This and that

My junior year of High School we focused on great American authors. Among the list of books to cover that year was The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner. I honestly remember very little of the book other than at least one section is told in a stream of consciousness narrative. Its that same style of writing that my blog sometimes start to resemble. In celebration of that, I give you tonight's entry.

Crawling to and fro
Meg is well on her way to mobility. She doesn't lift her lower half off the floor when she moves and she doesn't move forward per se - at least not far. She is totally capable of turning herself to face whatever direction she finds comfort whether she's on her belly or back. And, well, she sort of inch-worm crawls herself backwards. Yes. She's doing a dead-leg crawl in reverse. Its hysterical to watch and utterly frustrating for her. She's trying to move straight ahead and yet she gets going in the opposite direction. When I'm not giggling cruelly at her sheer pissed-offness, I'm sweetly saying "Oh honey, you'll get it. Come here baby girl. Come to me!"

Raisins in music.
I took violin 8+ years. I haven't picked up the instrument in 13 years. The Wiggles however, have. A recent aired episode on Disney included a violin playing Wiggle during "Music with Murray." (Maybe it was Anthony?)Logan was fascinated by the segment and, well, Mommy got a brilliant idea.

Brilliance speaking: "Hey, Lo! Wait here, I have a surprise for you." And the bright idea shuffled down the hall to retrieve the dusty old black case.

Ok, so it was a good idea at the time and he was rightfully thrilled. But he wanted to play it. Folks, to play a violin with a bow you need rosin on the bow. A non-rosin covered bow won't slide across the strings with grace and ease. What you get instead of sweet melodies is a sound worse that a tortured cat. Thirteen years of dust collecting means that no rosin existed. In fact, the reason I stopped playing was I ran out of rosin. I kept forgetting to replace it until one day I forgot all about trying to.

So after using the bow no more than a photo-op or two, we instead plucked the old strings. I took the aforementioned photos. I took video. It was great fun. But Logan, well he was not satisfied. So today I took the kids to the 'music store' and I bought the rosin. This afternoon we sat on the floor with great ceremony and slid the hard amber cube up and down the horsehair bow. We tuned the instrument with the help of the old outdated casio. And we took our turns playing with it.

So what does Logan say about the experience?

"Daddy, today we went to the store and got raisins so now we can play the violin."

Something to pontificate on another day
The only real hard-and-fast rule of parenting is that there are no rules. Think about it and we'll toss it around another day when I have more time to wax poetic.

Dreams were made to be deciphered
I recently had a dream that three of my co-horts in crime and I were a pit crew at some Nascar event. (We're going to ignore the fact that I've never, in my entire life, seen a Nascar event, let alone understand the exact nature of the pit crew enough to pull off being part of one.) We stood around waiting and waiting for our car to come in....and then it finally came meandering over to us. My boss was driving doing maybe 25mph around his laps.

He lept out of the car and started to bellow angrily at us. He wanted us to move faster. Our haste wasn't hasty enough and it was costing him time. . .time that could loose him the race.

I sort of figured I knew what that dream meant, but today's "fun with bossman" really cemented the whole thing in my head. How frustrated am I to get the "Ok, well you'll need to do these edits within the next 10 minutes and get it back to me 'cause I have meetings and we have a deadline of 3pm today to get this done."

Yes sir. Of course sir....and I won't mention out loud that you've had this stuff to review for 3 weeks.


Weather Channel's dartboard

Just to further screw with my fragile head this evening. . .

If one were to look up the 10-day forecast for New York City on the Weather Channel's homepage, one could find this prediction for Sunday (aka Game Day):

Only 20% chance of rain to ruin my day out.

However, if one were to look up the forecast for Sunday by clicking on the cute little baseball link and then conducting a search for the actual game I'll be attending, one would find this:

60% chance of rain to cancel my fun which is only slightly better than yesterday's forecast.

One might decide that there must be multiple people throwing darts at a board over at Weather.com and none of them compare notes before posting forecasts in multiple places around the web site. With this assumption, one might head over to accuweather.com just to see if ANYONE can agree with someone over at the other place.

And the answer is - not really.

Breezy with times of clouds and sun. Chance of thunderstorms is only 2%.

Oh, so fine. Instead of whining about potential rain, I will commence lamenting over what to wear.

It must be me.

Do you ever have the occasion to worry that the oddball is really you and not everyone else around you?

If you were to recieve an invite to a dinner cruise that listed date, time and something akin to "Eat, drink and be merry" only more professional, wouldn't you assume all you had to do was show up, enjoy a bar, some food and a ride on a big boat? How can I send out this exact sort of invite to the 90-ish co-workers of mine AND then be peppered with requests for the nights agenda? Why is my email cluttered with comments like "I need more details." What details folks? Do you need to see the buffet menu? Do you need to know ahead of time what CDs the DJ will bring? Just shut up, get on the darn bus and enjoy the free trip up the Hudson.



