Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Tadpole


Does this Buddy Snickerdoodle look at all like a tadpole to you?

Well, how about this one?

Ready for the pool

Look closely ... look at the swim trunks and the matching waterproof sandals (and the miniature, neon slinky in his hands). A total tadpole. And then when we took him to the pool (just after that picture was taken), and B got in and said, "C'mon Bud," he just totally DOVE into the water. As in DIVED into the water. You know, a dive: plunging head first. (Side note: I just looked up "dive" in the dictionary, and the past tense can be either "dove" or "dived." Who knew?)

We laughed and laughed because we have always suspected he would be a fish. But a tadpole? Even better.

I am so tired that I don't think I can write paragraphs, so here's a list of new things he can do:

  • sign language! Finally ... after nearly an entire year of trying to get him make signs, he's signing lots of things now ... more, please, finished, milk, eat, help, alligator ... I love sign language ... it's so ... QUIET.
  • dive
  • climb on top of the toilet and reach over for my toothbrush
  • PEE PEE in the potty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am not even kidding. Disclaimer: First he peed on the carpet and then I scooped him up and ran into the bathroom squealing, "PEE PEE IN THE POTTY PEE PEE IN THE POTTY!" and because I couldn't get him positioned right to sit down on it, I just stood him up on top of it and he peed all over the lid ... and a lot of it ran down into the potty! That counts. It totally counts!
  • put the key in the ignition and turn on the car, put in a CD, turn up the volume, choose a song he likes, turn the lights on and off (see pictures in my Flickr photostream), dig out the cell phone, turn it on, call Thailand, wash the windshield even when it's REALLY clean because he's been washing it for 30 minutes while Mama paints her toenails on the dashboard of the passenger side, turn on the hazard lights, drop the keys, sign "please" for Mama to pick up the keys, not sign "thank you" even though Mama has been trying and trying to get him to, scream bloody murder when it's time to go inside because Mama is afraid that a wasp may fly into the car with us.
  • lie down in the floor and throw a tantrum for just about any number of bizarre reasons ... shoe preferences (boots over sandals, mom's over his, dad's over mom's), prohibition of LOTS of household items (like steak knives), Mama's inclination NOT to let him eat chicken bouillon cubes (even though he got about 1/8 of one before I could stop him).
  • new dance moves: spinning, walking backwards, butterflying
  • word of the week: In answer to the question, "Who am I" (when asked by Mama), he says, "Mahnah." YES! A drastic improvement over the past few weeks, when the answer to that question was, "Dah-dah."
  • saying "NO" to everything by shaking his head. Everything.

ION ...

Today: He finally went for his 18-month checkup ... he and The Dad went solo and had a smashing time. No shots. 25 pounds. They can't remember how long he is but MOST IMPORTANTLY, he got a Spiderman sticker.

Next week: Mama goes for her final evaluation before laser eye surgery.

Right now: You should check out the other photos. I'm going upstairs to collapse.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

So what if he likes pink & Pilates?


Today after naptime we went to the grocery store where they had a new style of shopping cart with a Goose-sized car attached to the front. The old ones had the car close to The Parent, and thus was much less desirable. These newer models are all the rage. We zoomed around Kroger and honked the horn and nearly knocked down an entire display of taco seasoning, but somehow managed to emerge unscathed.

And then, right next to the cart return, there was a stash of free balloons with suckers attached to the bottom of their strings. I got him out of the cart and was trying to whisk him out of the store and into the parking lot to look at some trucks when all of a sudden he spotted the balloons. I thought he was diving for the shopping cart wheels (as usual), but this time it was all for a pink balloon with a sucker. And of course I had, on the way in, said to the nice lady in charge of balloon distribution, "No thanks, we don't let him have candy, and balloons can be dangerous." Somehow she found it in her heart to stifle her urge to laugh as I, on the way out, said, "Oh, would you like a balloon? OK, just choose one then."

I was so relieved that he wasn't going to lie down on the ground in protest about exiting the cart that I didn't care if he had a big pink choking hazard with a hard lump of sugar attached.

