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.