When the little man arrived in our lives we made a vow to get out at least once a month for a date. And get out once a month we did. The little guy would hang with Grandma and Papa and off we'd go to dinner. Or a movie. Or just Christmas shopping. Something.

Then the little lady joined us and that whole plan went straight to hell.

The last time Bruce and I went out without the kids - together, as heading to work in two seperate directions does not count - we were Christmas shopping and then getting dinner. We decided to go in the afternoon following Logan's sleepover with the grandparents. Since they'd already be busy with one kid of ours we wouldn't be adding in another day of entertaining. It didn't go well. Logan was beyond ticked off that his sister would dare encroach on his time. And we haven't gone out alone since.

Well that was to change this weekend. For Christmas my parents gave Bruce a certificate worth two tickets to any Yankee game. So we got online the day the tickets went on sale and after finding the vast majority of everything already sold out unless you wanted crap seats, we located a game. May 1st vs Toronto. This weekend. Not only this weekend, but with probable starting pitching that may actually equate a good game.

We ordered 4 tickets. One for BIL and his date - who is now incarcerated and so we bring husband of SIL. No kids. Just adults. Peanuts, popcorn and no bibs. Yelling and cheering without worrying that a child would overhear you refer to an outfielder by some colorful nickname such as "Catch the ball &@#hole." No whining that someone is tired. No demands that sound like "But why CAN'T I go on the grass and play? I want to hit the ball! I'm a big boy. I can do it!"

But then we saw the weather. Damn you weatherman!

70% chance of thunderstorms in the Bronx on Sunday, May 1st.

My big day looks to be a rainout. Nice.


Maybe getting too late for bets. . .

No, she's not all out crawling yet, but she is inching closer. . .quite literally. Tonight during our typical bedtime routine I decided to give tummy time another go. Megan arched her back and lifted herself fairly high, spotted the dog, reached and then cried. Tasha was, luckily for Tasha, out of Megan's reach.

But hey, the dog is good motivation to move, right? So Megan stretched again. No such luck. She buried her face in the carpet and yelled. And so I tutored. I tapped her right foot moving it a bit so that her knee hugged her side. Then I tapped her left foot.

And then Megan did it.

She moved one hand and then the other to pull herself forward and straightened her legs as she did so.

We did this a few times - just enough to get Meg close enough to brush her fat baby fingers to Tasha's reluctant paw. The dog then ran, but Megan had something bigger figured out.

Logan came down the hall moments later, fresh off his bath and looking for the night's storyteller (aka me). I urged him to sit a short distance from his sister - just out reach. We called Daddy to watch. And Meg did it again. This time she did most of the work herself and she kept her head up fairly high. She'd get a foot on my palm and push off hard as she reached in front of her with a hand. Then the next foot and reaching with the other hand. She's not up on her knees as she does it. She drags her legs along the ground in a weird sort of half crawl. She keeps her eyes locked on her target and she laughs with pride as she goes along her quest.

Logan clapped for her. He cheered. He crawled around her showing her what to do again and then he hugged her. And Megan laughed. Then she flipped herself on to her back and clapped proudly with her feet in imitation of the three of us. We clapped for her and cheered and she, being her typical self, basked in the glow.

Taking bets

Logan never crawled. Or at least he never crawled until after he was walking on his own and decided that sometimes it was easier to reach the things that had fallen underneath the table if he got down on his hands and knees. He passed over crawling for early cruising - something he did both holding our hands and the furniture at about 6 months old. His first solo steps coming in his 10th month.

We've wondered what Megan would do. She depises belly time even more so than Logan did. She's shown us she can roll from her belly to her back but has since given up doing so in favor of loudly protesting the great injustice that is tummy time. She'll scream. She'll bury her head and get red faced with anger. She'll kick and arch her back. Sometimes she'll go ahead and roll herself. Other times she keeps up the protest until someone takes pity on her and just sits her up. She much prefers to sit.

Even more than sitting, Megan likes to be on her feet. She thinks she's 7 months going on 17. If you sit her on your lap or near enough to your lap, she'll lean back and lock her legs then slowly eases her weight forward again until she very literally stands herself up balancing herself on the hands you hastily held out to support her young legs. She eagerly grasp your hands and begins to go for a walk - marching and prancing around as she giggles. And lately, given the chance, she'll stand tall on her own holding onto the door or a table. We've been wondering she too would skip crawling altogether, but perhaps not. Perhaps as soon as she figures out that crawling would allow her to wreak mobile havoc on her own, she'll be off and going.

Thus the bet we're placing. We're not saying who has which side, just that the lines are drawn. Will she or won't she and when.

We figured with the lack of tummy time it would be hard for her to figure out how to crawl. But. . .

But lately she's come to appreciate at least one new trick belly time provides her chance to perform - getting up on her knees. It started yesterday and of course it started as she was complaining about belly time. Megan put her hands down firmly on the floor, placed her forehead just ahead of them and then rocked back onto her knees elevating her middle off the rug. She's yet to get her head far off the ground - leaving her in a weird sort of tripod stance. She doesn't move yet when she's like this but she does giggle. And giggle. And giggle. She watches Logan intently as he crawls around the room yelling out "Like this Megan! Do it like this! See, Mom! I teach her!" And then she rocks back to her knees some more as she giggles.

