Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Grapes of Wrath


It doesn't take a private-school degree in English Lit. or master's degree (in how to teach our crazy language to people who didn't grow up speaking it) to figure out some aspects of this whole parenting thing. Like this: If a certain toddling member of your family prefers to only eat grapes, then by all means, serve them up quartered on a bamboo cutting board for as many meals as you can.

Or this: If you are morally opposed to the lyrics in the lullabies you sing to your kid, while he is, at the same time, completely enthralled by them, then you ignore your inclinations to over-analyze them, and sing your heart out. I mean y'all: I can close-read a fairy's monologue from a Shakespeare play with no problem, so while I'm sitting around twice a day (nap and bedtime) singing songs about what "Papa's gonna buy ..." the mind starts wandering.

bed head

Case in point: "Hush Little Baby, Don't You Cry." Since there may be many versions of this song, I've posted the lyrics below just so we're all on the same page:

Hush, little baby, don't say a word, Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird.

And if that mockingbird won't sing, Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring.

And if that diamond ring turns brass, Papa's gonna buy you a looking glass.

And if that looking glass gets broke, Papa's gonna buy you a billy goat.

And if that billy goat won't pull, Papa's gonna buy you a wagon and bull.

And if that wagon and bull fall over, Papa’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover.

And if that dog named Rover won’t bark, Papa’s gonna buy you a horse and cart.

And if that horse and cart fall down,You'll still be the sweetest little baby in town.

Now let's just ignore the obvious patriarchal overtones for a sec and discuss the issue of empty promises and materialism. First, who promises jewels to fussy babies? Second, who promises a whole slew of CRAP to kids who're just gonna trash it all anyway? Clearly the writer knew this, as evidenced by not only the "wagon and bull" but also the "horse and cart" meeting their demise.

Each night as I belt out this tune (and others), I wonder about what lessons are being learned. Will singing this song make me seem untrustworthy? Materialistic? Anti-feminist? Amish? Questions worth pondering.

Momzerbert

ION ...

All's well here in Gooseville. Macy & Granddaddy are coming tomorrow and The Dad and I are going out for a wedding where they're having karaoke at the reception. Serious bidness since the groom works for a record label and I am totally trying to get discovered. For those of you who haven't ever heard me do Roberta Flack's version of "Killing Me Softly," or Olivia Newton John's "Hopelessly Devoted to You," you might wanna try to sneak into this wedding reception ... it may be a show you'll never forget. I've been practicing.

As has The Goose:

I am Goosey, hear me roar

And speaking of talent ...

SILHOUETTE.JPG...

And good looks ...

Too pretty to be a boy

The last time I was in Newton, someone said, "he's too pretty to be a boy." Well, he is definitely a boy, pretty or not. I'll leave the heavy-duty evaluations to others, since I've been known to show a little bias.

I LOVE THIS BALL.JPG...

Can you tell that I really have nothing to say? Should I try harder? Ok, here goes:

  • He's peeing in the pot about 50% of the time.
  • He's incorporating lots of bilabial stops into his emerging language repertoire: "bubble," "bottle," and "ball" are extremely frequent lexical items these days.
  • He's really into grapes.

A bulleted list of three is enough, right?

No?

Ok, how 'bout this, entitled, "Nothin' but net:"

Nothin' but Net

Goodnight.

Big Ole Chair

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Stir-fry with chopsticks anyone?


I looked it up, and it's true: Children who use chopsticks successfully before they're two are automatically considered geniuses. So what if it's just using one of them to pierce a piece of tofu?

Using alternative eating utensils

Especially if they aren't even Asian.

Dumptruck

Dumptrucks are a sign of an inclination toward the fields of mechanical engineering, entrepreneurship, or construction management.

Learning to say "stick" (listen: "teek!"), "eat," and "bottle" are signs of an interest in corpus linguistics, speech therapy, or random nomenclature analysis.

Learning to imitate Mama when she's at the end of her rope is a sign of normality, apparently. Trust me, I've looked it up. I've looked it all up. I think that's my problem.

Well, I'm off to the library ...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

20 Something


To my dear 20 month old son,
20 MONTHS 001.JPG...

Oh, you. Most days I say that with a smile. You of the humidity ringlets and obsession with toenail clippers, colanders, and bibs. Where did you come from? Wait a minute, I think I remember now.

