Archive for February, 2010

What’s That?

Friday, February 26th, 2010

I’ve heard about little kids hitting the stage where they ask “why” about everything. They make it look so annoying on TV, depicting children endlessly asking “why” and parents rapidly losing their cool as they struggle to figure out explanations for everything from “why is the sky blue” to “but WHY do you say so.”

If I’m being honest, I live in fear of that stage and my own ability to keep my cool as I’m repeatedly peppered with the same question over and over again.  Repetition is a great tactic for trying to aggravate a witness. I’m just not looking forward to being the witness on the receiving end of that line of questioning.

But maybe it won’t be that bad. Andrew has always been a curious little boy. He loves to read about Curious George and all the adventures the curious little monkey gets into.

We’ve hit a stage where Andrew asks “What’s that?” about everything in sight. We’ve gone on tours of the house (ours, my parent’s, or anyone else’s that we happen to be inside) answering questions about virtually every item inside. On the way to day care in the morning, he excitedly asks, “WHAT’S THAT MOMMY?” about whatever he sees outside the window. Going through the mall has become an extended adventure, with our curious little guy stopping to ask “what’s that?” about stores, shoes, clothes and especially mannequins. He’s still not sure what to make of those.

Last night on the way home from school, he points out the window and starts playing the “What’s That?” game. After questioning mounds of snow, billboards and the grocery store, Andrew turned his attention to the local bank branch. “That’s a bank, sweetheart.” I told him. “That’s where people put their money.”

Andrew cocked his head thoughtfully before responding, “I want money too.” I couldn’t help but laugh…and share this story with everyone. Maybe the “whys” won’t be that bad. The “what’s thats” have been pretty entertaining.

Toddler Time

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Our local library holds a class every other week for two and three year olds called Toddler Time.  During the class, the librarian reads the children a book and afterward they all participate in a craft that is related to what the book was about.  I took advantage of this a several weeks ago and am so glad I did.  Jack absolutely loves it!

This week’s class was about dragonflies.  Jack didn’t know what that specific insect was, but he knew what a dragon was and what a fly was.  He was a little confused, but quickly learned about it.  I have to admit it was funny to see the look on his face when the librarian introduced the book.

His favorite part, of course, is the craft.  As soon as the librarian shuts the book, he stands up proudly and says “craft time.”  All of the adults get a kick out of it, which only motivates him to say it every time we go.  Jack loves to use crayons, markers, glue and his absolute favorite is the glitter glue.  We never leave there without having glitter covering every square inch of his hands, face and shirt (including mine).  Daddy always knows what day we went to the library because of all the glitter everywhere.  Let me tell you,  Daddy is so proud of Jack when he has glitter all over him…. especially pink.

I can’t help but love these fun little classes that introduce educational learning experiences to Jack – especially while we wait for an opening at a preschool.  If I dig hard enough and through word of mouth, it’s amazing what is out there.  The best part is that this class is FREE!  He meets new friends, reads books, is learning to be quiet in the library, does some artwork and leaves feeling so happy and can’t wait to show off his craft.  This leaves me feeling happy, too!

Love Being a Mom

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

So, in honor of the fact that my child has been taken over by an alien (but will return… soon, I hope),  I am going to do a list of all of the reasons that I love being a mom. Ok, not ALL of the reasons, there are too many to list. So we will just focus on the TOP TEN things I love about being a mom to this wonderful kid, Brady. I am focusing on the positive because some days, you have to.

1. I love when he whispers in my ear “I love you mama stinky face.” Yes it may seem odd to those who have never read the book, “I Love You Stinky Face.” But it is actually a term of endearment to us. They are the final words we whisper in each other’s ears every night.

2. Watching the “aha” moment on his face when he figures something out. How to use a new computer program or how to build a certain project, for example.

3. Hearing my name over the monitor (ok, not at 3am).

4. I love that I am still Mama, no mommy or mom here….. yet.

5. I love when he takes my face in his hands and gently kisses my forehead, nose, chin, cheeks, etc.. and says each part. So cute. Ok mama, now I am going to kiss your nose. Ok mama, now I am going to kiss your chin.

6. Watching him interact with his peers. I love how they play, talk to each other, even argue. I enjoy driving around Brady and our neighbor, Ashton, and just listening to the conversations that they have. It is so sweet to listen to them chat.

