Thursday, July 31, 2008

Normal Weird, or Weird Weird?

Kids are weird. There’s no doubt about it. I think it comes from a lack of inhibitions, and the fact that they are living in a world without much experience. Trying to stick your toe up your nose is a pretty logical thing for a two year old to experiment with. So I think it’s normal for kids to be weird.

But, how do you know when weird is weird weird as opposed to normal weird?

I’ve been wondering this lately because of Michael’s new shrub hiding habit. He started this a week or so ago when he was going through a leaf eating phase. It made sense because he knew I didn’t want him eating leaves, so he would hide from me. However, he seems to have stopped sampling leaves after discovering how gross they taste, but he’s still hanging out in the shrubs.

We have a number of young children in the neighborhood, and they have all been out playing lately. When Michael and I go out to play, he gets excited, runs over to the kids, stays for a few short moments, and then takes off and hides behind someone’s bushes. He doesn’t appear to be playing peek-a-boo. He’s not doing anything he’s not supposed to be doing, he just stands there watching everyone through the leaves. Even weirder, he also does it when the kids aren’t around, so it doesn’t seem like he’s hiding from them.

Last night, he stayed there so long that I had to convince my neighbor's kids to walk into the island of our cul-de-sac and pull off maple seeds with me in hopes that he would get jealous enough to come out. It worked, and he played with the kids for about 15 minutes before hiding behind someone else’s bushes for ten minutes until I could get him out. He did continue to play with the kids after that, so he can and does play with the kids.

But, it does leave me wondering if this is normal two year old behavior, or if it’s a little off.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It will make your body feel good, and when you go to heaven you won't die!

Kids say the funniest things. Michael and I were outside playing with the neighborhood kids when the 5 year old girl was running around touching all the parents with something. When she was done, she held up a small massager and said, "It will make your body feel good, and when you go to heaven you won't die!" We all laughed, thought inappropriate jokes in our heads, and then settled on, "Hey, that sounds like the title to a Country song."

I had to have the same 5 year old retrieve Michael from behind some shrubs a little while later. I don't know why he hides behind shrubs. I don't think it's harmful. But it sure is weird. It's also a pain to get him out. I'm afraid I'm going to get bugs on me. I don't like bugs.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Seriously, who are you and what have you done with my son?

Last night, I decided to take a risk.

A while ago, I bought one of those cute little kid’s plates, you know the kind with the dividers to separate the food. Every so often, I would put everything Andy and I were eating on the plate and try to slip it in front of Michael without him catching on. I stopped doing this when just putting meat on the plate would cause Michael to reject the entire meal. I mean really, how many times can you have chicken thrown at you without finally giving up? I think I stopped some where around 50 direct hits.

*Go ahead, roll your eyes. I’m sure you think I’m exaggerating. I wish.*

Last night I decided to test Michael’s recent agreeable mood, and I got the plate out. In one section I placed his favorite noodles. In the next, I added some corn. And, being the wild woman I am, I put four small pieces of breaded chicken in the third section.

Michael was pretty agreeable about getting into the highchair, so once he was settled, I just casually placed the plate in front of him and handed him a fork. Then, I did everything I could to pretend that nothing out of the ordinary was going on. It’s really hard to be nonchalant when you aren’t sure if you are going to be pelted by a plate of noodles, corn and chicken.

As dinner progressed, I watched Michael out of the corner of my eye. He ate some corn, then some noodles. Everything was going according to plan. Then, I see the fork heading for the chicken. I held my breath and watched as he speared a piece of chicken. No, this can’t really be happening. But, it was. He put the chicken in his mouth and chewed. But, we have been to this point before. Chewing does not equate to eating. And then, it happened. He swallowed!

I really wanted to get up and start dancing around the dinning room, but I know better than that. If I had, I’m sure the plate would have been on the floor before I had a chance to wiggle my butt. So, I kept my celebration under control and proceeded to eat my dinner as if nothing miraculous occurred. As I sat there containing my joy, Michael speared another piece of chicken and ate it.

Oh, the joy. My two year old child finally ate his first square meal! Yes, a square meal. No hotdogs, no French fries, just chicken, noodles and corn.

I remained calm thought out the rest of the meal and was rewarded with two more gems. The first was Michael’s reaction when he cleared off the noodles. “There’s a dolphin on my plate!” like it was the most wonderful thing he had ever discovered. The second was his response when I offered him a cookie for desert. “Nope.”

Seriously, who are you and what have you done with my son?

