Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Buh, Buh, Buh

Last Friday, I took Dylan to Chuck E Cheese for the first time. Saturday, we went out to look at a house, then had a few errands to run. I should have known something was up when I gave Dylan a bottle in the car, and he just looked at it, disinterested. Since Sunday, he has looked like this...




Damn you, Chuck E!! His nose is running like a waterfall, and what is the one thing that Dylan really, really hates? When anyone tries to wipe his face. So, for the past 3 days, he and I go rounds, about every five minutes, to see who will win. Will I wipe his nose, or will Dylan drip snot on every surface of our home? By the end of yesterday, I was like, "What's a little snot on the furniture?" After his second nap, in the afternoon, Dylan had the meltdown of all meltdowns. It was scary. I honestly thought I was gonna have to pack up and take the kid to the emergency room. Either that or the nearest church, (for the exorcism). I called Jim at work, and when he heard the noise, he asked "What is wrong with him?" I replied, "I DON'T KNOW, BUT WHEN ARE YOU COMING HOME?"

Of course, by the time Jim got home, he was calm, and smiled a super huge smile at his daddy, as if all was right in the world, and mommy just likes to beat her head against the wall and go "Buh, Buh, Buh" for no reason. It is a double edged sword, isn't it? We want our kids to be around other children, but when they are, this is often the result.

The fact that my little ragamuffin is in dire need of a haircut really adds to the effect of these pictures, don't you think?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Me, Me, Me

Well, I got tagged by Jck, for one of those dreaded meme things, but I'm actually happy to do this one. It's the All About Me meme, (maybe that is why I enjoyed it), and it involves linking 5 of my old posts for you to read AGAIN, or hopefully, for the first time. It was fun reading back, and reliving each one. But, geez, asking you to read not one, but five(really six) posts at once, seems like asking a lot, so I won't be wordy - I'll just get right to it.


RULES:

1) Acknowledge the person who tagged you.

2) Tag other blogging SISTUHS and leave a comment on their blog letting them know that you have tagged them.

3) Go back through your archives and post the links to five favorite blog posts that you have written.

But there is a catch:
Link 1: must be about family.
Link 2: must be about friends.
Link 3: must be about yourself, who you are… what you’re all about.
Link 4: must be about something you love.
Link 5: can be anything you choose.

1. (Family) - Super Soaker And The Stray - In every family there are the ones you choose(my wonderful husband), and the ones you don't(the stray). Somehow you have to find love for them all.

2. (Friends) - Drive-Thru Preschool - I don't write much about my friends, so I didn't have much to choose from.

3.(Yourself, who you are, what you're about) - Let's All Be Kids- This pretty much sums it up. I'm just a big, goofy kid at heart.

4. (Something you love) - Bats & Birthdays - I love my husband, and I love giving gifts, and making holidays and birthdays special.

5. (Anything) - Just Another Day At The Doctor's Office - This is one of my favorites. Laughter really is the best medicine!

I never follow the rules, so I'm adding one more. If you only look at one of these, this is the one!!
Push It

I'm just gonna tag a few that I don't think have done this yet..Nnah, Nnah, you're it...Sparx, Elsie, and Kellan. I'm looking forward to reading yours!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Too Much Stimulation

Yesterday, I took Dylan to Chuck E Cheese for the first time. We joined six other moms from the Mom's Club that I belong to, along with all of their kids. I somehow managed to get a shower, throw on some clean clothes, apply makeup, get Dylan dressed and fed, and pack the diaper bag, and get us there on time! ON TIME! I was the second person to arrive, out of the 7 in our group - I was already feeling like Superwoman.

I put Dylan down, expecting him to take off like a rocket, and he just stood there. And, stood there. And, stood there some more. He looked like he was thinking, "Well what the bloody hell is all this?!" He was bewildered, he was overwhelmed, he was overstimulated! He has been to the zoo, the Center for Creative Play, the Mr. Rogers Playspace, etc, but he has never seen so many lights and heard so much noise, noise, noise! The kids running, screaming, whining, and crying all around him didn't seem to bother him at all. He is a pretty friendly kid, usually. But, he just did not know what to do with all those lights and games.

After the stare down, he eventually started exploring the place, but he still had that bewildered glaze to his eyes, and his mouth hung open as if in shock. When I attempted to engage him in a game, he looked at me as if to say, "Back away slowly, and no one will get hurt". When I attempted to put him in a car with a Chuck E Cheese driver, he clung to me like a cat climbing up a tree. When I helped him go up a few stairs, which lead to a landing with a window, that the kids went through to the long, winding slide, he held his hands up to the glass, with his nose up against the window, and his eyes pleaded, "Help Me!" The only thing he seemed to find enjoyable about the place was the large, moving, singing, instrument playing animatronics on the stage. At least I think he enjoyed them. He stood there watching a long time, but he might have been too afraid to move, I don't know. He ended up over in the corner of the place, by the window, looking out at the cars, probably wishing he were in one of them, instead of in this crazy place.

