Sunday, December 30, 2007

Share and share alike...

Before I begin, let me say that I have been fighting back the urge to edit the last post, as over the past couple of days I have been recalling more words that Ethan can say; but I am not going to be "that" mom. I don't need to prove that Ethan has words, nor do I need to keep a count of how many he has (except in my own little notebook between the couch cushions. just kidding. maybe.)

Along with the word-of-the-day game (today we heard "crazy" and "gotcha!"--shit, I'm doing it, aren't I?), Ethan has also begun to play around with the idea of sharing. He and his friends are actually becoming aware of the world around them and that others want a turn at what they're doing, or a chance to play with what they have in their hot little hands at the moment. Amazing.

He seems particularly keen on sharing food. With me. This is not so good. If you've looked at my other blog (the weight loss one, not the book one. deargod, I'm a nerd), you'll see that sharing Ethan's high-fat, calorie-laden, "just put on a freaking pound, kid!" food is not necessarily a great thing for me right now. So I have become a master at fake eating. It involves taking giant pretend bites and over-emoting about what a tasty morsel of yumminess I have been given, and how nice he was to share it with me. This positive reenforcement, of course, leads to more sharing. I have had more than my share of Thomas the Train sippy cups shoved in my face. Whole milk is not my friend.

But it's not just his attempt to beef up mommy that have us feeling the love; he's been taking turns on red-rider wagon rides with his friend Lily, getting off of Chloe's ride-on toys so she can have a go, and gladly handing over toys, without being asked, at play group.

I know this will eventually lead to some serious shove-fests and embarrassingly red-faced, toy-clutching tantrums, and moments of me feeling utterly and glaringly incompetent as a parent, but for now, in it's experimental stage, it is so much fun to watch. Because Ethan doesn't just share with his human friends.

No, he also likes to share with the kitties. This evening, for example, he was pretty emphatic that Abby have a few sips of his milk after dinner. Now, Abby is more of a lapper than a sippy cup cat, so she didn't actually partake. Had he been able to pour it out into a nice little saucer, perhaps she would have obliged him. Still, it's the thought that counts.

Here are some pictures of him spreading the love:

Mama went on a baking-tear and we shared a spatula o' chocolate (no internet, I didn't let my child eat raw batter, rife with salmonella; it is just chocolate frosting and butter whipped together for a no-bake cookie. Thankfully, he ate most of it.

First it's your turn...

Then, with no screaming or shoving or crying, it is my turn! Imagine that.

Mr. Ducky loves him some fig newton...

And don't forget to wash that down with some milk, Mr. Ducky...

Even his toys must share with each other. Here, Wally, the Red Sox mascot has given up his comfy Adirondack chair for the over-worked, under-paid bus driver from Fisher Price land. Clearly he needs a break; those little plastic kids are freaking hellions.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The things he says...

For a long time, Ethan wasn't very verbal. He babbled at the *right* time and he managed a "mamamama" and a "dadadada" right on cue, and with his daddy obsession (whatever), he's been chanting "dada" for months and months. But other than "dada", there was a long stretch of time when "vroom vroom" (the noise, not the words) and "guh-gah" ("kitty" in Ethanese) were the only words he said.

I sat and watched as my girlfriends' children (all younger than Ethan and all girls, who I know are chatty much earlier) started saying "baby" and "please" before a year old. One of the girls is now working on her dissertation, I believe.

I tried to pretend it didn't bother me that kids 3 and 4 months younger than him were waxing poetic about mama and babies and balls, while Ethan pointed and said, "guh-gah" at any cat that walked by, but there were days when I drove home from play group with Ethan's lack of language weighing heavily on my mind.

I read a lot about a language explosion between 15-18 months, so I waited patiently. There was no explosion. We continued to hear a lot of "dada" "vroom vroom" and "guh-gah".

I will admit that one day I opened up the Mayo Clinic website's autism page and had myself breathing into a brown paper bag within a matter of seconds, completely convinced my child was living in that world. I watched like an OCD hawk for signs of interaction and name recognition until I had to just tell myself to chill the fuck out. Anyone who's spent more than 5 minutes with Ethan knows that he's not autistic, but just wasn't talking.

But here we are, about a week shy of 20 months and Ethan cannot stop the words. He now says a fully recognizable "kitty", "mami" and "papi" (in addition to mama and dada), "all done" "eat" "eye" "ear" "car" "choo-choo" "tree" "leche" "agua" "puppy" "bye bye" "hi" "Emi" (his aunt), "puzzle" "muffin" "egg" "cheese" "please" "thank you" "yummy" and I know I am leaving a ton out, as he repeats every third word out of my mouth (which is why I make sure only the first and second words are obscenities).

I realize these are not feats of genius. I realize that these are tiny words and he's not yet embarked upon his Master's thesis or anything like that. Perhaps and 20 months he *should* be saying more. Eh. Whatever.

I find that I'm far more willing to let go of the "should"s these days. I'm too busy basking in the sound of Ethan's voice.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Holiday Overload...

Or, the many faces of Ethan...

Hmmm...something exciting is afoot, but I am not sure what it is...

On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a crazy uncle named JP

A child is never happier than when he's gotten food all over his clothes...Mommy's too busy drinking rum & diet cokes to bother changing him. Good mommy!

