This is my official pitch to the people at Oreo– Nora Taylor, age 2, for your consideration as Oreo spokestoddler.
I told her I’m leaving the room and she can’t eat the Oreo until I come back, and if she waits, she’ll get 2 Oreos. This video will be submitted with her college applications, because if Oreo doesn’t want her, I’m hoping at least the Ivy League will (college apps are done through social media now, right? I have to assume that’s the case).
And yes if I’m ranking hopes for my child’s future, it 100% goes
People keep asking me if I’ve made any new friends here in Westport. But listen guys, it’s always hard when you move to a new place. And even harder when there’s a global pandemic. And even HARDER when you’re the kind of person who uses the global pandemic as an excuse, when really it’s just that you’re awkward and you hate meeting new people and talking in general and doing stuff that isn’t on your couch or phone.
Regardless, this week I actually started to make some social headway.
During Nora’s farm class (shut up) I was chatting it up with a bunch of moms who seemed refreshingly normal. As we watched our kids chase roosters around the chicken coop (yeah I’m just as confused by my new life as you are), one mom commented that every time she leaves the class, her son’s socks, shoes, and ankles are caked in mud.
I nodded knowingly. It’s absolutely never not often that I feel like I have worthwhile mom advice to give, but for once, I had it and I owned it.
Me: “So, I had the same problem with Nora. I finally got smart and put her in tall rain boots for class. So only the boots get dirty. Then after class I take them off, put them in a plastic bag, and have a clean pair of sneakers for her in the car.”
Other Mom: “Oh my god brilliant! A clean pair of sneakers! I always have a change of clothes in the trunk, but it didn’t even occur to me to have clean sneakers!”
“Oh yeah, the clean sneakers are key,” I replied, while mentally collecting my parenting trophy.
Other Mom: “Seriously, why didn’t I think of clean sneakers? Every week I’m here chasing him around, making sure he doesn’t step in THAT, and bring THAT into my car.”
She pointed to a gigantic pile of caked mud and animal poop. Just a huge steaming pile of shit. A mountain, really. It was as if every animal on the farm– the sheep, the cows, the alpaca, even the lone Nubian goat– had made a pact to ONLY shit in that one designated spot.
And of course, at the exact moment we all turned to look at said shit-pile, Nora sauntered right on over to it.
But I wasn’t worried.
Other Mom: “Uh oh, watch out for your daughter!”
Me (laughing): “Nah, she’s fine. She’s just checking it out. As much as she loves stepping in a good rain puddle, she does NOT like things that are straight up gross.”
And as if right on cue, Nora then turned around, a complete 180, and walked as far away from the pile as possible.
Other Mom: “Wow, good for her! And good for you! You really know your kid!”
Me (admittedly smug): “Yeah, she’s pretty good about–“
And that’s when I heard the rushed pitter patter of little feet and swung back around to see Nora sprinting across the chicken coop with Forrest-Gump like determination– straight toward the steaming pile of shit.
It turned out she hadn’t walked away because she found it disgusting, she had walked away because she wanted to give herself A RUNNING START.
I yelled for her to stop, but she just waved her hand at me and screamed back, “IT’S OK MOM! I HAVE MY BOOTS! I CAN’T GET DIRTY!”
I flashed back to the conversation we had in the car on the way to the farm. She did not want to wear her boots. But I had explained, over and over, that it’s a good idea to wear the boots, because if she wears them she can step in mud and SHE WON’T GET DIRTY.THE BOOTS WILL PROTECT HER. This reasoning had made her very happy and compliant, and I had awarded myself approximately 785 gold parenting stars.
Before I could intercept, Nora completed her sprint and took an Olympic-style pole-vaulting leap into the fresh pile of animal dung. She soared through the air with the confidence of a superhero, armed with the certainty that her magic boots would act as a full-body protective cloak.
The entire farm watched in shocked silence as, upon landing, Nora’s feet gave out from under her, and her tiny little tod-bod sank into the dune, which completely enveloped her, quicksand style, in shit. Even the hairy, 500-pound hog, half asleep in a mud puddle, was repulsed.
As soon as Nora discovered that her magic boots had not performed their mommy-promised protective powers, the high-pitched, bloody-murder screams commenced.
While hyperventilating and snot-sobbing like me on election night 2016, she somehow managed to extricate herself from the dung mountain. She surveyed the lumpy streams of crap covering HER ENTIRE BODY– her shirt, her pants, her hands, her face. Everything drenched and dripping in feces.
She ran toward me, arms outstretched, hysterical, screaming, “MOMMY HELP MEEEEEEE!!!!!” She was clearly traumatized and desperately seeking solace, so I did what any parent would do in this situation.