He did enjoy being around some other kids for a change, though, and I really enjoyed the adult conversation. I was able to have a separate conversation with five of the six other moms - amazing! I had a good time, and even though I doubt I'll take Dylan back to see the Cheese for a while, he loved getting out of the house. I'm thinking he inherited my aversion to bright flashing lights and too much noise. Guess we won't be going to Vegas anytime soon.

(When we got there, I realized my camera was out of battery power, so this is the only crappy shot I got.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Storytelling

Well, since I am still living in the Land of Books over here, guess what this post is going to be about? Are you sick of this yet? Sorry, I can't hear you. So, I'm sure you said, "No, Jen, please tell us more about books!" Well, okay, since you asked so nicely. Actually, since I've been reading so many books lately, I've been thinking about the art of storytelling. You know how some people can tell a story, and you have to keep your eyelids pried open with toothpicks, while another person can tell the exact same story, and you laugh so hard you have to squeeze your legs tightly together and sit down quickly so you don't pee?

When I was in grad school training to get my degree in Elementary Education, I was videotaped teaching a group of second graders an art lesson. I read a story during the lesson. When I watched the video tape later, I just sat there in shock. The teacher I was working with was very nice, just saying I might want to "read the story with more excitement and variation in my voice". I said, "Holy crap! Am I really that boring?!" I set out to become a better storyteller, and to pat myself on the back a bit, I would say I definately succeeded.

When I worked as a preschool teacher in a room with two other teachers, we would take turns reading to the kids, while the other two set out lunch and the mats for nap time. Sometimes when telling a story, I like to use different voices for each character. One of the other teachers commented to me, "I can always tell when you are stressed out, because your voices get even crazier than usual!"

Once I read the book "The Rainbow Fish" to the kids. If you aren't familiar with it, it is about a fish with beautiful sparkly scales. The other fish admire his scales, but he is selfish and doesn't want to give them away. He learns the importance of giving to others. It's a great book. After I read the book, I started to ask the kids questions about the story. One question I asked was, "Why didn't the rainbow fish want to give his scales away at first?" A little boy raised his hand and confidently shouted out, "Because he was a shellfish!" Shellfish-Selfish-Tomato-Tomahto.

In the summers, we would take the kids to the nearby library once a week, and they would each get to choose one book to take out. A child asked one of my coworkers if she would read the book he selected before lunch, so she began the story. Suddenly, she stammered and paused, and I looked over at her. Her face was red, and her eyes were looking at the page in surprise. She was reading about a kid whose grandpa was in the hospital, or something, and suddenly they were all at a huge party having fun. When she held the book up, (very quickly), to show the picture, I noticed all the people at the "party" were wearing black! Watching her ad lib the rest of the story was hilarious!

Another time, it was my turn to read before lunch, and I read them the book "The Paper Bag Princess". In the book, the princess is engaged to marry Ronald, the prince, but she discovers that he really doesn't care about her, and that he is much too concerned with her looks and what she is wearing. The line in the story is, "Prince Ronald, you may look like a prince, but you're really a bum". Shortly after I read the book, my coworkers husband came to visit for the very first time - to see where his lovely wife worked, and see the adorable children she talked about everyday. He came over nervously to sit beside her, and she introduced him, "Everyone, this is my husband Ron". The kids shouted out, "YOU'RE A BUM!!" Funny, I don't recall him visiting much after that.

I have been collecting children's books for a long time, and once, before Dylan came along, I asked Jim to read me one of the books. He abliged, nervously, and started reading a story about a bear to me. He was really trying. I'm sure he felt I was critiquing him, and evaluating his future worth as a father. He read one part, "Then, the bear closed his beddy little eyes". While trying not to bust out laughing, I gently asked, "His what?" "Um, his beddy, err his beady little eyes!", came his reply with the sheepish embarassed grin that I love. He has really improved since Dylan came along. Well, we certainly get enough practice.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This Is Joy

I don't have much time to write, but this one had to be documented. I need to remember this forever. For a while now, Dylan, at 14 months of age, has been very interested in the dishwasher. Every time he hears me open it, he comes toddling at me full speed, with a look of excitement and determination that today will be the day he gets to play in there. He has managed to climb up onto the open door a few times, and grab the apparently most interesting item - the steak knives! For that reason, lately I have been shutting the door quickly, before he is able to come near the dishwasher.

