Friday, February 29, 2008

Finger Painting Picasso...

Last week, we indulged our yen for a little creativity by busting out the finger paints. In the past, the only places we've dared attempt to paint was either in the backyard or the tub. Well, it's 30 degrees outside, so I'm not too keen on stripping my little man down on a blanket in the backyard just now. And since he's learned to stand up and jump in the tub, it just spells "trip to the ER" to even think of putting him in there with a bunch of globs of slippery slidey finger paints.

So, we sat at the dining room table. In a rare moment of common sense and foresight, I thought to tape the giant piece of paper to the table, thus ensuring I didn't spend my afternoon mopping blue, red, yellow and green blotches up off the floor. Go, mama!

Behold, the masterpiece...

tentative fingers...

Go get me my beret, woman. And draw a moustache on me. I'm getting my artiste on!

Dame cinco...

Note to self: finger paints for painting. Not so much for eating.

Nooooow I get it...

Ah! Yellow and blue make GREEN!

Air-kisses for mama...

Aaaaand, we're done...

"Eetan, Dowa & Al Ponte"

These are my son's new favorite words. They are, for those of you not fluent in Ethanese, "Ethan, Dora, and the Spanish pronunciation of elephant."

Last week, Ethan discovered a new appreciation for himself. He learned how to pronounce, or nearly pronounce his own name. Leave it to me to name my child with a challenging consonant blend. He is now the president of his own fan club. We cannot walk by a picture of him, a mirror or even a well-polished window without him throwing his hands up and exclaiming, "Eetan!!! Eetan!" Yes, dear; that's you. You're lovely. Now stop mushing your face against that store front, we've got to go. It is nice to see him finally say his own name with the same enthusiasm that's generally reserved for his friends Chloe and Lily.

And the Dora thing? I had no idea 20 minutes a day of a little bilingual girl in pink shorts and a kicky backpack could capture his heart and mind so thoroughly. He likes Elmo. He enjoys a bit of Thomas. But Dora? She's apparently his first love (well, his first animated love. As we all know, he's already had his first in-the-flesh love(s)...I am in so much trouble when he's 15).

I have taken to TiVo'ing Dora because she's on during an hour of the day that I don't feel every last solitary drop of my energy has been sapped, and I'm not going to rot Ethan's brain during time that I can actually function. I reserve it for sometime between 5:15-6:00pm, when I have just about enough energy to lie on the floor with him and repeat Map's directions over and over and over again with the best fake excitement I can muster. "Mountain!" "Tunnel!" "Big yellow station!" "Shoot me!" Okay, I made that last part up.

Yesterday I was at the Apple store exchanging one crappy overpriced, highly breakable iPhone car charger for it's twin; an equally overpriced, highly breakable iPhone car charger, which I am sure is going to bust sometime around next Wednesday. Ethan, having already greeted himself in the store's window, was chilling in his "jogging" stroller (yes, I have to put the word jogging in quotation marks, because, please...). Suddenly, I hear "Dowa! Dowa!"

Turns out, my son's superduper Dora The Explorer vision had spied a computer screen three-quarters of the way down the store displaying a Dora cartoon for another toddler. I had to squint like Mr. Magoo to see what was on the screen, but my kid honed in on it like a terrier on a fox. "Dowa! Dowa!" he chanted like a mad man and squirmed in his stroller to get a better view. Mortifying, to say the least. I mean, you'd think from his obsessive chanting that I sat him in front of Dora DVDs for 12 hours a day. But no, this love affair is contained to 20 minutes a day. What can I say? Dora casts her spell in seconds flat. Who can resist those massive eyes, sassy bob and mismatched t-shirt and shorts combo?

She also speaks some fierce Spanish, which is another reason we're happy to let Ethan watch her. Right now he knows his two beverages of choice en espanol (agua y leche) and he is learning his numbers, letters and colors in Spanish as well. Which brings us to Al Ponte.

