Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The thought has crossed my mind that I might enjoy a little pampering. Growing up, my mother never showed me how to curl my hair or apply make-up. She was a little busy struggling with her own mental illness to worry about whether or not I had an appropriate up-do for the prom. I still mourn the moments I wanted to share with my mom but those moments were stolen by her disease.
This Mother’s Day, I have been given an opportunity to enjoy the spa day that I’ve never had. I recently entered a Mother’s Day Makeover Contest hosted by a local television station and I’m one of three finalists!
The only thing I need to win this contest is YOUR VOTE!
What do you get out of this deal? The amusement of seeing my before and after photos of course! Just imagine, I’ll be spending at least a week blogging about my hair instead of blogging about the contents of my son’s diapers. That alone should be incentive enough for you!
Go here to vote.
Tell everyone you know to vote, too!
When you’re done, come back here and tell me that I’m winning!
Anyone that reads my blog also knows that it’s my own darn fault because I have working mommy guilt. I still nurse Little King David to sleep at night and I allow him to wake up at 2:00am and snack if the thought occurs to him. I could simply wean him off the night feedings and my problems would be solved. I’m just too sentimental and weak to deny my son the comfort he seeks from his Mama during the too few hours of his life when she is actually available to him. Is it his fault that Mama is home in the middle of the night, but not in the middle of the day?
I’m not the only person to blame for his dependency issues, though. At daycare, he also needs help to fall asleep. Obviously, there is no one available to nurse him to sleep, but his favorite-teacher-of-all-time does spend about 20 minutes a day patting his butt while he lays in his crib and drifts off to sleep. Tiny babies wail all around him while he is pampered and spoiled. Do you see a pattern emerging here?
Luckily, David met Miss Jill last week. Miss Jill is the new teacher’s aide in his classroom. Miss Jill doesn’t pamper and spoil. Her first day on the job, she told David to lie down and go to sleep. David laid down and went to sleep.
Surely, this must be a coincidence. Surely, this couldn’t work once David got to know Miss Jill. But day after day, Miss Jill told David to go to sleep and David went to sleep.
Yesterday, David’s favorite-teacher-of-all-time decided to give it a try. She put David in his crib and walked away. David went to sleep.
Last night, Mommy decided that if David can fall asleep alone at daycare then he certainly might be capable of falling asleep alone at home.
Mommy nursed David and laid him in his crib. She sat in the rocking chair and told David to lie down. After about 20 minutes of playing and bouncing, David simply laid down in his crib and fell asleep.
Mommy sat in the dark with tears rolling down her cheeks. David is a big boy. He doesn’t need Mommy’s help to go to sleep anymore. He doesn’t need Mommy to hug him and cuddle him and rock him and soothe him until his eyes slide closed. He doesn’t need Mommy to gingerly lay him in his crib, cover him with his favorite, soft blanket, and tip-toe out the door while carefully avoiding the creaking floorboards.
Mommy reminds herself that it’s her goal as a mother to teach David not to need her. He needs to be independent, but each step he takes away from her breaks her heart just a little bit more.
David also slept through the night! Mommy won’t shed a single tear about that!!
Monday, April 28, 2008
This is a photo of my baby bump. This picture was taken when I was 32 weeks pregnant with my first child, the love of my life.
I never had a belly that was sexy enough to show off in a bikini, and probably never will based on the aftermath of pregnancy, but my pregnant belly was a beautiful work of art.
Before I was pregnant, I used to scoff at women that were so eager to touch pregnant people without asking permission. I subscribe to the school of thought that everyone has their own personal space, a kind of bubble that protects them from the outside world. I feel that it is rude for strangers to intrude on this space.
Once my baby bump sprouted, I immediately understood the irresistible urge women feel to touch pregnant people. That priceless moment when you feel the power of the life growing inside another woman’s body, brings back all the memories and feelings from the most amazing time in a mother’s life. Memories of days spent in the most intimate contact with our children, nurturing their growing bodies and protecting them from the world. These are memories that we cling to as we watch our children grow up and venture out into the world on their own.
