Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Who?

Animal impersonations to add to the list:
Owl
Santa

Tiny Hellos

Jackson has learned his first joke.
It began on the way to the airport to pick up Sylvie.
In the dark, from the back seat I hear:
"mama?" so quietly....
Then...
"Mama?"
"Ma-Ma!"
"MAMA!"
I turn around in my seat...
"Yes, Jack?"
"hi." he grins back, so very pleased with himself.
Of course, we also find this very funny and laugh as his tiny hellos are just adorable and so cheeky.
He repeats the joke with Eric as well.
He repeats it all the way to the airport and on the way back.
He repeats it on the two hour drive to Fort Smith.
And even now, every morning before school....
"Ma-Ma?"
"MAMA!"
"Yes, Jack?"
"hi," he says turning his head to the side. So tiny and soft and just out of the side of his smile.
Like a child's first well-worn knock-knock joke, he has practiced it, tested it, perfected it, and he thinks it is funny every time.
Even after hours, no, days of repetition he still finds the humor in it.
And of course, so do we.

Yes, Mam

I think in almost every family the first grandchild dictates the Official Naming of the Grandparents. On Jackson's paternal side the naming was dictated by now 4-year-old Davis - and thus Nonnie and Papaw were born.
On my side, Jackson is still working on it.
My mother considered Gram for her name and my father requested Granddaddy.
You can put in a request, but sometimes the DJ just doesn't want to play your song.
Upon each visit with my parents, we faithfully use the labels Gram and Granddaddy. I am also loyal to their requests when reviewing photos with Jackson.
"That's you and Gram," I say.
"There's your Granddaddy," I point out.
During our most recent trip - for Christmas - the Official Naming of the Grandparents' opening ceremonies began.
Like any child, Jackson has his verbal moments where he suddenly has agreed to do all his tricks and perform for the crowd.
(Fortunately, these moments are bountiful with our little lion.)
While the window is open, I prod for more words.
"Can you say Gram?" I request.
"Mam," he says. Clear as the cuckoo clock he has fallen in love with.
"Who is that?" I ask, pointing to Gram.
"Mam," he says, very sure of himself.
And thus the birth of Mam. And peace reigned throughout the land.
This is a good name for his maternal grandmother. It is fitting, a bit southern, sweet, and I can see how his developing mind created the loving name.
When asked to knight his maternal grandfather, things went a bit differently.
"Where's Granddaddy?" I ask and he points to my father.
"Can you say Granddaddy?"
Much thinking.
"Can you say Granddaddy? ... Say Granddaddy."
Mouth breathing.
Staring.
"BA-BOO!" he shouts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bonk

This morning before school Jackson and I read a very detailed animal book from Aunty Debry. It has tiny flaps that he very much enjoys pulling back to discover various creatures. He can now tell you what a squirrel says as well as an armadillo.
Let's just say the squirrel is rather cute....the armadillo...not so much.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Roll Call

Every day, multiple times a day Jackson takes roll.
His attendance list mostly consists of Mama and Dada.
Sometimes he includes himself. But it is most important to check in on the key players and their current locales. He does this when we are playing, snuggling, bathing, talking on the phone, etc.
Our conversations typically run like this:
Dada?
He's at work.
Mama?
I'm right here with you.
Dada?
He's still at work.
Mama?
She's with Jackson.
Dada?
He's at work. He'll be right back.
Mama?
She's right here.
Dawg!

Parent-Speak

Actual sentences Eric and I now say to each other on a regular basis:

What did you do with the bwvah-bwvah?

How many poops today?

Did you A&D his face?

Daddy, we need some M-I-L-K.

(Insert eithor of our names here)! Help! I need help! There's poop! he's touching the poop!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Always and Nevers

