Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Food Mooch

Food Stealing 101, by Elliott:
1. Spot a bigger person across the room, innocently munching on food.
2. Toddle quickly over while dramatically rubbing your lips, signing "eat." Do this even if you just ate your weight in tasty morsels. Everyone knows other peoples' food tastes better.
3. Whine just a little while turning on you most adorable smile and beseeching look.
4. Hold out your hand or be so brazen as to just reach out and take the bigger person's food.

This is time-tested. It works. There is no further need for food envy anylonger.

(Warning: This may only work for wee people, as the cuteness factor is greatly decreased in people over the age of 4.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Friends? Penpals? Both.

Since I got pregnant, actually before that, I joined an internet group focused on children born in February 2009. I started posting way back in June of 2008, a couple of weeks after I got pregnant. So for two years largely the same group of women have shared our ups and downs of pregnancy and parenting. As with any group, there are people with whom I have 'clicked' with better than others.

Well yesterday was like a first date, because one of my closest friends from this group of ladies came for a visit. I was a bit nervous because with the anonymity of the internet, we had shared quite a bit of our lives with each other, without the burden of ties of the 'real world.' Jenn and her hubby, David, brought sweet little Christopher over for a playdate and dinner.

I [not so] secretly think Jenn might be my twin--we have the same sucky syndrome (PCOS), both struggle with weight, have the same sense of humor, same politics and both of our hubbys work in law enforcement. Knowing all of that, there's still a bit of a warm-up period when sharing the same breathing room. After that, though, it was wonderful. Jenn told me today as we left lunch that she now knew that I am "a real person." Indeed, I am a real person, and it was a relief to add a new friend with whom I could be just that--a real person. Not hiding anything. Finding sincere friends on the internet can certainly be a challenge, but the support I have gained has been immeasureable. I think that the relationships developed must been similar to penpals of old, sometimes it is easier to lay bare your thoughts when separated by circumstance and distance. . . and united by the same circumstance.

Here are some pictures of my internet real-life friend, Jenn, with Elliott and Boo.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Stranger Danger

Yesterday I was the creepy stranger. Yes, it's true.

As I rounded a corner in my neighborhood, a small dog was streaking up the street toward me, and being a recent rescuer of furry things I decided I needed to HELP. Noble intentions, right? As the dog passed by my car in a blur, I pulled up next to the small child (maybe 6 or 7 years old) and said,
"Sweetheart, is that your dog?"

That kid looked at me and tore down the street like the boogey man was on his tail. It was clear: his parents had told him strangers offering to help him get his dog (too cliche' isn't it?) are the dangerous sort. So he ran like mad straight to his daddy.

I pulled alongside the home and asked the father if that was his dog and if it was, did he need help getting it? I mean, clearly I'm a mom--driving a crossover SUV, carseat in the back, make-up rubbed off after a hard day's work--but this man peered down the driveway, all suspicion in his narrowed eyes and I felt the need to add:
"I was just trying to help. I wasn't trying to be creepy or anything. . ."

Note to self: Announcing the not-creepiness of yourself ensures that the other person thinks that you are, indeeed, creepy.

Moral of the story: dog home & I'm now that lady in the neighborhood. I sure hope Elliott takes the Stranger Danger lesson just as seriously. . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bloggy-blog Tag

Because I got a shout out from my dearest friend, Deana, I will answer these questions:

1. Favorite Color: Green. It's calming. It's nature. It means healthy things. Mostly though, it's calming and I need that.

2. Favorite Brand/ Designer: Does Target count? I'm guessing no.

3. Favorite Restaurant: Joe T. Garcia's. Long lines in which to drink your fill of knock-you-on-your-booty margaritas, an oasis of a patio and no rush to eat and leave. It is a place for families to relax and drink. Oh, and the food is good, too.

4.Hobbies: I could copy Deana's hobbies, but I'll restrain myself. Reading, photography, wine tasting, crossword puzzles, playing on the interwebs, digital scrapbooking (this may be something I just want to be my hobby. . .).

5.Favorite thing about yourself: My laugh. It's loud and contagious and I love it when people laugh.

