Two Truths and a Lie

When I was in High School I belonged to a peer education group called TEAM. In a nutshell, we big kids went to elementary and Junior High classes to talk about the perils of drinking and drug use. Each year we'd go through training. My first year I was trained. My second year I trained. My third and fourth year I planned training. I learned a lot about leadership this way. . .and I learned a whole lot of ice breakers.

In my professional life I've planned a lot of meetings. I'm dying to get to do a training one day - at least to plan a training. When I do there is one particular ice breaker I want to work in. Its called "two truths and a lie." Its very simple - each person must tell two things about him/herself that are true and one that is a lie. The goal is to trick the group, to make your truths so beyond mundane that its hard to pick out the lie. In doing this, of course, you learn more about your peers as actual people and not the roles they play in the environment you know them. It's like finding out my boss is a HUGE Harley Davidson fan complete with obscene bumper stickers. This is true and totally not what one would expect if you saw him.

But chances are I'm not going to get to plan a training that allows me to sneak in my fun little game because any training I ever do have to work on will require me to outsource all the fun parts to some overpriced guru.

But I do have a blog.

And so I'm going to play my little game here on my blog and whether or not anyone else plays along is besides the point. I will leave my two truths and my lie right here in cyber black and white (or whatever color font my blog appears in lately).

1. I completed my BA in Communications in just three years.
2. I once owned the entire collection of Garbage Pail Kid trading cards.
3. My first published article appeared when I was just 10 years old.

If you feel like playing - take a guess at what is what. If anyone bites I'll post the answers the next time it occurs to me to do so. ;) And while you're at it, leave behind two truths and a lie yourself.

Cryptic Whine

So today I'm innocently enough checking my business email to find more lunancy afoot. Essentially I am to put on my public relations maven hat and convince a very big analyst group to scrub their calenders next week so we can squeeze in because suddently what wasn't important (aka briefing them) is very very important.

This is why I need to win the lottery folks.


Things we've learned. . .

- Now that Megan can sit up straight we realize that she's not just a series of chins connected to her shoulders. The girl has a real neck! (AND, its tippy free! Bye-bye wry neck!!)

- Sadly, its becoming clear that Megan will also never have teeth - or so it seems. I swear it feels like the girl has been teething for months without a tooth to show for it. She seems to be getting more mouthy with everything in sight and MUCH more drooly. One can hope this means that silly thing sprouts soon.

- Since its decidedly impossible that Megan will never cut a tooth, apparently the real lesson is that I have no clue what teething looks like until AFTER the tooth arrives.

- There is nothing good on TV at 4am.

- Gray, rainy days make people cranky, cranky, cranky.

- Its not wise to pay for send two pieces of certified mail if only have a $20. The postal worker will say to you "Don't you have anything smaller?!" in her most snotty of voices. (see above.)

- A two-and-half year old can toss one doozy of a tantrum for no damn good reason at all other than he felt like it.

- If a baby wakes up at 4am only Mom will hear her.

- The same baby will refuse to burp until after you put her down meaning your both back up at 5am.

- If Google searches leading to my blog are to be believed, there are a whole lot of Weight Watchers people out there craving peeps and wanting to know how many points they are. IF you're one, I used to know and I'm sure its in an archive file somewhere.

- Apparently there are also a lot of folks looking for chocolate covered peeps based on the same measure. I am too - those things are good!


Taking it right to the top

Today being Easter, the kids had no Sunday School class. Don't ask me the logic on this one - send a bunch of young children that can't sit still for the duration of a service that will creep beyond its normal hour when we know the place will be jam packed with the visitors that appear in their finest attire twice a year.

Knowing the challenge sitting in an actual service would be to a two and half year old, we gave Logan a choice. He could either go into the nursery (aka the baby class) with Megan or he could come sit with us ONLY if he promised to be as quiet and good as he could possibly be. He opted to for the "big people church."

The boy was a gem thanks in part to his total obsession with learning to read. He sat on my lap talking happily before things got underway. Once the service started however, he was transfixed by both bulletin and hymnal as long as I kept my finger moving along whatever words the congregation was to say. He'd join in as soon as he saw a word he recognized - something that caused the older members around us to smile

Then it came time for some silent prayer. The moment the Pastor stopped speaking, Logan started in. I leaned into his soft, for once not messy hair, and whispered into his ear "Honey, this is when we need to pray quietly ok. Shhh."

And he did. He folded his hands neatly on his lap and bowed his head. Then he whispered his "default" prayer - the one he says whenever he doesn't know what else to say at bedtime or if he's saying grace over dinner - "God, thank you. Amen."

The service moved forward and Logan still sat perched on my lap with his folded hands. He looked up at the vaulted ceiling, finding the support beam that runs between the chapel section we sat in and the chancel. "Those lights are out! Look Grandma! They're broke!" he said in his not so quiet toddler voice. He pointed his little hand up at the lights in question. Two of the ones along the support beam were indeed burnt out. I leaned into his ear again and whispered "Oh, you're right Logan. Ok, but remember, its quiet time right now. Ok?"