Yesterday, when I arrived at Jackson's school for his first parent-teacher conference, I was early and Jackson spotted me in the hallway. Well, once you've been spotted there's no going back so I joined him on the floor while I waited for the apt.
As the new grown-up in the room, I was smothered with babies. Jackson sat in my lap and all the children rushed forward with comments, gestures, smiles, toys and silliness. Sweet Bella, Jackson's almost twin, came forward to sit on Jackson's lap (while he was sitting in mine). Blond-haired Dane brought a toy truck that did entertaining things. Tiny Sawyer brought us a Sesame Street piano that no longer worked. But that didn't matter as all the children pressed the various keys and knobs and levers while I held it out.
What surprised me the most, was my ability to understand them. Jackson has schooled me in toddler speak, so when each little face would grunt out a syllable I knew exactly what they were trying to communicate. Sure, the majority of it consisted of "Melmo," but still it was nice to be able to talk and play with all of the children.
I think Jackson enjoyed getting to sit in his mama's lap and watch his friends circle around him. I remember loving it when one of my parents showed up at school. It always made me feel so special, and what kid doesn't like the extra attention?
Sadly, when it was time to leave, Jackson was not happy. But we had timed it just right. It was nap time, and as he trotted off to get some rest I joined his teacher.
She told me, and I am quoting, that Jackson "is the smartest kid I have seen since I have been doing this."
She told me he is very friendly, curious and that the teachers "are his best friends." She said she speaks to him like he is older because "I know he understands." She said he loves when they bring out the puppets, could dance to music all day, his vocabulary was incredible and the fact that he can do all of his animal sounds was amazing. (He really is like a walking zoo.)
She also said the only thing he does a bit too much of is eating.
My boy does love his food.
Just like his mama ... and several other of his relatives. His love of cookies? he can't help it.
He was born with cookie-fever. We all were.
He always wants more. We keep an eye on it so he doesn't get too full and they watch at school as well. With some food you have to dole out the portions or else it will all go into the mouth at once. But this is something his teacher feels is age appropriate.
Jackson and his classmates are about to transition into the next class. He is currently a duck and will be a monkey the week of Dec. 29. His teacher feels he will adjust well, and I agree. But just to ease my mind I asked for a meeting with his new teacher and to observe the new class for a bit so I can get an idea of what he will be doing.
I was most pleased to discover that his new teacher will actually be a teacher he had when he was 8 mos. Her name is Pam and he remembers her. I really like her and her grandson is in the program as well. His next room is like a classroom with several learning centers and big windows letting in tons of light. The best part is even if the weather is bad and they can't go outside they can go to the gym down the hall. He will love it. The part he will not love is that this class slowly tries to break a child from his pacifier. This is, however, the part the mama loves. I was actually there when I saw one of the teachers trying to break a child of his pacifier just before nap time and I was relieved to see how gently and soothingly it was done. And that it worked as the child drifted off sans pacifier.
I also received Jackson's assessment sheet which states several kinds of behavior and then identifies if your child does them "Always, Sometimes or Never."
For example:
Can do his animal sounds: Always.
Listens to music: Always.
Uses a utensil: Sometimes
He only received two Nevers and one was "Catches the ball: Never."
Unfortunately, Jackson appears to have a lot of my genes - in which case that task may always be marked: Never.
Eats his cookies, however? Always.

Double the Words

While they are not quite ready for dissecting, they are definitely declarative statements.
Jackson has begun to string his words together. The latest to be knitted are "nack na-na" and "mama night-night."
Both involve a lot of directional finger pointing, a facial expression that seems to say "are you people getting this?" and are equally adorable.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cute Things #332 and #217

#332: After a long day of school and playing with mom and dad, Jackson will take his bath, get in his pjs and ask for the large cushion on the big red chair. He will point to it and say "night-night." So I will put it down on the floor for him and he will put his head on the pillow and take a little rest. Sometimes he will put his whole little self on it to rest. Sometimes I will rest my head on it too and he'll put his face next to mine to quietly rest and cuddle. It's probably one of my most favorite things to do. I hope to cuddle him extensivley until he squirms away from me and into teenageness. It's so much harder to keep boys cuddly. I feel like I'm investing in his cuddle-future.
#217: When there is something very dangerous for Jackson not to touch, we will point to it and say "no-no." For example, we point to the Christmas tree, say how pretty it is and fragile and that the lights are so colorful but also "HOT!" So every now and then Jackson will walk up to it, spread out his hands like he is warming them at the fire and say: "HOT! HOT!" And sometimes he will look up at it and say "no-no." But last night for the first time, while playing a silly game with his pacifier, I took the pacifier out of his mouth. He waved his index finger at me and politely said: "no." So I said, "ok." and gave it back.
It may have been our first argument.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

60

My father turns 60 this week.
A milestone.
He decided to spend it with us in Tulsa. He and mom drove into town for the weekend and we celebrated with struedel, singing, candles that wouldn't blow out and an ORU/ULAR basketball game.
It was also that perfect beginning-of-the-holidays time when down come the boxes of Christmas decorations and out come the twinkling lights and oh...here come the hideous yard decorations across the street.
But this year....
...we have a tiny little man in the house that looooves all hideous holiday deocrations.
We took Jax across the street to see the giant snowman, huge snowglobe and Snoopy in a bi-plane. Also included in the hodge-podge display was a spiral Christmas tree and two moving, white, lit reindeer - to which Jackson "moo-ed" at this morning on the way to school.
I guess one might confuse them with cows.
We also did some Christmas shopping and our kitchen turned into a cookie-making factory with mom sprinkling, filling and baking all things cookie. Jackson was a big help what with the taking of tupperware in and out as well as trying to fit himself into the tiny cupboard to the right of the sink that holds the cookie sheets and cooling racks.
Cans of Pam were sprayed out.
Sprinkles were pinched.
Dough was eaten.
Timers were singing.
All in all it was a perfect weekend.
One that, at its close makes me lonesome to be closer to family.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Man of More Words

Adding to the list:
Turkey
The Girls
Snack (only he says it: nack)
Lilly
Coat
Moon
Vac (for vacuum)
room-room (broom)
Can you tell he has a thing for cleaning?