I miss my baby bump.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
First of all, I need to tell you that Mommy and Daddy adhere to certain rules regarding sharing. Neither of us can eat the last cookie, use the last piece of toilet paper, drink the last glass of milk, use the last of the salt, or take the last sip of coffee from the pot on Saturday morning. If we get Chinese food and there is an uneven number of fried dumplings, the last dumpling will never be touched. It’s just the way it is.
One might conclude that this pattern has evolved over time. If you consider that we’ve lived together for over eight years, it’s reasonable to assume that we each brought different customs and practices to the relationship and over time we have created our own home culture. Our customs include sharing everything and never taking the last of something in a vain attempt to always be considerate of the other person.
It seems that David is assimilating to our customs.
He proved this to me the other day when he decided to share his snacks with me. Actually, he didn’t decide to share them with me as much as I used it as a diversion to convince him that he was not finished with the grapes and cheese that I spent ten minutes chopping up for him and that he needed to eat more than two bites after all the work I did!
We chatted as he fed me:
David: gestures with hands, “All Done!”
Mommy: “You can’t be done already! You only ate a couple grapes and Mommy spent so much time chopping them up for you!”
David: gestures with hands, “All Done!”
Mommy: “Do you want to feed Mommy?”
David: nods head, “Yes! Yes!”
Mommy: “Give Mommy a grape”
David: gently places a grape in Mommy’s mouth
Mommy: “Mmmm! That’s yummy!! Do you want a grape?”
David: nods head, “Yes! Yes!” and eats a grape
Mommy: “Give Mommy a grape”
David: gently places a grape in Mommy’s mouth
Mommy: “Mmmm! That’s yummy!! Do you want a grape?”
David: nods head, “Yes! Yes!” and eats a grape
David: realizes that he ate the last grape. He promptly spits it out, half chewed, and places it in Mommy’s mouth.
David: gestures with hands, “All Done!”
Evidently, the rules have evolved.
You may not eat the last grape, even if you have already chewed it.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Wordless Wednesday is a perfect excuse to slack. I slap up a cute photo of the kid on my blog and resume my web-surfing without guilt. (other than the guilt of web-surfing at work while I’m getting paid to be working, but that is minor guilt.)
I posted my obligatory photo today and went about my business reading blogs while I munched my lunch at my desk. I was enjoying myself until I stumbled upon a link for this blog. After browsing for a few moments, I found myself consumed with grief and sobbing into my yogurt cup.
I understand that God gives us all trials because they help us grow closer to him. I understand that every life has a purpose. I understand that we all touch others around us, and we usually aren’t even aware of the impact we have on the world. Today, Alexander touched my world. I am in awe of the tremendous love his sister, Hailey, has for him and for others. I’m impressed by her desire to help others.
I think you’ll be impressed, too.
Go read her family’s story at her blog, Alexander’s Heart.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The rules of the Who Are You Meme are:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then leaves a comments on those five blogs letting them know they've been tagged.
What was I doing 10 years ago:
Sleeping through physics class and dreaming about how much better my life would be after I graduated high school. Being grown-up is never as fun as it is before you are an adult!
Five Things on my to-do list today:
Get my annual physical with my primary care physician,
deposit Baby’s birthday money into his mutual fund,
study for my Multiculturalism in the U.S. class because I have a test on Friday (YIKES!),
surf the internet for cute summer clothes for the Baby,
actually do the work I get paid to do after I type my blog post
Five Snacks I enjoy:
any kind of cheese!
Five Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
ride a Zorb,
ship my boss to Ethiopia via Fed Ex,
buy bibles for every child in China,
hire a cleaning lady to live with me,
hire a writer to maintain my blog and write flattering stories about me and my family
Five of my bad habits:
I can’t drag myself out of bed until my alarm clock rings for the fifth time,
I’m habitually late for work no matter how hard I try to be on time,
I can’t cook without splattering something on the stove (I don’t consider this a flaw, but my husband does),
I procrastinate returning phone calls,
I always leave the clean underwear in the dryer until my husband asks me if there is any clean underwear in the house
(I’ve told him that I’m just encouraging him to be a nudist because he is hot, but he’s not buying it.)
