The pit

When Nora wants to be picked up she says "hold you," and what she means by that is "hold me," she's just got the pronouns confused. Understandable as I sometimes ask her, "do you want me to hold you?" It's cute. Except! Except it's not cute when she's yelling it at the top of her lungs after I put her in her crib. "Mommy HOLD YOU, HOLLLDDDD YOUUUUUU." She's been doing this recently. In fact, you wanna know what? She's doing it right now.

I know some people probably think I should go get her and some people think I should leave her there until she falls asleep, and the truth is that J and I probably fall somewhere in between those two parenting camps (check my other blog for a post about this very subject). Partly this is because we've got a really good kid. This new development is so difficult for me precisely because Nora never does this. It's a stage - of that I'm sure - and one day soon we will get our perfect little kid back.

But for now, it's total agony. I get this knot in the pit of my stomach when she cries like this, cries that are made worse by the fact that she's capable of putting her feelings into sentences now. "Mommy hold you." "Mommy's bed, no crib." We've been traveling a bunch and I'm sure all the transitions aren't helping, plus I know that as she gets older she's going experience new challenges. See, I realize there are reasons. But that doesn't make it easier.

Add to that my own stresses regarding the aforementioned traveling that we've been doing and that is coming up. Don't get me wrong, we love that stuff, but as much as I do it, traveling makes me anxious. I don't know why. Maybe it's all the packing and upheaval. And if there's a plane involved and you have to arrive at the airport several hours in advance, forget it, pass me the Xanax. Since a doctor's probably not gonna go for that, whatever, I'll settle for a martini.

And then there are my current feelings when it comes to the fact that I'm not working much, which I won't even go into again, but you get the picture. More stress.

Nothing major. A toddler yelling. Some silly feelings of inadequacy on my part. The normal insanity of a busy summer. But over the past few days I got to feeling all tense and annoyed, like I had no control over anything going on in my life. Like I had too much going on but somehow wasn't taking on enough. I think it's normal for everyone to feel this way from time to time, and possibly beneficial having to dig your way out of it.

Anyway, after going to the gym this morning, I took Nora to the local Starbucks so I could have a coffee and she could have a snack, thus keeping ourselves occupied until nap time. When we got there I picked out a cup of fruit for her - the kind that's in sealed plastic - and because she doesn't understand modern commerce or patience, she was like, "Mommy open?" in this sweet little voice, that proceeded to rise 8 trillion decibels over the next 30 seconds while I paid for everything. As we waited for the coffee I decided there was no harm in letting her hold the fruit cup - maybe it would calm her down a little - but what she did was very loudly proclaim "MOMMY OPEN," and when I said, "Hold on a minute," she started running across the Starbucks with the fruit cup, until she stopped dead center of the people reading and studying and being generally civil, and she chucked it with all her brute baby force onto the floor. Then looked at me like, "See?"

I couldn't help but laugh. Especially when I realized that this one particularly studious looking guy staring at his laptop, who I was all worried about disturbing, was playing a computer game. The workout, the look on my child's complacent little face. I felt like I was breathing normally again. It gets stressful, true. But it all gets better.

When I got home I put Nora down for her roughly half-hour bout of screaming, "MOMMY HOLD YOU," before she passed out. I sat at my desk, answering emails and preparing to write blog entries and I typed a letter begging my husband and parents for something they couldn't do, just to get a little bit of sympathy on the matter. "She's doing it again," I wrote. "Make it stop."

My mother, who knows all, replied, "You have to be strong." Exactly, I thought. The trips and the transitions will go just fine. You have to be strong. What a simple mantra. And before I knew it I'd finished writing down everything that was worrying me, realized it was no big deal and Nora had fallen fast asleep.