Monthly Archives: October 2011

Robbie Gets a Chore

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Last night, Robbie found Barkley’s food container and informed me that he would feed Barkley.  He opened the lid, found the cup, filled it with food, and dumped it into Barkley’s dish.  Robbie then patted Barkley’s head, gave him a kiss, and said, “Food, Barkley.  Eat.”  And, Barkley did.

You see the opportunity that has presented itself here, don’t you?  My child is begging for a chore.  He wants to be involved.  He wants to be a part of the family.  Right?  Not one to throw away an opportunity to pawn responsibility off onto one of the boys in the house, I told Robbie that feeding Barkley could be his job.  And, I’m not lying here, Robbie’s smile lit up his whole face.  He said, “Job.  QiQi feed Barkley.  ‘Kay, Mama!”  And we shook on it, making it an official deal.

Official deal, yes.  But not one I expected Robbie to remember.  He didn’t mention it at all when we came downstairs in the morning, although that may be because I was yelling at him to “Hurry!  Hurry!”  We got home late tonight, and I left Robbie inside while I let Barkley out and took out the trash.  I brought Barkley back in, hoping to find my house still in one piece.

What I found was Robbie, with the dog food pulled off the shelf, pouring a final cup of dog food into Barkley’s dish.  He looked up, so proud of himself, and said, “Barkley, eat!  Eat food, Barkley.”  He then placed the cup back in the container, closed it up, and put the container back on the shelf.  Robbie gave me a big hug and said, “Job, Mama!” and ran into the living room to watch Fireman Sam.  I’ve never been more proud.  Or more eager to pawn more jobs off on my two-year-old.  I wonder how long it will be until I can get him to clean the litter boxes…

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More Sleep

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Every night, Robbie goes to sleep with his light on.  He likes to read stories to Baby (his stuffed bat) and Moo (you’ll remember his stuffed giraffe, I’m sure).  And, as you can imagine, that requires some lighting.  Last night, as usual, I left Robbie in his crib with the light on and went to do some things in my room.  On my way back downstairs, Robbie called me into his room and said, “Mama, light.  Off.  Please.”  Surprised, I happily obliged.  Robbie said thank you, put his head on his pillow and went to sleep.

This morning, I went in to wake up my cherub at 7:05.  I did the same thing I always do: turned on the light, told Robbie it was time to wake up, and walked across his room to start getting his clothes ready.  A few seconds later, the lights went off.  I cursed under my breath, sure I would have to go down three flights of stairs to flip the breaker.

Turning around to head downstairs, I noticed Robbie at the light switch.  He saw me as he dropped back into his bed and said, “Night-night, Mama.”  And, with that, he put his head on the pillow, pulled his blanket over his body, and closed his eyes to go back to sleep.

After several attempts – and a few tears – I finally managed to get Robbie up to get dressed for the day.  He noticed it was raining and made a beeline for the closet to get his raincoat.  While only wearing a diaper.  I had to do some fast talking to get him into actual clothes and, somewhere along the line, he informed me that he would put on his rain shirt before wearing his raincoat.  Whatever it takes, right?  I guess I just have to hope he doesn’t remember that he wears that particular shirt the next time it rains.  You know, like tomorrow…

Getting Home – One Mistake at a Time

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It was supposed to be a simple thing – getting home.  And it probably would have been – if I had known the time for my flight.  I was sure it was a 5:40 flight.  Positive.  Until we were halfway to Louisville.  All of a sudden, it hit me that I might have had a 5:20 flight.  Of course we hit traffic.  And arrived at the airport at 5:00, barely on time for a 5:40 flight.

Unfortunately, my flight was not at 5:40.  It was not at 5:20.  It was at 5:17.  And we did not make it.  In case you’ve been thinking about missing a flight, don’t.  It’s $75 per ticket to rebook your mistake.  Unless you cry.  Then it’s only $75 total.

Robbie must have known something was up.  He was perfectly behaved.  Didn’t even get out of his seat.  Even gave me some hugs.  And he didn’t go to sleep.  At all.  But it was fun.  I felt like I had someone to really enjoy an adventure with, especially because Robbie is still so totally into planes and flying.  In fact, every day this week, Robbie has told me that he wants to go fly because it’s fun to go zoom.  Duh.

I’ll be honest (when am I not?); I initially didn’t handle this missed flight well.  I was envisioning getting home at 2:00 in the morning, another three-hour layover, and $150 in Erin-is-an-idiot fees.  But it worked out for the best.  Our flight out of Cleveland was delayed, so we only got home thirty minutes later.  We also didn’t have confirmed seats on our second flight, so…  We might not have gotten home Monday night at all.  There’s a reason for everything, and we got home in one piece.  So, lesson learned.  At least until the next time I miss a flight.

