Chuck E. Cheese and Haircut #3

Sometimes Samuel and I sit by the fire, sip chamomile tea and discuss current events. Sometimes we write out complicated, Good Will Hunting type, math problems and work on them together. Sometimes we just like to make up Haiku's about the current health care crisis. But on days when we are not immersed in the day to day amusements of a family of intellectuals, you might find us at Chuck E. Cheese.

Today was one of those Chuck E. Cheese kind of days. The weather has been just rotten as of late and I can tell that the only cure for the cabin fever is to take my child somewhere where they don't care if he is let loose. Enter Chuck E. Cheese. The thing I really love about it is that his favorite thing to do is sit in the video games where you can drive the car. I say sit, because he doesn't actually want you to put any money in them. He just wants to sit there and twist the steering wheel. It's money spent on games at Chuck E. Cheese. No screaming kid as we take 10,000 tickets up to the counter only to find out that $50 won us a Spongebob eraser or a slap on bracelet. So today, after an hour of turning a steering wheel, running over the same light socket in the floor twenty times and pushing the coin slot button repeatedly on some jungle safari game, it was pretty much time for a nap. Oh, and did I mention the pizza and Sprite? That helped too. There are days when my "let's get out of the house" ideas don't turn out the way I expect them, but today was a slam dunk.

In fact, I was so cocky about my "toddler whispering" abilities that I decided it was time for another haircut. So after the pizza, we headed over to Pigtails and Crewcuts to get a quick snip before nap. "Every time we go this will get easier," I keep telling myself. I always chat nervously in the waiting area with other moms. They all reassure me that their "Jimmy" or "Alex" just got through the hating-the-haircut phase and there is an end in sight. I ask them if their kids screamed and yelled. "Oh yes," they answer with a knowing smile. I feel a little better about the scene that is about to occur..."this is totally normal," I remind myself. A pleasant woman who has dedicated her life (or perhaps just her 40 hour work week) to the grooming of children's hair calls Sam's name. My heart begins to palpitate. I reach down to pick up my son and that is when he stiffens every joint in his body and begins yelling at the top of his lungs...nay screaming, crying, yanking, fighting...I maneuver him into the chair only to look back and see the mother I was just talking to stare with her mouth open. Apparently little Alex objected a little less strenuously than Sam does.
My mom and I assume the "under normal circumstances this would look like child abuse" positions by throwing all of our weight on him as the hairdresser rattles off some "ideas" on how to appease Samuel. Finally my mother looks at her and screams "JUST CUT! WE ARE LOSING PRECIOUS TIME HERE!" So as usual, Sam gets an uneven, 60 second haircut, I lose ten pounds in sweat, leave a 127% tip and we all walk to the car feeling like everything that had just occurred was more than just a little wrong. We sit in the car for a few minutes to collect ourselves as the hairdresser passes us and heads to the Longhorn across the street. "Great," I tell my mother, "she's probably heading to the bar."

Merry Christmas from the Turners! Andy, Rachel and Sam!

And here I am...

I missed telling you about birthday #2...
I missed my list of things I'm thankful for...
I even forgot my password to this blog momentarily...

As I am about to write about the few things that are going on in my life that make my days seem so hectic and crazy, I want to share with you about a complete stranger whose blog I read the other day. Sometimes I begin linking randomly to other people's blog rolls. Its sort of like blog stalking. People's lives are fascinating. In the midst, I stumbled onto a network of blogs of people struggling with fertility. Some were finally pregnant, some were seeking other options, some were in the middle of frustrating and invasive fertility treatments, some were pursuing adoption. One blog broke my heart. A couple were blogging minute by minute updates from the hospital where their birth mother was giving birth to their son. It was a domestic adoption and I had somehow linked into this blog the weekend of the birth. It was very exciting. Yesterday, I went on there to see pics and get some more updates. Expecting to see a billion pictures, I was shocked by what I found instead. The blog had one long, tearful, post from a mother who has faced the most bitter of heartbreaking moments. After holding her son, posting pics, bonding and thinking toward a bright future with a beautiful blessing...the birth mother changed her mind. She could not bear the idea of giving up her child now that he was in this world. I get it. I'm a mother. I could not imagine handing my son over to anyone either. My heart is breaking for them both. No one wins. Two women, one baby. Someone goes home empty handed. I pray for them both and the baby. The adoptive mother is, as you can imagine, beside herself. So many people pursuing adoption have been through years of ongoing disappointment with treatments and negative tests and miscarriages and adoptions that don't go through. I pray that it happens for her. That she gets to hold her little one one day. Take her child home. I hope against hope, that she can trust again.

Everything about my fall has felt hectic. I have been teaching all over the map, I feel like I'm constantly hustling my son from one place to another, we've had appliances break, my grandfather is dealing with a very serious illness and yet everyday when I walk in the door, a two year old little boy screams, "Mommy," and runs to hug me. Everyday. I get to end my day like that. I get to hear the most precious laughter. I hear, "I love you mommy". In the midst of my crazy world and what I think are problems, I remember so many wonderful people out there who are hoping, praying and putting their hearts on the line to have what I have. So many would do anything for what I call hectic.

If you are a praying person, please lift up this unnamed couple. These two strangers that want a child more than anything in the world need prayer...lots of prayer.

My little boy, all of the sudden, turned two. It's cliche to say, when did this happen? But, seriously. When? He had a party with an 18 car train cake that I painstakingly decorated individually that he could not have cared less about. He did call it his "happy day" cake, but didn't eat any of it because he now had 487 Hot Wheels to hold his attention. Everyone came to Sam's birthday. He's so popular. Mine and Andy's stock went way up when we had a kid. We all sang happy birthday and he cried. We tried not to take it personally. It is never a good idea to put your self esteem in a toddler's arbitrary reactions and allegiances. All in all, it was a good party, a good birthday and I am amazed at how much more rewarding this job gets everyday.

For Thanksgiving, Sam carried on his tradition of getting sick. He's consistent. This year it was the Croup and an ear infection. I blamed it on teething for like three weeks and then one night he started barking like a seal and I decided that if we lived in ancient times, I would be asked to step down from my job as a Healer or Medicine woman. He was well enough to attend both Thanksgivings that we had and I was able to spend many days with him, although, it is hard when you have to keep them inside. No one apparently told Sam that he was sick so he highly objected to the insistence that he keep socks on, the sentence of indoor play only and the medicine that we had to give him twice a day (which I'm still cleaning off the ceiling). I seriously think that doctors should make dosages high enough to account for the backwash. It was easier to give my cat a bath than give him droppers of medicine. I'm just sayin'.

Now we look forward to Christmas. Samuel has shown zero interest in the Advent Calendar that I insist we open a door a day. He takes out the chocolate, puts it back in the door and shuts it. I'm now eating the chocolate myself. Does every first time mom expect her child to participate way earlier than they are capable of? I hope its not just me.

In case I go AWOL for the next few weeks, I wish you all a Happy Holiday. I pray that you get the proper amount of perspective to be thankful for your life even when it seems hard. I got a big reminder this week that I take my blessing for granted and I'm certainly going to go through the season with that in mind.

God Bless,
Sam's thankful mother

The Evolution of Leaving your Child with Others...a.k.a. the quick and painless death of standards.

