April 10, 2013
I invented a new phrase not too long ago after I visited a friend to meet her new baby: baby amnesia. Truth be told I’m hardly that far removed from the infant stage — our son is only 2 ½ — but it’s amazing how quickly I forgot what a teeny tiny little baby felt and sounded like. It happens every time I find myself around someone’s new bundle of joy. How do I hold it? Why does it feel like its head is going to fall off? Was Junior’s cry really that high pitched when he was born? Why can’t I remember anything from his early days? Baby amnesia.
In the last several days I’ve adopted yet another new term: puppy amnesia. Yes, roughly a month after losing our beloved golden retriever we stumbled upon a beautiful red one who had just been surrendered to our local humane society. What an unexpected discovery right outside of Trader Joe’s (aka my wine haven) last weekend. I elbowed my way through the small group of people who were trying to get to know her and decided she needed to be ours. So I plopped Junior down on a chair and fed him donut holes while I filled out the application. Several days later I came home from an evening work function and, for the first time in 5 weeks, was greeted at the door by a dog.
And this is where my puppy amnesia set in… Was our old fella this rambunctious when he was seven months old? Did he like to dig up the back yard? Did he insist on twisting himself up in the leash EVERY time it was clipped onto his collar? Did he grab every paper product in his path and ingest it in 2.3 seconds? To some of those questions I can answer “yes” and to others I can definitely say “no.” Our first golden was a rare one; yes he was goofy and rambunctious and never learned how NOT to jump when he greeted people. But he never had any interest in eating stuff. This new dog has an affinity for napkins. I guess that’s a heck of a lot better than furniture though…
So off to obedience school we’ll go. She’s a beautiful pup and we can tell she’s got it in her to be a wonderful dog. She just never had the discipline early on, sort of like a young child who never had any real boundaries and acts up as a result of it. Well call me Mrs. Boundaries from this point on, because they’re being set. Junior can’t spend the next 6 months being the dog’s unwilling tackling dummy.
Are we crazy? Lately I think the answer is YES. But what fun is life without a little bit of crazy mixed in? And a little slobber, shredded napkin debris, a newly tormented cat, and a yard full of poop…
March 19, 2013
First, let me explain my little hiatus from the blogging world… Without going into too much detail, I unexpectedly lost two members of my immediate family (my beloved dad and my beloved dog) in a very short period of time. So needless to say, life has been quite sad and hectic in 2013. We are praying for comfort, and praying that we can learn to accept – and one day – enjoy life without two special members of our family. There are good days and bad, but we are all pushing forward.
One thing that was high on my priority list for the New Year was potty training. Santa dropped off an exquisite Elmo potty for Junior, brightly colored with a realistic sounding flusher. What more could a 2-year old ask for? Diapers. That’s what he asked for.
For obvious reasons potty training took a backseat once our lives were turned upside down so suddenly. I didn’t have the time, the energy, or the patience to fight over where his pee pee landed. But now, the change of the season demands a change in bathroom habits. So I told his daycare teacher to do what they do when it comes to potty training, and I dusted off the Elmo commode at home.
I’ve heard from a number of people that boys are slower to use the potty than girls. So I expected a little push back from him. What I wasn’t expecting was kicking, screaming, crying, and what appeared to be plain old fear of the potty. He seems to do better at daycare because he sees his other little buddies doing it. In fact, the other day he raced over to me when I arrived to pick him up and squealed “I pee peed in the potty Mommy!!” I was so pumped and thought we’d turned a corner. That night he agreed to sit on his potty at home (without his pants on this time) and I thought to myself, “wow, that wasn’t so hard.” Idiot… If I’m lucky he sits on the potty once a day at home and not one dribble has landed in the yellow plastic bowl. He likes to pour water in it. He likes to stand on it. He likes to encourage ME to go pee pee on the potty. But him? Nada. Even now at school they say he’ll sit on it for a few seconds but rarely opens the floodgates.
