First Love

Its been well documented on these (and other)cyber pages how much my son loves Thomas the tank engine. A lesser known fact is how smitten he is with Fisher Price's Rescue Heros. Those not familiar with the product here's the highlights - its a line of action figures for the preschool+ set that are based on "real life positive" role models. The various characters are police, firefighters, medics, vets, and so on. They're all about rescuing people.

Now personally I think there are two things going on with these RH folk. a) They are on some serious steroids. I mean people really, LOOK at these toys! b)Some group of adults had a blast naming these folk. The name for the big firefighter? Billy Blazes. Police officer? Jake Justice. Astronaut? Take your pick there are two -- C.D. Moon and Roger Houston. I'm telling you, those names alone are enough to get me to buy into Logan's habit just so I can keep giggling.

Logan will play *with* his array of toys and make up stories in the process. However, the Rescue Heros have become the one thing he will actually assume the identity of as he runs around 'rescuing' us. Last week, every time he got it in his head to scale a piece of furniture he'd admonish me when I called out "Logan, be careful."

"I'm NOT Logan!" he'd yell annoyed that I didn't already know better. "I am Cliff Climber!"

And I'd have to say without laughing, "Ok, then fine, Cliff Climber, watch yourself."

For his birthday we got him one of the DVDs that contain about 6 episodes of a Rescue Heros cartoon that aired once upon a time. He's been hooked. Every time he's allowed TV since he got the DVD on Saturday he's asking to watch it. And since watching it he's changed his Rescue Hero persona because frankly, the boy is in love.

His target?

Wendy Waters -- She's the red-headed firefighters in the lower left corner of the picture. (If you're curious the other two are "Jack Hammer" and "Billy Blazes." Yup, I know. Its hysterical when you're overtired.)

Using Wendy as his inspiration, my child is now to be referred to (per his request) as Logan Waters, Rescue Hero.

We watched the Rescue Heros Movie this afternoon at Grandma's house (another bday gift). Grandma said to him "Oh, so you like Wendy Waters?"

He blushed and nodded as he grinned. "She's got red hair," he said.


My child the bunny rabbit

Last night I put to bed a child experimenting with walking on her own who was fully capable of inching her way one way or another short distances within a room. Lie her on her back in the crib and she'd flip to sleep on her belly. In the morning you'd find her still there, only she'd be doing modified baby push-ups trying to peek over her bumpers.

I woke up to someone else's kid. Or at least it seemed like it.

The big one got up first. Yelling because today was one of those days where his feet were unable to get out of bed and down the hall without me picking him up first. The yelling woke her majesty, who per usual, babbled happily to herself and then fell into progressively louder shouts of "MAMA!"

What was not usual, however, was how I found her. She wasn't craning her neck to peek up over the purple & green plaid fabric encased bumper. No. She was sitting trying to use the aforementioned bumper to stand herself up. My child dreamt up a way to go from laying down to sitting without my help.

We proceeded through our morning the way we always do. When everyone was nicely settled and happily playing -- and ignoring Mommy while doing so, I skipped down to sneak in a shower. When I got back it was apparent that Miss Thing had left "inching" behind for "get far enough from where you left me to wreak oodles of havoc." She emptied out a box of tissues and then moved on to the coffee table where she was working on pulling herself up.

Tissues cleaned up, baby newly diapered and dressed, children contently playing again with Mom. But the boy throws a wrench into our delirious happiness. He needs to use the bathroom and he wants help. So we leave Megs in the center of the living room next to her big toy basket which she normally is beyond content to knock over and empty. But not this time. This time she cried. I yelled back "You're ok Megan Rose. I need one minute to help your brother. We'll be right back."

And then we heard it.

Thud, thud, giggle, giggle. Thud, giggle, Thud. Thud, Thud, giggle.

It got louder and louder.

"I bet you your sister is in the hallway right this very moment." I said to Logan.

"Naw," he said confidently, "She can't go that far."

Thud, giggle, thud, giggle, giggle, giggle, thud. Louder and louder. Seemingly closer and closer.

"Ahh, well, maybe she *IS* in the hallway," he said.

He washed his hands before running out to investigate. He got just outside the door when he broke out into a fit of laughter - standing at my side as I yelped "How ever did you get here Megan Rose!"

She laughed from where she sat - just three feet max outside the bathroom door in our hallway. A good "half-the-house" type of trip.

And then she showed us. She leaned forward onto her knees, butt off the floor...and she sort of hopped. Again. Then again. Then again. Moving forward faster than we've seen her do it before. Stopping only long enough to giggle. When she got tired of hopping, she scissor kicked her legs - open and shut, open and shut. She used to just use this as a means of spinning in circles for a new view. She's since added "moving forward at an alarming rate of speed" to its short list of useful tricks.

After that Logan and I went on a hunt in the basement for baby gates well Meg napped. We've got one up between the Living Room and the kitchen. The other needs to be assembled still. I never really did need them with the boy.

She's gotten around quite a bit today. I put her down in front of the fridge so she could play with her oversized baby magnets while I explained to the monster that hijacked my 3-year-olds body for half the day that he was going to stay in his room until he was ready to be a human being again. (But maybe not in those exact words.) When I returned less than a minute later, Miss Thing was sitting a good 8 feet from where I'd put her, sticking her magnets on the metal (thankfully lidded) bucket we keep the dog's food in. She saw me enter the kitchen and laughed at me.