It was promising to be a long Saturday. Sam was already restless and had been since my 6AM wakeup call. It’s amazing how terrified and scared one child can sound first thing in the morning. You rush into the nursery after slamming into the wall in an early morning vertigo induced rush, ready to calm his fears and chase away the monsters and are instead met with a smiling child who says “HI!” (and if he had a thought bubble, it might say, “Wow, it works every time”) You get your bearings and drop your exhausted shoulders. There’s no leaving. He’s seen you. You are both up and ready to start your day. Why oh why did I once again not load and set the coffee maker last night? This particular Saturday I took him over to a local coffee house that specialized in distracting children. You pay $5, hand your child over a baby gate, get a security number (no worries about someone kidnapping this one…not today anyway) and go have a latte in peace. It’s heaven. As I was drinking my caffeine and zoning out, I had to laugh at the fact that I didn’t once look, care or even ask what my child was doing back in the playroom. It was peaceful…if only for that one hour of my life. They could have been teaching him to juggle knives. Fine by me.
At birth, and for the first several months, no one was worthy to keep my child…except for the grandmas. He saw no church nursery, no gym nursery and no babysitter. I worried too much. At around four months, I reluctantly took him to the church nursery. The nursery hall was this part of our church that I had heard of and vaguely knew its location. I knew it was guarded every Sunday by someone checking security cards and questioning the comings and goings of people but that was about all I knew. I was a new mom. I didn’t know what room to take him too, if I needed a reservation or even what I was supposed to pack for the 75 minutes he would be there. Would they remember to feed him? Would he be devastated that I was not there to comfort him? Were these total strangers even qualified to care for my child (the first baby that was ever born)? I guess the nursery worker for Sam’s age group, who was my childhood friend’s mother and a grandmother to eleven children, was in fact qualified and not exactly a stranger. It was a daunting and scary experience none the less. I worried, only slightly, that he might contract illnesses that he had yet to be vaccinated for and come out of there having been bitten by some other child. At four months? It could totally happen…teeth or no teeth. I sat through church clutching my security card and watching the screen in case my number was called to come rescue my child from the clutches of the nursery. I even left during the closing prayer so that I could be the first mommy in line to pick up my child lest he, at four months, would think I had forgotten him.
At 10 months, I joined a gym with a nursery. I had gotten a little better about leaving him. I would drop him off in the childcare room and eek out the world’s fastest elliptical workout while keeping one eye on the t.v. that monitored the childcare room. I worried that my brand new walker would stumble over his shoes and break all of his teeth (this I reasoned was slightly more plausible than my fear of accidentally dropping him over the side of a cruise ship). There were older kids in there…would they be mindful of him. Would they include him? Oh no, not the, “sitting alone at the lunch table fear.” It can’t be time for that one already. No one told me about this never ending stream of things to worry about as a parent while I was pregnant. Where was the chapter in those books entitled, “Fear and Guilt: Say hello to your new best friends?” I felt ill prepared.
Finally at 13 months, I decided that it was time for him to interact with other kids. I thought he had been sitting at home for far too long watching Top Gear and Judge Judy. He needed to learn kid things. I was secretly afraid, I might come into his crib one morning to him chanting “Jerry! Jerry!” So I signed him up for a half day mother’s morning out program. This was two half days a week. He would have other children to play with, other adults to mind and someone else who would have to instruct him not to put everything he saw into his mouth. This was going to be good for all of us. As much as I wanted to leave my child with other people from an early age, it wasn’t easy. I wanted him to get used to being left and then picked up. I wanted him to have that experience…I just wanted to watch it on camera 24/7. School proved to be, indeed, good for him - eventually. There were a few hiccups in the beginning, including a call from the school saying Sam was mad at them and needed to be picked up right away. Mad at you? You send kids home for that? Still, I asked about his day, how he was, if he ate the paint, how they managed to get him to eat sitting at a table, whether they had mastered the art of his diaper change without throwing out their backs. It was a growing experience for Sam and me both. I learned to trust…he learned to…um…I’m not sure he really learned anything but he sure seemed to enjoy it.
It’s amazing how you start out with big ideas about how parenting will go. How no one on Earth had ever raised a child other than you, and if they did, they surely did it wrong. I saw my “leaving my child with someone else” fear fade as fast as my need for a wipe warmer. So there I sat, a mother to a 23 month old. I was frazzled, without make up, no ambition, zero drive, clinging to a fading memory of the days when I used to be cute and I realized I was willing to drop my kid off at a moment’s notice for any random childcare worker or felon willing to give me a few moments free of whining and a $3 cup of coffee. Wow…where had my standards gone?

You will never have it all together again...

That's what the doctors should say after they offer the obligatory, "congratulations" and lay your infant on your belly at the hospital. Maybe its not the time. Maybe it would be a downer. Maybe it would fall on deaf or drugged up, starving ears. Who knows if it would mean anything, but that's what they should say.

It's me. It's been a while. I know. It's 12:30. I'm tired, but can't sleep. I should be in bed. But my routine now goes something like this. I get drowsy from the day around 7PM. That's after work but before the two to three dinners I make, before bath, and before a certain small fry's bedtime. That's when I could get on my pajamas and literally crawl into bed, fall asleep and not wake til 7 the next morning. 9PM - 9:30PM is the actual time frame when I am free to do so. My family has been fed in the necessary shifts and Samuel is clean and in bed. Although by this time, I'm zoning out to some show on tv that I can't believe I'm wasting my time on yet I can't change the channel and after the day I've had I feel entitled to mindless entertainment. By 11PM when I drag myself out of the chair to head to bed and I lay my head down on my pillow for some much deserved rest is when my head starts to swim. It swims with weekly schedules, work stresses, bad mommy memories, scenerios that could never possible happen that wreak havoc and worry in my exhausted mind and that is when there is inevitably guilt. I am no longer tired. I get up and wander around the house until I collapse from exhaustion around 2 or 3AM.

Will routine and the feeling that I have our lives under control always elude me? Am I ever going to go to bed on Sunday night and think, "Oh, no biggie, just another week? I got it covered." Lately, I have just felt as though I live in a constant state of being overwhelmed (as indicated by my FB status). It seems to affect everything. It is also made worse by every little, and on a normal day, insignificant thing. I find myself feeling stressed and guilty over things my son won't possibly ever remember. Does every mother feel this way? I think that it must be my specific situation, but I got a note from a friend this week (who I'll respond to soon) who has her child on a completely different schedule from mine and I can tell, she feels some of these things to. It's weird what happens when your child goes from baby to understanding toddler. They get it. They understand what things mean. They have feelings and opinions about them. They are not just laying in a crib watching a mobile spin. They don't just feel a little upset when you hand them over to someone at the church nursery, they genuinely don't want to go. They don't want you to go. They don't want to have to leave their house. As a parent, this stage of "objections" is daunting and I find that I'm constantly reevaluating my priorities. Not because I really think I'm doing anyone harm (especially since this centers around me being a working parent), but because having a child just makes you overly cautious, I think.

At any rate, I think I know the answer. The answer is that there isn't one answer. Parenthood is hard. There are constant doubts. Constant fears. Constant changing schedules. Every decision you make means there are sacrifices you also have to make. Mostly there are constant reminders, just as the doctor should have told me, that I will never have it all together again...

I guess if with that, you get a beautiful set of blue eyes, a healthy body, an infectious giggle and a love that you could never describe, it's well worth a few hours of sleep at night.

Of Course I'm Blogging about It!

