Monthly Archives: September 2010

Where’d He Learn That?


Do you ever look at your child and wonder where in the world he learned to do that? Welcome to my afternoon. Every time Robbie and I hang out, I feel like I’m with a bigger, more grown-up person. And I’m learning to relish how fun he is getting to be.

This afternoon, Roberto and I went to the grocery store. I’ve been going while he was asleep, and Robbie’s favorite cashier and bagger had been asking about him. Usually, Robbie sits in the cart when we go, but I only had a few things to pick up. So we did what any sane mother of a one-year-old would do. We walked around the grocery store. Me with my purse and Robbie with his backpack. The juxtaposition of the backpack cracked me up: he’s too little to wear it, but he looked like he was ready to walk into kindergarten. I think he knew he was wearing it and looking cute, too; he had a little extra swagger. Since we were walking, I needed Robbie to help carry the groceries. I gave him the ibuprofen, and he stood in the middle of the aisle, shaking it and laughing. And then he dropped to his knees and started a mad dash around the grocery. Fortunately, I nabbed him before some unsuspecting shopper wound up with a toddler under her cart.

When we got home, it was time for a snack. I pulled out some pretzels and humus. Robbie, pretzel in hand, waited for me to open the humus (how does he remember what this stuff is?). He then very delicately put his pretzel into the tub and dug around for some humus, which he licked off his pretzel. And then put the same pretzel back in the humus five or six more times. If you come to my house, make sure to ask for fresh humus… At any rate, I went to the kitchen to make some ravioli for Robbie’s dinner. I was gone for no more than 45 seconds. When I came back? There was a big hand print in my humus. And my coffee table was being wiped with a very humus-y toddler hand. He was very, very thorough and quite pleased with himself. I’m just thankful it wasn’t my new couch. Or the dog. That actually would have been worse than the couch. He’s much more difficult to clean.

But the real “Where did he learn to do that?” came later in the night. It was almost time for bed, and the living room was a mess. All of a sudden, I looked up to see Robbie throwing his toys back into his Pack ‘n Play! Now, sometimes when I pick up, I encourage Robbie to help me. He never does. But tonight he did it without any prompting! And then, when he ran out of toys next to the Pack ‘n Play, he walked around the room to get other things to put away in there (most of them being his, a few being pieces of mail that he wanted to claim – unfortunately none of them were bills that he wanted to pay).




You ever go to the store to buy a pair of shoes to match a specific outfit? I usually don’t. I purposely buy outfits that coordinate with the one pair of black shoes, one pair of brown shoes, or one pair of running shoes in my closet. I know. So utterly un-feminine of me. Because of this, I surprised myself when I bought a navy Liz Claiborne skirt with white polka dots for $6.00 at a consignment store while I was home. It’s probably because I was so excited that the skirt fit and was in what I have currently deemed an acceptable, regular person size. But back to the shoes…

Needless to say, wearing skirts is a problem with my limited shoe resources. Those loafers just don’t look cute with an above-the-knee skirt. In fact, they’re barely passable when covered up with long pants. This posed a problem for my new navy skirt, and I set out for Target yesterday to find the right pair of navy shoes. I was determined to wear this skirt today, and wear it I did. Unfortunately, my shoes wore me.

I realized when I was running into school this morning (the commute took me just over an hour, and I was super late). I could feel the skin on my ankles protesting, but I didn’t have time to pay attention. By the time I had walked the nine miles to my classroom (OK, maybe it’s only a quarter of a mile), my feet were in a full-blown fight with the rest of my body. I sit here typing with three exposed blisters, areas rubbed raw, and throbbing feet. And the shoes? They’re in the back seat of my car. I went barefoot the rest of the day after work.

I’m sure you are asking yourself why in the world I bought shoes that were too small. Obviously because I am not as smart as most people. Yes, I did try on the shoes. And they seemed to fit well. However, I did not walk around in them nearly enough. And I was late getting Robbie from daycare. And I am still in denial that my feet are half a size larger than they were before Robbie was born.

It wouldn’t be so bad if this was the first time I had been forced to learn this lesson. Unfortunately, my sister kindly picked up a pair of shoes for me last fall for Robbie’s Christening. I told her my old shoe size and suffered through wearing the shoes. I still try them on every now and then, hoping that they may fit. They don’t. Those shoes? Currently in the corner of my bedroom, mocking me. And my big post-natal feet.