When we got home he played with that balloon until the both of them were plum out of get up and go. Then he moved on to playing with one of my Pilates rings:

And doing pilates?

But after dinner we were back to the norm: trucks, rasslin', and basketball. He has a new habit of parking his vehicles on top of his Grampy's old chair. It's such a strange little ritual, but so HIM, that I had to get a photo:

THE PARKING LOT.JPG...

This week The Goose has been on Spring Break from his school, which means that The Dad has had to take off work TWICE and The Mom ONCE. We may have to start looking for a different school soon. But even though he was only there ONCE last week, he picked up Emma's cold (even though her mom, upon dropping her off, said, "Emma's got a runny nose and is sneezing, but it's not a cold, it's just allergies." RIGHT). So we've been doing the neb at night and things seem to be getting better. He is such a big boy now that he can sit in the parking lot chair and hold the mask himself (for the full TEN minutes)! We don't even have to sing songs anymore! He just sits there and stares at the video. Oops, I mean, what video? I don't know where that word "video" came from, but of course we are against him watching videos until at least 24 months. Of course.

Nebbin'

But otherwise we are healthy and happy except for the new sprout of eczema on his chin:

CANDY!

It's gone from his legs (thanks to Burt's Bees Baby Bee Lotion) though, so we are making progress.

Besides a virus, we also picked up his school pictures last week, of which there were three poses. Here's a taste, but click on the picture to see the other poses. Send money if you want copies:

School Pics

Doesn't he look like a little Sigma Alpha Epsilon?

I'll leave you with one final picture of him in his new favorite outfit: orange pants and a skater-style shirt (size 2T). On the back pocket of the pants is a little rectangular sign that says, "CAUTION."

Orange pants

And ooh ooh ooh! Look at that new circa-1930s mantle clock!!! Mama's birthday present from Macy & G-Diddy. It chimes on the quarter hour and says tick tock and is a huge hit with everyone. THANKS!

See y'all next Thursday!

Friday, March 17, 2006

18 Months

Dear JEB,


Happy 1.5 year birthday!

This is a couple days late so you'll just have to forgive me. We were at Macy & G-Diddy's during my usual posting time, and it was so much fun that I didn't have time to stop and blog. Of course you woke up with a cold on the very day we were leaving and then you coughed all night every night we were there, but otherwise, things were splendid. You got to ride trains and tractors, practice your rocking horse skill on a tall horse with SPRINGS, and tell everyone how much you love your G-Diddy. I would say, "Do you love Mama?" You'd shake your head and point to G-Diddy. "Do you love Macy?" You'd shake your head and point to G-Diddy. He is a good guy, but COME ON ... at least give a shout out to the LADIES once in a while!

You rode $13 worth on the aforementioned train, which was in a mall. A trip to the mall was our attempt to keep you out of the mud puddles. I mean, we of course let you splash in a few select (read: shallow and clear), but mama can only handle so many cleanup sessions. Here you are as the conductor:

Choo Choo!

And as passenger:

He rode $13 worth

I love how you're kicked back with your arm up. You squealed and waved and I think G-Diddy would've spent his entire retirement savings just to watch you go around and around. And if he hadn't then I would've. It was quite a sight to behold. I think you and I will have a fabulous time riding roller coasters together in the near future.

You also should forgive me for posting that whiny picture of you above, but it is so incredibly indicative of our daily routine that I had to post it here on your birthday. Plus, your birthday this month happened to be one day before St. Patrick's day, and voila! A green shirt.

Yes, whining and mood swings (about putting on socks) and completely prostrate tantrums at Wal-Mart (due to the nearness of bicycles) are all very YOU these days. (Aside: We prefer Target to Wal-Mart because of their better record on social and environmental responsibility, but it just so happens that there's no Target where Macy lives, so we had to settle for Wally World.) Once you got over your parking lot incident you were a perfect angel sitting up in that cart with your dollar ninety-seven truck ... driving it all over my arms and up my chest and head. I love it when you do that.

