Monthly Archives: February 2011

Quality Time


This has been a crazy semester, and it’s only February… Justin’s taking nine hours and involved in study groups; we hardly see him during the week. And when he has a weekend class? Forget about it.

That’s why today was set aside for quality time. Yes, I forced my poor husband to spend an entire day with me. I’m not sure we were ever more than twenty feet apart. Well, other than when I left for my Jenny Craig weigh-in (2.5 pounds this week and 18.2 in six weeks!).

We started the day off with a trip to Haverhill to drop Robbie off with my friend Amy. She and her husband graciously agreed to watch Robbie while Justin and I ran (OK, OK… Half walked) a 5K in Salisbury. We spent an hour in the car each way. And my poor husband stayed with me for the entire race. He could have run it and been finished in half an hour. But, no. He stayed with me, encouraging me. Even though I yelled at him. I was so mad at myself for not doing as well as I thought I should have. We crossed the finish line at 44:30. In my defense, I’ve been trying to increase my speed and not focusing on my distance. Oh, and the last mile of the race was on the beach, which meant running on the sand. Terrible.

Despite my yelling at him, Justin was supportive and agreed to spend the rest of the day with me. We cleaned up the house, watched TV, played with Robbie. The stuff Saturdays are made of. That’s what Justin kept telling me as I struggled down the beach.

Tonight was our romantic night out. We cashed in some massage credits at Massage Envy and then tried to make it to a movie in Lexington. Apparently, though, they lock the doors to the theatre once the movie starts. So, no movie for us. That left plenty of time for coffee, since our dinner reservations weren’t for another two hours.

I’ve sometimes worried that Justin and i will run out of things to talk about. At what point will we know everything? When will all the interesting topics be exhausted? I was glad to learn that it wasn’t tonight. It felt so good to get out of the house and just be together. Enjoy each other’s company. Talk about anything and everything.

Yes, there are times my husband drives me up the wall. Like when he fed Barkley the filet I brought home for him and took all the credit for it. But I’m so fortunate to still be so in love with him. And even more fortunate that he’s still so in love with me.

And, I know this is a silly request… If you read the blog regularly, please feel free to become a follower. I’d love to know who’s reading!



Roberto loves to color. Especially all over his face, which is what he did this morning with my eyeliner while Justin was in the shower. You’ve seen than he loves to color all over his face with Sharpie when he can find one. And today, something I’ve been waiting for for a long time happened. Robbie really discovered coloring on paper.

Sure, he’s colored on paper before, but he usually loses interest after a few strokes of the pen. Or crayon. Or eyeliner. You get my drift. Not today, though.

When I got to daycare today, Robbie ran to the door to greet me and then took off to the back room. Zhining told me to come back and see what QiQi was up to. I ventured back, and stood in the doorway to watch for a few minutes. There was my son, seated at a table, coloring a picture for me.

I watched quietly for a few minutes and then Robbie turned around to see if I was watching, with that big grin spread across his face. He turned around and went back to coloring. After all, you can’t leave daycare for the weekend without finishing your clown.

Maybe you’ll think it’s silly, but for the past 17 months I’ve seen the artwork for the big kids waiting by their bags to go home to proud parents and hang on the refrigerator. I thought about the day Robbie would color a picture for me. And it finally happened. I have my picture. And it’s a creepy clown…

Say, "Ah!"


My dental appointment started as a near disaster this afternoon. Robbie hit panic as soon as the dental hygienist put on her mask. He sat in his stroller and screamed until his face turned red. There was a parade of hygienists in the room, trying to make Robbie feel better. This only made him cry harder.

Eventually, for the sanity of everyone in the office, I pulled Robbie out of his stroller and sat him on my lap. Pam, my hygienist, gave him a tooth brush, a dentist mask, and a blue glove. He was in heaven. Robbie brushed his teeth and carefully studied as Pam cleaned my gums. Not a pleasant process for those of you fortunate enough to not need it.