He nodded and then put his head back down to look at his folded hands. He started to whisper again. Quietly. Very quietly in fact. He was so low I couldn't make out what he said. When I asked him later what he had been doing he told me honestly:

"I was prayin'. I said 'God, you made the light. Those ones aren't working. They are broke. Amen.'"


Siblings will be siblings

It starts young doesn't it. The whole face making, she's looking at me funny, stop touching me, style of sibling rivlary. My two are practicing for the real thing, although at times the big one has been known to shout "She's touching me! I don't want her to touch me!" Ah, but that's a post for another time. . .

Moments before I took this photo they had been looking at each other making these faces. Now granted the whole tongue sticking out thing is a marvelous trick Grandma taught Megan. The baby will now do it as soon as she sees my mother and then she'll laugh hysterically at her own little joke. Logan likes to get in her face and stick his tongue out trying to get her to mimic him. This morning she did.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And yes, my daughter is wearing a hand-me-down sleeper care of her big brother. See my earlier series of "confessions" in which I already mentioned my tendancy to do this despite the old people in town that would have me strung up from a tree for putting her in something that wasn't pink or drenched in flowers.


If its in there, its down here

There are simply too many miscellaneous thoughts floating in my brain tonight. Sure, its going to be a rather ad hoc posting, but sometimes a weary body just needs a senseless brain dumb.

Daddy's red face
Yesterday instead of going to art class, Logan and I spent our quality time at the doctor's and running errands. One of our tasks included purchasing new underwear for Daddy. Upon leaving the catalog counter of the department store (which is another story in and of itself) I explained to Logan what was next on our task list.

Logan, forever looking for a reason to ask me "why", inquired as to why his father needed new garments. And I did my best to give him a good response in the vein of "because he does."

"He doesn't have any underwear?" Logan asked incredulously. I assured him that Daddy did indeed have underwear already.

Then my dear, sweet boy asked in his loudest, most attention grabbing voice, "What underwear is Daddy wearing now? He wearing your underwears Mommy?"

Poor Daddy.

Speaking of returns
For Christmas my parents gave me a gift certificate for clothes at Talbots. I decided to use it to buy something nice to wear for Easter. After many an outfit tried and discarded I ended up a floral print skirt in soft greens and blues, paired with a pale spring green top.

Last weekend I decided that if I was to make Logan wear a tie to church on Sunday, Daddy must wear a tie on church on Sunday. But Daddy doesn't have a need for clothing that goes well with ties since he works in a corporate casual environment. No fear. I have a knack for ordering bundles of things online. And so I did.

While I was at it I picked out a pair of heeled slingbacks in pale spring green. Now never in my life have I ever owned a pair of shoes that weren't "practical" in color. I've had brown, navy blue, white, cream and taupe. Never anything that I couldn't wear more than once. . .well except for that one time I got a pair of teal-ish green suede boots from my manager at the shoe store for Christmas.

I was so excited about these shoes. It was a chance to be fun. To have something completely non-sensible in my wardrobe. Really a pair of shoes I could wear with one outfit. How often were they emerging from the box?

The big box arrived on Wednesday with Bruce's outfit and my shoes. I couldn't wait to see them. I popped open the box, pushed aside a hopefully truly wrinkle-free shirt, dug beneath navy blue slacks and found my box. Wiggled out of my thick sock so I could slip my foot into this find and then with a deflated humpf of my foot, wiggled my toes back down into the sock again.

They sent black.

So on Thursday we returned them to the store. The gal offered to reorder them for me but I was declined. I wanted them for the weekend and wouldn't get them in time. Instead we made our way to my least favorite shoe store - the discount chain. Logan asked me what I was looking for and I told him as we moved into the section with my size: green shoes.

"These are pretty! You get these?" he said.

And they were. Not only were they cute, they were the perfect color - the exact shade of my shirt. So we did get them.

That warm weather is coming!
Its official the warmth of spring and summer is around the bend. Today Logan and I set-up our Burpee "ultimate growing sytem." It sits here next to my computer on the table-turned-desk that typically exists under clutter. This room is perfect - the temperature in here is set independent of the rest of the house so I can keep it warmer than we like to sleep in normally. The room has three walls of large windows letting in oodles of light. And its easy for Logan and I to monitor the progress of our two varieties of tomatoes and some sort of flower I get inspired to buy at the time but can't recall for the life of me now.

Its coming - my garden is coming. I can't wait. I'm also going to give Watermelon a go this year, plus another go at pumpkins. I may regret it when there's an big orange ball sitting amongst my cucumbers or carrots.