He’s only 2 ½ so there’s hardly a reason for concern. But it surprises me a little that my son, who prides himself on being a “big boy”, is so adamant that he’s going to wear diapers forever. I’ve bribed him with candy and treats (don’t judge) and I’ve told him how he’s the only one of his big boy friends who still uses a diaper (don’t judge). Many people have suggested that when it gets warmer, I should just let him run around naked or in regular undies so he doesn’t have the comfort of a diaper. He’ll learn that he doesn’t want to go on himself, so he’ll use the potty. I’ll give it a whirl and see how it goes. In the meantime I’m hoping he’ll just wake up one day, grab a good book, and ask me for some privacy so he can take care of business…
I’m open to other wee wee words of wisdom so please share!
January 7, 2013
I’m actually going to recycle a previous blog post from last summer because it still holds true today (if not more). I love my little sidekick more than anything, but his whining skills have improved tenfold since I first wrote this blog. The funny thing is, most of the time he’s faking it! I can usually find a way to divert his attention to something else, and presto, the “whoa is me” act is over. Yep, I’m learning a little bit more every day…
Grammar Lesson (originally posted 7/16/2012)
hom·o·phone [hom-uh-fohn]: A word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not. Courtesy: www.dictionary.com.
Back in middle school we were given some common examples to illustrate this phonetic term: “carat” and “carrot”; “two” and “too”; “there” and “their”, to name a few. I’d like to introduce a new, more relevant example that is applicable in my adult life: “wine” and “whine”.
Wine is a delicious beverage that often encourages feelings of happiness and relaxation. It can be red, white, or pink, but careful consideration must be given to the pink variety as it can be tricky… Wine can vary greatly in price, but my experience typically falls in the “$10 or less” category. Wine is a bright spot in one’s day; the more wine, the brighter the day becomes, until things turn hazy and that means there’s been too much.
Oh how things change when you add one single letter – h – to that lovely word: wine becomes whine. Whine is also a regular occurrence in my life, yet it does not lead to feelings of happiness or relaxation. It comes in one variety only: annoying. If I could pay to make it stop I would definitely branch out of the “$10 or less” bucket. But unfortunately it is a free service provided by my toddler, one from which I cannot unsubscribe, much like junk mail and the Yellow Pages book that still shows up on my doorstep.
It should be noted that there is a distinct cause-and-effect element in play. Whine (the bad kind) very often leads to wine (the good kind). Unfortunately that’s not appropriate at 7:45 on a Monday morning, but sometimes I wish it was. In the evenings, however, a good dose of whine may be matched by a good dose of wine. And that’s what makes homophones fun.
January 2, 2013
I was dreading this morning. There were the obvious reasons, like going back to the office after a week of not being there, having to wake up to the sound of a blaring alarm, the realization that the holidays are in fact over, and there’s nothing exciting happening in the near future. But even more dreadful was the thought of getting Junior up, dressed, fed, and out the door when he’s been living a life of leisure for the last 10 days…
Grandparents have been in town. Friends have been over. We’ve visited people. Children’s museum. Errands. Going to bed late and sleeping in. Hit or miss naps. A fraction of the schedule we’re normally accustomed to. And in addition to our loosey goosey way of life, Junior is knee-deep in the “I’ll do it myself” phase, meaning he doesn’t want me to help him with ANYTHING. And as you can imagine, it means that every task takes a hundred times longer to accomplish.
So I drug myself out of bed after only one snooze this morning, determined to build in some cushion for (1) Junior’s slow, deliberate sock fitting or (2) Junior’s tantrum when I finally take the socks away from him and put them on his feet myself. If not a sock episode, he would surely stomp his feet and wail once he learned that I fed the pets before he woke up.
I love, love, love that he’s becoming more independent. I swear he’s matured beyond belief in the last few months. We have real conversations with each other and he’s finally outgrowing his size 18-24 month pants (yes, my little pipsqueak turned 2 back in September). I don’t want to discourage him from doing things on his own, but sometimes it’s just not convenient. Usually, after countless unsuccessful attempts, he’ll recognize that he needs my help and ask for it. I’m more than happy to wait it out if we’re not in a hurry. But if I jump in and help without his permission, look out…
So how did this morning go? Smooth as silk. I think he was ready to get back to school and see his friends. I distracted him with chatter about his teachers and the playground, and before he knew it he was up, dressed, and headed downstairs for pancakes. He put on his coat and hat without any fussing, and sang along to his kiddie tunes in the car. I couldn’t believe it. And I don’t for one second think it will be that easy tomorrow morning, or this evening for that matter. He’ll want to play trains instead of eating dinner, or he’ll want to do something ridiculous like put on his own diaper or change the crib sheet by himself.
