Thursday, June 25, 2009

Zoo Class

This morning, I took Dylan to a zoo class - "Itsy Bitsy Bugs". The class was at 9:30am, and I just remembered around 8:00am that it was today.

Here's a breakdown of the morning...

8:00 - "Holy crap! Today is the zoo class!!!"

8:10 - Convince Dylan to go upstairs, after explaining we are going to the zoo.

8:40 - After getting Dylan and myself dressed, pop in a "video", so I can pack the bag, make a quick phone call, and find the paper I need to take.

9:00 -Leave the house and drive, (a little too quickly, "Mommy! We're going FAST!"), to the zoo.

9:24 - Check in, get Dylan strapped in the stroller, and book it to the elevators.

9:25 - See the huge line and get him out of the stroller. Hold his hand, the bag, my purse, and the stroller as we go up the escalator instead.

9:27 - Put him back in the stroller and book it up the hill to where the class is. Think, "I might die from this heat". (It is 90 degrees and humid today).

9:32 - Arrive (only 2 minutes late, but sweaty and out of breath).

(The class was OK. He got to touch a millipede, and a cockroach. Look at a tarantula, caterpillars, and a stick bug. I thought the crafts were kind of lame, and the teacher needed to talk more on a 2 year old level. Me and the lady I was talking to were the only ones who didn't squeal or make faces when the teacher brought out the bugs. That being said, though, if I went to a reptile class, and a snake was involved, I might pee my pants. Dylan was losing interest by the end, and kept talking about seeing the polar bears.)

10:15 - Put him back in the stroller and go straight to the polar bears, passing the sharks and otters along the way.

10:30 - Stand in the tunnel watching the polar bear swim above us. So cool!

10:45 - Start walking (Dylan now out of the stroller), and suddenly he takes off down the path like lightning - ZOOM! Run like a maniac after him, screaming, "STOP!". Pull him out of a restricted area and put him back in the stroller.

11:15 - Go to Kids Kingdom, thinking he needs to get some energy worked off.

11:25 - Explain to him that he can only go on the blue slide, NOT the big ones because they are for the older kids. (The zoo's rule - not mine).

11:30 Go up the rope climb with Dylan because he won't go himself. Think, "I might die in this heat".

11:35 - Grab Dylan before he gets on the biggest slide and gets yelled at by the zoo worker. He then falls to the floor and goes limp, whining, "I want to go on this one!"

11:36 - Carry a crying, squirming Dylan down three flights of stairs, thinking, "I might pass out. What does heat exhaustion feel like?" Scream at Dylan "WE'RE DONE!", and leave Kid's Kingdom.

11:40 - Get lunch. Drink a bottle of water in about 3 gulps. Left the zoo thinking, "Going to the zoo on a 90 degree day is for fools". That, and "Next time I come to the zoo, I'm bringing backup".

12:05 - Leave the zoo, a hot sweaty mess.

We have one more class next week. Can't wait.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jump In

Today I took the kids I'm a nanny for to the pool. As I splashed around in the pool with them, I noticed something. I was the only woman in the pool! Sure, there were moms all around the baby pool, but they were just sitting on the side with their feet in, sporting their designer sunglasses and perfectly pedicured toes. None of them seemed to want to get wet. None of them had wet hair. As a matter of fact, if an enthusiastic kid swam by and splashed them, they shrieked like little girls.

Right now, some of you, (or most of you, judging by today), are saying, "So?" To you, I say "WHY?" You've seen kids swimming and splashing around in the water. It looks like fun, doesn't it? Well, that's because... IT IS.

Jump in! Do a cannonball off the diving board. You just might laugh at yourself. You just might feel young again. Your kids just might think you're cool. Or that you've lost your mind, but who cares?

Listen, I've worked with kids for a long time. They are a great excuse to act like a great big kid yourself. Go ahead and make an ass out of yourself. The people who are looking at you are just jealous. They wish they had the guts to do the exact same thing.

