Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Magic Number!

I know School House Rocks says it's the Number 3 (and who can really argue with School House Rocks? Please.) But in our household, for a loooong time, the magic number has been 20. As in 20 pounds. More specifically, 20 pounds of Ethan.

At one year, our fat-challenged child (oh, the cruel irony of it all said his chubby mama) weighed in at a whopping 16 lbs. Fine. So he more than tripled his birth-weight. That's an accomplishment and all, but 16 pounds still kept him clinging by his wee fingertips to the growth chart.

We have watched the nurses slowly drag the scale weight over farther to the right all year long. At one point, after his crouptastic stay in the hospital this December, we noticed he jumped from 18lbs to 19lbs in one month and I saw visions of having a 24 pound 2 year old, back up on the charts, and double-fisting protein drinks. But no. We've been hovering at 19.5lbs since about February.

On Thursday, along with our enigmatic "HFMD" diagnosis (more on that later) we also stepped up to the scale. First of all, it was Ethan's first time on the big kid, standing up scale. How's that for one of those "non-milestone" milestones that make a mama's eyes well up? No more baby scale for my...baby. Sigh.

And in his shorts and shirt, he was....21.5 pounds!!! Now, being the obsessive self-weigher that I am, I KNOW his little shorts and shirt (and new diaper) didn't weigh more than 1.5 pounds. Considering I can shed my shoes, jeans with belt, shirt, bra, pee, etc, before I step on the scale and only show a 2 pound difference from fully clothed to buck-nekkid, I know Ethan's clothing can't add up to more than a pound, and that's being generous.

So FINALLY, a mere week and a half before he rounds the corner to 2, this little bean is finally 20 whole pounds. Hello, forward-facing car seat!!! Hello, 18-24m clothing!!!

Oh, and about that Hand/Foot/Mouth thing? Yeah. I'm not sure if I've read quite enough information on it (note sarcasm), but I don't think that's what E's got. I don't mean to come off all Jenny McCarthy (ie: I have a Google degree in medicine) or anything, but his fever started on Thursday morning and at mid-afternoon on Saturday, with no fever in sight for almost 24 hours, I am still waiting to see anything that remotely resembles a blister or spot or even remote discoloration anywhere on the supposedly afflicted areas. Hrm. We have missed play group, time with our baby whisperer and swimming classes due to the phantom plague and I am starting to believe it was a figment of our pediatrician's imagination. Better safe than sorry, obviously, but the poor kid. He's booooooooored. And just so you know...a bored toddler? Really bad company.

In Ethan's case, 20 pounds of really bad company.

Friday, April 25, 2008

If you're sick and you know it, clap your hands, foot and mouth...

There's nothing quite like spending a great day among all your mommy friends and their little munchkins, watching your kids hug and smooch and throw each other off of and out of toys, reveling in how sweet they are and how idyllic it all is---only to have your kid wake up with a 102.5 degree fever and having the pediatrician tell you your kid has something called "Hand Foot and Mouth Disease" and has probably infected all aforementioned little munchkins with said hugs and smooches.

Awesome. It feels great to be 'that' mom.

Hand Foot and Mouth is apparently a virus that gives kids a kick-ass fever for a couple days, then makes them break out in blisters on their...anyone want to guess?...hands, feet and inside of their mouth.

We're still at the fever stage, although it seems to have subsided. I could not find a blister anywhere on the kid, but the pediatrician pointed to several places on him where one "might" pop up in the next few days.

I swear, half the time these doctors are making shit up as they go along. I love the woman, but I am not sure I'm on board with the diagnosis...we'll see if he blisters up in the next day or two.

In the meantime, we are joyfully quarantined (sense the sarcasm, please) as this phantom illness runs its course. It's hard to explain to a toddler who's showing absolutely no symptoms of any illness that he's sick and can't see his friends. Nothing is more pathetic than an almost 2 year old boy standing at the door and crying, "Lilllllllly. Chlooooooooooe."

