Monday, August 31, 2009

Sometimes the easiest things are the hardest to learn

Every time Michael learns to do something new I am so impressed and amazed. This is my little baby. Sometimes it feels like he was just born yesterday. How is it possible that he's mastered the touch pad on our laptop?

When I start to think about everything children have to learn in their first few years of life, it really is amazing. During that time they learn how to sit up, crawl, walk, and run. They also learn how to form their mouths to make sounds, learn that people communicate through words, and learn to speak at least one language. Add to that all of the eating, playing, parental manipulation, and their achievements are really outstanding.

But, in the midst of all of that, sometimes kids really struggle with what seems like a very basic concept. For example, blowing one's nose.

For the past several weeks Michael has been waking up with a stuffy nose. When I come in to get him, he informs me that he has boogers and starts rubbing his nose. I ask him if he wants a tissue and he always declines. I used to pick him up and carry him in to say good morning to Andy, but now I have to put him down so that he doesn't wipe his nose on my work clothes. Gross.

Once we get downstairs, I start in on the nose blowing lessons. Now, this seems obvious. Put the tissue to your nose and blow. Michael puts the tissue to his nose and then blows out through his mouth. He understands that this approach doesn't work, but he doesn't get that he's not doing it right.

It's clear that I actually need to teach him out to blow out through his nose. How hard can that be?

Over the past two weeks, I've demonstrated how to blow your nose, I've explained how to blow your nose. I've held Michael's fingers up under my nose as I exhale to show him what's happening. He just doesn't get it. He rubs the tissue on his nose once, tosses it aside, and then tries to rub his boogers out on my clothes again.

Today I tried explaining that he needs to close his mouth while he's blowing out. He seemed to understand what I was asking for, so he put the tissue up to his nose, closed his mouth, and blew.

His cheeks puffed up like a puffer fish.

I couldn't help but laugh. Until he tried to wipe his nose on me, that is.

Who knew something so simple could be so hard to learn?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Two Confessions

This post was supposed to be Phone Photo Friday and one confession, but I have a confession to make. No matter how easy and fool-proof you make technology, I will always be able to accidentally make it fail. Somehow, between putting my iPhone in my pocket this morning, and then taking it out 3 hours later, I managed to run the battery down. Which means that I cannot download the photos that I wanted to post today.

It also means that something is going on in my back pocket that runs my battery down. You don't think my butt has a twitter account, do you? That would be bad, especially if it's posting pictures of itself.

So, my first confession is that my smart phone is not smart enough to make up for my cell phone disability.

The second confession has to do with a very strong belief that I hold. I try not to judge people for their beliefs or actions as long as they don't negatively impact others. I don't like most Jazz music, but I can appreciate that other people get something out of it that I don't. You want to get your tongue pierced, that's fine, just please don't describe the process to me. You know, to each his own.

But that's not true when it comes to running. For many years now I've thought that people who run are crazy. CRAZY, I tell you. I can see running for a game like basket ball, there's a point behind it. But to just run for the sake of running? Why would anyone do anything like that to themselves? I remember when they made us run the mile in high school, and the trips I used to take to the nurses office after I completed the run. I never understood how it was legal to not only force us to run, but to grade us on it.

So, I have had a long standing policy that I. DO. NOT. RUN.

Then, three things happened all at the same time. The first has to do with that weight I lost at the beginning of the year. It turns out that it wasn't lost, it was just vacationing. In the past few months it's returned home and my size 10 jeans no longer fit. I ride the exercise bike for 70 minutes 4 times a week, there's just no room to add more of the same to my workout. The second thing that happened was that Andy switched up his exercise routine and included running into his new plan. And, the final thing was that I just happened to pick up a book in which the main character started running as a way to change her life.

I gave my workout a good deal of thought trying to figure out how to get more out of my workout without devoting even more time to it. Andy has mentioned several times (or many times if I'm being honest) that by doing the same thing over and over again I've become too efficient to get a good workout from it. I knew he was right, but I also knew that the best way to get a better workout would be for me to start running. But, I DO NOT RUN. Then again, I also don't follow rules very well. Even my own.

