Monthly Archives: October 2010

Kiss This


Robbie used to give kisses. Open-mouth, slobbery expressions of love. Then he learned to bite, so we ducked for cover every time he loomed over our heads with an evil grin on his face. Yesterday, however, was different. Robbie has learned to pucker up and kiss!

I noticed this when I was leaving daycare and heard Rob making a kissing sound and saw him actually blow a kiss to Zhining. He had finally figured it out! But seeing him blow a kiss was nothing compared to getting my first kiss on the cheek from my sweet baby boy. I’ve kissed him thousands of times, but he has never actually been able to return the gesture. But last night, he did.

We’d finished reading two stories and listening to his musical bear sing “Jesus Loves the Little Children” seventeen times, and I was carrying Robbie to his crib. I gave him kisses and a big hug and asked him to give me a kiss good night. And. He. Did. He knew what I was asking and then did it. And thought it was hilarious.

We stayed there, Robbie poised over his bed and balanced on the crib railing, for a few minutes. I pelted his face with kisses and he threw his head back and laughed. I asked for more kisses from him, but he shook his head and laughed. He gave me one every now and then, but I think he enjoyed toying with me.

Now, whenever I ask Robbie to say good bye to someone, he blows them a kiss. I have a feeling this is going to get him into trouble some day… But for now, I love that he wants to spread his happiness to everyone.

Bath Time Blunders


Roberto hates having water poured over his head in the bath. So much that he screams bloody murder when he sees the green cup make its way out of the bin. Justin and I have different ways of approaching this. Justin prefers to wash Robbie’s hair at the beginning of the bath to get the misery over with and let Robbie have fun. I take the opposite approach, letting Robbie play to his heart’s content and then ruining the moment by sudsing him up and dousing him with water.

I’ve been working to find new methods of making bath time more pleasurable, at least the washing part of it. I’ve started giving Robbie some suds and have begun teaching him to wash his face. Right now, he doesn’t do much more than pat his cheeks and laugh hysterically, but it’s a start. He still screams and tries to claw his way out of the tub when it comes time to rinse, though, so there’s work to be done.

What I don’t understand is that the green cup is not threatening unless it is in the hand of either Justin or myself. When Robbie holds it, it is a magical cup, bringing smiles and laughter to a particular little boy. So the new challenge is that I must figure out how to get Robbie to dump the water over his head and rinse the soap himself. I think we might be close to the solution…

A Sweeping Good Time


We have toys for Robbie. Tons of them. It feels like I’m always tripping over something that lights up, plays music, or rolls across the floor. I find strange plastic items in my purse and under my pillow. In every room, there is something for Robbie to play with. Magnets in the kitchen. A stuffed moose in the bedroom. An activity table and car in the living room. Don’t even get me started on the closets!

But what does Robbie want? Not the toys I painstakingly selected for his birthday. Nothing soft and cuddly or loud and obnoxious. No, my son wants what any true American boy wants: the broom and dustpan.

He’s occasionally “swept” the floor for me when he’s found the broom in the hallway. Today, he searched it out behind the exposed pipes in the kitchen. And, boy, did he get to work! Until his friend Pete came in and wanted to sweep the floor as well. It was a little touch-and-go for a few minutes, with both boys doing equal battle for the broom. But, rest assured! I came into motherhood well prepared and was quick to offer the boys a Swiffer as well. If only I had thought to put the Swiffer pad on… Maybe then everyone would have been happy: the boys with a new toy and me with clean floors.

Date Night


Remember date night? Barely? I think it used to be something fun and exciting. Trying a new restaurant in the North End. Going to a play or a movie. Walking around Boston for a few hours. Driving out to Revere for Kelly’s. Driving to the New Hampshire coast for lobster.

Justin and I have resorted to date afternoon. Our babysitter met us at the house when we all got home from picking Justin up at the airport. We barely slowed the car down enough for Robbie to get out of his car seat and fling himself at Elena before we were off. It wasn’t so much what we were doing, as you’ll later understand. It was that we were doing it. Without Robbie.

Justin and I have built up our “prepaid” massages at Massage Envy (we actually made it once a month before Robbie was born, but Justin currently has SEVEN prepaids), so we headed there first. It was exactly what we needed. We both saw new people, and they were a.mah.zing. And then it was off to the exciting portion of the date: grocery shopping. That’s right. We went to Stop & Shop on our date.

It’s going to sound silly, but I remember wandering the aisles of the Kroger on Watson Boulevard late at night with Justin when we first started dating. We would just go to find whatever looked like it should belong in our cart and talk about whatever was on our minds. That’s what I was hoping for tonight. But, there were actual groceries to get, a babysitter to get home, and chores waiting at home.

I was a little sad to realize that even the grocery store on date afternoon becomes one more thing on the to do list. But, the important thing is that we did that to do list item together. And we didn’t talk about Robbie. That much.



Do you ever forget that being a mom is supposed to be fun? Get bogged down with groceries, mountains of laundry, piles of junk mail, and a fussy child? Me, either.