Wild Thing

Last week, when picking up Jackson from school his teacher asked me if he had a book with animals. I wanted to laugh outloud.
Are you kidding? He brings me one of his many animal books to read on a regular basis.
We've got wild animals, barnyard animals, flamingos, frogs - he loves them all.
She seemed relieved to know he was adequately supplied with pages of animals.
"He loves animals," she said. "He does the sounds for animals all the time."
That's my boy.
You need a cow sound? done.
A monkey? taken care of.
A fish? did it last week.
A lizard? he's on it.
An elephant? he's got it wrapped up.
Horse? Sheep? Lion? Snake? Bunny? no need to go to the zoo. You can hear it all in Jackson's room.

Stirred Up

Jackson has always been a fan of food. Almost all food. In fact, the only thing he didn't eat was baby-food-peas.
So it goes hand-in-hand that he also loves to cook.
Who would think that stirring could move someone so much?
I was cooking a stew and while the vegetables and broth were heating up, I let him hold the large spon and stir the pot. He was so thrilled he paused to look at me with such astonishment mid-stir. After a good stir or two, he was ready to taste and let mama taste, too.
Next, we moved on to making a dip. I have a tiny blender and once everything was set up (during which Jackson was intently observing) I let him press the button to make it work. He was ecstatic.
He also relished every minute of putting chopped beets and potatoes into the pot.
He is a very good helper and during the prep work he asissted with getting out pots and pans and cookie sheets.
The best part was when he paused to turn his head toward me with a big smile as if to say, "Are you seeing this? This cooking stuff is outrageous!"
He also loves to get "involved" with his food. The other day I got a text message from his teacher with a picture of Jackson stripped to the diaper and covered in cool whip. He was ahving the time of his life.
Over this past weekend, he once again enjoyed beng a sous chef. He helped mom make cookie dough and was very interested in making pancakes on our last morning there.
She asked him to sit on the counter (with assistance, of course) and explained that he could watch but not to touch anything. He folded his tiny hands together and stuck to the rules.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Birthday Wishes

A few weeks ago we headed home to my parents to celebrate my birthday. To top it all off my best friend flew in and was able to spend time with us, Jackson, the girls (who JAckson now officially calls "The Grrls" and new baby Ian.
Jackson fell in love with the dog bed, blowing bubbles in water glasses and playing with Debbie. All while taking sterioids for a slight wheeze and drops for an ear infection. He is a trooper.
My mother made the most incredible meal ever. With butternut squash, asparagus, and an incredible salad with homemade dressing. Debbie and I got a bit competitive over the squash. But we're still friends.
It was so nice to have everyone around and for Debbie to see Jack now that he is becoming more of himself.
She hadn't seen him since he was 8 weeks old.
I hope someday we can all live close by for Sunday dinners.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A List of Lists

Things have been rushing by so fast that I am nervous I will forget all the things I want to remember so I am going to make a blog list of things I want to blog.
1. Birthday weekend
2.Jackson's New Cooking Show
3. Cool Whip
4. Does Jackson have a book with animals?
5. The Dog Crazies
6. Turkey!
7. Becoming Cliniqued
8. S = B

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Historic

I am thrilled our son has been born in a world where being the president of the United States while also being black will be an everyday thing for him.
We've taught him how to say Barack Obama. Sure, it comes out: "Roc Mama" but I'm sure the Preseident-Elect won't mind.
I am also thrilled to announce and welcome our friend's son Ian David. The 10-pounder came into the world the day many White House precendents were kicked out.
I'm partial to Election Day babies.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rounding Out His Resume

Jackson's resume is growing.
A few words to add to the list:
Help (only he says it: Bop)
Meow (only he says it: Owwww)
Look
Vroom Vroom (when playing with cars, tractors, trains, etc.)
Bonk
Bucket
Boo (which really means peek-a-boo)
Roar (came in handy for Halloween)
Go-Go (for when he "reads" Go Dog! Go!)
And we are working on calling the hogs. He's getting close.

Current skills:
-Can identify body parts: nose, eyes, head, belly, foot and toes
-Can zerbert you on command

Friday, October 31, 2008

Barnyard

This past week we have been working on animal sounds.
When reading one of his animal books, Jackson follows along and imitates his version of a duck, a sheep, a horse and a cow. He can also do a dog.
We are still working on a pig.
It is a much more complex animal.
What we should have been working on this whole time was "Roar."
He will be a lion tonight to go trick-or-treating and I haven't prepared him for his furry role.
I'm going to be a terrible stage mom.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Dance Moves

Saturday evening we attended a local area's October festival. It was a mini-Halloween event for kids. Jackson enjoyed the petting zoo where he got to pet a cow, almost poke a horse in the eye, touch brown pigs, goats, chickens, bunnies and dogs. He loves animals and is at the stage where he is not afraid to stick that hand out and grab a chunk of mane.