Mr. Independent will strike again. It will test my patience. But there’s nothing more fun than when he does something for the first time and squeals “I did it Mommy! All by myself!” I love it, I truly do. But I think it’s best if he doesn’t hone in on new milestones between 6:30 and 7:30 AM, Monday through Friday. Now if only the “I’LL DO IT” mentality would kick in when it comes to potty training…
Happy New Year!
December 14, 2012
I wrote a guest blog post for another website earlier this week, so I figured I’d share it here as well. It’s certainly a little more thought-provoking than my usual banter, but given the time of year I think it’s appropriate. Have no fear, my tales of toddler mayhem will return soon enough. Happy Holidays!
Have you ever thought about how many times a day you say “thank you”? For most of us it’s completely second nature. A cashier at the grocery store hands you your change, and you say “thank you.” Someone compliments your new shoes, and you say “thank you.” You get a cool gift for your birthday, and you say “thank you.”
The “please and thanks” rule is embedded in us at an early age. My own two year old knows that if he wants something he has to say “please”, and once he gets it he has to say “thank you”. It’s old fashioned manners, but sometimes I wonder if we take it for granted. Most of our day-to-day thank yous are merely habit and go in one ear and out the other. But think about a time when you gave or received a thank you that really meant something… It’s a totally different experience.
At some point you’ve probably had a good friend lend an ear and counsel you through a tough time. Did you give that friend a heartfelt thank you? Have you ever given to a charitable cause – monetarily, volunteering your time, or donating goods – and been on the receiving end of their appreciation? It has a different meaning than barely mumbling thanks as you rush out of the supermarket. When you are recognized for doing something good, or when you acknowledge someone else, it resonates. You feel it for more than a few seconds. Giving or receiving an honest thank you is infectious, and it brings out the do-gooder in all of us.
I am partial to a couple of charitable organizations, and if I hand over a donation in person, I look in the eyes of the person taking my gift and say “thank you for what you do.” I mean every word of it, and spend the rest of my day feeling good. It’s so easy to give back these days, even if you don’t have a dime to spare. Challenge yourself to be good even if it’s just once a year. Volunteer, donate, or start a fundraiser. Cut your neighbor’s grass if he isn’t able. Take dinner to a coworker who’s recovering from an illness. Offer to babysit a friend’s kids so she can have a night out. Tell someone why you appreciate them.
Everyone should experience the power of a real THANK YOU. It feels just as great to earn it as it does to give it out. So why not try it both ways? You’ll thank me for it…
November 30, 2012
Since I started toting around my precious cargo I’ve really made an effort to cut down on the phone calls, emails, and texts while driving. Did I quit cold turkey? No… But you’ll rarely find me typing if my car is in motion. Will I send a quick text while sitting at a stoplight? Sure. I know that’s still not ideal, but it’s a heck of a lot better than most people. Despite my best efforts to be a more responsible driver, I sometimes think a 2-year old in the backseat is far more distracting than a cell phone, loud music, or trying to juggle a cheeseburger and fries while on the interstate.
In the 7 minutes it takes me to get from Junior’s daycare to our house in the evenings, I typically hear this coming from behind me: “Mommy, mommy, mommy! What’s THAT? What’s THAT? I see MOON! Where’s the MOON mommy? Stop singing mommy. Sing more mommy! Play Elmo song mommy. ELMO SONG! I want pancakes for dinner mommy. Mac-n-cheese mommy. I want animal cookies for dinner mommy! What’s that mommy? Where’s the moon? I can’t see the moon mommy! Get UP get UP! AAAAAAHHHHHHH, I want to get UP! Need juice. Mommy I want the umbrella! UMBRELLA!!! Get UP mommy!”
Normally it’s just spirited (nonstop) chatter, but every now and then he gets peeved and decides he’s going to whine. Or cry. Or yell. That’s when I feel like a cell phone is nowhere near as distracting as a kid. Or how about when they keep dropping their item of choice over and over and over? 3 out of 4 times you’re able to contort your body and reach it while still holding the wheel and paying attention to the road. But there’s always going to be that one time when it’s just out of reach and you have to leave it there on the floor. God help us all when that happens.
