Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy NaBloPoMo to you...

Hold on to your hats, people. National Blog Posting Month is about to begin and that means I will be posting. every. single. day. for the month of November. Yes, even if I have nothing at all to say. I promise to dig deep and try to find something that can't be written off as inane or complete drivel, but I make no promises. Things you can look forward to reading about? My new kitchen, which now has everything but the kitchen sink....literally. A road trip to South Carolina for Thanksgiving (please note this will include an overnight in a Holiday Inn Express somewhere on I-95 and a zero-star meal at Cracker Barrel). There has to be something blog-worthy in all that. Or not...

Blog worthy or not, it will be new, every day. Enjoy. Oh, and feast your eyes on the monkey man...

Mama, maybe next time you buy me a costume with legs long enough, huh?

Screw the banana in my pocket; didn't you know that monkeys enjoy string cheese?

Practicing for the All-Monkey Olympics beach ball kicking competition

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Finally, it rains!

Enjoy pictures of the cautious one, as he avoids puddles and just takes a little walk...

Friday, October 26, 2007

The 7th anniversary of my 29th birthday...

Is today.

I have to say, since having my own child, I view my birthday entirely differently. I no longer think of it as just a day to get presents and be the Royal Princess of Pay-Attention-to-Me that I usually am (although I'd be lying if I said I didn't like it). Since having Ethan, and knowing what the day he came into this world was like for me, I now spend more time on my birthday thinking of my mother.

Having been through labor and delivery (well, labor and surgery), I am fascinated by the idea that my mother gave birth to me. That she had contractions, went into labor and popped me out all on her own. Yes, I realize people do that all the time, but until I did it myself, it didn't really sink in that someone did that for me, too. And it's pretty amazing.

Being a mother has deepened my gratitude for my own mom--not just in that she gives me some pretty good advice when I'm willing to listen to it (I got a stubborn gene, without doubt, from her, so she can't really complain when I don't take her advice; I'm just doing an excellent job of being her daughter). I find myself these days, and especially on my birthday, just grateful that she had me in the first place, and I wonder what went through her mind the first time she saw me, or heard me cry, or held me in her arms.

Eighteen months ago, as I lay in my hospital bed, watching my contractions on the monitor, and mercifully, feeling no pain, I remember looking across the room at my mom, who was playing cards with my dad, and thinking, "When she did this, she was alone in a room with nothing but her pain and the hope that it would be worth it in the end." I am so thankful that my experience, although cut short by a c-section, was the peaceful, loving event that it was, but I am doubly thankful for my mother for enduring what she went through on this day, 432 months ago.

Shit, I'm old.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Red Sox Nation's Newest Face...

Curse? What curse?

Take that, Yankees, Indians and Rockies!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sickety Sick Sick...

Or, "An open apology to everyone who I let be exposed to my son last week when I thought he was *just teething*"

Because, yeah, it's not about the teeth; it's a cold. Little man E has one of those non-stop faucet-noses going on and he's rocking a kick-ass cough. Poor thing. He feels miserable.

Well, maybe he's miserable. It's hard to tell when he's running around all day long like a lunatic, chasing cats, pushing chairs and sliding down slides. See, Ethan's apparently worked out an "only sick at night" policy with his immune system, or least the part of his immune system that clues him into his symptoms.

All day he is content to do his normal thing--playgroup, the park, Tiny Time at the gymnasium, Mr. Skip, sign language class, and the list goes on and on (as does the number of children I potentially infected with his cooties while I insisted he was just teething, pre-cough). I chase him with a tissue and he protests mightily. But that's about it. There's no fussing or complaining or general malaise one associates with feeling like ass.

At night, however, he lets us know, approximately every. single. hour. how yucky he is feeling. We do the steam bath, we do the nasal aspirator (to rave reviews, let me tell you; he loves nothing more than the nasal aspirator), we do the baby vapor rub and humidifier. We do it all. Now that the FDA has scared me out of even contemplating poisoning my child with Benadryl or the like, this is all we do. Oh, and the good old prop up on the pillow.

None of it works. Ethan is up, lamenting the fact that breathing is such a chore, coughing and sneezing with a frequency that makes me question my sanity at ever wanting a newborn again. He is so confused as to why this whole breathing thing, which he's been doing for almost a year and a half without a hitch, is suddenly such a struggle. I wish I could do something to make him feel better.