She later sat in the office/playroom while whined to a few friends about monsterboy's rotten afternoon and traded notes on who was ticking us off in the local Mom's group with one those IM'ing buddies. I placed Meg on the floor with some toys. Her brother was "resting" in the other room (which is code for watching a video while Mom hoped he'd be still long enough to fall asleep and return to the nice boy that actually lived with us in the morning but left sometime around the time we left StrideRite.) Megan decided she wanted to go visit the crankster. She bunny hopped and scissor kicked her way from the center of the decently sized sunroom to the doorway - she used its single step up into the house to pull herself up and was trying to figure out what to do next when I grabbed her up onto my lap and created a cascade of giggles by kissing her neck and tickling her feet.

She took a break from the "need to be in motion" when I broke out the finger paints. I had tried it earlier in the day as a means to distract her brother from his black cloud mood. All it did then was invoke a loud "NO!" from him. I tried again in the afternoon after one of those IMers suggested it and got the dirty look. So fine, whatever, maybe the baby will enjoy it. She did. And because she did, HE thought it worth his time. They both painted. They both wore paint. They both had fun.

And luckily both were happy and content MOST of the late afternoon after the painting episode. Megan used that time to decide she was ready to walk with the aide of a a push toy. Up and down the hall. Up and down the hall. Through the Living Room, into the bedrooms, up and down the hall. Giggle. Giggle. Chase big brother. Giggle some more.

In between it all she squashed in sizable strolls where she walked unassisted. Its a confidence thing for her now. It'll come. If she THINKS you're holding onto her overall straps, she walks without issue for a decent stretch. When she realizes you don't have her at all, she falls over. Its only a matter of time - and now the house is ready.


On Parenting. . .

Here's the thing folks, once your child does anything more than sleep, eat and relieve themselves, you loose all control. Well ok, frankly, once your child exits the womb, you've lost all control. But since we're talking the way your child interacts with other people, we'll grant you control over the first few months because merely "crying like a banshee" isn't enough for this illustration.

Toddlers & Preschoolers are funny little beings with great big hot tempers. Their frontal lobes are still developing and so sometimes their impulse control sucks. Ok, much of the time it sucks. Make a 2 or 3 year old mad enough and watch out for frailing arms attached to little fists. They hit. Sometimes they kick. Sometimes they even bite. As a parent you do what you can to gently (or sometimes not so gently maybe) enforce the idea that hitting = bad. That stinky impulse control being what it is, however, means that sometimes even KNOWING what you've said in the past, your child may still lash out physically when push comes to shove -- so to speak.

Any realistic parent knows this. You know that no matter how many times you hear yourself say "Do not hit! Hitting is bad." (or something like that) you're going to end up hearing yourself say it again until FINALLY one day it sinks in. The same realistic parent knows that she's not alone in the repetition. She knows that every other mother with a little ball of horomonal confusion in her charge is chanting the same battle cry.

So when Suzy lashes at playgroup, its not something to judge her mom's parenting skills on. "Oh my! What a rotten little imp! What kind of mother must she be for her child to behave that way?!" Simply silly. Yet this is how some parents react. Your child throws himself on the floor in a giant tantrum in the center of the mall? Some parents shoot you dirty looks making judgements of your skills based solely on the 2-year old writhing on the floor screeching "I WANT A LOLLIPOP!!"

The true illustration of your parenting is not your child's behavior. Its how you react to your child's behavior. And this is what makes me bonkers.

Logan has recently (as in this last week) entered this rotten stage where he'll slap another kid when he gets too frustrated. It tends to come in the midst of a circular arguement.

"Its nice to share," he might say.

"No its not" says his friend, who at that moment does not find sharing her favorite pink bucket a nice idea. Something I think we can all identify with yet have been beaten into the PC reaction of not vocalizing it the way only a 3-year old can.

"Yes it is!"

"No its not."




"NO ITS NOT!!!!"

SMACK! goes Logan slapping his open palm on his friend's arm.

He did it again during art class this week when C didn't think it was a good idea to take turns leaping off the big squishy riser thingy onto the thick mat. A few "yes/no" rounds and he let loose. I saw him start to clench his jaw - a sign that nothing good is about to happen. He used to do this with us. You could literally SEE the anger rising in him as he'd clench his jaw and open and close his hands. Then he'd reach out and try to hit. It got him no where good when he'd hit at us so he seemed to have given up on it. Now you see him start to pull back to smack at us and then he'll pound his hand against his hip. But not so with other little kids lately. No, them he just goes ahead and slaps - typically in the arm.

I started moving to him when I saw the jaw tighten. When I saw the arm start to go back I, now a good 5 feet from him, yelled out "LOGAN DANIEL DON'T YOU DARE!"

But he dared. And when he did, C's Mom shot me the dirtiest look she could muster. I was good though. I didn't say what was on my mind, which was "Hey look lady, if you're kid knew how to take turns she'd not have gotten hit. So there." Instead I ignored her and did what I was about to do anyway - I, without a word, swooped my child up so fast he had no idea what hit him. I walked him to a corner of the gym room and I sat him on his butt away from all the fun. I spoke to him firmly using that "Mom is fairly ticked off right now" voice.

"You sit right there and you do not move until I come back for you. Do you understand me? If you move, we leave. Got it?"

He nodded. He "Humpfed." He crossed his hands aross his chest and he pouted. I went back for him and kneeled down before him, demanding that he look me in the eye. "You do NOT hit. Do you understand me?" I waited for him to nod. "I want you to go tell C that you're sorry." And he did.

And that's my point. If the tables had been turned, I'd not judge C's mom based on the way her child behaved - I wasn't even thinking of making any 'judgement' calls on her parenting based on C's inability to take turns. Its a normal 3 year old behavior frankly and so C was being a normal 3 year old. The issue is how a parent handles it. C's mom didn't step in and encourage her child to share the gym equipment with everyone else in class. She stood far off watching it all unfold until her kid got smacked and then she whooshed in to hand out dirty looks. Her concern shouldn't have been with how rotten a mom I must be because of how Logan reacted as much as it should been that her kid was not hurt. She could have shot me all the looks she wanted if I had ignored Logan's behavior or softballed a response to it.

