Saturday, February 28, 2009

To Catch Up

I know, it's been a while since I posted anything. I've been exhausted. I've had a sore throat now for two weeks. Technically, two weeks and 3 days, but who's counting? I have had no other symptoms other than being ridiculously tired and weak. I figured I just wasn't getting enough sleep. But after two weeks, I decided I needed to see a doctor.

Before that, though, I had to get through Dylan's first official Kindermusik class (yes, I signed him up). It was adorable. He walked right in and got to the very important business of dancing/hopping/rolling on the floor, etc. Wow! Definitely the right decision to sign him up. They gave us a CD with the music and he has been recreating class ever since, usually several times a day.

On Friday was my doctor appointment. Basically, the official diagnosis is, "I'm not sure what is wrong with you". See why they get paid the big bucks? So, they took a test for strep throat, gave me an antibiotic and reflux medication (in case I have reflux, in spite of having NO symptoms), and then she uttered the two dreaded words... blood test. Maybe I have mono - for the THIRD time. Yes, I have already been through that twice. As soon as she said the words "blood test", I went into super annoyed mode. It never goes well. As soon as I hear the words, I know what is coming. I am at the point of throwing politeness and tact right the heck out the window, so I exclaimed, "Do you have someone really good, because it is really hard to get my blood. I have teeny, tiny veins, and they roll. I NEED someone good!"

In spite of my comment, she sent in the young male medical assistant, who I could just tell was clueless. After explaining things to him, he started "searching for a good vein". After a while I asked, "So, are you pretty good at this?" His, "Uhh..." answer was all I needed to hear. "Okay, listen, you have to get someone else in here who is really, really good at this". He went for back up and she started poking and prodding and slapping my right arm. This went on for a ridiculous amount of time, with clueless guy and her having an entire conversation about my tiny veins. "There was one right here, but where did it go?" There are only so many times a person can slap your arm before you start to think about slapping them back, so I begged, "Could you please try somewhere else?"

She finally found a "good one" in my hand. I absolutely cannot look anywhere in the vicinity of the needle, so I looked at the wall and envisioned myself on an island with the cabana boy massaging my shoulders. That's when I heard her tell clueless guy, "Wow, look how slow this is! It is just dripping out. How much do we need?" Then, she asked me, "Does your blood usually come out really slow?" "Yep, that's just the joy of being me", I explained. After what seemed like an eternity, she stated that she thought that was all we were gonna get.

After all that, the doctor gave me a number for an ear/nose/throat specialist, and told me to make an appointment. You know life isn't going well when you actually hope you have strep throat.

Believe it or not, after all that torture, later that day, a friend came over with her 3 boys for a play date. Four boys under the age of 3 in your home = chaos and a great deal of NOISE, NOISE, NOISE. It was fun, though, and my friend's ability to focus on our conversation in spite of one kid getting in the refrigerator, while another stood on the windowsill, while another screamed the alphabet (did you guess that was mine?), while another screamed bloody murder, was nothing short of extraordinary. Moms truly are amazing, and I am one, so I figure I can handle a sore throat and a little exhaustion.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hold This

The day was unseasonably warm, and the sun on my face felt like a surprise visit from an old, cherished friend. I grinned as I watched my son toddling around the playground, gathering sticks to put in a pile, a look of concentration on his face.

His tiny, dimpled hand reached for another stick, and he held it high, examining it from all angles in the sun. "Stick!", he exclaimed, to no one in particular. Then, he turned, and brought it to me, smiling, and saying again, "Stick!" "Do you like that stick?", I asked him. "Yeth!", he replied. He held the stick out, hesitantly, not speaking, but communicating with his eyes. "Do you want me to hold this for you, sweetie?" "YETH!", he shouted, before running off to resume his task.

I watched him from a distance, far enough to give him space to explore independently, but close enough to keep him safe. Every so often, he would stop what he was doing and come take my hand to see if I still had that stick. He would smile quickly at me, before turning to run away.

Working with children, I have been given many things to hold over the years - a paint-splattered paper, a colorful marble, a wilted flower, a dried leaf, a smooth stone. I can't even tell you how many times I would get home, and reach into my coat pockets to discover one or several of these items. It always seemed like a nuisance. Why were they asking me to hold it?

But, on that day, looking down at that tiny stick in my hand, it dawned on me. I was gaining his trust. God only knows why that stick was important to him, but it was, and he had given it to me. To keep safe. To respect. To cherish. To hold.