Can you already see the "Ugh. Ma, just drop me off a block from the mall, okay?" look on his face??

A pile of presents taller than your head...the dream of every little kid (okay and me, too).

Mommy is a slave to Gap advertisement...but look how cute!

Action shot

About 20 minutes into unwrapping presents...can you say "overstimulated"??

King o' the lashes...

Thursday, December 20, 2007


It happened again. He's kissing more girls. This week, at a play date with Lily (different Lily), there was more smooching. I guess when you are the only boy in an otherwise all girl play group, it's bound to happen, but seriously. He does seem to have a penchant for girls named Lily (or Lilly, as the case may be) and I suppose I should be happy that these girls come from good homes, with loving parents, and he's known each girl since she was only a couple of months old. It's hard to have more history than that when you're only one and a half. I guess if he's got to be smooching chicas, I'm happy he's keeping it within the play group and not randomly "muah'ing" cuties at Starbucks or the play ground.

In case you don't believe it is:

Ethan and his lovely lady Lilies.

Alone at you doin'?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I will never have a cooking blog...

Lest you worry that now with the weight-loss blog and the reading blog that I might be spreading myself a bit thin (and if you are worrying about that, let me recommend a hobby, mkay?), I assure that if nothing else, I will never, ever start a cooking blog.

I just can't cook. Can't. Can't. Can't.

I try. Really, I do. But sadly, I generally come up with something that looks nothing like the picture in the cookbook and tastes only vaguely like food.

I have been *cooking* at least 3-4 nights a week since the new kitchen was finished and I have to admit, even though the end result could rarely be rated any higher than "edible", I do love the process of preparing a meal. I just wish the intention behind it translated to the finished product.

Husband insists that it's because I attempt fancy dishes on a Tuesday, when really Tuesday should be, I don't know, meatloaf. Nevermind the fact that I have no idea how to make a meatloaf, why shouldn't I try to make a paella? Without a recipe? In 20 minutes?

Oh dear god, it's so embarrassing.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Daddy Issues

I can recall several months ago kvetching because the child was so attached to me that no one else could comfort him. When he was crying, he wanted me. At night, he wanted to cuddle with me.

Well, no more my friends. Ethan has decided that mommy is so ten minutes ago. I went out of fashion faster than parachute pants, my friends. One second everything was fine and paradise-like and the next second BOOM! mommy-history!

Who has captured his attention enough to make mommy so much proverbial chopped liver? Daddy. Who, by the way, I agree is pretty spectacular, but c'mon!!! Yeah, Ethan tolerates me all right during the day when I'm his only option (although, let's not forget if Miss Carlin is around, he is all about getting into her lap). But the second he hears the keys in the back door and knows that Daddy is on his way in, I am left in a cloud of dust that would shame the road runner right into retirement.

At night, if he wakes up, Ethan wants the comfort of Daddy's arms, not mine. I am actually not going to complain about this because I am getting some extra z's out of this and it's nice, I won't lie.

Just now Ethan woke from a nap well before it was time for him to get up, so I went up to snuggle him back to sleep. No dice. See, it's Saturday and the little man knows his father is somewhere in the house. That being the case, Mommy is way sub-par. I am only for mid-week nap wakings, people. So there was fussing and general, "you're not good enoughiness" going on until I called down the stairs to Husband to come rescue me from my nap-time incompetence. Alas, as soon as Husband got in there for the snuggle, all was well.

No worries. I know these things swing like a pendulum and it won't be long before I'm the favored parental unit once again. But jeez, kid; throw me a bone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's Crouptacular!

So we spent last night at the hospital. Not fun, my friends. Not fun.

I took Ethan to the pediatrician's office on Tuesday morning because Ethan's croup was worse on Monday night than it had been on Sunday. Husband and I went back and forth on whether or not to take him to the ER, but thought since the steamy bathroom had cleared him up a bit, we could forgo that party and just wait 'til the morning to see what the doctor had to say.

What the doctor had to say was a whole bunch of nothing, but he did go in and out of the exam room with a stealthy gait that was a bit on the mad-scientist scale of things. He took one listen to Ethan's cough and lungs and loped out of the room, to return moments later with some archaic looking machine that appeared to be an old elementary school tape player (one of the huge, almond colored ones). But it wasn't a tape player, it was a nebulizer. Apparently to nebulize my son, whatever that means.

Have you ever had to hold your child during a nebulizer treatment? Think of trying to keep a grasp on a fistful of jello. Only the jello has flailing arms, kicking legs and is screaming. A lot.
One of the nurses had to come in and help me restrain him while the medicated steam did it stuff on his airways. I went through my whole repertoire of songs to sing, and when none of that worked, I just joined Ethan in a good ol' cry.

After that, he fell asleep in my arms (the appointment coincided with nap time) and slept comfortably through the wheezing until such time as the nurse came back...with two steroid shots for his little legs. Not a good way to wake up, I'll tell you that in case you couldn't surmise it on your own. So I talked to him a bit until he woke up; fortunately the nurse was patient and didn't tap her foot or sigh heavily or anything. Obviously there was much screaming after the shots and then the mad scientist guy came back in and listened to Ethan's heart for an inordinately long time.