7. Although it is annoying at the same time, it is sweet when he tries to close my laptop or take the phone from me. Those are the times that I know that I must be working too much that day and not giving Brady enough attention. He knows he comes before work or talking on the phone, so if he needs me – I am there. Just let me hit SAVE first!!

8. I love the random words of affirmation. For example, when he runs into the kitchen and says “mama, I really love you.” Or when he tells me thank you for something that was nothing exceptional (for example, thank you for making me this yummy chicken). I always make a big deal about his manners. He has such nice manners. I hope they continue.

9. I love our quiet time before bed that we rock on his new rocking/recliner and read stories.

10. I love exploring outside as a mom. Seeing the world through your child’s eyes is unbelievable. They notice things that we never see. I am amazed every day at what he points out and sees. It is refreshing. The snow in the winter has never been such fun or so white; the wind in the spring has never been such fun to run in, the birds and bunnies in the summer have never been such fun to follow; the leaves in the fall have never been such fun to crunch. None of it meant anything until I was a mom.

Little Guys Still Do Big Things

Friday, February 19th, 2010

This past week has been rough.  My grandpa passed away early Sunday morning.  For most of the week, we’ve been out on Long Island with the rest of the family.  We’ve been camped out at my grandparents’ house and in a hotel around the corner.

Even under the best of circumstances, having a 2 year old off his routine and in different surroundings is a challenge.  Everyone had their doubts about how Andrew would handle the funeral and all the people who would be at the house while we were sitting shiva.

We did not give the little guy enough credit.

Like all 2 year olds, Andrew can be remarkably stubborn (just like his parents).  He also can  be incredibly sweet and caring.   Despite being in the throes of a terrible twos moment just seconds before, if he senses that other people around him are upset, he’ll slide back into being the loving little guy.  No matter how sad you might be, he can always make you feel better.

Over the course of this week, I can’t even count the number of times Andrew scrambled up the stairs, slid back down and screamed “AGAIN!” upon reaching the bottom of the steps.   He was so thrilled at the simple act of racing down the stairs that it made everyone smile.  After a couple trips, we were all cheering Andrew on, shouting “AGAIN” right along with him.

When I would start getting sad, Andrew would run over, climb up in my lap and throw his arms around my neck.  He’d grab my hand and run his little fingers over my knuckles gently.  The gesture was soothing and I recognized it as the same thing I would do for him when he was upset.

He gave hugs when people needed them most;  zoomed around with his cars when people needed a distraction; acted completely goofy when people most needed to laugh.

He was a total joy, despite one total meltdown when I wouldn’t give him a cookie… Now that we’re back home, I think everyone still out on Long Island misses Andrew more than me or Hubby.  I have it on good authority that my grandma hasn’t stopped talking about him and what an adorable kid he is.

I honestly don’t know how any of us would have gotten through this week without Andrew.  Without his hugs and kisses.  Without the crazy way that he sings “Ba Ba Black Sheep” at the top of his lungs.

I was so proud of my little guy this week.  And he really showed us that no matter how little and how young he is, that boy is capable of such great things.

Jack Olympics

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

As you are well aware, the 2010 Winter Olympics started this past weekend.  As a family, we watched the opening ceremonies and several events from different sports.  Each sport was a learning experience for Jack.  He was surprisingly intrigued by a few and attempted to speed skate….if only there were an ice-skating rink in Mississippi!!

Lately, I feel like I have been participating in the “Jack Olympics.”  He is getting bigger, stronger, faster and smarter each and every day.  I am getting bigger, slower and weaker everyday.  Keeping up with him is hard work!  It used to be that our circle runs around the house I could briskly walk, but now I have to actually run or he will catch me (even daddy).  Earlier this week, we had a crisp, but sunny day so we broke out the baseball, golf and soccer toys.  He was hitting balls (off of an automated tee) left and right, kicking the soccer ball all over and golfing almost like a pro.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  I was the receiver so I got in one heck of a work out.  Probably a good thing for me.

I am looking forward to see what sport(s) Jack will take a major interest in and will want to play.  I have been doing a little research to see what our community has to offer for little kids his age.  Unfortunately, not a whole lot.  We’ll have to wait a little longer to join any sort of team.  In the mean time we’ll keep practicing on our own and who knows maybe Jack will end up in the Olympics some day!