These are the names of the little girls he has likely infected with his alleged HFMD. We shall see.

We've been keeping ourselves busy with lots of walks, singing and watching videos of Ethan. I swear, Ethan is a legend in his own mind, a veritable rock star. He knows now that there are videos of him in this blog, so whenever he sees me at the computer, he MUST see "Ethanee". I think, since all his friends' names end in a long "e" sound, Ethan has decided his name does, too. That's not at all feminine, right? Excellent.

So we watch the "walk-a-me" video and the "applesauce/octopus" video about eleventy billion times a day and you know that kid's got the entire script for each one completely memorized, complete with movements. When the on-screen Ethan points, real life Ethan points. When the on-screen Ethan gives a "No pictures, please!" flail, real life Ethan does the same. When on-screen Ethan's tone gets all "ugh, woman, you are so damn dumb!", real life Ethan's tone mimics it perfectly.

He is bound for Broadway, there can be little doubt.

Not a whole lot else is new; I am fretting over the birthday party that is a mere 8 days away. We have everything except a location..Urm. That's a small detail, right?

I'm just relieved the plague 'o blisters, should they ever show up, will be gone by then so that he won't be spreading the crud to any of his friends who haven't already been yucked up by his loving.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Your weekly dose of E...

I realize looking back over my recent entries that I promised pictures on the first day of our trip in LA and then completely blew that off. So, without further ado (or more of my senseless rambling), here are some pictures from our trip....

Thanks to Dora, Ethan is deeply in love with the whole concept of having a backpack...

Our view from the hotel. Love the carefully placed palm tree covering up giant almost naked billboard man--he is wearing a pair of very well stocked tighty-whiteys, but I like the palm tree better, personally.

Apparently every bed in LA has a silver lining...

Thank you, Husband's company, for footing the bill for this SEVEN dollar bottle of water.

Ethan approves of his new digs (and of mama's sunglasses, which will end up broken in a day's time)...

This is where I tried to take Ethan for lunch the first day (see below about $15 temper tantrum).

This is where he ended up actually eating lunch the first day. Thank goodness for Trader Joe's snap peas. And freeze dried mangoes. They were pretty much his entire diet while we were there.

Oh, and cheerios & craisins...

More cheerios & craisins....

What do you know? They have parks in LA that look exactly like the parks in Virginia! Check out the glee!

First time scaling non-stair based climbing apparatus...success!

I have to admit that LA agreed with him. Sigh. Whatever.



I have to admit, this part of LA agreed with me. The retail therapy is nothing less than phenomenal.

Hello, pretty pretty purses. I will be seeing you soon!

Despite the "I am going to vomit on you any second" look he gives the camera, Ethan is a big fan of vanilla ice cream. When we walked by the ice cream stand on subsequent visits to the Grove, Ethan repeated ad nauseum, in his best beggy voice, "I-ceam! I-ceam!" So, add ice cream to snap peas, freeze-dried mangoes, cheerios & craisins...

Hello, 3-story Barnes & Noble; where have you been all of my life? (truth be told, it's pretty average--one whole story is just DVDs and books on Hollywood, and there's not even a Thomas Train table in the kid's department. But doesn't it look beeeooouuutiful?)

We took E to the zoo, where his favorite attraction was the top of Husband's head...

Amazingly, we have family in LA (who knew?!) and they had us over for dinner on Saturday night. We all enjoyed ourselves immensely and Ethan even got to pick a lemon right off a tree. Can't do that in DC...

Then he tried to eat the lemon...

That'll teach you to try to eat a lemon...

Melodrama at the hotel...

Ethan at Travel Town, or where old trains go to die...it's basically a retirement home for old train engines that they let kids walk around and climb on. A pretty good use of the old heaps. Very cool.

Freeze-dried mangoes on the tracks...check out Ethan's own little train.

Freeze-dried mangoes on the choo-choo....


Hrm. My little green Percy train is a lot smaller than this one, Mama...