Monday, July 28, 2008

I Have a Theory

Actually, it’s someone else’s theory that I read somewhere…I’m just not sure where.* I hope it’s true though. The idea behind it is that young children go through periods of equilibrium and disequilibrium. Equilibrium occurs around the half birthdays and disequilibrium occurs around the full birthdays. That would mean the Terrible Twos should take place from about 21 months to about 27 months and the Horrendous Threes should take place from 33 months to 39 months. The time in between, should be easier.

So far, Michael has fallen in line with starting the Terrible Twos at 21 months. He’s been pushing every button, testing every limit, and fighting every battle since that time. And boy, does he like to fight battles. You want to know what he’s been fighting about lately? Saying, “I love you.” I’m serious. I put him to bed and he says, “I love you.” I say it back. He then adds emphasis and says it again. You know, in that “I love you more than you love me” tone of voice. Just for fun, I decided to see how long he would keep it up. He will keep it up even as I’m walking out of the room. He must get the last word in.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. I mean, he is Two. He also comes from a long line of very stubborn, debate loving, last word getting clan. How can I complain when I’m the same way?

But, something odd happened this weekend. He was a complete sweetie. I mean so sweet that he kept insisting on holding my hand. This from a child that DOES NOT HOLD HANDS. He also agreed to a diaper change when he was outside playing in Andy’s car. Not only did he agree, but he smiled as I carried him in and cooperated as I changed the diaper. In fact, he went so far this weekend as to try a new food! Seriously, I’m not making this up. We were at my sister in law’s house and he actually took a bite of tomato. When he went to spit it out, he grabbed my hand and spit it into my hand instead of dribbling it down his chest. (If I had said he had eaten it, no one would have believed this post.)

I did some math, and guess what? Yep, Michael is just about to hit the 27 month point. So, do you think there may be some truth behind the theory? Do you think Andy and I may be in for a few less battles over the next few months? I sure hope so. It was the most relaxing weekend we have had in, well, 6 months!

*If you know what it's from, let me know. I'd like to read more about it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What inspires me?

Cacey, over at London’s Calling asked her readers what inspires them, and it inspired me to respond. I too come from a creative family, and creativity has always been important to me. So, here goes…

Sunlight inspires me. I’m in love with sunlight. I love how sunlight comes through the blinds in Michael’s nursery. I love how green it turns the world on a late spring afternoon. I have so many memories in which sunlight plays a role. I can remember sitting on the steps one fall afternoon when I was five, watching out our big picture window for my brother and sister to come home from school. I can remember waking up to the sun shinning through the small windows in my grandmother’s shore house, knowing that she would have bacon cooking for us any minute. I even remember a string of rainbows that we had in the spring of my senior year of high school. How many times can the sun peak through the clouds and decorate the sky?

Fabrics, yarns, and colors inspire me. My mother is a quilter, sewer, cross-stitcher, so I grew up surrounded by colors, textures, and designs. I can walk through a fabric store running my fingers over the cloth for hours dreaming about quilts I would like to design. I buy colored pencils just so I can scribble out designs. I love beads, even though I rarely bead, just because they come in such a wide range of colors, cuts, and textures. I’m amazed by the fabric crafts of other cultures, and would surround myself with Amish quilts and Japanese Kimono if I could afford to.

Books inspire me. Not just reading them, but the presence of them. My learning disabilities made learning to read a very challenging task, but, once I did, they sucked me in for the love affair of my life. I love fiction and non fiction, the classics and the trash. However, I also love the sound the spine makes the first time you crack a book. I love the cover art, and the type set. I’ve surrounded myself with books, and I do dream of some day having one that I author. It won’t be soon, but the call has always been there, and it always will be.

Humor inspires me. I often come off as a very serious person to people that meet me, and I can be very serious at times. My history of depression has left me with many memories that are not funny at all. But, when it comes right down to it, humor is one of the most important things in my life. I’m not fussy either. I’m amazed at some of the brilliant things that George Carlin came up with. Who knew that humor could be so wonderfully intellectual? Just the same, I still giggle over some of the simplest kid’s jokes, and I am not beyond the occasional “pull my finger.” I try to bring this levity into everything I do, especially the things that are most important to me.

People inspire me. I’m not talking about the Mother Theresa’s and Nelson Mandela’s. Not that they aren’t inspiring, but the everyday heroes are the ones I’m talking about. The father who fights to keep his quadriplegic son from getting a feeding tube because even though it would save some time, it would take away one of the young man’s few joys in life, blueberry water ice. The man that faces his demons and overcomes them when he looks in his daughter’s face and realize he just cannot live that way anymore. The mom who quietly nurses her son until he decides to wean - even though others may not approve - and the husband that supports her. These are the real people that inspire me every day to be a better person.