The New Four Attitude

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Okay so I always thought it was the “terrible twos?” Well, no one warned me about the “fighting fours” – where everything is a battle. Why is that? I am not sure if it is a normal stage or because of the other personal issues our family has been through. I hope it is normal; anyone else?

He is always one to enjoy staying at home in his PJs, but in February (freezing time in PA), who doesn’t? But yesterday I asked him if he wanted to go to buy a new Thomas Train – NO. Did he want to go to Toys R Us – NO. Did he want to eat anything – NO. He wanted to do nothing but bowl on the Wii. So we bowled for a while. Then while we were bowling, he wanted to change remotes pretty much every turn. He didn’t like it when his balls went in the “gus,” that is Bradyian for gutter.

If it is bedtime, he charges at me and punches my stomach. Ouch. If it is bath time, we argue for 5 – 10 minutes about the fact that he is dirty and needs a bath every day. Whatever I am making for breakfast, lunch, or dinner is NOT what he wants (well, unless I happen to be going to a drive-thru for chicken and fries).  Seriously… it is one issue after another.

Now, don’t get me wrong, he is pretty good most of the time. So maybe I am just handling this wrong, since I am not used to this new “attitude.” I am consistent, firm, take away favorite toys, time outs, canceled playdates, etc. I just feel more like a dictator lately than a mom. I am not a permissive parent, but not overly strict either. My philosophy is somewhere in the middle. Either way, four has been tough: and we are only several weeks in. Let’s hope it is just a short phase.

Snow Day

Friday, February 12th, 2010

I can still remember when I was little, if snow was in the forecast, I’d wear my pajamas inside out. My sister and I would do a little “snow dance” in hopes that the silly gesture would somehow conjure up enough of the white stuff that there would be no school the following day.

Snow days meant sleeping in and relaxation. Especially if we could string together a couple snow days in a row. There were no thoughts about how the cars would get out of the driveway or who would shovel the front walk. That stuff just magically happened.

And now that we’re parents, snow days take on a whole new meaning.

Who gets to go in to work and who stays home with the little guy if day care is closed? Who has the honor of scraping 18 inches of snow off the cars? Who watches Andrew while someone shovels out the cars so we can move them before the plows come through?

But the larger challenge is, “How do you entertain a 2 year old in the middle of a blizzard”

After we got 18 inches last Saturday, we got another 18 between Wednesday and Thursday. Shockingly, the courts and my office closed (two things which very rarely happen), along with daycare. So we’ve all been home together for the past two days.

I can’t even count the number of episodes of Sesame Street, Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder we’ve watched. Andrew somehow got himself on a post-Christmas Santa kick and we’ve seen “The Santa Clause” no less than 5 times.

We’ve run around the house flying like airplanes, chugging like trains and jumping like rabbits, or “bunny puppies” as Andrew has dubbed them. We’re read stacks of books. Colored pictures until our crayons are worn down to the nub. We’ve eaten popcorn and drunk hot cocoa, played in the snow.

And I have to say, I’m actually looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. It’s funny how things change…

Have a great weekend everyone.

It’s a Boy!

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Last week we found out the gender of our new family addition…It’s a boy!  We were so excited to hear either boy or girl, but another boy means a buddy for Jack.  The ultrasound technician asked Jack what he thought was in mommy’s belly and quickly he said “boy.”  The tech said that she always asks the siblings (if they are along) and usually 99% of the time they are right.

Although we already have most everything boy or blue, I’m looking forward to preparing the new nursery.  Jack’s grandmother, Candymum, has offered up her amazing quilting skills to make the crib bedding.  We are so lucky to have someone in the family with the time and talent she puts forth.  Shopping for new furniture, decorations and of course an outfit or two (or three or four) will be on my to do list along with a million other things.  I’m looking forward to this special time as it may be the last.

Up until this point I thought there was a slight chance for a girl.  Both of my sisters have two boys each and now we will, too.  That is a total of six grandsons my parents (will) have.  I think we could start up our own basketball team!   Having a girl in mind, we had a few names picked out, the nursery décor picked out and of course I could go crazy with everything pink out there.  Unfortunately, we don’t always get to pick what we want, but we are happy with a healthy baby boy.  We are excited to meet him and carry on with our lives as a family of four!

I’m off to dig through books and websites to find the perfect name for our son!

Out with the Old… In with the New!

