Friday, February 27, 2009

Full Disclosure

I'd like to make this clear to everyone. Before Andy and I got married he did his due diligence. There was full disclosure about just what he was marrying. I warned him. I introduced him to my family. He spent time around my mom. In fact, when he went to ask my dad for my hand in marriage, my dad responded by saying "poor boy".* So, don't feel too bad for him. He was warned.

*Yes, he really did go to my dad before proposing to me. I'm not sure which impressed me more, how sweet that was...or how brave.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

From Years Past

My post yesterday reminded me of what I call the Yocum Gene. It’s a theory I have based off of an episode of The Simpsons. It’s a Lisa episode, so not really that memorable, except that I found some truth in it.

In the episode, Lisa discovers that members of the Simpson Family start off smart, but then as they go thorough childhood, they turn into…well into Bart or Homer. Lisa, still retaining her intelligence, becomes depressed because she knows that someday she will be reduced to saying “D’oh” as well. At the end, Marge reassures Lisa by bringing in all the Simpson women who, it turns out, have retained their intelligence and have gone on to become scientists and musicians. Lisa is relieved.

Unfortunately, the Yocum gene isn’t as innocuous as the Simpson Gene. In fact, it could easily be called the Ditzy Gene. And the problem with it is that it strikes the women of the family, not the men. It’s also progressive, getting worse as we age. Here is an example of what I have to look forward to.

My mom’s family lived with my great grandparents for several years when she was young. This was back in the days when extended families typically gathered for supper on Sundays. Great Grand Mom Yocum was a good cook and typically hosted the meals. She would go all out and provide a nice big spread for everyone.

One Sunday she made roast chicken and lots of sides to go with it. Everyone was gathered around the table while the matriarch of the family loaded the table with goodies. She had prepared enough food that she had to make a number of trips back into the kitchen to get it all. The table was so full with place settings and food that she had to shift things around to make it all fit. She hustled and bustled, but finally everything was served.

Great grand Mom Yocum finally took her seat at the table, surveyed the table and noticed something missing. “Where’s the chicken?” she asked.

Her husband, a quiet man, calmly responded, “Your sitting on it Em” and carried on with his dinner. After years of marriage, I guess it didn’t surprise him that his wife could forget that she had placed the chicken on the seat, and it didn’t surprise him that she would sit on it without noticing either.

And this, is my future.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I can’t believe I did it again

Tuesdays are my late day at work. I have to stay at least an hour past the normal end of my shift. To accommodate for this, Andy picks up Michael, and I prepare a crock pot dinner. That way, when I get home our schedule isn’t thrown off too much, and I still get to spend time with Michael.

On Sunday I pulled the pork roast out of the freezer to thaw. *patting myself on back for remembering* On Monday I remembered to set the cream cheese out to soften. *Pat pat* Before bed, I browned the pork, cut up the potatoes and made the cream cheese, ranch dressing sauce. I remembered to put the crock pot liner in before adding the ingredients. *Arm is getting sore from patting my own back*

Tuesday morning I pulled the crock pot out and placed it in the sleeve and I plugged it in. Then, off to work forgetting about dinner for the day.

At 2:50 and called me. “You forgot to turn on the crock pot.”

“%$#&” *Smacking myself on the forehead*

“I’ll pick up something for dinner on my way home.”

This is at least the third time I have done this. I know I have a tendency to forget to turn it on, so I have a process to make sure I double check it before leaving the house. This process failed. I wish I could blame this on age or being a working mom, but the truth is, I’m a dingbat sometimes.

Andy didn’t tease me, I like that about him.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Some days, life is just sweet.

When I picked up Michael yesterday, I walked into my mom’s apartment to find the blinds closed and the TV off. On the sofa, curled up with a fleece blanket, lay my sleeping baby boy. My mom was able to get him down for a nap. That’s five days in a row with a nap. I was thrilled.

