Thursday, July 30, 2009

Date Night

Andy and I are going on a date tonight. We are going to see Elton John and Billy Joel in concert. Michael is staying at home with my mom. I am very excited!

That is all.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Again With the Crazy

My mom and Michael had a very nice day yesterday. They played, they watered the plants, they went swimming. It was all good. It all went wrong the moment I showed up to pick him up. He wouldn't get his shoes on. Once his shoes were on, he wouldn't get into his car seat. Once we got home he freaked out because I was standing on the sidewalk.

Yes, I just said he was angry because I was standing on the sidewalk. I don't have a rational way to handle that one so I was lucky the "Let's race" approach worked.

There were a number of other bizarre, irrational reactions throughout the evening which eventually resulted in a time out held in Andy's office. Things settled down after that, but I wouldn't call it the perfect evening.

As frustrating as Michael can be when he gets like this, I typically find myself confused and a little sad about what's going on. As I was putting Michael to bed last night, while he was falling asleep on my shoulder, he whispered, "I need to go downstairs to poopy." We both know that when he says that, what he really means is that he wants to stay with me. He wants it so badly that even as he's drifting off to sleep, it's still the primary thought in his head.

I see this battle between independence and attachment and I know it must be hard on him. I also know that he just has to go through it. It's part of growing up. I just wish I could find a good balance between being supportive without being too permissive. It's easy to think about, but putting it into practice is a lot harder.

I finally broke down today and ordered Your Three Year Old: Friend or Enemy. I'm not really expecting it to help me manage Michael's moods, but I am hoping it will help me come to terms with the fact that three-year-olds are crazy, that they all go through it, and that they eventually grow out of it. If you have read the book, and it didn't help, don't tell me. I need what little hope I have at the moment.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Michael's Grand Conspiracy to Drive Me Insane

Quite a few years back, I owned an old Honda Accord. It was a great car, but at 10 years I knew that it wouldn't hold up forever so I started saving for a new car. Every time I would start accumulating enough money for a down payment, the car would break down. The annoying part of it was that the more money I had saved, the more the repairs cost. It was like my car knew that I was trying to replace it, and it would breakdown so that I would have to use the down payment money. I know it was just an annoying coincidence, but it still drove me crazy.

On Friday night we made a big to do about Michael completing his potty chart. We went out to dinner and then took him to Toys R Us to pick out a reward toy. My intention was to draw the connection between potty behavior and rewards. We had no plans for Sunday, so I was going to bribe Michael into a pair of underwear and see how things went.

Michael woke up in a miserable mood on Saturday. After several weeks of really easy going, agreeable behavior, he turned into a monster over night. He was fighting everything, including things that didn't even make sense. He would get upset even if I agreed with him. It made for a very long morning.

We went to a birthday party in the afternoon and things started to look up, so I was still planning on the booty camp. Then, about half an hour before bed, Michael told me his stomach hurt and preceded to throw up all over me. I cleaned both of us, and the carpet, and then waited for a little while to see if there was a second round. It was getting late, so I finally took him up to bed and he threw up on both of us (and Larry the mama snake.) After cleaning up again, Andy and I decided to keep him up for a while longer to make sure he was done. He was about two hours late getting to bed.

I was still optimistic about booty camp until Michael woke up on Sunday morning. Folks, I swear, it's like he knew what I was planning to do. He was so difficult about every little thing that I knew there was no way he was going to allow me to put underwear on him. I did get them out, and I did talk to him about it...

The idea was not well received. At all. Period. End of story. In fact, no you can't even change my diaper lady. I'll sit here in poop before I let you come near me even thinking about underwear.

That's fine by me! But don't expect to get that Glodoodle you want anytime soon. I'm the one that controls the credit card around here. No underwear, no Glodoodle. *blowing raspberry and sounding petulant*

Please excuse me while I go off in a corner and sulk for a while...

Stupid potty training...stupid underwear...Humf...who cares about potty training anyway...

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Return of Old Friends

When Michael was about 14 months old, we discovered that he had an unusual interest in letters. By the time he was 16 months we learned that he had and unusual and intense interest in letters. The winter when he was 1.5 years old was the winter of never ending letters. There were days when he would come home, run straight into the kitchen, and greet the magnetic letters on the fridge as if they were old friends.