Pam really impressed me. She explained everything she was doing to me, getting Robbie really excited about it. He played with the sucker, the water shooter, and the tooth polisher. And he sat completely still on my lap for an hour while all of this went on. I’ve never seen him so still. Until Pam brought out the floss…

All bets were off when the floss came out. Robbie dropped all of his dental accessories, slammed his hands down on my chest, and laid down on me to try to see exactly what was going on in my mouth. I’m not sure quite how he did it, but all of a sudden, Robbie’s head was under Pam’s arm and peering into my open mouth. I’m sure it was quite the scene for anyone walking down the hallway…

After my cleaning was over, Pam gave me a rinse to help my gums. She also handed one over for Robbie (don’t worry; it was just water for him!). And there we sat, both of us swishing. Only I spit, and Robbie chugged. Before we left, Robbie took a seat in the dentist chair, sporting some stylish shades. He was sent home with a care package of toothbrushes, floss, sunglasses, and a sticker. A pretty decent haul for his first trip!

Ill Prepared


My favorite step-sister is in town this week, and Robbie and I ventured down to Harvard Square to meet her for dinner tonight. Since I was running about half an hour late, we drove down instead of waiting for the bus. I dreaded paying $20 for parking, so I nabbed the first parallel parking space I found.

Not wanting Leah to be waiting for us any longer than she had to, I tossed Robbie into his stroller, strapped my purse onto the back, and took off. I thought enough to plop a hat on his head. But I didn’t grab gloves for Robbie or myself. I actually am not sure where his mittens are, since he pulls them off as soon as I put them on his hand. And mine… Mine were in the front seat of the car. Going back for them wound have required leaving Robbie on the sidewalk, making my way over a five-foot wide, three-foot high mound of snow. I figured I could tough it out.

Not so much. Our hands were fuh-reezing by the time we made it to the restaurant. What I had not thought about was how badly it hurt to have the heat return to your hands after being cold. And I really didn’t think about how that might feel for a certain little boy. He screamed for about five minutes, completely inconsolable.

Fortunately, Robbie was able to make a quick recovery once his hands warmed up enough for him to grab some pens and start coloring. He did surprisingly well throughout dinner, too. Robbie ate his chicken, dipped bread into artichoke dip, made friends with the people at the next table… You know, the usual.

And I’m so glad that I got to spend some time with Leah. We usually only see each other at Christmas and maybe once during the summer. In the eleven years our parents have been married, we’ve never hung out just the two of us. It’s a shame it took so long for us to do it, but I’m glad we finally did.

For those of you concerned about Robbie, the trip back to the car was rough. I wrapped his hands in my scarf, which he dropped part way to the car. I figured it wasn’t worth the pain of our poor little hands to go back and find it. Robbie cried for about five minutes after we got into the car, and then it was off to dreamland. He’s tougher than he looks!

Finding Me


I’ve spent some time over the past week looking back at who I was before I was a Mom. I’m not sure that I really like that person. Nor am I sure that she is someone I would want to be friends with. She was insecure, quick to anger, and horribly apt to cry. She constantly struggled at maintaining her relationship with her husband and the rest of her family. She made excuses for everything. She let life happen to her. She looked a little something like the lady pictured on the right…

And then I think about the person I’ve become over the past eighteen months. I make decisions for another person. I am in charge of making sure that he becomes the best person he can be. I am responsible for molding him into “a contributing member of society” (a quote from my sage mother).

I wipe up messes, change diapers, fix food that will be thrown on the floor, create ways to make hair washing more fun and less torture. I read stories to a little boy who just wants “down.” I discipline him when he is bad and comfort him when he falls. I spend hours trying to teach phrases like, “Holy cow!” (hasn’t caught on) and “Good boy!” (a favorite when petting the dog).