When dinner time rolled around, I decided to push my luck with a food that Michael normally refuses to eat. Couscous. I haven’t even pushed it recently because it’s such a messy food for a preschooler to play with. But, I guess the earlier nap success made me brave, so I set the bowl down in front of him. Not only did he eat it, he ate it with peas. When he was done, he asked for more. Sweet!

Which does beg the question, “who are you, and what have you done with my son?”

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Nap Whisperer

As you know, Michael dropped his nap back around the holidays. We tried several different tricks, but it became clear that he did not need a nap. He was good with it, but I missed my weekend naps, and it also makes for a long day for my mom. Two Saturdays ago, Michael proved he didn’t need a nap by staying awake until 4:00 in the afternoon, then remaining awake for a 45 minute car ride. Fine. I get it. The nap is gone.

Then, last Monday it was like someone flipped a switch again. In the afternoon, he asked my mom for something from the kitchen, and when she came back, he was out cold on the sofa. He was still zonked when I picked him up. In fact, he was so out of it, that I was able to trim his nails, get him dressed, and carry him down to my car without him waking. This was a child that needed a nap.

Andy stayed home with Michael on Thursday. He said that by noon, it was clear that Michael needed a nap. Of course, Michael didn’t want to take a nap, but he didn’t realize just how persistent his daddy can be. (We are never surprised by how persistent Michael is. He got a double dose of it.) Andy turned off all the lights and had Michael lay down on the sofa. Then, he read to him and told him some dinosaur stories. After an hour, Michael finally zonked out. He slept for three hours.

On Friday, Michael looked like he needed a nap, but my mom didn’t really push it. Instead, Michael waited until I picked him up and crashed in the car. Once again, he was so out cold that I was able to carry him in without waking him up. I plopped him on the sofa, and he stayed there while Andy and I went about our business.

To me, this is a sign that Michael is back to needing naps. I don’t think it’s just wishful thinking on my part. Both days this weekend, Michael had that tired look by lunch time. Both days I left the room and Andy worked his magic. I sat in the dinning room reading and listening as father and son quietly conversed. Eventually, Michael would go silent and Andy would sneak out of the room.

I’m so impressed at what Andy was able to do. He pulled off naps where both my mom and I have failed. Andy is now the nap whisper.

I wanted to shout hallelujah, but I was afraid I would wake up Michael. Instead, I did what any sane mother would do. I went and took a nap too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Look what I found in my inbox

A little bit of background first. My mom has two cats that Michael is around every day. One is a big, old, fuzzball named Charlie. He's a smart kitty and avoids Michael at all costs. The other kitty is Morgan. Morgan is a rescue kitty. She's very small, is blind and deaf on her left side, and she's a few cards short of a deck. Michael loves Morgan.

I'm at my desk this morning trying to get some work done when I get and email from my mom.

From: Grand Mom
To: Joanna
Subject: Morgan and toothpaste

Someone got hold of my toothpaste and covered Morgan's back with it!

My response

Oh, poor Morgan. Michael didn't eat much did he?
Did you get pictures?

Do you like my priorities here? Cat first because my mom loves her kitties. Michael second because that's my real concern. Blog third. She didn't get pictures. Sorry.

I called and checked up on them. Everyone's fine, and that cat smells minty fresh.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Surprising Surprise

Well, that title is a mouthful, but I really did surprise myself by being surprised the other day.

Remember the days of the old economy? You know, when houses were selling so fast that some of them only stayed on the market for minutes. When the only requirement to get a mortgage was to have a pulse, and even that was waived a few times. When we could have powered a small city just by burning all of the credit card offers that were mailed every day. It really wasn’t that long ago, but I’m already forgetting what it was like.

I don’t know much about economics. It’s a very complex science, and I did very little research on the topic growing up because it never seemed important. I used to listen to my grandparents tell stories from the Great Depression and while their experiences made sense to me, none of the economic analysis I encountered about it really seemed useful. I’m not comfortable with risk, so I’ve always leaned a little more toward sticking money in a mattress than risking it all in the market. It’s just a little too complex for me to feel comfortable with.