Go down that water slide! (Not the one that gives you a giant wedgie, though. Trust me, no one wants to see that.). Sit your big butt down in the sand and make a sandcastle. Ride the waves. Chase a butterfly. Jump in a mud puddle. Go on the swings. Run barefoot through the grass. You'll give your kids a summer to remember, and I'm betting you'll remember it too.

* "If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older". (Abraham Sutzkener)

* "None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm". (Henry David Thoreau)

* "If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should not grow old". (James A. Garfield)

* "We grow gray in our spirit long before we grow gray in our hair". (Charles Lamb)

* "Little by little the time goes by, short if you sing it, long if you sigh. (Unknown)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day


One of my earliest memories is of a dream I had as a kid. In the dream, I was swimming in the ocean, when suddenly a huge, ferocious shark was coming towards me. I was so terrified that I couldn't move. Just as the shark was almost upon me, you jumped into the water, and pointed at the shark. You gave him your meanest look, (with the eyebrows), and shouted "GO AWAY!", and the shark did. My hero!

I think of that dream sometimes, Dad, and I realize... you're still my hero.

Happy Father's Day!

I love you,

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm Just Not Happy

Dear Person who turned in my purse at Chick Fil A:

I'm not happy with you. I really, really appreciate the fact that you turned my purse in. You have no idea how appreciative I was! When I realized it was missing this morning and realized I might have left it on the floor in the children's play area, I figured another mom or dad would surely be thoughtful enough to turn it in. Another mom or dad would understand that I don't have the time or energy to deal with canceling credit cards, etc. Another mom or dad would understand what mommy brain does to a person.

I just want you to know that I forgive you for taking the $100 bucks that I just got from the bank that morning. I'm going to assume that you just found out that your child needs glasses, or braces, or a kidney. I'm sure you were desperate. That is the only logical explanation.

I'm not mad. It's just money, after all. My hard earned money that I really need, but whatever. Little Susie needs those glasses more. Oh, and do you believe in Karma? Because I'd watch my back. Just sayin'.

Dear Bank Teller Lady:

I'm not happy with you either. When my kid (who is behaving remarkably well in the bank by the way) says to you, "We gettin' money!", or "I made a circle!", or "That's a P!", the least you can do is crack a smile. I realize responding with enthusiasm would be so exhausting that you would fall off the chair that your humorless butt is sitting on. Here's an idea. Get a sense of humor, or a heart. Preferably both because next time I'm going to let him take ALL the deposit slips and yank the pen completely out of the counter as a souvenir.

Dear Guy Who Was In Front Of Me In Line To Get Gas:

I'm also not happy with you. Did you notice, as you were pumping $65 worth of gas into your ginormous SUV and your two huge gas jugs that I was trapped by your honking big vehicle and the other one behind me? Did you also notice that the pump beside you opened up several times while I was trapped behind you? Did you happen to hear my kid screaming, "I WANT TO GO HOOOOMMMEEE?" over the increasing volume of the radio? Nope, I didn't think so. Carry on.

Dear Parents Of Brats In The Mall Play Area:

I'm not happy with you either. I understand. You have a brat. A holy terror of a child who just won't listen and who makes your every waking moment difficult. You just wanted a little time to relax, so you let them run amuck in the children's play area at the mall, while you closed your eyes and took a little nap. They don't listen to you anyway, you figured. Well, they did listen TO ME when I told them every so nicely to MOVE IT when they were blocking the slide and preventing a whole line of innocent children from enjoying themselves. I was quite proud of myself when I refrained from sending your little darling into next week when they ran screaming across my sandal clad toes. You're welcome. Hope you enjoyed your nap.

That is all.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


On Thursday last week, my parents and I took Dylan to Triple B Farm to pick strawberries. He was very excited to go, but very serious once we got there. I only got one picture with a smile! He was busy finding good ones to pick and put in the basket for a while, but once he ate one, it became more about eating and much less about picking!