I ran the fuck away from her.
She was covered in shit, you guys!!!
The pack of moms stared in disbelief as Nora chased me around the chicken coop and I literally hopped the fence to avoid her. One of them half heartedly offered a change of clothes, but I assured her “No no, that’s ok, thank you– I have clothes in the car, obviously. You’re not a mom unless you cart around a change of clothes, right?!” (casual laugh).
I had no change of clothes.
Keeping a good 5-foot distance ahead of her, I somehow managed to verbally coax Nora back to the car, where I promptly covered my hands in plastic bags and stripped her down naked right there on the grassy knoll. I then bathed her with baby wipes as she stood there screaming, her pale little wrinkled tush blowing in the 50-degree breeze. I should mention that we were parked roughly 30 feet from a gardening event attended by approximately 15 senior citizens, all of whom were watching this scene unfold. Plastic-bag-hands covered in shit, I waved.
After what seemed like an eternity, I finally got Nora decently clean, shoved her clothes in a garbage bag, and threw her in the car seat. She rode home buck naked and wailing.
Me: “Ok, so we’re going to do some fun math problems today, all involving ducks! Because I know how much you love birds. The questions are going to start off super easy, but they build off each other and become more challenging as we go.”
Me: “So first question– there are three ducks. Each duck is 1 foot in length. If the three ducks go swimming together in a line, beak to tail, how long is the duck-line?”
Kid: “Wait, so each duck is ONE foot long?”
Kid: “And there are THREE of them?”
Kid: “Ok let me think.” (starts whisper counting to himself, goes way past 3)
Me: “Woah woah, you’re already counting too high. There are only THREE ducks.”
Kid: “I know I know…” (keeps counting, now silently, but keeping track on fingers)
Me: “This is supposed to the super-easy first problem, it doesn’t really require finger counting.”
Kid: “I’ve almost got it, hold on.”
Me: “Ok I’m trying to help you but you’re not listen—”
Kid: “Shh shhh wait let me finish.”
Kid (finally): “15! The answer is 15 feet.” (crosses arms, super proud of self)
Me: “What? No. Not even close. There are only 3 ducks and they are each ONE foot!”
Kid: “Yeah but you gotta have 6 feet between each duck or they’ll all get corona.”
Most little girls are obsessed with the conventionally beautiful, super-feminine, fairly one-dimensional Elsa character in Frozen, and few prefer Anna– the tougher, funnier, more dynamic and quirky character with the much stronger personality.
So I think it really says something special about Nora that she always chooses to play with her Anna doll. She obviously identifies more with Anna and chooses her because she sees the value in her strong personality, and not because I refused to buy her any of the Elsa merchandise she desperately wanted and cried for, shoved the Anna doll in her face and yelled MOM IS ONLY BUYING YOU THIS ONE AND YOU WILL PLAY WITH IT AND YOU WILL LOVE THE AWKWARD GIRL MORE THAN THAT PRETTY VAPID ONE SO HELP ME GOD DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!
Me: “So I’ve noticed since we switched to virtual tutoring, you’ve been takin EXTREMELY long bathroom breaks…”
Kid: “Sorry but I have to go!”
Me: “Ok, well, you used to go to the bathroom when I saw you in person, and you never took this long.”
Kid: “Yeah but that was before coronavirus. Now I have to wash my hands!”
We’re quarantining here at my parents’ house, having decided it was best to escape the dangers and claustrophobia of Corona-ridden NYC. We’ve finally gotten Nora to the point where she can toddle around here and not kill herself on the huge iron-rimmed coffee table, multiple stairs, and stacked shelves of glass.
Then my mom gave her a huge box of miscellaneous toys to play with. Nora was super excited when she dug through the legos and found these:
When I take Nora to the kiddie gym, she insists on using the water fountain and is somewhat obsessed with it. Early on I had to implement a rule that she can have one sip before class and one sip after class (#thisismylifenow ). She’s been shockingly very compliant until today, when suddenly she whined, flailed, and resisted all my attempts to remove her from the fountain…
Me: “Nora, no. We take ONE sip. You know the rule.”
Random Nanny (sitting by fountain, without looking up from her newspaper): “I think maybe she is confused about the rule.”
Me: “It’s been the rule for months, I’ve been very consistent. I don’t know why she’d suddenly be confused.”
Random Nanny: “Because yesterday she was at the fountain for a VERY long time, until her whole outfit was soaked with water.”
Me: “Wait, what?”
Random Nanny: “SOAKED I tell you. Water EVERYwhere.”
Me: “No no, you’re mistaken– I wasn’t even here yesterday!”
Random Nanny: “Yes but Nora was. With your husband.”