One evening back in July I decided to give running a try. I headed out to the park and did the two mile park road loop. I ran until I couldn't run and then I walked until I could run again. For 2 miles. And, I thought I was going to die. On the 25th, I tried it again. This time I thought my right eyeball was going to pulse right out of my head.

Since things were going so well, I decided to keep it up. Over the next several weeks I managed to decrease the eye popping blood, pulsing sensation while discovering what shin splints and knee pain feel like.

But, I also discovered that even while my shins hurt, the rest of me felt really good. After a run, I felt energized and my mind seemed clearer. I had to admit that maybe there is something to the jogging I see all those crazy people doing in the park. Maybe they aren't crazy. Maybe they actually enjoy running. Maybe I might actually enjoy running.

If only my knees would agree with that.

I did some research to help me figure out why my shins and knees hurt. It turns out that maybe I was a little too gung-ho with my training plan. So I slowed things down a bit. It also turns out that I was running in sneakers that are pretty much the equivalent of hiking boots. So, I was fitted for a pair of running shoes. (And discovered that the North Wales Running Company Rocks!) Armed with good information and a great pair of shoes I have been hitting the park several times a week.

And you know what? I really enjoy running.

For all of the runners out there that I have been silently laughing at for years, I admit it, you were right.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where I point at myself and laugh

Phobia - an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

It's that time of year again, the time when all of the creepy crawlies that have been minding their own business outside have decided to move their business into my house. As I described last year I do not like bugs. AT. ALL. It's a serious dislike and certainly ranks as a phobia because it crosses into the realm of being illogical. So I was not surprised, nor particularly happy, when the first camel cricket of the season showed up this weekend. There was much phone book throwing, squealing, and cursing going on in honor of it's appearance. Worse, it got away.

Ever since the little bugger escaped death by phone book, I've been thinking about it roaming around my home. Eww...it sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it. So, this year I decided that I would do what I've been unable to do in the past. I decided that if I saw a centipede zipping around I'd let it live. Before I pardoned it from death by shoe, I planned on having a little discussion with said many legger. It went something like this:

Look bug, here's the deal. I don't like you. I don't want you in my house. But, I understand that you eat bugs. I'm willing to put up with you, but only if you kill off the camel crickets for me. Got that? You eat the camel crickets, I let you live. It's as simple as that.

Yesterday I encountered my first centipede of the season. Before I got the chance to have my little chat with the monstrous atrocity with too many legs I whipped my shoe off and bashed the bloody thing to death. It turns out that I have no control over my bug killing compulsions. It's a brutal reality, but one that I cannot avoid. I'm a hopeless bug killer.

Now, I'm sure all of you reading this are wondering two simple things. 1) Wow, is she really that crazy? and 2) Why doesn't she just call a freaking exterminator?

Which brings me to the really crazy part of this story. I actually have two phobias. The first is my spider/insect/centipede phobia. The second is my insecticide phobia. Yes, I'm afraid of bug spray. Deathly afraid of it. I have been wearing make-up daily for the past 25 years, I think nothing of reusing plastic bottles over and over again, I don't even blink when I slather on sun-screen, but spray bug spray near me and I'm going to freak out because I just KNOW it's going to give me cancer. I don't care about EPA studies, I don't care about dose amounts, there is no science that makes bug spray OK for me.

So, now you see just how crazy this problem is for me. I'm terrified of bugs and I'm terrified of the one thing that can actually get rid of them. So, I'm forced to choose between my two phobias and live with the one that's the least horrifying to me. I guess that means I should keep shoes and phone books handy, because they will likely get a lot of use this fall.



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Meaningless Progress

I haven't updated on potty training lately, but recently Michael has made some progress. Last week, my mom announced that Michael is officially potty trained. Then, she clarified her declaration. He's potty trained if he is naked.