But today, when he ran at it full speed, squealing with glee, and tripped over his own feet in the process, landing Thud!, I caved. He just looked so darn sad and disappointed! So I picked him up, gave him a hug, took the silverware portion out of the dishwasher, and waited to see what havoc he would create. He looked at me in absolute astonishment, looked at the dishwasher, looked back at me. Then, he pulled out a small plate and handed it to me! To put away! When I made a fuss and said "Thank You!", he grinned at me with such a look of pride, my heart almost exploded with joy. Again and again, he handed me plates, glasses, and bowls, grinning away at me, and there I was, almost in tears at the beauty of this moment.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Book Obsession Stage-Part 2

Well, the Book Obsession Stage is still in full swing. However, now he has decided instead of just reading the same few books over and over, that I will read him EVERY single book that is in the book basket in one sitting. I must say, that is a long attention span my kid has. They say be careful what you wish for. (I wished I would have a kid who loved books and loved for me to read him books). I wish "they" would shut up already.

I left a book in the basket unread, because he hates that book, and never requests it. He looked in the basket, saw that there was one left, and pointed, pointed, pointed, until I read that one, and finished my task satisfactorily. So, he has a long attention span, a love of words and pictures, and he is extremely thorough. I'm not sure what those attributes add up to, but I fear it might equal a brainiac that loves to make his mommy feel dumb.

I haven't had a full night's sleep since Saturday, January 12th. Not because Dylan is keeping me up, as you might have originally thought. We are the sleep nazi's over here, and he is a great sleeper. I have also always been a "great sleeper". I once slept through a rock band practicing late at night when we stayed at a hotel. In the morning, I wondered what all the fuss was about. Why was everyone mad? Now, I am still falling asleep quickly, but I am waking up several times through the night, and then having trouble going back to sleep. What the heck is going on?

I am 99.9 percent sure I'm not pregnant, so my mind went to the next craziest explanation. I must be starting early menopause at the age of 35. I better prepare myself, and everyone around me, for the hot flashes and moodiness. Seriously, anyone have a clue? I tried counting sheep, but they just kept turning to laugh at me, "BaaaHaHaHa!!"

Reading children's books that you have already read about a thousand times is TIRING. My patience level is low, and getting lower with each night without sleep. So, each time Dylan toddles over with another book, plops himself down in my lap, then jumps up, then down again, as if to reboot me, this is what I do....First, I sigh my exasperated mommy sigh, then I envision a time in the future when a good day for me would involve my teenage son actually leaving his room, that I haven't set foot in in years, and grunting in monosyllabic tones at me, just long enough to grab some food, before disappearing once again.

He has gone through plenty of phases already. There was the Lookie Here, I Have Two Holes In My Nose That My Fingers Fit In phase, The Fuzz Is A Major Food Group phase, and the Yank My Penis So Hard Every Man In The Room Will Scream and Shudder phase. So I just tell myself, as my mom always told me, and my grandfather told her, "This too shall pass". Since becoming a mom, I've added something to it, though. Now, it goes, "This too shall pass, and you will miss it".

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy 95th, Pap-Pap!




We celebrated my grandfather's 95th birthday Friday. I wrote this for him. It made him laugh, and it made him cry, and it made me very happy to watch him read it, and see the joy it brought him on his special day.


If someone who never met my grandpa were to ask me what he is like, this is what I would tell them...
My grandfather, Ken, is friendly, a good sport, strong, positive, slow to anger, and loving.

My grandpa is Friendly with a capital F! He always talks to people, wherever he goes. He talks to people at the grocery store, the doctor's office, the bank, the bus stop, WHEREVER! He loves people of all ages, and he loves to joke with people and make them laugh. I was lucky enough to be able to go on some vacations with my grandfather. One of my favorite stories is from a trip we all took to Virginia Beach. We were walking on the boardwalk, and passed a few young guys, who were sitting on the wall, girl watching. My grandpa stopped, and asked them, "Well, fellas. Are you having any luck with the ladies?" They all smiled, shrugged, and shook their heads, "Nah, not really". My grandpa smiled his ornery grin, and replied, "Well, maybe you just aren't using the right technique. Playing Popeye always worked for me". Then he took his teeth out, pushed out his chest, and flashed his muscles at the next group of pretty girls going past! Those guys laughed so hard, one of them fell off the wall into the sand! I could still hear them laughing as we walked away, and I just know they reminded each other of that story for years.