Despite all the trial and error associated with motherhood, I found myself. I’m not entirely sure where I was hiding, nor am I sure it’s important that I know. Instead, I’ll focus on loving this new life of mine and keep trying to look a little more like the lady pictured here:

It’s a little hard for me to look at the first picture. I weighed 70 pounds more than I do now there, and it reminds me of all the time I wasted. All the time I abused my body and made excuses for it. All the times I let it dictate my life. But I’m glad to have the picture, glad to have a reminder of who I was and why it’s so important that I continue taking the time to find me.

Do me a favor. Make some time for yourself. Head to the gym. Even if you’re tired. Especially if you’re tired. Get up fifteen minutes early and just enjoy the quiet. Send the kids to bed early. Make them play in their room. Take a break from being someone’s mom/wife/whatever-you-are-that-usually-defines-you. Just be you. Everyone around you will appreciate it. And so will you.

Terrible Eighteen-and-a-Half-Months?


My child is driving me crazy. Bonkers. Nuts. I am losing my mind. He threw a temper tantrum while trying to get dressed this morning. He came home and threw a temper tantrum. That may have had something to do with dumping a cup of cold hot chocolate over his head. When did he get big enough to reach the counter?

And then the dog food… Robbie, for some reason, is convinced that the dog food should always be put in the water dish. He does it everywhere we go. Tonight, he managed to get all of the food in the dish before I noticed.

But Barkley didn’t seem to mind.

And neither did Grover.

I was so frustrated with Robbie today… Between dog food and spilled drinks and dumping water out of the tub and screaming… It was all I could do to hold it together. And then he wouldn’t go to sleep. I needed to, somehow, recoup my bad mom moments of the past few days. So up I went with a bottle of milk. I grabbed Rob, his giraffe Moo, and his blanket, and we went into my room to lie down. We cuddled for an hour. Rob drank his bottle, I rubbed his back, he gurgled and whispered to me (when did he learn to whisper?). I apologized for being terrible. And then I put Robbie back into his bed where he fell fast asleep. Just like that, the day was saved, and I feel centered and like at least a tolerable mom.

Super Bowl


I realize this is two posts in a matter of hours, but I was off the map for two days. And tonight was so bad that it does, indeed, require two posts.

My son is out of control. Completely. He goes to bed at 6:30. Every. Single. Night. He might sit in his crib for an hour and talk, but he’s in bed. Not tonight. The screaming started around 6:15, just as we got to Micah and Allie’s. Or Allie and Micah’s. He didn’t stop until sometime around 7:30 (or before – I was out sliding into parked cars until around 7:30).

This child was a maniac for four hours. Running around. Climbing on furniture. He’s never climbed on furniture until tonight. Grabbing drinks. Trying to touch the TV. Stealing food. Begging for food. Grabbing dog toys. Hitting the drums. Running around like a maniac. Oh, I already said that? Well, he did it so much that it’s worth two mentions. And the final straw? He dumped a bottle of water all over me.

I missed the first half dealing with a screaming child and going to CVS to make it better. I missed the half-time show talking to a cop and a man whose car was parked on the street during a parking ban. And I missed the second half because I was making a futile attempt to discipline my child.

So, it’s official. Tonight, I was one of “those” moms. I was the one who could not control her child. Who wanted to yell at him. Maybe even pinch his arm a little. I managed to restrain myself, though. After all, I knew he’d be asleep as soon as we pulled out of the driveway. And he was. And we made it home without hitting any of the other cars illegally parked during the ban.

Cars, Cars, Cars


Our car luck has not gotten better. I found out last Thursday that the title to our Honda should have been transferred over 14 months ago. Expensive mistake. And tonight the drama continued.

It’s all Robbie’s fault, really. If he had just gone to sleep when he was supposed to, none of this would have happened. But he didn’t. He screamed for well over an hour. We were at Micah and Allie’s and only had a sippy cup. I figured that it would just take a quick trip to CVS to get a bottle and some Tylenol to make everything better. That just made it worse. So much worse.