Of course, all I need to do is wait until 7:30am the next morning, when he decides whatever catnap he's coming out of will be his last for the night. Then, while the symptoms remain, his inability to deal with them gets put aside for the day and he's Mr. Fun&Energy, while Husband and I lie there, incredulous. How is it possible? We've all gotten a total of 4-5 hours of sleep. Husband and I are zombified for yet another day. And there is Ethan, bouncing on the bed, taunting the cats, signing for milk and ready for the day.

He seems to be on the mend in the past day or two, which is good. But for the next two weeks I will have to be mixing up batches of chicken soup (in an apparently imaginary kitchen) for all the kids Ethan has so graciously swapped germs with.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Zen & the Art of Pre-school Selection

Today we spent the morning giving Mama an ulcer and the afternoon healing said ulcer.

At 10am, we entered the gymnasium of a local Catholic elementary school in what I have to say felt like a flash back to every bad science fair I ever faked my way through. We were there for the county's pre-school informational fair. There were tables set up, all of them supporting triple-fold poster boards with construction paper letters spelling out the names of area pre-schools. These posters displayed photos of happy little kids, finger painting and walking who-knows-where, holding hands and smiling. Information regarding various schools were available in photocopied pamphlets and packets and you could sign up for open houses on yellow legal pads. There were no power point presentations or video presentations taking place. Apparently my child will be attending pre-school circa 1982. I had better get him an ET lunch box and a Rubik's cube.

I shouldn't complain, because as low-tech as the fair was, I still practically needed to breathe into a brown paper bag before we had perused the entire room and gathered the aforementioned pamphlets and packets. After only a few minutes of listening to the happy, happy, smiling ladies talk about how much fun my child was going to have singing and dancing and painting and crafting, all while potentially miles away from me, my head exploded and that was the end of that.

I tried to walk it off, thinking, "hey, it's only 3 hours a day, 2 days a week and it's not for another year!!" And then it spiraled to, "It's 3 hours, 2 days a week. Then its all day, 5 days a week. Then...then, ohdeargod, then he's going to go to college, get a girlfriend, get married and I'll only see him on holidays!!!" Apparently Mama's not ready for pre-school.

So it's a good thing that we don't have to really think about it for a while to come. I only went today because I'm constantly hearing how competitive this area is in terms of pre-school and that there are lotteries and waiting lists, yadda yadda yadda. I wasn't all that impressed by anything I saw, so for the time being, I'm not going to lose any sleep over where my child may or may not spend 3 hours, 2 days a week, sometime in the next year.

How did I come to this sense of calm about my child's impending foray into the world of pre-elementary education? I spent the afternoon with the Dalai Lama.

He was in town receiving the Congressional Gold Medal from my BFF, GWB, so we joined a few thousand people on the lawn of the Capitol and watched the love-fest unfold. Nothing makes me giggle more than watching GW and Nancy Pelosi pretend they like each other. As if. Anyway, I thought, how cool it would be for Ethan to be able to say he saw the Dalai Lama, even though he'll never remember it.

I will admit, having to watch the whole thing on a jumbo-tron was, initially, kind of a drag; we showed up while the president was on the screen and there's little as frightening as a 3-story tall image of him. It's like a 21st-century Godzilla movie, with a new antagonist, "The Deciderator". I figured the whole thing was going to be like watching a big TV and I might as well have stayed home & just watched it on the evening news.

But then the Dalai Lama came on and my tune changed. He filled the screen with a presence that was barely contained by the space allotted. Maybe it was just the beauty of his bright red and orange robes in contrast to the trite blue power suit or it could have been the sincerity of the smile (something rarely seen in these parts when political figures are involved), but the jumbo-tron and it's vastness seemed to disappear and we became just a bunch of people listening to the kind words of a wise, old peacemaker.

He talked about his mother and about Tibet. He talked about our responsibility to care for each other and our world. I missed quite a bit because for most of the afternoon, Ethan was more concerned with running through the crowd (expect a post in the coming days where I give airtime to the angel/devil debate about toddler leashes, please...) and deciding which snacks he wanted to eat than in being enlightened and motivated to make a difference in the world. Oh well, maybe the next time he sees the Dalai Lama he'll sit still and take notes.

Anyway, here are some pictures from our day...

