Peace out, NYC!

We’re moving this weekend and I couldn’t possibly be more excited! I’ve loved living here in NYC, I’ve met amazing people, done a ton of cool things, and had so much fun.

But I’m ready for a change. We love moving! Exploring the new town, finding favorite grocery stores, learning the local customs. It’s so fun.

Pete explains it like an extended vacation, and it totally is! I can’t imagine being stuck in one place my whole life. It just seems crazy to me when there’s a whole world to explore.

As of this weekend we’ll officially be residents of CT. I’m 90% packed, the movers are booked and the lease is signed. We’re ready to rock.

So excited!

“Are you a mommy?”

That’s what a little girl stopped me and asked. When I said, “Yes” she got teary eyed and said, “I can’t find my mommy and I think I’m lost.”

My immediate reaction was “Oh crap!” She didn’t know it, because I look like an adult to a super cute 5 year old, but I’m not really an adult adult. Like, I get by in life, I fool people into thinking I’m an adult and doing adult things but I’m just faking it. Fake it til you make it is my life motto.

I’ve found lost kids before in department stores, but that’s easy. Walk said child to the courtesy desk and they’ll page the child’s mom – if she’s not already up there herself freaking out looking for her kid.

But this is the middle of NYC, Astoria. In a shopping district on a busy street, it’s cold and rainy. What the heck do I do?!

…..

“Hi, I’m Michelle and this is my baby Aubrey. I’m going to help you find your mommy! Do you know where you saw her last?”

Nope.

“That’s ok. Did your mommy ever tell you a phone number or what you should do if you get separated?”

That’s right folks, I asked the five year old what we should do. Smooooooth.

“She told me I should find a mommy with a baby smaller than me and tell her I’m lost. She said stay right where I am and she will come find me. She will come find me, right?”

I hope so, kid. Should I call the local precinct?

“Yes!”

Uhhh. Maybe 911? The local precinct never answers.

“Lets step to the side so we can stay dry.”

311? 311 is magic. They can find lost cars! Is there a lost kid divisi…..

“Mommmmmmmmy!”

Yay, kiddos mommy! Thank you! I thought you were never coming! I thought you left forever!

….

I am pregnant. I am hormonal. But I’m pretty sure I would have cried any way. Partly because I was so relieved for this little girl, but also because I can only imagine how that mom felt.

I can see myself running down the street, looking at every passerby and vehicle with suspicion. Wondering if my little girl had been taken by one of them. If she was safe, or hurt, or scared. Beating myself up for losing the most precious thing in the world to me. Trying to figure out what to do, because I’m a mommy and I look like an adult, but what the fuck do I do?

“Thank Jesus! Baby, I’m so happy you’re ok. You’re ok, right? Of course you’re ok. Mommy’s got ya, you’re ok, I love you no love you so much.”

It was easy to hear her words in my voice. That could be me.

“You did so good baby. So good! You did exactly what mommy told you to do! I’m so proud of you.”

She realizes I’m still standing there and thanks me. My little friend thanks me, too. On her own no less, no prompting from her mom.

We talk for a few seconds, tells me she’ll always remember me and what we did for her daughter, as if I had donated a kidney to save her life.

I told her I didn’t do anything special, it was her daughter who knew exactly what to do. And that’s the truth.

Ohhh! You got served!

Today was my worst day yet as a parent.

I failed. Hard.

This morning I put Bree in the stroller to go run errands. It was close to nap time, but I figured she could just sleep in the stroller while we were out.

We got a block before I experienced my first ever full blown temper tantrum. Kicking. Screaming. Hysterical tears. Shaking of the head. Holding of the breath.

I pulled out every thing I had in my admittedly small bag of tricks. I got down to her level. Made her look me in the eye. I verbalized her emotions.

“You’re feeling upset. You want to get out of the stroller, but you can’t so you’re mad. Right?”

I accepted I was defeated, and we went home for nap time. It was my own fault, I know she sleeps at the same time and on the couch. With Mama.

So we did.

Then we ate lunch. Played. Read some books. I even got kisses! (Mama gets hugs, and Dada gets all her kisses.) We’re all smiles. Happy. And ready to go run those errands!