My grandpa is a good sport. He is competitive, and he taught me to always play to win, but he also taught me how to be a gracious loser. We love to play games in my family, and I especially like playing Chinese Checkers or Ping Pong with him. He is really good at both, and extremely hard to beat. It became my goal - to beat my grandpa at a game of Chinese Checkers. When the day finally came that I could beat him, even though I could tell he was a bit disappointed, he stuck out his hand to shake mine, and said, "Well, Jenny, that was a good game. You have really become a good player". I felt so proud!

My grandpa is strong. His dad died when he was only two years old, and his mom had five children to take care of, so my grandpa always did what he could to help her. He grew up during the depression, and he learned to appreciate the things that he had, and not take anything for granted. He gave up a football scholarship to get a job and help his mom with the finances. When my grandpa was newly married, he and his father in law, worked every night for 2 years, after working hard at their jobs all day, to build the house that my grandfather still lives in to this day. My grandpa hasn't had an easy life, but he is strong because of it, or in spite of it, and I admire him and what he has accomplished.

My grandpa is positive. He is almost always happy and smiling, and he seldom complains. He loves to laugh, and when he laughs, his face turns red, his whole body shakes, and tears come out of his eyes! He tries to always see the good in people, and I can't remember a time I ever heard him talk about someone behind their back.

My grandpa is slow to anger. It is rare to ever see him get upset, and when he does, he usually just shakes his head, and doesn't say anything. I can't remember a time that I saw my grandparents fight. They were always so patient and loving towards each other. The only time that my grandpa would get mad, is when he was driving. As a kid, I used to get such a kick out of his behavior behind the wheel, because it was so out of character. Once on a trip to Washington, D.C., my grandpa was trying to navigate through heavy traffic, with all of us crammed into the car, when a taxi driver beeped his horn at him, and gave him the finger. My grandpa shouted out, "Yea, buddy, you go ahead and give me the finger! I'll give you the whole hand!', making motions at the guy with his hand. I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants.

My grandpa is loving. The love he showed for my grandma was beautiful and inspiring. He was always keeping an eye on her, and asking how she was. They finished each other's sentences, and my grandma would often pause to say, "Right, Ken?"
In almost every picture taken of the two of them, my grandpa's hand is resting lovingly on her shoulder - her best friend and protector. He has always shown so much love for our family. He always made time to play with us grandkids - tickling our feet until we begged for mercy, roasting marshmallows in the basement, playing baseball in the yard, and playing games with us, like Uno and Chinese Checkers.

My grandpa is an amazing man that I admire, respect, and love a great deal. I am so grateful for the lessons he has taught me, the time he spent with me, the sacrifices that he made for me and for our family, and the love he gave so generously. I am so lucky to have him as a grandfather, and I hope to be more like him - more friendly, strong, positive, slow to anger, and loving.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Books, Books, Books!

On Sunday, I met The Burgh Baby's Mom, live and in person! It was kind of like meeting a star from one of your favorite reality shows, and discovering that wow, they really are that cool. Hopefully, I will meet the REAL star of the show, Alexis, sometime soon, because I just know she's even cooler.

After that, I met Jim and Dylan over at my mother and father in law's. Dylan went around to each person, having them read one particular book they have, over and over and over. We were all commenting that we will need to get that book for home, since he apparently loves it so much. What we didn't realize at the time, was that he was actually entering a new stage - The Book Obsession Stage. I told you before that he loves books, but this is different. Before, he was perfectly content to listen to us read whatever books we happened to choose that day, before naps and bedtime. He might go over periodically throughout the day, and look through some books on his own. Not anymore.

The Book Obsession Stage involves me reading the SAME one or two books to him over and over ALL THE DING DONG DAY. Sunday evening I had a horrible dream which woke me up at 4am, and I couldn't get back to sleep. Monday, Dylan's book of choice was called "Sleepy Dog", a wonderful book with a photo of a different dog on each page sleeping peacefully. Each page has one word - Sleep, Cozy, Yawn, Nestle, Dream. After about, oh, the 30th read, I was curled up like a dog on the floor, and after yawning and nestling into the cozy boppy pillow, I fell asleep.

Wait, I forgot to explain one of the special features of The Book Obsession Stage - the lap sit. He must have a lap to sit on, in order to read the day's book of choice. If I am standing, he will pull at me to get into the approved position. If I am on the floor in any position, he will do the lap sit, on whatever part of my body he can, until I get into the approved position. A 24lb kid doing the lap sit on your rib cage hurts, folks! Don't even get me started about the other areas he shouldn't have sat on (good thing I don't plan to have more children). So, when I fell asleep on the floor, it went something like this... "Mmmm.." Pitter patter, Plop, "Ummpphh! OWWWW! DYLAN!!", giggles.