I'm freakin' tired and yet because I felt unable to get 5 minutes to myself all day, I sit here at the computer letting nonsensical babble pour from my fingers. Well that and Megan woke up yelling moments ago and so I also sit with her asleep on my shoulder.

good night!


Where does it come from?

So my kid is a smart ass. Wonder where that trait came from?

As I was attempting to scan email to see if a work project had come through for tonight the little imp stood in the doorway to our multi-purpose room demanding I come play with him in his most whiney of voices.

"I can't play right this second," I said after my third or fourth attempt at "In a minute." And then I told him why.

"But I want to play wif you now!" he said, stomping his foot.

"Logan, sometimes I have to do things that aren't about you or with you or for you. Sometimes I have to do things for me!" I snapped at him a bit annoyed at this point.

He huffed. He snickered. Then he said "But it *is* all about me!"

God love him. This boy will some day drive his wife insane.

Another example of this trait he's portraying in earnest lately -- I took him to the Ped today to have his ear checked. The doctor gave the run down of typical questions:

- Had he had a fever?...No
- Is he vomiting?...No
- Runny nose, wheezey, hoarse?....No, no and ah, no.
- Did he have a cold recently?...Nope.
- Why do you think he has an ear infection?
Well because he's more high maintenance than usual and, well, he told me so.

Doctor said "He told you what?"
I said "He told me his right ear hurt."

The doctor put Logan up on the table and peeked in his right ear. "Hmupf" he said. He told L to turn his head so he could look in the left ear.

And Logan said "But you don't have to look in my left ear. Its just my right ear that hurts."

Doctor looked anyway and he looked down L's throat, up his nose. And he listened to his chest for good measure.

"Well, lungs are clear. Left ear is clear. His right ear is inflamed and a bit red. He's starting to develop an infection in that ear." said the doctor.

And Logan said to Dr. D, "See, I told you!"

Black Cloud

Did you ever have one of those days where it just seems nothing can make you happy - where everything that comes across your path is just put there to piss you off? I had one of those days yesterday.

Perhaps it was not sleeping the night before.

Maybe it was a 2 1/2 year old that was beyond cranky and demanding, who later announced that his right ear hurt and he needed to go see his doctor to get special medicine.

Maybe it was just the pressure of completing work projects for the "teacher's pet" despite the fact that the pet can't seem to provide the information needed to complete the task.

Maybe it was helping my mother cope with her difficult brother and the necessary clean-up/organization required to move him out of his current house and into the apartment in the assisted living place - DESPITE his extreme snotty ungratefulness.

Maybe it was the continued need to plan how to explain death to a, hopefully by then, at least three year old.

Maybe it was the incredibly ill dog of mine and her mountain of pills and medical bills.

Maybe it was the weather.

Maybe it was other garbage from the work front.

Maybe it was knowing that despite this black cloud mood, B's job is demanding more hours and so it was likely to be another late night leaving me to deal with the crankiness of myself and two children.

Maybe it was a teething baby. (And if this tooth doesn't break soon I think I may scream with Meg.)

Maybe it was all the other crap.

Whatever it was, yesterday sucked.

Today better be better.


Wise Guy

My neice is working on a Masters in Speech Therapy - at least I think that's what the degree would be in. She's currently working on a project that requires her to listen to young children speak specific sounds. She and her professor/advisor will study tapes of these children and then document an assessment which leads to a written study. She's asked us if Logan can be one of her subjects and as such, he very happily is.

Cousin sent over cards that contain sounds typically acquired in the 5-7 year old age range. We tape Logan saying these words. If he can't enunciate them properly that's fine because at this age he isn't expected to. If he can well that's fine too; Cousin just works that into her paper. Logan did say most of them fairly clearly. In part this is borne out of familiarity -- one card bears his most favorite food in the entire world, Cheese -- and the others fairly common in the course of our week.

Some of the images gave him trouble though because it bore a word he wasn't quite familiar with. For example, the word crutches just wouldn't stick in his head. We even played our own little "$10,000 Pyramid" game trying to get him to say it. "What do you use when you hurt your leg and can't walk?"

And he'd say as he pointed to the card, "Those things."

Then there was this one - the one that brought out Logna's inner wise ass:

"Logan what's this?" as I hold up a picture of a witch that bore the word "witches." (Yes, one witch in the image for multiple witches)

Logan would say "Witch."

"Right ok, but what do we say if there are more than one witch?" I'd urge him on, willing him to say the word printed on the card so we could move on to the next.

"We say there are two of them!" He answered happily. And who can argue that?

And for what its worth, according to the boy that hasn't met a beef patty he didn't hate, the term is now "Cheese-hamburger."


Mom's Ears Know

This morning, tucked away in a pew about midway up the aisle, I sat in church trying to see my imp masqurading as a 2-and-half-year old. I couldn't see him after he had walked past our seats - clutching his teenaged teacher's hand tightly as she tugged him forward. He was too busy checking everyone else out as he waved his long palm branch fervently to walk with the extra encouragement.

