Monday, July 28, 2008

Elmo's naked.

This is me "whispering" because I'm posting while I'm at work. It's very naughty, I know but our computer went to heaven over the weekend. Maybe she'll see Wall-E up there (I don't know why the computer is a she, it just feels right LOL). So until we can get the Geek Squad on the case I have to sneak and use the work computer...

It's funny how J will suddenly grasp a concept -- or maybe he always grasped it but didn't have the words to articulate it until now. Over the weekend we were watching Elmo in Grouchland, which is one of the few little kids' movies that doesn't make me gag. The basic plot is that Elmo loses his blanket and has to go to Grouchland to retrieve it. So as we were watching a scene featuring a full body shot of Elmo running down the street, J suddenly turned to me and said, "Elmo's nanket!"

"That's right, sweetie," I said in my Mommy's Teaching You Something voice. "Elmo lost his blanket."

"No, Mommy," J replied in his I'm Talking to the Village Idiot voice, and he actually climbed onto my lap and put his hands on either side of my face to drive the point home. "Elmo's nanket."

"Elmo's blanket? Elmo made it? Elmo's name is?"


"Ohhhh. Elmo's naked. Yes, baby, Elmo is naked."

And that was his mantra for the rest of the day. During dinner: "Mommy, Elmo nanket. He no hanna close on." During bathtime, standing up in the tub and shaking his...body at me: "Elmo nanket. I nanket, too!!" Heard over the monitor in a little singsong as he's drifting off to sleep: "Elmo nanket, Elmo nanket, Elmo nanket, Mommy nanket, Daddy nanket, too..." Okay, that one made us laugh.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

He can only be himself.

This morning I had one of those "aha!" parenting moments, those moments when you learn one of the billions of lessons that having a kid teaches you whether you want to learn it or not. We were in the midst of the Morning Getting Ready Rush, and I was simultaneously putting makeup on, talking to a friend on the phone, and brushing J's hair. It sounds pretty benign, but brushing (or God forbid combing) J's hair is a major ordeal, and as such I only do it when I have no choice because his head looks like a little sandy brown swallow's nest. J's normal response to having his hair combed is screaming bloody murder and laying on the floor with his face in his hands face-down on the carpet, while I mercilessly kneel over him dragging a comb or brush through it. As much as the screaming and crying makes me feel bad for him, like most people of our...ethnicity, his hair is kinky-curly and he's gotta get used to it. So I brush, he screams, and everyone's blood pressure goes up for a few minutes.

So anyway I was combing J's hair while on the phone, and although I'm used to the hair drama, the friend I was talking to was astonished at the level of his screeching. J is a screamer. He always has been, ever since he discovered that he could do it. I don't mean that he cries loudly. He screams. Like a coed in a horror movie. Every time he gets worked up enough, he takes one of those huge breaths where they suck in all of the air in a 3-foot radius, and screams like I'm cutting his arms off. So my friend hears this, and keeps saying, "Wow, he's really screaming." Or, "That's pretty overly dramatic, don't you think?" And I was being nonchalant about it, because, well, I'm used to it.

"Doesn't that get on your nerves?" she asks. "Can't you make him stop doing that?"

"I guess I could try to make him stop," I say. "But it's a losing battle. He's a screamer. It's his thing." I could feel her undercurrent of disapproval through the phone line but I didn't care. "I mean, it's just the way he is."

And there was my lesson. J may not be perfect, he may have his annoying quirks like screaming, but he is what he is. It's not my job to change him to meet someone else's expectations or to force him to be something he's not. Sure, I teach him manners and put him in time-out when his behavior is bad, but the key to parenting is to figure which things are changeable, and which things are part of the package that is J. He can only be himself.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wow, thanks!