Five places I have lived:
I’m boring, so I have only lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Cleveland, Ohio
Five Jobs I've had:
Lay-Away Clerk at K-Mart,
Waitress at Denny’s,
Five people I want to know more about (a nice way of saying TAG):
Monday, April 21, 2008
Although I love my nephew and admire his enthusiasm for outdoors sports, I always swore that my son would never be that spoiled or participate in anything so dangerous. I envision Little King David making pinewood derby cars as a Cub Scout or playing peewee football. Maybe we’ll even sign him up for toddler ice skating lessons when he is three years old. Daddy loves hockey and Mommy loves to watch the toddlers wobbling around the ice arena in their giant bicycle helmets.
Unfortunately, David defies me at every opportunity. He has a love of engines and all things loud. He loves to watch the cars drive by our house. He becomes very serious if he sees a fire truck or police car racing past our minivan as we cruise around town. He is mesmerized by bulldozers and cranes. He is overwhelmed with excitement when he hears the roar of a motorcycle.
And he was ecstatic yesterday afternoon when he found the quads parked in my mother-in-law’s yard. We were there for our traditional, bi-weekly visit with the in-laws. The in-laws live in the country and my sister-in-law, her husband, and my nephew decided to ride their quads to MIL’s house rather than hop in the car yesterday.
David didn’t even see or hear them arrive. We simply went outside to play. As soon as David saw the quads, he started pointing enthusiastically (which means he was waving his arms at them frantically like an air-traffic controller trying to divert an imminent airplane crash). He repeated over and over, “Dis! Dis! Vroom, Vroom!”
How the heck does the kid know that these are vroom vrooms? Are boys just born with the innate knowledge that anything with wheels probably has a loud engine?
Uncle D happily let David sit on his quad. David proceeded to push the ignition button over and over and over until he finally convinced Uncle D to turn it on. As the engine rumbled, David’s face lit up with a huge grin. Uncle D hopped on the quad and took David for a ride around the yard.
Didn’t I say I would never let this happen?
How is it that a 13-month old can defy me?
Doesn’t he understand that these hobbies are too dangerous?
And he wonders why I can’t give up swearing!!
Friday, April 18, 2008
In previous years, I have trusted their judgement and answered questions of “What do you want?” with the simple response of “I will be happy with any gift you choose for me.”
I can tell you from experience that I should not trust their judgement. One year, the Queen of Sheba bought me green nail polish because my favorite color is green. Another year, Skywalker bought me a beautiful, silver, kimono-style dress. In a size SMALL. I was very flattered that she wasn’t old enough to realize that I am more like a size Extra-Extra-NOT-Small, but she insisted that I have the dress and it was the only size left on the rack. Another year, they bought me a Winnie the Pooh t-shirt because I love Pooh and nothing says mature, professional adult like Disney apparel.
I almost made the mistake of giving them free reign over the shopping list this year, then I had this conversation with the Queen of Sheba:
Queen of Sheba: “What do you want for Mother’s Day and your birthday this year?”
Stepmonster: “I can’t think of anything I need. Do you think you could choose something I would like?”
Queen of Sheba: “Sure! How about a new Winnie the Pooh shirt? Maybe a green one?”
Stepmonster: “That’s a great idea, but I already have a couple Pooh shirts. Maybe something else would be better.”
Queen of Sheba: “That’s true. How about some new earrings?”
Stepmonster: “That would be nice. My gold hoops are starting to look a little tarnished since they’re not real gold.”
Queen of Sheba: “Cool! I saw some really sweet angel wing earrings at the mall last week. I could get you some of those.”
Stepmonster: “Those sound really pretty, but I don’t think they would be appropriate to wear to work or for anyone over the age of 17 to wear in public. What do you think?”
Queen of Sheba: “I thought they would be pretty. And we could share your earrings.”