During the week, I often forget about the fun that being a mom can be. Sure, I love my time with Robbie. There are few things as wonderful as his smile and infectious laugh. But, during the week, we have a schedule to keep. He needs to have dinner and a bath and be in bed at a reasonable hour. And I need to make it to the gym, let the dog out, and try to keep the house in order.

But weekends are different. Weekends are a time to have the kind of fun there just isn’t time for during the week. Today, Robbie and I went to the Fall Festival at Willow Hill. I didn’t get to say good bye to my students last year, so it was important to me that I get to see them. So, after meeting with our friendly Irish contractor (who told me he wanted to buy Robbie his first tool kit) about installing some new light fixtures, Robbie and I were off to Sudbury.

Robbie was in heaven from the second he got out of the car. We ran into people in the parking lot, and he put on all his Robbie charm: batting his eyes, smiling coyly, and even blushing adorably. The festival was mostly in the gym, with a huge blow-up sports contraption, which immediately grabbed Robbie’s attention. He wanted to grab the ball that was hovering in the air for the baseball segment of the game, which posed a problem because kids were swinging bats at said ball. He went to the ping pong toss, grabbing all four balls and running around with them.

And when the band came? Forget about it. Robbie is not a stellar dancer, but he has a great time doing it. He ran around in circles, bounced up and down, and waved his hands to the music. Then the girls noticed him and started mimicking his moves, which he really got a kick out of.

And I loved watching it. Seeing his face light up when new people came to meet him. Hearing his laugh when he got to grab a prize from the bin. Feeling him throw his body against my legs and seeing him look up at me, eyes bright and a smile stretched across his face. And I remembered how fun being a mom was supposed to be. And how fun it really is. I just have to remember to find the fun Monday through Friday.




When Justin tells me he has to go away for the weekend, I put on a pretty convincing act of being irritated and disappointed that he won’t be around. My secret? I’m actually happy to have a little time alone. I can’t let him know that, of course. But, it’s important to have some time to get big projects one. Like that big cleaning spree I decided to was such a good idea earlier in the week…

The good news is that our room, Robbie’s room, the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, and the downstairs closets are clean and organized. The bad news? I’m not sure that there really is any. Other than the fact that it’s 11:30 and I’m still awake. And there are still three bags and one big box left to go through in the dining room. And that I decided to ignore the chest full of Justin’s things in the guest room and his closet. But I’m pretty comfortable with those decisions.

I know I can sleep well tonight (provided Robbie doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night) and knock out the rest of it tomorrow. Then it will be time to reward myself with two episodes of Hoarders. After all, I’ve proven that I’m not one by getting rid of three bags of trash, doing all my laundry, and donating enough stuff to fill up my Jeep. I have a hard time watching the show if I have closets filled to the brim.

So now it’s time for a well-deserved sleep. And I have the entire bed to myself. This is going to be fabulous!

Wish List


I used to come home to an empty house and have a few hours to myself before Justin came home. There was time to do whatever I wanted – clean the house (right…), grade papers (sure…), run errands, catch up on my DVR’ed TV (more likely)… And with all that time, I never really appreciated it. Until now. Until this afternoon. That’s when it occurred to me that my perfect night is what I used to take for granted.

Robbie and I went to the store this afternoon to pick up chocolate chips for cookies I needed to bake (and later burn). That kid was everywhere. Pulling Tums off the shelf. Looking longingly at the colorful bags of chips. Knocking over bottles of water. Batting his eyes at fellow shoppers. And then we came home.

Robbie loves to climb the stairs. Loves it. Except for tonight. Tonight he wanted to be carried, and I had four bags of groceries, a purse, Rob’s backpack, and a bag of my work clothes. So, I did what any good mother would do. I grabbed the back of Robbie’s pants and carried him, with the rest of the load, up the stairs. He laughed like a maniac the entire time.

As soon as we got up the stairs, Robbie made a mad dash for the coffee table, where Justin’s drink from the night before sat. It was Robbie’s favorite thing: a cup with a lid and a straw. He put the straw in his mouth and drank. And drank. And drank. And then he ran around the house poking at cats and chasing the dog.

Since Robbie had finished what was in the cup, I decided to give him some more water. Apparently, fast food cups don’t hold their lids as well as sippy cups. I learned this as I saw the cup drop to the floor, spewing water all over the kitchen. And then my son stooped down to play in it. And then he stood up and tried to walk through it. And then he fell.

As much as I love Robbie, I would have given almost anything for a few quiet hours on the couch with a clean house and a dry kitchen floor. And then he turned around, laughed, and threw himself at my legs. And I wouldn’t have traded that for all the quiet time and clean houses in the world.

A New Gait


I’m not sure when or why it happened, but Robbie’s gait has changed. I noticed it this afternoon when we got home. Robbie got out of the car and took off down the sidewalk. He didn’t stop when he got to our house; he kept on running down the street. I have a feeling that walks around the block aren’t going to take an hour anymore, unless Robbie still stops to pick up every single leaf.

