Saturday, September 27, 2008

Who did I torture in a past life?

I'm just curious. Because some sort of cosmic pay-back is the only way I can explain having given birth to a child whose sleeping patterns have spent the past two and a half years taking a decade off of my life.

Since we traveled to L.A. in April prior to moving here, Ethan's bedtime had gotten progressively later and later. We assumed it was because when he was out here, he was going to bed three hours later than at home and his body just had just acclimated to it. So when we got back to Virginia, bedtime was closer to 10-10:30pm than we'd have liked it. We comforted ourself with the cautious optimism that when we moved to Los Angeles, that inner-clock would prevail and his bedtime would naturally adjust to 7-7:30pm.

Think of the hours of Husband and Sarah time! An Ethan asleep before 8 o'clock could mean up to THREE hours of uninterrupted Husband and Sarah time! We might even be able to conceive the next spawn to wreck our sleep for another two years with that kind of time to work with!! That could be six sit-coms, three dramas, a WHOLE movie, endless Wii time. Just the thought of it was enough to throw Husband and I into the upper stratosphere of joyful anticipation. We became blindingly certain in our hope that, yes, when we got to L.A., the child would go to bed early.

Except he didn't. Nope. 10:30pm in Virginia turned into 10:30 in Los Angeles. Sure, for a couple of days, while we were first in the hotel, he conked out pretty early, out of deference to the time change and the sheer exhaustion of absorbing the new environment. But it didn't last; within a few days of moving into our house, Ethan was fighting sleep with the same champion's spirit he has all along.

And while he was pulling his "you can't make me!" routine at night, he was perfecting the same fight around nap times. So, sometimes he got a nap. Sometimes he didn't. In a few short days of this "flip flopping", Husband and I noticed something we'd consider nothing short of miraculous happening. On days he napped, he was up until after 10pm. On days he didn't nap, suddenly, he was rubbing his eyes and amenable to the idea of going to bed by...wait for it...7pm.

This was unchartered territory. Previously, days without naps just meant a crankier Ethan until after 10pm. The idea that he would be ready for bed before sundown on a day that he hadn't given in to a late morning/early afternoon nap was unheard of. No, we'd think, not our kid. He's a night-owl; won't think of going to bed until the 10 o'clock news is on; he's got to check out the headlines you know, he's very informed. But here it was. Sleeping, soundly, peacefully--from 7pm until 8am. (cue the angels weeping and the sky opening in a chorus of harmonizing seraphim).

So it began. The elimination of the nap. At under two and half years old. Parts of me were concerned that it was too soon. Other parts of me, the parts that wanted to spend some quiet time with Husband and not sit by myself for hours and hours every night, wrapped duct tape around the concerned parts and told them to shut the hell up.

Ethan did really well; I worried about having two extra hours in the day during which I'd have to entertain him, but we did okay--we filled our hours with all kinds of activities (we even made a trip to Michaels' craft store, and that's a whole blog entry in and of itself), and play dates and then magically, it was 6pm and time for dinner and bedtime. Viola!!! Perfect! Finally! This is what we'd been waiting for for the past year and a half of Ethan's life! A child who is happy all day, goes to bed at a reasonable time and stays asleep for hours and hours at a stretch.

Had I not been blinded by the rapturous ecstasy of it all, I would have known it was too good to be true. I would have heard the muffled voice of the parts of me duct taped and shoved in a trunk trying to tell me that he wasn't entirely ready and he was going to crash and this was a bad, bad thing to do to my poor little man. It was nice while it lasted, which was about a week...

This week, as we barreled through on the no-nap schedule, Ethan was Major Meltdown. We did all right in the mornings, fresh off our thirteen hours of sleep. Morning activities and play dates were a huge success (which is a blessing because we had a playdate this week with Gwen Stefani's kid and if Ethan has thrown something at Kingston, I'd have died of mortification--who wants Gwen Stefani being pissed off at them? Not moi!)