Ethan ignores The Decider as he, poeticish(?!) on the jumbo-tron.

While I was tempted to take pictures of the mulitudes of buddhist monks roaming the grounds, Karen wisely advised me that doing so would shoot my "tourist value" up into the stratosphere and we locals will do anything to avoid looking like a tourist. So as non-challantly as possible, I snapped a couple pics of some Tibetan flags.

Me and my bonsai tee are totally zen, Mama.

First we saw him on the screen, televised from inside the Capitol as he received his medal. He came out shortly after and addressed the crowd.

You'd think I could have slapped on a bit of make up. It IS the Dalai Lama, after all. Jeez.

Hmmmm. Should I have water or milk with my gold fish? What would the Dalai Lama do?

Apparently the Dalai Lama had a 4pm tee-time after his big speech at the Capitol. Or maybe it was just really bright and he couldn't see his speech without the visor.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sticky Fingers McE...

That will be what they call Ethan when the police knock on our door and cart our child away. Our child who steals.

Exhibit A:
I discovered this little guy clamped tightly in Ethan's hand when we returned home from Logan's birthday party. "Happy birthday, Logan! I'm going to help myself to your toys, buddy!" Clearly he was attracted to the streamlined limblessness of it; and who can resist a wooden weeble rocking the little blue skullcap? I am sure, of course, that the chipped blue paint that's missing from the skullcap is now chilling out, in all its lead-laced glory, in my son's digestive system. Excellent. But you know, that's what you get for lifting some other kid's toys!

I thought it was a fluke. One irresistible, "I must have it!!" But alas...

Exhibit B:
This little piggy went to Ethan's. After we had our play date with Katherine. And he stole it.

After these two incidents, I started paying more attention to what my son put into, and kept in, his hands. Imagine my surprise when I caught him sneaking Thomas the Train figurines into the basket of his stroller while we were at Barnes & Noble. If it hadn't been so stinking cute, I would have been really upset. Fortunately, he found a book that had googley-eyed animals in it and I was able to put the figurines back without him knowing, thereby avoiding becoming his accomplice.

We had a play date today with Abigale and managed to leave empty-handed. I can't imagine it was for lack of groovy theft-worthy toys. I am hoping that perhaps this little phase of kleptomania has passed and my child will grow up to be an upstanding, non-toy stealing member of society.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Baby Whisperers...

It happened. I don't know if the planets were aligned, or if global warming has turned hell into an ice-skating rink or what, but it happened. Ethan actually spent a tear-free evening with a baby sitter AND was asleep when we came home.

After the fiasco that was "Ethan's first overnight adventure without Mom & Dad", Husband & I had serious misgivings about Ethan's ability to tolerate another attempt at a mommy and daddy-less evening. We had gone out twice since then, leaving E with Grandma Judy and my best friend, "Aunt" Karen. He did tolerably well, but we were gone for 2 hours, tops. We have become masterful at scarfing down food, avoiding all talk about Ethan and then high-tailing it home, mostly so that our friends and family doing the babysitting will still speak to us and possibly offer to sit with Ethan again in the future.

We almost always return home to the sound of a crying child. An angry, tired, wherethefuckaremyparents child. We hear about how they had a good time initially, but as bedtime approached, Ethan's mood took off to Crankytown and hit a wall at CompleteMeldownville.

Last night Husband & I had a wedding to attend in the city. A wedding that didn't start until 7pm. When Ethan should be starting to think about bedtime. And all I could think was, "the child is going to cry for hours." So needless to say, when the babysitters showed up (a friend who is also a nanny, and her husband), I had knots in my stomach and thought about telling them to "nevermind, we're just going to stay home!" Not because I didn't think they'd do a wonderful job, but because, seriously, who wants to subject their friends to a screaming child for hours on end?

I did the uber-neurotic thing and wrote down lists and rough schedules, constantly giving the caveat that if things went differently that was fiiiiiiiine. I hate appearing to be type-A--it is such false advertising. I pushed everything back by 30-45 minutes so that his dinner was later, his bath was later and bedtime was off the table even. I told them not to even bother; if he played downstairs until 10:30 when we got home, that would be fine. It seems to be when a babysitter brings him into the bedroom to get him into bed that the storm hits. So we thought best to avoid that altogether.