It’s interesting. The things that have happened, like losing 35% of my 401K and Michael’s college fund, have had surprisingly little effect on our current situation. Assuming that the market eventually recovers, this will just be a negative blip on my financial statements.*

It’s the things that haven’t happened that seem to be having a larger effect on us. Andy’s company announced their planned layoffs before Thanksgiving, and we got to sweat it out for several weeks before Christmas. He made it through the cut, but it was a tense few weeks. My company has announced that there will be some layoffs. I don’t think my program or site is targeted, but I just can’t help but worry about it. So, even though there has been no change to our employment, we have definitely cut back on our spending.

Some of the changes we are experiencing are pretty drastic. People are losing their jobs and their homes. The stock market has tanked. Even the high growth economies in some developing nations are suffering from the shock waves of what is going on here in the USA.

But some of them are so subtle, you don’t even realize that it’s happening.

The other day, I got an American Express credit card offer in the mail. It was offering me an introductory rate of 0% for 18 months. I was completely surprised. I actually opened it up to read some of it. In fact, I was so surprised I even showed it off to Andy. “Look what I got!” I left it on the counter for several days and glanced at it every time I walked into the kitchen.

Andy finally asked me if he could throw it out, and I was surprised to realize that I was really attached to this stupid package off paper. It wasn’t because I was interested in the offer. There was no way I was taking them up on the offer. I have one credit card and that’s all that my stick-money-in-mattresses tendencies can handle. So why was I so interested in it?

Well, because it reminds me of the days of the old economy. The days when I received credit card offers in the mail every day. Some days, I’d get more than one. Heck, I’d even get them from my existing credit card company. They drove me crazy. I’d do a little rant as I shredded them. I never even opened them. So much wasted paper, so much irresponsible lending. It made me sick.

But now, after not seeing on of these offers for months, it was a little reassuring to get one. Hey, maybe there is someone out there who's willing to lend a little money. Maybe it's a sign that things are getting a little better. Maybe there is a little hope. And, how shocking is it that the offers that used to drive me crazy are the very thing that I now find comfort in?

*Please be true

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Warm Fuzzies

I work late on Tuesdays so Andy picks Michael up from my mom’s. I love coming home after my long day to see my two sweeties playing together. Last night they were in the basement playing Wii Fit when I came in.

They were playing a game that requires you to lean from side to side so that you Mii can hit a soccer ball with its head. Michael was standing on the board with Andy kneeling behind him holding him by the waist. Every time a ball, shoe, or panda head would come flying, Andy would move Michael to try and hit or avoid the object. Michael thought it was hysterical and started to laugh his head off, which got both Andy and I going to. It was such a wonderful scene to talk into after a long day at work.

Later, before bedtime, Michael plopped down on my lap for some snuggles. For some reason, I love to reach around him, grab his sock, and then just yank them off in an instant, so I did that last night. He reached out and grabbed his right foot and pulled it towards his body. “This is Baby Foot,” he explained. Then he stretched his foot back out again and wrapped his toes around the big toe of the other foot. “That’s Mama Foot. Baby Foot loves Mama Foot.”

Who would have ever though being compared to a foot could be so sweet?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just like his mommy

People often comment to me about how fun toddlers are because now they have a personality. It always sort of bothers me when people say this. I’ve felt like Michael has a personality since the first time he looked me in the eye a few minutes after he was born. I saw something in him in that moment, and it remains there to this day. Nothing in his personality today surprises me based on what he was like as a baby.

Michael is a very persistent child. If he wants something, he will figure out a way to get it. If that means climbing, he’ll climb. If that means crying, he’ll cry. If it means constantly adapting to every little thing that I come up with to prevent him from getting whatever it is he wants, he’s up for the challenge. I have to admit, sometimes he outsmarts me. The good thing is that he gets this from me, so I’m up for the challenge too.

