“Anyone who says that sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.”
I spend most of my days teaching my daughter stuff. Important stuff like words, numbers, colors, how to read, how to poopoo in the potty, and how to say “Cheerio mate!” with a British accent. But as much as I teach her, I swear that she teaches me more. Yesterday’s lesson: How to Make Your Day Kick Ass!
You know those nights when you come home after a long, tiring day and just want to flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into your face hole and stare blankly at the TV? Or perhaps you have been home with your kids for an equally long, tiring day and you just want to flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into your face hole and stare blankly at the TV. But instead of some well-deserved couch time you get to do the Evening Scramble because there is dinner to be made, baths to be given, and finicky husbands – I mean children – to feed. You know those nights? Well, that was where I was last night.
It was a Monday, and a Monday after a vacation, at that. My husband had just gotten home from work, tired and hungry. I was scrambling to clean up the aftermath of the natural disaster that is my daughter’s dinner (can I get some FEMA up in here?) while simultaneously making a fabulous dinner – ok a dinner – for my husband and I. My daughter was running around, begging for attention. So, to distract her for the 2.4 minutes I needed to finish cleaning up, I turned on some music. It was Foster The People Pandora if you must know (I’ve had it up to HERE with Elmo singing! Maybe the next Elmo could have a less annoying voice, huh? And perhaps not be a pedophile. ALLEGEDLY**) Anyway, I cranked up the tunes and got back to the Evening Scramble.
A few minutes later I turned around to check on my daughter, and saw that she was dancing. Beautifully, maniacally, joyfully, hand-clappingly, booty-shakingly dancing with all her might. If you have never seen a one-year-old dance, there is truly nothing better in the world. Usually I don’t make a habit of posting many photos or videos of my daughter, because I feel like she deserves some semblance of privacy. Although, for some reason it doesn’t bother me to share her every word, action and fart with the world, but hey, it’s my blog and I will share if I want to. Anyway, I don’t usually share videos, but this video of her dancing is pure happiness, so I feel like it is my duty to share it with the world. Check it out on my Facebook page (and like my page while you are there!) If you can watch this video and not smile, then you are dead inside. Pack your shit and go try out for The Real Housewives.
So last night my daughter was dancing in her amazing way, and as my husband and I stood watching her, she ran over and grabbed our hands and pulled us to the dance floor (aka living room). Yes, the kitchen was still a mess and the dinner was beginning to burn, but when a kid commands you to shake your ass, your ass gets shaken. So we danced. And then we danced some more. At first, I was trying to teach my daughter some dance moves, but she looked at me like I was crazy and kept doing her thing. So instead I let her teach me. I copied HER moves, and man was it fun! And now, in yet another act of kindness, I will teach you.
Step One: Put on some booty-shaking music. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as gets your booty bouncing.
Step Two: Turn it up!
Step Three: Turn it up more!
Step Four: Turn it down already! Do you want to make your child deaf?! What kind of parent are you anyway?
Step Five: Close your eyes. Start to move your body. No one is watching you. No one cares if you are on-beat, in-time, or cool at all. Freeing right?
Step Six: Now that no one is watching you, just relax and let your body take you where it wants to go. Clap your hands, jump up and down, kick your legs, twirl around until you fall down, laugh until you cry.
Step Six: Repeat until your heart is beating out of your chest or the fire alarm goes off… whichever comes first.
We all danced like that for another 20 minutes or so, until it was time to get back to the business of life. You always have to get back to business eventually, that is the way that life works. But when I got back to making my (slightly charred) dinner, I was doing it with a smile on my face and my ass still twitching to the beat. I felt more energized and much happier than if I had flopped down on the couch as I had wanted to. It was a great way to end the day, and I am going to try it as often as possible. And then, when I am done dancing and my heart is doing the samba and my stomach aches from laughter, only then I will flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into my face hole and stare blankly at the TV.
**Don’t sue me Elmo!!
Happiness is… my daughter waking up and immediately wanting to start a dance party. 7 am might be a bit early for dancing in your house, but not in mine! After a couple of nights of my own insomnia and a few rough nights for my teething daughter (including this mornings 4 am original wake-up call) I was dragging ass this am, sure that it was going to be a rough day. But my daughter’s sweet smile and booty shaking to “Call Me Maybe” (her choice, but how could I argue?) turned the whole day around for me. Now I am in a great mood and in turn having a great day.
Lesson: Start your day with a smile and a little bump n’ grind, and never have a bad day again.
This coming week marks a few VERY special occasions:
1) My daughter turns 1 on the 17th. (Holy Shit)
2) America’s Best Dance Crew is back on MTV (Randy Jackson. Mediocre Dancing. Music I am too old for. What’s not to love?)
3) One of my best friends is getting married. Sure, that’s a momentous occasion (yay marriage.) but the real occasion is that my husband and I are going away together. Alone. For the First Time. (simultaneous “Gulp!” and “Yay!”)