Oh, and can I add one more thing to the mix? They had to take him OUT to dinner because we have no kitchen. Can you imagine? "Hi, can you babysit my child who may or may not scream until he appears to be headed for a stroke the entire time you are with him? Oh. And can you take him to a restaurant on a Saturday night? Thanks!" Yeah, we're ballsy like that.

So, we go to the wedding. We enjoy the wedding. Husband is packing his cell phone, my cell phone, his blackberry, homing pigeons, you name it, in case Kayla calls to tell us E's head is spinning and he's spitting up pea soup. No calls. I hound him to check for a signal. I have another glass of wine and stop hounding Husband. It is 10pm and we decide to go save Kayla and Jason. We hope for a cranky and awake, but non-sweating, non-screaming, non-shaking child.

I opened the front door to....silence. Our front door opens right into the living room; it was empty. We crept up the stairs, my stupid dressy-dress swishing the whole way. We turned the corner to our room. Sitting on our bed were Jason and Kayla, watching TV ever so quietly. In between them, Ethan, on his back, in his monkey jammies, arms on his tummy---ASLEEP.

What parallel universe Husband & I walked into, we do not know. She said that he never cried (except when he spilled milk at dinner) and that he looked at his books, then laid down and went to sleep.

I'm sorry, what? Did you by any chance happen to switch Ethan with his identical, happy to sleep for babysitters twin who was also dining at Bertucci's last night? Because this is not our son. Our son cries for babysitters, which I'm fairly certain is the exact opposite of sleeping for them.

We groveled our thanks to Kayla and Jason to what was, I am sure, an embarrassing extent for them and it must have made us look like the most insane parents ever. When they left, Husband & I stared at each other for a good minute, both of us speechless with glee. We then started planning how we were going to start going out to entire dinners AND a movie, now that the baby whisperers have magically turned Ethan into babysitter-friendly child.

If the universe is kind, this was a corner turned, not a fluke set to psyche us out the next time. Either way, coming home to a quiet, happy house, even if it was just this once, was such a nice change.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

"No need to fret, it's not like he's dying..."

Or, "Inane things the pediatrician said during Ethan's 17m weight-check"

Yes, you read that correctly. Those were the thoughtful words Dr. Footinmouth came up with when we discovered that Ethan is holding steady at the 18lbs mark, give of take a couple of ounces.

Here's the recipe folks: you take one mom of a preemie and all the guilt that entails (it fades into the back of your mind, but never goes completely away), mix in a toddler who weighs less than most kids 1/2 his age, and add a heaping spoonful of doctor who was apparently absent on the day "bedside manner, importance and execution of," was discussed in med-school, and VOILA! you have an incredibly inappropriate comment that turns said Mama into a pile of vibrating-with-rage mush right there in the office.

Had Ethan not been stripped down to a diaper, we would have stormed out of there in a huff of righteous indignation. I have always wanted to pull a, "Good day, sir. I SAID GOOD DAY!" and make a grand exit, but the closest I ever got to that was slapping Brian Richard in 8th grade when he asked me at a dance if I wanted to go out back behind the school and "do it".

Because clearly, as a parent, my concern for my child's wellbeing extends only so far as he is not in mortal danger or clinging to life. As long as he's not dying, I have "no need to fret". Obviously. I mean, you don't want to be one of those helicopter parents, right? So, new leaf in parenting for us--just keep him away from knives, traffic, and poisonous snakes--anything other than that is going above and beyond, and hey, I'm sure there's a good E! True Hollywood Story on that I'd rather be watching (perhaps on Britney Spears....)

In the same breath that I was told to chill out, I was also given two prescriptions; well, a prescription and a referral. The referral was for a nutritionist (who I am sure will tell us to feed Ethan more....excellent idea. Why didn't I think of that before? I'll just feed him more!) and the prescription was for an appetite stimulant.

Before I go off on the rampage that is my reaction to THAT, let me digress for a moment and muse over the irony that I have spent the past decade and a half of my life trying to suppress my appetite and the weight that comes with it, and I have given life to a child who has, apparently, no appetite. I swear, I have no idea who or what I was in a previous life, but I am fairly certain I was bad. And probably skinny. If I had to guess, I am thinking I probably made fun of fat people and karma is laughing at me all the way to enlightenment.