I’m trying to watch you more now. Trying to observe and imagine what you might be teaching yourself at any given moment. Like when you spend 20 minutes dropping rocks down into a drainpipe or driving your dump truck up the legs of the kitchen chairs and onto the table, watching the wheels turn so intently, I imagine your brain turning its own wheels, causing you to stick your tongue out to the side as if searching for a crumb. I learn a lot from watching you.
Dump Trucks


And you learn from watching me too (unfortunately). In fact, I really do try to keep this in my mind when I’m contemplating (1.6 million times per minute) whether and/or how to discipline you. I’m trying to remember that “discipline” is really about teaching or modeling a better way to do something, but oh is that ever so hard to remember at times. Especially when you are prostrate on the blacktop in front of a line of cars at a stoplight in downtown Seattle, desperately clinging to my and your dad’s fingers in an attempt to swing between the two of us while we plead with you desperately to stand up in the very moment that the blinking “walk” sign is changing to a blinking “don’t walk.”

You watch me way more closely than I know, and the other day you taught me a huge parental lesson: You will copy whatever I do and whatever I say.

It was just so early on this particular day when you shouted, “Dah-Dah” from your crib and jolted me from a dream. I usually try to get up at least a few minutes before you to stretch my back, make some coffee, and, sometimes, shower. I need that time, but it’s not always possible since you have your own version of what I like to call an anti-schedule. So we got dressed together amidst some whining, went downstairs to get some juice and coffee, and were in the midst of eating breakfast when it happened. We were having blueberry oatmeal. There was only one blanket clean at the time (note to self: ALWAYS have more than one blanket clean at a time), and you wanted to hold it while you slurped up half-frozen blueberries mixed with oatmeal, honey, and soymilk. And of course that spells disaster. So I tried to calmly explain that you could only have the blanket after your meal.
Linus
Now I know what you’re thinking: Mom, I’m only 20 months old; I’m not fully rational yet. But I’d like to point out that when you want to be, you are quite rational. In fact, the other night when you attempted to put both of your Goose-approved blankies in the tub, I simply said, “No, you may only put one blanky into the tub at a time. The other one must go into your crib.” So you simply walked back into your room, deposited a blanket, came back with the dunker, and that was that.

But my a.m. blanky logic wasn’t flying. So I decided to let you throw your fit in earnest while I stood back and waited for the screaming and arm flailing to subside. It wasn’t quite what one could call a concise display, and my patience and nerves were fraying. I told you that I’d had enough. You didn’t stop. Then I said it louder. You didn’t stop. Finally I screamed, “STOP!” and clapped my hands together to get your attention. You just looked at me like, “Wow, good idea.”
20 MONTHS 001.JPG...
Fast forward half an hour. I’m in the tub. You’re trying to occupy yourself with your dump trucks, but it looks so fun in the bathtub that you decide to start attempting to throw a leg over the side of the tub. I explain to you that I’m just taking a short bath and that I’ll be out in a jiffy and we’ll play again. But you REALLY want to take a bath now and another fit ensues. But this time is different because you have a new tool under your belt. It’s called screaming and hand clapping a la Mama. And so you, eager to practice anything new, screamed at me and clapped your hands. I wanted to submerge myself under that water in shame.

So mostly in this letter I want to say THANK YOU for helping me to see the error of my ways. I can’t always promise to be a good model, but I think I can try a little harder and use a few more sophisticated tactics. I hope for that … almost more than anything.

Love,
Mama

Monday, May 15, 2006

My Nephew


I'm in love ... again!

Congrats to Nephew's Mother (aka "Teester") and Nephew's Father (aka "The World's 4th Greatest Dad").

Click on the photo to go to The Nana's photostream.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Eyes

I can see! To barf and otherwise run into the bathroom frantically if you, er, know what I mean.

B and I have some kind of stomach virus -- or could it be the meatloaf from last Wednesday? Who knows, but it's not the greatest time of my life right now despite the fact that I can see everything! EVERYTHING! It's like a miracle. And lord have mercy on my kitchen floor. My mop has really not been doing its job.

Gotta run. Literally.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Coop Maintenance with a Green Bib


Coop Maintenance
Originally uploaded by Kimmy Crack Corn.
Since I'll be dosed up on valium tomorrow night (Thursday), I thought I should post a little early. I don't really have anything to say except please God do not let that laser react to my Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo and blind me.