We knew the kids were coming in today. Heck, we even made sure every trace of breakfast was washed for Logan's face and each stray cowlick was lying flat. We knew they were coming in to dedicate their little fish banks - the ones they had been slunking coins in for One Great Hour of Sharing. They were to walk in waving palm branches and sing a little song they'd all studied hard. But we figured they'd walk in, dedicate their banks and walk out. Wrong.

Someone decided it was a great idea to have every child in the Sunday School, ages 2 to 11, walk in at the start of service and stay until they did their little thing just before the sermon was to start. Someone didn't know 2 year olds very well - at least not mine. That 20-minutes was a long time for my kid to sit quietly.

Logan is very comfortable in the church sanctuary. Each Sunday after service/class he goes into for his regular tour of the stained glass windows. He sits in different rows to check out the view from new spots. He climbs up in the pulpit. He's even tried to sit in the Pastor's chair - must to the amusement of the Pastor. So having 20 minutes in this grand place did little more than set Logan's inner-explorer into overdrive.

As the children began to take their seats upon the steps of the chancel I heard a voice. I couldn't make out what it said, but something in the pit of my stomach told me that it was my child. Bruce, who didn't have the giant head of some old guy blocking his line of sight, leaned over and whispered "Its him. Wait, the church school director is shushing him."

And then I heard the most familiar sound I could have at that moment. My son saying "Why?"

Next came "But I don't want this big leaf. I want my little leaf." He was referring to the small palms they made last week out of construction paper - the ones they practiced with last week.

And then, as he rose from his seat and attempted to roam came, "I want to go see my Mommy and Daddy please. I come back later."

And as the choir finished singing their anthem - yes just as the reader was to start the Old Testament piece came the voice again "What are they doing? Why did they sing that?"

Finally it was coming to an end. The kids were to sing their song. I chuckled when they started it - the first word was Hosanna. Just the week prior I had asked Logan if he was going to sing. He didn't respond so I went on without his confirmation. "I bet you'll sing a song that says Hosanna!" And then he spoke. "I can't say Hosanna. I can't say that word." Ahh, yeah right. You just did!

They finished and I heard his little voice again "I want to go see Mommy and Daddy." But he didn't. His teacher whispered in his ear and he dutifully followed her.

When we drove home this morning he went on and on about how he had wanted that small paper palm from last week but they made him take the big palm and they wouldn't let him go see the windows.

I smiled to myself and then broached the subject. "Logan, you know its great to look at the windows and all that stuff once we're done with Sunday School and no one is in the big people church. However, when you come in and you see all the big people sitting in all those seats and you see Pastor David sitting up front in his robe with Pastor Tory and Pastor Wayne, well then we have to be quiet ok."

And it came...."Why?"


Terror Twice

The Twin Towers fell before I was pregnant that first time. I had no idea at that moment that we'd ever have children and so it never occured to me that some day I might have to explain to a child exactly how real evil could be.

When I was mid-way through my pregnancy someone decided enough time had past to release a documentary on September 11th. The film crew had been there - at ground zero - witnessing the horror and devestation. We never watched it but we did tape it. To this day I've never seen it. I still have the tape though. I wanted it so that one day, when my child was old enough and he was studying September 11, 2002 in history class he could have access to something created when the terror was still fresh in all our minds. But I figured that moment of brutal honesty wasn't coming for a good many years.

Lately Logan is fascinated by the Statue of Liberty. A small tax preparer with an office on a major highway in town has a replica of Lady Liberty out near the road. Everytime we see it Logan says, "Maybe someday I can go see the REAL Statue Liberty and we can walk alllllll the way to the top."

I decided to humor this latest craze by finding him photos of the Statue herself online. Our search was successful and Logan was duly facsinated. We saw close-ups. We saw photos taken from Jersey. We saw pictures taken just below the statue showing off exactly how big she really is. And we saw them - the Towers the way they used to stand in the skyline view you'd take in when you stood peering out the crown windows of the great green Lady.

Logan has heard a lot lately about New York City because Dad has had a lot of trips into the city for work. The two guys took a very short train ride last weekend on NJ Transit to feed Logan's train obession. "This train," Daddy said, "is like the one I take all the way from here to New York City when I go." And so Logan is very much all about NYC of late.

He pointed to the photos of the skyline yesterday and he asked, as I had expected, "What's that?" SO I told him - "That is New York City."

"I want to go see it!" he said. "I want to see the big buildings."

And in that moment I couldn't lie. I couldn't say that this is what he'd see even though it'd be easy. Even though its what I had always seen until one fear-filled late Summer day.

"Well, it won't look exactly like this," I said already thinking I'd have been better off to just not say a thing and knowing what would come next because it always does - Why?

I pointed to the Towers. "Those buildings aren't there any more," I said simply. And he said "Why?"