Michael is a rather contrary child. I know that two year olds are well known for being anything but agreeable, but Michael takes it to a whole new level. When he get’s into the mood for a battle, he’ll disagree with anything just for the sake of disagreeing. He routinely disagrees with me when I tell him he’s cute, sweet, or wonderful. He’s so contrary that he’ll tell me he’s asleep while he’s awake. Now that I think about it, he also get’s this from me.

When you combine his persistent and contrary nature, it makes for a pretty stubborn child. It can make for some stressful moments in our house. Then again, it probably doesn't help that he gets his stubbornness from me as well. It makes me wonder if I can be as difficult to live with as Michael can be at times.

Poor Andy...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fun in the...Wind?

I forgot to send Michael’s shoes with him when I dropped him off at my mom’s yesterday. When she brought him home, he was dressed minus shoes. Oops. It was relatively warm (49 degrees really can feel warm if it’s been cold enough) and windy so Michael decided that he must run around outside. I tried to explain that he didn’t have shoes on, but he didn’t care. We compromised and I let him run to the mail box as long as he stayed on the sidewalk. He was so cute running along in his stocking feet.

Last night was leftovers night, so we wrapped dinner up early. Once we were done, it was still light out. Instead of asking to get out of his booster seat, Michael asked for his shoes. Shoes? Then I realized he was actually asking to go outside. It was chilly and windy, but I decided it would be fun.

We bundled Michael up and Andy grabbed the Nerf ball and the three of us headed out to play football. I just love watching him run and play and laugh. Andy would grab the ball, throw it across the field, and then Michael and I would race for it. I tried to find that right balance of letting him get it most of the time, but pushing him to run faster by grabbing it myself a few times too. When Michael would get it he would either start kicking it back to Andy, or I would chase and tackle him…which involves lots of tickling and very little tackling. When I would get it, Michael would chase me and tackle me…which pretty much involves his face bouncing off my butt.

I’m so glad Michael asked to go out. It was worth having my ears sting with cold for a little while. Michael let us know when he was done by deciding that the ball was a dinosaur egg, and not a ball. He ran away from us, placed the ball on the ground, and then sat on it like a protective mother. Andy and I could not help but burst out laughing at the sight. It took a little coaxing, but we convinced him that his egg would be ok and we headed in for the evening; all three of us laughing on the way.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Need a Smile

I've been feeling sort of blah recently. I think it has to do with winter, that 10 day long stomach bug, and the change in our routine. I indulged the mood for a few days, sometimes it's good to just hibernate and eat chocolate. But, after a few days of it, I really start getting on my nerves.

To cheer myself up today, I decided to go back and look at old pictures of Michael when he was just an itty bitty baby.

Michael was so snuggly as a baby. He napped on me every chance he got. It really limited how much I could get done, but it was so worth it.


He was 7 weeks old the day I took this picture. He spent the entire morning trying to get his thumb to his mouth. He would poke his eye, stick it in his nose, but he struggled so hard to pop it in his mouth. And, I watched him the entire time like it was the most fascinating thing I had ever witnessed.


He never did it again either.

He often slept like this. I always thought he looked like a turtle on it's back. Just look at those sweet little feet. And the chubby thighs. And the smooshed cheaks...


Mommies are for love and comfort. Daddies are for fun. Maybe mommy should have told daddy to stop trying to fish for the baby, but then I wouldn't have this picture to look back on.


Dude, this is so not what I meant when I wanted to play with my toys. Would you stop taking pictures and get me out of here?


No, I can't. Ask Daddy, he's the one that put you in there. My hands are too full with this camera.

Well, if you guys are going to be that way about it...take a picture of this.

Sure thing sweetie.

There, I'm feeling a little bit better now. There's nothing like baby pictures to cheer you up. Only now I want to go home and kiss that sweet little boy.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

And Three…That’s Time Out

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Michael had thrown a tantrum that was so intense that I had no idea how to handle it. I picked up a copy of 1, 2, 3 Magic and decided to give it a try. We were also struggling with him dropping his nap as well as a mild stomach bug that lasted for 10 days. By the time I was ready to start 1, 2, 3ing, Michael had adjusted to the new bedtime and recovered from his tummy bug. He was back to his normal, mostly sweet self and Andy and I were relieved.

