Monthly Archives: August 2011

Pajamas

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I love pajamas.  Would buy a new pair every day if I could.  And now that I have a little boy?  I get to buy double the pajamas. But, even with all the pajamas I could buy for Robbie, they don’t do you any good if you don’t do laundry.  Sometimes, your child is forced to wear what he likes to call “Inese amamas.”  Not sure what that means?  Chinese pajamas, of course.

Except they aren’t really pajamas.  They’re more of a costume, which I didn’t realize as I scrounged around the back of the diaper and pajama cabinet.  Why, you ask?  Because there’s nothing to close the top together.  So my child slept looking a little something like this:

And, yes.  He asked to wear them again tonight.  Unfortunately, he wet through his diaper, so they were unavailable.  Since the laundry still isn’t done, he’s currently in some monkey pajamas.  Size?  18 months.  Classy, I know.  But he thinks the monkeys are great, so I don’t have to worry about laundry for another day.  Unless, of course, he pees through them tonight.

Sweet Sixteen

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A few days before the end of the school year, one of my students brought me an invitation to her 16th birthday party.  Tonight, Justin, Robbie, and I put on our party clothes and made our way to the Elk Lodge in Lawrence.

Let me be the first to tell you that Rob was not thrilled about putting on his suit.  At all.  He was most angry about the new boots I bought him to go with the suit.  The new $44 boots that he refused to wear and are still sitting on his bedroom floor where they fell when I gave up the fight and put on his Elmo shoes.  I figured they were black and kind of went with the gray pants.  And, really, the big battle was that I wanted him in the suit.  But, I digress.

Robbie loved absolutely everything about the birthday party.  There were balloons in every corner, kids running in every direction, loud music pumping out of a speaker in front of our table, and food he’d never tasted before.  Oh, and did I mention the bowl of hard candy on the buffet?  It was a dream come true for him.

And he had a blast all night long.  Sure, it took him a few minutes to warm up and venture off my lap.  But after that?  He was on the dance floor or running around tables or chasing older boys or, much to Justin’s delight, being chased by the cute three-year-old from the next table.  That’s right; she was chasing him, arms out-stretched, trying to give him a big kiss.  And, much like his father, Robbie was completely oblivious to the adoration from this older woman.

Watching him run around and have the time of his life was an interesting experience for me.  What struck me as interesting is this: we were the only white people at the party, the only ones who didn’t speak Spanish.  But that doesn’t matter to kids.  Robbie had no idea that no one was speaking the same language as him; he just wanted to have fun.  So, he ran up to the group of kids, wiggled his way in, and the rest was history.  In fact, when Robbie took a break to come give us a hug (love that he does this, by the way, and am counting my blessings that he does because I know it won’t last), the older boy in the crowd came to bring him back to the fun.  No language needed.

From the moment we got there, we felt right at home.  Anderlisa’s parents both came over to speak with us, even though neither one spoke English well.  But they wanted us to know they were glad we came.  At one point, her dad brought over someone to translate because he wanted to make sure we didn’t need anything and for us to let him know if we did.  Her mom did the same thing during the meal.  It made me feel like our presence was really important to them.

I think that’s something we miss out on a lot when everyone speaks the same language.  We take for granted that people know we’re glad they’ve come or that they’ll ask if they need something.  Being a little out of my comfort zone every now and then lets me see what I’m lacking in my own approach to people, and tonight I learned that I need to be more gracious and accepting of people as they are.  So, let’s all join the party with the same care-free abandon that Robbie showed on the dance floor tonight.  After all, what could it hurt?  You just might get that cute boy or girl chasing after you, arms open wide.

Big Boy!

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After watching Saturday morning cartoons in bed with Justin and myself for an hour, Robbie told us that he had to poop.  Not entirely sure what to do with this piece of information, Justin and I just stared at each other.  Then we jumped into action, Justin grabbing Robbie under his armpits and me dashing down the stairs to have the potties ready.  Yes.  He has two options.  His little potty and a seat for the regular toilet.