The Spanish word for "elephant" is just elephant with an "e" at the end of it and it sounds, phonetically, simply enough, like "el-ay-faunt-ay". When you're a busy toddler like Ethan, you can't really be bothered with four whole syllables, and if you're Ethan specifically, the pronunciation of the letter "f" eludes you entirely. Therefore, "elephante" ends up sounding like it could be the name of a smarmy used car salesman, Al Ponte. Turns out, "Al Ponte" is the name of many an Italian restaurant and hotel in Europe and Sydney, and even a church in Florence, Italy. Go figure. That's my boy; he's wicked cultured.

So these are the words of the week. I'm sure next week we will be listening to a new list of wonderments from the little man. As soon as I can remember how to embed video in mah blog, I will give the audio version of this entry. And by "as soon as", I mean hopefully before he's in college.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pillow Talk...

Husband: Maybe your old lady eggs need a walker to help them get down the fallopian tube.

Me: Hmmm. Maybe. Maybe your sperm could benefit from a GPS.

Gotta love trying to get knocked up.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Who ARE these people?

Yesterday, Husband, Ethan and I went into the city to have brunch with Tio JP. It is so nice to get into the car in the 'burbs and step out of it in the city. It's impossible not to notice the change in energy and atmosphere and I'm so glad we're raising Ethan in an area where he has the luxury of those two environments so close together.

But the focus of my post isn't that wistful satisfaction of location, location, location. No, it's the irritated annoyance of people, people, people.

See, after putting our name in at a shee-shee poo poo brunch place and walking around the neighborhood for the 25 minutes worth of wait-time they told us to expect (only to find out 25 minutes later it would be another 25 minutes), we ended up at a cute little dive down the street. We're talking super casual, greasy spoon type joint. Nothing fancy or shee-shee about it, but decent food and good service. We settled in to our table, perused the menu and intended to have a lovely little brunch.

Except the people next to us had some sort of child-related allergy that caused them to CONSTANTLY gawk and glare at our child. They were clearly a Will and Grace couple (read: gay man and his hag), but ugly and without any sense of style whatsoever. He needed some serious grooming before his eyebrows overtook his entire head and she either had a family of four tucked discreetly in her clothes or she needed to drop about 250 pounds. They had been seriously beaten by the ugly stick and were bitter with the world.

But I have no idea why their scorn fell squarely on the innocent likes of my son. I will admit that before having kids I was all to willing to roll my eyes at the noisy toddler at the table next to me, look disapprovingly at the parents of a baby with a case of the screeches and to say, "Ugh. Can you believe that?" to my companion, when some 2 year old chucked the salt shaker to the ground before his mom could wrestle it from his hands.

Ethan was doing none of those things. First of all, it was a loud place, so his normal volume level was barely audible at our own table, nevermind the next table over. He was sitting happily in his highchair, out of the aisle and out of the way, playing with Husband's lemon. There were no melt-downs, no shinanigans, no nothing. And this was without a nap--Husband and I were prepared for the worst and were pleasantly surprised by an almost freakishly well-behaved 22-month old.

So I don't know what their problem was. But I have to tell you, it was constant scowling and whispering. I seriously had flashbacks to English class of my junior year of high school when I foolishly told Melissa Hechavaria that the cool girls were calling her a slut behind her back and then I became the pariah of the entire group. Their icy glares and loud meant-to-be-heard whispers were the bane of my existence for six months until summer vacation.

Fortunately I only had to deal with these people and their passive aggressive nastiness for about 45 minutes, but I have to say, it was everything in me not to pull a "You got a problem?" on their asses and I've only done that once in my life (drunk, at a bar, when some girl was making eyes at my boyfriend; thinking back, I'd have been better off if I'd just let her have him and gotten on with my life, but that's another story).