His passion for letters continued up until right before Christmas this year. One evening he sat down, wrote out every single capital letter on his Magnadoodle, and then just stopped. It was like someone just flipped a switch in his head. In this case, they switched it from letters to dinosaurs. He maintained a mild interest in letters, and also harbored a low level interest in trains, but it was pretty much dinosaurs everywhere and all the time. The abruptness of the switch was odd, but the intensity remained the same.

A few weeks ago, the switched flipped again. Michael hasn't touched his trains in weeks and is no longer interested in the trains at Barnes and Noble. He still has a mild interest in dinosaurs and plays with them for a few minutes here and there. His passion for letters has returned full force.

It's very difficult to describe just how into letters Michael really is. I'm always concerned that people think I'm bragging when I end up talking about it, and to be honest I am impressed that he has a better grasp of letters at 3 than his dyslexic mother has at 37. But, unless you spend the day with Michael, you just don't get how passionate the boy is for letters.

The two of us were home alone yesterday. It was raining, and my car was in the shop. This is how we spent the day.

Michael woke up at 6:00 AM. I was going to bring him into bed with me, but a diaper leak sent us downstairs for a change of clothes. As soon as Michael hit the sofa he wanted his Magnadoodle. He spent a while writing letters. When he got tired of that, he got out our Scrabble game and started playing with the letter tiles. "Q" was his tile of choice. Soon he wanted to play play-doh, so I got out a few tubs and his letter cookie cutters so we could make letters. At this point, he did get out some dinosaurs so he could leave dinosaur tracks in his letters, but the main focus was on the letters.

By noon, we had played letters on the Magnadoodle, in play-doh, with Scrabble tiles, on my Nintendo DS (on a game and through the pictochat), he wrote letters on contruction paper cards he had asked me to make, he typed letters on my laptop and then played on Starfall.com, he even made an "S" out of Larry the mommy snake. I was a bit lettered out after 6 hours of pure letter play, so I invited Michael to help make chocolate chip cookies. That distracted him for about half an hour. When we were done, he was pretty sticky, so I took him up to take a bath. In the bath, he played with his foam letters and used bathtub crayons to write - you guessed it - letters.

The rest of the day was more of the same. Michael played with the typing screens on Andy's iPhone when we went to pick up my car. While I was making dinner, he traced letters on his Pet Pals game. Before bed he watched Here Come the ABCs. Finally, at bedtime, the last book he wanted was Max's ABCs. He didn't want me to read it, I simpy turned the pages as he traced the letters. That's twelve straight hours of letter activities.

I have to confess, it seems a little odd.

Tonight we are going to the toy store because Michael filled in his potty chart. What kind of toy do you think he'll end up picking out?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shirt = Missing

I knew something was wrong when my mom called me yesterday afternoon. She never calls me. I answered hesitantly. "Hello?"

"I've spent the past two hours looking for Shirt. I can't find it." She confessed.

My heart sank. Not Michael's beloved shirt. My old maternity shirt that I stuck in his crib one night to comfort him. The Shirt that he snuggles with when he's sad or tired. The Shirt that he's been dragging around with him for the past two years. The shirt that I DO NOT HAVE A REPLACEMENT FOR!

We talked over the entire day. When was the last time you saw shirt? Did you go any where today? Did he throw it off the balcony? We narrowed down that Shirt had made it to my mom's in the morning. They never went onto the balcony. In fact, the only place they went was the trash room. We determined that Shirt is either somewhere in her apartment...or down the trash chute.

Andy helped my mom look when he picked Michael up. No Shirt.

I stopped on my way home and did another search. Nothing. I was so upset over losing shirt that I even went down to the trash dumpster to see if I could find my mom's trash bag. I was prepared to go dumpster diving in a skirt and high heals if necessary. Unfortunately, The top of the dumpster was secured and I couldn't find one of the maintenance men to open it. I left in defeat.

I wasn't sure how the evening would go without Shirt. Michael did ask for Shirt once, but he seemed OK when I explained that I couldn't find Shirt. I thought bedtime would be bad, but after fighting to avoid having his PJs changed, Michael agreed to head upstairs without an issue. He didn't even ask for Shirt. He fell asleep without any problem. He did ask for Shirt once this morning, but once again seemed OK when I explained we couldn't find it. Overall, it doesn't seem to be bothering him much.

I, on the other hand, am having trouble with the whole thing. Last night I had a dream that I was looking for something in the house I grew up in. (The house that I searched a number of times for my missing blankie). After a little while I realzied that I was looking for Michael. He was missing and I couldn't find him. It was very distressing. It upset me so much I woke up in the middle of the night and almost got up to make sure Michael was asleep in his crib.