When I went to pick up Robbie from daycare today, I didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. However… When Zhining came to the door, she threw it open, looked at me, forcefully pointed to Robbie who was sitting on the floor, and proclaimed him, “LAZY! Still no walk.” And Robbie just grinned and crawled over to me.

Zhining seems to be finished with Robbie’s crawling stage and is ready for him to start walking and studying for his ACT. I’m not entirely sure that she believes he is walking some at home. Actually, I’m not sure Justin believes it because he hasn’t seen it yet either… But, back to daycare.

It turns out that Robbie is worse than just plain lazy. Yup. He bit Zhining. Hard. While she had parents visiting because they were considering bringing their child to the daycare. Fabulous. But, rest assured, Zhining has taught him other skills to offset the biting. For instance, he knows “Wipe your mouth” in Chinese and does it. He also knows, “Blow your nose.” Apparently he confused “Give me the Kleenex” for “Shove the entire Kleenex in your mouth”, but I can see how he might make that mistake. I also learned today that Zhining is teaching Robbie manners, something I have obviously neglected to do, seeing as how my child is a biter and a hair puller… Every time she gives him something, she says, “Say ‘thank you'” in Chinese. Robbie has begun to say the word, which is always a good sign. Is it terrible that I wasn’t even thinking about making him say “Thank you”?

This is why the world needs daycare, you know. It’s a method of combatting all the pertinent skills that I am neglecting to teach my child. Like please and thank you. Waiting in line. Sharing crayons. Gathering immunity to community germs. You know, the usual. And so, for the sake of the well being of the rest of the world, Robbie will continue going to daycare while I go back to work. You’re so very welcome.

So It Begins…


Or ends. This is it. The last “real” hour of summer. School starts tomorrow, and I’m not sure I’m anywhere near ready. Sure, I’ve kind of been back at work for the past two weeks, but there’s really no turning back at this point. And I feel OK about it. The house is clean, which is a great way to start off the school year. Particularly if I didn’t have to actually clean it myself. Robbie’s lunch is packed. Mine is semi-packed. I know what I’m wearing tomorrow, even if it isn’t ironed yet. And I’ve taken the Tylenol PM I know I’ll need to actually get any sleep tonight.

The start of the school year for me also means the start of the semester for Justin. He’s back in class tomorrow night, and I’m actually looking forward to it. When Robbie goes to bed at 6:30 tomorrow night, I’ll have three blissful hours all to myself. In a house that doesn’t need to be cleaned. I love having Justin home, but the idea of peace and quiet with no one making a mess or needing dinner is amazing.

For some reason, I’ve been really emotional about the end of my first full summer with Robbie. Tonight it occurred to me why. It marks the end of relaxation. I know this seems obvious because school will be in full swing again. But, it’s also true for Justin. The fall is his busy travel season. He’ll be gone three of the five weekends in October. Throw in class Tuesday and Thursday nights. Oh, and the occasional Saturday class (I think there are four this semester). Add it all up, and I don’t know when I’ll really get to see Justin again. It’s just a sign of how fast life goes and how unlikely it is that time will slow down again until next June.

I feel even more confused because I love fall; it’s my favorite season. Football. Changing leaves. Pumpkins. Mums. My family’s annual visit to Plum Island. My birthday and our anniversary. What’s not to love? Except for the change in pace, it’s absolutely perfect. And Robbie will be able to enjoy it a little more this year. He already likes to crunch leaves beneath his bare feet (he’s a Kentucky boy at heart!). Maybe, just maybe, he can learn to like the sound of them crunching under his shoes when it gets a little colder.

Missing Robbie


Don’t panic! This isn’t an Amber Alert. Robbie’s isn’t actually missing!

I really have not seen Robbie much for the past thirty hours. We’ve had friends in from out of town all weekend, and Robbie has spent most of the time with one of his favorite babysitters. Justin and I have had dinner out two nights and a brunch today. We went to the Sox game today and didn’t have a child squirming in our laps. Nor did we have to worry about him in the crowded T, where he likes to go through other people’s bags… It was nice to sit in a restaurant and not have to feed anyone else. It was amazing to not change a diaper every few hours or deal with meltdowns. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself when I got through an entire conversation. In fact, I’ve grown accustomed to having Robbie as an excuse to get out of a dead end conversation.