6.What does your room look like? Some random clutter, a dresser, a bed without a headboard (total pet peeve), doggy stairs, fan, weird wicker chairs my mom thought I needed, nightstand, fan and lamp. It's a big room.

7.If you could have dinner with 2 people (dead or alive) who would they be? Probably one of my grandparents. And. . .? I dunno. This question is far too cliche for me to answer. Does that get me out of coming up with something?

8.What's your next "big splurge"? A new camera lens. Please. Soon.

9.What's your favorite joke, quote or saying? Can't remember a joke for the life of me. I have lots of quotes that I love. Simple and old: "Bloom where you are planted."

10.Anything else you would like us to know about you (random fact)?! I have no idea. . . I'm liberally living in conservy-ville.

So there you have it. Ten questions you probably didn't want to know the answers to and a good 180 seconds (300 if you're a careful reader) you'll never get back. So, it's my turn to tag someone, and I tag...

Put Down the Cupcakes

and YOU! Feel free to post in the comments or on your own blog if you have one

Monday, June 21, 2010

Have you ever found a tool you use daily that is so part of your routine that you wonder what happens without it?

Yep. That's a pick. A hair pick from when I was in 8th grade. How long ago was that? 1990. . .so that means. . . what? That darn hair pick is 20 years old. TWENTY YEARS. Dude. That's a long freaking time. My friend, Whitney, once told me (in roughly 2003)that using a pick to comb out my post-shower tangles dated me. Wonder what she'd make of a whole blog post dedicated to a 20 year-old piece of plastic with curling iron scars?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Touching AND Funny?

I have aspirations of my blog being hilarious and touching at the same time. Turns out I'm lucky if I hit 1 out of 2. Tonight is my stab at touching. Or funny? I dunno. You decide.

Obviously I love my child. I wanted a child more than anything, he's been lovely, yada yada. I must say that now, at 16 months, Elliott's personality is so blindingly funny that it steals my breath. For the longest time, he was just a happy baby, just like most babies out there. Happy. Sweet. But maybe not funny. My kid, MY KID, is so funny that Chris and I find ourselves giggling mercilessly at his antics. Putting Ell to bed each night could be an exercise in patience (sometimes it is, I can't lie), but most of the time I have to peel myself out of the glider and use a lot of self-talk about how he really needs sleep and that my playing into his sleep-avoiding antics is being selfish.

Putting Elliott to bed goes something like this:
Sit in glider.
Wrestle him into pajamas while he is clamoring for "bubbie, bubbie" (aka, books).
Still wrestling while he moves into the "abwa, abwa, abwa" phase (aka, "agua" or water).
Elliott picks a book for reading.
I start reading in my most calming and interesting voice--after all, I want him to be interested in literacy, right?
Calming voice becomes drowned out by E's squealing at wanting to turn the pages himself. (Fighting with a 16 month old ensues. I win.)
Books are over and it's time for quiet songs.
"Abwa, abwa, abwa, abwa"
Elliott pointing to the animals on the wall above the glider, followed quickly by trying to scale mama to touch them.
"Muh-meee" (aka, monkey), "boooooo" (aka, elephant trumpeting), "yah-yuh" (aka, lion).
"It's time for night night, Elliott"
"abwa, abwa, abwa"
"Night, night, Elliott" I then start singing a series of quiet songs.
My nose is pinched. "Nuh, nuh, nuh." (aka, nose, nose, nose)
"It's time for night night, Elliott"
"Muh-muh" (Who can resist a 16 month old kisses?)
"Night-night, Elliott"
Needless to say that this continues until the frantic energy slowly ekes out and he grabs "wubbie" (aka, lovie), holds the corner tight in his fist, while the left thumb is pulled calmingly into his mouth.

That is perfection. That is the highlight of my day. That is the joy of motherhood.

Monday, June 14, 2010

We love diversity (or how E's toys became amputees)

Because I am a huge fan of the Pioneer Woman, I inspired by her photo vignettes. Here goes on my own experiment:

This picture exemplifies how Elliott moves these days

Elliott loves his Little People toys

With an avid fan. . .

Hey, what just happened here?

I told you that I am a big fan. . .