All three of us tried to figure out what he could have possibly been doing that was so offensive (yes, the haters were noticed by Husband and JP as well; I am not spinning paranoid delusions about people not liking my kid), but we all came up empty. At one point I thought maybe it was because Ethan was eating a French fry, but then I realized the glares were coming from the aforementioned family-sized lady and figured she really wasn't one to judge. Unless of course she was pissed that Ethan can eat french fries and keep his svelte figure (hell, we're all bent out of shape about that). And maybe the guy was steamed that, at 22 months, Ethan was dressed better and had better hair than him. I don't know, but either way, those people had some serious attitude about Ethan.

Anyway, there's no real point to this story, but I felt I had to share. I'm always rambling on about how great Ethan is, but apparently, the sentiment is not universally unanimous. I totally get that the world doesn't revolve around my child and that people are entitled to their opinion. Some people just don't like kids. That's cool. But jeez, people. I don't like Yankees fans, but I don't give them dirty looks while they eat their lunch. Well, maybe I do, a little.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Zoolander goes to the pediatrician.

Ethan's sick again. Shocking, I know. At this point, I can actually see the little germies swirling around and towards him in the hours before he shows symptoms. He apparently has germ-magnets of alarming strength luring the buggies to him. And that means more time at the pediatricians and more face time with crazy Dr. Croup.

This is the guy who had Ethan admitted to the hospital in December for croup; sure, Ethan had croup, but so do about eleventy billion other toddlers between December and March. Only 1% of them require hospitalization. The general consensus among everyone who saw him during that 24 hours was that Ethan really wasn't part of that 1%, but what are you going to do? As a first time mom, and one with a penchant for overreaction at that, you tend to do what the doctor says. They are the one with the big piece of paper hanging on the wall that says they're wicked smart.

So, as it was a last minute appointment, all the good doctors, the ones who react to a situation within the normal scope of precaution, were booked up with other runny noses and various well visits. That meant crazy Dr. Croup was just primed and ready to flip out over my son's sniffles. I thought maybe he had an ear infection (which he does, but more on that later), but crazy Dr. C decided that the nebulizer was our best bet in kicking this cold in the butt. Crazy Dr. Croup's full name is apparently, Crazy Dr. Croup McNebulizer. This guy all but has a tool belt with nebulizers just hanging off of it.

Aside from being nebulizer-happy, the guy says NOTHING to you as he's examining your child. "So, how do his ears look?" Nothing. "Did you see anything in there?" Nothing. "Could it just be teething?" Nada. "How do his lung sound?" Zip.

Then he says, "I'll be right back," and moments later, reemerges with a nebulizer. This is where every atom of my being is screaming (silently), "WHAT THE FUCK, CRAZY DOCTOR MAN!!!???" He does explain what's going on, but it's not until he's got the machine in his grasps; it's as though he draws strength from the machine's whirring motor. Freaking psycho.

All right; fine. Nebulizer it is. But when I called to make the follow up appointment, I insisted on seeing someone besides him; there's only so much "crazy" one mama can take before she goes postal and aside from...well, all of that, he seems like a perfectly nice guy, so I don't want to hurt him. Best if I not see him anymore.

This brings us to Wednesday morning and our follow up with the exceedingly more normal pediatrician. Ethan and I were hanging out and coloring in the waiting room when she walked in. A little 3 year old, all dressed to the 9s in her flowered sweater, jumper-dress, tights and mary-janes. She checks out Ethan. He checks her out. And then, it was on.

The little girl walked through the waiting room with her hands on her hips. The waiting room, for those of you trying to get a mental image, is long and narrow, much like a cat-walk. Ethan followed her. Then she skipped back the other way. Ethan followed her. Oh yes, my friends. It was a walk-off. Like Zoolander. But without David Bowie emcee'ing and with way more giggling and squealing.

This went on for quite a while; they got quite a kick out of each other and Ethan was, as he always is, mesmerized by the shoes. The shoes on his own feet, the shoes on her feet, the shoes on her mom and her baby brother. Their walk-off was only interrupted by his need to stop, point and say, "Shoe!" every few minutes, as though discovering them over and over again for the first time.