So many other things inspire me; nature, music, the list goes on. Now the question is, what do I do with my inspiration?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cicadas and Maple Seeds

My one key belief in raising a child is that being outside is normally better. Taking Michael outside has calmed many a tantrum, relieved tedious boredom, and allowed him to do the one thing that boys love more than anything else - get dirty. I’ll go so far as to say that I believe that being outdoors is like being in the ultimate classroom for children. There is so much to be learned from watching balls roll down hills, trees blow in the wind, and clouds dance across the sky.

It’s been pretty hot lately, so we have spent a lot of time indoors. On Sunday, I decided to change that up a little. I took Michael on a walk before the heat really set in. It was warm and humid, and the smell of earth, and leaves, and the corn fields was strong in the air. Michael wasn’t thrilled to be strapped into his stroller, but I was trying to get some exercise in, and not the kind that involves keeping a two year old out of a creek.

I know every parent has things that they want to pass on and share with their children. Some people look forward to sharing their love of singing, cooking, shopping, fixing cars, reading, playing video games, and in Andy’s case, playing sports and watching Star Wars. Obviously, the love I’m trying to share with Michael is my love of nature and the natural world.

Our local park is actually a farm park. It has corn fields and an old barn, but it also has several creeks and some wooded areas. It’s a wonderful little spot for the naturalist in me, and I subject Michael to as much of my knowledge as I can. He’s already heard an earful about the local birds, and now I’m working in some tree and wild flower tidbits as well. I was overjoyed with his enthusiasm over yelling “chicory” at all the little blue flowers throughout our walk, although it did cut down on our ability to get up close to most of the birds. For some reason they seem to find yelling children frightening, I can’t imagine why.

Later in the day, when the heat had really set in, Michael wanted to go outside again. The decision was between Sponge Bob or stifling heat, the heat won.

We ended up sitting under the maple tree out front. One of my neighbors showed Michael that you can turn the maple seeds into helicopters that spin down to the ground, and ever since then, he demands that I get “more airplanes.” So, on a hot and sticky afternoon, Michael and I sat on the curb tossing seed pods into the air and watching them drift across the parking lot. I must have gone through several hundred of them before he got tired of it. Then, he decided that he wanted to fly instead, so I laid back in the grass and lifted him on my legs, letting him finish up by having him slide down to give me a big hug. I got about 20 hugs before we decided to head inside and cool off.

I don’t have any illusions that Michael is going to be the next great biologist. I realize that he may not end up with the same interests that I have, and that’s okay. But, for now, I’m going to keep talking about what we see and hear in the environment. I’m going to continue to explain that the loud buzzing noises are the cicadas, and that trees get their energy from sun light. And, if all he gains from it is to be more observant of the world around him, than I know I will have succeeded.

This post took forever to get around to writing. I almost just posted…On a hot Sunday, Michael and I watched maple seeds auto rotate to the ground. But it didn’t really catch what I was trying to say.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It seemed like a good idea

To everyone that was at the Plymouth Meeting Ikea on Friday night, I'm sorry.

The problem with heat waves is that the first day or two are always the worst days. When you have an active two year old that you are hoping will sleep in until 7:00 on Saturday morning, you will do just about anything to wear him out. Well, at least we will. So, Friday evening rolls around, and it's still 92 degrees and muggy and we needed to figure out where to let Michael run around like a maniac. Hmm...we need someplace big, with lots of open space, and air conditioning. IKEA!

It really seemed like a good idea at the time. Michael enjoyed the elevator ride up from the parking garage, and he was in heaven on the escalator ride up to the display level. Once we hit the top of the escalator, Michael looked over the vast array of things for him to jump on, climb into, and smash, and he thanked us profusely for fulfilling his wildest dreams. Well, he didn't so much say that, but the gleam in his eye as he surveyed the scene made it pretty clear what we were in for.

Did you know that two year olds are programed to find every breakable object within 100 feet? I always thought this was the case, but now I have no doubt. Michael climbed on every chair, sofa, and bed in the entire place; he picked up every vase, plate, a oddly named knickknack that was not nailed down; and he ran in front of every responsible customer that was actually there to buy something. I finally just picked him up and carried him screaming through the kitchen section. That's way too many drawers to open and close, open and close, open and...

By the time we left the store, I'm sure the staff and customers were happy to see us go. I was glad to be leaving. I was exhausted and really just needed a drink. Michael, he was fine.