Poor Samuel. His ups and downs get blogged about by his mommy. I wish I could lie and tell you that everything he does is wonderful, adorable and brilliant. He is wonderful, adorable and brilliant...that's why the world is not full of only children. They have their adorable moments. Today, however, I saw few adorable moments.

The day went something like this:

Andy and I both happened to be home today. We decided last night that it would be a good idea to get Sam his first haircut - well his first real haircut. The quick snips that I and his Nana had been managing to get in at bathtime were no longer working and our lack of formal haircut training was, well...showing. Sam was starting to develop a bubble flip. More than once, someone commented on what an adorable little girl I had. It's fine...I'm not bitter. I'm just gonna defend all mothers who dress their babies in colors that make gender distinction easy...DO I HAVE TO MAKE HIM CARRY A FOOTBALL AND A REMOTE CONTROL AROUND? HOW MANY BOWS DOES ONE HAVE TO PUT IN THE HAIR OF THEIR LITTLE GIRL? I feel better...good thing I'm not bitter.

Okay, so I digress...mainly from exhaustion. We were going to "run over to Great Clips" for this momentous event. Everything about that sentence is anti-toddler. We ran in and the stylist said something about, if he moves at all, they stop cutting. He's a toddler, not a toddler size doll. We grudgingly decided to go to a place that specializes in cutting hair of children that ACTUALLY MOVE. We walked into the children's hair cutting Mecca in awe. They had toys and movies and animal crackers. They had scissors and razors that cut hair but not fingers. The barber chairs were race cars and fire engines. Anything went in this, next best thing since naptime. Sam was immediately taken with the train tables. As I sat their zoning out (moms, you know what I'm talking about - the "my child is happy" zone out) one mother told her toddler to stop touching his face with his hands after all those kids had been touching the same train. I looked at my permanently drooling, puts everything in his mouth but a toothbrush darling and called out, "You too, Samuel." Andy just smirked. I don't actually have to BE a good mother...just LOOK like a good mother. Whatever.

So, in a few minutes, Samuel's name was called. Andy and I stood up and went to have a quick consultation with our stylist. We burst out with phrases like "this could go one of two ways", "it's okay if you can't handle this" and "we have no expectations." She smiled and said, "We do this a lot, it will be fine." We relaxed and stopped apologizing up front. She was right. It was fine. For about five seconds. On second six, of sitting in the fancy police car, Samuel had decided he was done. I will let you see the pics below. He cried, he screamed, he threatened to become a Democrat. Anything he could do to communicate to us the level of his misery, he did. It's okay, Samuel. We know you are fact the entire county knows you're miserable. I believe there was a moment where the people of Iran stopped protesting and burning things to figure out who was screaming so loud.

As for Andy and I...I have to say that I am proud of us. We hung in there. We worked together. We took turns holding him down and pinning his arms to his side. We alternated between handing things to him that he would throw across the room and apologizing to everyone in the room. (And, by the way, no one cared - they all had kids too) We wiped the sweat from each others brow. We worked together like a real team. Dr. Phil would have been proud. Suffice it to say, Samuel was beside himself. It is hard to share this with you. I wish I could report that he sat there like an angel, sipping his juice and eating animal crackers. That he took his own money he'd earned from cutting lawns this summer and tipped the stylist himself. That he shared the Gospel with this woman and lead her to Christ. I wish. He didn't, although I believe their was a lot of praying.

Amazingly, this woman cut his entire head of hair. I'm not sure how. I'm not sure when. I'm fairly certain that I either blacked out for a moment or blocked out some moments. Who knows. At the end of the day, we got our little boy looking like a little boy. We paid the cashier and left the stylist a 67% tip and made her a beneficiary on our insurance policy. She was a trooper. I would have quit. In true Samuel, I'm only upset because I don't want to be doing this right now, fashion, he got down from the stylist chair of hell and skipped over to the train table. He squealed and giggled and screamed "Choo Choo" happily. Meanwhile, back at the chair of hell, I was picking crushed animal crackers off the floor and Andy was icing his knees.

As if that wasn't enough, we went to gather up our little boy from the train table to go to the car, when tantrumtastic reared its ugly head again. This time, as we picked him up, he managed the "armpit collapse" maneuver. This maneuver is executed, mostly over concrete or (as per Heidi) at the top of a flight of wooden stairs. You think you have your hands secured tightly under his arms as you go to lift, but then he straightens his arms out, thereby collapsing his armpit and giving you nothing to keep hold of. This forces the toddler to slide to the ground (or freedom) and the assailant (or parent) is momentarily stunned.

Somehow, we got him in the car...and somehow he managed to do something adorable 5 minutes later and we decided against putting him up for auction on EBAY. He looks adorable. He is adorable. He is simply going on two and somedays, REALLY good at it!

Hypothetically speaking, of course...

First of all, let's just start off by saying, my child doesn't have tantrums. Nope, I followed all the childrearing books to the "T" and we have absolutely no tantrums in my house.

But, hypothetically speaking, if he were to have tantrums, they might go like this. Now for the purposes of this hypothetical scenerio, we will call the hypothetical child in

Hypothetical Samuel: (grabbing for anything and everything he's not supposed to have - contact lens solution, hair gel, mail, stuff out of the trash, full coffee cups - you get the picture)

Hypothetical Mommy: Samuel, NO. Don't you do that.

Hypothetical Samuel: (looks hypothetical mommy up and down as if to size up her power, turns and continues to reach for said off limits object).

Hypothetical Mommy: Samuel, Mommy said NO.

Hypothetical Samuel: (glances at hypothetical mommy as if to say..."bring it on" and continues to grab said object and run into hypothetical living room laughing...hypothetically).

Hypothetical Mommy: (sprinting after hypothetical Samuel into living room, grabbing said object from his hands)

Hypothetical Samuel: (crumbles into the floor in an onset of hypothetical hysterical crying and looks up every now and then to see if hypothetical mommy is really making the connection of how badly taking hypothetical object from hypothetical Samuel really really really hurt him deeply).

Hypothetical Mommy: (is trying to catch her breath from the one room sprint because, let's face it, she is hypothetically out of shape)

Hypothetical Samuel: (gets up and walks out of the room in a huff as if to say, "You'll be hearing from my lawyer.")

Hypothetical Baptist Mommy: (crosses herself)

One other tantrum style that gets used often, is what Andy and I have affectionately dubbed, the "bump and roll", a little like the "bend and snap" but not charming at all. The bump and roll is when our little precious one runs toward you to throw his tantrum, sinks his forhead into your legs, or the couch your sitting on, rolls around til he's facing away from you, with his head still touching, and then dramatically collapses to the floor. The bump and roll - guaranteed to get you at least ten minutes in baby jail!

Sorry we've been delinquent about posting. I have been working like crazy, Andy got a new job and we snuck out of town for a rainy cruise. It was glorious to take a week of from diaper changing!

More updates to come!
Sam's Mommy

Since becoming a mother...

I can carry a diaper bag, a purse, a laptop bag, a cell phone, car keys, a bagelful, coffee, the carseat, my child's hand and hold the door open with one toe as he steps. Apparently motherhood has made me an Octopus.

I'm getting really good at chasing Sam through the house after his bath with a hairbrush. I am now averaging two to three good brush strokes at each stop and have cut the hair fixing time down considerably over the last few months.