Finally Ethan was called in to see happy sane Dr. He Still Needs the Nebulizer. She found the ear infection that crazy Dr. Croup McNebulizer missed and concurred that he does indeed need the neb, at least for another few days and whenever he gets a cold throughout the rest of the winter.

So now we sit, each night, the three of us on Ethan's bed, bonding over the whirring motor and the steroid-y steam of the nebulizer. And, yesterday and today, Ethan and I have amused ourselves in the afternoon with a good old-fashioned walk-off on the living room floor.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Clean Sweep...

Have I mentioned my house is bit of a mess? Perhaps that I am less than a stellar house keeper? Have I lamented over the fact that there are exactly zero clutter-free spaces in my home?

I have? Oh yeah. I MUST have because my constant bitching and whining about it actually got me somewhere. It pays to be persistent when confessing your deepest embarrassments. Someone is bound to step out of the blogosphere and offer to put you out of your misery.

A few months ago, I blogged (read: kvetched) about how I can't hire a house keeper because my house is to big of a mess. I resolved to try to do a better job (I think I said something about going through my house once a week and throwing away 50 things? Oh my. Give me a second to control the giggling.) Well, what do you know, but the universe was laughing, too, knowing full well there wasn't a shot in hell I'd actually stick with that clearly reasonable and manageable plan. So, instead, it sent me Pam.

Pam reads mah blog. She likes to organize. She took pity on me (or on the poor child I'm raising amongst my squalor). She emailed me and said, "Hey, I might be able to help you!" And the clouds parted, the angels sang and in my mind's eye, I suddenly saw the possibility of a home worthy of the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog rather than the tornado-esque ruin of junk mail, sippy cups and random IKEA train track pieces that is my current living situation.

Husband and I briefly discussed the possibility that this "Pam" person might be a big hairy ax murderer jockeying for a shot on the evening news. We thought maybe it wasn't a good idea. Then I opened a cabinet in the kitchen to get a pot for dinner and three pots (and their mismatched lids) fell onto my fragile little toes. That decided it for me. Big hairy ax murderer or not, Pam was going to help me get my life in order.

Much to our relief, Pam is nothing remotely like a big hairy ax murderer. She is indeed a completely pleasant and charmingly anal retentive, self-professed Type-A'er. Let me tell you, it is refreshing to have some of that energy in my house. We are not type-A'ers here. We could stand to be at least type-B or C'ers. But on an alphabetical scale of organizational compulsions, "A" being highest, we are in the "W, X, Y, and Z" range (which reminds me, Ethan pronounces the letter W, "dubya", apparently as an homage to our smartest president ever. I couldn't make this shit up). So anyway, having a bit of "A" in our home was a very, very good thing.

As Pam and I went through the downstairs and started sorting Ethan's toys, I had a momentary panic attack when I put the first toy in the "give away" pile and a slightly bigger panic attack when I put the first toy in the "throw away" pile. But I have to admit, two days later, I cannot remember what toys we gave away and what we threw away; I just know that I can see the floor under my dining room table again (again, more clouds parting and angels singing, please). I also realized with her help that one child doesn't necessarily need 12 balls in the house at one time. Yes, sadly, I needed help to come to that epiphany.

Once the toy collection was pared down, we moved to the kitchen. Turns out, I have no idea how to organize a cabinet. Who knew those things don't just take care of themselves.

Let me take a moment to try to explain the embarrassment of opening up one of your kitchen cabinets and realizing that the outside of your crock pot, which is leaning precariously atop a variety of baking pans and pot lids, needs a serious scrubbing. How the hell did it get like that? I swear it was clean when I put it away. Or maybe it wasn't, as I'm not likely to believe that little grease elves snuck into my cabinets in the still of the night and rubbed themselves up against the crock pot. I wish that were the case, believe me. But no, I'm just a slob. My apologies to anyone who has eaten at my house before; I hope you didn't get sick. And if you did, thank you for not being litigious.