He also woke up at 6:30. So much for that idea.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lessons Learned

  1. If your child actually allows you to trim his toe nails, he's only distracting you from trimming his finger nails which he will be digging into your neck later in the evening.
  2. If you find a trip to the dentist to be the most relaxing thing you have done all week, it's time to rearrange your priorities.
  3. If you brag about something your child does, like sleeping through the night, it stops. If you complain about something does, like hitting the neighbor's kid, it gets worse.
  4. The road is GRUMPY! I had this argument 4 times this week, and I give up. Fine, the road is grumpy...so am I.

Well, shucks. Deanna over at Momgineering gave me this, and just made my day. Thank you!

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1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. You must nominate fellow bloggers for this award.

London's Calling

Adventures of Xaelen

The M&M Show


4. Add links to the recipients. (done!)
5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Welcome to my hell

My family is mostly of German decent, and I grew up eating the foods handed down from my German and Pennsylvania Dutch great grand mothers. This was limited enough, but when you add in an older brother who threw up every time we ate out, and an older sister who was supper fussy, my mom didn't have many options to chose from. We had a lively rotation of ham and potatoes, spaghetti, meat loaf, roast beef and boiled potatoes, and I think that's about it. The only "international" food I had really had by the age of 16 was tacos. That was also the spiciest food too, now that I think about it. Imagine my surprise once I got my driver's license and my friends had me drive them to a Chinese restaurant! It was heaven.

In college, I continued to explore new foods, well, as much as you can do in Maine. I even learned to cook some of them. And then, I met Andy.

Andy also grew up with some good old German cooking, so he picked up that love of meat and potatoes. He never had much opportunity to branch out because, get this, he can't eat onions. When I say he can't eat onions, I mean any onions. Even the 1/2 teaspoon of dehydrated onions in taco sauce mix is enough to give him serious heartburn. You know, that kind of heartburn that burns right up to the back of your throat and keeps you awake all night. The kind of heartburn that most women who have been pregnant know all too well.

Oh, and to top it off. He's extra sensitive to smells too. He can't even stand the smell of lunch meat or tuna, and forget Kipper snacks.

So, I married Andy knowing that I would spend the rest of my life reading the ingredients on every single package of food. I knew that we would only be going to restaurants that post the ingredients to their foods on a menu or website. I knew my beloved Italian Hoagies would not be welcomed in the house. What I didn't know was that I would end up with a child that got his daddy's food aversions, and his aunt's fussiness. Dinner planning is hell.

A few weeks ago I asked the wonderful ladies on Baby Center to give me some new ideas. I just can't keep making the same 6-7 things every night. It's been ten years of this, and I need something new! I got some great ideas and tried a week of new meals. I was hoping that Andy would tolerate them all, and maybe even one of them would be a home run. What I got was a grand slam. Not only did he like the Chili turkey and rice; the bow ties, sausage and cream; and the crock pot roast beef with pepperoncinis, but he even ate the leftovers of every single one! The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Michael had eaten any of it.

Next, Bridget provided me with a crock pot recipe for pork, as requested. That's what started the hunt for plantains...which I have not abandoned yet. I may have to drive to Georgia to get them, but I've done sillier things in my life.

Here are the results of my BBQ Pork Cuban Wraps. The Swiss Cheese is what really makes them.

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And here are the left overs.

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I was planning on doing pulled pork sandwiches for dinner Friday, but Andy insists that he needs to have one tonight after golf. Home Run!

However, not everyone was as pleased with dinner.

Here is the rice that Michael wouldn't eat.

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Yes, that's chocolate milk in there. Ewwww....

Here is the face I got when I presented him with the tortilla.

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And the drama continues.

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Hey, maybe I can make a chocolate milk burrito!

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Maybe...

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NO!

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Sigh. I want to know what I did to deserve this torture. I always ate my veggies. I even ate my sister's veggies sometimes!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I didn't expect this when I signed up...

Things that don't bother me anymore
  1. Having various chewed things spit into my hand
  2. Michael drinking the bath water
  3. Poopy diapers
  4. Sponge Bob Square Pants
  5. Having a car seat in my car

Things that do bother me now

  1. The phrase, "You really should..."
  2. People that forget what it was like to raise a child
  3. Not having my toe nails polished
  4. How disturbing the News is
  5. Murray from the Wiggles

Things I never expected to say

  1. Please don't eat my hair
  2. Well, that's what happens if you punch yourself in the face
  3. If you say "yes" I'll give you a cookie
  4. Spit
  5. Wow, I got 6.5 hours of sleep last night, I feel great!