I can hold a phone conversation and hone in on my child's location and activities for a good ten minutes. After ten minutes and on an active night, if you're the one on the phone with me, I'm no longer listening to you.

I have learned that waiting to take clothes off as we are standing by the tub only breeds an exasperated toddler and many times a dangerous situation. If I make a game out of it and grab a piece of clothing every fifteen minutes over the span of an hour, my day is shot, but bath time is less painful.

I find I'm starting to pronounce words incorrectly back. If he says "tickey, tickey" instead of "tickle tickle"...its good enough for me. Although I am starting to doubt my own grammar. Are the 'N's silent in bunny?

I gave up trying to read the whole story book. It's really fun to read "Green Eggs and Ham" but pointing at all the pictures and screaming "BRAY" can be fun too.

I no longer care if I finish all the steps to getting ready in the morning. I do the most important ones and forget the rest. I haven't worn lipstick in a year and a half and all those jewelry sets and hair doo-dads...well aside from being fascinating and choking hazards, they pretty much collect dust at this point.

I now wait so long in between eyebrow waxing that the nail salon has to pull out special equipment and comment on how long it's been.

I'm going on a cruise in a week and packing a bathing suit or suntan lotion hasn't even crossed my mind. Packing outfits that are three sizes too big and a stack of books is all that's on my mind.

Since becoming a mother, I have found a new purpose, a new love and a new piece of my heart. All it takes is a hug, a grin or an infectious giggle to remind me that I want to be nothing else, but a mother. On this day, I celebrate the reason for this title more than for my own accomplishments as one.


I'd like to buy and "E" please, Vanna.

"E" is for Emergency Room. Last week or maybe last year, or hey, maybe it was yesterday Sam was running up and down the driveway with his shoes that are a size too big so he has room to grow and with the coordination of, well, a one year old. Our driveway has a lot of cracks and dips and slighty slants down toward the house. This scene had disaster written all over it from the start. At any rate, he made one of those split decisions to assume that you were calmly walking toward him to chase him, as one year olds tend to do. While he was "running away", he slipped and fell on our driveway. I cannot get the sound of his forehead hitting concrete out of my brain. Now some first time moms may agree that sometimes you make decisions because you want to act like the right kind of mom and not go with your first instinct. You care a lot what other mothers think about your split second decision making...unless you are a new mom. A brand new, two month old baby in the house, no good sleep since month four of your pregnancy mom will take a baby to the ER because the baby is crying. You don't care, you are delirious. But after the sanity kicks in, you decide the "type" of mom you want to be. My type? My type is probably the kind of mom who has 12 kids and can't afford to care about every little bump and scrape. I wanted to be the laid back mom. So in true, mom of 12 fashion, after Sam stopped crying, I had the "walk it off" mentality. Kids fall. They bump their heads. He's fine. Two minutes later, the swelling began. And it swelled. And it swelled. And my mom said, "maybe you should call the nurse? Shine a light in his eyes or something?" She was right. She's my mom. She's usually right. So good sense prevailed. I had to admit that even though I'm CPR certified (expired), I'm probably not qualified to make a judgement on the serious nature of a blow to the head. I do know my limits. The nurse was finally called.

Nurse help lines. Do you ever notice that you can be discussing something with them such as your child's recent fall in the driveway and they will throw in an unrelated and random question in the middle of the normal ones? Example: When did he fall? Where did he fall? What elementary school did you attend? How big is the knot on his head? Is he acting normal? What is the name of your maternal grandmother? It's as if she's assessing my son's condition and trying to hack into my bank account all at the same time. Weird.

The nurse finally said, "go to the hospital". I must have heard, "Pack your entire family and their belongings into a covered wagon and hit the Oregon trail, you are never coming home again." I wasn't sure how long I would have to keep a one year old happy in the ER. I packed three outfits, juice, ten diapers (well truthfully, I always carry that many diapers), 8 cars, a book, a Wiggles DVD (you never know), some snacks, baby tylenol, adult tylenol, a blanket, bedtime bunny, the Speak and Say. You get the picture. It was three bags worth of baby gear. I hadn't looked that ridiculous since the first holiday at someone's house after he was born.

Little did we know that we wouldn't be going to the ER with the gunshot victims and the people with shrapnel lodged in their bodies (as per my mom's concern because apparently she thought we were headed to the ER in Bagdad or Compton). Thank the Lord there was a Pediatric ER. A glorious part of the hospital unencumbered by sick adults and their germs. I felt a little better given that Sam does everything short of licking the floors when he's at the doctor and I let him because its the only time he'll stop crying.

So aside from the four hours of traumatic crying, the betrayed look in his eyes as I was pinning him down on the xray table and the fact that the only thing that held his interest was a sticker
on a door that said "biohazard", he ended up being fine. I was told to wake him up a few times at night, which I did. What I was supposed to be looking for, I'm not sure. But I woke him up and he preceeded to look at me each time like, "what the heck? Hasn't this day been hard enough, mom?" All in all, I'm glad I went. The doctor there that night even said to me as he was ushering me to the financial office to pay my $100 copay, "He's going to be around for 120 years, you don't want to take chances." To which I wanted to ask, "Will I be watching the Wiggles for that much longer?"

"E" is for Easter Egg Hunt. The pictures are from the Easter Egg Hunt at the Spring Fling. Of all the activities for the kids, Sam enjoyed flinging his hot dog at me, pushing his own stroller around and stalking the Easter Bunny the best. You can't buy memories like that. We stayed for 30 minutes and left. As we drove out of the church parking lot, I kissed my dream of getting cute pics of egg collecting goodbye. Maybe one day he'll understand mommy's need for the perfect photo opp. Maybe he was just mad because it was Easter and he had to wear corduroy and a jacket.

Happy Spring,
Sam's Mom

What's in Your Diaper bag?

I decided to list the things that are currently in Sam's diaper bag that I discovered last night:

10 diapers...In case I run into a colony of diaperless, size 5 butts I guess. I've changed Sam in a public place maybe twice in his life...yet I have ten diapers.

8 Tonka Cars...I've only ever pulled out two at any given location, but what if today is the day he desires variety...or wants to create a traffic jam.

4 Baby Mum Mums - He stopped eating mum mums four months ago, but what if he picks up the habit while I'm in the line at the bank? How could I afford to be so ill prepared?

A pacifier - He stopped using a pacifier in June. Please see explanation above.

Two pairs of pants, one single sock and a bib that's too small - for those change of clothes moments...somehow I feel that its optimistic to think he'll not dirty his shirt or that second sock.

One shoe - the other is currently in my purse here at work. Hope Andy knows where the other pair of shoes are.

3 travleler's cups of teddy grahams - I don't want to be there the day that those are missing.

A ziploc bag with cheese leftover from, what I'm hoping, was Thursday's lunch.

Various crumbs that get stuck under my finger nails when I search the bottom of the bag for something - I don't even want to know.

And finally, all of the caps to the bottles. I know this because every morning, I wonder why I can never find a cap to a bottle...then I went through the diaper bag.

Speaking of Moms...

So I just accepted my mother as a friend on Facebook. I'm amazed. I think my sister put her up to it. The other day she asked me how you can write things on the wall, and then write things behind the wall. Welcome to Facebook, mom. It's guaranteed to distract you from work, make you stay up too late and its, yet again, one more username and password you have to remember.