Apparently one of the medicines in the nebulizer set his heart racing and the doctor didn't like that. Nor did he like the rate at which Ethan's blood oxygen saturation levels increased during the treatment. They did go up, but they were so low to begin with that their post-treatment rate didn't impress the doctor as I had hoped.

So he said to me, "I think he's a keeper," which I thought, for a minute was his pithy way of telling me what a fabulous kid I have. Um. No (well, I do, but that's not what he meant). He meant "I'm keeping him; he can't go home. He's going to the hospital." This was a very bad moment.

Fortunately for us, it seems that the doctor (who also recommended that Ethan not leave the house between now and April lest he catch something like menengitis), was a bit of an over-reactor because by the time we got to the hospital, the treatments from the doctor's office seemed to kick in and we had nary a wheeze or croupy cough the entire time we were in the hospital.

The pulmonary specialist came to see us and hailed Ethan as the healthiest kid on the floor. We sort of felt like frauds, but we were happy to go with the better safe than sorry idea and ride it out for the night, through the chest x-rays and the next nebulizer treatment.

The nurses didn't bat an eye when we asked them to replace the metal crib in the room with a regular hospital bed so Ethan and I could co-sleep overnight. We did have to sign a "I won't blame you if I suffocate my kid in my sleep" waiver, but I expected that since the AAP can't endorse co-sleeping.

Last night was so surreal for me. After Husband left, it was just Ethan and I, curled up in the hospital bed, him snoozing peacefully, me listening obsessively to the sound of his breathing, waiting for the slightest sound of strider breathing (that gasping struggle to inhale). I drifted in and out of sleep as Ethan rolled over and kicked me in the tummy several times. I realized that the last time I lay in a hospital bed with him, he had done the same thing, but from the inside of my belly. Just like back then, when I was in the hospital waiting out a threatened pre-term labor at 26 weeks, I would have given anything not to have to be in that bed, under those circumstances. But both times I was blessed with the best companion I could possibly have had. And each time, we were okay in the end.

They sprung us this morning, kind of scratching their heads as to why we had been admitted in the first place. They even sent Elmo up to say "hi" to Ethan, which was, to him, probably exciting enough to make the whole ordeal worthwhile.

So here are some pictures from our Crouptacular extravaganza...

Monday's steam-fest in the bathroom. He is not amused.

Me and the little man settling in; apparently we're going to listen to some tunes on the boom-box that came with our private room. How very fancy-pants of us. And note to self: pack make up and a brush next time you go to the hospital, fool.

Sleepiness personified.

The end of the day; he'd been such a trooper, but everyone's got their limit. He was asleep soon after this, poor little monkey.

The next day, we felt well enough for:

some mild destruction of hospital property...

...trying on mommy's shoes...

...some light furniture re-arranging...

...and high-fiving some giant red and green monsters (who apparently brought their handler and stylist with them).

Who's sick??? We're not sick!

Monday, December 10, 2007

More Fun Than a Barrel Full of Croup

So I spent a good chunk of last night sitting outside on my front porch, Ethan, in his jammies and wrapped in Husband's fleece jacket, on my lap. He woke up at 10pm, which is unlike him (and ironic, considering it was as I was writing yesterday's post about his sleeping patterns), coughing and gasping for breath. NOT a sound a mother likes to hear.

After I spent 5 minutes freaking out & saying "We're going to the emergency room. We're going to the emergency room," Husband called the on-call doctor and was transferred to a nurse who told us to alternate a steamy bathroom with a bit of cold air to open up his air passages and if that didn't help, we had to bring him into the ER.

Well, it helped, but there was much rasping throughout the night. We avoided the ER, but didn't get much sleep. We were all superific happy today, I can tell you. Ethan coughed most of the day and wanted to hang out on the couch with me instead of running around--a sure sign that things just ain't right.

I am hoping we get through tonight without an ER visit, but if he's still hacking up a lung tomorrow I am taking him to the doctor's office, even though I know they're just going to say, "It's viral. Go home."

Sorry there's nothing else to report. Mama's beat.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sleep Training...

I am constantly amazed by how often people, both with kids and without, ask me about Ethan's sleep. I don't get this. I've never gotten it. In line at Starbucks. At dinner parties. Family gatherings. The only thing people want to know about my child, it seems, is how he is sleeping. What does this have to do with anything?

Well, I'll tell you. Better than he used to. These days, naps consist of lying down with him for 5 minutes or under until he is snoozing peacefully and then I have 2-3 hours to myself. It is a far cry from being the human mattress I was for the first year of his life.

Nighttime, as well, has come a long way. Even though the extent of our sleep training consists of Husband saying, "Tienes sueno?" and Ethan, as if on command, rubbing his eyes, at 7pm, he has managed to fall asleep (and stay asleep) for the better part of the night for the last several months. I definitely see the "tsk. tsk." behind peoples' eyes when I mention that we are co-sleeping. I've stopped caring about that.

Does he sleep ALLTHEWAY through the night? Nope. He wakes up 1-2 times for a few minutes at a time, just needing a quick cuddle to lull him back.