It may be coming. The end of the 'safe' world with Meg as we know it. The end of the time the dog's tail is safe. The end of the time when toys Logan deems "non-sharable" are safe. Maybe.


Favorite sounds

So Megan has been doing the whole "Mmmmah!" thing when she's mad or upset and wants me to pick her up. Today, for the first time she saw me coming toward her, held out her arms and yelled happily "MAMA!" then laughed.

She's also playing a load of games lately. IF you sing patty cake she'll clap her feet together in time to the song - not her hands. No. My weird child uses her feet to clap along.

If you ask her how big she is, Megan will put her arms as high above her round head as she can and laugh as she makes the sound "AhhhhH!" She holds them up there until I say "Sooooooo big!"

In the mornings when I retrieve her from her crib I often say "Peek-a-boo!" as I lean over the side to see her. This morning as I leaned over to get her she yelled out "Booowah!!" I thought it might be a fluke, so later in the morning I covered her eyes with my hands. When I moved them away she yelled out "Booowah!" In fact, as I type, she sits on my lap, body facing the screen, head tipped back all the way to my chest, looking up at me and saying "Boooowah!" until I look at her. And then she says it - "Ahh, Mama."

I think I really like that word.


Things that make me laugh. . .

One day late last summer I got inspired to clean out the fridge. With the pile of going green left-overs and nearly empty forgotten jars, a single white, polka-dotted number 2 shaped candle got thrown out. I never even knew he was attached to that thing, but apparently he was because he came inquiring about it a few days later. I've since relaxed thinking he'd forgotten about it.

I was wrong.

From the backseat of the van today comes this - "Mom, you broke my heart. My heart that is right in here," he says as he smacks his little chest.

I try not to laugh. I try not show him that I'm struggling to take this statement seriously. "Your heart?" I ask. "How did I do that?"

"You broke my 2 candle. You threw it away. It broke my heart."

So I try to fix it because that's what we mom's do. We fix broken hearts - or at least try to. "Oh, honey, I'm sorry. Well you're not going to be two any more. You're going to be three so we have to get a three candle."

"No," he says as if I'm just totally clueless. "What I need is a two candle and a one candle. You frew them both out."


Tonight as Daddy picked Logan up for a big old bear hug, Logan leans back, raises an eyebrow and stares intently at Daddy's nose.

"Daddy? Why you got fur up your nose?"


Today, for the first time in nearly 3 years, someone other than a grandparent babysat my children. Sure, they both spend time in their respective class/nursery on a Sunday morning but that's not the same. And ok, so I didn't actually leave the home while the teenaged sitter was here. But still. Logan loved her - took her to tour his room, his yard and his toys scattered about the house. Megan wasn't so happy. If she could see/hear me she was screaming for me. Fine out in the yard, but otherwise - not so much.

Before J arrived Logan and I talked about how a new friend was going to come play with him and Megan.

"No, just me" he said.

"No, you and Megan. I need to work so J will play with both of you."

"Megan can sit on the blanket with her toys. She likes that," he said before falling into one of his pensive silences. "Why do you have to work?" he finally asked.

"Because my boss wants me to finish a few projects up, sweetie. If I don't get them done, he might get cranky," I told him without exaggerating in the slightest.

He mulled it over. I could see his the synapses firing. "Why is your boss cranky? Maybe he needs a nap."


Taste of summer

It hit a balmy, unseasonable 86 today. Aside from the fact that it was a full 20 degrees lower just up the road and over the bridge at the beach, we enjoyed ourselves by pretending it was really Summer and not a very warm day in April. The kids and I took the 10 minute drive from our home to the boardwalk, loaded up the basket of the "great big double stroller" and made like it was July.

If you ignore the aforementioned temperature shift, the metal gates still pulled down over the majority of boardwalk businesses, and the lack of crowds, merely being there in our shorts and t-shirts made Summer seem real. There is something about the Jersey shore - particularly this area of it with the boardwalk's rides, food and games - that one must experience personally to understand the pull it can have or how it personifies Summer.

There is a smell of Summer and on warm Spring day like today, you can smell it. Its not something you can adequately image but I suppose I can try to describe it. Its the meshing of salty-ocean air, pizza, peppers and onions, taffy and suntan lotion. It sounds like something that might offend your nose, but it's not. Its summer. Its coco-butter and ocean breezes. Its soothing to the soul still raw from one too many days below freezing.

There's a taste of summer. The salt air settles on your lips. It does so mingling with any boardwalk treats you may choose to partake in (although today we did not partake in anything).