Michael has been so resistant to wearing underpants that I stopped trying for a little while. With his naked potty training progress and his agreeable mood this weekend, I decided to give them another try. I pulled out two pairs and asked Michael if he wanted wear T Rex on his butt or Stegosaurus. He picked T Rex (of course) and let me put the underpants on without a fight. I was impressed. I explained that it was like being naked, and that if he needed to go potty he could ask for help, or go by himself if he wanted.

Not 10 minutes later, a naked Michael walked in to tell Andy he had used the potty. Andy lumped on the praise and helped him get the underwear back on. Then, he sent Michael to tell me what he had done so I could add some extra praise. Success!

About an hour later Michael and I were in the basement playing Wii when he disappeared into the closet. You know, his poop closet. Oh no. This is not what I was hoping for. I asked Michael if he needed to go up to the potty. NO! I asked if he needed a diaper. NO! I opened the door to find Michael peeing through his underwear and down his leg. Sigh.

I played it cool, but not too cool. I didn't want to freak him out for having an accident, but I wanted him to understand that peeing in his underwear wasn't the desirable outcome either. I'm going to get another potty and put it in the closet and then we'll try the underwear experience again.

When I checked in with my mom I explained what happened. He did the same thing to her. He goes in the potty if he's naked, but if he's in underwear, he pees in them instead. It's progress, but it's not practical.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend recap

I had a doctor's appointment on Friday morning, and I planned on taking the afternoon to catch up on some projects that I want to get done at home. However, by the time I got home, I gave in to temptation and ended up taking a nap. It was a wonderful, glorious thing to do, but it didn't give me much to blog about. Good thing the rest of the weekend did.

On Friday evening I asked Michael what he wanted for dinner. He responded that he wanted a grilled cheese from Tuna. I suspected that I knew what he really meant, but asked a few probing questions to make sure. When he finally told me that after he finished his grilled cheese he wanted to buy a cake, I knew for sure that he meant Panera instead. I have no idea where he picked up the word "tuna" but I appreciated the laugh. He appreciated the blueberry muffin he got after finishing his grilled cheese.

On Saturday, I took Andy out for dinner and a movie to celebrate his upcoming birthday. Dinner was yummy but I wasn't sure what to expect of the movie.

Andy was a big fan of G.I. Joe as a kid, so he really wanted to see the movie. I hated G.I. Joe as a kid, so I wasn't expecting much. I mean really, for super-dupper Special Ops, the Joes have always had amazingly bad aim. How lame is it when a 10 year old girl has better aim with a garage sale BB pistol than the Special Ops characters who are supposed to save the world?

The movie was even worse than I expected. I mean it was horrible. The plot was filled with holes and the dialog was trite and poorly delivered. The characters were so shallow that I didn't give a darn about any of them. The plot was so bad that it would have been better to have avoided one all together and just blow stuff up for the gratuitus violence.

The science and military aspects of the movie were laughable. (Caution, this may have spoilers...but seriously, don't waste your money.) They actualy had the main character Duke leave their science officer behind after a friendly fire attack. Now, the air strike was executed by Harriers, so that means the Marines. Um...a Marine would never just leave like that. Period. Duke was suposed to be more elite than a Marine, but I find that insulting to the Marines.

The science was even worse. I can let it slide that they needed a particle accelorator to weaponize their Nanomite weapons. I can even let it slide that the particle accelorator fit in an office that was only 20 feet by 20 feet. But, what they did at the end of the movie was too stupid to over look. The Joe's were attacking the bad guys who had a base under the polar ice cap. As a defense, the bad guys lunched missles at the ice floating overhead to break up the ice pack. The Joe's warned the attacking team members to watch out for ice falling through the water. They even show large chunks of ice sinking down onto the base. In other words, of the many people involved in writing, producing, filming, and generating CG for the movie, none of them grasped the concept that ICE FLOATS! I laughed out loud in the theater when that happened.

To be fair, even though the movie was terrible, Andy and I did enjoy ripping it to shreds for the remainder of the evening. It was good for a few laughs.