I know you didn't ask, and I hope I don't sound confrontational and I am in no way, shape or form saying that I think our way is the *right* way to do anything-we're just muddling along, making it up as we go, but it's right for us. Honestly, I just don't understand WHY this is such a big deal to people. I just feel like I should have this entire explanation tattooed on my forehead or printed up 1000x and laminated so I can hand it out to the next ass who dares to utter the words, "So, is he sleeping through the night?"

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Oh Channukah Bush, Oh Channukah Bush...

Um. I did the whole "I'm so ashamed. I'm such a bad Jew" schpiel last year, so I will spare you that formality. Please do note, though, that I still do feel twinges of "ohmigosh, what am I doing???" as they tie the tree to the top of my car. I promise myself that on the following Yom Kippur I will add a special line during the Vidui ("we covet, we bear false witness, we decorate a tree for the holidays....").

But without further ado, here are pretty, pretty pictures of our tree. Note the absence of any interest or enthusiasm on the part of Ethan. He did say "tee! tee!" several times when we first brought it into the house, and when I started putting shatter-proof (read plastic) ornaments on the tree, he did say, "ball! ball!", but after that he turned his attention to his daddy's blackberry. I am thinking he's waiting until it's just the two of us and I have my hands full with laundry or dinner and then he'll pounce. This apathy is just a clever little ruse to lull us into a false sense of security.

Welcome to the house that beige built...dear god, what is wrong with us?


Is my paci in here somewhere? No? Whatev. I'm out...

See? We ARE Jewish!

Fine, if you're going to manhandle me, I'll feign interest by touching this shiny ball. Is my paci in there?

Immediately after decorating the tree, we lit the menorah. I am so going to hell, aren't I?

Aaaaand, there it is. We are smack in the middle of a serious paci phase, people. The world might crumble if that thing isn't stuck in his mouth. I fear once this bout of teething is past, we are going to have to go hard-core on the paci-weaning, otherwise what could be his college tuition might be going to fix a killer overbite when he's 12. Please ignore the beige. Seriously, what is WRONG with us?!!

My holiday tree wants to (sing it with me, people) "get up on the floor and it wants to boogey oogey oogey 'til it just can't boogey no more...."

Plastic ornaments rock.

Since we're on the topic of "shiny things", I figured I'd brag on my glittery pears and pine cones centerpiece. I wish I could say I Martha Stewart'd out or something and made them myself with real pears and pine cones I gathered on a walk down a long country lane, but no. They are from Target. So all I did was throw them in a silver bowl with some blue marbles in the bottom of it. Yay me! But still, they're very purty, no?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Dear Next Door Neighbor Who Wants to Keep My Son Awake Forever...

Listen up, old man! I appreciate you coming back from wherever you've been for the past 2 years to clean up and repair your little hovel of an address. Considering the real estate market these days and what your dump was doing to our property value, no two people could be more pleased by your reappearance than Husband and me. It's fine that you don't acknowledge me when I say "hello" to you and that you have never once thanked us for mowing your front yard during your 2 year hiatus. You're a curmudgeon and I can respect that about you.

BUT, I am getting a little sick of your random home improvement jags that happen to entail a shitload of banging and drilling at exactly the time I am trying to get Ethan down for a nap. Seriously. Can you not do this at a more opportune time? Ethan naps 2 hours out of the day. That gives you a myriad of hours to choose from for your hammering and what I can only assume are small explosives.

I've taken deep breaths and dealt with it up until now, but today you really took it too far. You started your little project (which was apparently trying to bore a hole through the wall and into our house) the moment Ethan closed his sweet little eyes, on his way to dream land and you stopped only moments after I had to run upstairs to console a crying child, and convince him that the big bad noise monster wasn't coming to eat him up.

I cannot fathom how you timed it so perfectly, but I have to assume that aside from being a curmudgeon extraordinaire, you also have some sort of telepathic baby-nap powers and are using them for evil. Jerk.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Too Much Time On My Hands...

There is little in this world as lovely as a sleeping child, my friends. Nap times are, while I miss the fun and noise of a runningaroundlikeacrazyperson Ethan, one of the best times of my day. But Ethan is a light sleeper, so I am now faced with 2-3 hours of every day where I can do what I want, as long as it makes no noise whatsoever.

So, I'll be blogging more. But not just on this particular blog. I've decided to branch out a bit and I've started a couple others as well.

As an exercise in abject humiliation, last year around this time I started a blog about trying to lose weight. As my will power to shed the pounds waned, so did my attention to that blog. Surprise, surprise, I still have weight to lose and I've decided to re-invest my time in that blog with the hopes that it will re-motivate me to get un-tubby. There is little motivation as powerful, I've found, as mortifying yourself in front of the world with your own chubby truth. Isn't that the point of Weight Watchers weigh ins? They say to you, "Oh, well, better next luck week!" when in their eyes you can see, "Oh, you poor slob. You'll always be chubby." So I guess "No More Fat Sarah" will be my very own WW-weigh in for the blogosphere to share.

The other blog was born today (note the language of my baby fever coming through--it is pathetic.) I recently discovered that there are a billion book blogs out there and for the past few days I have been salivating at my computer to the point where I am concerned about shorting it out. And considering I have all this time in the afternoon now, I am going to be doing a lot more reading, so I decided to jump on that bandwagon as well. As a former English teacher (well, an English teacher on hiatus more than "former", I guess), there is little in this world that (NERD ALERT!! NERD ALERT!!) makes me happier than reading and discussing a fantastic book. I've been missing that a lot in recent years; I no longer have 120 teenagers held captive on an daily basis with whom I can share this joy (they are, I'm sure, eternally grateful for that), and the reading group I'd been a part of before pregnancy has fallen by the wayside. So you can find me spouting off about books in "Frustrated English Teacher".