Chasing… Me.

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Eighteen months ago, I started running.  And by running, I mean walking fast.  Ish.  Twelve months ago, my friend Allie mentioned something called the Bourbon Chase – a 200-mile relay race through the bourbon distilleries in Kentucky.  And it was this weekend.

Our team was slated to be among the slowest; I’m sure my projected pace of 12:30/mile didn’t help much.  Even though this was a team event (12 of us in two vans), this was really about me.  It was about doing what I never thought I could do.  It was about permanently shedding the old me.  It was about pounding the pavement for 16 miles over 24 hours.  It was about doing what I never thought I would do.

Yes, it was intimidating.  Terrifying.  Particularly because it involved a 6-mile run in the middle of the night.  I hit the first run full of trepidation, hoping not to get lost.  Miraculously, I didn’t.  In fact, somewhere, on a dark country road in full night running gear, I found myself.  I got lost in my breathing and took in the expansive sky above me – it went on infinitely.  And, even though I felt so insignificant and got passed thirty times, I felt so powerful.  So alive.

Even though I wasn’t the fastest person out there, I was the fastest me.  I was doing things I never thought I could do.  And now I want to do them better.  It was the inspiration I needed to get myself back in gear.  So, here I go.  Publicly declaring it.  I will lose another forty pounds.  I will run a half marathon in November and one in January.  And.  I.  Will.  Run.  A.  Marathon.

Robbie Meets Chicago

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So, we went home to Kentucky last Thursday.  And Robbie and I got to fly alone.  Fortunately, it was a totally different experience than I expected.  The last time I flew with Robbie was six months ago, without a seat for him.  Epic fail.  Not so much now.

I told Robbie on Wednesday that he was going to get to fly to go see Nona, Pops, Hal-a-ree, and Hunter.  I even told him that he was going to get to take two planes.  And until we got on the plane, all I heard was, “Fly, Mama.  Two planes.  Oh, boy!”  For the first time, he actually realized that he was leaving, how he was leaving, and who he was going to see.  This brought on a certain element of panic for Robbie; he had to make sure he had all the right toys and had to be certain that he was the one to put them in his packpack.

We got through security and the first flight just fine.  Robbie watched The Smurfs, colored, and ate some potato chips.  As a reward for being such a good boy, we stopped for ice cream.  After all, there had to be some way to fill up our THREE HOUR layover in Chicago.  This took up about five minutes.

As a side note, the bathroom I used in Chicago had no facilities for child changing.  Are you kidding me?!

The real challenge, however, came on the second flight, which left at 10:30.  Three hours past Robbie’s bedtime.  He.  Lost.  His.  Mind.  Completely.  Of course, he waited until we were on the plane to do this – much to my horror and the extreme irritation of the other passengers.  By the way, loudly complaining, “Well, this is going to be an interesting flights” to your seat partner and rolling your eyes does nothing but make me want to kick your seat and pinch my kid to make him cry a little harder.

Eventually, the plane started moving and Robbie stopped crying to look out the window and get ready to “Zoom!  Fly!”  And then he fell asleep for the rest of the flight, much to everyone’s relief.

Kid Walker Wanted

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The position has been filled.  By our dog.

Robbie, Justin, Barkley, and I went to the park for a family outing this afternoon.  Justin and Robbie hit the playground while Barkley and I went for a run in the middle of a cross country meet.  Barkley broke down a mile in and refused to go another step, so we headed back to the playground.

As soon as Robbie saw Barkley, he flew down the slide and came running for his dog.  And the two of them were off.  Robbie grabbed the leash, and he and Barkley took off around the playground.  Justin gave me one of those do-you-really-think-this-is-a-good-idea looks, and all I could do was shrug.  And laugh, as Barkley pulled Robbie into the woods and through the mud.  Oh, and as Barkley took off into a run, leaving Robbie sitting in the mud.

Barkley circled back and waited, a cycle we saw the entire way around the pond and back to the cars.  Every time a dog came into view, Barkley pulled Robbie along the path and Robbie tried to keep up.  He hit the deck several times.  Eventually, they came to a nice pace.

And, as we walked around the pond, I reminded Justin of a walk we took in the same place with Barkley when I was pregnant.  Justin told me then, hand on my belly, that he couldn’t wait to watch our son walk Barkley because he knew they would be best friends.  And they are.