I will say that my tendency to drive aggressively has really toned down though; well, at least when Junior’s strapped in with me. I got my first speeding ticket not too long ago – first one EVER – and go figure it was in a school zone. I wasn’t going terribly fast, but it was the 2nd week of school and that policeman was tucked in a driveway right across the street just waiting to pick people off. During the summer months the speed limit on that road is 15 mph higher than it is during the school year, and I hadn’t re-trained myself to slow down yet. I deserved it, and I’m far more conscious of my speed now because of it. Unlike the a-hole last night who rode my tail and flashed her beams at me because she felt I was going too slowly. For the record I wasn’t driving slowly; she just wanted to go 100 and couldn’t get by me because of other cars. Sorry lady, I’m not going to drag race with you in your minivan. Normally I would have done my best to box her in with the other cars, but I let her zoom past me and get a glimpse of my favorite finger. She can drive like a creep all she wants; one day there will be a trooper waiting to pull her over. I bet she’ll be texting when he gets her too. Not me. I’ll be singing Old MacDonald and trying to mop up spilled milk. Texting is probably safer. OMG, LOL, TTYL…
November 17, 2012
Be honest… How many of you took one look at the title and assumed this blog would be about my husband getting a vasectomy? Stop lying, you know you did. But sorry to disappoint; it’s not.
Today was a day I’ve long dreaded; it was the day of Junior’s first haircut. After nearly 26 months his sweet head went from housing wispy strawberry strands to soft blonde curls, and in recent weeks, a badly kept mullet. The time had come.
I knew we’d take him to the fancy kid salon for his first trim, so I prepped all week by telling him he’d get to sit in a cool airplane chair and watch cartoons while he got his hair cut. He was all about it. We walked in on Saturday morning, along with every other mom, dad, and kid within a 20-mile radius. Fortunately the place was set up well with toys and TVs in every direction so the time passed quickly.
As we sat at a table stacking blocks with Junior, another little boy who was a few months older took his place in the racecar chair, and promptly started losing his mind. He was frantic. Screaming, writhing, trying to climb out of the chair. His mother was holding him down, apologizing to the stylist, and insisting to her son that everything was OK. Meanwhile, Junior stops what he’s doing and starts staring at the kid having the out-of-body experience. Then I saw a little bit of concern land on his forehead. He looked at the screamer, then back at me, then back at the screamer and asked “why is he crying mommy?” Uh oh. The last thing we needed was for Junior to perceive this fun, colorful, non-dangerous place to be threatening because of one panicky child, and possibly pitch his own fit later.
So we moved him to a new place so he couldn’t see the boy anymore, and in a few minutes Junior’s name was called. He raced over to the empty chair painted like a police car and we strapped him in. Who’s his neighbor? None other than the poor boy who hates haircuts, still wailing away. Junior’s face went ashen, and despite the positive chatter we threw at him he retained a stoic, glazed-over look. It’s like he thought the kid next to him was being punished for something, so he stayed perfectly quiet and still so as not to face the same consequences. I felt terrible for the upset child and his poor mother, who was doing everything in her power to calm her baby. Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do.
Those stylists spend all day giving haircuts to little kids, so they’ve got the process down. Six minutes and $20 later Junior’s mullet was lopped off and his hair was shaped up. Out of courtesy his stylist didn’t inquire about his choppy, crooked bangs; clearly the work of an untrained mother wielding kitchen scissors who desperately wanted to buy more time before the “real” haircut. She was very kind to keep her mouth shut and not ask questions before she got to work.
I think the first haircut was his final step out of babyland and into boyhood. Funny thing is, I feel like he looks younger now instead of older. I didn’t cry when it all went down; it was a fun experience for me because HE had fun. In fact he’s chatted about his haircut all day, and even more so about the “boy who was sad”. I wonder if that boy will be scarred for life…
I hope Junior’s curls spring back as his hair grows out again. If I never see them bouncing on the back of his head I know I’ll be disappointed. So just to be safe I grabbed the kitchen scissors once more and claimed a curl for myself before we left. There it sits, in a labeled Ziploc bag waiting to go in his baby book. Baby’s first haircut: Saturday, November 17, 2012.