Justin tried to demonstrate how to make the poop come out on demand, which earned a few chuckles from Robbie.  After a few minutes of standing around without much happening, Justin and I left Robbie sitting on the toilet to conduct a few pressing Saturday morning activities.  Justin had a cup of coffee to make and I needed to check my Word Feud games.  And then it happened.

Justin went in to check on Robbie’s progress and found that our genius child had pooped in his potty.  And, wait!  That’s not all.  He’d peed, too.  And, yes.  I was tempted to take a picture for posterity’s sake but managed to stop myself.  There were high fives all around, and, as I was telling Robbie how he would finally get to flush the toilet because he had pooped, Justin flushed it for him.  So much for that reward…

Cannon Ball!

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As we all know, Robbie loves water.  It’s all I can do to keep him out of it; when we drive past any body of water, I hear, “Mama, water!  Fun!” from the back seat.  So a day at a pool?  Paradise for my cherub.

Every time Robbie goes swimming, it takes him less and less time to get acclimated.  Today, I could barely keep up with him.  All he wanted was to jump off the side of the pool.  Over.  And over.  And over.  He grabbed one of my fingers and launched himself off the side of the pool.  And, yes, he went under the water!  Then he’d pop up, kick his way to the wall (with a little help from his gorgeous mother), and start all over again.

And, yes, I do have video.  But because of modern technology, I just can’t get it to upload.

Camping Fiasco

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Last night Robbie work up around 10:45.  I just heard fussing at first and figured he would go back to sleep.  But the cries got louder.  And more insistent.  Since Justin had just walked through the door after a three-day business trip, I figured Robbie just wanted to see his dad.  Justin and I slowly made our way up stairs.

The cries for me started to get a little louder as we neared the top of the staircase.  When I peered into his room, I couldn’t see Robbie anywhere.  And then I heard him.  He cried, “Door, Mama!  Tent!”  All of a sudden it was clear.  The poor kid was locked in his tent!

I’m not quite sure how it happened.  When I checked on him, he had fallen asleep inside the tent: reclined on his stuffed animals, feet stuck out the entrance, balloon clasped in his hand.  At some point, he must have pulled his feet in, allowing the flaps to close and velcro to seal.

Let’s be honest.  I’m not sure what it says about my kid that he didn’t even try to push the “door” to his tent open.  In an effort not to repeat the disaster, particularly because it resulted in Robbie being awake until midnight and enduring half an hour of screaming, I turned the tent around.  The other side lets me tie the flap, providing an easy escape for a panicked toddler.  Because, yes, he still insists on having the tent in his crib.

Other People’s Children

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I’m not usually one to comment on other people’s children.  After all, I’m barely surviving with my own child.  And I’m sure there have been several people commenting on my own ability to parent.  Or lack there of.  But today I feel it’s not only acceptable for me to do so but necessary.  Well, maybe not actually necessary, but it definitely makes me feel better about my own parenting.  At least today.

Robbie and I go to the gym on the Air Force base in Bedford, where there is a family gym.  Basically, it’s a decent sized room with a quarter of it allocated as a play space.  There’s a little fence up, so you can interact with your kids while you work out.  It’s actually pretty nice.  Most of the time.

Robbie learned to escape the gate about four months ago, so I barricade him in with the weight bench.  Why?  Because when he’s outside the fence I get in big trouble with the people at the front desk.  Apparently, the other mother there today didn’t care about this.  She did, however, tell me that she’d been yelled at before.

She had her two children, a four-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl with her.  The little girl was actually pretty well behaved.  The little boy?  Not so much.  He was in the bathroom.  Out of the bathroom.  In the play area.  Letting my child out of the play area.  All of these things are pretty tolerable.  Well, except for letting my child out.  Fortunately, the mother hopped off her elliptical machine and put Robbie back in the play area.

All of a sudden, though, the little boy was on the stair climber.  Then behind my treadmill (which, honestly, made me a little nervous because I’ve been warned that kids can get swept under).  Oh, and ON the treadmill next to me.  Then climbing all over the bikes.  I was a nervous wreck.