I was talking to a soon-to-be first time mom over email the other day and I shared with her something my mom said to me many times in the first few months of being a new mom. Plagued with insomnia and forcing myself to find the "inner maternal crystal ball" that I thought would fill me with instincts galore often left me frustrated, emotional and angry with myself. On more than one occasion I would find myself crying in one room of the house or another saying, "I don't know what I'm doing. I've never been a mother before." You see, I mistakenly thought I would have a baby and no questions. I would just know. (I'm holding my hands out, palms up pointer fingers and thumbs touching in the zen like fashion as I channel the mother wisdom in my soul). I didn't just know. Rarely do first time moms just know. If they just know...they are lying. Now I'm not talking about the "I just know he's sick." or the "I just know that fill-in-the-blank is not good for him." I'm talking about "It's day two home from the hospital and you actually think if you don't wake your baby up at hour three that he might starve to death." Moms, don't lie. You thought a bottle fifteen minutes late or crying that went on longer than 45 seconds warranted a trip the emergency room. I remember at five days old, when I guess the epidural wore off, Sam cried on and off all day. I remember looking at Andy baffled as he suggested we go to the hospital. What were we going to tell them? Our baby is crying? Is there a prescription for that? Maybe your first time mom thoughts weren't that. Maybe it was something else. But I'm sure all first time moms had a first time mom thought.

So back to my point. At my lowest times. At those moments when I felt like being an astronaut or a physicist might be easier than being a mom. When I would say, "I don't know what I'm doing, I've never been a mother before." My mom would grab my hand, look me in the eye and say, "That's okay...he's never been a baby before, and he thinks your doing a great job. And so do I."
Some days, only another mother can truly make you feel better.

So to my mother, who's now on Facebook, I love you and thanks. I think I'm getting the hang of this motherhood thing.
Your daughter and Sam's mom,

Hint Hint

Okay, I have to confess one additional neurotic character trait. I think everything is a hint. I absolutely do not take people at face value and I spend a lot of time decoding what I think people mean versus what they actually say or don't say. This trait has never been more evident than after introducing a child into the picture. Let me give you some examples:

You might say: Are you guys still renting that house?
I might hear: Don't you guys think its about time you grew up and bought a house?

You might say: Did you breastfeed?
I might hear: Are you still working on that baby weight because you didn't care enough about your child to give him nourishment the way God intended and receive the blessing that is high calorie burn?

You might say: It's a little challenging to change Sam's diaper.
I might hear: Your child is completely spoiled rotten and more out of control than any one year old I've ever seen and I completely blame you and your husband for the fact that he won't lay still for a diaper change.

Do you see how it works?

So Sunday when a lady in the church, I'm sure very innocently said "Is he walking yet?"as I was carrying him down the hall. What I heard was, "Are you gonna carry that child around until he's 18?". So the update this week is...I no longer carry Sam. I put him down, put a death grip on his hand and drag him places. I have to admit...its much easier on my back although it is very likely that ten to twelve steps in, he'll throw the "drop to the ground" tantrum that toddlers are so fond of when you're not doing what they want.

We went to the doctor on Friday for his 15 month appointment (at 16 months). I don't give out "advice" but I will share with you my take on vaccinations. I read a lot about them when I was pregnant and came to two personal decisions. I wanted to avoid the flu shot and I wanted Sam to get the MMR by itself. The flu shot thing just has a lot to do with the fact that I think babies get a lot of shots and this particular one is formulated every year through educated guesswork and the last few years has been a bit ineffective for the strains that were around. Also, I've never gotten the flu shot so that's probably part of it too. The MMR decision just came about because its a mega shot. My personal view is that getting vaccinations is very important, but I'm also really cautious about making sure Sam is well, reacting fine to vaccinations he's already had and slowing them down when I get a "gut" feeling about it. So, Sam got the MMR and will catch up on the rest of his shots at his next visit. My pediatrician is great about accommodating my requests. His height and weight are great, he's in the upper part of his range (which he's been in since day one). I'm so thankful to have a big healthy boy that eats well.

Before the doctor came in, the nurse was asking all of her milestone questions. There was the inevitable "Is he using a sippy?" which I mumbled a quick "we're working on it." She asked me if he knew 5-10 words. Check. Is he giving and taking? Mostly taking, but he's one. Is he naming his body parts? Here's the deal, can you guys give me a "study guide" at the end of each appointment? I didn't know we needed to learn body parts. I mean he can fill in the chorus of Old McDonald, but you didn't ask that. It feels like those times when you took a test and realized you'd read the wrong chapters. For a split second I wondered if Sam might have to go to summer school or plan a make-up 15 month appointment in case he failed this one. Thankfully, he doesn't. In fact, on the drive home, mom got him to say the word "toes". I kind of wanted to call his doctor and let her know so she could indicate it in his chart. I mean, if they don't see that he said body parts at 15 months on his chart, he won't get into a good preschool, then you can forget about any hopes for a solid elementary and middle school. It's just a vicious cycle...all stemming from the "chart."

Another fun new "Sam thing" is that he dances a lot now. We usually dance to the Hot Dog song on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the mornings. This morning, I had drifted back to sleep on the couch when that song came on. Sam came over to me, grabbed my arm and said "Dog Dog" and started to dance. It was the cutest thing ever. Well, as my husband reminded me, it was the cutest thing ever since the thing he did last night that was the cutest thing ever, also. Look, he does a lot of pretty cute things. He can't help it.

Mama's Little Genius

Anthony, Jeff, Murray, Greg and Sam:

My child said your name today. He grabbed the remote, pointed it at the t.v. and said, "Legulews". That is Sam speak for "Wiggles". Forget the fact that he adamantly refuses to say or sign "mom", I don't know how I feel about this. Part of me has always been a little concerned about a group of middle aged Australian men telling my son to "Wiggle and Learn", but, truthfully, one of your dvds can give me 45 to 90 minutes of time to get something accomplished in my day (depending on how many times we replay it). We've heard "Dance Like a Fish", "Big Red Car" and "The Joey Song" until we are ready to chuck heavy objects at the television. The other night, my husband put his hand over his face and said, "I just can't take this anymore". He left the house for a quick drive to the gas station and came back 45 minutes later with two empty packets of advil and a drained Dr. Pepper. I think 45 minutes worth of Metallica is what it takes to get the "Fruit Salad" song out of one's head. Sometimes I can actually feel my brain burning at the sight of the familiar blue, purple, yellow and red long sleeve t-shirts, the big green dinosaur that makes the "special" tea and the scariest looking octopus costume ever created. And yet, every time, every airing, our little Binky sits and stares as if he's watching the most fascinating thing since the fire pit in our backyard. As I sit here, contemplating our love/hate relationship, here are my positive thoughts:

I appreciate that you are here. There are days where the only thing that will cure a restless one year-old is a Captain Feathersword sighting.

I can be thankful that my son loves you more than the guy in the orange spandex who sings about how great hugging is on the Noggin channel.

And, finally, even though Andy wishes he had pointed at the t.v. and said, "Top Gear", we are very thankful that he didn't point and say, "Jerry Springer."

I guess there is always a silver lining.

Grocery Store Ettiquette (with a child)

Produce Aisle: You begin your shopping, coupons in hand, with a relatively content child. He is happy to talk to himself and play with your car keys while you squeeze various fruits and vegetables to select the perfect and most economical choices. Of course you swing by the onions, making a mental note that you still need to figure out what a "ripe" onion looks like, pick based on size and pray it isn't rotten. Leaving the produce, passing the bread, you watch your child flirt with all the women he sees. Maybe shopping will go okay today. You are determined to keep the total bill at $100. It can be done. You are confident.

