Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Triple-Crowned Babysitter

As a new parent, I am always learning from Jack, his teachers, fellow classmates, doctors etc. But I learn even more from fellow mothers. Particularly those who have much more experience rearing children than I. One thing I have learned is that Other Mothers don't like to give out the names of their babysitters.
It is so difficult to find a quality babysitter when you don't have family nearby. So once you've found one you want to lock them in the attic and keep them all to yourself. They are precious and rare. They are 17-year-old diamonds. They are old enough to drive themselves home and young enough to still be free on a Friday night.
It's a tiny window of opportunity and everyone wins.
We need a night out. They need the cash.
Our sitter, who I will refer to here as Prez, is an all-around great kid.
Last night we attended a birthday party. Nearly everyone had a child that needed babysitting so the sitter stand-off began early.
Like owners comparing the race stats of our prized thoroughbreds, the competition got fierce.
"My baby-sitter is sooooo sweet," one guest said.
"My baby-sitter is, too," I responded. "We've known him since he was 13 in the church youth group."
Prez sweeps up the Kentucky Derby.
"My baby-sitter goes to {insert name of very good high school}," she volleyed.
"Oh! Ours does, too," we quipped.
A close finish, but I think Prez' nose edged out a win for The Preakness.
He's very tall.
"When my baby-sitter shows up, she brings her homework, " she boasted.
"Our baby-sitter brought his AP flashcards to study," I mentioned. "He plans to CLEP out of 14 college hours."
He takes the Belmont Stakes.
Later in the evening when I reenacted the battle for our spirited Prez, he is impressed and proud to have performed so well.
He only had one concern.
"Next time, don't forget to mention that I'm also the SGA president."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Scoops of Mammoth

While Garp had the Under Toad, we have what I have referred to as The Mammoths.
For some reason whenever there is an unexplained fever or frightful cry in the middle of the night, I think of these large furry beasts quietly lurking in the nursery. They shuffle their feet behind the closet door, swaying, and poking Jackson with their long, curving trunks forcing him to wake with whatever ailment has arrived.
I doubt that mammoths were quiet creatures, yet since they resemble elephants I guess I think of them as potentially menacing yet hushed about it. Maybe even respectful. They don't destroy us but they do spark fear and refuse to leave even after I have fed them Tylenol and validated their parking.
They are scary, need to be dealt with and are the bearer of bad news.
They may also come to mind because whenever we have to deal with something regarding our child we get quite primal. Like cavemen retreating from the woolly thing at the edge of the cave, we shriek and pound our chests in the tusked faces of teething, 102-degree temps and random diarrhea.
That's right, I've said it.
It's out there.
There's a poopy mammoth just staring you in the face like that awkward Geico money you could be saving.
I refuse to let this become a poop-blog and I will do my best to not become the poop-mom that always wants to dish about their child's movements, but it has become a bit of an issue these last few weeks.
I won't go into too many details but I will say I never realized I could love someone so much that I would be willing to scoop poop for lab sampling purposes or that my husband could calmly handle three vials of ... uh ... mammoth.
In the end, that filthy mammoth was tagged, bagged and has been dismissed. We can thankfully move on and leave him to his extinction until the next fossil starts tapping on the door.
In the meantime, Eric and I will have to learn how to live with each other after what we have seen each other do with poop.
Maybe one day we will be able to look each other in the eyes again.

Monday, April 20, 2009


This afternoon, after I had scooped Jackson up and was about to leave his school, he thrust his arm in my face and said "Bite."
I checked his sheet, and sure enough there was note: Jackson was bitten on right arm.
It wasn't a terrible wound, but it did leave a mark.
I asked his teachers what happened and they mentioned that a girl had bitten him and another boy today.
"She's very aggressive," they said.
I asked who had been nibbling on my baby and they shuffled their feet and looked down saying they aren't really at liberty to divulge names. Trust me, this policy has worked in Jackson's favor a time or two before when we were dealing with first-year molars. I guess their witness-protection program eliminates any dirty looks between parents the next morning. Either way, I had a suspect in mind.
It occurred to me that Jackson is becoming quite the conversationalist, so on the way home I glanced in the rear view mirror and asked him point blank to rat out which classmate had invaded his 18 inches.
"Who bit you today, Jack?"
We discussed bullies this evening and how he should handle the situation should it arise tomorrow.
"What do you tell Phoebe?"
"No-no, Phoebe! No bite!"
If it doesn't work, I'll have to take the bitch out myself.

His First 15 Minutes

My little yogi.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Keep On Truckin'

While Jackson works on developing his enunciation, sometimes it is a challenge to figure out what he is trying to tell you. Eric and I rarely have trouble interpreting and understanding him.
However, this weekend we went to visit Nonnie and Paw-Paw and they were not quite tuned in to some parts of Jackson's language. Keeping that in mind, sometimes things can get a bit...uncomfortable.
For example, when Jackson was pushing around a firetruck, his Aunt Emily asked:
"Whatcha got there?"
"A What?
"Uh...a truck?"
"Yeah. Biiiig Cock."
"Paw-paw's Cock."