On the hayride back from the field, (as he sat munching one after another), a lady asked me "Did you weigh him before you left today?" You are supposed to have them weighed before you pay for them, before you EAT them! I think we would have had to sit on the kid to prevent him from eating them. He ate tons, and then we went to get lunch, and he ate a whole (kid sized) pizza. A short while later, he moaned, "Oh my belly hurts!" A short while after that, he was farting like a racehorse. Then, he got a rash on his face. He has eaten strawberries from the store without an issue, so what the heck? I found out later, that they do spray the strawberries with a pesticide, so that could have been the issue, since they weren't washed before he ate them.

There was a playground at the farm, complete with a barn that you climb through to go down a slide. It was going to start raining any second, so Dylan ran around trying out every single thing on the playground once, saying "No rain yet!". I love that he wants to try everything and get the most out of each experience!

Something happened that day that is one of those "you had to be there" moments, but I'm going to write about it anyway, so that I can remember it. I had only been to this farm once before, so I printed out directions. I was driving my parent's car. My mom was supposed to be giving directions. I was getting flashbacks of our car trips to Florida as a kid, as I was yelling, "MOOOOMM! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE FOLLOWING MY DIRECTIONS!! MOOOOOMMMM! WHY DID YOU TELL ME TO TURN, IF IT WASN'T IN THE DIRECTIONS!! MOOOOMMMM!"

We stopped a couple of times for directions, but couldn't find "Center Avenue". We saw a guy standing beside a Pepsi truck, and my mom called out from the backseat, "Ask this guy where Center Avenue is". As I pulled up along side the guy, my dad leaned out of his window to ask, "Excuse me, can you tell us where Center Avenue is?"

As the words were coming out of his mouth, we all saw it. The guy was holding back the rows of Pepsi bottles that were about to fall out of the truck into the street. He was using both hands to hold back different areas of the truck, and I think he might have even been using his knees to hold back others. It was like an I Love Lucy episode. He turned to look over his shoulder at my dad with crazy eyes, while admonishing, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?"

That was it. All three of us bust out laughing at the same time, and we were cracking up as I quickly pulled the car away from the guy. We could hear him swearing as we drove away, and as I looked in my rear view mirror, I could see a few bottles falling out of the truck. That made me laugh even harder. My mom and dad were laughing harder than I've seen them laugh in years, and I was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face, and I started hyperventilating. Every time one of us would calm down, someone else would start laughing again, or say "ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?", and we would all be in hysterics again. Dylan, who was obliviously napping through all this, woke up, looked at all of us as if we were on drugs, then fell back asleep. More laughter.

The poor guy. I would have loved to hear the story he told his wife about his day, and the crazy, rude people who stopped to ask him directions!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Making Friends

On vacation, we took Dylan to the pool. There was another little boy there who was his age, and Dylan didn't seem to know what to do. Jim and I coached him, when the boy asked his name, "Tell him your name...Ask him his name...Throw the ball back to him...". So simple - the rules for making friends when you're two. Swap names, share the ball, boom - friends.

When you are an adult it is much harder. Where do you meet them? What do you say? When is it too soon to invite them over for dinner? To get their number? To have a serious conversation, rather than idle chit-chat? Sometimes, I feel like making friends as an adult is harder than dating ever was. The women I'm trying to become friends with are so busy. I find myself analyzing what they say, much like my old dating self would. SHE said we should get together soon. Did she mean that, or just say it to be nice? What did she mean by soon? Should I call her, or wait until she calls me? If I call her, will she think I'm too desperate for a friend? It's ridiculous.

It doesn't help that I'm a woman. Men have it so easy. They just say, "Oh, you like poker? My buddies and I play on Wednesday nights if you ever want to join us". If beer is involved, it's pretty much a done deal.