There is the feel of summer. The sand beneath your toes when you leave the boardwalk behind and hit the beach itself. There's the thud of a sandal-clad foot on wooden slatted walkways. There's the button on the game wheels you press into your finger tip and the hard, brown ball you roll up the skee ball ramp knowing that no how many tickets you win this round it'll only garner you some cheap plastic trinket.

There is the sound and sights of summer. The wheel workers hawking their game. "Hey Mom! Why not win the little ones a toy! One win choice! Come on!" There is the blinking and whirling of the arcade. The bells and whistles. But above of all there is the power and the elegance of the Ocean itself. The sounds of water crashing upon itself, as well as on the rocks and shells its already beaten down to form grains of sand. Its the beautiful shades of blue and green that make up each wave - toped by white froth. Its the rides that will soon move to life with squeals and laughter. Its my home. Its my sanctuary...and today it was alive.


Gotta play

I don't think I've taken one of those "made for blog" quizzes, but tonight I did and somehow I ended up with this:

You're Betty Boop!
Bettie Boop

Who 's Your Inner Sexy Cartoon Chick ?
brought to you by Quizilla

Now, first of all, I'm overtired and overstressed enough to be marveling that three of the potential five characters you could be are redheads and yet I don't end up with one of them. . .being a natural red-head and all.

Second, I must admit (blushing as I do so) that as a young gal I always wanted to be Daphne. I'd find myself watching Scooby Doo thinking that perhaps when I hit those teen years I might look a bit like her. Truth be told, I don't think there is a day in my life I could have pulled off THAT short of a skirt - then again, there's no way in hell I'd be dressing like Bettie Boop either, so whatever.

Third, I used to think that Wilma would sort of be my look when I was "old" and motherly - only with better hemmed dresses and a bit less with the whole accentuated hour glass figure thing going. Back then, "old" was the age my parents were - adult. You know, in your 30s. Holy crap, I am Wilma now!

Fourth, I find Jessica Rabbit to be scary. And fifth, I don't think I will ever watch Peter Pan quite the same way again - why did Tink have to go and get all sleazy.

Thank You Tampa Bay

This morning I want to say a great big Thank GOD for Tampa Bay! If you're a baseball fan you'll understand why. If you're not, you wouldn't care anyway so I won't waste our time explaining it.

Dear George - instead of making idle threats and whining, please get the team a real bullpen with arms that actually pitch.


Lest you forget

When I was ten I went to the Statue of Liberty for the first time. We took the Irish student that lived with us for a summer - some how it took a foreign 10-year old to provide a good excuse to see our own history and national symbols. But whatever, that's neither here nor there.

We walked the incredibly long spiraling staircase to the top - not the very top because in 1983 the arm was already closed and not a single person was hiking it up to the torch. We went merely to the crown. I remember feeling as if we'd never get there, as if these twisting and turning stairs were going to consume me for the rest of my natural life. Once we emerged and pushed our way to the small windowed openings of the Statue's forehead those achey leg muscles and the labored breathing were forgotten. The view was splendid.

Yesterday we took our children to the Statue. We left the house with no plans to share with them the view from Lady Liberty's head - I mean really, who wants to carry 50 lbs of children up that many stairs even with two parents sharing the load? Besides, it seems no one, even those brave and fit enough to pursue the lofty goal, is getting anywhere near the good views since everything above the big green toe of Ms L is closed up tight and forbidden.

We knew to expect tighter security. We knew we'd have to get a "time pass" if we wanted to bring the kids in to the base museum. We knew we'd have to leave the backpack at home with the stroller in favor of the "small tote doubling as diaper bag." But we didn't expect what we found.

There in the shadows of the Twin ghosts we stood upon a dock at the old railroad station awaiting to board the ferry that would shuttle us to a national symbol of liberty and immigration. Only the baby got to keep her jacket on - the rest of us had to remove ours and place it in a bin with our belts, our bag, our watches and our wallets that would travel through the xray machine. B had to carry the little man through the metal detector as the boy buried his head in Dad's shoulder - a bit intimidated by the security protocol and the uniformed officer overseeing it all.

It was sobering - to be doing this here. The last time I visited the Statue and Ellis Island was 4 years ago. Before hell visited NYC. Before flames consumed our sense of safety. There were no check points. There where no uniformed guards to check our bags.

But now there is. Lest we forget - there in the shadows of the fallen Towers lies a reminder.


Why do I bother

Why do I bother attempting to reason with my child? To make sense of the things that seem sensible to an almost 3 year old?

Logan - What is Meggie eating?

Me - Mango. See? (And I show him the thin, mushey, bright yellow excuse for fruit.)

Logan - Its yellow.

Me - Yup. Want to try some?

Logan - No that's baby food.

Me - Well we can get you some real whole mango if you want.

Logan - Nope.

Me - When you go on your luau with Grandma in Hawaii they might serve you mango. Are you going to eat it then?

Logan - No. Its yellow.

Me - right. . .

Logan (wrinkling up his nose in disgust) I don't like yellow. Yellow is gross. I like green.