If this keeps up, I'll probably be doing lots of book review posts! Dylan really hasn't said many words yet. He mostly just says, "Da-da". Sometimes maybe I'll be lucky enough to hear "ma-ma", and he says "Yeth", which in Dylan speak, means "Yes". Other than that, just babbling, laughs, cries, and giggles. I think this new obsession is a process he is going through, collecting as many words as he can, in preparation for talking. I have the feeling Dylan will be one of those kids who talks late, but goes right to full sentences. He will say, "I say, Mommy, might I partaketh in a plate of asparagus, please?" (or, you know, something like that). Yea, because he apparently likes asparagus! Since I think asparagus is perhaps the most disgusting vegetable on the planet, I'm not sure how it even found its way into our house, but I opened the freezer tonight and there it was. I certainly don't expect him to agree with me ALL the time. But, hey Dylan, could we maybe read a different book tomorrow? Maybe I could even pick it?

Monday, January 14, 2008

D and Y

Sometimes when I tell people I am a nanny, they say "Wow!". Sometimes they pat me on the back in a way that says, "I pity you". Sometimes they say "I don't know how you do it!", or even go so far as to call me "divinely insane"! I must admit, there have been days when I thought I must be insane to do it, but there have also been days that I couldn't believe I was getting paid, because I was having so much fun. I don't want to give being a nanny a bad rap. It really just depends on the family you get. When I was working at a daycare, hating it, I often thought of giving it a try. Why get paid x(this pitiful amount) to watch a roomful of kids, when I could get paid X(a much better amount) to watch one or two?

I hit the jackpot with the first two little girls I worked with. (I'll call them D and Y). When I started the job, D was 4 years old, and in morning preschool. The job was to pick her up from preschool, then we would spend the afternoon together, playing, doing crafts, and going places. Her sister, Y, who was 6 at the time, got home from school around 4pm. Then, I would help her with her homework, give them a snack, and we would hang out until their mom got home around 5 or 5:30. I LOVE them. They are the sweetest, smartest, most creative girls, and it was a joy to spend my days with them. Every night at dinner, Jim would ask, "Well, what is the cute story today?" I always had one - usually several!

D and I were friends since the second week I worked with her. I took her to the park, and we ate lunch spread out on a blanket in the sun. Suddenly a bunch of lady bugs landed on the blanket, and her eyes lit up. She exclaimed, "I LOVE LADYBUGS!", and I excitely replied, "SO DO I!" She is my kind of girl - a tomboy, who doesn't like dolls, or fixing her hair, or wearing dresses and fancy shoes. She loves nature, cars, legos, puzzles, and most of all dragons. She loved to do the crafts I brought, but she had to do it HER way. She is a leader, not a follower. I remember calling Jim one day from the zoo, where I sat with the sun shining on my face, watching Derya running happily around the playground with a new friend she just made, saying "Jim, I can't believe I am getting paid right now!"

Y was jealous of all the time I spent with D. She wanted to make the crafts, and go fun places, but all we seemed to have time to do was homework. Even though she hated homework, she loved to learn, and she was always telling me a new fact - "Jennifer, did you know that...? She hung on my every word, and she remembered everything I said. She would often ask me questions, and would repeat my answer back to me verbatim months and months later! One day, I said I was upset, and she asked why. I told her my dishwasher broke, and we didn't have the money to fix it then. She went and got $5 out of her money jar (with the money she made at her lemonade stand), and gave it to me, saying "Use this to buy a new dishwasher". When I told her I couldn't take her money, she replied, "But I love you, Jennifer, and you need it. Money isn't everything, you know". What a sweet, smart girl. One day, she made a checklist of things that she needed to do each morning before school. See if you can figure out what it says...(You'll probably need to click on it to make the picture bigger).


Last week I took Dylan over to visit them, and to give D her birthday gift, (2 dragon toys!) They are now 8 and 10 years old, and just as funny and sweet as they always were. D asked if Dylan could come over for a sleep over sometime(HA!), and Y drew this picture of me chasing Dylan who is chasing an ice cream cone.

The other one she drew is of me chasing Dylan in the stroller.

