Where would I even start?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009
E: "I see Target! I want to buy a car."
Me: "Sorry, sweetheart. Dad buys you cars. Next time you come to Target with dad, maybe he'll buy you one, but we're not getting one today."
E: "Turn around. Let's go way back there. Go far away."
Me: "Oh, we can't leave yet. We have to stop and get Miss S a birthday present. Remember? We're going to her birthday party tomorrow at the jumpy castle place."
E: "I don't want to buy Miss S a present. She can't like presents. I can't like the jumpy castle place. I'm not a good jumper. I have fat feet. See? Look. at. my. feet."
Me: ...nothing. I got nothing. How do you counter that kind of argument?

Whatchu lookin' at?

Friday, December 18, 2009
It was brought to my attention that the first picture I put up of B was the one with Santa where she looks like a guido. Now, before all the guidos who read my blog go unsubscribing from my feed, let me respectfully kiss your ass by saying this: You guys are a handsome bunch of men. I love what you do with your hair, and oh, when you unbotton those top shirt buttons...I swoon. But little girls should not look like gangstas.

So here she is, in all her Tummy Time glory. And like the nurse at the peditrician's office pointed out...why yes, she is "freakishly" strong. And for all you nurses out there, please don't use the word "freakish" when describing someone's baby, even if you do mean it in a kindof compliment. Capisce?
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Pee Pee in the Potty

Thursday, December 17, 2009
Um, so yeah. I guess we're potty training learning.

About a week ago, E asked his dad to take a bath with him and D told him, "No, you pee in the tub and no one likes to bathe in piss water," or something like that. E tried to convince his father that the pee was only over there and not over here and as long as he stayed on this side of the tub, no piss water would sully him. D wasn't buying it.

So the next night, it was my turn and since I didn't feel like taking a bath, I told E that I couldn't take a bath with him unless he peed in the Potty because like his father, I choose not to bathe in a tinkle-filled tub. Sure enough, E called my bluff and the kid freaking peed in the potty. And has every night since. So today, since we were home-bound, I decided to take it up a notch. I put on his bright orange training pants, told him they were special big kid underwear and that he couldn't pee in them, and I let him run around with no pants on. I even let him eat dinner sans pants.* He stayed dry all day and even saved up his poop till evening, where he proudly deposited it in the toilet. Then he demanded I do the same.

*Like I told our friend Shags, ten years ago, had I eaten dinner with a boy with no pants on, my evening would have turned out much differently.

Swim swim

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Prompted by "Raising Intuition," an article in this month's Mothering Magazine, I asked E if he remembered what it was like before he was born - when he was in my belly. He said he did. But then again, he hates not having an answer and always, always answers "yes," even if he has no idea what the hell I'm talking about.

"Hey, E. Do you remember what it was like when you were in my belly?"
"What do you remember? What was it like?"

How. Crazy. Is. That?!?

Also, now that I'm seeing this in writing, I realized that he said water and not agua. He always says agua. It's the only Spanish word he uses exclusively. Double crazy.

2 am haiku

You slept all day. Why?
Nine weeks - you should know better
Now I'm hungry. F*ck.

Ho ho no

Monday, December 14, 2009
Now, before you all go judging me...let me tell you up front, with crystal clear self-awareness, that I took the kids to go see Santa, not for them, but for me and D. B has been on this planet a little over 2 months. She doesn't even realize yet that she's got hands. And E was only excited because like the idiots we are, we got him all fired up to go see Santa, thinking that it would make standing in line and sitting in a strange old man's lap a little less painful.

Our first attempt to see the fat guy was Saturday. B and I stood in line while E and his dad raced around the mall. We got there shortly after the mall opened and the line was already 60+ minutes long. Then an "elf" came over and told our section of the line that Santa would be taking a scotch and cigarette milk and cookies break right around the time that we would be seeing him. Which meant that if we didn't make the noon cutoff, we'd be waiting an additional 30 minutes. Yeah? No.