But the afternoons? Exorcist-baby. The park? Disaster. Our whole playground drug-trade of match-box cars ceased to appease the "IT'S MINE!!!" mantra that has suddenly found it's way into Ethan's repertoire. We tried a play date at a new friend's house. A friend Ethan's been rambling on about for days. Five minutes into the play date, Ethan's head was spinning and he was screaming like a banshee. Friend offers a toy, Ethan freaks. Friend takes a toy, Ethan freaks. Friend makes noise, Ethan freaks. Sarah scoops up Ethan, apologizes profusely to friend and friend's mom, and takes her poor cranky baby home, all the while wishing she hadn't carried on about how great this "no nap" thing is to all her friends because now when Ethan is a lunatic, people say, "Hm. He didn't nap today, huh?" And I hang my head in bad-mommy shame as I skulk away and wonder what do I do now?

So here it is, Saturday afternoon and I sit in Panera, my life-sized iced green tea and iPhone (I'm waiting for you to call me, Tress) at my side. And where is my son? At home. Napping with Husband.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

He's Grrrrreat!

I know, so corny. It was either that, or "Eye of the Tiger." These are the jokes, people. Don't forget to tip your waitress.

So we've been going to the farmer's market down the street from us since before we even moved into our house here. It's every Sunday morning and it has been one of the most enjoyable things about moving here. It doesn't get much better than strolling through a bunch of fresh vegetables and friendly neighbors, and the sound pleasant conversation set to the backdrop of either a blue grass or steel drum band (it alternates back and forth each week). It is a happy, hippy little haven in an otherwise too-busy-to-notice-you, image-driven town. Sure, I see my fair share of overtly fake boobs at the farmer's market, but the women sporting them seem to have taken a brief breather from how put together they look; sweat suits, no make up. Come to think of it, most of them are probably famous people I would recognize if they had the rest of their fakiness on (and that's actually not really fair because the handful of famous people I've met here have actually been surprisingly down to earth and kind-hearted).

This week it was Husband's turn to accompany Ethan on the choo-choo train. This is a high light of Ethan's week, although it is, admittedly, the lamest choo-choo ride ever in the history of choo-choo rides. The carnies who run it look as though they make the trip to Studio City every Sunday from somewhere in unchartered Appalachia territory. The choo-choo train's path takes it on several loop-de-loops through the scenic Big 5 parking lot and then back through the market. It never fails to astound me that Ethan doesn't just say one Sunday, "You know what? This choo-choo is wicked lame; let's skip it and get some coffee instead, mkay?"

But alas, he doesn't. So Husband and I take turns each week enduring the heebie-geebies inspired by the carnie folks and the exhaust fumes in the parking lot. And while one of us is feigning glee at finding ourselves once again on the least joyful of joy rides, the other one wanders through the market, gathering an assortment of juicy fruits and tasty veggies that we end up either eating at lightening speeds or throwing away three days later.

As it was my Sunday to wander, I made my way through the crowd, picking up some plums and some grapes. I couldn't help but get that corny, swelling "I'm so happy to be here right now in this moment" feeling. I've not really had that feeling since one of the last times I sat around the church nursery room in Virginia amongst my playgroup mom friends and all of our little ones. I didn't anticipate ever feeling that

It stopped me in my tracks, which probably annoyed the man pushing a double stroller right behind me. Oops. But I had to stop and bask in the feeling for just a moment. I mean, when you have a moment of nearly perfect contentment, it merits a few seconds of stillness, right?

The moment passed, and I went about my business, but it's altered my overall feelings about being here in LA. I am still heartsick about the friends, family and parts of my life that I left behind in Virginia. But I have found a place in my heart to put that, honor it and let it have it's place. The rest of me, the biggest chunk of my heart, is happy to be here. Maybe it's the Zoloft talking, but I'm content with that.

And seriously, who could be just a big gushy pile of happy with this face around? Ethan got his face painted at the Farmer's Market on Sunday after his big excited choo-choo ride.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Life Is What Happens When You're Making Plans...

or something like that. I can't remember if that's exactly the wise old adage, or what, but it fits in this particular case.