Me - Then do you want me to make you up some broccoli? Broccoli is green.

Logan - NO thanks.

Me - But you like green and broccoli is green.

Logan - Well that's different.


Dear Hubby,

Please do consider ironing your clothes before you go to bed at night so that on mornings when you need to be up at 5am to catch a train into the city you don't need to turn on every light in our room plus bang around the ironing board and make all sorts of other loud noises that would wake the dead. I'd have tried to communicate this without the very very long run-on sentence if only I wasn't half asleep.

And Dear Dog - if its 6am in the morning and I've JUST gotten back to sleep do refrain from strolling into the boys room and sneezing your loudest, grossest sneeze. It wakes him and makes him yell your name in such a way that I nearly fall from my own bed in startled fright.

And Dear Boy - it'd really be nice if we could just cuddle back to sleep on these early mornings when your father rattles and bangs around as he does. Mommy's tired. The only one still snoozing is the infant. Lucky her. Oops, I take that back so let me add - dear boy, perhaps we should not run our GeoTrax when we want the baby sister to sleep in.


Miss Meg's First Spring day

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


So this is a typical day in the life with my men. . .

At the Supermarket
Logan - Hey Mom, what are you buying now?

Me - Hot Dogs, Logan. We're going to have a good old fashioned summer-style cookout with hamburgers and hot dogs tonight. Are you going to try some?

Logan - Nope, I don't like hot dogs.

Me - You never tried one. How do you know?

Logan - I tried an imaginary hot dog once and I did not like it.

Civic Duty
Day prior to the cookout we head out to refill the propane tank for the grill. Across from the filling station we see a drunk teenager attempting to steal a street sign in broad daylight. He breaks a few beer bottles. Yells a lot at some friend a block away and then sets back to trying to rock the street pole out of the ground. We make mention of this to the men hanging out front of the fire station. They call the police.

Logan - Why did we talk to the fireman?

Daddy - Well Logan that boy over there is doing something that's not very nice. He's breaking something that doesn't belong to him so the fireman is going to call the police to come talk to the boy.

Logan - And then the policeman will bring the boy back to his house and they will tell his Mommy that he was bad. Then his Mommy will give him a big timeout. No more Tommy trains for him!

Daddy - Yup, something like that.

Vacation with Grandma

Logan - I'm taking Grandma to Hawaii

Grandma - Is Papa coming to?

Logan - Nope, just you and me.

Grandma - Are we going to go to a luau?

Logan - Yup.

Grandma - Do you know what they have a luau? They have pineapple, coconuts, pig. . .

Logan interupts - I don't think I like pig. I'm not going to eat the pig.

Grandma - Are you going to leave me for the first girl you see in a grass skirt?

Logan - Yup.

Grandma - That's not nice. You're there with me! You'd leave me?

Logan - Yup. You're a big girl. You'll be ok.


Built-in Friend

So in a year or two my offspring may be at each other's respective throat more often than not, but for now, anyway, they like each other. They seem to like each other a lot.

The older Megan gets, the more of a playmate she's becoming for the boy she very clearly idolizes. Tonight provided a good example. Bruce will be home late tonight which left the three of us on our own for dinner, bath and bedtime routines. We ate - and Megan gleefully allowed her brother to sneak her some Yumsters yogurt while I fetched him more milk. For the record, although she will not get more yogurt quite yet, she loved it.

We painted. And Megan watched every move her brother's brush made. Even the move it made to her foot to smear bright orange goo on it. She wiggled her toes and she laughed her deep, body moving, baby laugh. It makes her eyes scrunch up tight and her nose wrinkle - and it makes everyone near her join in. It was impossible to scold him for his body art attempt since I had already smushed purple paint on his nose.

We headed in for a bath. With Mr Logan tightly wound like a top tonight, it became a two for one bath night. Megan stared at Logan as he made faces while I washed the paint from his nose and cheek. She'd laugh and squeal with each twitch he made. She watched him open and close his legs as fast as he could to create waves. When he stopped, she wiggled herself until she got her own legs moving in the same motion. She laughed and giggled with pride, then realized her mentor wasn't paying her any attention - he was engrossed with a toy truck he was driving up the side of the tub. She yelled. She yelled as loud as she could "AHHHHHHHH!!" And he looked. She laughed and kicked again. Giggled and waited.

He responded with more waves. She kicked. He kicked. She yelled and he said "Megan! Don't yell! Be quiet." And she yelled again. So he said it louder. She yelled. He said it louder and then he looked at me with total bewilderment as she screeched and then burst into giggles.

"Why is she doing that?" he asked, perplexed by the increasing volume despite his demand that she grow quieter.

"She listens about as well as you do, I guess," I said, and tousled his hair.

So he leaned in close to her and he whispered, "Megan, sweetie. I love you, but you have to be quiet." (Guess he does listen sometimes.)

And she yelled.

And then she laughed.

But at least he did too.

Please don't tell me this. . .