Which brings me to the other mom in class that day. This one is mom to wild child and it seems that he is, in fact, the way he is in part because of the way she parents. One day there were no juice boxes at snack time. J was ticked. He wanted juice. He yelled. He cried. He kicked, hit and punched his mother hard. She pleaded with him "Please, J, please don't hit Mommy like that." And then she went and found him juice from the nursery school that shares the building.

As L sat on the floor pouting, Mom to J said to me, "Wow! You have a child that will actually sit and stay when you put him in a public time out?" She looked at her 4 year old and then back to Logan.

"Well, he didn't always, but he's learned." I said.

"Learned how?" she asked.

"When I put him there I told him very simply that if he moved we were going home." I told her.
She stared at me blankly so I continued. "He knows that I mean it. IF he moves, we're going home. He doesn't want to go home so he's going to do what he's told." And she stared some more. It brought back the image of all of J's tantrums during our 4 month session of classes. His mom is queen of idle threats.

And so learn from her, fellow-parents. If you're going to issue a threat, follow-through on it. The only thing your kid learns otherwise is that they can do whatever they want because you don't mean it.

Look, I certainly don't have all the answers to parenting written down in my secret handbook. My child isn't the well-behaved perfect angel - heck, I just admited that he's got this nasty right hook developing. But I do know the very simple, logical, undeniable truths of parenting:

1. No fair judging a Mom/Dad on her/his child's behavior...only on the way they respond to said behavior if you must judge at all.

2. If you say it, mean it. Even if you regret your threat the moment it leaves your lips - you better follow-through or your kid will quickly learn that you bluff.


Whiney Crank

A few things irk me this evening:

1. One downer to the whole "Mommy" thing - stuffing the goody bag. We've not done much in the way of a birthday party in past years for Logan. He's had a friend or two over and we've had some pizza, some cakem some gifts. This year though we're having more than a friend or two over because we invited the kids in playgroup in the vicity of Logan's age with Mom's I can stand to spend time with. ;) This makes 5 kids in the 3 to 4 range, and a few smaller sibs including one 18 month old who will play with the 'big' kids. So we need 6 goody bags...plus one for birthday boy so make that 7.

Goody "bags" develop static cling. They are a pain in the ample butt to slip sheets of stickers into. And the handles stretch out if you hold onto them for too long. It gets hard to remember who already got a whistle and who needs bubbles. Saturday it'll be tough to figure out which of the bags had the pink playdoh in it. And honestly, someone is going to hate the flavor lollipop they got. And why can't I just be the lazy one that orders than pre-made?!

2. Nightmares in children - my son just yelled out. Its 11pm. Everyone but me is already asleep. He cried. He called for me. He's scared. Bad dream. He won't say what it was. He just wanted to be hugged and held. Poor kid. Back to sleep fast. Thankfully. He's a good, cooperative sleeper normally, so that's not a surprise. I just hate that his overactive imagination can haunt him at night sometimes.

3. Spiders - there was a big, giant, ugly, taunting spider playing with the Thomas layout moments ago. I can't ever bring myself to squish a bug I can't step on and leave in my wake. Its not that I care about the poor little bug, its that I hate thinking that I'll feel the squished up thing. Oh it grosses me out. Instead I go find my husband and I say "You're already going to hell for the last 3 dozen bugs you've offed on my behalf so no complaining about this one. There it is. Kill it!"

But he's asleep so its me and giant spider staring each other down. Ok I'm staring, he's playing with Lady the Golden Engine.

Of course to make matters worse, Logan is in a major "I hate bugs" phase. If his new giant multi-legged playmate is still hanging with Thomas and Friends in the morning we're going to have major screaming on our hands. I had to take action. I had no choice.

But squishing is out of the question, remember. So instead I litered.

Grabbed a sheet of paper from the printer. Placed the corner of it down in front of the spider's path and it walked up onto the sheet. Then I freaked out that the humongous thing was about to eat off my entire right arm, so I dropped the sheet of paper.

Picked it up again and decided that instead of letting the ugly monster climb on the paper, I'd just use the sheet to scoot it out the back door. I gently nudged it over and over until we got to the door, opened it quickly as the spider climbed again onto the paper. And I paniced - the whole arm eating thing again. I threw the paper out the back door, spider and all. And now I'm not too keen into walking out there and retrieving it. There is a chance my mortal enemy the Thomas loving big nasty thing is still clinging to the blank sheet. So I leave it there and in the morning as my husband and father venture out to set-up the infamous swing set (another example of the fine hunting and locating skills of men in my world) they will come find me and ask why I'm throwing perfectly good sheets of paper out the back door.

And when I tell them they are going to laugh at me. I'm not sure they're going to buy the whole arm eating premise.

Maybe I can distract them with the extra set of bubbles and mini-playdoh I have from the goody bag adventure.


Walking, yes siree

So Meg is walking.

She's not walking laps. She's not walking distances. But she is walking.

Megan seems to stand better, sometimes, when she's got something to hold in each hand. Its as if having her hands full distracts her from getting over excited and tripping herself up. So we placed an oversized toy key in other hand after she pulled herself up using me as leverage.

She stood still for a moment and then she started to move. One step. Then another. Dropped the keys. Another step. And another...and another...until she had moved just shy of half the room to the coffee table. All on her own. All without a single hand helping her balance.

When she got her hands down on the table she laughed. She does that when she's proud of herself. She laughs. Then she cheers, "AYYYY!!" Then she claps. And she did all that after her walk.