And this is how the Little People end up amputees.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sometimes I wonder. . .

how the heck I am responsible enough to raise a child and live in a grown-up house? Seriously, I can't remember to schedule a haircut for my dog, I regularly kill potted plants and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch because I don't cook.

Yet I have been gifted with an amazing child who blossoms in spite of two parents who work full time and more often than not have a hellish drive home (For real, sometimes it is heinous--over an hour for about 12 miles. Bleh.). And blossom he does! This walking-thing is realllly catching on with E, and while he still looks a bit like the alien played by Vincent D'Onofrio from "Men in Black," the speed sure is increasing. He has started predicting my animal noises in his two favorite books, Moo,Baa,LaLaLa and Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb.

Chris asked me last night how I though E was doing in regard to developmental milestones. My answer is that he is delightfully, wonderfully average. I long thought that I would not be satisfied with a child in the 'average' category, but seeing many families raise children with devastating disabilities makes me think 'average' looks pretty darn good.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Magic of Camp

Warning: This post is in no way related to Elliott. . . well, maybe tangentially, but that's it.

I visited Camp Carter tonight to train their staff on dealing with campers with special needs. Each summer, as I gear up for this talk, I am flooded with memories and left wading in bittersweet emotion. For years, camp defined my summers. It's where I made my best friends, learned the most about myself and felt the most "me." I miss camp. Pretty sure I always will. I hope that Elliott can capture the indescribable joy of combining nature and freedom of spirit someday. Can you demand such things? IF so, then there is no doubt that I will. :)

Top ten things to miss about camp:
  1. Mandatory rest time
  2. Pool time counts as shower time and being smelly is acceptable, heck, even encouraged. . .
  3. Seeing a child gain skills of independence that they cannot experience any other location. Baiting a hook, shooting an arrow, washing hair, cooking over a fire. That is magic.
  4. Laughing until your sides hurt, and then immediately crying when you realize just how quickly time is passing. Camp is never long enough. Never.
  5. Actually interacting with other people. Without a screen between you. Amazing.
  6. Shower parties.
  7. Singing grace before every meal.
  8. The haunting, sweet sound of children singing at chapel or before rest time.
  9. Late night conversations, whispered on a porch to avoid small ears from hearing, that encapsulate your deepest yearnings, easily forgiven in the bright light of day.
  10. Making friendships that transcend the current setting because the essence of yourself is seen in living in close quarters and performing what is once the toughest, most amazingly fun job of your life.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Little Piggy, Little Piggy. . .

Is it normal for a 16 month old to eat 3, yes, 3 scrambled eggs for breakfast? 'Cause mine just did. I sure hope he grows up to have Poppy's metabolism.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Only a 15 1/2 month break. . .

Turns out that baby-raising is tough. Tough, I tell you. That has lead to total abandonment of my blog. I have been reading so many blogs lately that I start composing in my head and then find all words have escaped me when I sit down to write.

As for Elliott, he is an amazingly happy child, especially considering his oh-so-tough first 4 months. While I have studied child development for years (years, I tell you), it is remarkable to see the development happening in your own kitchen. This is also to say that working for 10 years with children of varying impairment levels has left me completely in awe of normal development. Turns out that what I think is advanced is likely normal, and that is fine with his mama. And yes, he says that word plus about a million (or fifty) more. See, now I'm back to thinking he's pretty darned amazing.

[This is a SOOC (straight out of camera) image, haven't had time to edit yet. I have become slightly obsessed (again) with photography after reading The Pioneer Woman. I bought a reflector kit off of Amazon last week. You might assume I will know how to use such things, and by that assumption you will be dreadfully wrong. I am also lusting after a new lens for my camera. Lusting. Sigh. My question is, with all of the Photoshop editing, do people actually print the pictures. And if so, do they look decent?]

This is the edited version. A bit better, I think. Think. Not sure.

So back to Elliott--that's his "wubby" (aka, Lovey) just before bed tonight. Normally I don't try to settle my child by flashing lights in his face, but I had to snap a few of his beeeee-hind in order to get advice on a dreadful rash and couldn't pass up the opportunity.