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? Um...no. 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.