I have had a few minor situations where I have started to count, and only once did I get to 3. I informed Michael that he was going into time out and placed him on the step. He sat down happily and continued to sit there. After two minutes, I told him he could get up. He continued to sit there, oblivious to the fact that he had just been subjected to a punishment. It did at least distract him from what he was doing, and I was able to get him ready for bed, but I really didn’t feel like he had gotten any message at all from the process.

Last night before bed, Michael was getting a little slap happy. I wanted to get him ready a little early because it was clear that he needed the sleep. However, Michael wasn’t going for it. He wanted to play with his T-Rex. This particular T-Rex has an articulated jaw and sharp teeth. Michael decided that T-Rex wanted to bite mommy. T-Rex never actually bit mommy because that would result in an instant time out. Instead, T-Rex kept nibbling at my shirt. Great, now I have to discipline a dinosaur.

“T-Rex, that’s one.”

Nibble, nibble.

“T-Rex, that’s two.”

Nibble, nibble.

“T-Rex, that’s three.” I took the T-Rex from Michael’s hands and placed him on the time out step. That sure stopped Michael for a moment. He wanted to play with him, but I explained that T-Rex had tried to bite mommy and that he needed to stay in time out. So, Michael leaned over and tried to bite me.

“Michael, that’s one.”

Nibble, nibble.

“Michael, that’s two.”

Nibble, nibble.

“Michael, that’s three.” And I picked him up and put him on the step. “T-Rex, that was good. You can come out of timeout,” I said as I picked up T-Rex and walked away. That worked. All of the sudden, it clicked. Michael wasn’t happy about it, but he didn’t try to bite me again either.

I didn’t ask Andy what he thought about me putting T-Rex in timeout, and I probably never will. I don’t think I want to know what was going through his mind as he watched me discipline a little plastic toy. I’m just really glad that it worked. Can you imagine the teasing if it hadn't?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Going to the Zoo

It’s been a tough winter this year. We have had bitter cold temperatures and more ice storms than I can count. Add to that, Michael’s 10 day tummy bug and all of the crankiness that came with it, and we have a bad case of cabin fever.

On Sunday, we got a break from the frigid weather. The temperature warmed up to 60 degrees and the sun actually came out. There was no way I was passing up a chance to enjoy some outdoors time. But where to go? We did get 6 inches of snow last week, so anything that’s not still snow covered in going to be pretty damp. That ruled out the park and most of the play grounds in the area. Hey, what about the zoo?

I’m not talking about the Philadelphia Zoo. We have small local zoo right around the corner that I have a season pass for. They focus on animals from North and South America and do a pretty good job with the small budget they have to work with. They also provide homes for a number of injured, unreleasable birds. (Although, I do find the vulture display a little sad. It’s sort of like putting seagulls or pigeons on display. There are so many of them around here that the free vultures come and land on the captive vulture’s display.)

Michael was thrilled to get outside and was even more excited when he realized we were going to the zoo. As soon as we got in the gates he ran over to the fish food dispenser. We always let him feed the Carp and the catfish. However, the pond is iced over, so no fish feeding.

Next he rushed over to a lamp post and pointed out the number 2 that is attached to it. He loves this number 2 and points it out every time we go to the zoo. I tried to direct him towards the porcupines, but he rushed by them to find the 3 on the next lamp post. Luckily, he hasn’t found number 4 yet, so I did manage to steer him to the red fox display. He glanced at the curled up ball of red fluff for half a second and rushed off. I gave up trying to direct him anywhere and followed his lead.

His next stop was the petting barn where he normally gets to feed the sheep and goats. It’s closed for the winter, so he just blew past the door. That’s probably a good thing as he typically tortures the poor animals by feeding them one pellet at a time.

From the barn he ran to the train car that sits outside the bison display. He ran through that a few times and then headed over to the tunnel. The tunnel is really cool. It’s next to the prairie dog display and is supposed to replicate a prairie dog burrow. The kids go crazy over it, and parents love it because we can actually stand still while they wear themselves out.