After the petting zoo, we strolled along to play games, get candy, see all the costumes and listen to music. Jackson did his dancing outside the Radio Disney booth. His dance moves are pretty hysterical. They mostly include a wide stance, bent knees and then much bouncing.

He enjoyed the firetrucks and police cars with their flashing blue lights. We went with the now-four-years-old Nathan -his father is a policeman. So Nathan particularly enjoyed the firetrucks and police cars.

The boys enjoyed hot dogs, ice cream and all the various people watching. There were tiny cows, tiny policeman, a very detailed little robot and a tiny elmo that Jack called "Melmo."

A very festive evening, marred only by Jack's slight wheeze. Which is now much improved.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Love you

As Jackson nears becoming 15 months old, I thought it might be time for a new word list.
His vocabulary now includes:
Book (this is a good one as he says the beginning and end sounds)
Night- Night
Bye-Bye
Penis (unfortunately he says the beginning and end sounds of this word, too)
Love you (even though he just said this tonight in the tub, I am still counting it)
Nonnie
Elvis
Water (he actually says wa-wa, but my speech-pathologist friend tells me it counts)
Outside
Milk
Cow
Duck
Moooo (for a cow)
Melmo (for Elmo)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Finish Line

This morning, we ran our city's 5k race.
It has been at least fifteen years since I ran that long, and it showed. I had little kids, old ladies, people that would qualify as obese all pass me time and time again. The little kids are what really burned. I mean my legs are as long as they are. How do they even have the attention span to finish one K much less five of them in a row. Stupid kids. I am very proud to be a part of this race and I was also proud of Amanda for her first race. It has a vibe at the beginning I can't really explain. There was a nervous energy mixed with some sort of elitism. Not as blatant as a bunch of running snobs, but everyone knew that they were a little better just by showing up. A little better than everyone else, or maybe just a little better than who they usually are. It was a community of overachievers even if it was just for a morning. Plus nobody gave me shit for having a beer at 9:00 in the morning because I just ran/walked five K.
Eric

Friday, October 24, 2008

Body Parts

A few days ago Jackson learned to identify his belly, nose, eyes and feet with almost scientific precision.
Well, except for the eye part...
That, while precise, usually leads to an accidental poking of his eye.
Which then leads to accidental poking of your eye.
I use the term "accidental," loosely.

Translation

To me, every time Jackson says "Mama" it sounds like "I love you."
There are many variations of the word and I love them all.
One of my favorites is when he touches my arm or chest with his pointer finger, looks around, and says "Mama" in a low tone like he just had to point out to anyone who may be interested (even when we are alone) that this is his Mama. He will feel the need to grin and identify his "Dada" too.
Another version, is when "Mama" really means "Please, can I..."
It comes out like a question with the last syllable going up on the end. He will look up at me, cock his head to one side, grin a bit and say "Mama?"
I wonder if I will always feel this way.
I wonder if when he is shouting "Mama!" from the Wal-Mart toy aisle because he desperately needs the latest so-and-so if I will hear "I love you."
I wonder if when he sarcastically whines "Mooooom" when I ask him if he has done his homework, if I will hear "I love you."
I think I will.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dub Dose

At the end of our daily afternoon walks, Jackson likes to explore our neighbor's garden as we walk up to our house.
This is not your regular garden.
This is just the kind of garden a child would love to wander through and get lost in only to discover smooth stones leading nowhere, vibrant coy fish swimming under the soft trickle of a waterfall and colorful glass sculptures popping up through fronds, reeds and leaves.
As he follows the small path between our houses, he always passes a statue of a bunny that is just a few inches shorter that he is. He adores this garden-bunny and likes to touch its nose, ears, etc. Yesterday he "hugged" the bunny by pressing his forehead against its stony face.
While bent to embrace his rocky friend, he noticed a few white flowers bowing toward the ground.
A few weeks ago, I tried teaching him how to "sniff" flowers instead of grabbing and crushing them.
And I guess he remembered.
Because he squatted down next to those tiny white petals and commenced an elaborate "sniffing" of them.
There was much "breathing in" and even noisier "breathing out."
And sure, some of the flowers may have even been "watered" by his enthusiastic sniffing process.
But still, I was proud of our little florist.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Learnings

So, what did Jackson learn from the Gram-And-Grandaddy visit/weekend?
1. He loves apple struedel
2. He is not afraid of tapdancers, drunk Germans or a giant Oktoberfest chicken
3. One can always head across the room with arms high in the air to the "Court of Higher Appeals" when one is unhappy with a ruling
4. Gram and Grandaddy always want to see your tummy
5. Lily is only mildly interested in hugs from 1-year-olds
6. Flushing the toilet is quickly making its way into his list of top 5 favorite things to do (although I think this was bound to happen no matter who visited this weekend....)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Now Give Him Your Beads

Maybe we will regret this in the years to follow, but Jackson's latest "trick" is to flash you.
We, of course, think it is hysterical. Any chance we get, we say "Jax, show us your tummy!" To which he repsonds by looking down, grabbing the bottom of his shirt and lifting it high with pride to reveal his rotund midriff.
At which point, you must devour this delicious offering.