If I had thrown the stick on the ground, what message would have been sent? It seemed like such a small, insignificant thing - being given something to hold. But what about when he is older? Will he give me anything then? Will he sit beside me and share the stories of his days? Will he tell me about his new best friend, and why he likes him? Will he tell me how a classmates unkind words hurt him? Will he tell me about his first crush? Will he trust me enough?

I sure hope so. But, until then, I'll just clutch the stick, or wilted flower, or small stone, as if my life depended on it. And, if he does someday trust me enough to share those stories and those feelings with me, I will respect them. I will cherish them and keep them safe. I will hold on to them.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Funny Kid

One morning this week, when I went in to get Dylan out of the crib, he greeted me with "Hi Buddy!"

*The sun was shining brightly through the sliding glass door, where Dylan and I sat having a snack. Suddenly, he shouted, "TOO BRIGHT!! TURN IT OFF, MOMMY!" "Turn what off?! The sun?!", I asked. "Yes, please". (I really am going to miss these days when he thinks I am strong and powerful - powerful enough to turn off the sun).

*Today, we finished playing a game and after we cleaned it up, he looked down, thinking, and said, "Well..." (Like, "Well, now what should we do?")

*He has now entered the land of pretend play, and I am finding it very amusing. He was playing with his Little People, and they were "going to Florida".

I remarked, "Wow, there's a lot of people on that plane!", and he answered very matter of factly, "Well, they all want to go!" (Tell me about it, kid).

Lately, he's been attending a lot of birthday parties, so often the Little People are "at a party". Here they are at the party "eating cake". When I asked who was at the party, he gave me the list, "Mi-Mi, Bubba, Mi-Maw, Pop-Pop, Mommy, Daddy, Dee-Dee". I said, "What about those other people? Who are they?" He answered, "Anybody. They just want eat cake!"

There are certain Little People who represent the people in his life, and they are always the same. The fun loving boy with a frog on his shoulder - that's Dylan. I'm the cute tourist girl, who loves to wear sandals. Jim? He's the orange haired pilot, who, also happens to be...a girl! HAHAHAHAHA (At least I think it's a girl. It has long hair. Then again, you should have seen how long Jim's hair was before I met him. Boy, do I have some pictures I could post. (Evil laughter)

*Dylan's latest thing is closing doors behind him. All doors must be shut, I tell you! We were about to go downstairs one morning, when he noticed the door to my bedroom was open. "Wait!", he said, running to shut it. I like the door to be open, because if it is shut, it gets really cold in there. "Dylan, this door needs to be open", I explained, pushing on the door, as he was pulling it. "NO! THE DOOR BE SHUT!!", he screamed. And, that is how a grown woman might find herself screaming "NO! THE DOOR BE OPEN!!" at 7:00 in the morning.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot - Dylan Style

There is just something about a little boy in a t-shirt that makes my heart melt!

(Which one is your favorite?)

A Day Out With A Friend

When you are single, getting together for a "girl's day out", usually involves chatting and laughing over a meal and drinks for hours, until your waitress starts giving you "the look" as she walks by your table. You might talk about current events, movies, a great deal you found, a great book you are reading, etc. Oh, who am I kidding? When I was single and out with a friend, we talked about MEN. That is pretty much all we talked about.

Now that I am married, and have a child, getting together with a friend is slightly different. Sunday, I met up with Burgh Baby's Mom for a "play date" with our kids.

It involved...

-an indoor play area with way too many kids and way too much noise
-tears and hugs when another kid kicked Dylan's back going down the slide (that was before BBM even got there!)
-a "scary" monster guy
-two kids side by side, giving each other sideways glances, but having no clue how to interact (at first)
-two kids looking adorable, holding hands while walking through the mall
-three potty trips
-a vomit scare
-a pee puddle on the floor
-shared animal crackers
-a booster seat falling off the chair and unto the floor with a kid still in it
-a kiss from a little girl to a little boy...and another...and another...and another...
-an embrace that landed them on the floor, me thinking they needed to get a room
-a quick glance at the fish
-an emergency outfit purchase
-a child running up and down the aisles of a store while being chased by a frustrated mommy
-a merry-go-round ride
-a ride on a "roller coaster", sitting side by side with their hands up

Like I said, when I was single, going out with a friend was slightly different. These days, a day out with a friend is a success if it happens. Oh, and if we get to finish a sentence, that is an added bonus.

(Go to her blog, and click the Flickr button to see the pictures)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Being Healthy Part 2 - Diet

Growing up, my mom made sure that I had a balanced diet. Dinners were not complete without at least one fruit and one vegetable. When I got home from school, the first thing I did was to eat a bowl of fruit, lovingly prepared by my mom, while she grilled me about my day. Very few snacks were kept in our house, and soft drinks were only allowed on special occasions.