Guess she noticed that I spend most of my time chasing him, huh? While I watched them and listened to them talk, I thought what amazing girls they are. I can't help but wonder, what part I played in making them who they are today. Even if it was just a teeny, tiny amount, I am proud, very proud.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My Date With A Ventriloquist

Last night was date night. I feel it is important for Jim and I to get out once in a while, to spend time alone together, and to, oh, I don't know...HAVE AN UNINTERRUPTED CONVERSATION! Lately, I feel like I never finish a sentence unless I am writing it. I told Jim one day, "If you want to know what's new with me, guess you'll have to read my blog!" Lately, dinner is a nightmare. I love having a passionate kid, but did his passion have to be food? When he wants to eat, he wants to eat NOW! NOW, WOMAN, NOW, WHY ISN'T THERE FOOD IN MY MOUTH YET?! I go into stressed out mommy mode, yanking the first thing I see out of the refrigerator or cabinet. I put him in the high chair, and he starts kicking his feet, and pointing to the tray. HERE, WOMAN, PUT THE FOOD RIGHT HERE, AND HURRY! I cut the food into toddler size pieces, and put a few on the tray in the spot he has shown me. He becomes The Eating Machine, putting one piece in his mouth, then immediately another, and another. As he is swallowing the first piece whole, without chewing or even tasting it, he is kicking and pointing and signing "more"! It is not a pretty sight, and it is making me crazy. Trying to arrange for the 3 of us to eat as a family is a logistical nightmare. Dylan is hungry around 5-5:30, Jim gets home between 6-7! If it does work out that we eat together, do you think it is remotely possible for Jim and I to have a conversation while The Eating Machine carries on, and gives bad table manners new meaning? Uh, no.

I was really looking forward to date night. We would go see a movie, (Juno), and sit down to a relaxing meal, and enjoy a deep, and meaningful conversation. But! (you probably knew that was coming, didn't you?), Father Time apparently had another trick to play on me, in the form of....my husband's teeth falling out! Yep, when we were eating a couple days ago, he made a face, went "Huh!", and showed me a piece of his tooth he was holding in his hand. "Holy Crap!", I said, ever supportive, "Your teeth are falling out!!" You see, a tiny piece of another tooth fell out about a week ago. He already has an appointment in the middle of the month to have that one filled. But, this piece was big, and left his remaining tooth sharp and jagged.

So, there we were, on our date, and every time he would say something, he wasn't moving his lips! He says it hurts to talk because each time he moves his tongue, it scrapes along the jagged tooth. So, I spent my date with the ventriloquist, saying "What? What? WHAT?!" I kept picturing him pulling a dummy out of his coat.

Oh well, the movie was great. We both really enjoyed it. The food was delicious, and hey, I didn't have to make it. I didn't have to feed anyone but myself, or clean it up either. And, from what I understood of our conversation, it was quite deep and meaningful.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Let's Talk Religion

People say that there are two subjects that you should always avoid
talking about - religion and politics. But, if you've been reading my
blog for any length of time, you probably know I don't much care what
"people" say. Maybe I'll discuss politics next time.

I was raised in a christian home. My family prayed before meals and at
bedtime, we went to church every Sunday morning, I went to christian
camps, and I belonged to the youth group at our church. I even made the
decision to go to a christian college, believing that I would be
surrounded by more supportive, kind, teachers and students than if I
went to a secular college. Unfortunately, that belief proved to be
false, and I transferred to a secular college after my sophmore year.
Did that shake my beliefs a bit? Probably. At the time, I was dating "a
good, christian boy". After dating for 3 1/2 years, and one month from
our meticulously planned wedding, he lied to me, and broke my heart,
when I discovered he had gone away for the weekend with a female
"friend". Needless to say, the wedding was off. Did that shake my
beliefs a bit? Definately. I prayed and prayed for God to send me a man
that would cherish me, that I could trust. Then, I met Doug. When he
was killed on his motorcycle four days before our wedding, did that
shake my beliefs about God a bit? Oh, hell yes. I never really stopped
believing in God. I just didn't want to talk to him for a very long
time. I have since resumed our relationship, but my beliefs are a bit
jumbled, fuzzy, and uncertain.

My parents feel that Jim and I should take Dylan to church. Apparently
he already worships - at the Church of Nursery Rhymes.
video

Someone asked a friend of mine in college where she went to church. "At
The Church of the Holy Comforter", she replied. "Where is that
located?", asked clueless. "Uh, in my dorm room", my friend giggled. I
currently attend The Church of the Holy Comforter, or The Church of the
Holy Bed Posts. I can see my mom and dad now, shaking their heads, and
wondering, "Where did we go wrong?" (I will be expecting a phone call
after this post). "What will you teach Dylan to believe?", my dad asked
me once. So, I thought that I would write down some of my beliefs for
Dylan.