Aisles 1-5: Couponing commenses. You pacify your child by letting him hold your pen, and coupon holder as you search for the cheapest cereals, spaghetti sauces and soups. At about aisle 4, when stopping to pick up the pen and coupon holder off the floor gets tiring, you hand him something out of your cart. Aisle 5 is where the label or packaging disinegrates as he pulls it apart with his teeth and attempts to eat it. He remains relatively quiet in these aisles, although you begin to feel the familiar knot in your stomach as matching coupons to products and sales involves a lot of stopping and searching. He begins to shift in his seat. You wonder if you should head straight for the milk and go.

Middle of the Grocery Store: Also known as the Teddy Graham aisles. This is where you pull out the big guns. As the seat shifting and grunting get more pronounced, grab the small cup of cookies you purchased the last time you were shopping and begin to hand him one at a time. This gets you through about one and half aisles. Then he discovers that he would like to grab the cookies out of the cup himself. He starts to cry out a little. Hold cup open as you go down the next three aisles. Let him pull out teddy grahams. Watch out of the corner of your eye as he eats one and throws one on the ground. Pick up the pace. Find the cheapest paper towels, toilet paper, and garbage bags. No time for coupons, but at least your still being economical.

Frozen Foods: Put lid back on cup and let him hold it and chew on the lid. Randomly grab frozen vegetables and meals. Try to recall what coupons you have and make a mental note to sort it out at the cash register. Stop him from crawling out of your cart and grabbing things out of other peoples' carts. Turn the corner on frozen foods sharply and quickly as he grabs your arm and yells. You are losing him. Apologize to the three people you almost run over as you speed to the beverage aisle.

Beverages, Chips and Dairy: Screaming, kicking and mommy shirt grabbing begins. Coupons are completely forgotten. Grab everything you see that you might want or have ever wanted as if this is the last time you will ever be at a grocery store and throw into your cart. Grab the milk and pray for a good expiration date. You are now breaking out into a sweat and sprinting through the dairy section grabbing random shredded cheeses because you completely forgot what you were making for dinner and what type of cheese it required. Lid of Teddy Grahams is pried off and cookies hit the floor and scatter. You weigh whether scattered teddy grahams left on the floor are more annoying to the customers than the screaming child who is trying to jump from the racing grocery buggy. No contest, teddy grahams stay. Stop long enough to try and kick as many cookies as you can to the side. Somehow this feels like you've made an attempt. Run past the butter, thinking of ten things you forgot to grab in other aisles. The idea of running back to get these items makes you break out into hives. Head for the checkout line. Lose a lean cuisine in one of your final turns. Leave it. There's no time.

Checkout: Throw contents of buggy at nice checkout lady who tilts her head and wonders why you are crying. Grit teeth as your kid smiles and laughs at the bagger. As nice checkout lady scans items, wonder why you are buying 3 bags of pretzels. Hand over five of the 20 coupons you intended to use. Wonder how you just spent $175 on a week's worth of groceries.

Husband later comments: "You forgot to get Cokes." Burst into tears.

It Sounded So Easy...

"Oh, just take a wet cloth and rub his teeth after every meal. That's good enough for now. No need for a toothbrush at this stage." My hygenist made this suggestion and at the time, I was fooled into thinking she had just made something easier in my life. I tried it. It wasn't easier. Here's what she should have told me.

How to brush a one year old's teeth.

1. First, you have to catch the little sucker. He might be in your pantry shaking macaroni and cheese or in the den pulling on your landlord's blinds or standing in the hallway chewing with no food in sight. Sneak up and grab him. If you make a game out of it, he will either outrun you or fall and get a concussion. The latter will put you in the hospital for hours and then you will lose all desire to brush teeth he is going to lose anyway.

2. Once caught, sit him in between your legs on the floor and wrap your legs around his lower body so he can't escape. He will cry. He might escape and threaten to call Social Services...he's bluffing. Don't fall for it.

3. Pull his head back to one side of your body (away from teeth brushing hand) and secure head with a thumb tack (kidding, you might have to put your elbow on his forehead, though - don't worry, the bruising will heal)

4. Wrap non brushing hand underneath chin and squeeze (Mama Fratelli-style - Goonies).

5. Skip the cloth and toothbrush and go for a small bristled toilet brush (new of course). Pry open mouth and swish toilet brush around once or twice.

6. Repeat three times a day until he's 4.

7. Don't do any of the above steps in front of non-parents - they truly won't understand.

8. Don't actually do any of the above steps.

9. Instead, half-heartedly stick a toothbrush in his mouth, the two to three times a week you actually remember to brush his teeth, while he's in the bathtub and swish around while he wiggles out of your grasp. Pull toothbrush out once you realize it's not worth him drowning over. Say a little prayer that his teeth won't rot and fall out. Switch Dentists.

Sam's Mom

Baby Signing Time!

Since Sam was 6 months old, I have signed the word "mom" to him. I have said it, I have signed it, I have pointed to myself. He has responded with laughing hysterically, blowing banana filled raspberries and ignoring me completely. I don't want him to sign exclusively...I'm not asking the kid to do the entire alphabet. Just one significant sign for "mom". I ask you, does this sound hard? I didn't think so either.

My sister gave Sam two signing videos when he was born. We have tried to watch them consistently, tried to use a little bit of sign when we explain what things are. I'd heard stories of kids repeating the signs at ridiculously early ages and thought this would surely be the case for Sam. By the way, signing is a big deal in this family. He will need to learn it at some point. I foolishly thought the sign you do the most would be the sign a child would learn first and early. So imagine my frustration earlier this week when, after 9 months of religiously signing the word "mom" any chance I got, my son learns the sign for "cookie" in the span of ten seconds.

Excuse me if I am a little insulted that a Teddy Graham got top billing over the woman that grew him.

My favorite things...

I really wish I could drink Dunkin' Donuts coffee all day. In fact, while I know the streets of heaven will be paved with gold, I hope those streets are lined with free coffee shops that have no pamphlets listing nutritional information stacked on the counter.

When I feel guilty about my caffeine consumption for the day (or let's face it, when the fifth person in my office has told me to calm down) and right around the 3pm hour when I feel my forehead heading toward the keyboard or my face in the hands - looking like I'm reading but I'm really sleeping position isn't working...this is heaven in a cup. It smells like a cruise and tastes even better! Just thought I'd share. In my office, we've been known to have herbal tea competitions...who can get the best flavors. The Acai Mango Zinger is new and my new favorite. Celestial Seasonings gets no money for this blog endorsement (that I can only be sure my mother and mother-in-law are reading since the blog is about their grandson). I also hope they don't mind I used their picture. :0)

I'm not an expert, but...

I'm pretty sure that the leading cause of second pregnancies is watching videos like this. The reason? This video doesn't show swelling, or weight gain, or stretch marks. It conveniently leaves out the fact that you can't give birth with your underwear on and that the only method of transportation towards month 8 is hobbling. It doesn't recall the ninth month when you went to the bathroom 12 times during a two hour movie or the Thanksgiving you spent trying to diagnose and treat a gassy baby. Nope, just simple sweet baby coos and looks. A smaller version of the wild man that currently runs up and down your hall screaming "Tickey, tickey" and chucking your mascara in the toilet. But oh...that little one. Lean in with me. Oh, just do it! Now breathe in deeply through your nose. Can you smell the sweet newness of his little head? So this is what amnesia feels like.

