Monthly Archives: September 2010

To Relax or Not…


Turns out “not” was the option I was given this afternoon. Justin and I are members at Massage Envy, and we’ve both built up some pre-paid massages by not going regularly. Justin actually has seven (now six) unclaimed massages. So, I booked one for each of us today. Justin got his. I only got twenty minutes of mine.

How, you might ask, does one only get twenty minutes of a one-hour massage? It starts when the fire department bangs on the door and says, “Everyone out! Everyone must evacuate the building!” and you are almost asleep on the massage table. Nothing quite like that to get you out of your lovely, relaxed state. This brought back memories of the time I indirectly caught the house on fire when I was five or six.

Again, I’m sure you’re asking how that happens. Well, it helps when there is a light bulb in a fixture with a wattage over what is recommended (apparently, those recommendations are pretty accurate). I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and left the light on, so I could see my way back to my bed. A few hours later, the whole attic was on fire. I remember Mom coming in and, very calmly, telling us to please get dressed because the house was on fire.

Today I managed to get dressed with a little less panic than I did the first time. Really it was more irritation than anything. We all gathered in the parking lot and learned there was a gas leak. So, I suppose it was important that we evacuate, And, in all honesty, I’m kind of relieved that I was able to escape that massage. It wasn’t very good. So, I had a free mediocre twenty-minute massage. And I still have two pre-paid massages left. But now I have to find the time to escape from Robbie, Justin, and the house in general to have an hour to myself. That part could be a problem.

When I got home, the boys were ready to show me what Robbie had started doing while I was gone. That kid was walking all over the place! And with more confidence than he’d had even yesterday. We went to play with some friends later in the afternoon, and he did a pretty good job keeping up with the other boys, who are both experienced walkers. When Robbie is just around Justin and me, he still wants us to clap. If we stop, he will stop walking, look at us, and clap. He only starts again when we continue to clap. We could have a monster on our hands!


A Big Spill


It happened today. Robbie’s first major accident. It’s one of those things that you know is going to happen, but there’s nothing you can do to prepare for it. In fact, before it happened, I knew it was probably going to happen.

After breakfast, Justin put Robbie on our armchair to sit, expecting him to wriggle his way off in a matter of seconds. But Robbie stayed. For an hour. Just talking and sitting and, eventually, playing with the toy I brought over for him. Then he got bored and stood up. He toyed with putting one foot or the other on the arm of the chair, and I told him no. I should have told him to sit down or gotten him off the chair altogether. But I didn’t.

And then, all of a sudden, Robbie was on the floor. I’m not sure how it happened. I missed the spit second it occurred but say him topple over the arm of the chair and land on the floor. On his head. Square on the top of his head. And I saw his poor face crumple as the fear and pain hit him at once. I was across the room in a split second, cradling him in my arms, telling him it was going to be OK. Justin was right behind me, equally concerned.

Ironically enough, we were both exceptionally calm. While rocking Robbie, I asked Justin to go get a bottle of milk. Justin was back in a matter of seconds, and, suddenly, everything was right with the world. Robbie grabbed the bottle and sucked away as the last few tears rolled down his cheeks. We could see the bright red bump forming, but it was already forgotten. By Robbie at least. I don’t think Justin or I will ever get that image out of our heads. And young Robert will certainly not be standing on chairs any time soon.

In other news, we got a new dishwasher today. And that easy self-install? Yeah, not gonna happen. The last dishwasher was connected with copper piping, which is going to require a plumber. Lovely. Fortunately, that trusted babysitter was at the house tonight. The pushy one. The one who told me that Justin and I needed to go out this weekend, so she could come over. And she did the dishes for me. I knew I liked her. So glad I gave her all those A’s. They’ve definitely paid off!

Workin’ for the Weekend


Even when you love a job, you know you do it. Especially around 1:00 on Friday afternoon. You’re using all your energy to work for the weekend. I’ve been using all my energy for that since 5:25 this morning when the alarm went off for Justin to get up early and head to Connecticut. Except Justin slept another twenty minutes to 5:45 when I finally made him get up and help with Robbie (who was also up some time around 2:30; I’m fuzzy on the details because he wasn’t upset enough to warrant me actually getting up).

I was still working for the weekend when Robbie and I got home around 4:45. Roberto and I took a slow walk to the house from the car, my child showing his Kentucky roots in bare feet. He stopped every few inches to pick up a new treasure – a leaf or semi-decomposed pine cone – gathering them in his hand with care. He then gingerly placed them on the steps as he climbed them to get up to the house. All of them but one. That last one? He handed it to me to safeguard and he climbed his way through the door. It almost broke my heart to have to leave it outside!