But you know what? I missed him. I really did. I didn’t realize it until just a few minutes ago – I know, great mom, right? I went upstairs to check on him and could smell him from the hall. Never a good sign. But, it was a nice excuse to get him up to cuddle. He seemed amenable to coming downstairs and visiting and has spent the time playing Scattegories with us. He’s currently entertaining himself by throwing pens through Justin’s legs and trying to color Grover.

These are moments that I take for granted when I see him all day every day. There’s nothing quite like watching your kid play after you haven’t seen him all day. I know I go through that every day when I send him to daycare, but it’s different when you have to wake him up to play with you. And I promise. His diaper really was dirty. I was being a responsible parent by getting him up and changing him. There was no selfish motivation. None at all. Seriously.

We Have a Walker!


Robbie has been flirting with walking for at least a third of his life. At the beginning of June, Zhining assured me, “Qi Qi will walk. One month. Yes, I think one month.” In early July, Zhining amended, “I think two weeks. He will be ready in two weeks.” Well, it’s three months later… Usually she’s right on about these things, but not walking.

Until Friday. On Friday, Zhining was adamant that Robert would walk next week. And, even though today is not “next week”, Robbie did start walking. I was on the phone with my mother-in-law when it hit me that Robbie was walking. I know, I know. It shouldn’t have had to “hit” me. I should have been so astonished that I dropped the phone when he did it. But, I’m one of those moms who apparently doesn’t notice her child’s milestones fast enough. Robbie was a good three steps in when I realized that he was walking on his own.

He went back and forth across the room (well, from the chair to the bed, which is a good five feet) four times before it occurred to me to take a video of this moment for posterity. It isn’t the best video, but I do have proof of Robert walking around this afternoon. Even if it was to take the bribe of an iPod.

Robbie’s continuing to struggle a little with whether he wants to walk or not. When we got home from running some errands this afternoon (I finally got the perfect new linens!), Robbie held my finger to walk to the house. When we got there, he decided he wanted to turn around and go the other way. He tried to let go a few times, but it’s hard to be so confident when you’re facing a concrete sidewalk and no soft chair to run into if you fall. So, I can understand his hesitation to walk.

I’m hoping Robbie will do more of this tomorrow, particularly because we have a babysitter and I think it would be important for her to earn her pay by running after Roberto to make sure he’s exhausted by the time I get home. Now, I know I should be careful what I wish for. But I also think I’ve had a good run, so to speak. Robbie wasn’t a full-time crawler until well into his ninth month. And I’ve made it over thirteen months without a walker. So, even though I sometimes (often) long for the baby who stayed where I put him, I think it’s time to make the leap to walker. This week. This week Qi Qi will walk. Yes, I think this is the week.

Hurricane Earl?


Before I get started, let me apologize for missing my post last night. I went to bed around 8:00 because I wasn’t feeling well. I woke up at 11:00 and thought about coming downstairs to write but just didn’t have the energy. I’ll try to do better in the future!

Currently, I am sitting on my couch waiting for a hurricane. I know, I know. I don’t live on the beach, and I won’t really get to see a hurricane. But I am pretty pumped for a huge storm. Lots of wind. Pouring rain. Is there thunder and lightning with a hurricane? That would just make it better. I might enjoy it a little more, though, if our roof was fixed. It was scheduled to be re-shingled tomorrow, but I had to reschedule. The materials were set to be delivered today, and I was (apparently unnecessarily) concerned about them blowing away in the hurricane. Plus, the roofer’s wife was still in labor last night. If it was me, I wouldn’t want Justin heading off to re-shingle someone’s house while I was in the hospital. But, I’m pretty irrational about those things.

I took Justin up to Lawrence today to see the high school. For some reason, it’s important that he knows where I am and can picture it during the day. I like knowing where Justin works. Actually, I like knowing where anyone works. I got to see my friend Rebecca’s office and feel like I’m really talking to her when we email during the day. Not that either of us abandons our professional duties for long…

After leaving Lawrence, Justin and I made our way to Water Country and spend the day on water slides while Robbie enjoyed a day with Zhining. It’s nice taking time just the two of us every now and then. We don’t get a lot of time together when we aren’t busy being a parent, and I like getting to remember what it was like just the two of us. And, shockingly, we really like spending time together. I think we’re both as tired as Robbie is right now… We climbed a lot of stairs to get to the tops of the slides. We felt slightly irresponsible, knowing we spent the day before the “hurricane” was supposed to hit playing at a water park. We certainly didn’t spend it putting up lawn furniture or shutting windows.