Stepmonster: “Well, maybe I will give you a shopping list this year.”
Meanwhile, Daddy and Skywalker were smirking through this entire conversation as they finally got their way. They’ve been begging for a shopping list for years.
What should I put on my wish list?
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Mommy ordered it online from Babies R Us. The TV Guard was $7.99 and shipping and handling was $6.99. Obviously, it would not be cost-effective to return it through the mail. Mommy was pleased to see that it could be returned to any Babies R Us or Toys R Us store.
When the happy family arrived at Toys R Us, we were informed that the TV Guard could be returned, but they could only offer us store credit. Obviously, Mommy didn’t read that part of the return instructions on the receipt.
Since return shipping would cost almost as much as the refund, we opted for the store credit. Surely, we could find something David wanted at Toys R Us.
We began to browse through the bouncy balls, the Play-Doh, the pop-up books and puppets. Daddy insisted that David would love something manly, like a truck or some power tools. Mommy reminded Daddy that we were in Toys R Us, not Home Depot, and we went off in search of manly toys.
On the way, David discovered a Little Tikes Lawnmower that some sad child had abandoned in the middle of an aisle.
He immediately loved it. He turned the ignition key, toggled the choke, and removed the gas cap to check for gasoline. The lawnmower was packaged in a cardboard display box that prevented it from rolling on it’s wheels, but David was happy to push it along the aisles in the box.
Surely this lawnmower was not selling for $7.99.
Mommy tried to divert his attention with a remote control car with realistic engine noises. David briefly abandoned the lawnmower, only to go running back to it as soon as the engine noises stopped.
Daddy found a cuddly, soft plush puppy that David hugged enthusiastically. He then dropped it on the floor and mowed it down with the lawnmower.
Mommy found a Fisher Price ball popper just like the one David has at home. It’s his favorite toy! He glanced at it briefly and returned to his inspection of the lawnmower’s gas cap.
As proud as can be over his son’s choice of a manly toy, Daddy swept David off his feet, grabbed the lawnmower, and joyously marched to the cash register.
We went into the store with a merchandise credit of $7.99, but left the store with a Visa charge of $13.59.
And that is how David conned us into buying him a new toy by disobeying the rules.
The irony of it just slays me…
Monday, April 14, 2008
He may not touch the oven knobs, the fire extinguisher, the night lights in his bedroom, the power strip for the tortoise habitat, the heat lamp for the tortoise habitat, and the power button for the computer. (the last one isn’t dangerous, but Daddy doesn’t like what happens to the computer when it is not turned off properly. He especially doesn’t like it when it is turned off while he is paying bills online.)
Of all these temptations, the one item that David simply can not keep his hands off is the television. We have a Hitachi 57” widescreen television in our living room which was Mommy’s gift to Daddy one Christmas, which would also be the very last luxury item Daddy would own before the birth of Baby. You may call it a “I bought you a TV, now give me a baby” gift. It worked.
David just can’t resist turning the television off. The power button glows a beautiful soft blue that just beckons to him and conquers his will power. To make matters worse, David is so fast that Mommy and Daddy have to run to grab him before he can reach the button. As we tell him, “No touch,” he is laughing hysterically thinking that we are chasing him.
Mommy is happy to ignore the button pushing. After all, he will eventually give it up if no one cares, right? However, Daddy is convinced that David is competing for the Alpha-Male status in our house and that turning off the television is like pissing in Daddy’s territory. (Maybe the analogy is proof that Daddy is watching too much Discovery Channel?)
In a quest for peace, Mommy ordered a TV Guard online. She was so excited when it arrived in the mail, but Daddy dampened her joy immediately. He absolutely refused to put adhesive on his prized television.
Instead, he bought a Super Yard gate to protect the television. Obviously, the TV Guard that Mommy bought for $7.99 was an obstruction, but the Super Yard that Daddy bought for $54.88 was not an eyesore. Yes, let’s build a fort around the television. Why didn’t Mommy think of that?
