Getting Stuck

Today, Sam and I were getting ready to lay down for our nap. Yes, I still sleep when he sleeps. Please don't tell Andy that this should have ended like 30 months ago. I keep showing him the "infant instructions" pamphlet from the hospital, but I whited out 'infant', and wrote in 'preschooler'. One of the instructions on it is to nap when your child naps. I'm sure he's wondering why this pamphlet about preschoolers also mentions what to do when engorged. Whatever.

I laid down with my Sony Reader and Sam went over to my bookshelf and grabbed John Jakes, The Seekers. In case you don't know. It's like 500 pages and is book three of an eight part series. I tried to explain to Sam that he needed to start with The Bastard because that is book one and if he started with book three he would just be confused. He told me to stop talking, because he was trying to read. So I settled back with my Danielle Steel novel and with the sinking feeling that he thought my reading material was inferior. Do you ever stop feeling insecure as a mom?

Yesterday I took Sam to the gym. He loves the kid's area and has told me numerous things that have happened there while I am on the elliptical trying not to fall off. One day, I asked him who he played with while I was working out and he replied that he had played with God. The next day, apparently a tiger joined the group during circle time and more recently he told me he couldn't wait to go to the gym so he could, "scare all the boys and girls away." I'm trying not to be concerned. Also, since God is there...I'm gonna let him keep an eye on things.

Recently he has become more daring about the indoor play set. You know the one I'm talking about, moms. It goes straight up in a series of tunnels and tubes and resembles the thing your hamsters used to run in. I don't know that I understand why we've done away with the gate to gate concrete and metal playground and replaced it with a series of tunnels that go straight up to the ceiling. And this all in the name of safety? Sam has never previously cared about climbing in these things. He has always been content to be the kid standing at the bottom of the slide looking up for the eight seven year-olds that are about to come down one after the other and knock him over. Yes, this could involve a concussion...but at least I could get to him.

What do I do if my kid climbs to the roof of this contraption and decides he's not coming down? Am I supposed to go up after him? Get a cherry picker? I don't have a plan for such an emergency. So point being...last night he climbed up and got stuck. Like crying stuck. Like big, huge, pushy boys passing him too fast and knocking him around stuck. Like stuck like I wanted to punch these boys in the face...that kind of stuck.

So, I went to one of the childcare workers. Why? Because they are younger, smaller and their knees don't make weird noises when they squat down. The childcare workers there are super nice so I'm not knocking them. I told this guy that my child was stuck and I was trying to "talk" him down. He looked at me confused and asked his name. Certainly this has happened before. Is there some "so your child is stuck at the top of the play set" etiquette book, because most days I feel like there is etiquette to everything involving my child and I don't know it. And people know I don't know it.

Stupid me...I thought there was an escape hatch or some secret door that you opened and got access to these kids. Isn't there like a "retrieve child" button or something in these mazes? Perhaps I should invent that. So this childcare worker, God love him, walked over to the exact spot I had been standing, looked up at Sam and said, "Okay...come on down, Sam."

That was helpful...thanks.

Because I never know if my kid is playing me or really upset, I tend to have several different reactions all at once so I cover all the bases just in case. Don't judge me. So using a clever combination of promising ice cream, glaring at him, threatening time out and eventually flashing a $20 bill...he finally found his way to the slide and came safely to the ground.

I know you are all relieved.

A Letter to Samuel

The only reason that I'm writing this post today is that the one year anniversary of my grandfather's death (today) just happens to be coinciding with me trying to find something that I put away for "safe" keeping somewhere in my house (okay, this happens everyday).

The thing I was looking for led me to a box of Samuel's things that I collected in the first few months of his birth. There are cards, hospital instructions (which I apparently kept both the English and Spanish versions - first time moms!), his hospital hat, etc. Tucked among the letters of congratulations was a note to Samuel, from my grandfather. I am posting it partly in memory of him and partly because, given my history, I will be turning this house upside down one day looking for this letter I'm sure.

My relationship with my grandfather was often a war of words. We had verbal sparring matches on the phone, tried to make the other laugh to prove who had the quickest wit and we used to send notes back in forth in the mail full of scathing insults. He didn't get serious that often. This letter was as much to me as it was to Sam.

November 18, 2007

Hey Sammy, or Sam or Samuel,
Welcome to this particular planet.

Whichever one of those names you choose to use.

This letter is being written on the actual day that you picked to leave a well fed, warm and carefree existence, and come forth into the world to take a shot at your idea as to just how this planet should be operated. Right off, your going to let the rest of us know that we haven't prepared a paradise to just your liking.

You're going to point out hunger. You're going to vote for clean pants, food on demand, of warm loving - of which you're going to get more of than you really deserve.

When everything is totaled up, you're going to find more things that you don't like, but you're going to find a lot in your life's term that is interesting, and things that seem to present a lot of laughter, fun, love and welcome surprises that makes it all more than worthwhile.