"Hmm, well they fell down one day and now something new will be built there." I told him.

"A wrecking ball knocked them down?" he said almost as exicted at the prospect that a real wrecking ball had been invovled yet disappointed that he hadn't seen it happen.

"Not exactly Logan," I said and then I pushed through even though I wondered if I should - knowing I wanted to be honest yet protective. "One day some men crashed a plane into the buildings and the buildings fell. They were very bad men." I told him.

"Why did they do that?" he asked.

And I answered him honestly, "I have no idea, honey. I just don't know."


Well at least we know he listens. . .sometimes

Every time we get near a street or parking lot with Logan we issue the same warning -Hold hands. Look both ways. We don't play in the street because its dangerous. You have to watch for cars.

Today we ran over to Grandma's house to let out the dog and feed her dinner. Gram and Papa are away for a birthday trip and my brother is working late late late tonight catering an office dinner party. That left the three of us on dog duty.

As we walked back down the driveway to our van, Gram and Papa's neighbor G ran over to say hi to Logan. G is about 12 years old and he loves showing off in front of the little ones. He was out playing basketball at the net cemented in the ground in front of his house.

Logan stared at G intently. He watched the ball bounce up and down as G played at pushing the ball to the ground between his legs, behind him and so on. Satisfied he had fully impressed a 2 year old, G ran back to his net.

"Stop! No! Don't do that!" yelled Logan. "Its dangerous!"

G did stop. He turned in the middle of the road and looked at Logan. "Don't do what little man?" he said, amused that this little kid was scolding him.

"Don't play in the street G!" warned Logan. "Its dangerous. A car can come through here and you'll get squished!"

Guess it only seems like we're talking to ourselves.


Discipline with a Smile

I think the hardest thing to do as a parent, hands down, is discipline. At least for me thus far it has been. Its really a multi-faceted challenge.

First, you need to learn to check your own temper at the door so you respond not react. This is my weakest skill as a parent. Children have a knack for finding your buttons early and pushing them often. There are too many instances where I've looked back and wanted to kick myself for getting louder than I'd like or closing a door a wee bit harder than I had meant to as I let the dog out -- she seems to run and hide outside the moment the boy starts a hissy fit. Her impeccable timing is often the last straw for me. "DOES ANYONE CARE WHAT MOMMY WANTS?!" I want to yell as I let her out, only maybe with a few more words of questionable nature tossed in.

Second, you need to ignore your inner mush-hearted weakling. The one that really does want to give in and give back the trains you just took away for the afternoon because hey, the kid said he was sorry and he seems sincere....just like he did last time he said he was never going to pull his sister's fuzzy hair.

Third, you need to squish down your giggles or at least muffle them enough that the child does not hear them as you try your hardest to be stern and serious. As we drove home last night Logan asked me to take him back up near my office so he could see the backhoe I had told him about. My office is a good 35-40 minute ride one way. I'm not taking two children there at 6:30pm just to see a dormant backhoe.

We went around a bit about this. The infamous "why" rearing its ugly head fast and furiously. Then it happened. Logan, totally unsatisfied with my verdict, said "Mommy, be quiet."

Mommy said "Excuse me?" Bad, bad response because it caused him to repeat himself. And so I issued my warning "That's enough young man. If you continue to be fresh you can go to your room the moment we get home."



"Because its rude" I tell him. And he says "What's rude?" which is almost a welcome change from what I had expected...the dreaded "Why?" We have a short chat about what it means to be rude and how important it is that he respect other people.

Didn't sink in quite as well as I'd hoped. He proceeded to then waffle between saying "Be quiet" and "Be LOUD!" He found it hilarious, laughing between each phrase. And so I told him I'd had enough and he was going to his room the moment he stepped in the house.

And then he told me what he thought of that idea, "Mommy! Now YOU are being rude!"

Holy crap! How does one NOT laugh at that indignant response?

I stifled my chuckle. I bit my tongue to keep my mouth firmly straight and I asked if I needed to give his beloved trains a time-out as well. Apparently I did not because he stopped talking.


Oh the men in my world. . .

A week ago I sent an email to my brother and copied my father on it. It read simply "If you haven't gotten Mom's birthday gift yet, don't get these two things. I just ordered them for her today." And then I dropped in links to what I had bought. I did this because ages ago I had suggested my dear brother buy one of the two items I had purchased and he thought it a dumb idea. However, when pressed up against a looming birthday with no gift I knew he'd break down and get it if it still lingered in the vast recesses of his memory. I sent it off and then I didn't think of it again.

Mom's birthday isn't until Thursday, but since she'll be away then we celebrated over dinner tonight. Logan and I made the cake. They picked my uncle up from the sub-acute care facility he moved into this week. My clan gave Mom her gifts. The majority of our visit my brother did what he does best - hid out in his room ignoring us all. As Bruce and the kids were leaving (I was staying behind to help Mom get my Uncle back to his place) my brother emerged from his room and plopped himself on a chair.