Both are linked in my profile. Feel free to take a peek if you get a chance.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Playing Catch-Up

Okay, so I I don't get to put a NaBloPoMo badge on my blog because I couldn't manage to post, "too drunk to post. good night" on Wednesday. I know. I suck. But hey, I'm here on December 1st, when most NaBloPoMo'ers are taking a break and hey, I only missed ONE lousy day, right? So, being the diligent little pupil I have always been, I am here for my make-up work. I missed a day, I make up a day. That's how I roll. I'm very reliable that way.

I'm also an idea-thief. As she happened to post it around the time I am trying to put my reading group back together, I liked Amy's list of books; so I am going to follow her lead and see just how many books on said list I have read or at least started to read...

Here is the key:
Bold the books you've read
Italicize books you have started but couldn’t finish.
Add an asterisk* to those you have read more than once.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights *
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: A Novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
Frankenstein *
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath *

The Poisonwood Bible *
Angels & Demons
The Inferno *
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility *
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles *
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter *
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion

Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye *
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

There are so many other books that should/could be added to this list, but it does give me ideas of where to go next, as I am currently so freaking over Jodi Picoult. It's my own damn fault; I overdose on an author when I find one I like. The thing is, it's impossible to overdose on a Charles Dickens or a Barbara Kingsolver. So perhaps that is my marker of a "favorite" author. I need to find a new one because Charlie's not coming out with anything new these days and Barbara seems to be taking a nice long break.

Friday, November 30, 2007

When a Blog isn't Your Own...

I was talking to my best friend today about the idea of blogging, sharing with the anonymous world of the internet every little thought that breezes through your brain, and recording the experiences you share with the people in your much smaller, immediate world with the faceless blogosphere.

We were discussing how people create their own boundaries in this space and how they come to those decisions; I have seen blogs where you can learn everything there is to know about a person aside from their exact home address just by reading their profile. I have read blogs where mothers give nicknames to their children (my favorites are Manhattan Mama's "Rabbit" and Yummy London Mummy's "First Born" and "Small(er) One"--both of Mothers on the Verge) rather than sharing their given names with random strangers.

And it made me think about my own blog and the boundaries (or lack thereof) I've become comfortable with. It made me wonder just how long I will be able to maintain those particular boundaries before I am (if not already) infringing on the privacy of the little man Husband and I are raising.

When I started the blog, it was about ME. Even though I was pregnant and all of the drama that ensued in my pregnancy was about keeping Ethan healthy and safe, the blog itself was all about ME. And I was comfortable sharing a certain amount with the blogging universe. I have no problem talking about my cervix, or transvaginal ultrasounds or the emotional paralysis of post-partum depression. Because, if you know me, you know I'm a sharer. I am, I can admit it (and admitting it is half the battle, right?) an over-sharer. So it doesn't bother me if friends or strangers or family or professional colleagues read my blog--I decided long ago not to censor myself based on who may or may not tune in on any given day. I share because sometimes it just makes me feel better to get it out. And when I was sharing about just ME, that was entirely my prerogative.

But now I'm not sharing just about myself. I am constantly parading Ethan over the "pages" of this blog because I adore him to pieces and I want to plaster that adoration, through words and images, on every surface in the world. But I wonder, in 10 or 15 years, is this little blog of mine going to be a source of entertainment for my son or a source of embarrassment? I mean, I have posted naked pictures of him (just his "fresh out of the oven" shot, but still...) and discussed his bowel movements. I have gone on and on about breastfeeding and recorded his first kiss. These are not things that a teenage boy wants his mother sharing with people. Any people. And here I am, sharing them with ALL the people (at least all the people who stumble across this blog).

And, for the sake of argument, let's say I keep at this blog for years to come (thereby proving that I truly have no life whatsoever)? At what point do I decide to leave Ethan out of it? When is he old enough that, as a mother, I have to step back and say "Now I have to respect his privacy".

I mean, now I can blog about both the good and the bad as they happen, whether it be his struggles to gain weight or the look of pride and delight on his face when he learns something new. But when he's fifteen, he's going to be horrified if I'm always sitting down at the end of the day to post pictures of him in his soccer uniform and brag about his grades, and I certainly can't blog about finding cigarettes in his jacket or about not liking the girl he's taking to the sophomore formal (somebody watches too many After-School Specials...). That would be a huge violation of his privacy and I'd go from being the adoring and doting mom to the intrusive, overbearing mother he can't wait to escape from after graduation.

So what do I do? At what point do I say "enough" and move on from the blogging world? Or at least this particular blog? Do I start to censor myself with thoughts of what the future Ethan is going to think about me sharing this or that? Or do I continue to write what I want, those moments that I want to remember forever, as I want, hoping that one day, future Ethan will realize, embarrassing stories and all, this is the place where I come to gush about the light of my life, and sometimes there simply aren't any boundaries that can contain a Mama's love?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Close, but no cigar...