It has already started to cause problems, because now it's your turn.

He will walk over, climb in my lap and start to lift up my shirt.

I'm sure this means we are on our way to lifting up the shirts of random grocery shoppers, classmates, etc.

I hope he works this out before attending his first frat party...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On the Edge of His Seat

Jackson had a fine time picking out a pumpkin. After strolling through rows of pumpkins he enjoyed sitting on the edge of the pumpkin platforms most of all. He also wanted to eat the tiny pumpkin he picked out.

This "edge-sitting" is very exciting. Really, a whole new world has opened up before him.

Edges.
Needing to be sat upon.

At home:
"Can you please lift me up as my cookie tastes all the more delicious when sitting on the edge of the sofa?"
And then, he looks up, cocks his head to the right and begins pointing at the couch cushion a zillion times saying "uh?, uh?, uh?, uh?, uh?" until you get what he is trying to tell you....you silly, clueless, grown-up!
But the best part is when you are lifting him up to sit on the edge, he begins nodding his head up and down so much like a grown-up, as if to say "Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you. This is exactly what I was trying to tell you."

During our evening walks, he has really discovered how perfect the size of the curb is. It makes for a perfect seat. Our walks are interruppted multiple times for Jackson to have a quick "sit-down" on the curb.
He would like for you to join him.
Examine some leaves with him if you don't mind, share a stick, etc. and then we shall resume walking.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cute Item #326

During his bath, when you lean Jackson back to rinse just the back of his head under the water, he always closes his eyes. Even though his eyes never go near the water. He grins and squints so tightly, opens, squints, opens, squints, etc. Then, once it's over and he is back to sitting upright, he gives a little sigh and begins to lean himself back to start all over again.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Our Little Maid Has Returned

It seems the prehistoric monster never made it to our house last night.

Jackson slept 11 hours straight.

He was nearly himself. A little quieter and still a bit clingy. A lot sensitive. But he was back to enjoying his toys, music and nightly routine.

For the past few weeks, one of his favorite parts of his routine is to take his dirty clothes from the day and put them in the hamper before trotting off to get in the tub. He loves to take off the lid, put the clothes in and securely replace the lid.

The clothes have to be all the way in. No sleeves clutching to the side, no pant legs sticking out and no tiny white socks dripping over the edges. Last night, this process was very entertaining because after getting the clothes in the hamper, he realized what fun it would be to drop in a pacifier or two.

The "Hamper Show" went on for quite a while and it was such a relief to see that Jackson was back and feeling well enough to get some laundry done.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Unwanted Houseguest

The mammoth has been showing up uninvited.

Creeps into the cave around the same time each night.

He's big and unstoppable. He presses against swollen, red peices of gum and ravages Jackson's throat.

Yesterday, it prompted me to take him to the doctor. And maybe I'm crazy to run to the doctor when we all know it's teething but please understand I have never seen our child like this. Not once in the last 14 months has he ever writhed in pain, cried nonstop and drooled like a fish.

We medicated. We iced. We soothed. We watered.
We sang. We rocked. We walked. We Orajel-ed. We cuddled.

We did it all. And still the misery.


Nothing could make it better, except for random snatches of time where we rocked and patted. And only then would he settle for three maybe four minutes before starting all over again.

Finally, he cried himself to exhaustion. His voice hoarse from cries. He slept for two hours. And then Eric took the next shift. But still those cries come piercing into the part of my brain right behind my eyebrows.

This morning I let him sleep until he woke up. He was not a happy boy but not miserable. We got ready for school and played a bit. No longer writhing, we went to the local drug store for teething tablets.

I've heard from fellow mothers that these are the best way to tame the mammoths.

The miserable molars.

Get out of my cave.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sometimes It Stings

Mondays are always a bit much.

Eric has class directly after work and isn't home until late. So that means Jackson and I have the evening to ourselves.

Which I love, but it can be a bit much.

Like: How do I run to get the phone when he is in the bath? How do I run to the bathroom when he is playing in the living room? How do I feed the dog and scoop a wet baby out of the tub and drain the water and pick up the bath toys and empty the dishwasher and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and.....

Of course, all of this is managable with a little thought and organization and/or put on hold until after bedtime when I have time to reflect and be amazed at how single parents do all of this.

Last night was fun as usual. Jackson and I played with cups and spoons. And we went for a walk in his little red wagon. Then it was time to collect a few acorns. And then he enjoyed a lengthy bath where he rubbed soap on his arms and sang "row, row, row" for my friend on the phone.