Things I never want to say again

  1. Please don't eat my hair
  2. Well, that's what happens if you punch yourself in the face
  3. If you say "yes" I'll give you a cookie
  4. Spit
  5. Wow, I got 3 straight hours of sleep last night, I feel great!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Power of Wii

Yesterday was a fun one with Michael. Between teething, and what we think might be the stomach bug that our neighbors tried so hard to protect us from, he was just down right miserable a lot of the time. It’s hard because he obviously feels bad, but then he gets so obnoxious about it that it’s hard to not get upset with him. What’s amazing is that there are short periods of time when he seems to bounce back, and is the sweetest, funniest kid in town.

I made a bad decision on the way home. Instead of stopping at my normal grocery store to pick up some sour cream, I decided to risk the big store in hopes that I might find some frozen plantains. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I know better. I’ve only been in there twice, and each time I’ve left saying I’m never going back. They may, or may not have had the plantains. I never got that far. I was in a rush, and I finally realized I don’t have the patience to stand behind the old couple that’s blocking the entire aisle while debating over something that I’m sure was important to them. I don’t have the patience to maneuver around large stacks of product placed in every open spot in the store. And, I surely don’t have the patience to deal with other people’s obnoxious children when my own obnoxious child is waiting at home throwing a tantrum for me.

So, I grabbed the sour cream and hopped in the express line. Lucky me, I got behind that woman. I’m sure you’ve been behind her before. The one that doesn’t understand that “Less then 12 items” means less than 12 items. The one that has a folder full of coupons, but doesn’t understand how most of them work. “Oh, I have to mail it in?” And yes, the one that obviously can’t read the employee’s button that has a cute bear on it and says, “Be nice to me. I’m new!” Please excuse me while I bash my brains in with this can of black bean soup.

When I finally got out of there, I decided that I’m never going back again.

That was enough to make my day, but I also got to come home to a cranky two year old. Of course, Andy wasn’t in the best mood by that point either, having been stuck to deal with said two year old while I was off having fun.

To calm Michael down, I let him outside to play before making dinner. He had stolen a piece of my mom’s embroidery floss, and was having a blast playing with it. He was pretending it was a kite, and kept tossing it in the air to see if the wind would blow it away. He ran all over the cul-a-sac waving a silly piece of string around, and laughing that open laughter that only children laugh. It was sweet, and funny, and unfortunately, it had to end. I was starving. After much crying I got him inside.

We didn’t even try him with dinner. We didn’t even try to get him in his highchair. In fact, we didn’t even ask him to get off the sofa. And, as soon as dinner was over, we took him back outside. We only had a few tantrums, and he was nice and tired by bedtime.

Thankfully, he went down for the night without trouble. Once I had him in the crib I practically ran out of the room, refusing him any chance to protest.

Now that I finally could move without a child clinging to my legs, I decided to hope on the Wii. I did a dedicated yoga workout, and wow, did I feel great at the end. I felt awake and energized. I felt so good that I even prepared the marinade for tonight’s dinner and made my lunch for today. What kind of amazing video game is this that it managed to erase the stress of an entire day at work, the living hell of the super grocery store, and a tantrumming two year old? I’d pay good money for this…oh wait, I did.

Monday, July 14, 2008

19 down, 1 to go

Michael and I decided to try a different grocery store on Saturday in my quest for frozen plantains. No luck. But, after much silliness, I finally got Michael to open his mouth long enough, wide enough, at at the right angle for me to see his teeth. Tooth number 19 is sitting right under the gum, looking like a mountain range trying to break through a balloon. No wonder he's been gnawing on everything. That's got to hurt.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Was it his charm or the bubbles?

Michael was the most popular boy in town last night. He had four gorgeous little girls ranging from 20 months to 5 years swarming around him. Wow, did he love the attention. I kept expecting to glance over at him only have him grin and wink at me.

I’d like to think that they were flocking to him because of his dashing good looks, or his charming personality. I mean he does have those tousled blond curls and he did share...several times...without too much prompting. Unfortunately, I think the primary draw was the bubble machine.

For Michael’s second birthday he received a little lion that blows lots of bubbles when you squeeze it’s handle. It burns through batteries, is always sticky, and works intermittently; but when it does work, it fills the neighborhood with hundreds or little bubbles. And, as it turns out, little girls seem to love bubbles. I sacrificed an entire bottle of bubbles and 2 AA batteries so he could be the center of attention for an hour. It was totally worth it.