Strangely enough, a little bit of that seems to have sunk in. I still try to eat healthy. The key word here is try. My husband, who grew up in a meat and potatoes family, does his part - he tries to humor me. As luck would have it, he'll eat just about anything. I'm not saying he always enjoys it.

Years ago when we were visiting my grandma in the hospital, we had dinner in the cafeteria. I grabbed some pudding, among other things. I remember telling Jim, "OMG! This is the best pudding I ever tasted!" After shaking his head in disgust, he informed me, "Jen! That's just because it's regular pudding! Not that low-fat crap you always have at home!"

I try to only eat snacks at night, and I try to buy healthy snacks. I buy Fig Newtons, instead of chocolate chip cookies, dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, baked low-fat chips instead of Doritos. The little changes make a big difference, I figure, and I don't feel like I'm depriving myself.

I also only drink soft drinks when I'm out. Well, I guess I should clarify that. You see, every night, Jim drinks one can of Coke. Just one, and almost every night I drink his last 2 or 3 sips. Why? Well, I just like to make him crazy! No, actually I love Coke, and just those 2 or 3 sips are enough to satisfy me.

Recently I bought a book called, "Eat This, Not That". If you don't own it, you should. This genius book gives the "Dummy" books a bad name, it is so easy to use. It not only lists the bad and good products, but has pictures of each for us visual learners. It gives information on what to eat and avoid at 40 fast food and chain restaurants, the safest foods to get at the supermarket and at school, recipes for 10 kid favorites made healthy, and a list of 11 foods that cure.

Since I got the book, I have been trying out some of the healthy alternatives, to the dismay of my hungry husband. When I tried a certain frozen pizza with a thin crust, he exclaimed, "This is more like a pizza flavored cracker! I'm gonna have to eat a hamburger after this!" The healthy oatmeal raisin cookies I bought tasted "like cardboard". The low fat popcorn tasted like "flavored air". The Greek yogurt was "like eating sour cream with a spoon".

Luckily, Dylan is pretty easy to please. He loves fruits and vegetables. I have a hard time getting him to eat meat. So far, I've been pretty successful at limiting snacks. As long as he has his "white raisins" (yogurt raisins), he doesn't complain, but just continues to suck down his food as the human vacuum.

As for Jim, he hasn't complained about all the healthy products. A few of them, he actually liked. But, if you invited him to your house for dinner, I'm sure he wouldn't turn you down.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

1 Little Problem

I mentioned before that missing pieces bother me. I've also mentioned that Dylan seems to have inherited a bit of Jim and I's "crazy".

Dylan has owned a Leap Frog magnetic numbers and letters set since his first birthday, (so over a year now). For quite a while now, the number 1 magnet has been missing. It has been missing for so long, that I have come to accept it. But, Dylan, who has recently become OBSESSED with numbers and letters has decided that the missing 1 is a problem.

This was our house yesterday...

Dylan: "A, B, C, D...", (while lining up the letters on the floor. When he was ready to do the numbers, he suddenly stopped). "Where the 1? Where the 1? WHERE THE 1?"

Jim: "The one is missing, buddy".

Dylan: "Where the 1? WHERE THE 1?!?"

Me: (To Jim) "The 1 has been missing a long time. It was missing at the old house".

Dylan: (Getting up) "We go to the old house now!"

Me: "Dylan, I think you must have thrown it in the garbage and it was thrown out".

Dylan: (Getting up to go look in our garbage can) "I get it!"

Me & Jim: (Laughing) "No, Dylan, at the old house!"

Dylan: (Stops to look at us as if we are failing to understand the situation) "WHERE THE 1?!"

Me: "Dylan, honey, I think you threw it in the garbage at the old house, and the garbage truck took it away".

Dylan: "We go get it!"

Me: (Realizing this could go on a very long time) "Dylan, the garbage took it away, but we don't know where it is. It's GONE. We can't go get it."

Dylan: "We NEED the 1!"

Me: (Trying to redirect) "Dylan, do you want to read a book?"

Dylan: "No, I want the 1!"

Oh boy. That went on and on and around and around until bedtime. This morning he seemed to be over it. Then, Jim made a BIG mistake. He said, "I brought the recyclable bin back. With this wind, the bottles are just going to blow everywhere. I hope the bin doesn't blow away. Don't we have another one? Oh, I think that was at the OLD HOUSE". That set the whole process back in motion. "WE GO TO THE OLD HOUSE AND GET THE 1!!!"