Once the novelty of the tunnel wore off, Michael took off for the playground; stopping to jump in every puddle he came across. We were both laughing by the time we got to the playground. I let Michael play on the slides and jungle gyms for a while and was really proud of how well he played with the other children. It’s amazing how much difference a few months can make.

When it was finally time to head home, I stopped in the gift shop and picked up some ice cream for him. He was tired and happy. For that matter, so was I. It was such a treat to get out and enjoy the fresh air.

I'm really glad that we have such a nice little zoo near us. Michael really enjoys his trips to the zoo. And I suspect that one of these days he might actually notice that there are animals there.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Like a breath on a House of Cards...

When Andy and I decided to buy a house 6 years ago, we entered what turned out to be a very painful process. It was early in the boom, and it was clearly a seller’s market. We found one house that we loved, but financially it was out of reach. (We were informed that we could use a combination of two mortgages, one with a balloon payment, to make it work. We would just need to refi after a few years to make it work. I’m so glad we didn’t do that, but I do still love that house.) We kept looking and found another house we liked. We put in an offer, and were outbid in hours. We found another house and lost it in a bidding war, then another. That was four houses that we tried for, but couldn’t get. It hurt. I really thought about giving up, but then the centipedes invaded our apartment after a shipment of mulch, and that motivated us to keep going.

After several months, we had the whole process down. We drove around frequently to see if we could catch open house signs before houses were even listed. We saw one in a town home community that we were interested in and gave our realtor a call. We walked through the door at 1:00 on the dot, and started the tour. We couldn’t believe what we saw. It was perfect. It was our house. Andy and I didn’t speak a word as we walked through the house. We just kept glancing at each other, confirming that we liked what we saw, but we were too afraid to say anything because we knew that, like the previous houses, we could loose it to the highest bidder. We waited until we were in the car before risking words. “Let’s put a bid in for it.”

We got the house and I cried with relief.

Michael seems to be adjusting to his new nap-less routine and has been pretty pleasant lately so we decided to take him out to dinner on Saturday. He’s been eating pretty well so I actually ordered him a kid’s meal instead of just fries. He dug right into his grilled cheese with a hearty appetite. Andy I just sort of glanced at each other. Is this for real? Andy decided to push his luck and offered Michael a piece of chicken. He ate it. Andy flashed his eyes towards me, questioning if this was really happening. I just raised my eyebrows in response. Next, I offered Michael a piece of steak. “That’s yummy!” he explained after scarffing it down.

Andy and I continued to give each other looks throughout the meal. We were both clearly excited about Michael eating food like a normal person, but just like with the house, we felt that it was so tenuous that even speaking a word could ruin it. We suppressed our joy through the entire meal, never letting on to Michael how happy we were. Later that night, long after Michael was in bed, Andy finally got up the nerve to mention it. “He really surprised me tonight.”

“I know he surprised me too. It was really nice.” I responded. Then, I thought to myself – and let’s never speak of this again. Or at least until he's a teenager and is eating us out of house and home.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Photo Phriday in Philadelphia

Or, should that be Foto Friday in Filadelphia?

I really would love to post more pictures of Michael. One of my goals this year is to get my photos organized and develop a better system for uploading and posting them. Currently, the process involves downloading the pictures on our laptop and then moving them to either my work computer or my desktop. The logistics involved with this should be easy for someone who works in Logistics, but that's just not the case.

Instead of continuing to whine about how hard it is to mange my files, I'm going to jump right in with the pictures.

Here is one from Christmas Day. I saw this going on and, knowing my dad, I was pretty sure he was up to trouble.


Fortunately, my mom does not scare easily.

Here is another one from Christmas day. Can you believe those eyelashes? I thought I was blessed with full eyelashes until I met Andy. Michael got these from his daddy.


Michael has already turned into a tech junkie. He steals Andy's iTouch to watch dinosaur videos, so it wasn't surprising when he took to his DVD player immediately. He gets so excited about it that he won't even take his jacket off. We only pull it out on special occasions now.