And home we go...Elmo, remote and head phones (at almost zero volume, parenting police. I am not deafening my child) in tow...

And so there you have it; I did not take pictures of Finola Hughes, Lance Bass, Dakota Fanning or Bob Saget, who were the "celebrities" we saw. Okay, so only Dakota Fanning really counts as a bona fide star, but when you recognize someone when you're 3000 miles away from home, that counts as a celebrity to me, mkay??

Hopefully soon I'll have pictures to post of the fabulous hilltop villa Husband is going to find for us out there (ha ha ha). But for now, enjoy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Freaks on a Plane...

So we came home from LA last night. Fortunately, this time our plane left at a reasonable hour and we were able to sleep until 7am, have our morning Starbucks trip and get to the airport on time to board what was to become a floating ship o' freaks.

First, we had the lady dragging a soft-sided pet carrier down the aisle. When I commented on how heavy Husband's laptop bag was when moving it from one seat to the next (go figure when you have two laptops in one laptop bag), aforementioned lady turned to me and squawked, "I hope you didn't hit my baby with it!"

I looked all around myself for said baby. Nada. Mortified by the thought that I have actually struck a child with two computers, I am so ready to apologize (even though I have not hit anything--I would have felt it if I had), when I realize that the "baby", is some sort of creature in her pet carrier.

Now, people. I have two cats whom I lurve dearly and I'm not opposed to calling them my babies in certain scenarios. The crowded aisle of an airplane during boarding is NOT one of those places. No offense, I hope, but there's a pretty clear distinction between something you put in a carrying case and drag behind you, as she was doing, and, um, a CHILD.

So, while I did not in any way, shape or form actually clobber her "baby", I was beyond annoyed that she had me fretting, for even a second, that I had caused bodily harm to a child. Freak #1.

Freaks #2 & 3 were uber-freaky. Two men, in serious need of some personal grooming, middle-aged and sporting the latest in Jesus-freak haute couture. On their jackets and, as we found out, on their shirts underneath, they had ironed-on letters that spelled out all kinds of warnings about how one must repent for one's sins or, I believe the exact phrase was, "burn in hell".

These men literally had entire sermons of hell-fire and brim-stone ironed on to their shirts. Lists of exactly who will be burning in hell: Catholics and homosexuals chief among them. I scanned the shirt for some mention of Jews, but couldn't find any--they must have run out of "J"'s, what with all the times they had to spell "Jesus".

I'm not sure how to exactly describe how uncomfortable I was being on the same plane as them. Extremists are extremists, period. Makes no difference to me what religion they are trying to cram down my throat. They freaked me out with all the hate they had radiating off of them--not a comfortable feeling at 37,000 feet. Fortunately, their shirts talked louder than they did and I only had to see them when I was walking Ethan up and down the aisle a few times.

My favorite freak was the woman in front of Ethan. Honestly, she wasn't a freak at all, just a big old pain in the ass due to circumstances. This was Ethan's first non-lap baby trip. We put him in his carseat, secured it in the window seat and hoped for the best. He kicked a little on the way out to LA, but the person in front of him was a kid too absorbed in his video games to notice Ethan kicking away at his seat back. This time? Not so lucky.

Ethan made her fairly miserable for much of the trip. But you know what? It's hard to feel sorry for the woman. She saw Ethan when we put him in the seat. She knew what she was getting into. And let me add that the plane was no more than 1/2 full--there were entire empty ROWS to which she could have relocated herself when she caught sight of the 23 month old, whose legs are only long enough to reach the seat in front of him, sitting behind her.

But she didn't. She rolled her big old eyes at us, sat her butt down and as soon as we were in the air, she reclined her seat as far as possible, into my son's legs.

Awesome. Husband spent the better part of two hours with his hands holding Ethan's feet still. When he let them go, Ethan expressed his delight at this new podalic freedom by, well, kicking the seat in front of him (is that a word? "Podalic" is what I got when I googled, "pertaining to feet"--hrm).