Today, after our morning sojourn to Jamba Juice (for E) and Starbucks (for me), Husband took Ethan to the park so I could spend some quality time with a bottle of clairol hair dye (please see tiny post below about said quality time. bah). After that disappointment, we decided to check out a kid's museum in Pasadena.

See, when I first moved here I joined an online Meetup group in what I thought would be an attempt to make friends. Turns out, I've only been to one actual meetup, what with the Playground Preschool and all, but every third email that comes to my box is some invitation to meet somewhere new and exciting. So while I don't necessarily time it to go when this random group of women goes, I save the information and use it to plan my own little outings for a later date. This little outing was supposed to be to the Kidspace Museum. Lots of fun, interactive exhibits and all that kind of fun family stuff.

Well, turns out that the Kidspace Museum is next door neighbors with the Rose Bowl. On a Saturday. So it was Husband, Ethan, me, and a Rose Bowl's worth of cars filled with USC fans on their way to the game. Duh. After sitting in enough traffic to turn the hair that did take the dye BACK to gray, we decided to U-turn and find lunch, instead of lots of fun, interactive exhibits and all that kind of family fun.

We found ourselves in Old Town Pasadena. Eating burgers and dogs at a Johnny Rockets. And because we had absolutely nothing to do afterwards, we decided to wander around. Our wandering took us out the back door of Johnny Rockets and into the court yard of the wishing trees.

I had no idea what they were, or that they were a Yoko Ono exhibit, when we first found them. I was just completely in awe of these 21 crepe myrtles with literally thousands of pieces of paper hanging off of them, filled with the random wishes of passers-by.

Husband and I read dozens of wishes while Ethan ran around, throwing coins into the wishing fountain and climbing up little step stools to play with the wishes hanging from the lowest branches. It was bizarrely voyeuristic, but also incredibly comforting to see so many private wishes and thoughts, laid out there anonymously, but in each person's individual hand writing and voice.

There were wishes for the recovery of loved ones. Wishes for peace. Wishes for true love. Wishes for people to find Jesus. One child's scrawling penmanship revealed, "I wish I could be spiderman."

We meandered through the trees for probably close to an hour before deciding to tear ourselves away for some gelato. Of course, we left some wishes ourselves.

I wish I could read...

I wish I didn't have this rather large woman growing out of my shoulder...

I wish I'd written this one myself...

I wish I could freeze time and keep him like this forever...

I wish the crazy lady would stop taking pictures of me...

I wish I'd calculated the size of my mouth a bit better...

I wish I were at home in bed instead of being dragging to Target...

Little Things in Life that Suck...

When dying your hair doesn't cover the grey...

seriously. When did I get old?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Channeling Julia & Pablo...

That would be Childs and Picasso...we're so on a first name basis, considering my child is apparently a medium through which their creativity and passion in their chosen fields is expressed with, to steal a line from Austin Powers, "what the French call a certain...I don't know what."

Little did I know what I picked the cupcake mix and frosting off of the grocery store shelves earlier this week that Thursday would bring such a flurry of artistic joie de vivre. But indeed, Ethan got his art on this afternoon. His chosen mediums? Chocolate, sprinkles and finger paints. But not all at once.

Shall we take a peek?

mmm, delish, mama.

If you try to take a bite, I cannot be held accountable for the wrath you will incur at my hands. Back off of mah cupcake, woman!

As if he's not sweet enough already! (ugh--insert phony yuk yuk here at my very bad attempt at sappy humor).

The discovery of the "sprinkles". Oooooh, you tiny little multi-colored sugar disks of delight....

Aaaaaaand, there's the sugar rush....

...which led to the chocolate-based self portrait and plaintive cries of "want to paint! want to paint!"

So we painted...

....a lot.....

...erm, maybe a bit too much? Ethan's canvas of choice? Himself.