I strap her in and the tears start. I figure I’ll give her a minute. She’ll calm down as soon as we’re out of the door.

She always does.

Except she didn’t.

The tears fell faster. The kicks started. The screaming intensified. So did my emotions.

And then I said it.

“Uggggh! You’re so bad!”

My anger disappeared, and was immediately replaced by shame.

I just called my one year old daughter bad. I didn’t even say, “You’re BEING bad,” which is only just slightly better.

Hell, I’d argue that she can’t even “be” bad because she has no concept of acting up yet.

She had a need that I wasn’t fulfilling, and my response was to tell her she’s something that she clearly is not. I responded with anger. I made her out to be in charge of how I was feeling, and my response.

She wasn’t doing anything to annoy me, or hurt me. It wasn’t about me, but I responded as if it were.

It’s embarrassing. It’s wrong. And I felt awful.

I never want her to feel responsible for my emotions. I never want her to think I think she’s bad. She’s not.

She’s curious, happy, silly, funny, smart. She’s the brightest light I know. She’s a lot of things, but bad isn’t one of them.

So I apologized. I pulled out that admittedly small bag of tricks again. I squatted down to her level, I smiled. Made her look at me.

And just then a lady approached.

“Great,” I thought, along with an eye roll. “This busybody’s just coming to rub my face in it. Everybody has an opinion.”

Remember when I said it was my worst day yet as a parent?

Was.

“Rough day, huh? Is it the stroller? My son always hated his, too.”

“Yup. Normally I’d wear her.”

Why am I defending my use of a stroller? To a Mom I don’t even know? Yes, I’m an advocate of baby wearing. It’s something I love. Some times the stroller is just easier! I’m pregnant and my back hurts, I’m walking four miles today. But this random lady doesn’t need to know. She doesn’t care, but I’m about to spill every detail just because I’m oh so sure she’s about to judge me as a Mother.

And then she doesn’t. She smiles at me, knowingly.

“My son hated it too, until I figured out a trick. Do you think she just wants to sit more upright? That was his problem.”

“I think so, too.” I sounded so relaxed, so calm, I surprised myself.

And then she showed me the most amazing trick ever to turn the 5 point harness into a 3 point harness.

Aubrey looked around. She did not cry. She did not kick. She did not scream.

She smiled. A big toothy smile. The smile that warms my heart.

I thank the nice stranger Mom and we’re off. We finish our errands, and I decide to take my good girl to the park to play.

And then it hits me. Square in the face. Like a big fat pie.

I’m not a perfect mom. I never will be. I will lose my temper. I will mess up.

But I’ll always apologize if I’m wrong. I’ll always let Bree know I love her and respect her for all that she is. I’ll always try my best to be the Mom she deserves.

And that’s all any Mom wants.

I could have given that nice lady an attitude and scared her off. I could have been so defensive I attacked her before what I perceived would be an attack on my parenting.

And I would have missed out on a great piece of advice that helped me tremendously.

For what? Am I so arrogant that I think only I know what’s best? Are we as moms so arrogant that we are sure our way is the only right way?

Really?

I for one will work on that. I’ll swallow my pride and smile at the mom with the wailing child. The one that loses her cool for a split second. The one who says something unkind to her child. Even the one who looks at other moms with judgement written all over her face.

Especially her. She’s the one who needs the kindness the most.

I know this because until today I was her.

Right until the Universe smacked me square in the face with that humble pie.

Twice.

What sheds more at a baby’s first haircut…

Baby’s hair or Mama’s tears?

In our case, it was just a little of both!

I recorded the whole first snip, such a cute little video! I should really figure out how to post videos from my iphone right to blogger, it’s gotta be pretty easy!

We found this cute place that does kids cuts. Little trucks and cars for seats, a play area and a super adorable boutique! They even give a diploma and a goodie bag when the cut is all done.

I thought for sure she’d cry, but Aubrey was so good! No tears, no fussing, just adorable through the whole 98 second process.

Seriously, I don’t think I could have spent $25 faster in a casino. It was that so fast. I can’t imagine going back again when I could have the same thing done for $7 anywhere else, but it was a nice first experience.