Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Contemplation

Hmm...How to start? I have no clue, so I'm just going to dive in and see what comes out. I used to do that with papers in college. I could never write the first sentence until I had already written half of the paper. I guess that's just a feature of the way I write. I don't always have a complete idea of what I want to say until I've already spilled half of it.

I have this here blog thingy-do, and I'm wondering what to do with it. I enjoy blogging, but I've been starting and not finishing posts a lot lately. The problem isn't writer's block. It's more a matter of the fact that I'm no longer comfortable posting many things about my favorite blog topic. Michael.

Last night, while Michael was waiting for me to bring him something from the kitchen, he scanned my bookshelf and found a copy of Fox in Socks. He pulled it out and climbed onto the sofa and started to try and read the book. He kept spelling words and asking me what they were. It was a really awesome moment for me. I finally came in, sat next to him, and we worked on reading the box together.

While he's still my baby, and he's only 4.5 years old, he's also becoming an aware and sensitive individual. At 2.5, I never really worried about how he would feel 10 years from now when he read what I wrote about him on my blog. Letter obsession, dinosaur obsession, and picky eater. Fairly common little boy stuff. But he's changed a lot since then. Well, he's still into letters and dinosaurs, and he's still a picky eater...but he's also so much more.

The other night during dinner, Michael actually tried everything on his plate. He liked the chicken and he liked the rice, but after giving the green beans a fair try, he said he didn't like them. I started to respond to him, but before I said anything he said, "I know I'm missing out on foods because I don't like them." It wasn't snarky or rude. It was just acknowledging a comment that Andy and I have made about a hundred times. It was clear that he gets it. He's considered what we have said, and in this case he's made the decision that he does not like green beans.

Things like that are happening a lot now. The questions he asks and the things he says show a greater depth of understanding and a greater level of awareness. Things embarrass him now. Things make him uncomfortable. And he can articulate that to us. For that reason, I don't always feel that it's right to post some of the things he says and does. If I think that it would embarrass him now, or later, I have a responsibility not not share that with the internet where anyone can read it.

So, I'm trying to figure out what exactly my blog is going to be now. This has never been a blog simply for keeping track of memories. (If it was, my frequent missing of holiday posts would be a major fail) So, please be patient with me as I try to work out where I'm going with all of this.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for Randomness

I know everyone is doing their Thankful posts today. I'm not sure what it says about me that I was actually thinking of doing an "I'm so screwed" post today. I guess it means that I'm either ungrateful, or I really am screwed. Then again, they aren't mutually exclusive, are they?

Anyway, why don't I just get to it.

  • The gift shop at Natural Bridge Caverns had tons of awesome dinosaur stuff. We bought Michael a dinosaur dig brick. They typically are made of some kind of plaster and you use tools to uncover the dinosaurs buried inside. They are for kids 8 and up, but Michael loves them, so we keep buying them for him.
  • Michael was unhappy with the tools that came with the set. After trying to work with the hammer and pick, he paused for a moment then asked me to go and get his chisel.
  • Should I be concerned that my 4.5 year old has his own chisel?
  • We had a victory in the food wars last night. Michael, who loves pasta, refuses to eat one of my pasta dishes that he used to eat. He's simply being contrary, but I haven't figured out a way around it until last night. When he refused to eat it, I put Parmesan cheese on it and then told him I was going to eat it. Not wanting to give up his Parmesan, he decided to eat the noodles.
  • After we "made it right" by returning the dinosaurs Michael had swiped from school, he turned around and swiped another one. We have instituted a pat down policy when we pick him up. If we catch him, we'll make him return it right then and there. I hope we don't have to do that.
  • We will be spending Thanksgiving with my family at Aunt Bubbles house. I'm thankful that I have a wonderful family, husband and son. I'm also thankful that I don't have to cook. It's a double win for me.
  • Speaking of Husbands. This is why I'm thankful for mine.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May you be surrounded by love and joy. Also, make sure to save room for desert.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Good Busy

Hey, check this out, I have a blog! Who knew?

Seriously, I know I've been pretty lax recently. I've intended to post a number of times, but life just keeps getting in the way. Not all of it was good. That 5-6 week long illness really killed me. But some of it is good. I've been very busy at work, which is always a good thing for me. I prefer to be busy. And some of it has been awesome! This post will be about some of the awesome.