Well, I blew it. No perfect record for NaBlogPoMo for me. Oh well.

Last night was ladies night out in my world, and when I got home at 10:30, I really just wanted to crawl into bed and let the wine do it's thing. I realized about a nanosecond before I fell asleep that I hadn't blogged, but I was too comfy and cozy to care. And so here I am, a NaBloPoMo failure. I only needed to get through 3 more days. Alas, I suck.

Oh, and to anyone who read the comments on my last post, let us take a moment to appreciate the irony that I was making jokes about what a bad parent I am for letting my child watch DVDs and eat crap at Cracker Barrel when all along, the actual reason I am a bad parent is because his car seat straps aren't configured correctly. Go figure.

I will have to go back to the manual and see how to fix that because when I put him in there today, the straps are right at his shoulders and the next space down for them are 1/2 way down his back. Are they supposed to be 1/2 way down his back and then come up and over his shoulders? Car seats are an enigma to me. We read the manual, we think we're following all the instructions, he's still rear-facing, and yet we're still doing it wrong. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Some Thanksgiving Highlights

Well, sort of. You won't find anything Norman Rockwellian here. These are just random pictures I got over the course of our weekend. I didn't really pull out our camera a ton. Instead I used my parent's archaic digital (okay, we bought it for them 2.5 years ago, but it is crap) for most of the time we were in South Carolina, but I haven't seen those pictures yet.

Mmmm, tasty Cracker Barrel half and half.

Practicing his kissing technique with daddy. This would apparently come in handy only days later, on a real girl...

Ethan pauses "Thomas the Train" long enough to take an important call...

Now, back to the show...

Ethan channels his inner Jedi at CVS..."May the roll of cheap metallic wrapping paper be with you, young Skywalker..."

The next three pictures were taken in North Carolina, when we visited my cousin Kim and her family. They live on a gazillion acres and Ethan was in toddler Utopia with all the ride-on toys. He scowled at us the whole way home, knowing we were bringing him back to the postage-stamp sized plot we call a yard.

Trying to counteract the damage done by Cracker Barrel biscuits and pancakes, Ethan enjoys an apple on the ride home.

Yes, I see it, too. All the bad parenting going on in these pictures. Eating at a restaurant which specializes in serving lard, the pacifier sticking out my 18-month old's mouth all. the. time. The DVD player in the car to stave off the inevitable "we've been in the car for 9 hours already!!" meltdown. The eating (albeit healthy stuff) in the carseat.

Ugh. Call Child Protective Services. I know. These are not things I'm necessarily proud of. But, on a 10 hour road trip, you do what you've got to do.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What Happens at Music Together, Stays at Music Together

I thought I had until at least 7th grade to prepare for this moment. Maybe at an awkward school dance, or maybe like me, Ethan would have his first kiss at his first co-ed birthday party, in the few moments when the adult chaperon left the room to get more "pizza rolls" out of the toaster oven. Granted, Van Halen's "Jump" probably wouldn't be playing on the cassette player and I'm kind of hoping it's not with a guy named Randy who buys him a pretty purse at the mall, but still...

I thought I had more time to mentally prepare myself for the idea of someone kissing my son. But that time ran out today.

One of the girls from our play group is also in our Music Together class and she is the sweetest little thing. She has always been a big hugger; she looooves to come up and give a big squeeze to Ethan. Up until recently, he has totally taken the "Ew. Girls have cooties" route and rebuffed her advances. I figured today there would be a similar, "Ugh, Lilly, you stinky girl, get away!!!!" response, as usual.

But that response never came. Instead, when Lilly approached Ethan to hug him, Ethan put his arms up awkwardly as well, and they found themselves in this wonky baby embrace that really had to be the toddler version of the stiff-armed 8th grade dance. "Awww, how cute," I thought, and assumed that would be the end of it.

It wasn't. Within moments of the hug, it happened. Miss Lilly puckered up, and Ethan, having recently learned to give Mama and Daddy kisses, leaned in for the prize. SMOOCH!

And, voila, that was my son's first kiss. Just shy of nineteen months, and he's already been kissed by a pretty girl. And not just once! Emboldened by the fact that he didn't eschew her hugs and her first kiss, Lilly expressed her admiration for the little man several more times during class. And lest you think she was the sole one point, she coyly walked to other side of the room and Ethan followed, arms out, looking for another smooch.

I lost count of the number of hugs and kisses they shared today. Lilly's mom and I could not stop laughing. I'm just sorry I didn't have a camera with me because really, this moment should have been documented with pictures. But since I didn't have my camera to capture the love today, here's a picture of Ethan and Miss Lilly from August, during play group.

Ethan and Lilly in more innocent days.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's Official---

The holiday season has begun. How do I know, you ask? Is it the sheer volume of Christmas commercials on TV? No. The fact that the 24-hour Christmas radio station is in full-swing? No. Is it because tomorrow is "cyber-Monday", the mall-phobic's answer to Black Friday? No. Is it because five houses down from us there are four 15-foot tall inflatable snowmen swaying in the front yard? No.