It’s like he’s gained a new confidence. He’s not shuffling around, unsure of his footing. Now, he’s sure of what he’s doing; he just wants to do it so much faster. So he is running everywhere. Down the street. Around the kitchen. Through the dining room. And back to the living room. The only way I know where he is is by the clomping of his little baby shoes. And then he pops his head around with a loud, “Hi!”

In other news… We’ve thought Robbie has had eczema. It’s spread to different parts around his body, and I’d love to get rid of it. The doctor recommended a hydrocortisone cream. Do any of you have suggestions? Or an idea about how long it should take for this to clear up?

Here’s hoping for a more exciting entry tomorrow!

Piles and Piles


Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in your own stuff? Everywhere you turn there’s something to trip over or pick up or dust or get the dog fur off of? Your closets aren’t safe to open and every drawer is so full you worry something might shift, causing the drawer to permanently stay closed? You have air conditioners hidden behind arm chairs because you’re too lazy to take them to the basement and there’s no room in the closets? Oh, that last one’s just me?

If I didn’t know better, I would say I was pregnant and nesting again. It hit me last night. And hard. My house is disgusting and needs to be purged. Do I really need the sippy cups whose lids were destroyed by Barkley three months ago? How about the tea that’s supposed to help nursing mothers? And the nine tins of hot chocolate from various holiday gift exchanges? What about the dog water bottle to use on walks that Barkley half-chewed two years ago? And the broken baby gate shoved in the closet? What kind of a sane person keeps these things?

I am done fighting a losing battle with my house. I started the purging tonight. I didn’t get too far, but at least I’ve started. The bathroom is clean and organized — at least until Justin finishes with his shower tomorrow morning. The kitchen cabinets are started. Robbie’s room is presentable (just don’t open the closet). But where, you ask, did I put all the excess? The only logical place. The dining room. The staging area for all disasters and unknown items. I’m giving myself through Friday night to get this house back in order.

Here’s my downfall: bags. Tote bags, larger purses, grocery bags. Even trash bags in a pinch. That’s where I put everything I don’t have a home for. And then I get frustrated with the whole project and put the bags into the closet, sure that I will sort through them one at a time. Which I do, the next time the closet gets so full that I don’t want to open it if Robbie’s within ten feet because I worry he’ll be buried in the avalanche of stuff.

Now, I’m a very organized purger. I have a list of everything that has to be done. Sample entries? “Empty linen closet.” “Empty Robbie’s closet.” “Empty nightstand drawers.” You can see where this is going, right? Being the good wife that I am, I warned Justin about the process and told him the house was going to look like a disaster for several days. And, being the brilliant husband that he is, he calmly replied, “How can I help? I don’t want you to have to do this on your own.”

Now, I know you. And I know you’re probably like me. When you get going on a cleaning frenzy, the last thing you want is your husband trying to help you organize. After all, if he did, you’d have no idea where anything was. And you won’t have any idea where he put his shoes when he can’t find them, even if he is the one who put them “away”. But, the point is, that he asked. And for that I am eternally grateful and further inspired to continue my cleaning spree.

A Walk in the Park


Today was all about family time. It’s the first day Justin, Robbie, and I have had to spend together without any other commitments in weeks. And you know what? It was nice to have time just to catch up.

In the morning, we took a long drive to nowhere, seeing where The Great Road went. Turns out it goes to 495 and there are very few Dunkin Donuts once you get past Bedford. I’m still not entirely sure I get the whole “going for a drive” thing, but Justin really likes it. And Robbie and Barkley didn’t seem to mind.

This afternoon, we all took a walk to the park. At the playground, new signs had gone up saying unleashed doges were not allowed in the area. A seven-year-old yelled at us for having a dog. I guess he couldn’t sound out “unleashed”. For some reason, Robbie wasn’t digging the swings. Or the monkey bars (he usually hangs on and laughs). Or the slide. Especially the curling slide, either time Justin tried to put him on there. He was, fortunately, happy to sit in his stroller for 4.5 miles.

In a move signaling a further desire for independence, Robbie refused to eat ice cream Justin spooned for him this afternoon. The little prince would only eat ice cream he got out of the container himself with his own spoon. I have a feeling this kid’s going to have a stubborn streak in him. I wonder which side that came from…

A girlfriend and I went to the So You Think You Can Dance performance tonight. A.Mah.Zing. I so wish I could dance. But I’ll settle for the killer parking spot we got. Metered. Right outside the doors of the arena. Also qualifying as amahzing – just without the punctuation.

And now it’s late. Way past my bedtime. I was going to get up to run at 5:00 tomorrow morning, but that just won’t be happening. Instead, Robbie will have to suffer through the gym with me and cleaning the house will have to wait. I’ve decided to do a total organization of the house, since I feel like I’m drowning in stuff. But, more on that tomorrow when I’m less tired. Well, hopefully less tired. For now, I’ll leave you with a video of Robbie.

Oh, and in exciting news, I passed the 3000 page views for the blog today! Who would have thought people would want to read what I write? Pretty awesome! Thanks for reading!