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)