Our final destination for the afternoon--bathies. Where I literally had to climb in with him to scrub the finger paint out of his hair. I'm sure you can guess that he was thrilled with that.

And in case you needed any, a little proof that he cleans up nice.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No Ifs, Ands, or Butts...

I have a tendency to obsess over my toddler's butt (let's take a moment to cringe that the next time I check my analytics I will surely find that someone was brought to my blog after a google search for "toddler butt"---get out of mah blog, you sick freak!)

Anyhoooo, I love it. It is the perfect little almost non-butt and I can barely contain my need to give him a little butt squeeze when he walks by me and aver with enthusiasm, "I LOVE THIS BUTT!!" Now that we're in an experimental potty-training phase, there is plenty o' naked baby butt wandering around my house and I am relishing it now while I have a chance because I know soon enough, and rightfully so, he will be too old to be cavorting bare-bottomed through the house.

Perhaps, though, I need to reign it in a bit. This afternoon, as I leaned over the dining room table to find a puzzle piece to jam into the jigsaw I've been working on for the past week and a half, I heard the pitter patter of Ethan's bare feet approaching. Next, I feel two little hands patting my bum repeatedly and hear Ethan's voice, a perfect imitation of my own, excitedly proclaiming, "I LOVE THIS BUTT!!"

My kid? Cracks me up.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

When In Rome...

Clearly, we're not in Rome; but I guess that phrase is a reasonable one to use since "When on the playground" just never caught on. So let's assume for the sake of this entry that Rome is actually our local playground, minus the Pope and the architecture, all that, shall we? Mkay.

For a few weeks after we moved here, you might remember my lamenting until you wanted to gouge your eyes out (or never read my blog again, which, by the way, would be the easier of those two choices) that my child was a bit, well, aggressive. What with the hitting and the throwing and the slapping and tantrumming, and the other undesirable behavior that is toddlerese for "ohmygodwoman, what have you done with all my toys and all my friends and all my stuff and where the hell are we and when do we go hoooooooooome?!!!" I spent an inordinate amount of time wringing my hands and kvetching that we'd wrecked our sweet-tempered little man with this move and how were we going to get him back to his normal self?

Initially I fretted that we HAD to send him to pre-school immediately. Having ripped him from his social circle in Virginia is what had turned him into this beast of a toddler; only surrounding him with other little kiddos in a structured environment could "fix" him. In Virginia, we had a weekly playgroup and generally ended up playing with at least one of the other kids from playgroup every single day.

Between playgroup itself and the classes we took there (everything from music to gym to art), Ethan was essentially in pre-school without being in pre-school while we lived in Virginia. As a matter of fact, Husband and I deliberately intended to put pre-school on hold while we were in Virginia because we felt he was getting more than enough in the way of socialization, dirt-eating and arts & crafts with his little group of friends.

Fast forward to June of this summer and what did we have? Little group of friends? Gone. Classes? Gone (well, we signed up for a music class, but it wasn't exactly the same, says the pouty mama). Playdates? Gone. So what we had was one toddler, rife with frustration, confusion and energy; and one mama, ready to lose her freaking mind if this kid!!!!

And of course, as luck always has it, we moved during a time of the year where the collective parenting community laughs with one voice when you ask if you can get into a pre-school by fall. "I'm sorry, what? It's mid-July, and you want to enroll your child into pre-school for this fall?" (pause for quiet "oh, you poor stupid girl" chuckle here). "No. Maybe next fall if you get on the list within the next 45 seconds. Maybe."

I called a few places to inquire about Mommy & Me programs, which are essentially pre-school with parental involvement. Alas, Ethan, at the ripe old age of 28 months, is too old for those programs.

So what is a mom to do when her child is too old for Mommy & Me and hasn't been on a pre-school waiting list since his 4th week of gestation? She goes to the park. A lot.