My head has been pounding all day. My ears are blocked. My body is just tired. On days like this, the weekend doesn’t start until Robbie has gone to bed and I am off the clock. From 6:34 on, it has been perfect. Every married woman’s dream Friday night. You guessed it. A husband who finally turned to me and said, “Are you sick?” Chinese food on the couch. Pawn Stars on the TV. Two episodes. And I’m getting ready to put a third one on and watch from bed. After I take a healthy dose of NyQuil.

To my dear seester… This posting was just for you. I wanted to go to bed without doing it but didn’t want to disappoint you.

Sleepless Nights…


Young Robert has been a great sleeper since he was born. He slept through the night the first time when he was ten days old and started doing it regularly when he was eight weeks old. So I am a very, very spoiled woman. And I really have no right to complain when he doesn’t sleep well. But, man! I’m just so tired!

Robbie hasn’t slept well for the past week. He wakes up every time we walk past his room. He wakes up every time he rolls over. In fact, I’m not even sure he goes to sleep at all. It feels like he just lies in wait. Compound that with the fact that I have caught his lovely cold, and you have game over. And the worst part? I can’t do anything to make it better. At all.

It used to be that I could fix anything by nursing him. I was the most important person in his life. But not any more. Now there are so many more things to go through. Is it the diaper? No. Is it a fever? No. Is he hungry? Usually yes. But tonight… No. Does he want a bottle? Always yes if it is milk. Usually no if it’s water and he’s crying. Does he want a toy? Never if he’s crying. Why bother trying anymore, you ask? Because that’s my last resort. After that, it’s either start over with the diaper or see if he’ll cry it out and eventually go down. That’s what I’m currently doing.

I know this is a combination of several things. First, Robbie has his first cold of the season. That always makes it hard to sleep. Especially if he’s achy and a little feverish. Second, I think there are about nineteen teeth coming in. Well, at least two. Which I’m sure is more uncomfortable than I’d care to remember. Finally, Robbie’s just started “really” walking — more than two or three steps at a time. That’s a pretty huge life change, although I’m not sure why it has to affect his sleep. Do all those experts really know what they’re talking about?

So, I’m off to take some NyQuil. And hope I don’t have any reason to wake up until the alarm goes off at 5:30 for Justin to head off on a day trip for work. Thank God tomorrow is Friday.

A Tragedy…


Well, maybe “tragedy” is being a little dramatic. I suppose it’s really just more unfortunate. But, no matter how you look at it, my cell phone met its match in one Robert Gaetano yesterday afternoon. Remember how nice it was to have Robbie involved in the grocery shopping? Well, before he got really involved, I made the mistake of keeping him occupied with my cell phone, may it rest in peace.

I first noticed there was a problem when the outer light wouldn’t go off. And then I heard static coming from the phone. I knew at this point there was a real problem. Especially because the static kept going even after I turned the phone off… And when I turned it back on? No picture for a few minutes. Finally, a few hours after we got home, I heard a creepy beeping. My phone breathed it’s last breath.

It’s currently in a bag of rice on my counter. Not sure why it’s in rice, but my sister is the resident cell phone expert. She said put it in rice, so that’s what I did as soon as I got home. Of course I hadn’t sent myself any of the videos I kept on the phone. Like Robbie’s first steps. So I’m still holding out hope that there might be a resurrection of sorts on my counter later tonight.

Other exciting events in the Manna household today include the onset of the first cold of the season. Yup. Rob woke up with a face covered in snot this morning. Lovely. So glad he’s back in daycare… Maybe this makes me a bad mom, but I cannot stand the sound of the kid when he is all stopped up. It just makes my skin crawl. I will be so glad when he can finally blow his own nose, especially because he grabs the tissue and shoves it in his mouth when I try to wipe his nose for him. It’s moderately disgusting. And could someone please tell me why all those medical geniuses haven’t invented a medication for children under two with coughs and colds? Could someone please organize a 5K to fund research for that? I’d be the first to sign up!

What a Helper!


Over the past few weeks, Robbie has started trying to be more involved in what Justin and I do. Some moments, it’s absolutely incredible to watch. Others, I long for the stationary baby who napped in my arms. OK. Let’s be honest. I always long for a baby to nap in my arms. Unfortunately, Robbie wants nothing to do with cuddling or sleeping near anyone else.

Lately, Robbie has taken to putting his things away at night, which I’m really enjoying. He takes his toys that he’s thrown out of his Pack ‘n Play and throws them, one by one, back in at night. Tonight, he played in the kitchen while I put away groceries, unloading the contents of the drawer under the oven. He pulled out the cookie sheet and the four cake pans, one by one, methodically putting them on the floor. And then he reloaded the drawer, making sure to include his snacks that were pulled from the baker’s rack in the kitchen. Robbie then pulled everything out, taking the time to bang the pans together before restacking them in the drawer.