Which is why I found myself doing this solo. Or as I jokingly refer to it, so-low. Against his very loud wishes, I dressed E in a button down shirt, dressed B in an attempt to make her look feminine and cute without looking cutesy, and buckled them into the car a full hour before the mall was to open. Fed B in the parking garage and we were out of the car four minutes after the official Santa start time. We shuffled our little legs as quickly as we could past the elderly mall walkers and as we rounded the bend, I could see that the line was not as long as it was on Saturday. Yea for us!

Luckily, the line moved fast (40 minutes or so) and the kids all entertained each other. B was in good spirits, having just woken up from a toasty warm nap in the Ergo. E was singing the Wonder Pets theme song with alternate lyrics (Wonder Pets, Wonder Pets, We're on Our Way...too see Santa and save the day...) and honing his wall-scaling skills. It was finally our turn and like the fearless little boy that he is, E climbed up the steps and got in Santa's lap.

"Have you been a good little boy for Santa?" he whispered.
"Yes. I want the Wonder Pets."
"Do you like toys and trains and trucks and cars?" again with the whisper.
"Yes. And I like the Wonder Pets, too."
"And you've been a good little boy for Santa?" whisper whisper.
"Yes. And that's my mom."
"Yes, but you have to be a good little boy for Santa," enough with the whispering already.
"Yes. I want the Wonder Pets."

You gotta hand it to Cherry Creek. They pick very authentic looking Santas. But I'm pretty sure that the real Santa wouldn't have insisted on whispering to E about being a "good little boy for Santa" over and over again. Maybe it's just me, but in the past three years we've gone twice to see Santa and the first time the guy looked like he had cirrhosis of the liver with a side of hepatitis and this year the guy had a creepy whisper. But you know what? Who cares? Because we were all dressed up and I was getting a picture thankyouverymuch.

I looked through the five pictures the elf behind the camera took and pick the least crappy best one. E looks like he's high and B looks like one of the Sopranos. Awesome. We paid a steep price for a mediocre picture and we were out of there. I got home, plugged the flash drive in and guess what. It doesn't work. It doesn't effing work. I tried blowing on it, plugging it in a different port, shaking it, rebooting my laptop, everything. The bottom half of the picture is yellow. I sent an email to the address on their website and this is what I got:

Dear Ms. J,

I am very sorry for the problem that you have described. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix. I would be happy to set up a retake photo (no waiting) if that is a convenient option. Of course, I will be happy to refund you for the package you purchased. Please advise, and again I offer my sincerest apologies.


While I am impressed with their customer service, I am loath to even consider going back, line or no line. I send her this response:


I don't know if you have children, but I have a newborn and a 2.5 yr old. It took us all morning, and quite a few tears, to get ready to go see Santa. And to tell you the truth, I didn't do it for the kids, I did it for myself. Since I already feel guilty for dragging them out to the mall, sitting them in some strange man's lap, and begging them to SMILE! just once, I wouldn't lather, rinse and repeat if you paid me. So we'll gladly take the refund.

I appreciate how quickly and kindly you responded to my email. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Mrs. J

Now excuse me while I go whisper a bunch of swear words under my breath.
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Busy busy

Friday, December 11, 2009
Busyness seems to be all around us these days. The dentist was "busy" (that's what E grabbed onto in his attempt to understand my bizarre behavior, and that's what I let him think), Target was busy, the breakfast food playground at the mall was busy when the line - 90+ minutes! - to see Santa was too busy. The child who till now has had free reign whenever we are out in public, with the admonition to "Stay where you can see me and I can see you" should he venture off a little too far, has had to hold momma's hand because, you guessed it, every where we go is very busy.

D is going to be gone most of next week. Since he decided to go on this work trip, I've been living in denial. There was no way I can do this alone. E requires a constant presence not only at bedtime, but throughout the night as well. And while B is an easy, easy baby, she still requires constant attention - whether it be feeding, diaper-changing or her new favorite activity, having someone bear witness to her "gees" and her ear-to-ear smiles. That being said, up until yesterday, I was terrified. Shaking-in-my-boots-peeing-in-my-pants terrified. Hence, the descision to dethrone E as the nap and bed time tyrant that we let him he's become.