Trucks, tractors, bulldozers, jeeps, steamrollers, excavators, cranes, lawnmowers, etc. are priority #1 for you these days. They all illicit massive amounts of drool and a "vroooooomm."

We play this game called "Denial" where I ask you any number of questions such as, "Do you need a clean diaper?" "Do you need a nap?" "Do you wanna give mama a kiss?" all of which you respond to with a VERY adamant shake of the head. And a smirk, like this:

Smirk

Lately I've been calling you Bo-Bo the Monkey Boy because of your obsession with the word "bo-bo" and because of your climbing antics. You have also proven yourself as a chicken herder, but climbing seems to be the newest skill to master. Sometimes I'll say, "Bo-Bo" and you'll say, "Bah-Bah" and we'll go back and forth cracking ourselves up about how funny it is when you say, "Bo-Bo" a lot or "POO-POO" or any other words/phrases with alliterative bilabial stops. Sometimes you'll come and climb on my back and say, "Bo-Bo!" in an effort to get me to crawl around on my hands and knees while you sit on my back and pat me. I love it when you do that too.

I still spend ridiculous amounts of time uploading, cropping, rotating, and resizing your pictures. This is in addition to my two not-so-part-time jobs. I can't help it. It's just too much fun to look at you and think about how great it is that you giggle and grow teeth and say "bo-bo."

Recently I have been holding you in my lap during playtime and singing to you ... you have such clear preferences about songs. The favorite used to be "Old MacDonald," but now we have moved on to anything by Laurie Berkner. I can even get you to do the hand gestures for "Rum-Sum-Sum"! You are getting better and better at sign language ... which is good given your reticence to be verbal (other than squealing and whining). When people ask me if you're talking, I always say, with a sigh, "No, not yet, to my dismay." And they always reply, "Be careful what you wish for." But it's certainly not that I feel you're delayed or anything like that ... I just want you to have a better way to communicate with us.

Like the day that you were, apparently, dying of thirst and I couldn't figure out for the life of me what was wrong so I just turned you loose outside and followed you around for a while. After about five minutes you calmed down and I looked at you and very seriously said, "Goosey, you are going to have to communicate with me better. I want to help you, but I can't interpret whining." You looked me straight in the eye, pointed to my coffee cup, and said, "Ahhhhhh."

You're quite the character. We have no idea where you got any of it, but we love it all. Happy 18 months!

Love,

Mama

Thursday, March 09, 2006

GREEN


It's almost St. Paddy's Day, so I thought this shirt was appropriate. Plus, he was really clean and that's rare, so we tried to take a cute picture. And if he had cheesy-smiled like he usually does, then our goals would've been met, but instead we got this. Nevermind. It's still delicious. And don't say differnt (spelling mistake intended).

We've had a busy week. First, Nana & Grampy visited last weekend (see pictures in my Flickr photostream), and then I started a new term of teaching. The Goose stayed home from school on Monday (for shame!) to play with his grandparents and I'm not sure who had more fun. We went out to eat Eye-talian on Saturday night and Mom & Dad went to a movie on Sunday (Los tres entierros de Melquiades Estrada -- totally engrossing).

And speaking of engrossing ...

Here is a picture of a coupla guys checking out some big noisy machinery while our driveway was being paved yesterday:

GREEN 001.JPG...

I mean, look at the drool. There was a steamroller and a coupla small bulldozers and some dump trucks. I keep trying to imagine the equivalent in my mind and I just can't come up with anything quite so intriguing. Free, organic make-up? Really strong coffee doused with toffee-nut creamer? A pedicure? A shopping spree? A trip to Ireland? None of those can quite compare to watching six men lay down a new strip of blacktop and then steamroll it flat. He even got to ride on the mini-bulldozer (in a circle) and make the front-shovel-thingy go up and down.

And speaking of trucks (and subconscious thought) ...