And he was one giant proud smile. He nodded and he said very proudly "Yes I did, she walked! She walked all by herself!" Of course, he then attempted to pry her hands off the table to make her do it again. If he knew the word Encore, he'd have been yelling it.

Megan went walking several more times this evening - this time between Bruce and I. Logan did this when he first started walking. Its all he'd do - all he felt confident enough to do. From Mom to Dad. Dad to Mom. Over and over until he could it consistantly without falling. And now Meg does the same thing. Back and for, back and forth. Sometimes she gets a bit overzealous and she reaches her arms out ahead of her farther ahead than her feet can keep up, which makes her fall. Other times she gets cocky and she attempts to change direction, hanging a 180, midstride, which sometimes works, and other times knocks her on her keister.

Regardless, the girl is walking.

We toyed around with placing bets on when she'd get to this point. The choices were "before Logan's birthday" or "Sometime after his birthday but before hers." Here we sit, just over the 9 month mark of her life, just a week and one day short of Logan's birthday, and Megan is starting to walk.

Time to pay up, Papa.

Perfection for J in comments

First to Jessica - everyone's ideal husband is different and so the secret to finding him is there is no real hard-and-fast rule. ;) Of course that said, the best advice is to take your time, don't rush in. Be friends first. Even if you date right away, build a friendship before you delve into forever. The strongest of marriages seem built around best friends. At least that's the way I see it.


Maybe its genetic

I very clearly identify with one of my mother's pet peeves. We saw evidence of it often growing up - often enough that she doesn't have to tell me it irks her. I just know.

"Honey? Where is the (fill-in name of missing item here)?" my dad would shout from his spot in the garage.

"In the garage, next to the bag of winter clothes," she'd call out sometimes. Or maybe it'd be next to the recycables, or on the work bench, or on the shelf near the old cans of paint.

"I'm standing in the garage, its not here," he'd say, clearly aggravated.

And so she'd get up and leave behind whatever it was she was doing to head into the garage. She'd walk right to the spot she had told him to look in and retrieve the missing item. "Here," she'd say as she spun on her heel and walked away leaving him slack jawed.

This inability to actually *look* for something seemed to have rubbed off on my brother as well. Both men in the family have this knack for not moving items out of their way and really search. If what they want is not in broad day light, its does not exist. It frustrates my mother.

Today as my work day neared an end, bossman came striding over to the stack of items shipped back to us from the recent trade event. He was looking for a particular box - the one with the unused polo shirts and pens in it.

"Where's my box?" he said first to the guy sitting nearest the pile and then to me. "The one that said clearly - bossman's box."

"It said Bossman's office," I corrected him after sensing he was clearly in a good mood, "And I put it in your office."

"Its not there," he said and he smirked that smirk of his. Its the look that says "Ah, ha! I'm about to catch you not following through on something you were supposed to do"

"It *is* there," I said. "I put it there myself yesterday. Come, let's go for a walk. I'll show you." And off we went. I didn't mention to him I also knew it was there because I had been rooting through it just an hour ago to snag 6 shirts for another customer event tomorrow. A distribution of shirts he himself had already approved. But that's ok. It was going to be more fun to prove my point this way.

We entered his office and there, right where I had left it, was the box. I told him so as I pointed to it, the flaps splayed open and shirts, no longer tucked neatly inside, were resting on top of the pile of loot.

"No, that's not it!" He was starting to get cocky with the taste of victory. "The box I'm looking for very cleary said *Bossman's box.*"

I reached down. Pushed a few of the shirts in deep to the bottom, pulled one of the flaps shut so that he could read its scribble. "You mean like that?" I said and pointed to the circled "Bossman's Office" inked with a blue ballpoint.

"Oh," he said sheepishly. "I guess it is here."

"Don't worry Bossman," I said laughing as he dashed away with a fistful of pens that bore our logo. "Its just like being at home."

"The kids?" he called back over his shoulder.

"No," I said. "The husband."

So when we get home tonight I relate the story to said husband - without the part that included him.

"What a idiot!" says my darling husband. "He really does need his hand held."

I smile and nod. Letting it slide. Letting him think he's above all that hand holding crap.

We take the kids into the backyard for a bit and marvel over how fast the grass is browning in spots with the lack of water. I point out, once again, that we've not been watering the backyard (nor adequately watering my garden) since he and the boy took the sprinkler out front to water their beloved green grass. Every time I think to water the back, the boys have the thing running out front.

"I couldn't find the sprinkler," he said. "Both Logan and I looked every where. I could swear we had a yellow one. I looked in the garage. I looked on the side of the house. Can't find it. I guess I was thinking of that green one and just messed up the color."

Time passed. I went out front to shut the water off and to retrieve the green sprinkler so my poor parched tomato plants could drink up. I pulled the long heavy hose to the side of the house where its haphazardly stored when not in use. I stopped. I laughed. I bent over and reached in amongst the vinca vine with its small dainty purple flowers.

The yellow sprinkler. The bright yellow, clearly visible, sprinkler nestled in amongst the rich green leaves. Sure, it didn't sit out in the open, but frankly, you can't miss that color sticking out of those plants.

I brought it in the house - the missing sprinkler. I held it behind my back as I approached my husband.

"I think we need to call bossman." I said.

"Why?" he asked, understandably confused as to why I'd want to track down that man at night.

"I think its only fair, seeing as how you called him an idiot, that he know he's not alone," I said.

He looked puzzled, but only for a moment. Once he saw the sprinkler he hung his head in defeat. "But I looked every where! Logan and I both looked. We couldn't find it. Where was it hiding?"

"Hmmm, guess its true," I said after I told him about how the sprinkler had been right where he'd always left it - resting next to the hose on the side of the house.