Back to my rant...seriously? An appetite stimulant? For my 17 month old? A drug that's given to anorexics, only works 50% of the time to increase appetite and isn't even FDA approved for this use (it's an antihistimene given to chicken-pox patients)?? Let me also add here that Ethan is already on a laxative daily to prevent the horror show that is his experience with constipation. He wants Ethan also to be taking this appetite stimulant THREE TIMES a day before meals. So, Dr. Footinhismouthandsuperdrughappy, would rather medicate my child's entire digestive system than do any investigation into why he eats and drinks, but doesn't gain weight and can't poop.

Just thinking about putting all that stuff into my child is enough to make my head hurt. So instead of talking about it anymore, here just look at how cute:

I do not have time to eat, Mama; I have crayons.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Staggering New Heights of Incompetence...

Oh yes, my friends; no one does incompetence quite like my cervix. I mean, just when you think it can't be any less capable of fulfilling its mundane little job of staying closed for a few months here and there, it surprises you with another leap of can'tdoit-ness.

At my mother's request, I scheduled an appointment with the perinatologist for a second opinion. Oh, did I not mention that my mother actually read this entry? Yeah, she didn't tell me for a couple of weeks, and then when we went down to visit them in early September, she sprung "the talk" on me. Very well played, mom. Well played, indeed. In the end, her request was reasonable, considering my regular OB seems to say one thing and then another. All of it still in the realm of "yes, have another baby", but with varying degrees of enthusiasm and qualifiers, qualifiers, qualifiers.

So this morning I found myself in that familiar office, meeting with that familiar woman again. I like her a lot. I was a little annoyed as I sat in her office waiting for her and could hear her in the hall way trying to decide between Italian and Ranch dressing for her salad, but hey, I guess a woman has to eat. And it was almost noon, so I can't really expect my hypothetical pregnancy and all my neurosis about it to be her top priority until that tough salad dressing decision has been made.

We talked, and she told me most of what my regular OB said, but in a much more confident, encouraging tone. Then it was time to check the old cervix to see what she's been doing with her extended vacation. It wasn't long before we found that she had taken this opportunity to fall deeper into her pattern of general all-around sucking.

Apparently, after a c-section, a cervix can get caught up in the scar tissue and refuse to go back to its intended location. And please, if my cervix is nothing else, it is consistent. If it can find a way to further itself on it's path to complete uselessness, believe you me, it is there. So of course, my cervix is one of "those cervixes". Yeah. It's even smaller and harder to get to now. What a treat.

In her opinion, I am no longer a candidate for a regular old cerclage. She is not confident that she could get to it and perform surgery on it in the old fashioned way. Oh, how I miss the days of being just incompetent enough to require a regular old cerclage. No, next time around, I am going to be the lucky winner of a trans-abdominal cerclage. Woo-freaking-hoo, people!!

If you don't know what "trans" and "abdominal" mean when they are put together, it means they are going to go in through my belly and sew up the very top of my cervix when I am 10-12 weeks pregnant. It calls for 3-4 days in the hospital and then 2-4 weeks on bedrest to recover.

And then? Dare I say it? Normal pregnancy. Yes, the joy of the TAC is that the majority of it's recipients do not experience prolonged stints of bedrest or hospitalization. AND, according to my peri, the risk of a premature delivery is much smaller than with a regular cerclage. I cannot say how much it would mean to Husband and me to have a full-term baby with no NICU time. Since Ethan joined us via that route, I've never allowed myself to imagine a subsequent birth that didn't include putting my foot down and being the crazy mom who runs over the NICU nurses who bull-dozed over me the first time. To get to 37 weeks would be my dream scenario, and my peri seems to think it's within our range of possibilities.

SOOOOOO, I don't want to be a cocky little brat because karma has a way of kicking me in the ass whenever I get too ahead of myself, but TAKE THAT, you puny little cervix! I'm going to make you work no matter how badly you want to lounge around and do nothing. So there.

Oh, and yes, I've already talked to my mom about it this time.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Pumpkins on the surface of the sun...

If you live anywhere on the Eastern seaboard, you are probably constantly covered in the thinnest layer of dust and sweat at all times except when standing under the spray of your locally mandated 5-minutes-or-less shower and for the first 10 minutes following said shower. I know we are. That's because it hasn't rained here, not even a few teensy drops, in the neighborhood of a month. I saw on the news this afternoon that one local town only has 11 days worth of water left in its reservoir. The 10-day forecast doesn't call for any measurable rain, so I'm pretty sure they're screwed.