Yesterday at nap time I decided to put the hammer down. That's it. I was confident that E was ready to start sleeping on his own again (it's been weeks since the stomach flu that started this whole thing) so I had a talk with him. I explained that he would sleep in his bed, B would sleep in her bed (in case his nocturnal reluctance had anything to do with the fact that B is indeed not sleeping in her bed), Scout would sleep in his bed, momma and daddy would sleep in their bed and Baci, well, Baci sleeps on the couch.

"Mom, your bed is too busy?" My eyes welled up. I fought the urge to reassure him that my bed would never be too busy for him.
"Yes, sweetheart. My bed is too busy."
He cried and cried as I left. I stood at the top of the stairs, listening as his screams turned to cries that quickly turned to forced hacks of self-pity. Within minutes, his breaths deepened into sleep and my breaths deepened into relief.

High on the success of naptime, we decided to keep the momentum going and be hardasses at bedtime. Funny that I say "we," because I get all the flack for being a push-over, but guess who the real pushover in this household is? Yup. Dad. Anyway, I got volunteered for the job of bedtime meanie. And I embraced the role - the looming business trip being all the impetus I needed.

"Alright, buddy. Remember, you sleep in your bed, B sleeps in her bed..."
"Mom, you want to sleep with me?"
"I do sweetheart, but I have to sleep in my own bed. We all have to sleep in our own beds. I'll come and check on you in a few minutes, okay? Good night, sweetheart. I love you."
"Maw-mah! Maw-mah! Maaawww-maaahhhh!!!"

I ran down the stairs and sat on the couch across from D. He knows how much this kills me and since he didn't have to leave our first born in tears, it's his job to have the resolve that he can see is rapidly starting to crack in me. "What are we going to do? Cave?" D asks, knowing that that's not an option. I don't back down because I never want the suffering thus far to be for naught. No, we're not going to cave. I channeled my inner-21st century president and fortified myself. I had resolve.

So what do I do? I cave. Well, sort of. I go upstairs to check on E, as promised, and as I walk in, he's shaking his head from side to side, crying hysterically.
"I can't sleep my byself."
"Why not, buddy?"
"I can't like it."
"Why not?"
"Because I'm afraid." Oh. My. Goodness.
"What are you afraid of?"
"What do you mean, somebody?" By this point, I'm in bed with him, petting him and trying to console him without showing my hand, just in case this kid is a mastermind and has concocted an entire Oscar-worthy performance, forever cementing his place in our bed.
"I'm scared. I can't like sleeping my byself. Mom, you wanna sleep with me?"
"Listen, pumpkin. Dad and I are here to keep you safe. It's part of our job. And it's ok to feel afraid sometimes, but I want you to know that Dad and I would never, ever let anything bad happen to you, okay?"
"Mom, you want to sit with me?"
"Of course, sweetheart. I'll sit here with you for a two minutes and then I'll go downstairs."
"You can leave the door open a little bit?"

That was all he needed. The door open. A little bit. I sat with him for a few minutes and then reiterated my previous safety talk, reassuring him that we were just downstairs and that we loved him and wouldn't let anything happen to him. And for the first time in weeks and weeks, he fell asleep alone and stayed that way till morning. What are the chances that we got off that easily? What are the chances?

Pronouns shmonouns

Thursday, December 10, 2009
Language development in toddlers has to be one of my most favorite things about this age. That, and the fact that taking their clothes off instantly turns them into roaring rockets and automatically causes them to run around the house, pedaling their skinny little legs at a whirlwind pace.

Back to the language...some recent highlights:

"I can't like the light on." You mean, you don't like the fact that I asked you not to stand on your step and turn the lights on and off. On and off. On and off. On and off. ON AND OFF!
"The little girl is sad. Her wants her daddy." Yes, she does want her daddy but her daddy is busy looking at that other mommy. He's what we call a jackass.
"Poop has not name." You're right. Poop doesn't have a name. Why would we name your poops? Just because we indulge your desire to name every inanimate object we come across (i.e. Joe the cell phone tower) does not mean we are naming poop. It's a waste of a perfectly good name.
"I do. I knows." His response to an exasperated "Oh, who knows?!?" Oh, so you knows. Then why did you ask me in the first place?!?
"He was roofing. That dog was going roof, roof." This one needs no further explanation.
"Need help, guys?" Ok, this is just cute. E calls his father and I "guys." And what makes it even funnier is that he says this with a sweet, expectant look on his face because he's offering help in a ploy to gain entrance into the kitchen while one of us is cooking. And he thinks one of these days, it's going to work. Gotta give the kid points for tenacity.