"What's that?" he asked warily.

"Maybe it is genetic."


Just right

My husband must belong to Baby Bear. You know, Baby Bear of Three Bear fame? Goldilocks tried out the chairs, the beds and the porridge of three bears and each time Baby Bear's possessions where a perfect fit for that fair blonde trespasser.

Last night as we lie in the dark hoping the dog's neurotic pacing up and down the hallway would not wake the baby, I whispered to my dear man, "You know what? You're the perfect Dad."

He was quiet. So quiet, in fact, I thought that perhaps only *I* was hoping the dog's neurotic pacing wasn't going to awaken the baby. I thought that surely the man was asleep. But he wasn't. He was stunned into silence. Just as I was nestling into the soft feathers beneath me I heard him whisper back, "I'm not perfect."

But he is.

Ok, so fine, he's not perfect in the literal sense. He has faults. He makes mistakes. Sometimes he can tick me off more than my insane dog. So no, he's not perfect as in pristine. He's perfect in the way a fine tailored suit fits the body of its owner. He fits our family like the proverbial glove.

But its more than that.

The perfect Dad has his moments. Sometimes he makes his kids angry. He loses his temper on occasion. He makes his wife fall into a swirling fit of irritation once and a while. He can be absentminded and/or preoccupied. He can burn dinner. He has forgotten, once or twice, to call when he's going to be late.

Yet, he's adoring. He sees his children for the beautiful souls they are. He loves them because of their faults, not in spite of them. He takes the time to thank his wife for the job she does - raising their children, keeping their home, loving him. He recognizes the challenge being "mom" is and praises her often for handling it well.

He works hard, not just at his career, but at the things that keep the household going - mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, changing the diapers. He forfeits Saturday golfing because its more important to him to have time with his offspring than with his putter. He reads each night to a child. He hugs and kisses away boo-boos and fears.

He cheers when a child uses the bathroom. He claps when a baby fakes a cough. He gets up from the table and handles the dishes without being nagged into it. He assumes laundry duty each week - even though he detests the whole process of getting the family clothes crisply clean.

The perfect Dad whisks his son off for a ride on a Transit train just because his son loves trains. They don't go anywhere but up two stations and back. Its for the ride not the destination and Dad knows his child well enough to know that this is all that matters to the boy.

The perfect Dad works at putting tights on his squirming, rolling, gigging, ticklish daughter because he knows that the family is running late and his wife is too busy convincing their son that he really can't take his entire collection of trucks to church.

He'd rather spend a warm summer evenings lying in the grass with both children strewn across his midsection than hanging out on the softball field with the guys. He cherishes those moments of staring up at the clouds trying to locate one that looks like a T-rex.

To him, the biggest compliment is hearing his preschooler sigh and say "Some day, when I'm a big man, I'm going to be a Daddy." He melts when his baby girl smiles at him, grabs his face with her fat fingers and squeals "DaDa!"

He's forgotten that an adult really can eat dinner without feeding one a child on side of him and cajoling a child on the other side of him to just *try* one bite. He's forgotten what its like to 'sleep-in.' He's forgotten that a person really can use the bathroom in his own home without a pint-sized audience. He's sacrificed his peace for his children.

He can be found laying on the floor, surrounded by toys, making the sound of a train. He's seen holding a stuffed, pink doll with yellow yarn braids - he bounces it as if it walks and he talks in as high a voice as his male voice box allows him to as he says, "Hello, Megan!"

He hugs his wife close and he says to her "I'm sorry you had a rough day. What can I do to help?" He encourages her to excel at all she attempts. He comforts her when she needs it, even when she doesn't realize that she does. He sends her off to the spa at just the right time. He says "I'll watch the kids, you go out."

He doesn't have to be pristine. He's everything his family needs and then some. He's love. He's foundation. He's glue. He's theirs. He's mine. He's ours.

We're Goldilocks and he's everything Baby Bear has.

Perfect fit.

Happy Father's Day.


Aren't they all

Logan is determined NOT to be referred to as "little boy." If someone should unknowingly utter the phrase he takes great offense and immediately berates the offender with a shrieked "I AM NOT A LITTLE BOY! I am a big boy!" So today's declaration took me a bit by surprise. As we drove to art class today Logan said sweetly from the backseat:

"I am a little big boy."

And I said, "Huh?" Even the phrase "little man" is enough to get him going so this self-dubbed little big thing caught me off guard.

"I'm a big boy but I can't reach up high without a stool so I'm little," he explained.

Ok, so that made sense.

This, however, is not nearly as endearing as yesterday's declaration that he's a "man-boy."

Its a concept he shared with Grandma and I again today as we walked in to one of his favorite stores - Target.

"I'm a man-boy!" he said in response to something we had asked him.

Grandma nodded and said almost absent mindly, "Man-boy? Hmm, yes, aren't they all."


More preschooler logic

Logan said, "I need water goggles and ear clips."

Grandma and Mommy collectively said, "Why?"

Logan replied, "So I can learn to swim. I can't learn to swim wifout them."


Logan said, "Mom, you got to stop watering the garden plants!"

Mom said, "Why?"

Logan said, "Because you gonna drown them. They can't swim."

Hmm, anyone guess what's on his mind lately? ;)


Determined little bugger

Megan is 9 months and 2 days old.

Megan is hellbent on walking.

Not just walking.

Walking. By. Herself.

She gets around on her own fairly well using any one of her methods - cruising, backwards crawling, crawling, scooting on her rear-end, scissor kicking in circles. . .you name it, she does it.