"Did you see what we got Mom?" I asked him and pointed to the shelf above his head.

He glanced up at the little figurine of a woman hugging both a toddler sized and infant sized child. "Oh no!" he said. "I just ordered that!"

"What? Why? Didn't you read my email?" I asked him.

"Sure I did. I ordered the church you told me to get too." he said.

Nice, eh? "Umm, I didn't send you an email telling you to buy those. I sent you an email telling you NOT to buy those." I clarified

To make it even more humorous my father speaks up and adds "Oh, I only saw the email where you suggested it as an idea. I forwarded it on to your brother. I never saw the one where you said you bought them. Maybe you just sent it to him."


"Umm, guys. Not to make a big thing of this. . .but I only sent ONE email and it said DON'T buy it. Where did you buy it from?"

"The place you sent me the links too in your first email," said my brother.

Just freakin' shoot me.

As we're walking out the door my mother thanks me again for the gifts and says that she had really wanted the Heartwood Creek church we got her. "I was starting to think no one would ever get it for me!" she said. And I nearly doubled over in laughter.

When we were safe away from the ears of those two dear men I told my mom that if we were all nice and quite she could have two of each. We had a nice laugh at their expense.


Give the kid some credit. . .

Yesterday we went to my Women's Group at the church. We stop first in the room the women meet in to drop off my books and our coats. Then we march down the hall to bring the kids to the nursery where they'll play with the other kids and three lucky babysitters. We do this once a month, just as we have for the last two years with the same set of women and their kids.

Logan went right over to the first boy roughly his age and started up a dialogue about Thomas underwear and using the potty. I whispered in his ear "Now remember, if you have to use the potty tell the ladies before its emergency time so they can come get me to help you. Ok?" And he said happily enough "Ok Mommy, I won't have an accident. Don't worry. I'll be ok."

The other mother smiled knowingly and said "Wow, Logan, the potty! That's great!" Then she looked at me and said "He's three now right."

"Oh, not quite yet," I said. Logan piped up "No. I'm only two now. I'll be three on my birthday on June Fir-tee-if" (also known as June thirtieth.)

She blinked, this other mother literally noticeably blinked. Looked at my pipsqueak again and then said "Oh, well he talks like he's already three." Then she patted her 40-month old on the head and said "That's just because he's the firstborn. My first born spoke fairly well but by the time we got to this one, well I'm not sure he's using complete sentences consistently to this day."

This isn't a new critique for us. Its what we often hear when it comes to Logan and it has replaced the old standby "Well he's an only child, so that explains it." But it doesn't.

Logan doesn't speak well because he's the oldest (or back when because he was an only). Logan is just Logan. I'm sure that his abilities got some extra benefit from being on his own for two years, but its not the only factor. The bonus of birth order was merely having a little extra time in our day to help nurture his potential - it didn't create said potential. And so when folks flippantly dismiss his abilities with a tip of the head and quick explanation as my friend did yesterday, it annoys me because in a way it devalues his accomplishments.

Will his sister follow in his footsteps? Who knows. She is clearly much more physical as a baby. She's been hitting her milestones several weeks younger than her big brother had when he was her age. Will she simply just be more phyiscal and not as verbal? Possibly but that will just be her uniqueness, not her birth order. Then again, if her current delight in hearing her own voice is any indication, Miss Thing will be a talker. Maybe not as young as her brother, but eventually she will posses the ability to talk ones ear off just as he does today.

When you have children you get a lot of advice from everyone in your path - from the mail carrier to the person on line behind you in the supermarket. I think everyone that saw me walking with Logan while I was pregnant had input on how my 2nd would never have the same exposure to sorts of things Logan did because it was simply impossible and therefore she'd not do the things he was capable of doing when he did them.

But I disagree. Megan will not have the same exposure to the same things in a solo fashion, but she will have the same exposure to the things her brother did as an infant - and then some. When Logan was 6 months old we'd sit on the floor and play together. We'd read together. We'd snuggle. We'd sing and dance. Megan does all that its just that sometimes the books we read are the ones her big brother selects instead of the baby board books he'd have read at her age. She doesn't get to slow dance on her own all the time because sometimes its three of us doing the hokey pokey. She doesn't always get to sit and play with her stuffed beasts because sometimes she's too busy on my lap attempting to fling a small toy crane from one side of the room to other as we play trucks with the big brother. Instead of having just adults talk to her and play with her day in and day out, she has the two-and-half-year old she worships dote on her as well. You can see it in her eyes, she watches everything he does and she tries to emulate it.

This morning she was lying on her stomach doing that fish-out-of-water thing 6 month-olds do. For yucks I told him to show her how to crawl. So Logan crawled. And Megan watched. Then she did her very best to pull her one knee up underneath her. She didn't do it, but she did struggle hard enough at it that she managed to inch worm herself forward and for now that pacified her.