Robbie did get to spend some time talking to Nona on video chat while he took a bath tonight. It’s funny that he recognizes her as soon as she comes on the screen. He blew her a kiss when he first saw her (could he melt my heart any more?) and played peek-a-boo. There’s nothing like virtual peek-a-boo. Nona and Pops had their eyes covered in Kentucky, and Robbie had his eyes covered in the bathroom… A new spin on an old classic! Robbie also showed off his standing skills, pounding on his chest while talking to Nona and standing in the tub. I have no idea what he was saying, but it was apparently very funny. And then he decided it was time to end the conversation because he was climbing out of the tub. When did he get big enough for this? He knows to climb out of the tub? Oy!

The Dentist


I had my first of several dental appointments to fill cavities today. And it was not successful. I am so disappointed and embarrassed. When I was little, I prided myself on not having any cavities. I got a smug satisfaction out of it, especially if my brother or sister happened to get one. And now it’s all coming back to bite me.

I really enjoy my new dentist, Dr. Bliss. I’m sure her name has something to do with it. And the fact that we’re the same age and she talks too much. She practically stole Robbie from me the first time I met her, and she had a balloon waiting for me to take home to him tonight. So, what I am going to say is no reflection on her. She’s great.

My teeth are not. I was supposed to have four cavities filled tonight. I left with two-and-a-half finished. Two of them were easy. Then we got to the doozy. I could feel the drill, so Dr. Bliss gave me two more shots of Novocain. Which didn’t work. She pulled out the mirror to show me the status of my poor molar. I looked in the mirror to see that she had drilled away a quarter of my tooth, and there was still plenty of gray tooth left to be drilled out. It’s a really humbling moment to realize that you haven’t taken care of your teeth the way you should.

Then came the moment of truth. Dr. Bliss told me she wasn’t comfortable drilling any further with the nerve that bad. She put in a medicated filling (I’d never heard of such a thing!). This is supposed to stop the cavity from progressing further and allow the nerve to heal. Then, ideally, when she goes back in a few months to put in the real filling, the nerve will be healed enough to allow this to happen.

What happened to that fourth cavity? It was right next to the tooth that was mostly drilled out, and she was concerned that the area wouldn’t be fully numbed. So now that waits a few more months, too.

And now I wait another four weeks to have the three cavities on the other side of my mouth taken care of, one of which is just as bad as the one she couldn’t finish today. I am so not looking forward to any of this. At all. But, she seems confident that I’ll be able to avoid crowns and root canals for now. And to think, a little flossing probably would have prevented most of this drama. Guess I’ll go do that now…



Of all the things to be concerned about with my new job, my biggest concern right now is the toilets. Yes, that’s right. Toilets. I can’t figure them out. There is a sensor at the back of the stalls, and the light flashes when I stand up. But the toilet never flushes. I have no idea if they are automatic or not, and I don’t want to be that person who leaves an unflushed toilet. Today I did the “ultimate” toilet test. I was in a single restroom and washed my hands while waiting to see if it would flush. You know how sometimes there’s a time delay? That’s what I was waiting to have kick in.

Except it didn’t. So, I pushed the button next to the sensor, like I’ve been doing for the past week. I’m still confused, though. Why bother to put the sensors in if the toilets require me to push a button? This is the trouble with these automatic things; you never know quite how they work. I’m thirty years old and still can’t figure out the automatic faucet. Forget about the soap. I have the towel dispenser pretty well figured out, but those aren’t consistent across the board either. How in the world am I supposed to make sure Robbie knows how to use a variety of toilets? God help me if he starts thinking everything should be automatic and stops flushing at home… Oh, the perils of an automated society.

On a lighter, and more fragrant, note… Robbie and I walked to the florist around the corner today. That’s right! We both walked! Robbie held my finger, but he walked the whole way, and he walked all the way back! He’s so ready to let go, but I’m enjoying that he still needs me for walking (err… running) right now. He saw Justin crossing the street on our way home and a huge smile spread across his face. He leaned his head back to look at me, so excited to see Justin. And then he broke into a Frankenstein-esque run to get to his daddy.

I apologize for what I feel like is a pretty lame blog entry… My students always complain that it’s hard to write in their journals every day, and I told them they just weren’t being creative enough. Of course, I hadn’t tried to write every day for an audience. So please bear with me on the less-than-exciting days. After all, I can’t run a crazy obstacle course or find out I have seven cavities every day!