And although she's happy to be self-mobile to a degree, she much prefers the sort of movement that gets her from here to there fast and on two feet. Cruising only works when she has a piece of furniture to hold onto. Big people come in handy - one hand or two - but they also have a habit of curbing her exploration. For example, mean Mommy won't let her near the plants so she can pull the leaves off. And darn Daddy won't allow her to leap on top of the dog to pull fistfuls of fur from the animal's body.

So Megan is determined to figure out this walking thing. Of course, one must wonder if she'd actually do it for real if her excitement didn't get in her way. Last night she stood at the coffee table. I sat about two feet behind her on the floor. Megan turned herself around to face me and let go with both hands. She stood still for a moment and then started to walk to me - one step, two steps, three steps, arms started flapping, baby started laughing and suddenly her pudgey little arms were wrapped around my neck as she nuzzled her face into my arm.

She tried a command performance for at least a half hour afterwards. She'd go from Dad to Mom with big brother sitting off to the side as her personal cheering section. "GO MEGAN! YOU CAN DO IT! YOU'RE A BIG GIRL!" he'd yell and clap for her. "Look Mom! Look Dad! She's walking!"

Yet she wasn't - not really. Steady her on her feet facing Dad and she'd turn herself around to face Mom. Then she'd flap her arms as if she'd rather fly than walk. She'd giggle and she'd lunge, falling into my arms instead of walking into them. Each time she'd get so excited to be there on her own feet, on her own balance - thrilled knowing that she had taken solo steps moments before - that she'd flap and giggle and over do it. She'd giddily knock herself off balance and the whole 'walking' thing would fall to the way side.

But she's close. She's so very close. When she's not overthinking it - when she's not focused on the fact that no one is holding her up, she walks. She does a small number of steps here and there before she realizes she's doing it and either reaches out for a support as her confidence oozes out of her or giddily knocks herself back on her butt with the excitement of her clapping.

Sometimes we can't wait for her to figure it all out - our backs ache for her independence. The idea that she can satisfy her own need to be in motion without our assistance seems delightful. Yet there is also the understanding that a fully mobile and hands free Megan means nothing is safe. Not the dog. Not the plants. Not big brother's loot of toys. Not the diaper basket, the book shelf, the stash of DVDs and video tapes. Nothing.

I suppose now is a good time to figure out how to work those baby gates again.


Things I'd say if the pounding stopped

Today I have the world's worst sinus headache. At least I think its a sinus headache. Maybe its horomonal. Maybe its lack of quality sleep. Maybe its stress. I don't actually care, I just know it hurts and nothing makes it go away. Its not a migrane; its just a headache. A rotten, dull, thudding headache. And sometimes my face hurts in the places where my sinuses exist.

But if I didn't have a rotten stinking headache I'd write all about the fantastic weekend we had taking Mr. Boy to see his all-time most favorite thing in the world - Thomas the Tank Engine. I'd write about how the wonder and awe were just written on his little face each time we'd see a new train at the museum or get up close to the real-deal at the Railroad station the day of the "Day out With Thomas" event we had tickets for. I'd write about how aboslutely in love he is with camping now and how he's asked us often since our return if we could PLEASE pitch our tent and camp again. . . even if just in the backyard.

I'm not writing all that though 'cause the pressure above and next to my nose is too much to think in coherent sentences long enough to write all that.

If my head wasn't thudding, I'd write about how I finally broke down and stopped in at the kiosk in the Mall where they sell phones and contracts with the company we've had our cell phones with forever and a day. I'd tell you that I finally entered the new era of flip-phones because they finally had one with a rebate offer that made the phone $10. I don't use a cell often enough to make the money worth spending on such a thing otherwise. I'd tell you how much fun I had playing with my new toy tonight and how I'm wondering if I'll remember all the assigned speed dial numbers tomorrow.

I'm not writing that because I fear with the soft push of pressure against my ear drums there is no I'll possibly remember all the things I set up tonight so why bother mentioning it.

I'd write to say that the boxes all finally showed up at the trade show last week and the speech went well enough that bossman got kudos from strangers. I'm not writing all that though because my eyes are starting to feel puffy and itchy.

I'd write to say that I hate pollen and I hate humidity and I hate having a cold at the same time pollen counts are high and I'm sure I'm going to end up at the doctor with a dx of 'sinus infection' sometime soon. . .but I'd rather not think of all that, so I won't write about it.

I'd write to say how much fun it is to have an intern in your charge. How cool it is to be able to hand over some of those things on your to do list that never seem to have time to get done. I'd write to say how cute she was giving me her cell number in case I ever needed her for something when she wasn't in. Silly girl. She needs to learn that some people will take advantage of that. Never give out a number you don't want called repeatedly at all hours of the day and night - trust me. I'd write about who called me on work related stuff at 10pm Tuesday night but its still too irritating to be funny so I won't.

I could write about the little 2.5 year old in my local mom's group that was just diagnosed with cancer - but it makes me cry to think of it so I won't. I'll just say pray for her and her family.

I'd write to say my uncle is now losing sight in his right eye and strength in his right side, but its not the sort of "uplifting and light" post I was going for in an attempt to distract me from my headache.

I'd write about much it can irk me when one of my 5 college roommates harps on the fact that the other 4 of us don't go to reunion with her. The only year she forgave me for missing it was the year I got married and reunion fell during my honeymoon. I'd write how another of the 5 hardly ever speaks to me ever since I bailed out of her wedding party because I was surprised with a pregnancy I didn't think would ever happen and the baby (Logan) was due just 12 days after her wedding date and when all was said and done, I was in the hospital being induced the day she walked down the aisle. But, there is a reason her last name is literally "Shallow". I'd write about how neat it is that the roommate I am closest with now was the one that I was most likely to want to beat the crap out of then.

I'd write about a lot of stuff, but my head hurts so instead I'm going to bed.