I think the best part of our weekend wasn't what we did, it was what we didn't do. We didn't have any insane battles over seemingly nothing. Michael was very agreeable all weekend long. He was sweet and funny and charming and even rational. Andy and I each took him out separately to spend some one on one time with him. Sunday is our chore day, and can often be the most stressful when Michael gets into a mood, but yesterday was very enjoyable. We had fun doing the grocery shopping, he let me fold laundry without whining, and he and Andy had fun at the playground. It was a simple day, but it was special because of how easy it was.

So, in summary...Michael likes grilled cheese from "Tuna", ice sinks, and Michael is rational. How's that for a weekend?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another trip to the zoo

We are season pass holders to a small zoo that is not far from our house. We try to visit as often as possible, but with my job and uncooperative weather, we really only make it several times a summer. The weather was nice enough on Saturday that we decided to take a family trip to the zoo.

So far, Michael's favorite part of the zoo is the playground. With a wide variety of playground equipment, tall sycamore trees for shade, and a nice high fence surrounding it, the playground itself is almost enough to justify the cost of the season pass. Michael's second favorite part of the zoo is the tunnel at the prairie dog exhibit. His third favorite part of the zoo is the old train car they have set up with bison and elk skins inside. Please notice how none of Michael's favorite features of the zoo actually involves animals.

During our trip on Saturday, Michael actually noticed the Bison and the black footed ferrets for the first time. I can see missing the ferrets; they are in a small, dark exhibit, but how do you miss bison? Those things are huge! I guess when a train car is next to them, it's easy to get distracted. No matter, I consider recognition of animals at the zoo as progress.

The zoo focuses on animals of North and South America, so a few of the exhibits include local animals that have been rescued and cannot be released back into their habitat. As part of the zoo improvements, last summer they added a vulture exhibit. Which brings me to yesterday's duck pond pictures.

The duck pond did have ducks when we first started visiting the zoo, but once they built the vulture exhibit things started to change. At first, the only vultures in the park were the 7 or 8 that were in vulture display and the rare 1 or 2 in the Bald Eagle display. But I guess the roosting behavior of the black vultures kicked in. On one visit I noticed several black vultures sitting in the trees overhanging the vulture exhibit. It seemed sort of cruel, like the free vultures were taunting the caged vultures. On the next visit, I noticed even more vultures. This past weekend, the black vultures have spread out around the zoo and have taken over the duck pond. There wasn't a duck in sight. (Can you blame them?)

I admit, it is a bit disconcerting walking around the zoo with vultures watching me. However, its a lot more interesting than throwing food pellets at the Mallards. And, it will certainly help out when the zoo celebrates Halloween. But, if they change out the duck food dispenser for a road kill dispenser, I may just have to complain.

One thing I do find interesting is that there are both black and turkey vultures in the exhibit, but only the black vultures have taken over the zoo. Normally, I see more turkey vultures in the wild, so this is a bit surprising. Off to go Google vulture behavior.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bad pictures? I've got an app, I mean kid, for that.

This was supposed to be my post last Friday, but I was busy and never got around to it. I was going to wait until this Friday, but when Lindsay commented about never seeing me smile, I decided to go for it. And yes, I did just almost call Michael an app instead of a child.

Apple has done such a good job engineering the iPhone that many of it's features are easy enough for a three year old to use. Michael loves my iPhone and frequently takes it from me. He rearranges my icons, types gibberish messages in my Notes, and fills in the wrong answers on my Suduko puzzles. But, if it keeps him happy at a restaurant or awake in the car, I'm fine with that. I also love checking my photo roll to see what kind of pictures he takes when he's playing with it.

I have tons of pictures of Larry the mama snake.

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As well as my mom's poor dumb cat. She's a sweet kitty but she's too stupid to learn to stay away from Michael when he gets a little rough.

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While he was taking pictures of his cup, I was drinking my soda without any interruptions. Thank you Apple!