Confident that our Television Battles had ended, we shared our brilliant solution with our friends over brunch yesterday. As the parents of toddler-age twins, surely they could empathize with our plight.
They suggested that we disable the power button by using the remote control to lock the television controls.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I like to eat and I like to try new foods. Sometimes, I don’t really like the new foods that are on my plate, but I do love the new foods on Mommy’s and Daddy’s plates. Grown-up food is better than baby food. We all know that!
Sometimes Mommy forgets that I am a big boy now and she tries to buy Gerber food for me. Gerber encourages her to have these thoughts by selling Gerber Graduates food. It’s baby food for big kids like me that don’t need baby food anymore.
Since I was in the 10th percentile for weight at my last well child visit, which is just another name for a day filled with pain and tears, Mommy tries to feed me as much protein and fat as she can. She uses lots of sneaky tricks to do it, too.
Her latest idea was to feed me Gerber Graduates Lil’ Sticks. They are meat sticks in a jar, and they come in lots of flavors, like chicken, turkey, and mystery meat.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
You may recall that the daycare director isn’t really fond of children. Consequently, she tries to avoid spending time at the daycare center as much as possible. Her posted office hours are 10:00am to 3:30pm, although that’s not actually when she is on-site. For the past few months, I have noticed that she is around when I park the minivan and she is anxious to run out the door as soon as I have my hands on my kid. It makes me wonder if she is worried about what the afternoon teacher would do with the babies if she didn’t have supervision or if she is worried about the afternoon teacher clocking out as soon as the last kid is out the door. Either way, it doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
As luck would have it, the daycare director decided to call it quits early yesterday and she left the office at 1:00pm. Daddy didn’t even bother to stop by and chat since he knew she wasn’t around.
In the meantime, Daddy has cooled off quite a bit and Little King David is back on his normal nap schedule.
I apologize for the lack of drama and suspense at the conclusion of this story. If that’s what you’re looking for, I could share the details of our encounters with the ex-wife…
Never mind, this is a happy blog. Isn’t that why you’re here?
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Little King David spends his days at a licensed daycare center while Mommy and Daddy slave away at work. It’s not the best scenario, but like many other families in America, we have mortgage payments and child support payments to make, so the parents must work. Despite our concerns about fulltime childcare, David has flourished. He is well-adjusted, very outgoing, eager to interact with other children, and happy to arrive at school each morning.
We are blessed that David has a special connection with his primary caregiver. His teacher has a special place in her heart for him and he gets a little extra attention because of this. He is always thrilled to see her in the morning and he screams and cries when she leaves the room for her lunch break. Mommy and Daddy are happy that he has an emotional bond with her.
The problem is the daycare director. She owns a daycare center, but she doesn’t like children. Does that make any sense to you? It doesn’t make any sense to me, either!
Personally, Mommy has had several battles with this daycare director. For example, we paid the registration fee in January of the year that David was born. He was born in March and was scheduled to begin daycare in mid-April. The director assured us that we would only need to call her a week before he would begin attending. Mommy called two weeks before returning to work and was informed that there was no space available for him until June! The director finally agreed to move another child to the toddler room to make space for David, but he still couldn’t start daycare until May. Daddy had to miss two weeks of work to stay home and that was just the beginning of this fiasco.
Since then, the director raised the tuition rates by $100 per month. Then, she changed the vacation policy the week before we were scheduled to take our tuition-free week of vacation. Then, the afternoon teacher quit and the director assured Mommy and Daddy that the teacher would have been fired anyway because she was inattentive to the babies and refused to follow directions. Then, the director allowed that teacher to stay! She still works there!!!
We have bit our tongues through all of this mess because David loves his teacher and his teacher loves him. A connection like that is hard to find and we know it is valuable to his development.
Daddy is done biting his tongue.
He is going to meet with the director today because she insisted that the babies’ nap schedules change because she doesn’t want them sleeping in the afternoon when parents arrive to pick them up. She obviously doesn’t have a degree in child development and she obviously can’t read or she would know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 12-18 months should get two naps per day for a total of 3-4 hours. She obviously doesn’t know how cranky David was last night when she tried to change his nap schedule without his parents’ prior knowledge or consent.