Now, I completely understand needing to get your workout in.  I’ve been known to let my child scream for twenty minutes while I finish my run (I am not one of those moms who takes her kid home when he throws a temper tantrum; after all, he’s not the one running the show!).  And I’ve also been known to tell him to brush it off when he falls.  But jumping and climbing on dangerous equipment?  Absolutely not.  Not even if he was four.  But check back with me in two years just to make sure.

Aquarium Politics

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About a year ago, I posted an entry on stroller politics.  What I did not realize was that there are additional rules for dealing with a stroller at an aquarium.  Particularly one that involves circling around a giant cylindrical tank.  Let’s get down to business.

1.  Just because I have a stroller doesn’t mean that I want you to bust past me as I navigate the people lined on either side of me.  See, this layout really doesn’t work for me.  On one side of the “path”, you have people looking at the fish in the tank.  On the other, you have people looking over the edge to watch the penguin show.  This leaves precious little room for people to navigate.  Particularly if they have strollers.  What happened today was people just assume that you’re not going anywhere and push you to the side with the penguin-viewers.  So, stroller-drivers, stay assertive.  Don’t be afraid to run over that tourist’s foot.  The scar will give him something to talk abuot – and another reason for people to complain about how rude people are in your town.

2.  Big, heavy doors still don’t open themselves.  Particularly in crowds.  So, encourage others to move out of the door to allow you to open the door, keep it ajar with your rear end, uncomfortably navigate your child and stroller through.  And don’t worry, they’re going to glare at you for getting in their way.

I will say, though, not to assume that people won’t open the door for you.  And, no, it’s not the women who have been in your shoes holding the door open.  It’s the tatted-up, thug of a man who would intimidate the hell out of you in the street but is actually a chaperone for a Catholic Charities summer program field trip.  True story.  And he instructed the boys he was in charge of to hold the rest of the doors open, reminding them that it was important to be gentlemen.

3.  Do not, under any circumstances, leave your stroller in the entry to the Rays and Sharks Touch Tank.  Yes, I know there is a sign that, very clearly, says, “NO STROLLERS.”  We figured that meant, “Leave your strollers here, please.”  It doesn’t.  They will get confiscated.  Within minutes.  And you will have to search to find where they have gone.  Quick tip: Look for the rather large sign that says, “Stroller Room”.  It’s probably there.  But don’t expect the attendant to be thrilled to find your untagged stroller because you were an irresponsible parent.  Oh, and don’t expect your child to be at all cooperative.  After all, you only noticed that your stroller was gone as you were chasing him through the crowd.  Which brings me to the next point.

4.  If you see a child running, unattended, through a crowd and then spot a woman manically weaving through people, get the hell out of her way.  It’s probably her kid.  Stepping in front of her or stopping altogether is not at all helpful.  In fact, it’s horribly dangerous.  You may get knocked down.  Particularly if she spies her child rounding a corner and going out of sight.

5. Tourists, particularly adult tourists, have no consideration for children trying to enjoy the aquarium.  Particularly at a touch tank.  I mean, obviously, your picture of the three-inch star fish is much more important than my child seeing one for the first time.  Obviously.  And don’t pretend you don’t speak English.  At the very least, you should speak “glare”, in which I am fluent.  While holding my child up to the touch tank, I was shoved and lost my footing at least twice.  Unreal.  Amazing, really, how people lose all sense of manners when in public.

Now, I realize this makes it sound like we had a miserable time.  Not at all.  Once we got there, which is a different blog entirely.  It did involve waiting 25 minutes for a bus, walking half a mile to a T station, waiting for a train, and walking another mile to the aquarium.

But, once we got there, Robbie and his best friend Pete had a blast.  Since you’ve been so diligent about reading my rules for going to an aquarium, here are some pictures of our fun:

 

Rain

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When I look at the forecast, I see only rain.  I think eight out of the next ten days call for rain.  It wears me out.  This is August, for Pete’s sake!  Time for blistering heat, days at the beach, wishing we had central air.  But not this August.  Torrential downpours.  Yesterday, Arlington had 2.59 inches of rain.  And Sunday was even worse.