So, I wonder what lesson Michael learned from this? That girls love pretty, shinny things? If he did, I hope he uses the knowledge responsibly as he grows up. Also, I wonder if he would share that little trick with Andy? Mama wouldn’t mind a few pretty, shinny things herself.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fantasy vs. Reality

I left work an hour and a half early yesterday. On my way home, I dreamed about what my evening would be like.

I’d get home and take a nice long nap. When I got up, Andy would have made dinner and Michael would have been playing quietly by himself. We would sit down to a relaxing dinner and talk about our days while Michael actually ate the same food that we were eating. After dinner, I’d take Michael outside to play. He would sit in one place and draw cute little scribbles on the side walk. The neighborhood children would come by and there would be no pushing, shoving, hitting, or crying. At 7:30, Michael would tell me it was bedtime and we would read and snuggle before he would climb in bed and drift off to sleep leaving Andy and I to enjoy a nice relaxing evening.

Bawhahaha!

Here’s what really happened. On the way home, I had to stop at the grocery store for milk and stamps. I ended up spending 40 bucks on stuff I didn’t really need, but at least I remembered the milk and stamps. I did get to take a nap, but over slept a little and had to rush to get the bacon for dinner cooked before the beast got home. While cooking - and eating - the bacon, I also ended up eating half of the pastries I had picked up while trying to find frozen plantains.

When the beast, I mean Michael, got home, we discovered that he was running a fever. Poor bunny. He didn’t seem to be up for running around, so I gave him his milk and put Letter Factory on for him. Once the milk was gone, I convinced him that the two little pink tablets I had given him were candy, and that I didn’t really care if he ate them or not. Either I did a better job then usual, or he wasn’t up to snuff because he did actually eat the two Tylenol tablets. It perked him right up.

While Michael was vegging on the sofa, I finished up making the quiche and got it in the oven. Phew. I even managed to get some dishes done and tidy up the kitchen a little.

Dinner went surprisingly well. While Michel didn’t eat any quiche…I guess he’s a real man…he did at least eat some toast.

After dinner I rushed out in the pouring rain to pick up another thermometer so we could try and take Michael’s temperature. I was drenched. I did break down and buy the really expensive forehead scanner, which seems to give consistent readings. Michael thought it was much nicer than the other various ways I’ve tried taking his temperature, and had me do it about 15 times. 98.8. Phew.

By 7:30, I was tired, my hair had frizzed, I smelled like bacon, and Michael wanted to play in the sofa instead of going to bed. I was able to entice him by allowing him to take his toy helicopter up with him. He jumped on my back, helicopter and all, and off we went.

Wait, where are shirt, binky, and kitty? Crap. So, around the house we go searching, Andy took the upstairs and I took downstairs…with a 30 pound child and a helicopter on my back. Luckily, Andy found them before the tail rotor had rubbed my neck raw. Phew.

Once Michael was snuggled up in bed, I was off to exercise. I snubbed Wii Fit for the exercise bike and Lego Indiana Jones . The workout went well, but Indiana froze up on me, and I lost my Adventurer Status. What’s a girl to do?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wii Fit, Teething, and Gossip

No, the three topics have nothing to do with one another. I've just had some random thoughts floating around and wanted to get them down.

  • Our Wii Fit arrived yesterday. First, let me just say that Wii Alerts rocks. I would say that even if I had not spent a hot Sunday morning standing in front of Target with a wired two year old only to be turned away because we were twelfth in line and they only had four.

    I didn’t have much time to play with the Wii Fit last night, but what I did do was very cool. The instant feedback on my balance was very impressive. I was surprised when my “trainer” used the feedback to provide me with guidance on how to correct the problem, and it actually worked. It was pretty cool, even if it is creepy to have a computer tell me what to do. I’m really hoping that this can help me find those abdominal muscles that went missing long before I ever got pregnant.

  • I hate teething. I mean I really hate it. I’ve had the ADA Primary Tooth Eruption chart bookmarked since Michael was about 7.5 months old. His first three teeth came in easily, but every tooth since has been a nightmare. When he’s teething, Michael refuses to eat, battles naps, clings to me like Velcro, and bites me. It’s awesome.

    Michael has 18 of his set of 20. Those last two are taking their time. I keep risking my fingers trying to feel for them, but those little buggers seem to be staying put for now. I guess we’ll keep up on the Tylenol and hope that they pop through and provide much needed relief for everyone in the house. Just two more to go.