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I expect this face to earn me a "Mother, would you please grow up" comment within the next few years.

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And finally, the elusive Joanna smile that is rarely captured on film. I'm incapable of smiling for a camera without looking like I'm in pain. This is not the best picture of me, but it is a real smile. (And both of those chins are real too.)

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Lessons Learned

  • Maria was right, if you call fried fish the same thing you call fried chicken, your child will likely eat it. So far, I've gotten away with this twice!
  • If I exercise in the local park on a 90 degree day and return home covered in sweat with my face beet red, my neighbors will be standing on my lawn when I return home.
  • The same child that will fight to prevent me from putting a diaper in his butt, will ask me to put a pull-up on his head. He will also insist upon wearing said "hat" to bed.
  • The same size pull-up fit's Michael's head and butt.
  • If I call fettuccine "fettuccine" Michael will not eat it. If I call fettuccine "slurpin' noodles" Michael will eat it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

You Can't Handle the Truth

I feel a bit like I've been run over by a truck. I've got PMS, I've been changing up my exercise routine, and I'm the mother of a three-year-old. I don't really think it's surprising that I'm a bit on the tired side.

This morning Michael and I were sitting on the sofa watching Lilo and Stitch while Andy finished up getting ready. Michael laid back and told me that he was tired.

I laid down next to him and said that I was tired too.

Michael looked me dead in the eye and said, "Mommy, you are not allowed to be tired."

*sigh*

So true.

If he was older, I think I would have grounded him.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Randomness...

Hey wait, that's not my blog feature, that's London's. But, I'm in such a random mood at the moment that I think randomness is about the best I can pull off today.

  • I need recommendations for good workout songs to load on my iPod. Simon & Garfunkel and Nora Jones are not really the best performers to get pumped up to. I'm a little bit out of touch with pop music, so I don't even know where to begin. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  • I'm pretty sure that someone broke into my house last night and replaced my little baby with a kid. A tall kid with long legs who speaks like he's 13. Don't worry though, he's just as bossy as the baby Michael was. And just as cute.
  • I'm sick and tired of hearing "these days" in TV commercials. Tell us how your product helps us or saves us money. The way advertisers us "these days" is clearly just playing on our fears. They want us to think that they understand how we feel. They want us to believe that their product will help us feel safe and secure. You know how I feel every time I hear "these days"? Just about the same way I feel every time I review the net loss in Michael's college fund or every time Andy's or my company announces upcoming layoffs. It's a real buzz kill when I'm trying to escape in some brainless TV watching.
  • It's now dark again when we leave the house in the morning. Yesterday, I pointed out the moon to Michael. He looked up at the half moon and told me that the moon was broken. That made getting up so early worth it.
  • Michael likes to dump his potty after he goes pee. He's very good about not spilling things, but recently he's taken to dropping the entire bowl into the big toilet. I then have to fish the bowl out of the toilet. In my attempts to prevent this the other day, Michael and I got into a tug of war with the full potty bowl. After a few tugs, Michael let go. The resulting momentum was enough to slosh pee up into the air, and onto my back. I've since reverted to plucking the bowl from the toilet.
  • I have really bad PMS at the moment and I'm very tempted to raid the vending machine. If I do so, that will only increase my need for good workout songs.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Review: Your 3-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy

I know there have already been a few reviews of this going around, but I'll add my 2 cents as well. (Did you know that there is no cent key on keyboards anymore? When did that happen?)

First, I do have to confess that I have an aversion to parenting books and haven't picked one up in a while. Between all the dogma the Sears family spews and the arrogance and poor writing of Dr. Weissbluth, I abandoned most parenting books in Michael's first year. So believe me, when I say that every one with a three-year-old should read Your Three-Year-Old: friend or enemy, I really, really, really mean it.

There were a number of things I liked about the book and I'll describe those, but there were three things that I was able to put to immediate use, and I'll go over them first.