At my last ophthalmologist visit, they sent me home with directions to the surgery center and a pre-op to-do list: Bathe using only unscented soaps/shampoos and then go totally un-face-creamed, sans lipstick, hairspray, and jewelry ... and don't even think about wearing any Almay's "Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue?" eyeliner, shadow, or mascara. There was a disclaimer at the bottom about how perfume could invoke irreparable corneal damage. Apparently the laser is ultra-sensitive to all cosmetic products.

After going over this with me, they gave me a little pep talk about how it's really not all that bad to go without make-up for a day or so and how even though your eyes are really dry for the first few days afterwards, most women think having to go without make-up is the worst part. They don't have to worry about me ... I've been wearing these glasses for nearly two solid months now and so I haven't bothered to gloss up my wands in weeks. The face cream is another story. I'm not sure I can go a day without my Estee Lauder Future Perfect moisturizing lotion. I love it because it has SPF, it doesn't sting, and its name is the same as a verb tense. Y'all know I love me some cosmetics and grammar.

Anyway ...

The Goose is into picking out and wearing bibs. As many as possible at the same time. In the picture above, he is sporting one of his favorites, a lime green terry cloth gem with a big circular blueberry stain on the right lower chest area. Usually he likes to layer a lime green and orange terry over that plain green one, and then top it all off with a Nana-made duck bib. But tonight he was making a statement in simplicity.

His new word is "teedot," which we first thought was his pronunciation of the acronym for the TN Dept of Transportation, but upon re-analysis, it seems to mean "turtle." Or possibly "Look, there's an indigo bunting at the feeder out back."

Also today he pointed at the Papa Goose and said, "Dah-dah"! Brilliance abounds, even though he calls everything "Dah-dah," including 18-wheelers, skid steer loaders, and apple juice. He has been saying "Mama" more lately ... particularly when he notices something that he knows is one of "Mama's special toys" (as in "No, no, don't touch ... that's one of Mama's special toys ... look, here's a half-empty ketchup bottle for you to suck on.") His teacher told me that "redirecting" might be the best disciplinary tactic at this point. Funny how often that involves ketchup. So when he sees something that he knows is mine, he points at it and says, “Mama.”

Well, enough rambling. Wish me luck tomorrow. I'm popping the valium at noon and then they're slicing off a flap of my eye, rearranging some stuff, and then gently laying the flap back down. Apparently it takes about 36 seconds per eye, but let's not underestimate the fact that the phrase "eye flap" is involved and I have been having "I'm going blind" dreams since I was old enough to remember. When the valium wears off, I'll post again.

Hopefully.

And just to end on a good note, Teester & Baby Jack are doing GREAT and he is eating/sleeping like a champ and we are trying to figure out how to get out there to see that little dumpling. A cousin! Imagine that.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Extra! Extra!

The cousin is now home and Teester has posted pictures and he's bee-yoo-tee-full. Check him out by clicking here.

Welcome Home Jack!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Lazy Boys


There's lots of news, so a Sunday post is necessary ...

First and foremost, The Goose has a new cousin!!! JBP was born on Cinco de Mayo and weighed in at seven-five. There are no pictures yet, but you can be sure I'll post some ASAP -- possibly even tonight. To see the belly, you can go to www.pgpovondra.blogspot.com. I'm sure there'll be forthcoming pictures there as well.

Secondly, STAY AWAY FROM OUR HOUSE because we have got a Barf Bug. The Goose has been barfing since yesterday morning and the dad and I are just waiting for it to get us as well.

Thirdly, the goslings have hatched and are doing well:
Mama & Babies

See ... even in the middle of a Barf Bug there's lots of good everywhere. New babies are SO uplifting to me (when they belong to others). I mean, I was totally uplifted when Goose was born, but I don't wanna do that for a while. Sorry, Mom.

Congratulations to all!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Redefining the term "Vacation"


Maybe I shouldn't write this now. Maybe I should just wait until all my agita blows over and I've done some yoga and had some downtime. Maybe it's never appropriate to question the term "vacation" when you are one of the few people on the planet earth who are lucky enough to take one every year. Or maybe it's inappropriate because YOUR TEESTER IS IN LABOR AS YOU WRITE AND YOU CAN HARDLY STAND IT AND THEY STARTED PITOCIN ABOUT 45 MINUTES AGO AND HOW IN THE WORLD WILL YOU EVER BE ABLE TO GET ANY SLEEP?