It's free. It's shaded (and in L.A., shaded can mean the difference between 95 and 80 degrees). It exhausts him. It gives me people to talk to. All this would be plenty to make it worth the 25 minute walk there and back. But what I've found, beyond all of this, is that it has turned my sweet little Ethan back into my sweet little Ethan.

The first few weeks were trying; I left the park more than once in tears, pushing the stroller home while Ethan cried because we'd left abruptly after he threw sand or toy trucks or fists at the face of another child. I cannot count the number of times I pled for forgiveness (probably embarrassingly emphatically, if memory serves me correctly) to the mothers of other little ones who'd been the targets of Ethan's frustration. Everyone was kind and said, "oh, poor thing," when I explained that we'd just moved, that he was having a hard time, wasn't normally like this, yadda yadda yadda. It was difficult to keep going back to face the possibility that he was just going to go medieval on some other unsuspecting toddler again and we were going to have to leave...again.

So I started time-outs. This is where I eat a little bit of parenting crow. I have to admit that when Ethan was younger, I never quite got the "time out" thing and told myself I'd find a way to make Ethan understand right from wrong with far more natural consequences and by talking to him...because toddlers love nothing more than reason and logic, right? Right. Don't get me wrong, I never judged time-out parents or anything like that--I just didn't want to use them myself. I think now that perhaps I'd not really considered what we were in for as Ethan approached toddlerhood.

Anyhow, time-outs started as about 30 seconds screaming bloody murder on a park bench, on mama's lap, squirming like an oiled pig. Lots of fun, let me tell you. Enough fun, in fact, to make me think that perhaps we'd be better off just not leaving the house until he was in high school. After every time-out (and sometimes a trip to the park was more time-out than not), he apologized to whomever he'd thrashed (I only use them when he's aggressive; for everything else I need him to stop doing, I can just count to 3 and he's done before I get to 2 most of the times--I don't even know what comes after 3...) and then we continued on in our little lives, until the next time.

Within a week of starting time-outs, all I had to do when I saw that gleam come into his eye that said, "Gee, the top of that kid's head could sure use a whack!" was say, "Ethan, do you want a time-out?", to which he would respond, "no time-out," and the look dissipated and there was happiness and peace among the toddlers of the sandbox again.

But more importantly than the time-outs (which I realize, when they aren't riddled with words of shame, actually are a natural consequence because they take him away from what he wants to be doing, which is playing), Ethan has found himself a group of friends again. This time they are a group of friends who are, for the most part, older than him, in the 3-6 year old range. And because of that, it's like a whole world kind of just opened up to him.

From Evie and Lucy, Ethan's learned to use his imagination in ways he hadn't before. Sand ceases to be, well, sand, and becomes cake batter; pails become mixing bowls, and sticks and rocks become frosting. When he's on the swing, he gleefully yells that "Ethan's up in sky!! Ethan's in the trees!!!" even though I'm barely pushing him above a light sway.

From Jackson, Ethan's learned the art of the playground toy trade-off. This looks suspiciously like a toddler-sized drug-deal, but it involves toy trucks instead of meth. You bring two of your own hot-wheel sized treasures with you and when your buddy shows up with his own two, you quickly make the transfer--he gets yours and you get his. Mastering this art has transformed playground time from tantrum-laden time-out screamfests to relatively speaking, pure bliss. The boys trade cars back and forth, running happily in circles, while Mama and the other moms chat. Can you hear the sigh of relief, internet?

So, I suppose it's not a four walls and a teacher with a degree in early childhood education type of pre-school, but Ethan's learning a lot in Playground Pre-school and the word "blossoming" comes to mind. I'm so grateful my little man is happy and that his happiness means more time for me to sit in the sandbox and make some friends of my own.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Look Out, 2020 Summer Games

because your men's gymnastic gold medalist is already working it...

Note to self: Hang some curtains, put a picture or two up on the wall and maybe play the "clean up" game with the kid a little more often. Just sayin'....