It also doesn't help that I'm not normal. Well, I guess I should say, I'm not a typical woman. I don't like to shop. I don't really care where you found your shoes, (they won't have my size anyway). I don't want to swap recipes, (unless it's made with 5 ingredients or less, and can be thrown in a crock pot). I'm not going to join a book club, (love books, but don't have much time to read, and hate feeling pressured to read something by a deadline). I'm certainly not going to join a cooking club, (see above), and I don't knit or scrapbook.

The only thing that makes me "one of the girls", that makes me a card carrying member of a club is this - I am a mom. I am in the Mom's Club, figuratively and literally. You see, I joined the local Mom's Club over a year ago.

I don't discuss the new literary genius they discovered at book club. I don't astound them with my mouth watering desserts at cooking club. I don't discuss the texture of yarn and brainstorm new patterns at knitting club. But, after more than a year of failed play groups, (due to poorly matched schedules and constant changes made by the "play group coordinator"), I have started my own play group. I didn't want to step on anyone's toes, (I didn't really care), but when my 2 year old told me, "We need friends", drastic measures had to be taken.

So, I'm in the familiar role of initiator once again, arranging meetings at the park and inviting strangers to my home, in the hope that somehow, my son and I will figure this friend thing out together. Maybe I'll take a ball to the next meeting. Hopefully someone will throw it back.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Trophy

The Pittsburgh Penguins play the Detroit Red Wings tonight for the Stanley Cup.

When I was a teenager I loved hockey. I knew the names of all the players. I watched every game. It might have had something to do with the cute guys on the team. With teenage girls, most things do.

These days I don't enjoy it. Right now, some of you are shaking your head in disgust, and taking me off your blog list, but it's true. I enjoy watching football (does that redeem me even a little?), but I find hockey stressful and boring. Stressful and boring - those two words don't seem to go together, do they? But they do, oh, they do.

To me, hockey is like my life. I rush over to this side of the ice to do the laundry. I rush over to this side to get the groceries. I rush back over to that side to pay the bills. I rush back to the other side to clean up dinner. Back over here to pack the diaper bag. Back over there to put the clothes away. Back and forth, back and forth, all with a great deal of energy, but nothing all that exciting happening. I just have to rush back over there again.

Unlike hockey, when you're a mom, no one cheers when you finish that billionth load of laundry. Their voice doesn't raise to a crescendo "and it LOOKS LIKE SHE MIGHT ACTUALLY REMEMBER TO TAKE THIS LOAD OUT OF THE, she didn't". Some padding would really help prevent the bumps and bruises I get from a very clumsy and active toddler who likes to use my body as a jungle gym. A face mask would make me feel a lot safer with all those balls flying around, too.

But, in spite of all this, I'll be glued to my TV tonight, watching as the Penguins hopefully win the Stanley Cup. Because you know, if I'm not getting a trophy for all this work, at least they should.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shenandoah Vacation - Part 2

The things I want to remember:

* We loaded the car with so much stuff, that Dylan had to get in the front and climb through the middle into his car seat. At one point, we looked back, and he had snacks all over the seat! He was helping himself!

* How we successfully avoided the timeshare tour. (You're welcome, Jim).

* How Dylan went right to sleep in "the vacation bed" (pack and play).

* Dylan FINALLY drinking from a straw for the first time, and how pleased with himself he looked.

* The Super Nanny-like episode that occurred at nap time, when Dylan realized he could climb out of the pack and play, and how mean I felt when I stuck to the "no pool if you don't take a nap" statement.

* Jim commenting "I'm afraid there is a pocket protector in his future" when Dylan was counting while splashing, and "cleaning" all the numbers on the sides of the pool.

* Watching Jim and Dylan happily playing in the pool. Adorable!

* The deer we saw every single day, so close, and not the least bit afraid.

* Going to the arcade and Dylan getting a "lucky" 8 bouncy ball out of a machine, and how much he loved that thing! (He held it in his hand during his nap).