In addition to the clear, blue sky and the dusty, cracking soil, the mercury finds its way up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit daily. It's almost mid-October. It's not supposed to be 90 in October. Seriously, people. Never mind arctic shelves melting, and sea levels rising and all that Al Gore-y stuff. When it's 90 degrees in October, it totally kills the apple picking, pumpkin patch-ing mood. Big time.

See, I'm from New England. The land of legendary foliage (or "foilage" if you're Marge Simpson) and crisp fall air. I don't *do* "Africa-hot" in the middle of autumn. My memories of apple picking revolve around 55 degree mornings, bulky sweaters and steaming apple cider. That's what apple picking, or any fall activity is supposed to be like. It's lovely. Really. And, check with Husband, I start blathering on about apple picking, and start planning when and where we're going, sometimes around mid-July.

So you can get a tiny sense of my disappointment this year when I tried to take Ethan to the pumpkin patch at 9am last Tuesday, clad in an adorable fall-colored sweater, and the poor thing was sweating so much inside of 5 minutes that I had to strip him down to the t-shirt underneath. A child should NOT be wearing a t-shirt while romping among pumpkins. There is something seriously wrong with that and it pisses me off.

Ma, what is with that blazing ball of fire beating down on me? Oh, that's the sun? Sweet.

I have one word for you, mother. Sunglasses. It's damn bright out here.

I am the Sun King, surveying my kingdom of little orange, thick-stemmed mini-suns. Or, I am delirious because my mother dressed me way too warmly for the 85 degree temperature.

Pretty fall sweater = someone is gonna need some baby gatorade.

I'm going to go curl up in some hay, Mama. Or, you could admit this sweater isn't really appropriate for the weather, take it off of me, and we can all enjoy this morning a bit more.

This is more like it!

All aboard the choo-choo! Maybe if we drive far enough north, I might need to wear that sweater by the time we hit the North Pole.

Mama's crazy; I dig the warm weather...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Golf balls and iced tea...

Last week, when the demolition of our kitchen began, Husband put Ethan and me on a plane and sent us to stay with my parents on the golf course in South Carolina. It was lovely and relaxing, but it was also the birth place of the latest, and up to this point, most annoying habit my child has ever had. Drink stirring. Apparently, aside from knife-throwing (see previous post), my son has a promising career in bar-tending ahead of him.

It started innocently enough in a little diner. Ethan took an interest in my father's iced tea and the accompanying long-stemmed spoon. One poke at tea with the spoon introduced to Ethan the wonder that is stirring ice. The glee. The wonder. The magic of ice spinning in a glass and clinking along in it's little Ethan-induced whirlpool. Ethan's first spin at playing God in the microcosm of a tea glass. The experience must have burned itself into the very blueprint of his consciousness, because now we cannot sit at a table that has a glass of water, soda, iced tea, ANYTHING, without Ethan insisting on stirring it. And stirring it. And stirring it.

This may actually be a good thing. Aside from the drawback of my hand going entirely numb from holding the icy cold glass (he is too short to leave it on the table and let him stir from that vantage point), it gives the arms some light weight & resistance training (yes, I realize even typing that in as a benefit is pathetic and clarifies just how active I am these days) and, as soda always ends up flat after a few minutes in the StirMaster's presence, Husband and I phasing out soda entirely, in favor or beverages that do not rely on carbonation.

The other obsession that stems from this trip is one for all things golf ball. My father has a giant basket of golf balls in the house and I think a basket full of toddler-fist sized balls is probably as close to heaven as a 17 month old could ever imagine. All those little dimples and the clunky noises when you bang them together. C'mon. And don't even get me started on the neon yellow ones.

So Ethan spent most of his time wandering through the house, arms out, a golf ball in each hand, giggling in glee at the sheer luck of having found this massive basket of fun in Grampy's room. The only way to get him into the car without melting down was to toss a couple of golf balls his way and let him play with them while we buckled him in. The only way to coax him to go someplace he didn't necessarily want to go was to roll a golf ball in that direction in the hopes that he'd chase after it. After years of scoffing at golf, I am beginning to see it's usefulness.