I will admit that in some ways I think this might be a good thing. Shirt is pretty gross at this point, and dragging it back and forth every day is getting old. Maybe it's a good time for a clean break.

Of course, we still don't know for sure that Shirt won't turn up. Wouldn't it really stink if Michael survived the separation and was over Shirt, only to have him find it again a few weeks from now? I think I'll advise my mom to keep it hidden if she finds it when Michael is not around.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dumb as Dirt

I'm afraid of spiders. Like crazy, jump up and down and squeal afraid of spiders. This has been an ongoing drama in my household since I was a child because my dad likes spiders.

I understand that spiders are beneficial. They eat bugs, which is a very good thing. I don't have a problem with this, as long as it's not occurring in my house. And, unlike my bug phobia, my spider phobia does have some rational thinking behind it. Some spiders have very nasty bites. But that never stopped my father from making fun of me for my little spider problem.

He always tried to get me to ignore spiders, especially if we were camping and they came into our tent. They don't harm anyone, so just leave them be. In fact, he wouldn't even zipper our tent to keep the damn things out because he didn't want the zipper to break. (If we don't use it, who cares if it breaks! Really, isn't that obvious?) I would cry and sometimes scream until all offending spiders were removed from my presence.

Please note that I said REMOVED. There was no spider squishing with my dad around. It either stayed where it was, or it was removed by my dad or my brother. They would pick the spider up and carry it outside. It's crazy.

Several years ago, my dad was bitten by a brown recluse spider. It did a decent amount of localized damage in the area surrounding the bite. It's a good thing he's in great shape. One of his buddies was bitten around the same time and ended up in the hospital because of it. They weren't sure if they could save the guy's leg.

When my dad sprayed his shed to kill all of the spiders I thought that maybe he had finally learned his lesson. Spiders good. Spiders around humans, not so much.

Then, I received this picture in an email from my dad. He was in Canada with the Boy Scouts last week and look at what he caught.

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Some people never learn, do they?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Potty Chart Update

Professionally, I do a decent amount of project management. I've studied project management as part of my MBA courses, I've been mentored by some very successful project managers, and I've spent the past decade applying everything I've learned on actual projects. I understand how important it is to set clearly defined and attainable goals. I understand the importance of tracking performance to meaningful metrics. I'm well acquainted with the risks and benefits that go along with using incentives to achieve a desired result. I develop complex performance measures and track them on a weekly basis using sophisticated computing systems.

Surely this means I'm qualified to develop a potty training chart for my three-year-old, right?

It's a simple chart made with construction paper and a crayon. It has eight blocks. I explained to Michael that he gets one sticker for pee, two for poop. Once all the blocks are filled, I'll take him to the toy store and he can pick out a toy. How could that go wrong?

Michael has been using the potty before bed almost every night for several weeks, so it should be a given that in eight days he'll get his reward, or so I thought. He used the potty for two nights and I made a big deal out of placing the stickers on the chart. I expected him to get excited and was hoping that he would ask to use the potty this weekend to get extra stickers. I really thought that we would be making a trip to the toy store yesterday.

The chart did not encourage Michael to ask to use the potty, so I occasionally asked him if he wanted to use the potty. "NO". I reminded him that he would get a sticker. "NO". I dropped it so as not to push his contrary buttons too hard.

On Saturday he asked me if we could go to Toys R Us. I explained that we would go when his potty chart was filled. He accepted the explanation happily and we went on with our day. In the afternoon, he talked about needing to fill the potty chart before he could go to Toys R Us. He demonstrated a clear understanding of how the chart works. I was really impressed until bedtime rolled around and Michael refused to use the potty. I reminded him that he would get a sticker. "NO". I didn't make a big deal out of it; I just casually changed his diaper.

Yesterday afternoon I asked him if he wanted to use the potty. He broke down in tears and fell into my arms sobbing and saying he doesn't want to use the potty. His response was so strong you would have thought I had asked him to give up Shirt, not simply said, "Would you like to use the potty". I held him and reassured him that he didn't have to use the potty if he didn't want to.

At bedtime last night I risked mentioning the potty again. He flat out refused. In a matter of days from starting the potty chart Michael went from peeing on the potty once a day to crying and refusing to use the potty at all.