The three kids that attended yesterday's art class were just bonkers. The two boys (L who is closing in on age 3 and J who will be 4 in June) more so than the lone girl (three this month). Off-the-wall. J's mom sighed as she watched her son flop off a chair and set off in a mad dash towards some mischief.

"They say that the teen years are like the terrible twos with even more horomones," she whispered as if saying it too loud would bring doom to us all.

"Crap," I said.

The closer we get to three years old, the more adult Logan thinks he is. The latest proof of this - everytime I issue a warning (something like "You can stop hitting the wall with your hammer or you can go to your room.) he replies with "No I won't." Which is typically met with the reply "Go to your room NOW." And then some tears on his part. And some tore out hair on my end.

Today he argued with me about his status - he's not a child, he insists. He is a big boy and therefore he is a grown-up. We had a long talk about all the things he'd need to be doing if he was an adult now. He's given up that argument.

This is terribly hard. I thought he was good at pushing my buttons before, but this is worse. The insolence is just horrid to deal with. Its frustrating and its beyond aggravating. It makes it hard to control your own temper when it comes down on you in a long litany of fresh back talk. To not fall into this hopeless debate. I mean really, how can you win a debate with a 34 month old?!



It hit a blissful 73 degrees today according to the little weather toy (aka Davis weather station) perched atop the giant wood pole in our backyard. (see below.) About halfway through our day it occurred to me that we needed this true Spring day. We needed the chance to waste away a day in the yard - hitting an oversized plastic ball off a red tee with a giant yellow bat. We needed to sit at the kid-sized picnic table to eat our grilled cheese and ice pops. We needed to be mobbed by the neighborhood kids as we attempted to chalk up the retaining wall out front. We needed to take a walk with the giant double stroller, me sweating with the effort of pushing 50 lbs of child plus the contraption up and down hills - what was I thinking wearing jeans?!

We needed this day. And we got it. And tomorrow is forecasted to be even better.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

(Photo taken November 2003)


Mama needs her sleep

Ok, if you're all about how evil and horrid stuff like Ferber and "crying-it-out" is than just consider this an entry to skip.

Last night was a breaking point. My formally good sleeper got into a very bad habit over the last few days. A very bad habit that was just physically impossible to humor another night. Miss Thing became unable to sleep ANYWHERE BUT on a body. Yes I said ON a body. She'd not sleep in her crib. She'd not sleep in a car seat or a swing or in a bed NEAR a body. She had to sleep on one of us. And that means we don't sleep. At least not more than maybe 3-4 hours a night of broken sleep.

And so last night it came to an end.

And it was an easy end. A much easier than end that I think either B or I expected. We put her in and she fussed. She was quiet. She woke up complaining - not crying mind you, just yelling. Its what she does when she's pissed off. She yells. Loudly. We took turns going in, we rubbed her belly and whispered lovingly to her. We turned on her musical fish tank. We handed her her small stuffed frog toy that she sometimes plays with before drifting off for a nap.

She yelled a little more and then she fell asleep. She woke and yelled and then stopped to hum to her music. And then to talk to her frog. And then she slept. She slept and she slept and she slept. ALL freakin' night just like she has been fully capable of doing despite the fact that she had stopped doing it. It took less than an hour total and most of that was without her crying.

I know this is not the end. I know that tonight may be worse. I know that even if tonight isn't worse we could revisist the whole issue later - like when she figures out how to stand in her crib by herself and does so ALL night long refusing to lay down and go to sleep until she falls to sleep on her feet like her brother once did.

Regardless, today I am well rested, at least well rested compared to the day before when I was lucky to have slept at all. Today I feel content knowing that she's learning the valuable skill of being able to soothe herself to sleep (something she actually often does at nap time but not so very much at night). I feel happy knowing that we're laying the groundwork for future of mostly fight-free bedtime routines. I feel relieved it wasn't as bad as it could have been. And I feel dug in - ready to keep working and helping her learn.


And the gold medal goes to. . .

I've known my best friend for roughly 27 years. We met on the kindergarten bus when the driver made us sit together. We hardly spoke that first year.

We ended up in the same class in 1st grade. Our desks were next to each other. That year we spoke. And we've been speaking since unless you count that year-ish hiatus when we didn't.

My bf is smart and she works hard. She's now a doctor and a professor.

My bf's mother was competitive and she worked hard at that. Its something I'll never forget - the feeling that everything I did when I was around her was judged and compared. Areas I excelled in and bf didn't were whisked away with a simple excuse. Areas where bf did better than I did were met with a satisfied smile that said it all - my kid is better than you.

Each year we'd take the standardized Iowa test. And each year moments after the school bus set us free the phone would ring. Bf's mom calling mine. The question was always the same - she wanted to know how I scored. If it was lower than bf she'd say "Oh, well, S got. . ." if it were the same or higher it would invariably come with something along the lines of "Oh, well S didn't really prepare for it this year," or "S didn't sleep well the night before." She was always better than me or have a reason why it didn't appear to be that way.