So here are some pictures from our trip. I am also throwing in one or two of Ethan with his little South Carolina pumpkin. There have been and will be many more encounters with the big orange gourds (it's a fruit, right? not a vegetable? I'm a dork), but this was the season's first and came shortly after the iced tea stirring incident.

Hmmm. What to do with this awesome golf ball I stole from Grampy?

Ethan's version of multi-tasking: stirring iced-tea while holding a golf ball. And you thought patting your head & rubbing your tummy was clever.

Please note the blurring speed with which my son stirs the tea. If ice stirring is an Olympic sport by 2020, he is a shoe-in. No performance enhancing drugs here, thank you very much. That's all Ethan. AND he's still got the golf ball; that definitely raises the level of difficulty.

Check out the contemplative look of a 17-month old. It begs the question, "What would happen if I dropped this golf ball IN the tea?"

"See, Grampy--if I drop the golf ball in the tea, it makes stirring it much more challenging. Oh, you were done drinking that, right? My bad."

Nothing like pumpkin picking in 90 degree weather. Did someone say, "global warming"?

Ethan is distracted by a truck barreling by on the street. If this picture came with sound, you would hear an accompanying, "vroom vroom" which means car, truck, bus, stroller--really, anything that *goes*, in Ethanese.

His Royal Cuteness, if I do say so myself.

The golf resort's answer to Chuck E. Cheese's ball-pit. Complete with cheese and fruit plate, upon request.
Where was that bright yellow one? That's the tastiest.

Gators don't like golf balls, do they? No. But they love baby.

Friday, October 05, 2007

This is the way we wash the dishes...

Also called, Ode to the Old Kitchen...

"What? Am I not supposed to be in here?" Please note the excellent perspective this shot gives of just how narrow our kitchen actually is. If only my contractor could magically widen the room by, I don't know, 5 feet, that would be great. Also please get a good look at the slab of wood nailed to our back door. This is how the previous owners dealt with the no longer necessary cat flap. HOW did we buy this house??!!

I think this might be where Ethan's current OBSESSION with all things utensils first was born. His new thing is refusing to eat and throwing the tiniest of tantrums when we don't let him try to feed himself with a fork or a spoon at every meal. It's six of one, half dozen of the other--either way the child ends up going hungry most of the time. Oh, and I have to talk to him about wearing his shoes in the dishwasher--that should go over well.

Ethan hatching his plans for a future career in knife throwing...notice this is the last picture. This is when Mama realized that perhaps taking her child out of the dishwasher, thereby saving him from a knife-related ER visit was probably more important than snapping pics. Good, Mama.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Dear Starbucks *office* worker...

You know who you are. The jackass who makes a desk out of the handicapped table at Starbucks. The one with your laptop out, plugged in to the wall half a room away, papers sprawled out over the table, and ear weighed down with blue-tooth technology. Yeah, you.

Let me let you in on a little secret--Starbucks is not your office. You do not pay rent there; you did not sign a lease for that particular table, or any other table in the building. You have no right to any expectations of an office-like environment when you set up camp at the handicapped table in a flipping coffee shop. Capiche?

So when I come in with my toddler and sit down next to you, you can be sure I am not going to go to any great lengths to keep him from giggling or babbling to me, or even from crying if that's what he feels like doing when I get up to get a Splenda for my unsweetened shaken passion fruit iced tea. Don't bother glaring at me in an attempt to intimidate me into quieting my child because it won't work.

Huffing and puffing and making an exasperated "ccccchhhhhhthtttttt" noise in your throat while my son babbles to his straw will not suddenly turn the light bulb on over my head that "Oh, gee! He wants me to be quiet so he can conduct his important conference call in peace!" Guess what? I already know that without you practically having convulsions 5 feet away from me in a feeble attempt to express your annoyance at my audacity in bringing a child into a public place for lunch.

Let me also observe that you have one, potentially hours old, most likely empty, tall cup in front of you and you are taking up a table that has 5 chairs at it. I am sitting at a small round table with $16 worth of Starbucks products spread out for my son and I to share for lunch. I'm thinking, noisy baby and all, I'm the the one they actually want in their establishment.

So here's the deal. Starbucks is not your office; if you set up shop there, deal with me and my noisy kid. If you want it quiet, go to the library, or, here's an idea---AN OFFICE. If you want a job at Starbucks, apply to be a barista and make me a flipping latte...