Made it

We're working under the assumption that the other two packages arrived in the hands of bossman without issue. We had confirmation from the carrier that the boxes were indeed in the correct hotel. It was just a matter of getting bossman down to the right spot to retrieve them. He didn't call anyone yelling or demanding so we can assume he located what he needed to.

We can also assume he finally got the missing box of CDs and cables that went to the wrong hotel the first time. As it turns out the driver of the big brown truck realized his mistake after he had scanned it in and had it signed for at the wrong place. He took it back but didn't note it anywhere in their system. We worked with the idea, for a bit, that he had indeed brought it to the right place. But no, the guy has only half-a-brain. He was riding around in his truck with it and didn't get it to the right space until 10:30 am the following day. You'd think they could work on a little customer service. "Hmmm, this says it was shipped for next-day am delivery. They probably can't wait a whole day. We messed up in getting it missorted, perhaps I ought to drop it off Tuesday instead of waiting the full extra day until someone reminds me I have it and I get it there late."


Later I will look back and laugh. . .

I was around the corner from the house last night. It was 6:30 pm. I had just picked up the kids after a day of work in the office. I was going to come in the front door. Get them ready for bed after a half hour of play and then hit the gym.

But my cell rang. Bossman and the most high-maintenance sales gal out of an entire team of high maintenance sales folk were in a meltdown. The shipment of our trade show stuffs was not where it should be at the convention center. Two of us - me here and another in the mid-west - set about to find the missing goods.

And find them we did.

We had signed confirmation that something had been delivered to us at the convention center, see. So the thought was that our boxes were misplaced somewhere on the show floor. But no.

The carrier put had left them on their shipping dock and brought us someone else's stuff. They quickly rushed us our items - nearly 3 hours after the mad search had begun for them.

There's another box missing. This one was shipped to the hotel. We had tracking numbers on that one that indicated a signature at delivery. Called this carrier - a national, big time, carrier for b2b and consumer shipping. They missorted.

Our box didn't go to the hotel we're at. It went several doors down the block to another hotel.

Can it get better? still waiting to locate to other packages that were to arrive this am. No word yet if they're missing or on time.


When you thought it'd never happen. . .

Well certainly I didn't *really* think we'd be investing in baby dentures - at least not in my sane moments. It just became a joke amongst the family.

Megan is never getting teeth. She will grow big and strong and toothless. She will gum her meat like her GranderNanny (aka my grandmother).
Only now she has gotten a chopper.

Megan's first tooth started to poke through yesterday, a week exactly before her 9 month 'birthday'. I felt the tip of it when I picked her up after work. When she actually smiled for me wide without sticking her tongue out over her gums to spite me I saw it. I saw the tip and the faint white line of the rest of the tooth hiding beneath the small bit of gum that was left.

Today the top edge is in completely.

One tooth down.

So many left to go.

At least now we know she *is* chewing & drooling to grow teeth and not just to confuse already confused adults.


Little things

Sometimes being a mother can feel like you spend a lot of time focused on mundane things. So much time, in fact, that the little things get lost in a cloud of dust you haven't yet had the time to wipe away.

Its easy to go to bed at night and focus on the fact that three-years old means a whole lot of attempts at snatching control and power. I mean, really, I can't have the only three year old that stomps his foot and screeches "I AM NOT A CHILD! I AM A BIG BOY AND I AM IN CHARGE! I GIVE YOU A TIME OUT!"

I also can not be the only mother on the planet with an infant that thinks if her eyes are open, her feet must be moving with mom's help, of course. Walking around lending your 8.5 month old a hand for support can get hard on the back. Of course this means that while you lie in bed at night pondering how a preschooler can present struggles you didn't expect to see until he was 13 - ok, maybe 12 - you do so rubbing your sore lower back wishing the girl would just grow an affinity for the little "learn to walk with me" dumb truck.

Of course, when its not them its other stuff. Its the general bummer that work can be. I mean really, even people that love their jobs would rather be living it up on vacation, right? Its not "this" job, its just any job. I like what I do but do it only because I have to.

Or maybe its the house - something else needs to be fixed or replaced. Maybe its my husband. Or my brother. ..or my extended family. Maybe its the way I weigh more than I wish I did.

And then there's a moment when the husband is away on business and the kids are in bed. I sit at the PC to do some catching up with little things I've let slide. . . and I realize that its all little things. The teenaged attitude onset at 3 is really rather small in the grand scheme of things. What matters is now loving and compassionate the little man is the vast majority of the time.

Walking around hunched over to help the girl isn't quite as painful as it can be made out to be. What's important is that she seems to already live her life with such incredible zeal and passion for discovery. Both of which help her maintain what seems an almost perpetual good mood (notice I said "almost.")

All that other stuff - minute.

Its easy to focus on the negative little things. Some how the mere fact that they aren't tickling your funny bone makes them huge. Its easy to see a small speck of dirt and image it a mud pit. What's not always easy is to see the little good things for the huge celebrations that they are. Or even just the itty bitty silly things that make you smile even if you're not sure it should.

So celebrate and smile I will.

1. Today was a true summer day made to feel all the hotter since just two days ago it was only in the 50s. We had a wonderful day spent mostly outdoors.

2. Knowing the pool at the grandparents was still icky (which is pool-owner speak for "still filled with mud and algae from sitting all winter long) I didn't bother to bring the kids' bathing suits with us today. But I should have. They do have a sprinkler to run through and run through Logan did.

At first he went through with his shorts on but he didn't like the feeling of the wet fabric clinging to his legs. He then set about to remove every stitch of clothing he had on - which wouldn't be have been the end of the world if the sprinkler weren't set up on the front lawn.