But he's cute, right? This is the life skill Husband decided to teach Ethan last weekend. We've been honing it to a fine art all. week. long. The best part? When he says, "Mommy do it!" and I have to climb up onto the little wooden IKEA chair behind the couch and heave myself over onto the cushions below with mock exertion and, let's be honest, feigned enthusiasm. There's only so much couch jumping mama can do before A.) the cushions sag irreparably and B.) the game loses its luster.

Well, at least for me. It is, seemingly, a game of endless glee and possibilities for the little man. One time he might land on his head (every mother's favorite position to see her kid land in, no?), and the next, he flips himself like a pole vaulter onto his back 1/2 way over the couch.

So clearly, just what sport he competes in during the 2020 games remains to be seen. And who knows, if we truly become a society of couch potatoes, perhaps couch-jumping will itself an Olympic feat by the time he's ready for competition.

Here's hoping...

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Same, but Different...

Remember those Fridays in Virginia when I used to have a babysitter, so I'd go to therapy and then scoot over to Panera to blog for an hour?

Guess what day it is. And where I was earlier? And where I am now. Friday. Therapy. Panera. Good guesses!

Alas, not in Virginia, though. I am recreating my former Mom's Morning Out here in sunny LA. And, in true LA style, I am drinking herbal tea straight up, unlike the cup of cream and sugar I used to take with a hint of English Breakfast in it when I was in Virginia. A girl's got to fit in, right? And by fit in, I mean to her jeans...

I have to say, it is wonderful to feel the familiarity of a routine and my little mouse through the maze brain is so happy to be recreating it with such precision. I wish I could be that spontaneous, "I'm so crazy, you never know WHAT I'll do next!" girl, but truth is, I like a little predictability in my life and being able to sit here, on couches exactly like the ones I know are being sat on in Virginia, looking at the same colors on the walls, the same hanging lamp fixtures and the exact sames urns of coffee does my heart good.

One odd thing? This Panera vibrates. While I sit here in my seat, I feel the place humming. I noticed it a few weeks ago when I came one evening to blog. At first I thought I was feeling an earthquake (and was quite excited since I missed the first one back in July). But I looked around and saw that everyone else was just nonchalantly noshing on their baguettes and realized that it mustn't actually be.

But here I sit again and lo and behond, vibrating. Not enough to make me giggle or go all Meg Ryan a la When Harry Met Sally or anything like that, but vibrating none the less. I'm wondering if there's some massive power generator behind the wall I'm sitting next to. That can't be good. I guess I'll know in 10 years when I start growing a second head.

Anyway, this week was fraught with angst and turmoil, but fortunately it was all on CNN and not in my own life. My mama always told me if I had nothing nice to say, I should keep my mouth shut (not really, and I rarely do, but it sounds good), so I'm not saying a thing. Suffice it to say that my girl-crush infatuation with Tina Fey is somewhat cooled off now that her clone is...well, is.

Ethan? Fabulous. Funny. Full sentences and uncontainable personality spilling out all over the place. Watching him come into his own here does my soul good. He is meeting new friends (and they bring with them new mamas, which is good for me) and is, dare I say it, sleeping. At night. All night. (Can I get a "woot! woot!"?)

So to recap: Mommy's Morning Out back in full swing, vibrating Panera, breaking up with Tina Fey and, loving the bejezus out of my adorable, delicious, sleeping little boy. All's pretty much right with the world.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

"It's Like Sticking Your Whole Mouth In the Dip"

So, Ethan, among other things (other delightful, tantrum-y, rip my hair out at the roots things), has figured out how to get Mama to buy him stuff. Stuff like this:

which was originally attached to this:

when we first saw it at the Barnes & Noble near our house (by the way, it is so NOT a Barnes and Noble, if you ask me. No cafe, dim, tinny lighting, no restrooms, for pete's sake! What were they thinking?!)

This morning was a whine-fest of heretofore unequaled measure. Upon opening his eyes, after a delicious THIRTEEN hours of sleep, the child had the audacity to begin whining. And about nothing I could decipher as meaning anything more than your garden variety 2-year-old flip out. As though he thought to himself, "So, the Zoloft is working, is it? Well then, let's ratch it up a notch, shall we? Hmmmmm?" and then got his crazy on with unprecedented zeal.