I'm going to have to go to the Leap Frog website, and see if you can buy single magnets, aren't I?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


(I didn't forget about Part 2 to "Being Healthy" - it's coming soon)

Recently, I discovered that a couple I know is having marital struggles. There were discussions of separation. This shook me a bit, because on the surface, they look happy. I started to wonder how many other couples I know are having similar issues. I started to ponder what it is exactly that makes some marriages work and others fade away.

One night this past week, none of our shows were on, so Jim *allowed me to watch a sappy love story, "P.S. I Love You". I read the book, and also saw it in the theatre, but I wanted to watch it again. It is odd that I wanted to watch it again, because if you've seen the movie, you know it is about a young woman whose husband died. It is a very honest, well written film, and of course I relate to the main character. (*I wrote that as a joke for Jim. We don't "allow" or "not allow" each other to do things. I don't think couples should try to control each other. We share our feelings and give each other our opinions, and hopefully the other person cares enough to let that influence their decision in some way.)

After watching the movie, I went up to bed, and stood there for a second cursing. The sheets were in the dryer, probably damp and wrinkled. On my way down to run them through the dryer again, I complained to Jim about what I did. Later, when I started to put the dry sheets on the bed, Jim appeared and offered to help me. As I pulled my side and he yanked his, I looked over at him and smiled, my heart filling with warmth. A small gesture, his offer to help, but so sweet. Those little moments can pass us by so easily , unnoticed and unappreciated.

It is really quite remarkable - marriage. The idea of choosing one person to spend the rest of your life with! They are basically saying "You are the person that I want to argue with about travel plans. You are the person I want to roll over and see every morning, bed head, morning breath, and all. I will deal with your crazy relatives. I will make your dreams my own. I will listen to you nag me time and time again to hang up my coat. I will listen to you tell me the same stories that I have already heard a billion times with a smile on my face. I will love you because of who you are, and also in spite of it."

It is hard, and it is work, but it is fabulous and amazing, sharing your days, your ups and downs with another person. You all know how I feel about Valentine's day, so this post is not a Valentine's day post and will not be posted on that day, because what I really just want to say is...

"Jim, I love you EVERY DAY".

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad


Today I want to thank you for the kind of father you were throughout my childhood - loving, affectionate, generous with time and praise.
Today I want to thank you for the kind of father you were throughout my teenage years - patient, strict, respectful of my ideas and opinions.
Today I want to thank you for the kind of father you've been throughout my adult years - supportive, always honest, always ready to listen.

I am proud to call you my Dad, and I appreciate the things you do, and the man you are more than you'll ever know.

I Love You,

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Being Healthy Part 1 - Exercise

I don't exercise. The desire to exercise comes and goes like the ebb and flow of waves crashing against a rock, and even though the rock sometimes moves a bit this way, and then a bit more the other way, it remains stuck in the sand. I could make excuses. "I just don't have the time", is a favorite of many. But, I've known people who set their alarms an hour earlier to make time to exercise. Me, I like sleep - A LOT.

There are people who make a commitment to exercise at night, instead of watching TV. More power to them. Me, I like TV - A LOT.

There are people who run in the rain, snow, cold, and wind. Like my old college buddy, Lee, used to say, "The only reason for me to run is if someone is chasing me".

So, it all boils down to this - lack of "stick-to-it" tiveness. Hey, I tried. I bought those Tae Bo tapes. I punched and kicked the air with vim and vigor - for a few months.

I bounced around in the water with those feisty old ladies in my Water Aerobics class - for a few months.

I bought some sort of apparatus to do crunches and I crunched myself silly - for a few months.

These days, I'm working on embracing my inner lazy self. At least for a few months.

Monday, February 2, 2009

These Are The Days

These are the days of little spoons,
sippy cups, and cries for "juice".

These are the days of crazy sprints
after a toddler on the loose.

These are the days of gates on the stairs,
and in the kitchen - safety locks.

These are the days of puzzles and trains,
Little People and Lego blocks.

These are the days of holding hands,
and reading to you in my lap.

These are the days of shrieks and squeals,
hops, and skips, and claps.

These are the days of ABC's,
and counting to "ten- teen".

These are the days of dimpled hands,
and the cutest cheeks I've ever seen.

These are the days of "I wuv you"'s,
and wanting your Mommy and Daddy near.

These are the days of giggles, hiccups,
and great, big crocodile tears.

These are the days of Pookie bear,
and Puppy, your number one.

These are the days of "Toys R Bus",
play dates, and having fun.

These are the days of potty songs,
and books strewn across the floor.

These are the days of white raisins,
blueberries, and always "just one more".

These are the days of endless discoveries,
and time that moves too fast.

These are the days I'll forever cherish,
and the memories that will last.