 

Taking a Toddler to Church Commandments

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Anyone who had ventured into a church with a toddler knows how trying it can be.  I was reminded of this yesterday when Justin and I slept late, missed the 9:00 children’s Mass, and endured the lengthier and less child-friendly 10:30 Mass.

1.  Thou shalt arrive early enough to procure decent seats.  Particularly ones on the small aisle to the side that abut the wall that prevent the toddler from bothering other people (after all, there’s only enough room for four people there).  We violated this commandment and had to sit at the open pew.  You know, the one with nothing in front of it to contain the toddler-turned-muppet?  At least it was off to the side…

2.  Thou shalt bring food and drink.  I didn’t really want to be the mom whose child ate during Mass.  But sometimes it’s the only way to keep them quiet.  Of course, yelling, “Pretzel!” in between the gospel and the homily isn’t exactly ideal, but what are you going to do?

3.  Thou shalt bring only quiet toys and books.  Even I know this one.  And I obeyed it: Smurfs, crayons, books with plenty of flaps to keep Robbie entertained.  Unfortunately, they still make a significant amount of noise when heaved across the aisle.  And concrete floors covered with thin carpeting still makes quite a noise.

4.  Thou shalt not allow the child to scream at the top of his lungs.  Duh.  But best of luck trying to keep your two-year-old quiet when he starts screaming, “Daddy!’ repeatedly.  Loudly.  And only at quiet times during church.  As a point of advice, trying to stop your child by putting your hand over his mouth only muffles the noise.  It doesn’t do much for the volume.

It would be much more appropriate if I could come up with ten commandments for taking your toddler to church.  But I’ve blocked the rest of the experience out.  Five minutes in, I felt like I’d gone ten rounds in the ring.  Robbie did better when people were singing and when I was explaining exactly what was happening.  We’ll try again next week.  But we’ll be at the 9:00 Mass when there are other kids there and we aren’t the only parents struggling to introduce our children to religion.

Robbie the… Muppet?

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I’m sure it will come as no surprise that when we went to Target to buy a Halloween costume for Robbie on Friday night, he picked out an Elmo costume.  Sure, he was enticed by the plane (which was actually a rocket – a word not really in his vocabulary yet).  Heck, he even tried it on in the cart for awhile.  But then he spied it.  Elmo.  And all hopes of having our son blast off down the block as a rocket ship were dashed.  Secretly, I love that he’s so passionate about Elmo because I know this won’t last long.  I had no idea the lengths this unabashed passion would go, though.

Robbie forgot about the costume until Saturday night when we got home from the mall.  I suggested that we put it on to surprise Daddy.  Robbie started drinking right away…

I left shortly after for Lawrence’s homecoming (an adventure in and of itself), placing Robbie in the capable hands of my generally level-headed husband.  I expected to return home to a toddler fast asleep in bed.  Instead, I came home to this:

That’s right, ladies and gentleman.  My toddler was replaced by a muppet.  Justin managed to get Robbie out of his Elmo costume for a brief ten-minute bath and then the toddler-turned-muppet demanded to be Elmo again.  In fact, Sunday morning, when I asked Robbie his name, he informed me that he was Elmo.  He even went to church dressed in his Elmo costume.  I figured God would understand.  And it gives me good material for his first date, graduation, and wedding.

Bug Bite Blow Up

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Ever since I was little, I’ve had horrible reactions to bug bites.  Horrible.  Welts all over my leg horrible.  And, unfortunately, Robbie has met the same fate.  At some point on Friday, Robbie got a bug bite above his left eye.  I first noticed it at the homecoming game that night when Justin asked me if Rob’s face looked a little swollen.  It wasn’t out of control, but his eye was puffy and the skin around it was swollen.  And maybe if I’d given him some Benadryl, that would have been the end of it.  But I didn’t.

And he woke up looking like this:

This picture was taken thirty minutes after I gave him a round of ‘cine (Robbie-speak for medicine).  When I found him in his crib, Robbie’s eye was swollen shut and he told me that he has a “booboo – hot.”  Boy, was it!  His face was on fire.  Justin and I debated whether or not we should take him to the doctor.  On a normal Saturday morning, we would have taken him.  But, yesterday we had a gun safety class (I know, I know…) at 8:30.  We decided Benadryl would be our first course of action.

Fortunately, within half an hour, he could open his eye again.  He looked pretty rough for the rest of the day.  In fact, his face swelled up so much that we couldn’t even see the bug bite anymore.  This morning, he woke up and was back to his handsome self, and I had to convince him that he didn’t need the ‘cine.  Although, I was kind of glad he thought it was good enough to want more – for several reasons.  First, cold season is right around the corner.  And second, we have some long flights coming up this week.  To answer your question, yes, I will.