The other way Robbie really enjoys helping is at the grocery store, which I discovered this afternoon. We have a new method for shopping now, which is much more fun than when I used to go on my own. Now, I pull an item from the shelf and hand it to Robbie. He then apprises the situation and finds the perfect place in the cart for it. Maybe he doesn’t find the perfect place, but he does chuck it nicely into the cart. The only problem was that he got bored after thirty minutes and started pulling items from the cart and throwing them onto the ground. He also ate his way through the lid of a yogurt, causing potential disaster for the unsuspecting bagger. Guess who got an open yogurt for dinner tonight?

While I’ve mostly enjoyed Robbie being more involved, it does have it’s pitfalls. Take sleeping for example. Robbie is very concerned now that he will be missing something fabulous when we put him to bed. Bedtime is full of tears for ten or fifteen minutes, while Justin and I lie low and pretend to be doing boring things that couldn’t possibly interest a one-year-old. We don’t really have to pretend. If only Robbie knew that we were just sitting around waiting for it to be late enough to go to bed. The same problem happens in the morning, particularly if I get up at 5:30 to go to the bathroom. It’s as if there is a hair trigger rigged to his bed and he knows when I step foot out of my room. In an instant, he is up at his post, crying.

So, as much as I love playing with Robbie during the day, I wish he’d go back to his sleep-until-6:30 ways. In fact, that was part of our prayers tonight…



I realized something important at breakfast this morning. We had cinnamon rolls. You know, the Pillsbury kind? Where you put your own icing on? The best breakfast invention in the world? When I was growing up, it seemed like we always ran short on icing, which was the best part. However, with a baby in the house, I don’t put icing on his cinnamon rolls. That’s just entirely too messy, and, particularly in the morning, I don’t have time to stick him in the bathtub. So, the kid doesn’t get icing. You know what that means! Justin and I don’t run out of icing for our own cinnamon rolls.

My friend Jane and I went for a run tonight – more accurately, we went for an injury-inducing adventure. Jane and I started off running well enough until an 80-pound, pure-muscle, maniac of a dog came barreling towards us. Now, in all honesty, I know that the dog was probably coming to play with Barkley. However, there’s no telling how Barkley would react to this mad beast tearing down the road at him, especially if Barkley is on a leash and the other dog isn’t. Let’s also add to it that the dog had the biggest choke collar on that I have ever seen.

At the last minute, the dog veered off to the left, taking out Jane. Right at the knee. Broke her right out of her run. And where was the owner? Doing the fake “Oh-I-need-to-act-like-I’m-trying-to-catch-my-dog” run. She barely broke out of a walk, and her dog continued on his path of destruction, searching out the elderly and small children. The owner hardly apologized! Can you imagine? If Barkley had nearly taken out a jogger, I would have fallen all over myself trying to apologize. But, I’m also not from Massachusetts. I’m a Kentucky girl, and we like to at least try to make people feel better.

And now I must leave you to finish getting caught up on Jersey Shore with Justin. He hasn’t seen an episode all season, and he’s nearly fallen off the couch three times laughing. I can’t miss any more of Snooki’s one-liners.

Sneak Attack


I pulled the ultimate parental sneak attack tonight. Actually, it was a sneak out. I’m not proud to admit it. Scratch that. It was amazing. Some of my best parental and spousal work. But let me start at the beginning…

Justin and I agreed yesterday that I would clean the house if he did the laundry. I was supposed to clean the house last night but was too tired. So I planned to do it today between the 5K (best time yet – 38:34!) and a baby shower. Then I had the opportunity to go to Target with a girlfriend, which trumped cleaning house. I postponed cleaning to after the shower and before dinner, while Justin and Robbie were already at our friends’ house. But dinner was ready early. This brings us to 7:45 this evening.

I knew I needed to leave in order to get home and clean the house, but I didn’t want to be responsible for taking Robbie home. It would have required a bath, stories, and crying. This would not help me get the house cleaned. Robbie was sleeping in the guest bedroom, and out of Justin’s sight and mind. After all, football was on. So, I did what any good wife would do. I kissed my husband goodbye and told him I was leaving to go home and clean. And slipped out the door without asking if he minded bringing Robbie home.

Apparently, about five minutes after I left, Justin asked, “Is my son still here?” and nodded and went back to the game when he found out I had indeed left the sleeping child. It was a much better reaction than I expected. No irritation. Just acceptance that I needed some time to myself to get the house clean and enjoy the quiet. And you know what? I did clean the house. I cleaned the hell out of it. I dusted and mopped. I organized the new bins I bought for the bathroom. I cleaned the litter box and changed the loads of laundry over. I put away toys and sorted through junk mail. And I finished just as Justin and Robbie walked through the door. The first thing Justin said? “Wow! The house smells really clean.” Music to my ears and totally worth the brief moment of guilt I felt for leaving my child without telling my husband he was in charge.