I'm not sure where this came from or what it means, but over the weekend I checked the blog and three people (Jen, Heidi, and Rita, check out their blogs, I do daily) posted that they want to give my blog this "award"!! Cool! The "rules" for this award state that I'm to nominate other blogs that I enjoy:

Joanna's Blog: Sidewalk Chalk and Sippy Cups (great blog name, by the way) -- her writing style is great, and her adventures with Michael are so similar to mine with J, they always make me smile.

Kaycee's Blog: Life as a Mom at 21 -- she's so crafty!! I don't know where she finds the time to make bows, sew, and decorate her house. I wish I was that motivated at her age.

Rita's Blog: Blog Soup -- very personal and honest. And like me she loves Obama, Boulder...and brownies.

There's actually quite a few I keep up with, so I'll try to update my blogroll tonight so you can find links to them. I keep meaning to get around to it, but you know how that goes.

Thanks, everyone!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday Night Notes

Ok, ok, I know it's Saturday but for once Mommy and Daddy got to go to a movie last night (Batman -- EXCELLENT) and didn't get home until the wee hours of the morning.

  • I am loving J's verbal skills lately. It's amazing to me how one day he's saying, "Go bye-bye" or "All done" and we think he's a genius, then a few short weeks later it's, "Mommy get up I want breakfast," or "I be good then I have chocolate milk?" The part that cracks me up, though, is that he's still so innocent and hasn't learned to lie yet, so he's constantly telling on himself because he's so proud to inform us of his every move. So if things seem a little too quiet, or I hear a crash, or the cat goes running past me, I can count on J to truthfully fill me in. "I makin' a mess on the wall with kayons!" or "I chasing Yoda pull his tail!" or "I being nonny (naughty), go sit in timeout NOW!!" (he actually said that yesterday, the last part being a spot-on Mommy impersonation.)
  • Speaking of impersonations, we're getting into the little parrot phase, where we have to be very careful what we say around J. He's starting to mimic everything, good and bad. My favorites:
    "Mimi stop barkin! You make-a me crazy!" (I don't know why, but when he says it he sounds like a little Italian guy.)
    "I count to three, I mean it! 1-2-3!!"
    "I said, INNAMINNIT!!" (In a minute!)
    "Oh Jee-suh!" (impersonating me saying "Oh, Jesus!". I know, that one's pretty bad.)
  • I hate whining. Crying, screaming, wailing, kicking, biting, throwing himself on the floor, all of those irritate me, but the whining....hoo boy. That's the one thing that sends me over the edge. The sad part is, I don't think he understands what "whining" is, so when I'm snapping at him "Enough with the whining, already!" he gives me a total blank look...and keeps whining. Calgon, take me away :)
  • It's official. I'm part of the (slightly) older generation. At work the other day we were listening to the radio, and me and the "older" techs started reminiscing about how much better music used to be, back in the days of Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire. Which immediately aged us because a) We were reminiscing about old music, the way our grandparents used to do, and b) One of the younger techs piped up, "Who's Earth, Wind & Fire?" And she was serious. This is the same girl who, when two dogs came in named Cagney and Lacey and us older folks were going on about how cute that was, said, "I don't get it. Is that from an old movie?" Sheesh. Youngsters.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mama's Boy

I've figured out a new bag of tricks when J is throwing tantrums or refusing to do what I ask...pretend to start crying. I should get an Oscar nomination for these performances. At bathtime, when he's running around naked refusing to get in the tub, I start with the pout and lip quiver. "J," I whimper, "you're making me sad." The cry-voice usually stops him dead in his tracks. "Why you kying, Mommy?" he says. "You're making me cry, J. won't get in the tub and you won't let me put your diaper on and you keep throwing your blocks at Yoda!!" Then I really let loose with the wailing. "Mommy, stop kying! Stop kying, Mommy!" And he jumps into the tub. And lays down for his diaper. And leaves the cat alone for a few minutes. It warms my heart--the one thing he can't stand is to see his Mommy crying.