Kid, let me tell you, the iTouch might be fun, but trust me...chicks don't dig this look.


Now this look, will get you lots of love. And Chicken soup. But please don't milk it too much.


And finally, if there was any question who rules the roost in our house, this should clear things up for you.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Turning 4 Million Years Old Isn’t That Bad

I’d like to thank everyone for the birthday wishes yesterday. I ended up having a wonderful birthday.

I don’t normally take my birthday off, but I had scheduled Michael’s first dentist appointment for the day, so I actually got to sleep in until 6:30 on my birthday. When we got up, I discovered that the weather forecasters had hosed the forecast again. I expected to see an inch of snow on the ground when I peeked out the window. Instead, there was half a foot. Oops! But, unlike most of our other storms this winter, this was an all snow event. Everything was decorated with puffy white snow that was glowing brilliantly under a bright blue sky. It was gorgeous.

I took Michael to his weekly gym class and got to see first hand just how much he loves it. My mom and I sat out in the hall chatting, but I kept peeking in to see what he was doing. He had a smile on his face the whole time.

We went straight from the gym class to the dentist. I really wasn’t sure how the appointment was going to go, so I made sure he had snacks on the ride down. A hungry toddler is normally a cranky toddler, and I wanted to avoid any pitfall I could.

The appointment went wonderfully. He sat on my lap for his cleaning. He loved being allowed to spit his water out after rinsing. He even let the hygienist floss his teeth. The dentist said his teeth look good. They are well spaced in the front and line up properly in his bite. He did notice that his teeth are a little tight in the back, which was not a surprise. It’s too soon to tell if Michael will have the same problems I did, but I won’t be surprised if he ends up missing a few adult teeth.

Once we got home, we played in the snow and baked my birthday cake. I kept asking Michael how old I was, and I liked some of the answers I got. I was 2 at one point and 33 at another. I wasn’t too thrilled about his suggestion that I was 46, but the best answer was that I’m 4 million years old. Maybe he’s been watching a few too many dinosaur DVDs.

The most amazing part of the day came during dinner. As I’ve mentioned (whined) about before, Michael is not much of an eater. He likes a lot of breakfast foods, noodles, and other carbs, but he really doesn’t like meat. Last night however, he ate steak. We managed to get him to try the first bite through reverse psychology. “You don’t want that” is almost as powerful as M&Ms in the child motivation department. But, I have to give the Pioneer Woman credit for Michael asking for a second, third, fourth and fifth bite of the steak. That really was one incredible steak. Top it off with chocolate cake for desert, and it was definitely one of the best birthday dinners I’ve ever had.

To top the day off, I discovered that Cadbury has released the season’s first cream eggs. When I finally sat down to relax at the end of the day, I peeled myself an egg and savored every last bite. It wasn’t the wildest birthday I’ve ever had, but it sure was one of the nicest ones.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Potty Surprise

While Andy and my mom have started to get into potty training Michael, I’ve remained pretty laid back. It’s not that I don’t think potty training is important; it’s just that I see something in Michael that I know he gets from me. The child is contrary, and as a contrary person, I know what kinds of “motivation” do not work. (Read as anything external.)

My approach to potty training is to model the behavior and talk about it when it comes up naturally. Considering Michael’s tendency to follow me into the bathroom, I’ve done plenty of modeling, even when I don’t want to. Michael has shown no interest in potty training and continues to hide in the game closet in our basement anytime he needs to do his business.

Imagine my surprise last night when he pulled his potty book off the shelf and started to press the flushing button. He brought it over to Andy and me and asked us to read it to him. After a few read-throughs, we asked Michael if he wanted to try out his potty.

“Yes!” he answered as he ran for the bathroom. Sure enough, he pulled down his pants and had me take off his diaper. He grinned at me and sat his little naked tushy on his potty. I grinned back because, well, how could I not?