When our first set of IQ tests came back, bf was put into the gifted and talented program. They were taken out of regular classes once a week and made special projects. They made up what they missed after class. Predictably bf mom called to share the news, already knowing I wasn't going along each week. My mom never did mention to her that I had gotten an invite to join G&T also, but after evaluating what I'd get out of it vs the missed class time my parents opted to pass.

The thing with the sport of competitive parenting is that no one wins. In fact, not only does no one win, but someone loses big. I remember the things BF gave up. The way she had homework papers ripped up because her left-handed writing wasn't neat enough. I remember the way she'd miss a social event because she had more hours of studying to go -- getting an A wasn't good enough, she had to have the A+. And I see the way, to this day, my bf always views her accomplishments by the way they rank against everyone else's. I remember how it made me feel to be compared. How bad I felt for bf if I exceeded her and how irked I got if her mom found out she had bested me. My parents were very good at pushing the competition off on bf mom in a way that assured me it didn't matter how she did vs me as long as I did the best I could. It didn't bruise my ego as much as it did occasionally put a wedge in my friendship.

Now that I'm a parent I see the trend from a new viewpoint. I see the way a child, even a young one, bristles when it starts. I cringe knowing the way it impacts a child on other side. I know what it can do to friendships and to self-esteem.

I remember being in the mall with my mother and Logan when he was 15 months old. He was playing in the little area play area with another little boy roughly the same age.

"He's adorable," another mom said, nodding towards Logan. "He chatters a lot. How old is he? Mine is 18 months. What is he, 2?"

And so we told her how old Logan was and she said, "Oh. Connor has all his teeth in. How many does your son have?"

Teeth? Teeth? What the hell!

I have a mommy-friend that is the new Queen of Compare, replacing my friend's late mother. Queen and I met in a baby swim class. She was comparing the boys even then when her's was 6 months to Logan's 9 months. Every time we talk, which has become few and far between, she compares. If A can't match up to Logan at something she has something else A is better at. She delivers her observation with such tone and judgment that it reeks of "Yeah well, your kid stinks at. . ." Her insecurity is maddening and it pushes buttons I wish I didn't have.

With Queen I will do what I haven't wanted to do. I will fall back into a competition. "Oh, that's nice. . .did I tell you that Logan got this new set of phonics and early word books that he's reading now? He sounds at the words he doesn't already know. Its so neat to watch him figure it all out."

Its something I typically avoid. Sure, I will share my children's accomplishments and milestones because what parent doesn't want to delight in the things her kid does. There are things I don't always mention though unless someone notices one of them doing it or if something similar comes up in conversation. For example, another dear friend of mine, the mother of Logan's 'best' friends (or so he refers to them now) has no idea that Logan is in the early stages of reading on his own. There's no need to. There's no want to. It doesn't make me a better mother any more than it makes him a better kid. Its just something he's learned to do - something he's wanted to learn to do and so we helped him achieve it.

Yet there are other's in addition to Queen that get the best of me. I don't like it. In fact it makes me rather blue to realize it happens. Mom's that compare to often or mom's that make excuses or mom's that brush away the things my children do with a "yeah well. . ." type comment. More often than not I just smile and move on. The habitual offenders though are the ones that tweak me one time too often and set me off on a trail I regret going down.

Its a parenting trait I don't like and its one that I'm sad to see I sometimes dabble in. Writing this has been cathartic though. Writing it reminds me to strive to be the way my parents were. I want to match their ability to laugh it off feeling bad for the offender because really how sad to feel the need to go there. I want to smile and nod politely all the while knowing it really doesn't matter who does what when, as long as my child is doing the best he/she can at any given time.

Lesson learned.



Megan has this teether that she's in love with. She got it sometime in January and quickly figured out how to make it work -- chomp down hard enough on the yellow "beehive" and it'll vibrate. The moment she sees it she lunges for it, grasps the two green side handles, angles it to her mouth and chomps down hard. And then it buzzes. Yes, the thing makes this deep, loud, buzz as it vibrates. Almost a soothing hum to go with the sensation that must help her sore gums. Not that she is EVER going to actually sprout a tooth! OMG I think she'll teeth forever and a day!

Today we noticed a new twist to this game. Megan was chewing away at the handle of the teeth - a part that won't vibrate no matter how hard she works at it. No soothing vibration. No sound. At least none from the teether. Megan began to emit this deep, loud, buzz-like humming sound. At first we thought it was maybe just a coincidence of timing. Nope. She did it again several times through the day. If she gets working on that teether but doesn't bite into it in the right spot or hard enough in the right spot, she'll make the noise herself.

Not bad for 6.5 months, huh?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Photo taken January 2005


The Truth or Lie game Part II

My favorite number is 2. Its my favorite for a whole slew of reasons:

- My husband was my 2nd real boyfriend of any consequence
- The 2 of us together make a couple
- We've only lived in 2 places together
- We have 2 kids
- My favorite baseball player wears #2

And so I placed my lie in the 2nd slot. Yes, I never did own every single garbage Pail Kid trading card ever made. In fact I'm not sure I actually ever owned any GPK cards. Maybe just the one with my name on it...or maybe the two packs it took me to FIND the one with my name on it. But that was it.