You're going to find good things and bad things. The most important thing that will ensure a worthwhile life is in your own hands. You will learn more what is good and what is bad. Sometimes the bad will look like the good, but the trick is to be alert and learn to tell the difference. You have already done one great thing on the right side, and that is you picked two winners to be your Mom and Dad. They are the best tool in helping you to grow into a happy and useful life. They will help you when it comes to choosing your activities, friends and the right way in your treatment of others. You can't go wrong by sticking with the truth, being honest and letting others witness you being honest and considerate of the feelings of others.

All in all, you have a great life before you. Aside from your Mom and Dad, you have a host of others that love you, are proud of you and wish you the very best that life has in store for you.

I'd like to be the very first to offer you a hearty
GG-Daddy Cooke (Great Granddaddy Cooke)

It doesn't get much better than that.

ok...I'll be funny tomorrow.

The Icy Truth

Iced in. Day...2

Families have definitely evolved over time (sorry, I mean adapted). What we required of our family unit even 50 years ago is different from the things we require now. In colonial times, my son would be shooting Tories and drying tobacco leaves at this age. Instead, he's climbing up the developmental ladder as set forth by wise mommy websites and cleverly bartering trips to the potty for PEZ. Likewise in marriage, things have changed. Andy and I make no secret about the fact that we would have not made it five miles on the Oregon trail. Two hundred years ago, I would have entrusted my husband with building our wagon and farming our land. In return, I would have had to be clever with a needle and would have kept a jar of lard on the counter that I somehow would have known to what and how much to add at any given moment. Likewise, families even a short time ago, would have known how to have large amounts of quality time when isolated in their homes. These days, however...

Why does getting snowed in sound so cozy and romantic? It isn't. It, like moving, and assembling things is an unnecessary test of your patience and sanity. I realized how grossly unprepared I am for any given emergency...especially a snowstorm. Yes, I bought milk and bread and thought I was getting equipped for dangerous times and then I realized that if the power went out, all I'd have to light our home is four scented candles. Which truthfully, are candles to be used only for entertaining. Also, I'm pretty sure the combination of which would have caused more nausea than anything.

It is only day 2 of being iced in and no one in my family is huddling around a fire, telling funny stories and bonding. We are not singing, like the Waltons or coming up with super neato games like the Bradys. We are wandering aimlessly from room to room trying to find something to hold our attention for longer than eight minutes. Sam thinks this is an excuse for the ultimate in telling mommy and daddy what to do and how to play and not listening to one shred of instruction. Yes...a test of patience.

In an act of utter boredom and desperation this morning, I...(gulp) organized. I know...its getting bleak.

I was excited when Sam had to go to timeout because it meant that I could finally stop hearing my name being called for 3 whole minutes. At this point, it felt like the equivalent of a 90 minute hot stone massage on an island in the Caribbean with a steel drum band.

My child is not at the 'hit the door on a snow day' age. I bundled my 3 year old up and took him outside yesterday morning at 9AM. It took three minutes before he started crying uncontrollably and told me he didn't like the snow. Which is totally fine by me...seeing that I'm an indoor girl and all. A few minutes later, my new neighbors met their new neighbor, his bathrobe and slippers. There have been moments in the last 48 hours that I have wondered if it's wrong to want to drug us all up with Benadryl and stay in and out of consciousness for the duration.

Its not just the child, the husband and I that are acting abnormally. A few hours ago, I walked in on Sam's toys planning a Toy Story style coup to get him one more fudge striped cookie. I had to put an end to that plot that upon further investigation, I found went all the way up to the top, and was indeed masterminded by the preschooler living in this house. Hence the timeout (or, as I call it, moment of glorious freedom)

I have begun to carve out the days in lines on my kitchen table. I have befriended a delightful tennis ball, that I have drawn a face on and I refer to as Wilson. Boy, can Wilson tell a joke. Also, you should see my beard. Two days in isolation can really make you waste away. My daily coffee consumption has quadrupled and Andy braved the dangers of the local streets so I don't have to be half and half sick (Celebrity Rehab speak).

Don't get me wrong. I love spending time with my family. But everyone. EVERYONE says things like, "you remember that time we played miniature golf", or "went to that movie", or "played in the ocean." No one says, "Hey remember those awesome three days we were all stuck in the house together in that snowstorm?" The truth is that a majority of us do not know how to truly relax and have a snow day...we definitely don't know how to have two snow days and God help us all, we are on the verge of a third snow day. Hail Mary, full of grace... We are all going just a little bit crazy right now.

In desperation, have caught a winter bird, frolicking in the ice in search of food and tied a message to its leg in the hope that someone, somewhere will hear our plight and maybe drop pallets of wine and chocolates in our yard, where I have shoveled out a large "X" in the ice, and spray painted it yellow, much to the horror of the homeowners association.

Now, I'm just sitting in my pjs and fluffy socks watching the local news crews covering the icing as if it were as dramatic as storming Normandy beach and eating my loaf of bread and gulping down my gallon of all good Atlantans.

Here's to three days of pajama rotating, Facebook overusing, Dora watching, coffee guzzling and hygiene neglecting fun.