That is probably the biggest lesson I learned on Saturday. I have spent years living under the delusion that my home was clean, albeit cluttered. On Saturday I learned, much to my abject mortification (and in front of another person, no less) that one's house can't really be clean if it is as cluttered as mine is. The dust-bunnies that we unearthed in the dining room (and deargod, don't even ask about the bed room) make me grateful my child hasn't become an asthmatic mess.

By the time we got through the downstairs, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, so when we went through the upstairs, we limited our work to making a list of what I have to do to get each room into a state of livable organization. I still have lots of work to do before my house isn't a total disaster area, but I feel like I can handle it.

So now I know---if you let the universe (read: blogosphere) know what you need, help does come to you, and offers to alphabetize your spice drawer (which we decided was a moot point since Ethan redesigns the spice drawer on a daily basis).

Friday, February 08, 2008


Ethan's been pointing at noses (his, yours, the cat's) for months. He is a huge fan of noses. But he hasn't actually said "nose" until today. He apparently preferred the way "ear" (which sounds like "eee-awr", ohdeargod, someone stop me from just eating him up) and "eye" rolled off the tongue and was content to just poke at noses rather than expressing his adoration verbally.

This afternoon as I was lying down with him at the beginning of his nap, he took his usual inventory of Mama's face. Eyes, eeee-awrs, hair, mouth, teeth, etc. When he got to nose, he did his usual little tap and smile and I said, "yeah, that's Mama's nose." His response (through the paci, of course)? "Nose," in his sweet little voice.

I need to have a video camera permanently installed somewhere on my body so I can capture these moments, but I would have a hard time finding one that matched all my outfits, so it's probably not going to happen. I think all parents have a favorite word that their child says, and they are usually the most mundane words. I remember reading Dooce's blog when her daughter was pronouncing the word lotion as "showshun". Husband and I listened to that sound clip over and over again, giggling under our breaths (we had a newborn preemie sleeping in between us at the time) and wondering what words would come out of Ethan's mouth some day and, for some unexplicable reason, above and beyond the others, just melt our hearts.

I guess "nose" is one of those words for me. He says it perfectly, so it's not as though the charm is in a mispronunciation (that would be "alligator", which sounds like "al-ga-er", and of course, "eeee-awr"). It's just that he seems to own it. He's been silently admiring noses for so long, it's as though he couldn't quite express his delight at their existence on our faces until today. And I was there when he first decided to declare his glee aloud.

Although, I was also there tonight when he decided to say the word, "ass" several times, all a-giggle, after I happened to let it slip. Good mommy.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Spring Fever...

Even though it's only early February and of course that damn ground hog most likely condemned us to six more weeks of winter (could someone explain to me why we blame this on a chubby rodent?), it has been unseasonably fabulous out, so Ethan and I have been taking advantage with lots of walks and visits to the park.

I am feeling a serious lack of narrative finesse these days, so I will simply share some pictures of the cute one and call it a night.

ready for his close up...

On our walk today; hard to believe this is the same path I used to take for walks when he was a newborn in his stroller.

Now he runs...

and laughs...

Why is my child drawn to the ghetto-mobiles at the local park? This would so not pass inspection...

Please note the steering wheel, on the ground.

Realizing he can't drive the red steering wheel-less car, he seeks out this hot pink number. Sadly, it too is sans steering wheel. Clearly the park is experiencing a rash of steering wheel vandalism and theft.

Ethan points out a real car driving by. I bet that one has a steering wheel, mama...

Ethan moments before coming down the tube slide on his tummy...

Ethan, moments after coming down the tube slide on his tummy. Loved the slide; was not such a fan of the face plant he took at the end of the ride. Little man got a mouth and nose full of grainy wet sand and gravel, and considering he's a picky eater (and he prefers his nostrils gravel-free, go figure), he was NOT pleased. This picture was taken after Mama attempted to de-gravel him to the best of her ability. It only pissed him off more. Shocking, I know...

All better, and back on that damn hoopty (he has managed to replace the steering wheel, the mechanical genius)...

This ride needs no steering wheel....this is Ethan, mid-"WEEEEEE"

Friday, February 01, 2008