Fortunately, Robbie does not share my dismal outlook for the weather.  What I hear from him is, “Mama, I want rain.  Rain!  Rain!”  And when he goes outside and finds that his miracle worker of a mother actually arranged for rain?  Pure ecstasy.

Of course, it may have something to do with this:

And this:

For his birthday, Robbie got a windbreaker from my sister (the one he wore for 14 hours straight) and a rain coat from my brother.  In these jackets, he has discovered the joy of playing in the rain.  He stomps through puddles, soaking his pants, shoes, socks, and, all too often, his mother.  He throws his arms out and spins in circles, arms stretched out and head tilted back in delight.

So much joy at water falling from the sky is catching.  I think tomorrow you’ll find me splashing in puddles, not worrying about getting soaked to the bone.  But I think the key is a good raincoat.  Too bad my birthday isn’t until November…

Camping Out

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Bedtime can get to be a little rote.  You put on pajamas.  You read a story.  If you’re not dying to unload your kid, you say some prayers.  You say silent prayers that your child will actually fall fast asleep without crying for more stories, milk, hugs, or anything else to delay bedtime.  And then you cross your fingers, quickly deposit your child into the bed, and run like your life depended on it.

That didn’t work so well for me tonight.  Robbie wanted juice (yes, I know it will rot his teeth; that’s why I diluted it).  He wanted his ball back.  Couldn’t fix that one, since he had torn it into several dozen pieces and thrown them over his crib rails.  He wanted Buzz.  Not the stuffed one in his crib.  It took me a minute to figure out how to approach this request.  I wasn’t going to put Toy Story on for him in his crib.  Shenanigans like that are reserved for mornings when I want to get an extra hour of sleep.

Instead, I looked behind Robbie’s bedroom door.  Isn’t that where all the good stuff hides?  In this case, it’s where I had stored Robbie’s new tent.  His new Toy Story tent.  He looked at me like I had three heads, and then a look of hope crossed his face as he lifted his leg to climb out of the crib.  On to his plans, I told Robbie he had to stay in his crib.

His excitement quickly turned to despair, and I could see the tears forming in his eyes.  Not wanting anything else to delay me from ABC Family, I assured Robbie that he was going to have even more fun and popped the tent up in his crib.  As I put the toys in the tent, Robbie was jumping up and down, saying, “Oh, boy!  Tent in bed!  Oh, boy!”

I got a cursory, “Night night.  Love you.” as Robbie dove headfirst into his tent, ready to drift into dreamland.  Or at least play his way there.  An hour later, I found him collapsed on his pile of toys, sippy cup resting in the crook of his arm.  Epic.

Bedtime Stories

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Stories have changed a lot since I was little.  Or at least since Justin was little.  While we were home in Kentucky, Justin found boxes of his childhood books.  We’ve managed to find shelf space for most of them, and I’ve been pulling one or two out every night to read to Robbie.  Occasionally, I find some of my old favorites.  Tonight was absolutely not one of those times.

I pulled Billy Goat and His Well-Fed Friends off the shelf, hoping for a nice book about a farm.  Or even trolls.  But I realize that was probably the Billy Goat Gruff.  Right?  Well, let me ruin the book for you.  It’s not a nice book.  At all.  On the third page, the goat realizes that the farmer is fattening him up to eat him.  And then he meets other animals who are plump, chubby, and just generally fat and tells them all that they are getting ready to be eaten.

It doesn’t stop there, my friends.  They all run off together and build a house in the woods – the goat, the pig, the goose, the rooster, and the lamb.  But their life is not without troubles.  Because, like you know had to happen, two wolves attack their house.  Don’t worry.  There’s no actual carnage in the book; the animals defeat the wolves who don’t want anything to do with their neighbors ever again.  After all, it is a children’s book…  From 1972.

I guess I’ll have to start pre-reading the children’s books before bedtime.  Just something else to add to my list.