* How many times Jim and I had to search for that dang ball, and how we wondered (on the last day) how many quarters we would have to put in the machine to get another one. (Luckily, we found it).

* Taking Skyline Drive home, and how gorgeous the scenery was!

* Dylan pulling the coats and pillow down on top of himself in his car seat, giggling and announcing, "I made a mess!!"

* Stopping at Skyland Lodge for lunch, and Jim's chicken sandwich arriving RAW, which resulted in free dessert. What might have been Dylan's favorite part of the trip - Ice Cream! (He kept saying "Mmmm!")

* While we were on vacation, Dylan asking several times to "go home". Us saying "this is our vacation home...We'll go home in X more days". Then, on Sunday, (one day after being home), him saying, "I want to go to our OTHER home!"

I might have gone a bit overboard with the pictures! I took HUNDREDS, and had a hard time narrowing it down. You won't hurt my feelings if you don't watch the whole video. (It is two songs, "Shenandoah", the Bob Dylan version, and "Big Rock Candy Mountain", from the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack. Oh, and the video is almost six minutes long!) I mostly make them for Dylan, who watches them over and over again.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shenandoah Vacation - Part 1

I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "What goes around comes around"? It seems to refer to the bad stuff people do to others coming back to them at some point. I like to think it also applies to the good stuff.

See, when we bought our house last year, the small yard came with a big above-ground pool, that we didn't want. The previous owner begged us to give it a chance, and we did last summer, but we just didn't have the time or money or yard for that pool. This spring we decided to get rid of it.

To make a long story short (or shorter), we decided to give it away for free to a member of the Mom's Club that I belong to. All they had to do was take it down, and haul it away. The whole idea was that Jim and I wouldn't have to deal with it. But, somehow, Jim ended up out in the yard on numerous occasions, using OUR power tools to help the husband dismantle it, and I became very cranky. "A free pool and free labor?! COME ON!!", the ranter ranted.

Until about a month later, when I sent out a mass email to the Mom's Club again, this time asking for ideas for places JIm and I could go for our anniversary. The mom who took the pool emailed back that they own a timeshare at a resort in Virginia, and since "they owe us", they could get us a really good deal on a week's stay. And, that is how it "came back around", and how the ranter became the raver.

We've always been beach people, choosing to always vacation near sand and surf. But, now I understand the beckoning call of the mountains. Their beauty inspires and their vastness humbles. You find your muscles relaxing with each exhaled breath. You feel alive and rejuvenated.

I think it is important for all of us to occasionally be in a place that reminds us that the world is beautiful. The problem with that, though, (for me at least), is that I'm always left wanting more. I get sad thinking about all the places I will never get to go, all the sights I will never get to see, but I am so grateful that I got to see the Shenandoah Mountains. And, to them I say, "I hope that someday we "come back around"".

*Pictures should be up by Thursday!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mound of Venus

(My guest poster today is JCK from Motherscribe. I love to read her blog, because she captures the beauty in the everyday moments of raising children. She also writes honestly about the frustrations. And, as you'll see in this post, she's funny. If this post doesn't make you laugh, seek help.)

I have just confirmed two things. That I am not into S&M. And… if you are going to experience pain, tis’ best to take that shot of JD beforehand. Yes. Have that shot or two of self-medication. Skip the cola. That little bit of sugar won’t do anything to prevent the onslaught of FIRE that occurs when you choose to have hair ripped out of your nether region. Hair.. RIPPED OUT.

You see, I went to get my usual done. My upper leg wax that I get every 6-8 weeks. It's a bit painful, but bearable for the result. Dreamy smooth skin. I hadn’t had a bikini wax in years and thought ..why not treat myself? Treat. Yeah…I DID just say that. So, I go to my usual gal and say that I want a little bit more taken off this time. Note my use of those three words… A. Little. Bit. I pointed to the area. She nodded. We communicated. Or, so I thought. Apparently, a little bit means something very different to me than it does to my anesthesiologist. Oh yeah, I mean aesthetician. I SO could have used an anesthesiologist, though... Oh, my…YES. I could have. It would have been so lovely to sleep through THE PAIN.