She also probably doesn’t know that Daddy is leaving work early today to meet with her. She probably doesn’t know that he will ask her to show him the codified ordinance that grants her the authority to supersede our parenting rights when our baby is in her care and allows her to make decisions on our behalf.
God help that woman because he is one Mad Dad today!
Monday, April 7, 2008
Look what I bought for the little man on Ebay this weekend. Can you believe I only spent $50, and that includes shipping fees?!!?
I won’t have to wash laundry for weeks!!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
I’ve promised to share a few of my favorite hang-outs, and the family destination of the day is Preston’s Hope Playground in Beachwood, Ohio.
As you may recall, Baby is not all that fond of swings, but I can’t wait to take him to the park this summer. He is walking more and more each day and I can just imagine him running to and fro and falling face-first into a pile of mulch.
Aaaaah, the joys of summer.
I’m looking forward to a family-outing at this amazing playground. Preston’s Hope is a 60,000 square foot playground that is entirely accessible to children with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. The playground is free and open to the public. It’s location is easily accessible from all communities in the Cleveland metro area.
Imagination Village is a wondrous place for kids to explore, filled with child-size houses and stores. Little ones can ride bikes through the winding streets of the town. Some accessible features of the village include large windows in the houses and stores that allow parents of hearing-impaired children to communicate visually with their kids using sign language while they play inside.
The playground has a variety of slides, ramps and bridges that allow kids to run and explore. Broad ramps throughout the park allow youngsters in wheel chairs to participate in the fun. The slides are equipped with transfer decks that allow children in wheelchairs to be helped onto the equipment. There are also learning stations throughout the playground that teach kids Braille.
The playground offers separate play areas with appropriate equipment for preschool and school age children.
The Water and Sand play area is a great place to dig for dinosaur bones, ride a safari jeep, or play with water and sand.
The Play Theater offers a venue for your young Shakespeare to practice his acting skills for an enthralled parent audience.
Best of all, there is a public pavilion offering shade for parents and grandparents and the park features clean restroom facilities. What more does a family need?
Maybe a picnic lunch…
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
We rushed home to cook dinner and eat quickly so we could spend some time outside. After a lot of coaxing and persuading, I convinced Daddy that we should take Baby to the playground for the first time. How excited would he be to sit on a swing for the very first time? It took a lot of restraint, but I left the camera at home.
By the time we got to the park, the clouds had rolled in and gale-force winds were whipping in from the lake. Our gorgeous day had turned gloomy and chilly. Baby gasped for air as the wind smacked him in the face. We couldn’t give up. We took Baby to the swing-set and placed him in the baby seat. He clung to the chains with all his might. Daddy gave him one strong push and a look of terror spread across Baby’s face. He was too afraid to even cry.
Baby was afraid of the swing.
After a couple of minutes, it became evident that Baby was not having fun and wouldn’t be warming up to this experience. We decided that he might be more eager to play on the playground after he had a chance to watch the other kids playing, but it was too cold to hang out. We got back into the minivan and headed home.
You would think this outing was ruined, but Baby ultimately had the time of his life.
We parked the minivan in the garage and Daddy was going to move his cargo van into the driveway for the night. Baby loves to watch Daddy park because his van beeps when he drives in reverse. If Baby sees the van parked on the street, he will wait patiently at the picture window in the living room, hoping to see the van move.
On this special night, Daddy invited Mommy and Baby for a ride INSIDE the van. We all hopped in and drove from the curb to the driveway. Baby was ecstatic! He got to hear the beeping sound from inside the van, he was allowed to adjust the heat and air conditioning controls, he was allowed to change the radio stations, he played with the GPS antenna, he unplugged Daddy’s cell phone charger, he opened and closed the ashtray, and he scattered Daddy’s important papers.
It was one of the most exciting outings Baby has ever had!
If only we were so satisfied by the simple things in life…