Surprise

This one is so obvious, yet I never would have thought to use it because it wouldn't work with adults. The idea is simple. If you are trying to motivate your 3-year-old, simply tell them you have a surprise for them. It often buys instant compliance. And the great thing is that the surprise can be something as simple as a treat.

The first time I used this on Michael it was to get him to leave my mom's. It worked perfectly, but it was so easy I felt like I was cheating. I had this feeling that when we got home and Michael learned that his surprise was a bag of fruit gushers that the whole concept would crumble. It didn't. Michael was thrilled with his treat and I've been able to use the same technique several times since.

Make Believe

The authors recommend that you play along with your child's imagination to get them to comply with your wishes. If the child is pretending to be a puppy, go along with it. Often kids will do things this way that they wouldn't do otherwise.

I sort of extrapolated on this and decided to use Larry the momma snake to make every day occurrences easier. Instead of telling Michael that it's bedtime, I have Larry tell Michael that he's getting tired and that he would like Michael to read him stories. It works! Next, I used Larry for potty training. Instead of asking Michael if he wants to go potty, Larry tells Michael she's going potty and asks if Michael wants to come too. Sure, I've had to hold a stuffed snake over the potty and make peeing noises a few times, but once again, it works!

Attention

This one was a little less obvious to me. The authors explain that many children become very insecure at this age. Sometimes what they really need is some extra attention. Seeing how Michael gets tons of undivided attention every day, I didn't think he would need more. It turns out that what he really needs is more cuddling and contact, not just attention in general. I've ended several tantrums that were threatening to spin out of control just by stopping and asking Michael if he wants to sit on my lap. It hasn't stopped them all, but things have been a bit smoother over the past week because of this.

There are a number of other benefits to the book as well.

  1. The authors describe how this stage is about a battle for control. Often the best way to handle this is by finding a solution that helps the child save face. At this point, the goal should be to avoid as many of the battles as possible, not to create a situation where you are frequently trying to "win".
  2. They follow this with some good advice on what things to let go. They recommend not worrying about table manners, daily baths, or other things that don't really matter much at this age. I was relieved to hear that it was ok for me to let Michael sleep in the same shirt he's worn during the day...as long as it's clean enough.
  3. The authors also give a good description of what a three-year-old can do, including the fact that you can expect some regression from 3 to 3.5. They touch on things like sense of humor and story telling that aren't always addressed on milestone charts. I found their descriptions to be very useful in gauging Michael's development.
  4. They also do a decent job of pointing out that each child is an individual, and that their temperament will impact what they do, when they do it, and how intensely they do it. Some kids go through the 3.5 stage without much trouble. Others will go from the terrible twos into the nightmare of the threes with only a few week break in the middle. (Michael, raise your hand a stand up proud. You fall in that group.)
  5. There is a lot to be said for the comfort that comes from learning you are not alone. They all but say that at 3.5, children are insane. Phew, while annoying at times, at least I know it's not my parenting that's at fault. (They even list whining as a tensional outlet for 3 year olds, like thumb sucking and nail biting.)
  6. And finally, there is a certain entertainment factor to the book. The copy write is listed as 1985, but some of the comments seem much more archaic than that. The role of fathers, in particular, have really changed a lot since then. They even dare to mention that some fathers may actually cook! I got a number of giggles out of how different our culture is now compared to then.
Once again, I suggest that if you have a three-year-old, go ahead and read this book. It's an easy read and is interesting from beginning to end. Even if you don't get many ideas on how to deal with the crazy little monster running around your house, at least you will know that lots of us have crazy little monsters running around the house.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Phone Photo Friday

Until recently, I never owned a cell phone with a camera due to security restrictions at work. This past winter they lifted the restrictions because it became impossible for anyone to purchase a quality phone without a camera. Having lived without a camera phone, I had no expectation that I would actually use it when I did get my iPhone. It turns out that I was wrong. I love my camera phone and use it all the time.