When he sneezes, she laughs. Then she scrunches up her face and squeaks out "Ewww!" before giggling her ever fuzzier head off. When he's upset and wants some good old fashioned cuddling, he whines "Mommy! I need you!" and he reaches out to me. When Megan has had enough of being somewhere other than a set of arms she reaches out her arms and she hums "Mmmmmmmma!" I'm not about to write down somewhere that her first word came at 5 1/2 months and it was "Mom", but I will say that this is a sound she makes ONLY when she wants me to pick her up.

We have no idea what Megan will do as she grows. No idea where her talents will lie. She may develop her verbal abilities on track with what the books say to expect. She may take her time and be a late bloomer because it won't be surprising to find that she can't get a word in edgewise. OR, she may talk early and often as her brother did. All of that is fully dependent on her own unique developmental path. Just as Logan's has been/will continue to be. Its got nothing to do with when he arrived in our lives, just with the person that he is. I just wish folks would give him the credit for it.


Dear Sales Gal

Ok, little Miss Stride-Rite Sales girl, let me explain something to you. Buy one, get one half off is not a good sale if I don't need one, let alone two, pairs of children's shoes. The boy's foot is size 7.5. Its been sized 7.5 for months now. His current pairs of shoes are sized 7.5. I do not need to buy a new pair of shoes in said size NOR do I need to stock up on the next size since by the time we need a size 8 the styles will have rolled over again and we can get even niftier 'flashy' feet (also known as, sneakers with lights that blink on and off with every step the boy takes.)

So, High-school-aged-girl-with-no-child, let me explain something. I came in to have you measure the boy's foot to see if he was just being a pain in my butt this morning or where his shoes really getting small. The butt won. Your commission didn't.


Because I'm evil

We all have "those" friends in our lives. The ones that we'd not normally associate with if it weren't for the specific circumstances through which we've met. Maybe its a "work" friend. Someone you exchange gossip with over the coffee maker and with whom you share way to many rotten lunches. One of you leaves that company, however, and your friendship dissipates. Or, perhaps its a "mommy" friend. Someone you meet through your child and see only when there are children around to distract you from actual conversation. I've got one of those. We'll call her Ann only because that's not her real name.

Ann gave birth to perfection roughly two-and-half years ago, only not really. Junior is a normal 30-month old. He does things all two-year olds do. He's built like a two-year old. He talks like a two-year old. He talks back like a two-year old. He's just perfectly two and that is, well, perfect. Its all any child that age needs to be.

But Ann likes to think she, and therefore her child, is better than the rest of us. Its rare a conversation transpires between us that she doesn't give me one of these "So what is Logan up to? Oh, that's nice, well Junior can do this. . ." Its a competitive statement. Its a "yeah well, you think that's great, look what mine can do." Its sad.

I am proud of the things my son can do and I'll happily blog them or share them with people close to us. But I don't go out of my way to alert everyone in our address book the moment he does something for the first time. I'm careful when I speak to people like Ann, not to talk about the things Logan does because it never leads down a good road. We just let it go and, for example, Logan's verbality will sooner or later display itself without me saying a thing.

So the other day we're talking. And of course most of what we ever talk about is child related. She's now expecting her second and so the call she placed to me was to pick my brain on how to prepare Junior. Slowly a talk moved from siblings to preschools.

"Oh, Logan has always been very chatty," she says in regards to some topic related to schooling. Then she paused and added with great flair "Junior is catching up to him, you know. He knows his letters now."

Now normally I'd say with all sincerity "Yay Junior! That's great!" and leave it at that. Not with Ann though, because with Ann this declaration wasn't about your normal Mommy-chat of "My child did something neat and I want to share it with someone that might understand why a simple series of letters is beyond wonderful!" No, with Ann this sort of comment is "My child is better than yours and every where he wasn't better before he's now leveling the playing field leaving your child no place to be special, so there." You think I make this stuff up, but I don't.

So to Ann I said very matter of factly, "Oh, that's terrific! Good job Junior." (insert dramatic pause here.) "Logan is starting to read now."

Silence on the other end.

"Yeah, he's not reading a full book on his own, certainly, but he has several dozen words he can read without our help. It won't be long before he's doing complete sentences and reading simple stories."

"Oh." she says then more silence. "Well Junior is just very into his muscles and being physical. He'd rather ride his bike."

And so I invited her over one day so the boys could ride their bikes together. Yes, I am evil. The thing is if she wasn't always trying to do a "my kid is better than your kid," I wouldn't be so bitchy. But she does, so I am.

In fact, I nearly called her yesterday to tell her that Logan did indeed read a complete sentence all on his own in a book he'd never seen before - "The pig is in the mud."

But I opted out of evil yesterday - yes I know my "pseudo-twin" reading this right now in disbelief that I could opt out of evil. But I did Col. I really did.