So now the truth:
1. Yes I did indeed graduate with my BA in just 3 years. Its not a complicated story actually. Once upon a time in High School my guidance counselor suggested I take a couple of AP (Advance Placement) courses. So I did. History and English. Some time in May of my senior year I took the AP Exams. They grade them on a scale of 1-5. In the words of my self-proclaimed witty English teacher, "One meaning you just never bothered to show up to class and five meaning you really should have just taught the thing." I scored a 4 on the History and a 5 on the English. It earned me 16 college credits - a full semester.

As I set to picking out my Spring set of courses my freshman year of college it hit me - I could go along like normal and end up doing my internship as a junior and then graduate in December of my last year OR I could take a double major OR I could just take one extra class each semester and finish up a full year early. I opted for the fast-track program.

During my three years I only took one summer class - an elective English course at the local community college so I didn't have to overload the semester I interned. I started college in September of 1991 and left it 3 days before my 21st birthday in May of 1994. Got my job, left my stinky job. Got my first marketing job, met my husband and the rest is history.

3. I forget how I got involved with the program but here's the gist of it. Fifth grader gets pre-release book she picks up at the library, reads it, writes a review and the local bi-county newspaper runs the review with a photo of student in the Sunday paper. As pay, student gets to keep book. Its something the county library and the newspaper joint sponsored. I wrote a good number of reviews that hold the first few pages of my clipbook. First published at 10...and not counting the poem the same paper ran the same year.

My guesses for you (leave your answer in the comments!)
Anonymous - well not knowing who you are I'll take a stab in the dark: I say #3.

Christy - Umm, number 2

OCM - I know you. I know where you live. I know the panic you put in your husband when you shop - you are so not an heir.

Mandy - I say #3. You were ROTC right? Does that count as scholarship? And why do I think you were a cheerleader?

Thatgirl - I'm going with #2

Spuds - #2 for you.

Thanks for playing!

The End Game

When my grandmother was dying we instructed the hospital staff to consider her a DNR - do not resuscitate. As with any advanced directive you'd create for yourself, we had to list specifically what this meant - what was considered a comfort measure vs life sustaining. Among the items not to use, as with our own "living wills", was a feeding tube.

It was clear my grandmother's body was shutting down. Her various systems were rapidly ceasing to do their jobs properly. We did approve a colostomy bag because the doctor assured us the intestinal blockage she had developed would be a painful way to die.

Then one day the staff came in to consult my uncle - my overly emotional, non-logical-on-a-good-day uncle. He had the tube put in. My grandmother survived an additional month in this state before the tube was removed and she finally passed. During that time she had brief periods of consciousness which were peppered with extreme degrees of hallucinations. She was very clearly beyond any grasp of reality. When she wasn't conscious she was moaning in agony.

Now, I must confess, I don't watch or read much in the way of news lately. By the time I have two seconds to myself all I want to do is escape to something not real, not depressing. I don't want to deal with the harsh reality of the world more than I have to. My exposure to the events around me come in the way of headlines and sound bytes - a method I normally detest but have fallen to for the moment. And so, with this news gathering (or lack thereof) habit of mine, I know very little of Terri Schiavo's background other than what I can grasp in brief glimpses - including that she's now dead.

Of course I do know what I think based on what I do hear and read in those fleeting moments. I do know that as a parent I'd grasp onto any sign that my child was still alive, still fighting to come out beyond some clouded mask of immobility, because no parent can fathom their child's death coming before their own. I don't blame Terri's family one bit for grasping at whatever they saw in her eyes or movements. However, I also know that the sounds and movements she did make were all within the realm of normal reflexes of the human body and don't necessarily indicate an attempt to communicate or interact. Since I'm neither a doctor nor intimate with Mrs. Schiavo's case I can't say which is her truth. I do know, though, that to say she suffered at this end assumes one possibility over another.

We are blessed to live in a time where medicine can save us from things that would formerly be the end to us. But sometimes, I think we take the miracle working a bit too tightly into our own hands out of fear. We forget that sometimes nature must take its course. That we can't save everyone indefinitely.

I had a dog growing up that developed a cancer so bad her stomach swelled and her body started to slowly shut-down. She was taken to the vet one morning to find out why our normally infallible, housebroken dog had developed a complete inability to control her bladder. She never came home.

My uncle's brain tumors are growing at an alarming rate. He's rapidly loosing his ability to walk on his own, to retain his balance and to remember how to find his own bathroom in a three room apartment. (The bathroom being one of those.) He's going to exist in this fashion until he slips into a coma and eventually passes. They'll offer a feeding tube. They'll offer ventilation. They'll work to sustain his body longer than it would if left on its own.

And we call ourselves humane for it.