 19 month old doing...i don't know...long division or something.


you started back up again with your eyes laser beamed to mine and with a look of sheer defiance,


you sit in the back seat grooming yourself until you smell like a wet rag. and this has got to stop.

spit belongs ONLY in your mouth. not on your body. or. Heaven forbid, someone else's mouth.


and since i've been looking in the rear view mirror? i notice i have an eyebrow hair out of place so i...

oh no.
i did this to you.
heck. i did this to ME.


you got this nasty habit from me!


when Duncan and Jacob (or as we refer to them in our house; "the bubbas") show love. it's different than when a human shows love. If you aren't a dog person, their affection may come across as violent, but it's really rather sweet. they will nibble on your arm. they are both very delicate about this, but if you jerk your arm away from them, their teeth will scratch you and you might think they are being angry dogs. they aren't, though. this is their love language.

you have a different love language. you enjoy time spent together with the ones you love. it's beautiful. you want to share with us the things you are fascinated with. as though we have never seen bubbles or acorns or worms.

you see...when you bring me a book, i know you are wanting my time. but more so. you are wanting my time as a service to your entertainment needs. you can't read yet (which is totally OK. you ARE only 17 months old. it'll happen) so you want me to do it for you. it's sweet. i love books and want you to love books. but having you request a story doesn't pull at my soul the way you wanting to discover with me does.

it started in music class when the teacher was blowing bubbles for you all one day. i sat and watched you run to the bubbles and jump to catch and pop them and i loved watching you. but you didn't want me to be left out. so you ran to where i was, grabbed my thumb and pulled me to the bubbles to show me what you had found.

you do the same thing for your daddy in the backyard under the oak tree. you want him to see the acorns that you have found. and you want to show him how you can fit their hats on your fingers.

i was talking to lish about this. how it hurts my feelings so good to have you want me to enjoy things with you. her daughter does that, too, but her reaction is totally opposite. Lish loves the fact that Molly asks her to read books with her. to spend time with her.

but i want to learn and grow and just BE with you. discovering the world all over again through your eyes.