A few weeks ago I needed to do a Wal-Mart run. Our local Wal-Mart sucks, so this is not my favorite activity to begin with. Add a thunderstorm to the picture and the trip becomes highly undesirable. That is, until I pulled into the parking lot and the sun came out reveling a gorgeous late evening rainbow. I felt a little silly standing in the Wal-Mart parking lot taking pictures of the rainbow until I glanced over and saw a big, tough looking dude doing the very same thing.

From the left:

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From the Right:

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As I walked to the entrance, the sun came out even brighter and illuminated everything along the horizon. The contrast between the buildings and the sky was amazing.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

An interesting, if minor, first

While I did do some changes to Michael's room to convert it from a nursery to a bedroom, one big nursery item still remains. The crib.

About a year ago, Andy and I discussed transitioning Michael from his crib to a toddler bed. In fact, we even purchased the side rail for the crib, so we can make the change at any time. We just kept putting it off. Around Christmas time, my mom got rid of her crib,the one that Michael napped in, and that's when he stopped napping all together. We decided not to risk night time sleep issues so Michael still sleeps in his crib.

I think for most kids, this wouldn't be an issue. They want out of their crib, they simply climb out. Not Michael. I've watched him throw his leg up over the rail at least 50 times, but he just won't commit to the risk. (What can I say, he's the product of two risk adverse parents.) So, we have never had a visitor in the middle of the night wanting to climb into bed with us, and we don't discover him asleep on the sofa in the morning. We place him in the crib at bedtime, and then we have to get him out in the morning.

Recently, he's been waking up as soon as Andy and I get up in the morning. He used to be content to stay in his crib for a little while, but now he calls for me to come and get him. I typically bring him into the master bedroom and he watches TV until I'm ready to go downstairs.

This morning it finally dawned on Michael that he didn't have to stay up there with me. One minute he was fishing off the side of the bed with Larry the Mommy snake, then next he was gone. I wandered out of the bathroom to find him heading down stairs. I backed off to see if he would brave the dark hallway, and sure enough, he did. 10 minutes later I came down to find him sitting on the sofa with the lights on and his magnadoodle in hand. I was very proud of him.

Now that he's made that connection, I'm wondering how long it will be before he realizes that he can climb out of his crib and go down anytime he wants. I'm not sure I'm looking forward to that.

Oh, and several of you had the same question about yesterday's post. Michael drinks strawberry milk, so that's why he throws up pink. I know...ewwww.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Day to Myself

I had a dentist appointment scheduled for Monday morning, so I decided to take the whole day off and enjoy a day to myself. I have a gift certificate for a massage to use, I have some shopping I'd like to do, there are books to be read, and pictures to edit. However, I did none of those things. Instead, I started converting Micheal's nursery into a bedroom.

The process reminded me very much of those last days before Michael was born when I was finishing up the nursery. Back then, the house was quiet as I folded itty bitty clothes and placed them in drawers. I had plenty of time to reflect on how my life was about to change, and wonder what my little bean was going to be like. I felt like I was crafting the next stage of my life.

This time, the house was quiet as well, a very rare occurance. I took apart the changing table attachment on the dresser, removed the CD player and lullaby CDs, and eliminated anything that I thought might pose a danger to Michael if left unsupervised. Michael is no longer my itty bitty baby. He's tall and leggy and he debates like a politician (and whines like one too). I knew the clock was ticking until I would need to pick him up, but I still had time to reflect on just how much my life has changed and to wonder what this little boy is going to become over the next few years. I loaded up his new bookcase with some of his many books and a bunch of dinosaurs. I kenw I was making the last change to his room that I'll be in charge of. The rest will all be directed by him.

It was sweet, and sad, and exciting.

In the process of rearranging the room, I decided to do some hard core cleaning as well. I pulled Michael's crib out from the wall to vacuum under it and discovered a little pink pile of throw up.

Now, if you had asked me that morning if I believed it was possible to discover a pile of mystery vomit in a house without a cat, I would have said no. The only time Michael ever spends in his room alone is when he's sleeping, and we always have a monitor on in case something happens. You know, like him getting sick.