Jinx myself

Apparently I am still fully capable of jinxing myself. After smacking my forehead about the pitch I sent in, I got my reply. Can't use it at this time because something similar is running in May. And so now I won't wait so long to pitch.


Smack forehead now

I finally got off my tukus and pitched another story idea. It's not the one that I've been pondering longest because frankly that one takes more effort. I'd have to print that one out and mail it in. No, this was something different because I knew I could just email it. I could write it and hit send BEFORE I chickened out. Something to get over this initial threshold of whatever it is that has been holding me back - laziness? Esteem? Overwhelming desire to just not work for a moment?

I sit now, though, with two separate thoughts bouncing through my head:

a) She'll never accept this idiotic idea because it sucks and its likely been beaten to death.

b) She will accept this idea and I'm just screwed because I can't even begin to think of where to start finding experts to interview.

Someone just smack me in the forehead now.


Because sometimes a mommy blog is for showing off the kid(s)

At five and half months old, Miss Megan has hit a milestone - she can sit...unassisted...sans tripod. She first demonstrated this nifty new feat while playing with her brother in his room. She found his "big boy bed" the perfect "safely padded" place to test out her skills. Posted by Hello
And sometimes she has to catch her balance. . . Posted by Hello
Here she is sitting but going nearly cross-eyed at the pattern of the fabric on her brother's quilt. Posted by Hello
Because I can't send a photo of one without the other. . . Posted by Hello


Almost missing diapers

There is a downside to a potty-trained child. Let me paint you the picture:

Its 2am. You're shaken from a dream by the sound of someone calling you. You rattle the sleep from your head. You rub your eyes with the back of your hand the way your infant does. You listen and hear it again.

"MOMMY! I got to go potty! Emergency! Come help me!"



- I watch America Idol and actually find myself cheering for contestants. I'm embarrased to admit I even voted once (not this season, at least yet.) However, I've yet to stoop low enough to go out and buy the winners' CDs.

- Tonight my daughter is in bed sleeping in a baby-blue "boys'" sleeper that was once her brother's. Somewhere in town there is that little old man from the mall thinking nasty thoughts about me for this fashion faux pas.

- I bought an extra bag of jelly beans for the "Bunny house" Logan and I decorated today just so I could have the leftovers. (Bunny house being akin to Gingerbread House.)

- I once drove all the way home from work listening to the Wiggles -- without a child present. Then again, I was on the cell phone and not really paying attention to what was on, which brings me to the next confession:

- Sometimes I talk on my cell while driving without my hands-free contraption connected. Shh, its a law that I'm breaking now. Dang it!

- Once when I was about 8, I found a pack of gum and kept it even though the real owner was walking around asking if anyone had found it.

- I recently sat through an entire rerun of Melrose Place. To be fair, I spent the vast majority of it asking myself what the heck I had been thinking when I watched it faithfully the first time around.

- I sometimes think about setting myself up for ambush on "What Not to Wear" just to get $5000 worth of new clothes that are actually going to look good on me.

Buck Shot

Thoughout various stages of development hearing my child utter variations of one simple word can thrill me like nothing else. The first time Logan said "Mama" as he looked at me and smiled, I melted. The day he said "Mommy, I love you," I nearly cried. I felt like the most special gal on the planet the day he stopped me as we walked together and said "Mommy, you're my best friend."

Then yesterday he added another to the list. I stopped in midst of making dinner to attend to the baby. I left Logan in the kitchen doing what he often does there - arranging his letter magnets in various combinations trying to spell words. There are a few he can do and the rest end up being some mismatched jumble that we try to sound out for him just the same so he learns how to sound out words. He called out to me first "Mommy! Come here!" Then he ran to find me, grabbing my hand as he said "Please come quick! I made something for you. See what I did!"

We followed, Meg, Dad and I. And there it was. In big, bold colored letter magents "MOM."

"See!" my sweet little 32-month old said proudly, "See, I spelled your name!"

And I swelled with pride.

She's been trying to do it almost since the day we brought her home and today Megan finally succeeded. At five and half months old, Megan is sitting on her own. Not for long stretches, mind you, but still its exciting to see her do it. She'll sit with that perfect baby posture - spine straight and proud - until she sees something she wants and the act of lunging for it throws off her balance. The first time she did it today she sat on Logan's bed. She sat long enough for me to grab my camera and take more than enough photos of this simple, yet thrilling feat. After about two minutes she slumped to a tripod pose and then popped herself upright again before leaning on her right hand a bit longer. She did it again throughout the afternoon and evening. Looking up above her is enough to tip her over, as is reaching for something just beyond her grasp. . .but she can sit long enough for me to document it as a major acomplishment. ;)

I'm sick of snow. I'm sick of being sick. I'm sick of cold weather. There, I whined and now I feel better.