I know it is officially the holiday season because I am sitting here watching "A Christmas Story" on TNT. What could possibly say, "tis the season" more than Scut Farkis' yellow eyes, Aunt Clara's pink bunny suit, a Red Ryder bb gun, and the garter-belted leg lamp?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

We Got Skillz...

I realize that since Ethan turned 1, I haven't really done the monthly update letter, and I don't think I've done a great job of documenting all of his new "tricks". I am absolutely the mother who is so excited to buy the baby book--I shopped high and low for just the right one--but then fails miserably to fill it in entirely. Kind of embarrassing. I do rely on my blog for almost all major milestones. Sucks for Ethan, I guess. Most kids just have to flip to a certain page in their yellowing baby book; my kid is going to have to read through screen after screen of gibberish to find out when he started crawling or got his first tooth.

These days, Ethan has abandoned his Frankenstein walk for a full-on, although not graceful, human-like walk. He has even tested out his ability to walk backwards on several occasions and amazingly suffered no bumps and bruises during the test runs. Oh, and he runs. It's wobbly and his cheeks jiggle when he does it, but it is definitely a run.

He is also quite the dancer. We took Music Together classes last spring and he was basically content to sit on my lap or crawl around after his friend Chloe (daughter of Carlin, the "other" mother). We are taking it again this fall and he is a dancing fool. There is spinning, there is knee bending to the beat, there is rocking back and forth (channeling a bit of Ray Charles, perhaps) that can't be mistaken for anything but a pure joy of listening to music.

If he could spend all day in an elevator, pushing buttons and running in and out of it when the doors slide open, he'd want for nothing in life. Right now my biggest fear is that he's somehow going to slip into an elevator without me somewhere and I will drop dead right there from the panic of not knowing how to find him. Irrational mommy fear #130,269,479.

I never know what words are going to find their way to his lips these days, either. He started with mama and dada and graduated to some sort of pig-latin for "kitty" that sounded like "gu-ga", but was unmistakeably mean to be "kitty". Now our days are littered with "apple" and "uhoh" and "up" and "meow" and "eye" and "eat" and "ball" and "vroom" as well as signs for "more" and "eat" and "clean up" and "all done". He's not super-verbal, but each day brings a new word; he knows countless words; if I ask him to go get me the yellow ball, he will go past all other balls until he specifically finds the one I requested and will bring it right to me.

Yes, I know these are all things he "should" be doing and I know there are kids who have done these things at younger ages; but they aren't my kids. So every little new thing he does is such a treat, whether he "should" have done it at 14 months or 16 months or whatever. (Easy, Mama-bear; someone's a tad defensive, eh?)

And none of this takes into account the personality that is blooming every day. I cannot believe, sometimes as I watch him run around the playground or bounce on the trampoline in gym class, that this little man was ever not here, this brimming with character and personality. He seems to live and breathe for his daddy right now--the keys in the door at 6pm bring squeals of glee and Ethan drops whatever he's doing, squirms out of my hold or off the chair he's on and barrels full speed ahead to the back door. The other day he was so excited, he actually ran in place for a minute like a cartoon cat, trying to get traction to take off. I almost peed my pants laughing, but I was afraid he was going to pick up too much momentum and slam into a wall (also like a cartoon cat).

He can assert what he wants now, either with real words and sign language or some fierce Ethanese and gesturing. We are figuring out what to do to make him happy, but also realizing that now we're at a point where we have to draw lines and find the boundaries between making him happy and indulging his every whim. This is not a part of parenting I really enjoy, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Speaking of what you gotta do; I have to close up shop now because I am blogging in a hotel room and the light of the computer and the intense curiosity of whatismamadoing is keeping Ethan awake.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Ham Sandwich...

Yes, folks. That's what my son ate for dinner last night. As the rest of us partook of the traditional turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and whatnot, Ethan whined and fussed, mashing his food together into an unrecognizable goo, clearly unable to understand that on this day of the year, you MUST eat these particular food items. It is practically law.

What do you know? Eighteen month olds don't really buy into the idea of laws. They're too zen. They just "are". And so, if a ham sandwich is what the boy wants, you know that's what the boy is going to get, Thanksgiving dinner or not.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

American Idol...

I'm not really a good singer. No one is ever going to discover me on My Space or see me on American Idol (there's a joke in there somewhere about William Hung I'm too tired to find it. I will say there's no room for me, even in the gag reels because, a.) I'm too old to audition and therefore show the world how awful I truly am, and b.) even if I fell into the age category deemed "idol-worthy", no way in hell I'm hanging out in those lines waiting to audition). In college I dated a musician who humbly requested that I NOT sing in the car (I had a tendency to whisper-sing at the time and was apt to whistle my "s"'s--it was apparently offensive to his artist's ears. Insert eye roll here). But I can't really blame him. No one would ever really deem me a "singer".

But still, I love to sing. I was in the high school choir, I excel at kareoke (with the correct amount of alcohol coursing through my system) and I am one of those people who tends to think I become invisible while driving, and I have been known to sing entire soundtracks to Broadway musicals while in my car. Once, when I still lived in my hometown, I was driving to my parents' house, listening to Les Miserables. At a traffic light on Main St., I was right in the middle of the pre-intermission medley--"Do You Hear the People Sing", and I was singing like I was right there on the stage in my rags and smudgy face (I'd have to be one of the miserables, you know) and who pulled up next to me but my dad, on his way home from work? Yup. There I am, singing at the top of my lungs, windows open and all, and I turn my head to see my dad laughing at me. Good times.