Unfortunately, this also occurs when we are discussing "socks" and when something is "stuck."
I try to avoid these touchy topics when in public. Eric brings them up at all times.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Egged Corduroy

It's like whoever invented Easter knew exactly what little children were all about: finding things and putting things in things.
It is his second Easter, but during the first one he was merely in training for the event. This time around he was ready for Easter-Olympics and the boy did not disappoint.
We were worried.
"Would he know what to do with the eggs? The basket?"
We predicted.
"Surely, he'll just enjoy being around the other kids."
We were concerned.
"We'll just have to wait and see."
Little did we know the kid has honed egg-finding skills. We didn't know we had an Easter machine in our home. He was born to collect pastels and stuff them in baskets of any kind: totes, plastic bags, etc.
However, he does have only a mild competitive streak.
After finding each egg, he would then plop down to inspect the new treasure and see what was inside. Once he was completely satisfied with its contents, he would then rise to continue the hunt. This strategy worked well during his egg hunt at school, during the egg hunt at the Bass Pro Shop (that's a whole other post) and during his numerous egg hunts at home. However, during the church egg hunt, the game was on and by the time he was done checking the insides of two eggs, the rest of the nest was empty. Those 0 to 5-year-old church kids are hard core.
Fortunately, Eric had seen a few eggs tucked in the rafters and lifted him to great heights of egg finding. It was a big score for the basket.
As for the adorable Easter outfits planned, the cold and rainy weather forced us to reconfigure. So we thought this would be the perfect debut for his hand-me-down corduroy blazer from The Dutch! An adorable piece, but one that was still too big. My mother said he looked like a little homeless boy, so we decided to go with the spring-vest ensemble.
When I went to remove the coat for a wardrobe change, our little Easter machine went fierce. Fashionably fierce.
He would not remove the coat. No pleading, begging or convincing. The coat stays, he basically explained. No way was he taking off the coat that made his fans squeal from the adorableness.
So we hit the Easter scene with our giant-blazered, sweet-cheeked, egg-hunting expert who enjoyed the music, flowers, fans and candy-filled eggs that Sunday morn.
It is now Wednesday and we are still hunting eggs. We are on a five-day egg-finding bender. The best part is that when found, they elicit a giant peal of delight that entertains us all. They are in my house slippers, book shelves, sofa cushions and living-room corners.
I'm hoping their entertainment value will last until Christmas.

Almost Famous

I thinks free boots are in order.
Wanna see??
Go to page 15 and scroll to the bottom.
Jack is building his portfolio.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Your book reports are past due.

I'd wait at least 30 minutes before notifying the authorities

I really like the husband. Kinda why I married him.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

When it comes to selecting a mate, a best friend, etc the no. 1 rule is to pick a person you love hanging out with for hours, days, week, months, and years at a time. Not just someone you can tolerate for expanses of time - but choose someone you know will lean back in a mauve naugahyde waiting-room chair to tell you how much the receptionist looks like Jerry Seinfeld.
Choose someone who will not only enjoy it when you decide to make a Broadway musical out of the grocery list but will offer up a chorus for the program as well.
Choose someone who will dance with you in an empty lobby where there no music at all.
Choose someone who can make a tedious time hilarious.
That is to say the husband and I have a good time anywhere. We have had some of the best times in waiting rooms, grocery lines, boring parties, church services - you get my point.
If I were stuck in an elevator with him...we just might make use of some of that private time.

Happy anniversary, babe.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Grateful to give

The Giving Tree continues to shapeshift into different stages of my life.

As a child, it broke my heart - such a undeserving boy.

As a teenager, it disappointed me - surely, I would never be like that, Shel!

As a parent, it understands me - I'm grateful for the giving.

Even as a child reading this classic, I knew this kid was trouble. How could he? How dare he?
What a user.
So cold.
So completely unaware of the incredible life force bending, begging, willing itself to be a part of his every move. Tortured by his lack of attention. Dismayed and alone as his heart, his boy, tromps past each milestone of life without nary a glance.
And yet it still gives.
Still loves.
Still straightens its weary stump. Desperate to give to this shriveled old man looking for a place of rest a comfortable spot in the woods.
Like a mother.
Like a father.
We'll take the hits. We'll gladly watch from the kitchen window, yellow curtains pulled slightly to the left, just so we can get a tiny glimpse of the growing up.
We're grateful for every crumb. Devouring the delicious, tiny moments as they are dropped from messy toddlers-turned-teenagers and emotional teenagers-turned-adults.
And when they return to you for those moments of rest, recharging, rejuvenation - we'll turn our bodies to boats.
Always at the ready to hollow out a space for their troubles to float away on.
Always donating our arms for uplifting tree-houses of safety.
Always an ear to carve their sweetheart's initials on.
Giving. Always.
Always grateful to give.