-I believe in treating others as you would want to be treated.
-I believe that the good that you put out into the world, will come
back to you in some way.
-I believe it is better to surround yourself with positive people, than
with negative ones.
-I believe in giving to others in whatever way you can.
-I believe that one person can make a difference.
-I believe that all children deserve to feel safe, respected,
important, and loved.
-I believe in the strength of the human spirit.
-I believe that people don't usually change, unless they want to, so
you must accept them as they are, if you can.
-I believe in doing everything you can to solve conflicts with words
first, but if that doesn't work, that you shouldn't back away from a
fight.
-I believe it is important to keep an open mind, and to realize that
you don't always have to be right.
-I believe the Earth is beautiful, and that it should be taken care of,
and treated with respect.
-I believe you should tell the people that you care about, "I love you,
and I appreciate you", often, and not just with words, but with
actions.
-I believe that more than what you say, children learn by watching what
you do.
-I believe that life is a gift, and that each day should be
appreciated.

These are just some of the basics, but if I am able to teach Dylan
these, I think he will be okay. More than okay - I think he will
be...heavenly. Gotta go. I think I hear my phone ringing.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Book Review

I told Jim he should write this post, and he said "No, I'd have to be all witty and writery". "Writer-y" - I thought that was pretty witty, but fine, I'll write it, Jim. Jim often has dreams about being unprepared. He dreams he is unprepared at work, and sometimes at school. But, the dream he had a few nights ago, about being unprepared, takes the cake. He dreamt that we had enrolled Dylan in some high falootin, advanced preschool. One day, Dylan wasn't at preschool, but Jim was there, sitting indian style, amidst the preschool geniuses. The teacher was conducting a review of a children's book with the geniuses, going to each child to get their take on the ins and outs of the book. Jim was sweating it out, and going into a panic, and when the teacher got to him, he had to admit, he hadn't read the book. UNPREPARED!! The teacher told him he would have to do a book report on the book, and shamed him in front of the geniuses.

When he told me about the dream, I couldn't stop laughing. I could picture him sitting there, with the beads of sweat dripping down the back of his neck, as he prayed the teacher wouldn't call on him. I could picture the sheepish, embarassed look on his face when he had to mumble "I didn't actually read the book", as the geniuses gasped and shook their head, pitying him for his foolishness. I could picture him, face all red, shuffling his feet, as he asked me to help him with the book report!

When Dylan was about 5 months old I joined a club for moms. They have lots of different activities. One, is a book club, in which they get together once a month to review the book the've all been reading that month. I love books, and all, but when am I gonna find the time to read a book with 100 or more pages? I can't keep up with the magazines I get, or even the blogs I want to read! My idea of a book review, at this point in my life, would go something like this...

Today we are going to review, Good Night Gorilla, by Peggy Rathmann.





Yikes! The gorilla stole the zoo keeper's keys! What will happen next?! I'm at the edge of my seat already!


We already get clues that the zoo keeper is absent minded. The keys are color coded! Very ingenious - bet his wife thought of that.


Jim asked me one day, "When you read it to Dylan, what do you call the guy?" "The zoo keeper, what else?", I replied. "He has a name tag, you know", Jim remarked. And I say my husband is not observant. How the heck did I miss that? Oh, and also, what is wrong with Joe's fingers?


The zoo keeper, Joe, doesn't hear a gorilla, elephant, lion, hyena, giraffe, and armadillo walking behind him? Um, okay.


You notice in this picture the wife is on the side of the bed?


In this one, she is in the middle. So, how did the gorilla get in, and steal her pillow, without her noticing? Her husband must really smell when he gets home, for her to not notice a gorilla in bed next to her. He must be pretty hairy, also.




Does the wife wake up the clueless husband, push his sorry ass out of bed, and tell him to take all the animals back to the zoo? No! She does it herself, because she knows, to get things done right, you have to do it yourself. This part, at least, I find to be very realistic.


Does the clueless husband have any idea of his blunder, or of the fact that his wife has saved the day once again? Nope. That Peggy Rathmann knows what she is talking about. Great book. I highly recommend it. (Bet you're wishing you wrote this now, huh, Jim?)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ding Dong, The Helmet's Off

For those of you new here, Dylan was diagnosed with torticollis on March 14th, 2007, just a little before turning 4 months old. For the first four months of the poor kid's life, he had colic. I'm not sure how I got through that, but I did. So, that was finally over, and then we learned he would need to start physical therapy for the torticollis once a week. That started the therapy sessions, the exercises, the stretches, and the doctor visits. At his 4 month pediatrician visit, we also learned he has eczema, probably inherited from me (sorry Dylan).