Is there not something additionally horrific about a nice woman talking in a quiet voice, the two of you sharing stories of your lives, and every mmmm... 30 seconds or so she causes you PAIN? There you are chatting nicely back and forth. She lays the warm wax on your skin, which feels kind of soothing…lulling you into a false state of relaxation and then…RIPPPPPP. Silent Scream. Pain. PAIN. That was PAIN. And then she does it again and AGAIN- yet checking in with me every once in a while to make sure I'm O.K.?


Yeah…sure. But, what THE HELL just happened? I believe my Mound of Venus has been RIPPED OFF. And maybe my Vagina, too. Is it still there? I look. I think it is. Still there. Gulp.. Gulp. Trying not to cry… I smile back at her through clenched teeth. Can she tell I’m faking the smile? Would another woman NOT EXPECTING this much PAIN have BITCH SLAPPED her? But, I can’t do that.... Damn! I'm a nice middle-aged suburban woman. I’m a mother for God’s sake! I stay SILENT. We talk of other things. Anything. Best NOT to focus on the PAIN. Or… to look down. I flip over onto my stomach. Dear God. Let my ass be hairless. It seems the worst is over. Phwwwooooo...We finish. Amazingly my panties still seem to be on. I thought they had been shredded. No blood? No evidence of the carnage? I'm shocked.

I thank her. I get dressed. I pay her. I feel lighter. So MUCH lighter. I walk out. Am I taller? I believe I AM taller. Did my body unravel into a stretching yoga pose whilst I was on the madwoman's table? Oh, no…it is just that I’m walking higher. My feet aren’t really touching the ground because my entire VA JAY JAY is on FIRE. And I’m...well, I'm ...hop walking. Kind of like a cowboy who has been in the saddle all day with burrs in his britches. Except not.

I get home and drop trou. Panties next. And what greets my eyes? Oh…NOOOO. Oh, no, no, nooooo. My VA JAY JAY looks like it is a VA HEY HEY for air traffic controllers. The hair (what’s left of it) resembles a…a… a landing strip. Yes. A. Landing. Strip. IT IS HIDEOUS. Hideous, I tell you. Some fucking feminist I am.

There IS a silver lining in all this. Isn't there? There is! Tonight, once I can walk again, I’ll have a new signal system for my husband. No more WINK WINK NOD NOD.

Hey, honey! Lookie lookie! Just in case you didn’t know where to put the engine down, here’s your very own landing strip!

...................................Now, you know sweetie…staring is RUDE.
................Come on DOWN...BIG BOY!

What would Mae West say?

Are ya gonna be a LOOKIE LOO or a WINNAH, Big Boy?

On second thought…I think I’ll have the lights out and have him fumble around for the goodies. But, that's later. Right now? I’m going to lie down and put ice on my mons pubis. And in my next life…I’m going to come back as a hairless Norwegian.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Belly Laughs

(Today's guest poster is Jenn from Juggling Life, and boy she isn't kidding with that name. She is the queen of multi-tasking, and often, her posts make my head spin, but I love reading about her fun life! She is the kind of person that everyone wants as a friend, and a mom who everyone probably goes to for advice!)

Though the youngest of my four children is a freshman in high school, I find that I faithfully read and enjoy several blogs written by moms of babies and toddlers. (Jen's being one of them). I think I read them because they take me back to what was a magical time in my life--and, I like to think, my children's lives. All of the different stages of life and parenting have their positives and negatives--and I wouldn't want to be stuck in the baby/toddler years forever, but they were sure fun while they lasted.
My firstborn was MVP--an 8 lb., red-headed, pop-eyed (from the suction), slightly-bruised thing at birth. Now he is a strapping 6'2, not the least-bit pop-eyed, 19-year old. I won't be the first to tell you the time flies.
MVP and I spent a lot of time at night alone as the job my husband worked required long, late hours. One night I was sitting on our bed, MVP facing me in my lap; I was playing patty-cake with him. He was 2-months old.
Now, as a new mother and an inveterate researcher and devourer of information, I knew exactly what and when every developmental milestone was. Belly laughs were 3 months.
Yet at some point during our game of patty-cake MVP's grins turned into giggles turned into belly laughs. I was in love with the kid already, but if I hadn't been . . .! We spent an entire evening laughing at and with each other. It was a magical night and one I will always remember.
That header up there? It takes me back!