Sunday, December 6, 2009
So I have a confession to make that is going to make me sound like an elitist snob, which I'm not. I made a dentist appointment for E at the children's dental place right up the road from us and we were there 30 minutes before I grabbed him and walked out. This is the part I'm ashamed of...ready? We walked out because the place was not "nice." There were tons of children and I talked to about half of them in those 30 minutes and they were terrifying me with their stories. One kid came out with blood still gushing out his mouth (tooth pulled) and one girl opened her mouth to show me the tooth they were going to pull and her entire mouth was golden yellow and her molars were flat. And the more I looked around, the more panicked I became. Plus the office has a "no parents in the back" policy, which I would have been ok with had there not been so many rotten and bleeding mouths yammering at me. I don't know if the state of the waiting room mouths was an accurate reflection on the competence of the dentists in the office, but holy crap. I flipped. Mumbled something about waiting too long and lunch and grumpy kid and ran out of there like the building was on fire.

At least that's why I think I left. I have tried to look at it from every angle - to make sure I'm being honest with myself - and I think I am. But there's a nagging feeling I can't shake. Why did I really leave? Was I afraid of something else? I'm pretty confident that E's going to get a good prognosis from whatever dentist we go to. He rarely drinks juice, hardly ever eats candy and brushes his teeth every single night and most mornings. So it's not like I was afraid that they were going to find cavities or anything. I don't have any traumatic childhood dental experiences haunting me, so it's not that either. So what could it have been? Other than the fact that there was something really unsettling about the office itself? Hmmm.

On the 1st day of December

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
We started putting up the Christmas tree. It's perched on E's train table and it fills up the picture window quite beautifully. The only thing is, it's a fake tree. We bought it two years ago (or is it three?) because we were tired of the dried out and remarkably expensive trees that we'd been getting. Also, a friend and co-worker of D's had convinced him it was the way to go, and so I bought one in the post-Christmas discount extravaganza that is Target on the 26th of December. And while it's a nice enough tree, it's not really a tree. But whatever. As soon as the kids care enough, we're making hot cocoa, trudging deep into national forest and chop, chop, chopping one down.

As D was bringing up the boxes of ornaments, it dawned on me that 90% of the ornaments we have acquired over the last decade are glass. Some of them were given to us, some of them I bought at the really cool two-story Target with the TVC Labettes on a loooong lunch, and some are sentimental, like the ornament we bought one year at Steamboat (I think that was the year we slept in the truck and woke up to the silliest powder ever.) The most sentimental ones, however, are the ones that we made in 2007. One is an imprint of E's tiny little hand, and the other is of his foot. But once I remembered that I'd been smart enough to pack those in their own box, I relaxed. And quite frankly, I surprised myself when I realized that I really didn't care if some of them broke (the glass ones, not the sentimental ones.) I've slowly become ok with the inevitable carnage that comes with having a two-and-a-half year old boy. Screw it, I say. Because it's a lot more enjoyable to be relaxed and put up ornaments than to wig out and frantically micro-manage what should be a fun evening with the family.

And boy, was it fun. E was so excited. It was right out of the movies - E dove into the first box of ornaments with gusto and the contents of the box went a'flying. I ran back into the kitchen to finish cleaning up and heard D mutter, "Oh no. We've got a man down." We lost a Santa. Luckily, the jingle bell on a ribbon and the 30 feet of beads caught his fancy and we only lost a total of 2 ornaments...so far. And the next morning, he is still running around with a bell on a ribbon slung across his shoulder. Reminds me of the days that I considered belling him in public so that I could keep track of him. Ah, those were the days...

So I let E put up ornaments. And put them up he did. Even the glass ornaments. And this is what he did with them. It was so worth it.

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