Next he went through in just his underwear. Again, not liking the wet undies after a bit. He came over to where Megan sat playing with grass blades and a mountain of toys. She did not like the cold sprinkler water so much, but because we had experimented with it she sat in a Lil' Swimmers diaper. A pink sided, Little Mermaid, lil' Swimmers diaper.

Logan said "Can I take these off" as he tugged his Bob the Builder drawers lower and lower. "Please! Please! Please! I can wear one of Meggie's swimmies! I like Princesses! PLEASE!" So wear the sized Medium (slightly big on Megan, slightly snug on Logan) pink, Little Mermaid swim diaper he did - and he did so proudly. That's my "secure in his manhood" little man.

3. There isn't much better at bolstering your self-esteem than having a round of applause set off by your mere entry to a room. Babies are good for giving us "normal" folk that pleasure. Megan has learned to clap. She uses it to communicate her general pleasure over just about anything. Food she likes? She claps. Pleased with herself for getting a block in the right opening of the bucket? She claps. Got her shoe off on her own? She claps for herself proudly. Mommy walks into a room? Her face lights up with a giant ear to ear smile and she claps as she sighs deeply.

Yah, that feels good.

4. As we got ready for bed tonight, Logan flopped himself back on his bed. "I'm sick" he said.

"You are? What's wrong honey? Where don't you feel good?" I was a bit thrown because he didn't act as if he didn't feel well.

"It starts at my butt and goes all the way up here and into my head then it comes out my ears." He said. Then he smiled and said sweetly, "I just foolin' you."

5. As I sat on the floor playing with both kids today Logan barreled into me - leaping as he did so and throwing his arms around my neck so that he hung suspended at my back. "Awww, Mom. I love you. We're bestest friends, right?"

Ok, so I'm sure when he really is 13 he'll have a different mindset on this one, but for now I'm taking it for all its worth and then some. And I'm blogging it so when he's 13 someone out there can remind me that once upon a time he said "I love you" not "I hate you! You're ruining my life!"


Look Ma! No hands!

Well it just seems early to me but maybe I'm off on my milestones and timing, blah, blah, blah. Megan has been a bit more physical than Logan was at her age. . .and he cruised early, then worked up the courage to walk at 10 months. Miss Thing has been pulling herself up and cruising for a bit now. At 5.5 months she started holding our hands and 'running'. At 7.5 months she started literally cruising on her own around furniture. She's been pulling herself up from a seated position to stand for over a week. She'll be 9 months old on June 12th. . .and moments ago she just let go of my hand and her activity table to stand unsupported for nearly a full minute in the center of the room. She swayed a bit and flapped her arms like a baby bird to keep her balance, but holy cow - "Look Ma! No hands!"

The child had contemplated crawling. She does get around when left to her own devices - she crawls backwards, she inch worms, her favorite thing to do is pull/push herself in circles that slowly move her from Point A to Point B regardless of where that is. When she sits she scissor kicks to turn herself in a circle until she finds what she wants. Sometimes she's able to move her legs in and out in such a way that she butt-scoots forward - but the standing is new. She was incredibly proud and finally began to topple when her excitement and pride got the balancing bird flapping arms moving too quickly in celebration. I caught her as she laughed and smiled. Logan clapped for her and she laughed at him yelling her latest form of Brother "Braba!"

UPDATED TO ADD: And just to show off a little, Megan decided to try some more standing on her own. She started to lean a bit too far forward and took two steps instead. She enjoyed those steps so much she keeps trying to do it again. She's not quite got enough balance yet to really stand for long on her own, let alone actually walk, but she's trying. She keeps standing with one hand on the table and then laughs as she moves to walk towards us. She gets nervous and ends up grabbing one hand before she lets go of the table. She's tried walking to Logan but he's not quite big enough to hold her up. She ended up on her butt the one time she actually trusted him enough to let go of the furniture.


done for now

And so *my* speech outline is done for now. It took me a lot longer than it should with all the email reading, blog catching-up, blog writing, IM'ing and whatnot that I was doing as a means to distract myself from the feeling of sinking beneath the muck and mire of not knowing what the hell I was writing about. The joys of being a PR maven*

While I learned a lot about the topic at hand, I also discovered that a current thread on a email group was raising a handful of questions for a friend and me. Perhaps there is someone out there in blogworld that can help us solve the mystery:

1. What exactly is baby dust?
2. (see above) Can those struggling to conceive a child reverse their misfortune if they stop cleaning? Could a dust rag be removing all traces of some magical pixie like aid?
3. In the same vein, what is a "baby vibe(s)"?
4. Is it really possible that years of fertility woes could be wiped away by one good HSG and a lot of the aforementioned dusty vibes?
5. Does email etiquette require the receiver of well-wishes and prayers to individually reply to each and every one or does one big blanket "Thanks I appreciate" it cover you?

* I prefer PR Maven to Flack. By the way, thanks to Sandra for pointing out exactly how Public Relations-esque this task was. And here I was just going to label it bossman laziness....er preoccupation with more important things.

Can you spell procrastination

For the last 46 minutes I've been sitting here "working." Ask me how much I've accomplished. Ok, actually, wait, don't waste your breath on such an inane question. I have accomplished nothing at all. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

My task? To refine the very indepth, detailed outline for bossman's 15 minute speech - the one he will deliver next week. The topic is something neither he, nor I, are actually experts in. I have a slew of notes and just got a whole slew more handed to me today by two of our partners. I have no idea where to jump into this mess. I worked on it from 9pm last night until 1am this morning. I touched it on and off all day today. And here I sit, staring at the screen again - chatting with a friend via IM instead of working as I should be.

I promised bossman an updated outline by the time he opens his little eyes tomorrow. What the hell was I thinking?!