He fell asleep in my arms and was just as delectable a baby as ever.

And then an hour later I heard him rouse. His soft whimpers got louder and I went in to soothe him back to sleep. After a few rocks, his cries turned to shrieks. I had never heard him make such sounds.

Those cries sting. I know it sounds dramatic, but is truly the only way to describe it. They sting your skin. It feels like the cries are burning me. When I hear them from his crib, it's like they hum and vibrate into my core. Zinging.

On nights where he has woken up crying, the cries are pointed and sharp and they zing out of the nursery across the hall and into my skin. My eyes fly open and it is instantly as if I have been awake for hours.

I am ready to pounce on whatever mammoth has entered the cave.

But last night, I could not find the mammoth. No fever. No hurts anywhere. Just cries.

When the cries peaked, we finally switched on the light and began to inspect.

Nothing.

We gave him cool water. Soothed. Sang. And brought him to bed with us.

My only guess: teething. Those molars are like dull, porcelain, mammoths pressing against gum. A dose of Tylenol and an hour of cuddles later, Jackson was convinced to go back to sleep.

Something so minor.

A tooth.

Yet, it stings no less.

And this morning?
Right as rain. A happy boy.
Probably wondering why his mama looks so tired.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

The birthday party was a hit. Nathan's mother had the backyard filled with outdoor toys, slides, fire trucks, trikes, etc. It was like a big playground with something for every age. Jackson toddled to each toy and loved the cars. But he eventually noticed the big kids were enjoying the motorized firetruck. Nathan let Jackson climb up and took him for a "drive" around the yard. This involved short spurts of about two yards. Then a turn. Then backing up. Then running into a shrub. Then two yards. And so forth.
We got it on video and I'm sure the neighborhood feels safer knowing these two "fireman" are on alert.
Pizza and cake were a big hit.
Lots of kids. Lots of balloons. Lots of sunshine. Lots of joy.
Nathan was a delightful birthday boy.
It is always entertaining to watch Jackson "learn" how to play with a new toy. I will have to keep an eye out at garage sales for one of those tiny cars.
I really enjoyed doing the whole "birthday/play date" thing. I think Jackson did, too. He came home and took a long nap.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Social Calendar

Today, Jackson will be attending his friend Nathan's birthday party. Nathan will be four, but he is always very interested in Jackson.
Once, when Nathan's mother and I were walking the boys, Jackson got a bit fussy and cried. Nathan reached his hand over to Jackson's stroller and said "It's ok, Jackson. I'm here."
Anyway, this is his first birthday party to attend. I hope it goes well.

Mittens

A few weeks ago, the weather suddenly turned cool. It only lasted for a few days but it prompted me to get out the winter items and sort through summer gear that no longer fit, etc. I wanted to make sure I had everything out in case we got another cold snap.
Jackson was of course doing his best to help me get things switched out and organized. When he saw his old mittens, he was delighted and asked me to put them on and off and on and off again and again. Every time I took one off, he would immidiatley ask me to put it back on again.
And after the fourth cycle of mitten-ness, he decided to leave them on.
As we were in the middle of the massive re-org, he was only wearing a diaper. So, this is all to say that when Eric got home, Jackson was half naked and running around in only a diaper and a pair of black mittens.
Classy.
Fortunately we got it on video, which I am putting up today. He'll thank me when he's older for documenting his fashion-genius, I'm sure.
I guess the next thing to do after that was to take him to Wal-Mart.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sick Day. Affirmative.

Home sick today.
Impossible to rest.
I keep thinking about the work piling up. I will have to go in on Sunday to make up for it. Got meds from the dr. Hope they work crazy fast.
Not sure why writing in such short, blunt non-sentences.
Meds have turned me into robot.
A robot.
Affirmative.
As robots, we no longer say "Yes" we say "Affirmative."

Baby Blue


September in New York

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Delivery

Welcome to the world Clifford Vaughn.
Born at 2:30 a.m. 7 pounds, 4 oz and 20 inches.

Bubbles

The other day, I was cooking dinner and holding Jackson on my hip. He kept repeating "bubbles." And I said,"Sure, Ok. Bubbles."
Suddenly, I glanced over to my right and saw the pasta was at a rolling boil.
Almost bubbling over.
My boy. He's a genius.