He's such a Mama's Boy. Hopefully he'll stay that way.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Night Notes

  • The gas crisis is affecting us in interesting ways. The other day, J was refusing to get out of the car seat because he wants to be the one to unbuckle the straps, so we ended up having a standoff in the Target parking lot in 112 degree heat. Every time I tried to wrench him loose (I mean, "gently encourage him to willingly get out of the car"), he started bucking and kicking so hard one of his shoes flew off, screaming "I DO IT!! I DO IT!!". This prompted an internal debate: Give up and go home, thus wasting the precious gas it took to get there, or take a screaming kid into Target and ruin everyone else's serene, peaceful day? Sorry, Target shoppers, you lost. I couldn't waste the gas!
  • The new Guilty Pleasure that J and I enjoy together: Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew on MTV. He can lay on the bed and watch a whole episode with me, sitting up to clap with the audience after each performance, saying "Yayyy! Good dassing (dancing)!" I think I could get him to watch So You Think You Can Dance, too, but it comes on after his bedtime. He even watched part of a Project Runway marathon with me today (ok, I know, we're sounding like couch potatoes, but that's why they're guilty pleasures). TH won't watch any of those shows with me...another reason why I gotta love that kid.
  • After a little hiatus, I started running again this week. I kind of fell off the wagon for a few weeks when I was dealing with a sinus infection and we were travelling. It's going...okay. I hate how a few weeks off totally wipes out months of good training. Darnit. I want to run at least 2 more 5Ks this year and maybe a 10K eventually, so I guess I better suck it up.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

If you've never had a toddler...

this is probably the exact kind of thing you don't really care to read about on someone's blog. There. That was my disclaimer. Because I almost titled this entry...


By himself! He was in the tub, and suddenly he was climbing out saying "I pee-pee, I pee-pee," and lo and behold, he got up on the seat, sat down, and went! Like he'd been doing it his whole life. Then he nonchalantly said, "I done," flushed the toilet, and climbed back in the tub. While I maniacally clapped and shouted, "Good job, baby!" and called frantically for TH to come upstairs lest he miss the momentous occasion. Who knows when it'll happen again (tomorrow? In a few months? On his 3rd birthday?) but it was exciting, let me tell you.

Ok. I'm done. I guess I can cross potty-training off the list of Things I'll Never Obsess About and Then Share With Random Strangers. I never understood the fascination parents have with their kids' elimination habits, until now. It's kind of funny when you think about it. How can I be so excited about J using the potty ONE TIME that I wrote a blog entry about it, but I have yet to comment on the very real possibility of us having a black president soon? Do you see what becoming a parent does to you?!

Anyway it was still pretty cool.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

We just came back from our much-anticipated and much-needed family vacation to Colorado. It was just what the doctor ordered, for all three of us. As we drove past the Vegas city limits with the smoggy seedy town behind us and open desert in front of us, I could literally feel "Funkytown" dropping away. The road trip itself was so much better than I could have hoped for. J handled it beautifully, and I am not lying when I say this is the least stress we've had travelling with him (Thank God for portable DVD players, coloring books...and a Slinky. Who knew?). I hate to admit this but I'm so glad he's still not potty trained, I think that made it easier. We lasted through a 12-hour drive with only one real "pit stop" and no tantrums, crying, or whining. Amazing.
This trip back home was interesting for so many reasons. As we drove down I-70 TH and I reminisced about the last time we were on that road, when we moved from Colorado to Vegas 2 weeks after I graduated from vet school (4 years ago). Then, it was me, TH, and our cat Yoda in a U-Haul, dragging our little 3-cylinder Chevy Metro behind us. We didn't own anything except a mountain of student loan debt and that little car. I had yet to touch my first "real" patient, and TH was leaving a good job so I could pursue my career. We moved into a little crappy apartment across the street from my new job so I could walk to work since we only had the one car (with no air-conditioning! In Vegas! And that's the only car we had for a year and a half!!). Thanks to the forced poverty of vet school we were maxed out on our credit cards with over six figures (!) of student loans to pay off between the two of us. J wasn't even a spot on the horizon at that time...when I graduated from vet school I wasn't even sure I wanted kids, imagine that.