We thought of moving Ethan to the middle seat between us so he would be kicking an empty chair (the woman apparently didn't want to sit next to her husband, who was in the aisle seat), but the size of the carseat would have meant whoever took the window seat in Ethan's place was there for the duration of the flight. No getting around a Britax, people.

There was much gnashing of teeth and turning around and glaring on her part. At first there was much hand-wringing and feeling badly on my part. But finally I got annoyed by her constant, silent assertion that my kid didn't have any right to any leg room whatsoever during his flight. That somehow, her need to recline those 3.5 inches was somehow worth asking my kid to sit with his legs crossed on his carseat for almost 5 hours.

Um. No. So after much aggravation, we decided to let Ethan have at the seat back in front of him. On principle.

I'm not proud of it, honestly, but I don't really feel badly either. She did eventually get up and move one seat over, to the middle of her row, next to her husband. What a sacrifice. We got a nice little dirty look upon arrival and she was on her way. Whatever, freak.

So that's my story of freaks on a plane. Good times. It's good to be home.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What I've seen in LA....

1. A man walking a duck
2. A woman walking a pot-bellied pig
3. A prostitute walking Sunset Blvd @ 4:30 pm--bad choice. She could have benefited from a bit of evening mood lighting, if you know what I mean.
4. Finola Hughes (google her; you'll recognize her when you see her)
5. A LOT of evidence that 80's big hair is still alive and well.
6. Lance Bass (google him; 90's boy band, almost went into space w/ the Russians. yeah, that one).
7. A LOT of fake boobs
8. Eleventy billion donut shops. What is it with LA and donut shops?
9. A guy in Starbucks reading a script (okay, so husband saw this one, but I'm the one with the blog).
10. A million and ten Judy cars, Daddy cars, Mommy cars and Chloe cars; pointed out to me almost incessantly by the Judy-Daddy-Mommy-Chloe car spotter himself, Ethan.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

LA-LA-land...

The alarm went off at 4am this morning; how's that for a good start to "Today's the first day of the rest of your life, Sarah!!"? Blech. that's how. But when non-stop flights leave DC for the West coast @7am, you have to get up before the birds and get your sorry ass to the airport.

Fortunately Ethan isn't the sort of child who frets too much about waking up early because let's face it, if he could spend his entire existence entirely awake, he'd be more than happy to do just that. So getting him up and dressed at 4:30 entailed little more than a few fussy "what the hell, mom??!" whines and that was it---Mr. E up and ready! He talked to himself the entire way to the airport as Husband and I mumbled and muttered to ourselves in the front seat just to make sure we stayed awake long enough to get ourselves to the airport in tact.

We flew Virgin America, which I believe is one of the few airlines not being investigated for flying massive heaps of tin ready to fall from the sky at any moment. By the way, it was loads of fun to watch that report on CNN over and over again this morning as I cruised at 38,000 feet.

Also at 38,000 feet, I had the auspicious opportunity to see what a $9 turkey club wrap tastes like. Pretty much like a $5 turkey club wrap. But surrounded by pressurized air. I guess that's the "wow" factor? Eh.

This was Ethan's first flight with his own seat and I am pretty sure that I would be saying it went super successfully had I not been functioning on 4 hours of sleep and therefore way less than half a tank of patience. There was some fussing about being "all done! all done!" with his carseat before the plane had even begun taxi'ing. And by the end of the flight, I'm fairly certain he'd punched a hole in the seat back in front of him. Lucky for us, the occupant of the seat front was a 6 year old kid who was so busy bouncing around playing his video game, he probably had no idea my 2 year old was beating the crap out of him from one seat back. So it's all good.

My first impression of LA was at probably 25,000 feet. After flying over the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon (seriously? That whole erosion by wind, water and time line they give you? It staggers the mind--not to get corny flaky on you, but my entire believe in a higher power is based on the existence of things like the Grand Canyon), and the massive expanse of the desert, which is also beautiful in it's own "I'd hate like hell to get stuck out there" kind of way, I was so disappointed to see LA appear ahead of me as a wall of smog. Literally brown-tinged gray air hovering below me, covering more tightly-packed buildings than I'd ever seen since flying into Mexico City years ago.