I made waffles. Well, to be clear, I popped whole grain blueberry Eggo's in the toaster. Eggos were tersely rebuffed upon presentation to his Royal Crankness. I foolishly asked, "Would you like eggs?" (he does not like eggs, but in my angst to get him to eat something besides goldfish and watermelon, I ask. all. the. time. if he wants eggs). His response? And enthusiastic, "Yes, eggs!"

Cue the sound of seraphim on golden stringed harps descending upon my household, clouds parting (as if, in SoCal--I haven't seen a cloud since June 26) and the smiling sun-rays of God himself shining down on us.

Ethan said "Yes, eggs!" So, I ran into the kitchen (which, as an aside, Ethan calls "chicken". love it) and whipped up scrambled eggs, being very sure to cook them thoroughly (I fear all things salmonella) and then, with a sigh of "everything is going to be okay now and he'll weigh 30 lbs by his 3rd birthday" relief, I presented the child with his "Yes, eggs!"

You know where this is going, right? His response to the eggs of glory? "NO, EGGS!!!!" as though I'd put a plate of spiders down in front of him.

I will pause for a moment to re-enact the deep breaths and the five times I counted to 10. Come back in a minute or so, mkay?

Then he stood right outside of the shower, screaming, while I took the world's shortest shower. Screaming. "NO MOMMY SHOWER!" as though I weren't showering in water, but flames. Apparently Ethan would prefer I walk down the streets of Los Angeles with greasy hair and a 2-day funk. He's not exactly an in demand stylist to the stars, know what I mean?

Finally, after dancing the dance, and trying to keep him from melting the fuck down every other second, I finally threw my wet hair into a pony tail, slapped on some deodorant (because the screaming serenade outside the shower cut short the actual "soap" part of the shower) and put him the stroller because if nothing else, sound waves disperse better outside.

We went to Jamba Juice. No waffles? No "yes, eggs!"? Fine. Have a 12-oz Blueberry Sunrise smoothie. Blueberries? Check. Bananas? Check. Yogurt? Check. Soy milk? Check. Sounds like breakfast to this mama.

Then, we walked to the aforementioned non-Barnes and Noble because I wanted to buy Tom Perrotta's new book (read: new paperback release clarified the cheapo blogger), The Abstinence Teacher. Since he'd been peaceful and happy for five consecutive minutes, I offered Ethan the chance to get out of the stroller and play a bit in the childrens' section. I really had no intention of buying him anything; the child has more toys and books than most and I didn't want to reward this latest crazy phase with Jamba Juice AND books.

But then he discovered the Backyardigans section (note to self: lay the hell off of Noggin) and that was pretty much the end of my resolve. Not, mind you, because he was so sweet and charming and darling and who could resist.

No. Because he caught sight of the recorder attached to that damn book and slobbered all over it before I could get to him. That will teach me to glance at the latest issue of InStyle, only feet from my child. And after I "Ew, Ethan, that's icky! Don't put that in your mouth!"'d him once and was stupid enough to look away?

He double-dipped. He put the damn recorder back in his mouth. And while I had to close my eyes, count to ten, I tried SO hard not to think of all the other kids who put their mouths on the stupid thing, whose mother's didn't buy it. Because that is just so gross. Oh, for the love of germs.

I have to give him credit, it was hard to do, considering it was attached to the top of that stupid book in such a way that he had to cram the side of his head up against the book to get his lips to the recorder. I figured if he was willing to work that hard to make the whistle-y noise (which he didn't actually make by blowing into it--he just imitated a whistle sound by basically saying, "oooo!"), I suppose I could justify buying it, beyond the whole keeping my child from spreading whatever germs he's got to the next bonehead who picks the book up.

This afternoon was far less tantrum-y than the morning. But. I still needed advil. Lots of advil.