  • Last week, a friend of mine gossiped to me about one of my very close friends. It was a juicy little tidbit that one of her friends told her my friend had said. At first I was really upset that 1) I think it’s probably true and 2) that he didn’t feel comfortable telling me. But, after thinking about it for a while, I realized I don’t really care. It’s his business, it doesn’t hurt me, and it’s not about to ruin my friendship with him. If he wants to talk about it, fine. If not, fine. But I’ll tell you what. I sure won’t be telling her anything personal.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Screamers and rockets

Last week Andy and I debated about what we should do for the 4th of July. Everyone was out of town, or busy, so for the first time in years we didn’t have a built in plan. We considered going to a local fair and fireworks display until Friday rolled around. The weather was cool and rainy with the threat of storms at any time. And that’s when you have to ask yourself how badly you want to see some small fireworks display? Is it worth keeping a two year old up past his bed time? Is it worth risking having said two year old freak out at the first explosion? Is it worth dealing with all of the traffic, noise, commotion, and a potential downpour?

No, it isn’t.

Instead, we put Michael to bed and watched the Philadelphia fireworks on the HD TV.

It was a good call too. On Sunday, I got suckered into buying some Screamers and Rockets at the grocery store. If you’ve never seen these before, they are balloons that are designed to shoot up in the air and make screaming sounds. Balloons and loud noises, what more could you ask for?

The first balloon shot up a little and made some neat whining sounds. Michael wasn’t sure about it, so I tried it again. The second one was much better. I couldn’t tell if Michael was into it, or a little apprehensive, so I tried it again. The balloon shot up a good 30 feet in the air, and screamed across our driveway, over the street and hit the window of a cable van that just pulled in. The driver of the van thought it was funny, but Michael freaked out. He ran at me screaming, “No balloon! No balloon. Put it away!” Wow, if that’s how he reacted to a single balloon shooting across the sky screaming, I can’t imagine what nightmare we avoided by skipping the fireworks show. Phew.

So, now I’m wondering if I’ve ruined balloons for Michael. And if so, is that really a bad thing?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Michael has planted a bunch of sunflowers on my mother’s balcony. By planted, I mean that he dumped her birdseed into her flower pots. Quite surprisingly, he’s managed to grow a very healthy crop of small sunflowers. My mom has been providing me with frequent updates over the spring and summer.

Yesterday, when I went to get Michael out of my mom’s car he presented me with a small bouquet of sunflowers. Somehow, he managed to keep them safe on the ride home, which is not something I would expect from a two year old. He looked so pleased with himself when he handed them to me that I almost cried.

Here they are.
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It's hard to beleive that the child that did this

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and this

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could do something so sweet. Of course, I did have to remove him from the table once. He tried to retrieve them later in the evening.

Musical Memory Lane

I’m a big satellite radio fan, and have had service for well over five years. I love having so much music at my finger tips, and some of the talk content is pretty interesting as well. I will admit that after a while, XM’s music library got a little old, and now I’m going on two years with Sirius, and their library is getting a little old too. So, I recently dug out my CD collection, and started listening to some of my own music library again. I’ve been shocked by how many memories listening to these old albums has stirred.

One of the first CD’s I listen to was the Monkees. I’m not much for manufactured boy bands, but there’s just something so completely free and fun about their music. It takes me back to when I was a little girl, and my brother sister and I would plop on the sofa and watch Monkees reruns. Those were the days when my major stressors were finding ways to avoid doing chores, and making sure I said “seat’s saved” before leaving the end seat of the sofa.

Poor Andy made the mistake of popping his new copy of The Beatles 1’s album into my car CD player. He and Michael were both subjected to me singing along with Yellow Submarine. Hey, that’s what we used to do when it would come on the radio when I was a kid. Can you just imagine how that sounded like? Between my dad, and the three kids, only my brother can sing. We resorted to just sort of yelling the words along with the tune.

Some of the music took me back to my college years. I don’t know how many snowy nights we stayed up late drinking too much, eating chocolate covered espresso beans and playing Harnmaster while listening to Concrete Blonde’s Bloodletting. I would walk home in the snow with a stomachache and a wonderful feeling of satisfaction with “I don’t need a hero” echoing in my mind. I also remember quiet summer afternoons listening to Mozart’s Requiem while gazing up at Cadillac Mountain from my bedroom. Those were some amzing years.

When I popped Ottmar Liebert’s Nouveau Flamenco into the DC player I was shocked at how strong the memories were. I swear I could almost smell the cologne of my then boyfriend. I’m glad so much time has past and that I no longer have any lingering resentment for the jerk. I had forgotten how wonderful the album is, and I’m glad it hasn’t been ruined for me.