My brain gave me two options--burst into tears or hyperventilate. I decided to go with the tears option because it wouldn't require flight attendant intervention. Poor Husband. I believe he probably thinks I need to be medicated. But it was an honest reaction--it's not secret I'm not thrilled by the idea of moving here and no one likes smog, so putting 2 and 2 together, a few tears isn't shocking. And after I was on the ground for awhile I did come to the very rational conclusion that I won't be living in LA @ 22,000 feet; I'll be on the ground, where I don't see the smog as much and where I don't realize how tightly packed the houses are 5 miles away from my own little corner. And, Husband assured me, the path the airplane took was miles and miles away from where we'd be living anyway. And he's right. As I look out the window of my hotel room on Sunset Blvd, I can see the planes taking off and landing way off in the distance and realize what I saw on our descent is not what I would see in my daily life here.

How very healthy of me.

After checking in to our hotel, I dropped Husband off at work down in Hollywood and then Ethan and I headed up through Laurel Canyon for some exploration. And by "exploration" I mean, driving for miles down Laurel Canyon Blvd, with a navigation system, and back again. Woot! We did stop for "lunch" in Studio City. And by "lunch" I mean a temper tantrum that cost me $15. We ended up at Trader Joe's buying a week's supply of Snap Peas and freeze dried mangoes which have proven to be the entire sum total of Ethan's nutritional intake today. I'm a wicked good mom.

I will say one thing for Los Angeles and it's not something I ever thought I'd say--the people here are incredibly friendly. From the second we stepped on the shuttle to the Hertz car rental place to the waitress at dinner who just kept. on. talking. people here have been so courteous and just plain old pleasant.

So there's that, at least. I have also learned that I'm going to really enjoy eavesdropping on pretentious conversations while I'm here. Tonight at Greenblatt's (please, Husband had matzo ball soup; what's not to love?), these two women behind us started out with what I can only assume was what they found to be a deeply meaningful and philosophical discussion about feminism in Hollywood, or the lack thereof. Probably a very worthy discussion topic, but these women went on and on about Meredith Grey for what felt like an eternity when all they really had to say was, "I didn't like her the first time around when her name was Ally McBeal." Husband and I listened, enthralled, until the uber-nice waitress, who was on her break, came over and chatted with us about Ethan for another eternity. I especially liked when she cautioned me about waiting too long to have another child so that Ethan doesn't become selfish. Awesome, on so many levels.

And here we are, almost 20 hours after we woke up on the other side of the country, now on this side. The side that's going to be home for the next couple of years at least. We're only here right now until next Tuesday, then we go home to start the long process of saying "farewell" to DC. Bummer.

Tomorrow I will give you pictures. But now I have to sleep.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

One Pissed off Applesauce...

So, to follow up on my "Applesauce, Octopus" post, you must hear this...

video

Please notice the sheer exasperation in his voice on that second "octopus/applesauce"; like, "Jesus Christ, woman. Listen to me when I speak to you! Do you not speaka de English? I said, "APPLESAUCE!"'

I make him say it at least a half a dozen times a day. You know, because it's beyond so stinkin' cute, I can barely stand it.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

1, 2, 3...

Yes, on Friday afternoon, Ethan counted, for the first time and entirely without prompting, to three. Now, since I have admittedly neglected important elements of my maternal duties, such as party planning and the like, since falling into an obsessive state about this cross-country adventure Husband is taking us on, I have to further admit, I'm also not entirely sure if spontaneously counting to the number three, in the correct order and all, is something that a 23m old "should" be able to do or not.