Yesterday I got a good laugh as I was reading one of my favorite blogs about a little girl almost exactly Goose's age named Parker Blue. PB's mama had written about how she was driving down the road and heard PB say "uh-oh" from the backseat. She looked back and discovered that PB was totally out of the carseat due to the fact that she had FORGOTTEN TO STRAP HER IN. I found this to be amusing because seriously, I cannot believe that I haven't yet done this.

UNTIL TODAY.

There must've been something weird going on in my subconscious, because today I was happily driving down the road singing along to, what else?, Laurie Berkner -- "Little Red Caboose" -- I heard Goose say, "VROOOOOMMM" really loudly from the backseat. I looked back to confirm, eye-to-eye, that yes, there was indeed a big "vroom" (truck) sitting behind us at the traffic light when I discovered that he was standing in his seat facing backward waving at the truck driver. I quickly pulled over into a pet emergency hospital parking lot and rectified the problem while apologizing profusely to The Goose for endangering his life. And to think: I used to stand up in the front seat belting out Tammy Wynette songs while we drove cross-country on vacation.

ION ...

El viejo MacDonald tenia una granja EE-eye-EE-eye-OH.

The Goose is totally obsessed with Old MacDonald. In the days when we used to watch Baby Einstein videos (in SPANISH), he became quite attached to the version of this song that is incorporated into the "Neighborhood Animals" video (Los Animales en Mi Barrio). In this particular version of the song -- which must be differentiated from the version that is included in the actual "Baby MacDonald: On the Farm" video, there are children clapping and SLOWLY singing the song while REAL black and white cows munch hay and twitch their tails. This same version is also featured on the Baby Einstein Playtime CD, which we keep in the car. Not to brag, but The Goose can identify the song, say "moo," and start clapping all after only four beats. If they had a "Name-That-Tune, Baby" gameshow then we would be golden.

So anways, he has developed a huge affinity for one of his bedtime books, The Midnight Farm by Reeve Lindbergh. In this book, (which begins: "Here is the dark when day is done/Here is the dark with no moon or sun/Here is the dark when all lights are out/Here is the heart of the dark.") we take a walk around the farm just before bedtime to look at the animals and prepare for rest. There are dogs, cats, raccoons, owls, geese, cows, horses, sheep, chickens, deer, mice, fox, bunnies, mamas, little boys, and teddy bears. I try to avoid this book because, frankly, I am sick to death of reading it and counting all the animals in English, then Spanish, then German (a trick that was started by Dad, thank you very much). I don't mind the Spanish, because I know MOST of the animals' names in Spanish (except raccoon, deer, and fox -- please advise if you know), but I don't know ANY German (except counting from one to ten) and this is just entirely too complicated. But I will acquiesce and read this book since it is clearly a VERY important part of our nighttime ritual.

Lately, however, I have not needed to read the book because The Goose himself prefers to read it while sitting on the floor and very independently exerting his will to stare at the "six cows stand all black and white" page for long periods of time. As soon as he finds the cows (which is after he finds the moon, the owl (hoo-hoo-hoo), and the "big wood stove where two white cats have a leftover glove and a birthday card that was signed with love" -- which, by the way, Mr. Lindbergh, doesn't even rhyme) he starts clapping.

It took me a while to get it. Duh. The clapping is in imitation of the kids in the video! So now I have to sing about Old MacDonald (ad nauseum) while he flips through the pages and points at which animals are on the farm ... or worse, while he stares, open-mouthed, at those six cows standing all black and white, intermittently emitting a whispered "moo." Tonight we spent seven full minutes in this endeavor. Not that I'm counting.

Next week is his 1.5 year birthday. He was just born, y'all. And now he's almost practically grown. And I've got a lot more gray hair and saddlebags. But he's worth it.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

King of the World


Week's like this are killing me. Too much fun! Some tantrums too, but mostly just good, clean fun.

Bear with me ... there are a LOT of pictures and of course I want to comment on all of them. Let's jump right in ...

First, Mama wasn't off-off this week, but she didn't have students, so that's major. On Tuesday, she came home early and the whole fam went to the park for a little frisbee throwin', big-wheel eyein', and monkeyin' around. Here are the goods:

Monkeying around with Dad

Delicious Dad & Delicious Diddums monkeyin' around on the playground.