I had a much different reaction when I loaded Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints. I bought this album when Michael was just a newborn. When Obvious Child came on I was transported back to a magical day when Michael was only a few weeks old. It was late afternoon and the light was coming in through the slats of the blinds. Michael was content in my arms as I bounced him around the nursery in time to the music. I can still feel his little head resting against my shoulder.

I do have a few new CDs that I listen to as well. My favorite one at the moment is Cyndi Lauper’s new CD Bring Ya to the Brink. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s dance music for 30 somethings that are still looking for that feeling we had back in the 80’s…but that’s okay. I’m just glad that Michael isn’t old enough to voice an opinion about my music. This CD would surely get a eye roll right before he stuffed those white ear buds in his ears and turned up his iPod. Trust me kid, it was my generation that first mastered the art of ignoring your parents by way of headphones.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

So much for consistency

What do you know? Last night our DSL service was up and working fine. Not surprisingly, we didn’t do anything to “fix” our computers which the tech insured me were the problem. So, I guess the magic computer fairy came in and fixed them while Andy and I were at work yesterday. Or, our crappy phone line finally dried out enough for the signal to get through. I’m sure the next bad rain storm will clear up this mystery.

We spent a good deal of time outside running Michael around. I’m a big fan of taking kids outside. From the day Michael was born, taking him outside has always had a calming effect on him. As he gets older, not only does it calm him, it also wears him out and makes for wonderful bedtimes.

Recently, Michael has been into playing with a soft, little football that we picked up somewhere along the line. He’s developing a pretty good arm and can throw the ball up to five or six feet. This is great for a game of catch, but not good for target practice.

One of our neighbors, who lives just a few town houses away (meaning really close) runs a limo business out of his home. He’s breaking all kinds of association rules by doing it, but the most annoying one is that instead of taking up the two parking spots in front of his house with an Accord or a Maxima, like the rest of us, he has two Suburbans, a Cadillac sedan, a stretch limo, a stretch hummer, and a bus that he routinely parks on the road, in the overflow parking, and behind my parking spaces. Not only is this extremely annoying, it also makes parenting a lot more challenging.

Why, you ask. Because there is something irresistible about big, black, shinny cars. Michael will walk right past every car in the lot just so he can try to put his grimy little hands on one of their freshly washed cars. While part of me thinks it serves them right for bringing business vehicles onto the property, I just can’t let Michael do it.

Last night, Michael decided that he really wanted to throw the ball at the Suburbans with the irrational passion that only a two year old can have. Andy and I spent a good deal of time moving Michael, talking to Michael, distracting Michael only to watch him run right back over and aim for the limos. I sighed and reminded myself that consistency is key, and we kept working on it.

Andy finally got the ball from Michael and decided to throw it onto our lawn so Michael would chase it away from the beautiful, shinny, black vehicles. It was a good idea, except that he didn’t take into account how light the ball was. Sure enough, the ball goes soaring through the air and smashed right into the side of Andy’s car. Michael ran right over, picked it up, and pegged it right into the side of the car again. So much for consistency.

Andy and I just laughed while I congratulated him on the excellent parenting.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Is this really quality time?

I really wish that I had some cute Michael story to share today, however I ended up spending much of last evening on the phone with my DSL provider while Andy and Michael played together. I wouldn't resent the time I spent on the phone as much if I actually had connectivity at the end of it all, but I don’t. I’m still trying to figure out how the problem can be with Internet Explorer on one computer when both computers and the iTouch are not connecting. The tech knew I wasn’t a satisfied customer when I finally hung up, but pushing the problem off on a slow computer just doesn’t cut it for me. I’ll give the line a few days to dry out, and if we don’t get service back, the competition will be getting my business. This is not the first problem we have had, and probably not the last.

I did spend a little quality time on myself last night. I bought the Indiana Jones Lego game for my Nintendo DS and I’ve been playing it every chance I get. I’ve never been much for video games, and I cringe at the thought that someday Michael may spend hours a day playing them. But, at least I get it now. I’m having a blast collecting money, blowing things up, and beating up random bad guys. Who knew it could be so much fun?

I think Andy is finding the whole thing very amusing. He’s a big video game fan, and has always been a little frustrated by my lack of interest in them. It was a big surprise to him when I actively purchased the game for myself this weekend. I don’t think he’s very happy about the fact that I’m hogging my own game and not letting him play it, but the fact that I bought a PINK DS should have sent the message loud and clear that this one’s all mine.

(I must confess, I do get a little too into the game. Last night Andy caught me flipping it off. Who knew that road rage would have manifested itself as the result of a video game?)