So much for that idea. As we headed upstairs to brush Michael's teeth I contemplated what to do. Do I keep up with the chart and hope we can get it filled in so we could head to Toys R Us and Michael can actually see the reward? Do I take down the chart and pretend that none of this ever happened? Do I leave the chart up and only mention it if he actually goes potty again? How did such a simple thing become so difficult? I just wanted to scream.

When Andy was finished helping Michael brush his teeth, Michael turned to him and told Andy that he wanted to go downstairs to use the potty. Never underestimate the power of the bedtime stall tactics. Instead of letting Michael run back downstairs, we offered him TWO, yes TWO stickers if he would use the potty insert that we gave up on a few months ago. Bingo! In mere minutes he went from refusing the potty to asking to use it and using the insert that he has always refused.

I'm going to keep the chart up for now. He only has three more boxes to fill and I'm hoping we can do that without further breakdowns. If not, I just keep in mind that it's unlikely that I'll be sending him off to college in diapers. ANd, if he is still in diapers by then, at least I won't have to change them anymore.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Phone Photo Friday

Laura had a great idea for a post today, and I decided to play along. I'm glad too, because I forgot all about these pictures I had taken a few weeks ago.


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It's bad enough that I leave my shoes all over the house. It drives Andy crazy. But, I think he was even less pleased to walk in and discover his son wearing my favorite opened toed pumps. I can kind of understand, I mean who wears socks with open toed pumps? Seriously!

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Michael thought he had mastered this walking thing. He has no idea.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's Time

Last night I made Michael a potty chart. My mom tried this before, but Michael didn't respond to it. However, something seems to have clicked in his mind recently, I can't describe what it is really, but it just seemed like the right time to give it a try. I posted the chart on the wall, explained that he would get one sticker for pee and two for poo. Then when he actually did use the potty, I explained it again and placed his first sticker on it. I've promised him that when he fills the chart that I will take him to the toy store and let him pick out a toy. I hope it works.

I am a little concerned about what will happen if it does work. The other day, in a moment of weakness, I promised him his own computer if he potty trains. Please, oh please don't let him remember that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Guess Where We Went!

When Michael was just itty bitty, he was pretty portable, but I was too tired to really want to go on any adventures. That first year was rough, and I was content with us just surviving. Michael started sleeping through the night when he was 15 months, and I finally had some energy again. Andy and I started thinking about going on outings again, but unfortunately, sleeping through the night was quickly followed by walking which was quickly followed by darting. Even a trip to the mall became an effort, so we didn't plan anything major. (Yeah, I know, I'm a wuss.)

This spring, two things happened. One, Michael started to occasionally listen to us when we left the house. Sometimes, he would actually hold my hand agreeably as well. This was huge. The other thing that happened was that Andy and I decided that we are going crazy and that it's time to start pushing our comfort zone.

Since then, we have had a successful trip to the shore, a number of pleasant dinners out, and I've even been able to let Michael walk in a few parking lots. This past weekend we decided to push the envelop a little further. Guess where we went.

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Yes, we took Michael to see the World Series Champions trounce the Pittsburg Pirates. As you can see, we had another success! I don't think Michael had any idea what was going on down on the field, but that didn't bother him in the least. He cheered and clapped with the rest of the crowd. He took in the crowds and played with the stadium seat. He even opened some peanuts, although I'm not sure calling one a turtle and placing it in his pocket is standard operating procedure.

He did have a small breakdown at the bottom of the second inning. I don't know what happened. I looked over at him and his lip was jutting out. When I asked him what was wrong, he collapsed on me and bawled his eyes out. After a minute or two, he pulled himself together and returned to cheering and clapping. It was very odd, but then again, he is three.

He held up pretty well for the first part of the game, but by the top of the seventh inning, he was starting to get antsy. That's when I used my new found tool to keep him occupied.



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Yeah, I'm working really hard at dissuading him from drinking soda. At least this time it was mostly water from the ice. (ewww)

We decided not to push things, so we left at the end of the seventh inning. That was a great call on Andy's part. We were able to avoid the mass exodus from the park, and we made it home in time to get Michael to bed at a decent hour.

On a silly note: While I was reviewing my pictures, I came across this.

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I believe I've just reveled my true identity. You never new I was Elastigirl, did you?

Monday, July 13, 2009

His first sip of...