My web-surfing for "toddler milestones" has been replaced with searches for "moms group in LA" & endless hits on Craig's list's housing pages. Therefore, I am not sure if I should be obnoxiously proud of my numerically advanced super genius and signing him up for math camp this summer, OR if I should be putting in a call to Early Intervention to catch him up with his peers before pre-school to spare him the embarrassment of not being able to count to 100 by age 3 and therefore dashing any chance he might ever have at being admitted to MIT.

Anyway, while counting to three for the first time is, whether developmentally advanced, behind or just right, is in and of itself blog-worthy, my reason for blogging about it goes a bit further. He wasn't just counting abstractly into thin air or anything like that. He wasn't just thinking about numbers for the fun of it (if he were, I might have to have testing done to ensure that he was in fact my child because, I assure you, I have never in almost 37 years, thought of numbers for the fun of it). No, he was counting objects. Tangible, concrete objects. What were those objects?

My boobs.

Yes, boobs. And as I'm a pretty average human, you can rest assured that I have only two of them. But as Ethan sat on my lap making faces and singing songs, he stopped momentarily, pointed to my left breast and then counted his way across to the right, "one. two. three", pointing very clearly at "each" breast. Apparently there's a hidden one in the middle that only toddlers can see? Maybe something like the "third eye" in a forehead? Maybe some sort of chakra he's tune into that I can find?

No. Turns out what most women refer to as the sports-bra induced "uniboob" translates into three boobs in the mind of an almost two year old.

This brings me to two conclusions and again, like a neglectful mother, neither of them speak to whether or not Ethan's developmentally on track with this new skill. One is, he must have no conscious memory of nursing because if he did, he would remember that there were only two taps available at that party. And the second? If he does have the impression that women have three breasts, he is going to be sorely disappointed later in life.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Bad Mama, Bad!

So it seems that in all my fretting and hand-wringing about moving to Los Angeles (more obsessive ramblings about that to come, have no fear), it seems I have forgotten that my son's SECOND birthday is a mere 31 days away and I have to really begin planning any festivities. While that doesn't seem like a big deal, let it be known that planning for his 1st birthday party was in the works by February. And it wasn't even that spectacular, people. Just some friends, some balloons and some cake.

Granted, I got all hopped up on the idea of him being ONE YEAR OLD! and had to make a big deal out of it (in my mind, if nowhere else). By March, I had taken a festive picture of a maraca-toting Ethan to use on the photo invite of what was supposed to be a Cinco de Mayo themed party, which at the last minute became a " 1st birthday" themed party because he'll ALWAYS be able to celebrate Cinco de Mayo for his birthday, but he'll only get a 1st birthday once (wish I had realized that before I spent HOURS of my life trying to get a good picture of him wearing a sombrero and shaking a maraca....); I spent the weeks before his birthday perusing party stores for the cutest decoration and scoured the internet for the best "1st birthday!" crown and shirt; the night before his birthday was spent baking his smash cake and re-reading my blog from day one (complete with box of tissues for all the sentimental weepiness). So in some ways, his first birthday was observed, at least by doting mama, for months.

Now I realize it is only a few weeks away and with the exception of a few abstract ideas, I have done woefully little to prepare for what will be the...sigh...the last party he gets to have with his DC friends. I found out yesterday that I have waited to long to book the community center for the festivities, so we are looking at a house full of almost 2-year olds and all their parents, along w/ other friends and family. Should be fabulous.

I am tempted to hold it outside at a local park, but last year on his birthday it was raining and 50 degrees--(okay, that's ONE good thing about LA...), so I fear ending up with a soggy cake and muddy toddlers.

I am the queen of photo cards and invites. I annoy friends and family with picture cards of Ethan for almost any card-giving occasion. But this time, I might actually have to just go to Target and buy a package of party invites. The Horror!

I am so sorry, little man, that Mama lost sight of the most important things because she was so busy gnashing her teeth at the thought of relocating. I have 31 days to whip up a kick-ass 2nd birthday party, so off I go...

While I'm planning, take a look at this child. This almost TWO year old child. Um. Where the hell is my baby???