Suddenly around mid September he started using very specific words.
13 months word list: (besides mama and dada)
More (repeated over and over)
Cookie
Bubbles (our favorite)
Baby
Apple
Ball
Dog
Banana
Bottle
Uh-Oh
Row, row, row (to begin the song, he sings it every day)
Hello (when the phone rings)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Frequent Flyer

We made it.
Like a seasoned traveler, Jackson breezed through the layovers, canceled flights, uncomfortable seating and public restroom diaper changes.
Never have I wiped down a surface so thuroughly.
I broke down and let him play on airport "playground" equipment. I could feel the "pink eye" creeping around the corners of the bright yellow slides, but he was so in love with the Syracuse play area I had to let him play. He sat in the tiny helicopter and enjoyed its levers, pedals and buttons.
Between the two of us, dad and I had it down to a science. Bathroom breaks, food court dining and playing baby swap during naps on the plane, we took on O'Hare, Dallas, Syracuse and Tulsa. Jackson adored his cousins and quickly learned to appeal to the Court of Oma for anything he might need. He took walks to the stream, shopped for a winter coat and was regularly chased in the backyard.
And he now offically signs for "Please." Although grandaddy thinks it really means "Gimme." But isn't that what we all mean when we say "Please" ?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flight Plan

We are headed to New York tomorrow morning.
On a plane.
To New York.
Many hours on a plane.
Hours.
Plane.
13 month old.
From 8 am to 6 pm, I will be at the mercy of American Airlines, O'hare and a tiny wild thing that has a recent addiction to raisins.
I've never been great at math, but this equation has me all riled up. I've packed and repacked for as many entertainment possibilities as I can fit into a diaper bag. I've got enough snack variations for everyone on the plane. I've got crayons, cups, stackable tugboats, books, pacifiers and benadryl.
But my secret weapon is a grandaddy. Thank goodness I'll have a grandaddy chaperoning us all the way. Between the two of us, surely we can keep Jackson from eating everyone's free bag of peanuts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

His love. It can be fickle.

For the time being, Elvis has been replaced.
Our 6-year-old, black-and-white, four-legged mutt is still on Jackson's top 5 list. However, he has slid to No. 2 for the time being.
No. 1?
Acorns.
Turns out our son is part squirrel.
Every day we take a walk outside heading down the driveway, or through the neighbor's extensive garden or maybe to the stop sign and back. During each step, Jackson's eyes scour every inch for acorns. Acorn caps, acorn stems, entire acorns, half-eaten acorns, squished acrons... anything acorn related must be collected.
He continually stuffs his already packed, tiny fists with more acorns. Each time he puts a new acorn in, one rolls out of his fingers. So now we must collect this rogue acorn spinning down the drive. And the cycle continues. I have even caught him trying to hold extra acorns in the folds of his neck. And yes, there are a few folds there ... so like a mother chipmunk, I check my baby's chins daily for acorns.
Elvis seems fine with the new arangement.
Maybe Elvis has coerced the boy to disrupt the squirrel's food supply?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Welcome to the shoe show

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find time for scrapbooking and/or taking photos and documenting all of the awesome, hilarious stuff Jack does. I actually find that writing bits in this blog is easier. So just a quick note of some adorable Jackson-isms I want to remember.
One, he giggles extensively every time we put his shoes off and on. He finds it very funny to watch the socks and shoes go on and off. And after giggling quite a bit during the taking off of the shoes and socks, he is immediately ready for us to put them back on again. Granted during sock-take-off I will slowly tug on the socks which is, to Jack, the best part of the shoe-show.
Two, Jack has taken hide-and-seek to a whole new level. He is almost obsessed with the game. He plays it all day and the best part about it is that he thinks if he just rests his head on an object, any object, he is "hiding." Even behind the letter "W" from his alphabet magnets. If he places the orange "W" on his forehead, you can't see him behind it. And when he whisks away the tiny object, poof he is discovered, much to his delight. He will repeat this over and over. Seriously. Like 10 times. This evening, he placed his forehead on the edge of the coffee table at which point you are to say "Where's Jackson?" and then he quickly raises his head, makes a tiny noise, along with a big grin, and you are to discover him with amazement.
Seriously, having a 13-month-old around the house can be very entertaining. Who needs cable?

Scottish Festival Update

Turns out the festival was not-so-festival. Kind of a bummer. But it was nice to get out, walk around, listen to some music and see the downtown skyline.

I learned it from watching.....elvis

Yesterday, we headed out for some brunch and afterward noticed it was so nice we stopped by the park. No one was there so we sat on a blanket and let Jack run wild. He darted through the wet grass in his bare feet pointing out squirrels and dogs running past in the distance. After a while, he found a large tree and danced around it playing hide-and-go-seek. Until after a second or two we could no longer see him. Turns out he was behind the tree "taking care of some business." That's my boy. Taking after the family dog.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Festival

Tonight we are going to the annual Scottish festival. And I am looking forward to Whisky Tastings, men in kilts, great music, and large Scottish men throwing large, odd, Scottish equipment. This year there is also a dog parade. That's right - dogs of Scottish origin will be working the runway. I wonder what Ted Gunn would have to say about that.
Not to get too "scrapbookish" here but it will be Jackson's first festival where he can run around, eat stuff and maybe throw some things.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Communicate

The following is a list of all of the signs that 12-month-old Jack uses to communicate with us and/or boss us around. For some, he uses official sign language. For others, he has just aquired through various observations.