We went to a BBQ at my sister-in-law's on Saturday. We have been having beautiful weather recently, so we were actually able to enjoy time outside playing games in the yard. We ate good food, enjoyed good company, and in general had a wonderful time.

Michael enjoyed himself too. His Aunt had bought him some toys and bubbles, so of course he decided to ignore them and mess around with her house and yard instead. She didn't seem to mind. Instead, she and several of the other women took turns playing with him. He was thrilled with all of the attention.

He did have a bit of a disappointment though. There was a very attractive older woman at the BBQ that he tried to put the moves on. She was six, and she wanted nothing to do with a grubby little three-year-old. (I'm pretty sure he was sticky too.) He really wanted to play with her, and he even approached her to ask her name, but she simply responded and turned away. Poor boy. Little does he know what the future will be like.

Not long after her rejection, I found him poking around on the porch. This is what he found.


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Is that beer? The poor kid must be heart broken. But three seems a little too young to be hitting the bottle when rebuffed by a woman. Granted, she had gorgeous curls, but drinking never turns out well in the end.


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Fortunately, he couldn't figure out how to open the bottle, and his evil mommy wouldn't help, so he gave up and moved on to the strawberries. (Ha, you didn't really think I was going to let him have some beer I hope!)

I did, however, introduce him to one of the most wonderful beverages on the face of the earth. His first Coca-Cola!
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I have very mixed feelings about letting him have some soda. I have a serious Diet Coke habbit at this point, and I don't want him to end up the same way. I don't know how to keep him from getting hooked on soda like I did, but I do know that making it a special treat like my parents did is probably not the best way to go.

Michael seemed more excited about being given his own can of soda then he did about actually drinking it. He carried the can around for about half an hour, but he didn't actually drink very much of it. In the end, Michael was happy because we had entrusted him with a can of soda, and Andy and I were happy because he wasn't all hyped up on sugar and caffeine.

What more could I ask for?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yay Me! I kept a straight face!

One of Andy's friends recently got married. They threw a shower for her at work, and I picked up her gift since I drive right past Bed, Bath & Beyond every day. I purchased a set of dishes for the soon to be bride and the clerk asked me if I would like it gift wrapped. I normally do this myself, but the box was heavy so I figured why not.

This, is why not.

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I was a little concerned when the woman grabbed a plastic bag with a rose pattern on it. I mean really, that's just a garbage bag with flowers. It went downhill from there. To try and make the huge bag fit, she gathered the bag at the bottom and started wacking away with a stappler. Once she had it arranged to her liking, she flipped it over and tied the bow at the top. There were about 15 inches of plastic bag sticking over the top of the bow, so she grabbed her scissors and started hacking at the plastic. Nothing like adding the "gnawed" look to a gift to give it some sophistication. I repressed my giggles as she "fluffed" the ragged edges to make it look better. Really, this thing was so far gone that fluffing was not an option.

When she was done, she handed it to me and thank me for shopping in the store. The look on her face lead me to believe that she either really thought this was acceptable wrapping or that she's the best actress ever. Since I am not a good actress, I ran from the store as quickly as possible before bursting out laughing. I laughed the whole way to the grocery store were I picked up some suitable wedding shower wrapping supplies.

Really...I'm lazy, but even I couldn't give a gift that looked like that.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reflections on the Shore

One of the cool things about having a beach house in the family is the history that goes along with it. I have an older brother and sister, Eric and Christy. (Hi Sissy! *waves*) We are very close in age, which translates into a lot of chaos. Some of that chaos was great, some not so much, but looking back, it's all pretty funny.

When I went out to the shed to get a bucket and shovel for Michael, I was reminded of the time Eric and Christy were chasing each other around and one of them tried to hide in the shed. They pulled and pushed on the aluminum door too much and damaged it. To this day, it's hard to close the door.

When we sat down to eat lunch, I was reminded of the lunches my grandmother would make for us. The noon siren would go off and we would head in for soup and sandwiches. One time my grandmother confessed to making the Manhattan Clam Chowder with chicken broth instead of water. Christy was NOT happy about this and complained about the disgusting chicken chowder. She refused to eat her bowl of soup. I echoed her complaints...while eating her bowl of soup. Score!

As we relaxed in the living room, I couldn't help but think back to the year Christy broke her arm on the giant slide at the amusement park. Eric was so upset. He thought that it was going to ruin our entire vacation. Christy - you know, the one with the broken arm- took it all in stride. It didn't keep her from doing anything. I, on the other hand thought I had a new source of older sister torment. I don't know what she said to upset me, but I turned on her and called her a "four eyed, one armed orangutan". It was in the living room that I learned that not only do fiberglass casts bruise, they also scratch. Ouch.