So I've had lots of encouragement along the way, right?

Well, I'll tell you does love my singing. Ethan. The other night, from a sound sleep, the poor guy woke up, screaming. We discovered it was the result of trying to wean him off his laxative (what's a mommy-blog without at least some discussion of poop, people?) and the fact that the dose he'd received that day was not enough to, shall we say, fulfill it's purpose. Therefore Ethan was experiencing significant discomfort and let us know with a rousing rendition of "there's an alien digging its way out of my bum", otherwise known as--screaming bloody murder.

Even after the fact, there was much screaming and crying. And to counter said screaming and crying, we tried rocking and hugging and kissing. No good. More screaming and crying.

The first thing that came to mind was a Laurie Berkner song about the moon. And so I started to sing it and the most amazing thing happened. He absolutely, completely stopped crying. Immediately. And he just looked at me and listened to me sing. By the time I was done singing the song, he was asleep, the tears drying up on his flushed little cheeks as I laid him back down on the bed.

I do realize that it's possible that he stopped crying because the warbling noises coming out of my mouth confused him and demanded attention in the same way as does, say, a car accident. And perhaps falling back to sleep was his only means of escape. That is certainly a distinct possibility.

But I prefer to believe that, even if no one else wants to hear me sing (and who can blame them?), Ethan is my biggest fan.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

You Gotta Be Kidding Me...

I spent 10 hours in a car with an 18 month old.  Oh, and over an hour in a Cracker Barrel on the side of I-95 waiting for, I guess it was?  

As Ethan and Husband napped in the backseat and I drove, I had an entire blog entry rolling through my head.  It was good.  It made me laugh and at one point, it gave me a big old lump in my throat.  I'm sure you would have liked it, buuuuuut I cannot remember it now.  Because my brain is fried.  What with all the traffic and the sound of Thomas the Train Engine coming from the backseat (yes, we busted out the portable DVD player for the first time ever).   I simply can't be expected to wax poetic or humorous tonight (do I ever really, though?  Actually, I do need to wax, but that's a thought for an entirely different blog).

So I am going to sleep.  I imagine I'll wake up at 4am with the same blog entry running through my head, urging me to get up and post the magic.  But I probably won't.   And when I wake tomorrow, the entry will probably be trapped somewhere in the dark recesses of my brainm never to be thought of again.   So as you're reading the fluff I post in the coming weeks and wonder why you bother to check in here (thanks, by the way), keep in mind that every once in awhile I really do have something interesting to say---it just doesn't always make it to the page. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

When a Man Loves a Woman...

Or, more specifically, when a baby boy loves his mom's friend more than he does his mom...

That's right, internet. Ethan has replaced me. Not only is he going through a fierce "daddy" stage right now, where the second he hears his father's keys in the door at the end of the day, he squirms free of my apparently vile embrace, on his way to be reunited with his true love; he has also taken to rejecting me during the day, too, if my friend Carlin is anywhere to be seen.

Now, to be fair, there is a lot to love about Carlin. She took the lead role in organizing our mom's group, found a wonderful spot for our play dates, and knows all the coolest places in town to entertain the little ones. She also always has delicious snacks and brings enough to share (which is more of a draw for Ethan than it is for me, but still.) I aspire to be as on the ball as her, but I admittedly fall short--way short. I am the mom who forgets the sippy cup in the car and packs one lousy banana for a snack.

It seems that Ethan agrees with the whole "mama falling short" business, because lately, whenever we are around Carlin, he is drawn to her like a moth to the flame. This is what typically happens. He is on my lap, while we are, say, watching Mr. Skip play guitar at a local coffee shop (which Carlin found and told us about--she is Julie, my cruise director). As soon as he is somewhat acclimated to his environment, there is much squirming to get off of my lap (as though any second I could burst into flames and he ain't going down with the ship). At first, I think it is so that he can dance to the music, as right now spinning is top on his list of favorite things to do. But no. There's no dancing. No spinning. Just a hop off of mom and two steps over to Carlin. Arms go up in the universal "please please please pick me up!!" sign and, poof! Just like that, Ethan is on Carlin's lap, while mine is still warm, no less!

Today, we went to see Mr. Skip; we met Carlin and her little girl Chloe at the coffee shop and the above scene took place no fewer than 6 times. At one point, Ethan crossed the room to sit on Carlin's lap, leaving me with an empty lap and holding a half-chewed piece of grilled cheese sandwich. I think some people mistook Carlin and me for "Ethan's two moms". And I am clearly not his favorite mom in that scenario.

It's okay, I guess. We do spend a ton of time together and I suppose it makes sense that a new face and a new lap every once in awhile can add a little excitement to his day. At least it's not like he prefers EVERYONE to me; he's discriminating in who he rejects me for, so I can take some comfort in that. Right?

Monday, November 19, 2007

November is wicked long, huh?

I am running out of things to blabber about (not really, I am just a tad sleepy to blather on and on about the blood work we have to get done tomorrow, or preparing for a 10 hour car ride with an 18 month old this week). So here are some pictures we took yesterday at the National Cathedral in DC.