Teething: The New El Nino!

I have spent the last ten months blaming everything on teething. It has been my answer to all questions and problems. Why is Samuel cranky? Teething. Why won't he eat dinner? Teething. Why did he just throw his toy car in the toilet? Teething. Why are my jeans feeling snug? Teething. By my calculations, he should have about sixty three teeth by now. He doesn't. He is just now starting to show off tooth number 7 and 8.

People are always telling me that I don't have to have an answer for every little cry, whimper and sleepless night. "The minute you figure out what's wrong, he'll be onto something else," my mother always says. It gives me peace to know that this too shall pass, but the need to diagnose everything is one of my mommy impulses and I can't help but replay days and weeks at a time to solve the mystery of what's bothering Sam at this very moment. Which is fruitless given that at this stage in the game, whatever it is better be cured with infant tylenol or a humidifier because that's all I can give him. This afternoon, my sweet boy was really cranky and I thought to myself, "It's definitely his teeth." Come to find out that I had put his shoes on the wrong feet and they were hurting him. At least I'm guessing that was what was hurting him...oh I don't know, here's your humidifier and bedtime bunny. Let's talk about it in the morning.

So I took my first significant trip away from my family last week. I spent a week in DC for work and it was homesick city for me. I stayed quite busy the first few days, but Thursday and Friday seemed to drag on forever. I played all these magnificent scenerios of the Binky greeting me when I arrived home with a huge smile and screaming "MOMMY" not "DOG" as he ran across the room to jump into my arms. Oh wait, he's my one year old, not the last scene of "Some Kind of Wonderful". What was I thinking? I got the smile I was hoping for, but as for the running, screaming and hugging...well, his grandfather got those as he smiled at me, spun around and ran to his Papa so they could sing Old McDonald some more. Emotional, I know. Gets you right here (pointing at my heart). I settled for hearing some of his contagious laughter and listening intently as he sang "IEIEIE" (as in EIEI-O). It's good to be it's GREAT to be home. I missed that little guy.

While in Washington, I got to meet up with a fellow mommy friend of mine, Cool Cat Shaney Shane's mom. It was a blast to spend some time with a girlfriend and someone who's baby is at the same stage as mine (the boys are 2 1/2 weeks apart). I sometimes text her to see what she's doing with her kid. I ask questions like, "Does Shane eat chicken nuggets yet?" "Are diaper changes getting any easier?" and of course "Are wipe baths okay some nights?" I like her answers. Laid back and not necessarily by the book. I think she's a great mom.

We went out on the town, two desperate mommy working housewives with no agenda and no curfew. We were desperately trying to ignore the fact that we were yawning at 8:30PM and secretly dreaming about our pajama pants and footies awaiting us at home and the hotel. After dinner, we wandered over to one of her favorite stores. We browsed around looking, not buying (we are both a little on the frugal side) and found our way to a bin of $10 purses. Looking back now, I find the fact that we debated over whether or not we needed the $10 purses for a good fifteen minutes a little amusing, given that we both had dropped around $30-$40 on our boys at the Hard Rock Cafe gift shop without batting an eye. My how mommyhood changes your priorities. We finally agreed that we, in fact, needed $10 red purses and made the purchases. The night flew by, even as we sipped coffee at the sketchy Dunkin' Donuts and compared mommy notes. Having that night out made my trip away from my boys a little easier.

Thanks for the fun time, Thirty.

Love, Peach

A Letter From the Binky

Dear Nana's neighbor, Mom's old friend, Ms. Vera, the Ladies in the Nursery, the cashier at Walmart, the woman at the store who called me, "blue eyes" and the nice old man at Ihop:

Even though I cried my eyes out and clawed at my mommy's neck when I saw you, I hope you don't take it personally. You see, this is just a phase and supposedly I'm going to grow out of it one day. We'll see. I think if you maybe brought me a cookie next time, I might work on my attitude a little bit.

Yours Truly,

So, it's me, Sam's mommy. The mom of the kid who cries hysterically around anyone who he doesn't recognize. It's nice to know it's a phase, but it doesn't take the anxiety of the crying away. Sometimes I feel like we can play it off by saying, "oh, he's just tired." It never works and if it were truly the case, my kid would be diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I think its the fact that he looks at you, starts crying, looks back at me, calms down and looks back at you only to begin crying hysterically again. The game is up...I have to say it and get it off my chest. He's crying at you. Something about you bothers him deeply to his inner core. Let's face it, He's just NOT that into you. There I finally admitted it. After months of making excuses and blaming other things. Honesty feels good. Do you need a tissue? I am a good, people-pleasing Southern have no idea how saying that pains me. But if it makes you feel better, it isn't JUST you.

This week in my house I made a stunning observation. The three of us were hanging out in the living room in our socks watching Blues Clues. I suddenly noticed something funny. I had one a sock with a pink heel and a sock with a grey heel. Sam had on a sock with a navy heel and a white sock. I glanced over at my sweet husband and on one foot was a Nike sock of his and on the other foot was the matching grey heeled sock of mine, hanging off the back of his foot. I laughed and pointed it out to Andy who looked at me and said, "I don't even care anymore." We have officially lost the will to match socks around here. This is not unusual for me. Not unusual for the Binky (because I can NEVER find matching socks when I need them). This is HIGHLY unusual for my husband. It struck me. What have we done to him? He used to be this meticulous dresser and we've sucked him into our world of unmatching socks (well, it's really my world since the Binky doesn't get a choice). What habit of mine might he pick up next? I had a mental picture of my husband walking around the house in my nightly jammie pants/full length nightgown combo or my sweat pants with one of the few maternity shirts I didn't pack away on. Wow, he's a good man. Lounging-around-the-house wear has hit an all time low and I think of June Cleaver and her pearls walking around the house with a duster while her roast cooks. Get a job, June Cleaver - don't you dare judge me!

Updates - Well, since we began our preschool program, we have had to introduce Sam slowly. The first week, he had done well with the 9-12 schedule. I was confident, excited, thrilled. But then came the phone call from the Church that second week. "Rachel...Sam is upset." I heard him screaming in the background. "Really? Why?" They must have done the unthinkable and looked at him. "Well, he's's mad at us." I just stood there in the hallway outside of the training I walked out of to take the call. "Mad at you?" He's I even have to entertain the personal feelings of a one year old? "Well,'ll come get him." I didn't know what to do. I wanted him to get used to preschool, but if he won't stop crying (and yes, I've met that version of this child before), there's not much we can do. I walked back into my training and a concerned coworker looked at me and asked what was wrong with my son. "He's mad." Her concerned face turned to a bewildered stare as her tone of voice completely changed. "Mad?" "yep...mad." So that was that...he came home early both days that week and I decided to introduce him into the world of school, artwork, other children and no grandmas slowly. This week he has gone from 9 - 11 and the schedule is working out much better for all of us. I truly appreciate Vera, his teacher...she's a gem! He's in a good mood when we pick him up and he even created some artwork for us this week. You just never know how they are going to react.

Alright, enough random thoughts of a mommy at an unGodly hour.
Good Night,

Live From the Living Room it's Binky!