As we talked about that crazy time in our lives, I really started to appreciate just how far we've come in four short years. I'm no longer a new grad; I act and feel and practice like a doctor with a little experience. I'm on my second job as a vet after realizing how important work-life balance really is. After dying a spectacular death we said goodbye to the Chevy Metro and now have two almost-new cars. We're out of credit card debt -- as a matter of fact we've lived without credit cards since the day we moved here. We just bought a house. To Yoda's dismay we now have two cats and a dog. AND A KID. What a difference a couple of years makes...

Anyway the trip was magnificent. It was fun to go back home as tourists -- we went to the zoo, the museum, and the waterpark, as well as taking J up to Boulder to visit our old stomping grounds, the University of Colorado. We ate alot and let J stay up late watching movies and went on a date night without paying a babysitter. I can't really describe how homesick I am after this trip. J had a blast hanging out with his older cousins, and I loved being able to spend so much time with my sisters and friends. We built a whole life in Colorado before we left -- family, people we grew up with, friends from undergrad and vet school and work. I didn't realize how many people we've been missing over the past few years. We capped off the week with a huge family picnic that was more of a mini family reunion, with aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends that we haven't seen all together in one place in years. Not to mention how great it was to spend 9 uninterrupted days with the 3 of us, no work or daycare to rush off to. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that's the longest consecutive time I've spent with J since...well, since he started going to daycare. How sad is that? Needless to say we were sad to come home. J actually cried when TH dropped him off at daycare yesterday morning, which he has NEVER done since he started going there at 6 months old. Honestly as I was running around at work yesterday with dogs barking, phones ringing, and messages piling up on my desk, I could understand how he felt.
So now for the pictures. I took over 300 pictures over 6 days! Here are a few highlights:
J on the playground at the family picnic. Yes! Thanks to the influence of Older Cousins he finally went down a big-boy slide by himself!

Road-trippin'. Some people do sandwiches, some people do fried chicken, some people do fast food....J does pancakes. Easy to make, easy to handle, mess-free.
J and Daddy at the Discovery Zone in the Museum of Nature and Science.

And we thought J had a big head...

Visiting the firehouse of Uncle L.D., the Real-Life Firefighter.

Running through the student union fountain at the place where TH and I Really Got Serious About Each Other -- CU Boulder. How strange to be the Older Folks on the college campus, snickering when an overly earnest kid with a clipboard asks us if we want to participate in a survey about "the injustice of CU's policy against serving beer at football games" and then laughing out loud when he tells us we "have to be legal drinking age for this survey." On second thought that kind of made my day. It was almost as good as getting carded.

My old dorm, Sewall Hall. Thirteen years later! Eh. I feel old. (On a sidenote I don't think there's any arguing that CU has one of the most gorgeous campuses on the planet. Trees, grass, the Flatiron Mountains in the background shrouded in fog in the mornings...)
Mommy and J at another old stomping ground, the Denver Zoo. Let me just say that in the 8 years since I was a zookeeper there, they have really made it into a world-class zoo. If you're ever in Denver you should check it out. It was a very weird deja vu feeling being back at DZ. I was a zookeeper for 3 years before vet school. I still clearly remember feeding fish to the penguins outside in the summer and shoveling up frozen zebra and bison poop in the winter. And the "Bat Cave Incident." Another story for another day.

J's cousins Cami and Xavier. (Twin sister's kids. Ack! They're growing up too fast!!)

Ice cream at the zoo. A perfect day.

Daddy and J preparing for the Stroller-lympics in the zoo parking lot. Seriously must we do this every time Daddy pushes the stroller?

"You Kids." J's new term, from us saying it alot while we were there ("You kids go outside and play, you kids go downstairs to eat dinner.") He's still asking for them every day. "I wanna go play wit you kids."