But, there is was. A pile of puke without an explanation. And I wondered, how did it get there? I mean wouldn't Michael have cried out if he threw up in the middle of the night? Wouldn't some of it have gotten on him or the sheets? Wouldn't there be some clue about it the next day? Really, what kind of parent am I that I could miss something like this? And, just how long had it been there anyway?

So, my quiet time reflecting on motherhood came to a scretching halt as I was forced back into the reality of motherhood. There are always mysteries about our children, and some of them are pretty gross. Quiet times are rare, and even when they happen, there is always something to snap you back to the moment at hand. And finally, Bissel rocks!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What a Weekend!

I ended up taking a four day weekend. It was much needed and well worth using precious time off.

Thursday night Andy and I went to the Elton John/Billy Joel concert. It took us two hours to drive the 35 miles to the stadium, but we made it in time to find our seats and buy drinks ($4.00 for a bottle of water) before the concert started. It was, without a doubt, the best concert I have ever been to. The two team up to make a great show. If they come back around, I'd go again in a heartbeat.

Friday we decided to take Michael to see his first movie in a theater. We picked Ice Age 3 because it's been out for a while and would probably have a small crowd and because it has dinosaurs. Michael didn't understand why he needed to be quiet, but once the initial novelty of the theater wore off he settled down on my lap and watched the entire movie. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it went.

Friday evening we pushed Michael even further and went out to dinner at Panera. Michael sat in a big boy chair and managed to keep the wiggling to a minimum. The only time he really moved around a lot was when he was looking for people to say "Hello" to. I think he introduced himself to everyone in the restaurant. Most amazingly, he actually ate most of his grilled cheese sandwich and sucked down his entire tube of yogurt. It's rare to see him eat that much at one sitting.

After that, we pushed our luck even more and took Michael to Ikea. I'm sure the people at Ikea don't feel this way, but it is the perfect place to let kids burn off steam. Michael had a blast. When we went down into the market place, however, he wasn't too thrilled about being placed in a cart. I can't blame him seeing how much cool stuff there is to climb on and break. For such a busy day, I think he held up reasonably well.

Satruday we really pushed the envelope. In the morning I took Michael to get his hair cut. He's always been good about that, but this time he was a little nervous. I thought I was going to have to sit him on my lap, but at the last minute he let go and let the stylist cut his hair.

As a reward, I took him to Burger King to play on the playground. I won't be doing that again any time soon. Michael climbed up one of the slides and than got too scared to come down. That isn't a big deal except the playground isn't really designed for tall people. I spent about ten minutes trying to coax him down before giving up and climbing up the slide myself. I'm glad he didn't decide the make me chase him through the whole contraption. I don't think I could have caught him in there. (Although, I'm sure all the other parents would have gotten a chuckle out of it.)

Once we got home, we decided to head out to LL Bean to do some shopping. Michael was able to catch a nap on the way, so he was in a good mood once we got there. He was a real trooper and allowed us to not only shop, but also to finally try out the Red Robin in the shopping center. We had another plesant meal. Once again, Michael introduced himself to everyone in the restaurant. It was very cute.

Sunday we had torrential rainstorms and decided to just relax. Michael and I did venture out in the afternoon to do some grocery shopping, but that was about it.

Looking back, it really was a great weekend. However, sprinkled in with all of the fun and excitement, we also had some really bad moments with Michael. Maybe we tried to do too much, or maybe that's just the nature of having a three-year-old, but there were some times when I was frustrated beyond belief. One of those times was in the grocery store when Michael freaked out because I would not buy him carrots. I had already given in on the watermelon, so carrots that he would just chew and spit out were not an option. He also had a major fit in the bathtub that included throwing a drenched washcloth at me and splashing water all over the bathroom. Most of the fits were short lived, but what they lacked in duration they made up for in intensity. For some reason, my glasses seemed to be the target of most of the tantrums, and I'm really surprised that they survived the weekend.

Yesterday I took a whole day off to myself, and I'll fill you all in on that later.