My company has a very prestigious award that goes out to about 15 teams for highly successful projects. It's a very, very big deal and the winners get a nice trip to a company location, several days of paid hotel and travel, and an amazing award ceremony.

I did not win this award. Instead, I did the only thing I could to ensure that I would get to attend. I served on the planning and selection committee. Andy didn't get to fly for free, but everything else was covered. I did have to work for part of the trip, but that still gave us time to have fun and eat way too much yummy food.

So, where did we go?

I'll give you a hint.

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We went to San Antonio! San Antonio is a little different than the other parts of Texas that I've been to. For most places, everything really is bigger in Texas. Including their spiders. Ewww. But that's not true in San Antonio. The houses seemed tiny, the roads seemed tiny, and the Alamo was just an itty bitty little thing. I'm not sure if this is acceptable for my Texas readers, but the Alamo was just the cutest thing I've ever seen. Very dainty and quaint looking. I loved it, but that sure wasn't what I was expecting.

In other ways, San Antonio was just like the rest of Texas. If you have never been there, one thing that Texas likes to do is remind you that you are in Texas at all times. "Texas", "Lone Star", and other symbols of Texas are everywhere you turn. Including, breakfast.


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Trust me, you will never see a waffle shaped like Pennsylvania if you come visit. That's just not our thing. (You might get one shaped like the Liberty Bell, but that is our thing.)

After working the event check-in, Andy and I got to attend the very nice award ceremony and dinner. This was the first time since prom that I had an reason to by a cocktail dress, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Here is me in the dress.
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There was only one problem with my outfit. My shoes were a tad loose. This would not have been a problem, however I was on my feet through the ceremony so I could gather the winning teams and direct them to their places. Not the best time to discover that my shoes didn't want to stay on my feet. The good news is that I didn't loose a shoe or trip. The bad news is that I almost sent the wrong team up on stage in front of a large number of executives. Luckily, I caught my mistake in time, and managed to correct things before a disaster. Phew.

Like I said, Andy got to come along. Even better than me getting to wear a pretty dress, I got to see Andy dressed in a suit.

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He looked even better in real life.

Unfortunately, the only pictures that were taken of us didn't come out well at all. Here is the best one.




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Don't worry, I lost the wrap in about 30 seconds. It was chilly in their at first, but with over 400 people in the room, it warmed up quickly.

After the award ceremony, we were on our own for most of the remaining time. We made sure to hit the River Walk several times. Everyone told me to check it out, but I didn't understand until we actually got there and saw it. Basically, there are a series of canals that run through the city. They sit below street level and are lined with a beautiful stone walk, shops, and restaurants. It's like stepping out of Texas and entering Venice. I didn't snap many pictures, but I did try to catch some of the Christmas lights on night.

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It was absolutely beautiful. But it wasn't the only place we visited. We also hit Natural Bridge Caverns. I've never been to a cave before, so I didn't know quiet what to expect. The caverns were amazing, and I wish we could have gone on the second tour to see more. I was amazed at just how large the rock formations were.


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That "throne" was about two stories high!

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Unfortunately, most of the pictures I took didn't come out very well. But let me just say that if you are ever in San Antonio, I would highly recommend checking the caverns out.

Overall, it was a wonderful weekend. Not only did I get some much needed sleep, I got to finally spend some quality time with Andy. Can you imagine? Four days without being interrupted by "mommy, mommy, mommy." What a treat.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Shopping" at the "Toy store"

After I picked Michael up from school on Monday, I noticed he was playing with two small dinosaurs that I didn't recognize. After checking them out, I determined that they were not ours. However, he has a ton of dinosaurs at my mom's, so I figured they could be from her collection. I decided to ask him where he got them.

He told me he went shopping at the toy store and that he bought them for himself.

I pointed out that he could not have gone to the toy store because he was at school. I also pointed out that he had no money to buy them with. He shifted the story every time I asked him a question, but refused to fess up.

I decided not to push the issue until I confirmed with my mom that the dinosaurs were not hers. I asked her on Tuesday, and she confirmed that they were not from her collection. Then, I sort of forgot about it.

Yesterday, while we were playing outside, I watched as Michael pulled two new small dinosaurs from his pockets. Again, I asked him where they came from.