While the biggest occasion (besides the return of ABC, obvi) is my daughter’s first birthday, I am still in denial of the fact that my baby is no longer a baby, so I am going to ignore this for at least another week until I am forced to deal with this because 60 people, including both sets of Grandparents, will be at my house to celebrate said occasion. But for now, denial all the way. So, what I am going to talk about today is our impending trip sans baby.
I have been away from my daughter for a girls weekend or two, and my husband has also been away a few times. We have left her with a baby-sitter more than a few times, and she goes to daycare twice a week. After all this, we are just now finally starting to be able to leave Lyla without tearful goodbyes, incessant crying, and guilt-ridden angst. (If only my husband could stop his weeping! Jeez!) But this weekend marks the first time that my husband and I will BOTH be away from Lyla at the same time for longer than a few hours. In fact, we will both be away from her for a whole weekend. Cue the guilt, weeping and angst (of my husband of course).
While I am beyond excited at the thought of an adults-only weekend and some quality couple time with my husband (which I truly think is important) I am having a tough time getting over my fears at the thought of leaving my daughter. My wonderful parents have
been tricked agreed to come to LA to stay with Lyla while we are away, so I know she will be in good hands. Hell, my parents raised me and I still have all my limbs and teeth and most of my dignity and self-respect. My mom, while not of the typical pie-baking, holiday-sweater-wearing, round-cuddly-bosomed variety of grandmother, couldn’t be sweeter with her, and Lyla adores her loud laugh and funny dances. My dad has the patience of a Buddhist monk on Valium – an important trait to have when dealing with a one-year-old, but one that he unfortunately did not pass down to me. No, when it comes to leaving my baby, it is not my parents that I am worried about… it’s my parents’ daughter.
If you have ever met me, have ever read my blog, or have even made it this far into this particular post… you may have started to suspect that I am a worrier. I make no claims to the contrary. In fact, I wear my particular brand of crazy like a badge of honor (Well, at least THIS particular brand of crazy. There are a lot of crazy things that I keep secret… like the fact that I keep a small pair of scissors next to my computer so I can trim individual split ends while writing. What?) So that being said, I am going to go ahead and put my fears about leaving my daughter out there for the world to see. Deep breath…
– I am afraid that my daughter will miss me and my husband, and cry for us the whole time until we come back, thus driving my parents to thoughts of suicide… or worse… to thoughts of never wanting to babysit her again.
– I am afraid that my daughter will not miss me and my husband and not cry for us at all.
– I am afraid that I will miss her and worry so much that I can’t even enjoy the weekend away.
– I am afraid that I will not miss her and not worry, but instead have so much fun that I don’t want to come home.
– I am slightly worried that she will choke on a piece of food; eat something poisonous; get sunburned; eat a coin that has fallen on the floor and choke; slam her fingers in the door; open up the baby-proofed toilet and drown; open up the baby-proofed cabinets and drink dishwasher detergent; pull down a glass of hot coffee onto herself; fall down and poke her eye out on the corner of something sharp; fall down on something sharp and disfigure herself; somehow eat a peanut and have a severe allergic reaction; get hit by a drunk driver that has driven his car through our front window, while she plays innocently in front of it.
– I am also a little bit worried that my parents will drink all my good wine. (Just kidding Mom and Dad, you are welcome to all the wine you want. ) (Except for the really good stuff hidden
in the cabinet… I mean, hidden somewhere you will never find.)
I have spent the past few days and, frankly, the past year worrying about these things, as well as stressing about packing, cleaning, preparing copious notes for my parents etc. Then last night, in the middle of my stress, my daughter once again proved why she is the parent and I am the one-year-old. As I was racing around the house like a bat out of hell with its head cut off (have you ever seen one of those? They’re crazy) my daughter was watching a dvd of nursery rhymes. She looked so cute dancing there by herself, with her fat little diapered butt going up and down and her chubby starfish hands waving, that I had to stop what I was doing and pick her up to dance with her. Then she laid her head on my chest and we swayed together for a bit. Getting tired but not wanting to break the spell (my crazy little toddler rarely sits still for longer that 2.2 seconds, let alone lets me snuggle her for that long) I laid down on the couch with her still on the my chest. We watched the dvd together… well she watched the dvd and I watched her. But the best part was that every few minutes she would look up at me and smile, like she too realized how special this moment was. Like she understood that I was going away for a few days and she wanted to spend this extra bit of time with me too. As I sat there stroking her head, I realized that just as I had to take the time to live in this moment with my daughter, I had to do the same this weekend without her. Life goes by so fast that we have to enjoy every second of it.
So, as I spend the day preparing to leave for the weekend and readying to leave my baby, I am trying not to worry and not to stress. I am going to enjoy the weekend alone with my husband, and let my parents enjoy the weekend alone with Lyla… and possibly alone with my good wine.