Monday, February 8th, 2010

I may be one of those moms who has a hard time letting go. Yeah, my son just left his crib at nearly four. He still sleeps in one of those “sleepsacs” sleeping bags. Tonight he wanted to stay in his old “cub scout” class (3 year old) with the teachers and friends he was familiar with, I said fine. He still isn’t fully potty trained. I don’t really rush anything. Now, I wouldn’t mind having him fully potty trained (I will be honest, I am all “pooped” out).

Before my divorce, I always intended to have more children. So we kept everything – literally every bib, pacifier, toy, piece of clothing, and large items. Well, last week I started to list my baby items on Craig’s List. I realize that the odds are pretty good that I will never have another kid. Thankfully Brady fills my heart completely.

So tonight I watched as another “soon to be mom” left my house with several items for a low price. I priced everything significantly lower than it is really worth, hoping that I can help out some new parents with little to spend. So far it has gone pretty well. I have made a decent amount of money and cleaned up the house. I will be honest, the only thing that was hard to part with was my rocking chair (er – I mean Brady’s rocking chair). I rocked him on that chair for at least two years every night as we read stories, sang songs, or nursed. That chair holds a lot of memories. But it was time; we haven’t rocked on that chair for a long time. A new baby will be born in a few months and they will create new memories on that special chair.

It is depressing watching the old stuff go forever; it is also time to start fresh. And that is exactly what we are doing. Out with the old – in with the new! There are no more teddy bears, crib, changing table, or rocking chair. We now have a loveseat rocker/recliner, toddler bed, construction rug, and new bookshelf. Next project, painting a wall bright orange (he wanted pink, but he did finally accept his 2nd choice). We are doing a construction theme. The lamp, letters of Brady’s name (with trucks of course), hooks with trucks, and more is on its way. Soon my old “baby bears” room will be a Construction Zone. So although it is sad to be out with the old, it is exciting to see (and watch Brady enjoy) this new stage of his life.

Two Books

Friday, February 5th, 2010

If you ask Andrew what he did at daycare, his first response is always an enthusiastic “TWO BOOKS!” He’ll very happily tell you that these were Elmo books or Sesame Street books, though I suspect they sneak a few other ones in between. It’s very rare that I can get him to leave the house in the morning without him lugging at least one (if not four) books out the door with him.

We’ve been reading to Andrew since he was born. It seemed a little silly at first, reading to someone who clearly had absolutely no idea what I was saying. But it quickly became routine. At night while we were desperately trying to get our cranky one month old to sleep, I’d read him “Good Night Moon” and sing him two songs before trying to put him down.

Some of my favorite pictures are of Hubby reading to Andrew when he was only a couple months old. They would sit on the couch and read “Harold and the Purple Crayon.” Andrew would try to eat the book. We’d try to keep from laughing.

Every day for the first five months that I was home with him, we’d sit on the floor (well, I’d sit and he’d lay on his play mat) and I would read him nursery rhymes. Somewhere along the line, the little guy really developed a love of books. The pictures. The words. The time we get to spend together.

We enjoy it too – even when we’re reading the same book to Andrew endlessly. We’re both avid readers, when we’re able to look at something other than briefs and case law… So it’s great that our son shares our love of stories. And I’m sure it’s helped with his vocabulary and is probably a better way to spend the night than being glued to the tv…

This week they had the Scholastic book sale at daycare. An entire display case of books was right in front of Andrew’s classroom. He raced for it each morning and happily grabbed stacks of books and bawled when I made him put them back. Wednesday night, I told him to go pick out a book.

He was so excited – like a kid in a candy store. He immediately grabbed a book with dogs on the front cover. Then he looked up at me with his huge eyes and said, “Please, mommy! Two books?” He left daycare with two new books and a huge smile. He spent the ride home flipping through the pages and pointing out all the pictures.

Thursday was the last day of the book fair. He ran around the school again trying to grab every book he could get his little hands on. Ones with horses. Fire trucks. And, of course, Sponge Bob. (I’m not sure where he learned about Sponge Bob, but he was very excited by that one…)

I told Andrew that if he wanted a book, he had to pick out one for all his friends in class. He had as much fun picking out the book to give away as he did finding ones for himself. After we had paid, he proudly marched back into his classroom and gave the book to his teacher.

As we walked out the door, with Andrew clutching his new purchases, he smiled up at me and said, “Two books!”