"I went shopping at the toy store." He replied.

I asked him how he got to the toy store.

"I got a car and drove." He replied.

"Really?" I asked. He stuck with his story.

I then broke down every part of his story and showed that I knew it was impossible for him to have gotten the dinosaurs at a toy store. I then provided the alternative story that I thought was most likely. "I think you saw the dinosaurs at school, and you liked them so much that you decided to keep them."

It took a few minutes, but he finally gave in and admitted to taking the dinosaurs from school. I confiscated them and told him he would have to return them to school and apologize for taking them. He cried.

The topic came up again at dinner, and we reiterated that what he had done was stealing, and that he needed to return the dinosaurs and apologize. He was so upset about it, he couldn't finish his dinner, and complained of a tummy ache.

This isn't really surprising to me. He's not the only young child to do something like this. (We have a classic family story about Aunt Bubbles and some pilfered cheese.) I'm glad it occurred with something like cheap dinos from school, and not a security tagged item in a store.

So, tomorrow morning, Michael will make things right, whether he wants to or not. Hopefully, the anxiety this has caused him will be sufficient to teach him his lesson. I really don't want to have to go through this again.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Show Me the Mommy - Operator Error

When I was getting dressed for work last Friday, I decided to wear my favorite shoes. They have a modest two inch heel, but by the end of the work day, my toes were still sore and I was ready to go home and abandon them someplace where Andy would trip over them. The only problem with this plan was that I forgot that I would be standing in the yard at Michael's daycare for his Halloween parade.

As I was waiting for Andy to meet me, I decided to snap a picture of my shoes to post on Twitter so my Tweeps could get a giggle out of it. Here is the picture I snapped.


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Clearly, that is not my shoes. The iPhone 4 has a camera on both sides, so you can now take pictures of yourself without a mirror. So, it was a combination of the double camera and operator error that lead to this charming picture.

Once I stopped laughing at myself, I fixed the camera and snapped this picture to post on Twitter.

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Stupid shoes to wear for a kid's Halloween parade, but I love them so much, it was completely worth it.

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On a completely unrelated note, I sat through a Program Manager's Meeting this morning. I made a point to watch all of the adults try and sit still through the meeting, just like I watched all the little kids sit still during story time the other day. While the adults were not quite as wiggly as the kids, they really were not that much better. There was tons of foot jiggling, Blackberry fiddling, repositioning, and even one manager who needed to get up and walk around at the back of the room.

So, based on my observations, managers and small children have almost the same capacity to sit still.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Scatterings from the Scatter-brained

Ah yes, it's that time of the week again. The time when I don't even try to pretend that my posts make any sense.

  • There is a child in Michael's class that could be either a boy or a girl. The child's name ends with "a" but it's not based on a romantic language, so I'm not sure that means it's a girl's name. I was excited to finally meet the child at the Halloween parade, but I discovered a child with long hair wearing a pirate costume. Even the way Michael talks about the child is ambiguous. I'd mostly settled on boy.
  • Last night I had a brilliant idea. I actually asked Michael if the child was a boy or a girl. "She's a girl." I'm glad I asked. (Though embarrassed that I didn't think to ask a month ago when I started to wonder.)
  • Normally when I go to make dinner, Michael gets upset and orders me to not make dinner. Last night, however, instead of trying to stop me he asked me what I was making. He's never asked this before, and I was rather surprised.
  • I told him we were having chicken, broccoli, and white cheddar noodles. He responded happily that he likes that and went and sat at the table.
  • I died from the pure shock of it.
  • Well, not really. But I'm guessing you caught on to that.
  • On the other hand, his response to me putting his Halloween candy on top of the fridge was completely predictable.
  • Now, if I can just keep MY hand out of his Halloween candy, things should be good.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Day Off

One of the few drawbacks to having my mom watch Michael part time is that there is no back-up when she takes a vacation. At least now, we only need to cover two days instead of five, so Andy and I are each taking a day while my mom visits her brother in North Carolina.

I'l be honest, I wasn't too happy about using up one of my precious vacation days right now. And you can totally read "my precious vacation days" as if Gollum were saying it. I really have gotten into hoarding my time off over the past 4 years. After the fact, however, the day was completely worth a precious vacation day.