He signs for:
milk
more: he points his right index finger in the open palm of his left hand.
all done: he shakes both hands in the air when he is ready to go or finished eating
lotion: this he picked up on his own. Every night after his bath I put lotion on him and so now everytime he sees a bottle of lotion he rubs his hands together.
be quiet: he puts his pointer finger up to his lips to tell elvis (and/or other dogs) to be quiet
help: when in the yard he will raise one arm up for you to help him over a step, a stick, the hose, etc.
eat: he points to his mouth when he is hungry
pointing: he points in the direction he would like to go

These are such small and simple gestures but it is incredible to witness how much they have helped Jack communicate with us. Instead of getting frustrated or just upset he is able to to tell me very specific needs. I think it also builds trust. He knows if he can communicate something to me I will make an effort to understand him and provide him with what he wants (most of the time!)

I think it has also given him a sense of control and self-confidance. Not that he needed a boost in self-confidance! But as he becomes his own little person he is learning how to effectivly communicate.

I guess what I'm saying is: We are pro-baby-sign-language.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let's see how this baby runs

So I am testing out the idea of starting a small blog to keep friends and family updated on the houpley happenings. Now that we have Jackson, it seems there is so much more to keep up with. So let's see how this turns out...!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Life List

I love making a list. Who doesn't? Aren't we all making lists?
Let's make a list of who is making list!
You?
and you?
Yes, and I know YOU are.

Anyone who has ever done some traveling on the interwebs is surely aware that life lists are all the rage. The credit goes to http://www.mightygirl.com/ for the birthing of such lists. One of my fave writers, I have enjoyed watching her cross off items from her 100-item-long list.
In the same vein, I thought I would start making my own list for several reasons.
And then after talking with Eric about it, he started to make his own life list. And then I realized that making a life list should involve your life partner. Since pretty much they'll be the one watching the kid while you go do your life-list-stuff, right?
It was touching to see how we had written some of the same things on our lists.
Why now?
1. Because I don't want to forget all of the things Eric and I hope to do someday
2. Because it will be interesting to one day look back and see the things that seemed important for us to include
3. Because maybe our child (children) will find it interesting

Boom!
Did you see that?Just got to make another list!

So for the real list - which we will be continuing to add to I'm sure - here goes. (please note some items may be added only by one of us...)
1.Own a lake house
2.Visit Italy
3.Sip mint juleps with friends/family in the summer evenings on our wrap-around porch
4.Get a wrap-around porch
5.Take a trip around the United States to see major attractions: Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Big Ball of Yarn, etc.
6.Write a book
7.Host a fancy dinner party
8.Meet President Obama
9.Have another child
10.Have a child with President Obama (just testing to see if you're still reading)
11.Go on a cruise
12.Paint the bathroom in our game room with chalkboard paint so everyone can leave hilarious/dirty messages
13.Get a game room
14.Have Christmas/Thanksgiving at our house
15. Own a Jeep
16. Tend an elaborate vegetable/flower garden with fountains and secret spots
17. Take an incredible photograph and then have it blown up and nicely framed in the house
18. Become a famous comedienne
19. Visit New York City during Christmas
20. Have an old fashion Coke machine in the "game room"
21. Drive a motorcycle
22. Attend the Olympics
23. Teach my children to water ski
24. Write. Every day.
25.Take the family trout fishing
26.Play golf with Jackson
27.Find a place to hit golf balls within walking distance
28.Go to Greece
29.Sail the islands
30.Build an entertainment center
31.Flip a house
32.Learn Japanese
33.Finish the quilt
34.Finish a 5k in 21 minutes
35.Play rugby
36.Become an engineer
37.Teach for a living
38.Ski
39.Visits Dayton, Ohio to see Greg's cousins
40.Travel with Pop and Dearie
41.Write a book with Amanda
42.Shoot a spoof video
43.Do Quicken

The exercise ended up being more difficult than I thought. We get so caught up in the day to day battles and victories that sometimes it's hard for me to think big. To think beyond work issues and tonight's supper and whether or not Jackson is ready for the next size shoes and why is the dryer taking so long to dry...

Excerpt from a Bon Apetit Interview with Maggie Mason abut Life Lists: When you start writing your Mighty List, try not to worry about practicalities. A hundred things is a lot to think about, so after you write down "get pilot's license" and "visit King Tut's tomb," you'll still have a lot of room for the mundane stuff like, "watch less TV." Let yourself dream big, and change the list to suit you as you go along. The whole exercise is supposed to be fun. Post your list in a prominent place and get started on the easiest thing. Even if you don't keep up with it, you'd be surprised at how much can happen for you just because you've written your intentions down. It makes you conscious of the things you want for yourself, which helps you move in that direction.
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After some obvious goals and a few fun ones, I was surprised at how hard it became to answer: If someone asked you what is it that you've always wanted to do, what would you say?
What would you say?
Take the challenge.