I think my favorite memory of the three of us down the shore is the summer of the jelly fish invasion. We had this great idea. We caught a few buckets full of jelly fish, dug holes in the sand, filled the holes with jelly fish, and finally covered them with sand. Then we sat down to watch as poor, unsuspecting beach walkers stepped into our jelly fish traps. It was a brilliant idea and our execution was flawless. Well, except for the part where we sat five feet away from the holes and giggled as soon as someone approached. So much for that idea.

Last Saturday at the bay, I watched as Michael played in the sand and ran along the water's edge and I felt a pang of regret. We are 99.9% sure that he will be our only child. I realized as I watched him that he'll never have a sibling to conspire with. He won't know what it's like to have a brother throw sand at him or a sister to go crabbing with. He'll never get to climb on the jetty and share tidal pool finds with another child in the family. I'm not saying that having an older brother and sister was always wonderful, but it was never lonely.

For a moment, I really reconsidered having a second child, but than a little girl came up and asked Michael if he wanted to play with her. Maybe I don't have as much to worry about as I thought. Michael's childhood will certainly be different than mine, but that doesn't mean that he won't have meaningful relationships. They will just be different relationships.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Beach Photos

I was able to download the cameras last night. I have to say, I sure do hate my little point and shoot. I think my iPhone camera works better most of the time.

Andy declined the Ferris Wheel ride so he snapped a few pictures of Michael and I going around. I now see that our yellow #5 car is actually a #15 car. I can't blame a three year old for getting it wrong, but I guess I should have noticed too.
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Next we hit the boats.


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Lady, get your hands out of here. I'm not done. Don't you see I have buttons to push?

Michael was playing ball and let it roll under the deck. He wanted me to crawl under to get it.


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No, I don't think so. You want the ball, you can get it yourself. You at least fit.


Here's my dad.

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What do you mean I don't look like Harrison Ford? Oh, I guess it's because I have blond hair.

Yes dad, that's it. The blond hair.

The sand of the bay is full of pebbles and broken sea shells. It's not a problem unless you have a 30+ pound child standing on your legs grinding your skin into the sand.

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Michael, I don't think this really counts as swimming.

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This doesn't either, but it is cutting off the circulation to my...splash!

We moved on to the light house and the jetty.

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What, you want me to climb up on those rocks? Really?

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OKAY!

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I am the king of the jetty! Don't come near me or I'll lick you.

Finally, the ride home.
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ZZZZZ...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Expectations Exceeded

I could check off my list of expectations to let you know how our weekend went, or I could just show you this picture.


Ice cream

That pretty much sums things up. Michael was in 7th heaven this weekend. We went through a lot of napkins, but it was worth it.

We did encounter traffic on the way down to the beach, but Michael slept through the last hour of the ride, so it was a low stress crawl onto the island instead of and "Are we there yet" fest. Michael woke up shortly before we got to my dad's and was thrilled when we pulled up to the beach house.

Michael was excited to get his bathing suit on, but I wasn't sure how he was going to react to the ocean. I suspected that he wouldn't go running straight in like he did last year, and I was right. He seems to have developed a much greater sense of caution in the past few months. My dad and I walked down and stuck our feet in the water and Michael looked at us like we were crazy. I kept trying to coax him to come down with us, but he was afraid to get his feet in the water. He would chase the waves out as they receded and then would let them chase him back when the next wave rolled in. I swear, it was so cute that I could have watched it for hours.

He did finally come in enough to get his legs wet, but that's about it. The water was pretty cold and dark clouds were rolling in, so I decided to postpone the swimming until the next morning at the bay.

In the evening, we headed down to the Fantasy Island amusement park. Michael's reaction to seeing the Ferris wheel really surprised me. I expected him to show the same caution as he did with the ocean. Nope. He decided in an instant that he was going to it, and didn't let up until we were sitting in the yellow #5 car. I thought he might change his mind on the way up, but he didn't. He even tried to stand up at the top.

I'm pretty sure he would have gone on every single ride if I would have let him. I'm thankful that Curious George has an episode about being tall enough to go on rides. Michael didn't fight me on any rides that he wasn't big enough for. He did fight me to go on the rest though. When we finally wanted to leave, I had to distract him with the promise of ice cream to get him away. I think we need to consider a trip to Sesame Place or Dutch Wonderland for later in the summer.