Don’t judge! You know you would have done the same thing. Except you might not have actually cleaned. Trust me, I know. The couch looked really tempting… But now I know I can enjoy it tomorrow without being concerned about all the chores I put off for a third day.



I can’t guarantee that this is going to be a fabulously witty entry. I know how some of you rely on that from me… I am absolutely done. I made a deal with Justin earlier tonight that I would clean the house before I went to bed if he would do the laundry tomorrow. The only thing I have done is made a bigger mess. But, in my defense, I have excellent reason to be tired.

Justin and I participated in the Ollie Road Race in South Boston this morning. Justin signed up to do the five-mile run, and I signed up to do the two-mile walk. I opted for the shorter distance because I knew I could be successful at it. There’s nothing like getting partway into a run and discovering that you suck. Case in point: the Spartan Race. I didn’t want that again. Plus, I know I can knock out two miles pretty fast (pretty fast for me).

Now, from the start, this race wasn’t too well organized. We had to walk about a half mile from the T station to the starting line, which is where we would have assumed registration was. Nope. It was at the Bank of America Pavilion, another half mile down the road. This means we also had to walk another half mile back to the start after registering… So I got off to a pretty good start, staying caught up with the rest of the runners. When I hit the mile mark, I started wondering where the turn around point was. No one in a “Race Crew” shirt had any idea. Are you kidding me? No one happened to mention, “Oh, when someone asks, THIS is the turn-around”? And this was the SEVENTIETH YEAR this race has been run. I can’t believe this question has never come up before.

With no choice but to continue, I ran on to the two mile marker. Nope. No pretend finish line there. All of a sudden, there was a white van slowly driving by me. I looked over, and it was a very nice guy from the race offering me water. When I asked him about the turn-around, he looked surprised. Mhmm… It was over half a mile back the other way. So, I had two choices. I could keep going and do the full five miles, which is probably what I should have done. Instead, I turned around and headed back. I knew I had a half mile before I caught up with the course on the way back to the finish line, so I walked most of that. But, once I caught up with the other runners, I kicked it back into gear. And let me just tell you that I ran 3.75 miles in 45 minutes! I was so proud of myself!

Now, in retrospect, I should have just kept going and done the whole race. I really wussed out on this one. Especially because it turns out that the races was only 4.58 miles, and not the full five. But, who cares? I ran further than I have ever run in my life, and I did it faster than I have ever done. This gives me hope for tomorrow’s 5K. I’m aiming to do it in under 40 minutes, and I really think I can. Who would have guessed?

So, now that you can see why I am so done, I am going to go to bed. After all, this mess will still be here in the morning. As fabulous of a husband as Justin is, I can trust that the mess will still be here tomorrow.

Friday Nights


I’d like to say there was a time in my life when I got really excited about going out on a Friday night. Like in college. But in college I worked every Friday night because those were the nights you could make the most waiting tables. And after college? I was too tired to go out. Between working full time and being in grad school and driving back and forth to Georgia to see Justin, there was very little energy left for Friday nights. And now? Forget about it. I’m usually game for going out to dinner in the middle of the week to break things up, but I’m done by Friday. All I want to do is curl up with a good book and go to sleep.

With no dinner plans tonight, Justin and I were unsure of how to proceed, so I called our good friends Micah and Allie. Allie and I made the colossal mistake of attempting to involve the men in our decision-making, which just made it more difficult. And after a series of calls back and forth to Justin and Allie, I grew tired of mediating and made an executive decision. Justin wanted Christopher’s, which serves some pretty fabulous burgers. Being the mother of a one-year-old, I decided that hanging out with Robbie in a crowded restaurant, waiting at least 45 minutes for a table was not on my list of fun things to do. In that moment, I knew I had to take one for the team. I would get dinner together (this involved a trip to the store), feed and bathe Robbie, and pick up the house. I know… How does she do it?

Well, having a husband come home and bathe Robbie helps. Until you have to go in to make the child stop screaming because he does not like the way his father repeatedly dumps water over his head to rinse off the shampoo. But, really, Justin was invaluable tonight… He did cook the burgers after I made them (I mixed bleu cheese in with the meat, which I thought was pretty fabulous and inspired).

You know what? It was the perfect thing to do. After dinner, we sat around the dining room table for an hour or so. Talking like we haven’t had time to do in months. And laughing. I’d honestly forgotten how hilarious we all are (OK, how funny the rest of them are!). And when we decided it was getting cold with all the windows open, we did what any normal people would have done. We went outside and built a fire and sat, staring at it, for the next hour.

In case you’re keeping track, we really did nothing tonight. And my kitchen is still a wreck (I keep waiting on Justin to clean it for me, but I doubt that will happen this late in the game). But it was the perfect night of nothing. Sometimes, at the end of a long week (even though it was really a great week), there is nothing better than the solace of your house and good friends. Thank goodness for both!