Then there was the repeated swoop-drop trick:

1

First, you pose sweetly for the camera: CLICK.

2

Then, you swoop-drop down like this.

3

Next, tilt your head back and show off for the girls.

4

Now, drop!

5

Last, start all over (with a little help from your friends).

See that shirt ... it was purchased for the sole purpose of taking a school picture ... which we did on Tuesday. The preliminary results (read: Mama's opinion & the photographer's comments) prove to be VERY successful -- stay tuned.

Then, as if it could get any funner, Mama had an ENTIRE day off on Wednesday. SURPRISE! Mama's boss said, "Well, you don't get paid for this week of in-service, so technically you don't have to be here." Let's not get in to the fact that Mama still went in to work for 3 out of 5 days.

On Wednesday, we went to Chattanooga to the TN Aquarium. It's important to note that the last time we went to the TN Aquarium was in March 2005 and was disastrous. The Goose refused to sleep in the Hampton Inn rent-a-crib (I mean, who would sleep on such a loud and annoying mattress?? And what happily married Mom & Dad wouldn't consider FAST AND FURIOUS divorce after a night of screaming ... an ENTIRE night of screaming!?!?!?!?) and had no interest in the actual fish. However, Sesame Street was a gigantic hit:

SESAME STREET!.JPG

So, this year's trip was MUCH more enjoyable. And you know what? Just for funsies, let's even call it SUCCESSFUL! EDUCATIONAL! And DELIGHTFUL!

Here are a few highlights:

FISH!

FISH!

Yeah ... so that's really the only thing you can say about an aquarium when you're nearly half a year old.

And ooh-ooh-ooh, there was a BUTTERFLY GARDEN:

A BUTTERFLY!

And that's prettymuch it. Except for Mama's favorite aquarium animal:

THE POTBELLIED SEAHORSE. I took a picture, but since I just recently gave a lecture to my students on the importance of avoiding superfluous details, I'll spare you. Just imagine a seahorse with a really fat belly. I can certainly identify with that.

But oh, the after events ...

First, there was a shrimp po-boy fiasco wherein Mom & Dad ate until they were absolutely sick (note: picture has nothing to do with aforementioned overeating):

MAMA! & JEB

Next, there was a visit to a park. WITH A CAROUSEL!

MAMA!.JPG...

Forget the fish ... it's all about the carousel. Thumbs up to that. We rode it twice due to popular demand.

But the really important thing to know about this park is that there was a pint-sized Cadillac Escalade parked right in front of the Carousel exit and y'all: It had a real working radio and a gas pedal and everything. It's a Cadillac for cryin' out loud and if you open and close the door a lot of times and then your mama says, "Be gentle please," then the 3-year old owner will say, "Yeah, I wouldn't want it to get scraitched." NO, I didn't make a spelling mistake ... we are talking about south-eastern Tennessee, and he really said, 'scraitched'."

Just so you get the full picture of this blessed discovery, look closely at the picture below. Note the Goose's total fascination. Note the owner's total humiliation about having to drive around with a toddler riding shotgun:

Ridin' shotgun

We had to literally drag him away from this ridiculous toy.

And then to add injury to insult ... while pushing your cart back to Suzie Q. Subaru for the 2-hour ride home (yes, we took the cart -- trust me, if you vote for world peace then you'll take the cart), you hit a curb, flip over the handlebars, and have quite a brutal concrete encounter. An encounter which involves a scraped nose and forehead.

So then, on the way home, you CONK OUT for all it's worth because for one day you have been the King of the World, and it was worth every one of Dad's pennies, every second, and every drop of blood.

On the way home

p.s. I know you can't believe it, but there are actually MORE pictures of this week. Click on any of the above gems to see the full spectrum.

p.p.s. The aforementioned reference to "pennies" is totally ludicrous. Counting in hundreds would be more appropriate. The aquarium entrance fee alone was approximately $44 for both parents. Luckily, kids under 3 are free.