When I came back to Micah and Allie’s, someone else was parked in their driveway. I came around the block and tried to get around a parked car. I didn’t. I slid right into the driver’s side front panel. I got out of the car, and an elderly woman just started yelling at me. It wasn’t her car. She didn’t even know who it belonged to. But she yelled. And then she called the cops. I know because she opened her door while on the phone. Nevermind that I was trying to leave a note for the owner of the car.

The cop who came out was extremely nice, making sure to let me know that the woman was “just an old battle ax” with nothing better to do. He didn’t do any paperwork, but he did find the owner. Fortunately, the owner of the car was very chill (may have been a little drunk) and apologized for parking on the street. Oh, did I mention that there’s a parking ban?

I mention this only to bring up the battle ax again. She came out and told the cop to tow the car. The cop asked her if she was the woman who had yelled at me. When she said yes, he let her know that she had no business yelling at me. I really appreciated the back-up.

Now it’s back to wrestling Robbie, who is still up and running around like a mad man. Maybe tomorrow I’ll let you know about a special interaction Barkley had with Robbie’s nose… But for now, I’ll go rescue Micah and Allie’s TV from Robbie’s sticky fingers.

An Auspicious Day…


The day did not start off well. When trying to get the cars out of the garage, there was an incident with the Jeep. Justin was backing it out and, as he tried to avoid one of the gate panels, he ran into trouble with the other one. Somehow, the rear tire wound up behind the gate and the rest of the car was in the front. I’m still not sure how Justin got the car out with only some damage to the gate. OK. A lot of damage to the gate. But none to the car.

Things just got better from there… I took Robbie to daycare and then headed to the gym. As I got to the base, I realized that I didn’t have my shoes with me (you know, wearing snow boots and all). Luckily, there was an inexpensive pair at the Base Exchange. Unfortunately, I left my other purchases there and had to return after my uneventful work out. The work out only lasted for twenty minutes because I went to the kid-friendly area without a kid.

The next three hours were great. The best of my day. I uploaded pictures, talked to friends, got a massage. It was everything that a snow day should be. Then I called the insurance company to get some information on finally transferring the title of our Honda, something I didn’t realize was so important. Apparently, there might be some major fines… ‘Cause this is something I was supposed to take care of 14 months ago. Hmm… Guess I’ll go in tomorrow and hope to get someone patient. Keep your fingers crossed and send up a few prayers around 4:30 tomorrow afternoon.

Here’s hoping for school tomorrow!

Stay at Home Mom


I am not meant to be a stay at home mom. At all. I love my child, but I love him best when I don’t see him all day every day. Particularly when there is no where to go because of snow and ice. Much like today.

Robbie has figured out how to get into everything, and so he does. The morning started off nicely enough with a family breakfast. Robbie kindly took the dirty plates into the kitchen for me, I found them set on the counter. Seeing how well that went, I figured i could continue to send Robbie to the kitchen to put things up. He helped when I peeled my grapefruit, setting the peels on the counter near the plates. It all went wrong, though, when I sent a third plate into the kitchen with Rob. And heard the crash. Robbie is now limited to plastic ware.

Later this afternoon, Robbie went on a tear around the house. He found a role of partially used wrapping paper, which he unwrapped down the length of the hall. He had a big time coloring the paper with some different pens he found around the house. And then he found the cat food dish… Which he brought into the living room, proudly showing how helpful he is. The dish is an automatic feeder, so Robbie helpfully put the food from the tray into the top. And then he fed some of it to Barkley. And some of it to himself. Some days, it’s just easier to let them eat cat food.

Don’t even get me started on trying to keep a house picked up with three people living in it, stuck inside all day. By the time Robbie went to bed, there were toys strewn about the living room, dishes on the coffee table, pieces of apple on the stairs and floor, cds and dvds in various spots, food all over the dining room table, more dishes on the kitchen counter, and a roll of wrapping paper down my hallway. But, there’s always tomorrow to get it done. After all, it’s just another snow day.