I decided that I wasn't even going to try and get him to sleep before Andy and I went to bed. It made for a much more pleasant evening. Michael did share the bed with us, and it worked well...for him at least. He did spend some time sticking his fingers up my nose, and then trying to shove his feet down the back of my PJs but lucky for me he ended up rolling over and shoving his knees into Andy's back all night. Not so lucky for Andy.

We hit the bay beach on Saturday morning, and Michael was reluctant at first to go into the water. I decided to sit at the water's edge and play in the sand so that Michael could get comfortable with the setting. It took him a while before finally going in, and when he did, he decided to cling to me and stand on my legs. It wasn't very comfortable, but after a while a little girl came over and asked him to play. He finally decided that maybe water is fun.

We stayed for a long time. Andy finished reading, and I worked on not hovering too much. Of course, when it was finally time to go, Michael didnt' want to come out of the water. Typical.

In the afternoon, we headed up to Barneget Light for lunch and a trip out on the jetty. Michael was very tentative climbing on the rocks, but he was a trooper and kept trying even when he got a little nervous. I expect that next year he'll be climbing on them like a billy goat and I'll be the one that's a little nervous.

We headed home around dinner time. I had bought Michael Finding Nemo for the trip, hoping the novelty of a new movie would keep him occupied for the ride. It was a complete waste. Michael pulled shirt up over his head and fell asleep in a matter of minutes. He didn't wake up for tolls, for a gas stop, or even me picking him up and carrying him into the house. He was wiped out.

We woke him up around 7:30 and decided to let him stay up for fireworks. He really didn't like all the noise they made, so he insisted on staying in the house for the show. We live close enough to the show that we were able to sit down in the dinning room and watch the fireworks out the front windows. It wasn't the best way to view the show, but at least we didn't have to worry about the skeeters.

We did have one major fail over the weekend. I did sunscreen for both Michael and me before we went to the bay. Michael hates getting sunscreen on, and once it's on his arms he's too slippery to hold onto. He puts up quite a fight. By dinner time, I realized two things. One, I was too cautious around Michael's eyes and he was a little rosy in that area. Two, after fighting with Michael so hard, I forgot to get Andy to do my back. My back is fried to a crisp. I'm going to be paying for that mistake for a while.

I have more to say about my beach trip, and hopefully I'll have time to download our cameras tonight. But for now, let's just say I'm thrilled with our trip to the beach and can't wait to do it again.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Heading down the shore

One of the big lessons I have learned about parenting is that managing my own expectations is often the sole factor that determines if something is a success or a failure. In many ways, I felt that our trip to the beach last fall was a failure. By the time it was over, I was exhausted, disappointed, and frustrated. I was able to enjoy the good parts, but they were over shadowed by some of the problems we had. (Like Michael refusing to go to bed until we did, and then sleeping on my head all night.)

Tomorrow we are heading down to the beach to visit my dad. I'm excited for Michael to get some time to spend with my dad. I'm excited to let Michael play in the big sand box. I'm particularly interested in how he reacts to the ocean this time around, considering that last time he ran full speed into the ocean without blinking an eye. But, I'm a little more cautious with my expectations this time. Here are a few of the expectations I've been working on.

  • I fully expect that Michael will not go to sleep until Andy and I do and that he will only sleep in bed with us
  • I do not expect to sleep well, so we are only going to spend one night
  • I expect that Michael will run straight into the ocean
  • I expect Michael to decide that he wants nothing to do with the ocean
  • I expect that Michael will want to go to the playground across the street at inopportune times
  • I expect that my dad will make comments like "don't hover" and "don't let him walk all over you" followed up with "I don't want to be the bad guy" when I suggest he try what he's recommending
  • I expect that my hair will be frizzy the whole time
  • I expect a lot of traffic on the ride down, so we will be taking the portable DVD player
  • I expect to listen to "Here Come the 1,2,3s" enough times that I'll be singing "On no, no I never go to work" on my way into the office on Monday
  • I expect that I will eat too much soft serve and fudge
  • I expect Andy to complain about the humidity - even though his hair won't be frizzy
  • I expect that I'll be very happy to get home on Saturday evening
I think that should cover it. I'll let you all know on Monday how it turned out.