Toddlers are weird, part II

It’s been a few months since my original “Toddlers Are Weird” post, but never fear, everyone: Dexter is still really weird.

First of all, on a scale of one to face transplant, how concerned should I be that last week, when we spotted a fox at least twice Dexter’s size in a parking lot, my child’s immediate reaction was to run after the wild animal and attempt to tickle it?

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Answers to some FAQ

Creative toddler activity: Fingerpainting on mommy’s massive belly with coconut oil. I am confident this will take Pinterest by storm.

Does Dexter have a British accent yet?
He does not, but Dex does say exactly ONE word with an accent. We go to organized activities for 1-2 hours, 2-3 times a week but he’s still primarily immersed, language-wise, with Matt and me and our boring ol’ American accents. He probably won’t pick anything up until we send him to nursery or school.

But like I said, he does say one word with an accent: “Locks.” That’s because we frequently ride the “Locksbottom” bus line and the nice automated announcer woman repeats, “Locksbottom,” over and over and it has stuck, but three syllables are a bit much for him so he stops at “Locks.”

Another interesting tidbit is while we were at a friend’s the other day, she noted that the other kids listen carefully to him, because she thinks they realize he sounds a little different. I had not picked up on that. 

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Cricket’s final scan (probably)

Hat buddies.

This is it, gang. As long as everything continues to truck along normally, tonight was our final ultrasound. And it’s a good thing Matt thought to snap a quick cell phone photo of the screen because we just now realized we cannot find the single printed photo they gave us. That’s right. Through this entire pregnancy, we have received precisely two printed ultrasound photos and we lost one of them. The best we can figure out is that Matt handed me my discharge paperwork with the photo inside, I didn’t realize the photo was there, and it slid out.

I’M SORRY, CRICKET. When you ask me why there are 4,345 ultrasound photos of your brother and one of you, I’m totally blaming the NHS. (Sorry, England.)

My scan was set for 1700 so we decided to make a night of it. Matt left work a little early, we woke Dexter from his nap together and all bundled up to brave the cold. A bus and a train trip later, we were tucked in a dark room, watching Cricket squirm on a big screen.

Well, Matt and I were. Dexter was busy eating an apple, climbing on all the furniture, and playing with an rubber glove inflated to create a chubby hand balloon.

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Mommy’s little enforcer

Look at that face! If I sent him after you, you’d never see it coming.

Dex, Matt and I are hanging out in the living room, me on the sofa and the dudes playing on the floor. Matt says something teasing to me – I can’t remember what – and without thinking, I say, “Dexter, go kick Daddy in the stomach.”

Dex immediately moves toward Matt.

At this point, I should interject to say that we’re pretty serious about not teaching Dexter that any kind of violence, even play hitting or biting, is funny or fun, because we know how that stuff can escalate and we’d like him to be able to engage in society.

But in that moment, Dex is making a move and it’s crystal clear that Matt and I are both too curious about what would happen next to pull back.

And what happens next is Dexter gently kicks Matt in the stomach. Several times.

Matt: “He kicked me! I can’t believe he kicked me!”

Me: “I kind of can’t believe it, either.”

Matt: “You are a bad mommy!”

Me: “No. I’m a good mommy – my son did exactly what I asked! I’m a bad WIFE.”

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Dispatch from Mommyland

Yesterday, my midwife grabbed and wiggled Cricket’s head from outside of my belly.

That’s all I’m going to say about that moment, because it is impossible to describe how bizarre it felt.

Other than occasional freakshow incidents such as that, and thrilling near-death experiences such as this:

it is safe to say we’re officially entering the boring part of our expat adventure. We knew it was coming – you have to slow down and sleep while you can before a baby comes or you’ll hate yourself once he gets here – but it doesn’t make for very interesting blog content. We obviously are not traveling for a while, and even local explorations are low-key or paused either because I’m sore and knackered, or because it’s been grey and rainy and when it’s like that, it’s more fun to snuggle up with Dex and enjoy these last few weeks together before Cricket invades. 

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A Short List of Dumb Things I’ve Done This Week

  1. This morning, I microwaved NOTHING. I don’t mean I put in an empty bowl or mug, oh ho ho, isn’t that funny? I closed the empty microwave, pressed the buttons to start it, and walked away, apparently expecting a warmed breakfast to appear out of thin air, like magic.
  2. I read a story about a couple whose baby was born at 23 weeks, and died a few hours later. I fully knew what the post was going to be about, and clicked the link and read that sucker anyway. I am now re-hydrating to replenish vital moisture lost to copious tears.
  3. I introduced myself to someone, and she said, “Jamie? THAT is an interesting name!” This threw me off so much I just stared at her for probably a full five seconds before blurting out, “IS IT?!” No response.
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U.S. vs. U.K. (NHS): Prenatal and antenatal care

Dexter shares a snack with me while we wait for one of my specialist appointments. He is a coffee cake hog.

I had Dexter when we lived in the U.S., while enjoying the top notch benefits provided by video game companies. (Seriously. They’re great. Billing people would gape at me all the time, in disbelief over what was covered.)

From second trimester on, my pregnancy with Cricket is under the care of the U.K.’s National Health Service, aka NHS England. Matt still works for a video game company and therefore receives private health insurance, but after some research, we discovered that NHS care would be comparable and in some (boring) ways, better for us and our situation.

For the uninitiated, the U.S. has no national health service. All of my care was provided in private practice, via employer-provided insurance, paid for by us in the form of a paycheck deduction. The NHS in the UK is most similar to a single-payer plan, but does not truly fall under that definition because in addition to being paid for via our taxes, there are trusts involved and as mentioned, private insurance is in the mix.

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Nap laps, tantrums and stepping in poo

Dexter is having kind of a tough week.

On Tuesday, I woke him early from his nap to get to a midwife appointment on time. It’s been cold and wet lately, but that afternoon was sunny and cool so we played in the front garden a bit before heading inside. It was all fun and games until he tried to step down a concrete step onto our driveway, slipped and fell.

That’s when I realized the bottoms of his shoes were coated with poo, about an inch thick.

Dex would like to show you this big leaf he found, in happier times, before he stepped into a poo trap.
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Dexter sees snow for the first time

London snow is unusual. The city is 3-4 degrees warmer than the most of the rest of the UK and we just don’t see flakes very often.

But on Thursday, it snowed, a pretty good showing – almost complete ground coverage with fat flakes still falling when Matt got home from work.

Our usual evening routine is Matt and Dex play while I make/finish dinner, then we eat, then bed. That train doesn’t derail very often, but still, when Matt said, “You wanna put on coats and boots and go outside and show him the snow?” I only had to think a second before saying yes.

Who knew how long it would last, or when we’d see it again?

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Dexter vs. Santa 2016

Last year, Dexter met Santa for the first time at the EA holiday party  held at Matt’s office. He was much more interested in removing his socks than getting to know Claus, and his face was that knowing, “I’m just doing this to make my parents happy” smirk that he continues to perfect.

This year, as his is nature, things got more judgmental. 

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