Or maybe you could just go ahead and do what you know you're going to do, which is post a bunch of pictures which make it LOOK as if FUN WAS HAD when in actuality there was a lot of talk about finding nice fulltime daycares and/or divorce lawyers.

Just kidding about the divorce lawyers.

We just returned from a "vacation" to Seattle, Whidbey Island, & San Juan Island, Washington. We learned a lot on this vacation, including, but not limited to the following top ten "nevers," followed by the top ten "alwayses":

  1. Never take a toddler on a flight that is more than 2-3 hours.
  2. Never take a toddler WEST into a different time zone.
  3. Never take a toddler to an amusement park where some of the rides are closed because inevitably he will want to ride ONLY the ones that are closed.
  4. Never be mean to your fellow air passengers just because they are making "they should've medicated him" comments under their breath.
  5. Never forget Benadryl.
  6. Never expect to "get lucky" and see Orcas in the off-season.
  7. Never allow even a five-minute nap in the car. NEVER.
  8. Never underestimate the power of tantrums at amusement parks.
  9. Never assume that a nap will occur just because the flight was carefully planned during normal napping hours.
  10. Never, under ANY circumstances, expect a toddler to go anywhere NEAR the swimming pool that played such a huge role in hotel selection. And p.s., never force a toddler into the pool without checking for a poopy diaper first.

And now, the "alwayses":

  1. Always take a nebulizer, tweezers, peroxide, Q-tips, Neosporin, a ball, a truck/car, carpet cleaner, a headlight, and some valium.
  2. Always get a suite with a big, heavy door disconnecting the rooms.
  3. Always have a Gerber toddler meal on hand since chocolate pudding won't ever last the entire 4.5 hours on a plane ride cross-country.
  4. Always take a stroller just in case you happen to want to walk 2.5 miles from your hotel to Chinatown. And back.
  5. Always order "fishballs in curry sauce" while in Chinatown. Those circular, rubbery skewered creatures may be the only thing your toddler will eat.
  6. Always work in an overnight visit with some relatives along the way. And if they offer a longer stay at their house (where there is scrumptious food, gorgeous views, a garbage truck pickup, and the potential for free babysitting), then by all means TAKE THEM UP ON THE OFFER instead of travelling to another island where everything is closed during the off season and there are no orcas anyway.
  7. Always complain if your room doesn't have a tub (only a shower), because you might get upgraded to a suite with a private entrance and balcony, kitchenette, and jacuzzi tub.
  8. Always visit anything called "Children's Museum" (or something similar) a few blocks from your hotel; don't assume that it is for older kids and miss your opportunity to drop off your toddler there while you head up to the top of the space needle to enjoy a $25 burger.
  9. Always take off your toddler's shoes BEFORE he gets into the rental car. Especially after he has walked in freshly-laid blacktop.
  10. Always allow your toddler to take rides on automatic wheelchairs with centenarians even if the centenarian's daughter is saying, "Daddy, listen to me. Do not take that child on a ride. Listen to me! We are late for your appointment!"
  11. A bonus: ALWAYS choose restaurants according to the following criteria: (1) outdoor seating; (2) adjacent to construction sites.

It definitely could've been better. Or WORSE. So of course I'm not complaining or anything like that. I never complain.

Here are some pictures:

AD & UK's house on Whidbey

Above: The relatives' house (thanks Aunt D & Uncle K!).

Ferry Family

We highly recommend the Washington State Ferry systems ... if not for the spectacular views, then at least for their addictive video games:

Ferry Fun

We also recommend this trail:

OUR TRAIL

It goes up that grassy hillside next to the evergreen forest and then back down to a trail on the beach. There are views like this:

AN EAGLE!!!!!

Yep, that's a bald eagle. And this:

Wow

Yep, that's a snow-covered Canadian mountain range in the background.

Did you notice the whales?

Shocking. We didn't either.

Not that it's important or anything, since there are plenty of construction sites in the Pacific Northwest:

Another friggin Excavator

I did have some cool travel companions though:

Dinner on San Juan Island

I need a vacation.

Not a "vacation." A vacation. More pictures are available. Just clicky click on one of those gems above.