This is the first time in over a year that I had a day off when both Michael and I were healthy, and we didn't have anything that we had to get done. No dentist or doctor appointments. No head to toe hives all over his body. Just a free day with no demands.

I knew that Barnes and Noble has story time on Tuesdays, so we headed over a little before 10:00. Michael picked up some books, found a chair and asked me to read to him. He climbed up on my lap and we read about 10 little race cars and then about 10 little fairies. It was sweet and fun.

When it got close to story time, we moved over to the small stage that they have in the children's section, and Michael sat down on one of the benches while I sat behind him. I love to watch children while their attention is focused elsewhere. Michael enjoyed the stories, laughed when they were funny, and managed to stay seated on the bench the entire time. However, he never actually sat still. I watched him slip and slide back and forth across the bench and I watched him wiggle and twist. He was clearly involved with the stories, and he was acting appropriately the entire time, but he was also in constant motion.

It wasn't surprising, Michael has always had some wiggle in him. What was surprising was that he was actually one of the calmer children in the group. Wow, do kids wiggle.

I figured we would stay for story time, and then leave after Michael had picked out a few books. Instead, we ended up having lunch together in the cafe. Michael picked out what he wanted, and then headed over to get a table for us. We sat and shared our selections with each other and chatted. He's growing up so fast. I miss my cute little baby, but I love this amazing little boy who is so charming and fun to spend time with. I keep thinking each stage he goes through is the best, only to discover that the next stage is even more wonderful.

I'm so glad that I had the time to discover that yesterday, and I really need to make a point to create more opportunities to do this with him.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wow, Where Did That Come From?

Michael had a Halloween Parade/Party at his school on Friday. Andy and I both left work early so we could see all the kids get dressed up and walk around the playground. It was super cute, and clearly a big hit with all of the kids. It also gave me a chance to see how Michael interacts with the other children and the teachers at his school. After seeing Michael's teacher with the kids for an hour, I have to say that I like her more and more. She has a good balance between compassion and structure that seems to work well for Michael.

After the parade, the kids all went back to their rooms for snacks and then several children in Michael's class read to the group. Michael was one of the children and I have to say I was very proud watching my little Spiderman read to a room full of friends and strangers. Michael seemed to enjoy doing the reading as well, and overall the party was a success.

However, there was one very awkward moment. When the kids came back to the room it was really loud and confusing. There were a number of siblings at the party as well, and it was difficult to fit all the kids in at the table. When Michael went over to the table, there was only one seat left and it was being blocked by another parent who was dealing with her daughter. Michael just stood there staring at the table for a minute and then would glance around for help trying to figure out what to do. I could tell he wanted to find a seat, but he wasn't sure about what to do.

Jump back to November 1977. My school had a Thanksgiving party for the kids and their parents. We all dressed up as Pilgrims and Indians. (Yes, I'm old enough that when I was a kid they still used the term Indians for Native Americans.) Each class sat together on the gym floor and we had our Thanksgiving meal sitting in a circle on the floor. Every class had a skit to perform, and our's took place in the middle of our meal. We all got up and moved to the stage for our skit. When we were done, some kids returned to our seats and others goofed around or stopped to say hi to their parents. You know, a typical kindergarten kind of event.

I was one of the kids who went right back to my spot and had a little more of my snack. As I was sitting there eating, I realized that I had sat down at the wrong spot and I had drunk milk from another child's carton. If anyone noticed, no one let on to my mistake, however, I was embarrassed all the same. In fact, I was so embarrassed that I started to get butterflies in my tummy. I tried to sit back down at my own spot, but I was too upset about it to calm down. I finally ended up finding my mom and begged her to take me home, which she did.

That's the memory that hit me while I watched Michael stand back and try and figure out how to navigate the chaos of the Halloween party. I stood back for a moment to see if he could work it out on his own, and I'm sure that if I wasn't there, something would have resolved the matter. Maybe in the long run, that would have been the best thing for him, however, I couldn't just stand back and watch. I finally went to him and helped him find the one open seat and asked the mother to move so Michael could actually sit down.

The rest of the party was good. Michael did just fine reading in front of the entire group. Aside from that one moment, it was all fun and games. I would imagine that Michael has already forgotten that one little awkward moment. But, I was left surprised at how watching such an innocent scene brought back such a strong memory for me.

Sometimes, parenthood is a strange trip.