Or that's what I feel like I should be chanting these days. What a little performer he is becoming. I swear the child even knows how to pause for laugh lines. Although he may come by that honestly...his mother knows how to pause for laugh lines as well. The big difference being of course the fact that he gets way more laughs than I do. I think its absolutely adorable, naturally. Of course I do wish he could tell the difference between laughs, cheers, "no Samuels", "get away from theres" and "What are you doings?" and don't forget "Get out of the trashes". Perhaps he does know the difference and that's the trick...whatever the answer, he likes to perform the actions before these particular Kids tune in young I'm finding. The other day, our sweet Binky threw himself onto the floor in full, "why can't I eat your cell phone" tantrum mode. As I was sitting there letting him perform his Oscar worthy scene, the child actually stopped crying, looked up through his arms and checked to see if I was eating popcorn and buying this act of his. I wasn't. So he moved on.

I find these days that it's hard to determine actual problems versus problems of someone with 14 months of life perspective. Crying commenses, that's when I start my checklist. Is it teeth? Is it his ears? Stuffy Nose? Is he scared? Is he hungry? Is he tired? Are his socks cutting of the circulation in his feet? Did he see a ghost? Does he hate his outfit this morning? Does he want to get into the kitchen so he can throw cans of soup on the floor? Bingo! Sleeping is the worst. My baby has always been a good sleeper...I'm not bragging, he just is. So when he has nights where he won't sleep, its unusual and I have a hard time believing I'm being played. I know there are nights I am being played. I'm sure he goes back to his crib after being allowed up for an hour at midnight to play and high fives bedtime bunny. I'm sure this happens, but sometimes watching him roll cars on the floor is way easier than the battle of wills that is called "Crying it Out". So shoot me, Babywise...I'm not consistent.

Here is the other thing that I've been thinking about lately. Bottles. Why do pediatricians insist your baby gives up his bottle at a year? My pediatrician asked me this question at Sam's 12 month, "How is he doing with a sippy?". Well, do you mean does he get the concept that it is a different shape liquid container that also has a hole in the top like his bottle? Yes, he grasps this. Has he stopped shaking it to recreate Old Faithful at mealtime? No. That is why he still has a bottle. It's easier on me, his working mom. I tell you what. I PROMISE he won't go to college with it. We will enforce the sippy before he turns 16 as a part of everything else he has to do to get a driver's

Weather permitting, we go outside in the backyard a few times a day. He loves being outside and playing with his toys. One of his favorite activities is walking around parked cars to check their tires (fully supervised, activity in which the car has to be on flat ground). This particular activity makes me laugh b/c everytime Sam's dad gets out of a car, he walks around it to look at the tires and check for scratches. Like father, like son?

Lastly, I had to include these pictures. This is a photo opportunity gone wrong. We tried to get some father/son shots outside whilst having a fire in the fire pit. The following is the progression of a Binky that wants to get down and see what's up with that fire.

2009...and we're off!

So there was no easing into the year. January 5th came and we were off. Sam started "school" last Tuesday. Much to my relief, he did not join a gang or get suspended for back talking...(wiping forehead). He did, however, get an incident report written up for him as he ran into a mirror in the classroom the first day. This sounded more serious than it I guess they have to write incident reports up for practically everything. If I had to do that, all I would be doing is writing up incident reports. We just fall around here (me and Sam that is...Andy is remarkably more coordinated). The bump he got from trying to hug the baby in the mirror wasn't even visible by the time I got home from work and was shortly covered up by the knot he received from falling flat on his face trying to run through Nana's kitchen that night.

So school. I wasn't there to pick him up, but the report he got on both days was, "he's busy." He apparently doesn't have time for being consoled, played with or having his diaper changed. Why would he have time for those things? He has cars to roll on the ground and only three hours to get that accomplished. Get out of his way, people. I am loving that this kid has a place to go twice a week to get himself "worn out". I am loving that he is surrounded by kids of my friends and not hanging out in "baby jail" in the living room watching Judge Judy. I am also loving the fact that we dropped his morning nap. After a year, I am seeing glimpses of a schedule and it is welcomed.

Things that just don't seem to change:

Will I always get out two spoons at mealtime? One for me to feed him with and one for him to play with?

Will he always indicate he's finished by doing the "windshield wiper" and knocking the rest of his cheese and crackers to the floor?

Will he always think, "NO SAMUEL," is hysterical?

Will he always hate having pants put on him?

Will he ever walk past a drink on a table ledge and just let it stay there?

Will the Wiggles ever grow old?

Will he always think his mommy is hysterical? - I sure hope so.

Resolutions - Every year, I sit down and I map out a plan that will allow me to take the next 12 months to completely reinvent and change who I am. I always fail, and it makes the idea of just being me for another year seem like a huge flaw or consolation prize. This year, I resolve not to reinvent, only to improve on me. I am pretty darn good in January 2009 and with a husband and little boy who agree, why would I want to be anyone else. Let's ease up, slow down and savor the moments in '09!

Much Love,
Sam's Mommy

Goodbye 2008, Hello 2009!

What an incredibly crazy and different year it's been. We started off 2008 with a one month old and are ending it with a one year old. The differences between the two ages are staggering. Sam gets more and more amused with himself everyday and somedays, I get less and less amused. Stop grabbing my cell phone. Don't pull on the blinds. Who taught you how to turn off the television?

Christmas was nice. I got a lot of time off and spent it with my family. Sam spiked a fever of 101 on Christmas Eve and we took our first trip to urgent care. By the time we got there to the 3 hour wait, Sam's tylenol had kicked in and he was running up and down the waiting room like nothing could bother him. I'm sure the other parents were wondering why we were taking up chairs, but it turned out that he had the beginnings of a respiratory infection and ran a fever for the next two days. After the fever came the stuffy nose that makes them miserable and unable to sleep. It was a tiring few days, in the midst of which, I caught the bug. Now, we are well and this week has been filled with park visits and play dates.

I did call the nurse helpline. I really just wanted to ask them how I could help him breathe better. By the time I got finished answering all of their questions, I forgot what I wanted to ask. The nurse said, "You don't need to take him to the hospital tonight, just keep an eye on him." I said, "okay, thanks." as if that was the helpful info I was looking for then hung up. Totally pointless phone call. At one point she asked me if I could see his ribs while he was breathing. I told her he had finally fallen asleep so I couldn't check. She said it was a perfect time to check, so she would wait on the phone while I took a look. I put the phone down, counted to 20 and then picked it back up and said, "nope, breathing normally." I'm not waking my sleeping baby you crazy woman.

I've spent the week reorganizing my house and packing up infant toys to put in the attic. This is the first time I've done this. It was hard putting away all those toys that latch onto strollers and things, but he doesn't play with them (because they are not my cell phone) so I sadly packed up all the things that promised to make my kid the best and the brightest in those first few months. Surely, he must be a genius by now. I couldn't bare to pack up Roo, his red kangaroo. So Roo made the cut for mommy's sake and will not go in the attic just yet.

In a few days, Sam starts a little program at our church. It's a two half day a week preschool. I'm very excited about it because he's such a busy little boy and it will give him the opportunity to get out and play with the other children. He loves going to Sunday School and I think this will be a great thing for all of us.

Okay, well that's about it from our house. I did get a new camera so the pictures shall continue (are you as relieved as I am).

Hope everyone has a smashing, goal-accomplishing 2009!
Sam's Mommy