On June 15th, at almost 7 months of age, Dylan started wearing a helmet. The torticollis caused him to always lay on his head a certain way, which caused his head to be flat in the back. He was also born with a hematoma, (basically a blood blister on his head), which also affected his head shape. Then we added the visits to the helmet place to have it adjusted, about twice a month.

I'm sure you can guess who the majority of these responsibilities fell on. I'm exhausted by it all. But, not Dylan. He has taken it all in stride, from the very first therapy session, to the very first time we put the helmet on. Honestly, him wearing the helmet couldn't have gone any better. I'm the one who has been annoyed by the darn thing. I was so sick of the questions, the stares, the looks of pity, every stinkin' place I took him. I was sick of the 45 minute drive to the place to get the adjustments, where I would try to keep Dylan entertained and still when he needed to be, usually for an hour each time!

I will say this. It was a love/hate relationship I had with that helmet. Every time my crazy, fearless kid would dive head first off the couch, I would sing its praises. When he was just learning to walk, and was extremely unsteady on his feet, I hugged it, and kissed it, and called it George.

2 days of wearing the helmet..


During the under, over, and everywhere in between stage I loved that helmet...


When cruising, it's always safer to wear a helmet...


The poor kid had to be put in here 4 times for scans of his head - can you say "claustrophobia"?


Preparation for the final scan...


For 6 months, two weeks, and 2 days I waited, and on Dec. 31st, the last day of 2007, the day was finally here! Look out world, because here comes Dylan with his (mostly) round head! I'm so proud of you, Dylan! (When the therapy sessions are over, I'm probably throwing you the party of all parties).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

And The Award Goes To...

As you might know, I am not exactly computer savvy. I get by, but up until a few days ago, I didn't even know how to add a link to my posts. In my defense, people, I discovered that there is this thing( an editor toolbar), that all these months, I didn't have! I have been using Safari, and I decided to open my blog in Netscape instead, and there it was! Believe me, I'm still stumbling around in the dark out there in cyberspace for the most part, but apparently you can teach old dogs a few new tricks.

A while ago, the stupendous Sparx, gave me this award...


Honestly, up until that point, my thought was that blog awards are, well...stupid. What are they for? What do you do with them? Does anyone care if you have them? Then, there is the pressure. You must pass them along. Someone's feelings are sure to get hurt. I don't like to hurt feelings. How do you choose who to give them to? I know how women are - we analyze everything. Like, if I write that so and so's kid is adorable, and I don't write that about the next person, that woman is thinking, "Oh! And my kid is what? Not adorable?". I don't need that kind of stress. It makes my head hurt.

But, then I got this award, and I saw the other side of awards. The side that makes you go, "Aw shucks. She likes me! She thinks I'm funny! She likes what I write!" I have been reading her blog for quite a while, and I love her writing, so I was flattered. That feels good! I like to make people feel good. I am a woman, after all. I reserve the right to change my mind.

So, I am passing this award along.

To Kellan, who has to be the most considerate blogger I know. She is sometimes funny, sometimes thought provoking, and often makes me get teary eyed with the loving posts she writes about her family. She manages to always find an upside to things, and I love that.

To, Burgh Baby's Mom, who I must confess, I usually read first. Us, Burgh Babes have to stick together, you know. She always makes me laugh, and I love that she always posts pictures. She also doesn't mind, and actually likes, my sarcastic, teasing, sense of humor, and dishes it back!

To Driving With The Brakes On, who was the first "stranger" to comment on my blog. I love how she thinks, always coming up with thought provoking questions for us. She also knows how to rant, and I usually find myself saying "Yeah!"

To Elsie, who teaches me the Bristish terms for things - like pram, nappies, and the loo! Who wouldn't want to read about a little girl named Betty Button? Betty is the same age as Dylan, and I often find myself laughing at her posts, because I am going through the exact same thing.

To Pam, who I really feel for, because she is having a tough year with her class. She is so sweet and supportive in her comments to me, and I don't think she realizes what a great person and teacher she is.

To Stay at Home Dad, who rarely posts, but when he does, I am always touched by his writing. He adores his daughter, and writes about childhood in the most endearing way.

To Jck, whose blog I just recently stumbled upon. You really have your priorities straight, in life, I think. I am really enjoying your posts, and I'm looking forward to getting to know you better.

When I started blogging, I had no idea that I would actually come to care about the people I read about, that I would consider them friends! I appreciate each of you.
Happy New Year, everyone!