Over the next 15 minutes I realized just how complex going to the potty really is. I watched him wiggle and squirm on the potty to get comfortable. Once comfortable, he decided he needed to investigate what was going on down there. I think he was calculating the possibilities of what different aiming could do, but I can’t be sure.

Next, he decided I needed to join him. I’m all for modeling, so why not. That’s when toilet paper entered the scene. I’ve never really contemplated TP very much, but Michael sure did. He rubbed it just about everywhere except the one place he should have. When he was done with it, he balled it up and handed it to me. Ah…thanks?

Things started getting a little silly from there. When his foot ended up in the potty I decided to wrap it up. There was no actual going potty in the potty, but I felt that it was a very positive experience over all. It was certainly better than his first exposure to the potty as seen here.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Someday I’ll Look Back on This and Laugh

Saturday didn’t go too well…

Part 1 – Poison Control

The day started out slow. Andy let me sleep in a bit, which was wonderful. We hung out and watched some TV and I drank some coffee. We had no plans for the day so we took our time getting ready.

I have very uncooperative hair, which requires me to blow dry it every day. Andy was going to watch Michael when I went up to get ready, but Michael decided to follow me. He settled down into our closet while I worked on my hair. I figured he was just, um, taking care of business in there, so I didn’t worry about it. It’s just the closet, what trouble could he get into?

I was part way through drying my hair when I glanced back and noticed some paper on the floor. I stepped in to check on it, and discovered that it was the wrapper from the silicon gel pellets that they place in shoe boxes to control moisture. You know, that ones that are marked with a big DO NOT EAT label. I didn’t see any pellets, just the paper. Great.

So, I got to make my first call to Poison Control. It turns out that they are marked that way because they are a choking hazard, not because they are toxic. Phew. That was a relief. And the woman who took my call was very nice and didn’t make me feel like she was submitting me for the worst mom of the year award.

I should mention that it turned out that Michael had done his business while in the closet, and I got to deal with that after he had been sitting on it for 15 minutes. Did I mention he still has a touch of the stomach bug? Yeah, that was fun.

Part 2 – The perfectly timed tantrum

Later in the afternoon I decided to try out a new recipe for dinner. I needed to run to the market for some ingredients when the battle started. Michael really wanted to go with me. I didn’t want to take him because he was tired and a little cranky. Then, like an idiot, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to put the Magic 123 to work. Off we went to the market.

Michael really wanted to go with me, until we got there. Then he decided that he really didn’t want to be there. I searched through the carts, but none of the seat belts was long enough (Many of them didn’t fit him when he was 18 months old and 15th percentile for weight. It drives me crazy.) What I wanted to do was demonstrate to Michael that when he said he wanted to go, that meant he was going. Instead, I had to fight him to stay in the cart and finally threatened that I would take him home and come back to do the shopping by myself if he wouldn’t settle down.

Two minutes later, we were on our way home. Michael screamed and cried the whole way, begging me to take him back to the market. Not a chance.

I parked my car, hopped out, and came around to get him out. Before I opened the door on my tantruming beast I heard Pssssss. The valve stem on my tire had just failed and my tire was starting to slowly deflate.

That’s when mom brain kicked in. In a split second I surveyed the situation and realized that the leak was slow enough that if I left RIGHT THEN, I could get to the tire shop before the tire deflated too much for me to drive on it. If I didn’t, I would have to dig out my jack, jack the car, remove the wheel, and then take it to the shop. Having changed a tire in 20 degree temperature before, I decided that I was going RIGHT THEN. I plucked Michael from the car, carried him kicking and screaming into the house, handed him to a very stunned Andy, and walked right back out.

The good news was that I made it to the shop in time, and the whole thing was resolved in about 20 minutes. The bad news was that when I called Andy to explain what happened, I could still hear Michael tantrumming in the background. Wow, does that kid have some stamina.

Fortunately, that was the last tantrum of the weekend. I took Michael to the market yesterday for our weekly shopping, and guess what? He was a perfect angel. Sticking to my guns wasn't much fun, but it does seem to have paid off.