Monday, June 1, 2009

I wuv you

(As I mentioned in my last post, I am on vacation this week. My guest poster today is Jonny's Mommy, over at Boondock Ramblings. What can I say about Jonny's Mommy? Sometimes her posts make me laugh, sometimes they make me cry, but I always enjoy them. She is my most loyal reader and commenter, so I just LOVE her. )

I am so excited to be guest posting for the infamous Jen at Rants and Raves! I’ve been reading Jen for quite awhile now, keeping up, especially, on her son Dylan, a mere two weeks younger than my Jonathan. Of course I also love reading about her hunky husband Jim (I’m sure she would say this. Of course, I’m not saying he’s hunky. I mean, he is, but . . . I’m not saying that, because that would be inappropriate . . . ya’ know speaking about another woman’s husband that way. OK. Listen, I’m trying to be nice and honest. He’s hunky. But so is my hubby. That’s all I’m sayin’. Movin’ on.)

What impresses me most about Jen’s Dylan is how smart the kid is. I mean, he is really smart. And so articulate. I have to admit, there were times I was a bit jealous of how articulate and smart that little Dylan was. I began comparing him to my little guy. I imagined he was already telling his mommy and daddy he loved them, when, no matter how many times I prompted him, I couldn’t convince Jonathan to tell me he loves me.

Then it hit me -- my little guy is pretty smart himself. Maybe he wasn’t talking as well, or as early as Dylan, but what he didn’t say, Jonathan made up in actions, something he continues to do.

I am constantly amazed at what Jonathan does and as he begins to speak more I am also amazed at what he says. I may not always understand him, but I do now, more than ever, understand he’s developed his parents’ sense of humor, sarcasm, and smart mouth.

On Memorial Day Jonathan and I traveled to my parents, about 45 minutes away. At the end of the day Jonathan was not interested in climbing in the car to go home. He wanted to collect rocks and put them in his bucket, in the ditch, and anywhere else he could find to throw and store rocks.

I gave him about 15 minutes of “rock play” and then lifted him into the car and told him we had to head home to see daddy (the man who stayed home, cleaned the house and did all the grocery shopping. Isn’t he amazing? Later that night he also jammed his knee while playing with his son and remained in severe agony for part of the night, shrugging it off because he said he was simply glad his son had had fun.).

Once in his car seat Jonathan took his pail, filled with rocks, and turned it upside down in the seat next to him. Rocks were spread all over the back seat of our car.

“Jonathan! I said you could keep them in the pail! Not pour them all over the car!” I shouted and started scooping up the rocks and tossing them back into the driveway.

Then I heard it, at least I’m pretty sure I heard it: “Mama,” in a very pitiful tone. “I wuv you.”

That might be what I said, but I heard this: “But mama. I love you. Why are you yelling at me?”

I gasped a little, looked Jonathan in the eye and said “Did you just say I love you?”

He grinned sheepishly, bowed his head, and said “Yeah, mama.”

He knew I would melt like hot butter on a summer day. I kissed his forehead and said “Oh, baby, I love you too.”

I hooked his seatbelt, shut the door, turned away and muttered to myself: “You little stinker.”

I’m pretty sure that all along that kid knew how to say “I love you” and was waiting for just the right moment -- the moment he could whip that emotional arsenal out and shoot his way out of trouble. Little stinker.