Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Random Dylanisms

*Besides the constant questioning, Dylan has also become an avid participant in the world of pretend. Small pieces of toys are no longer toys, at least not in the manner intended. Now they are "cheesecake", "sandcastles", or "puppets". You just never know, but what you do know, is that you will find tiny little pieces of various toys all. over. the. house. Never where you would expect them to be, however.

Today, he was using the pieces of a game to "feed me some dinner". Each "bowl" had another "food" item in it that I was supposed to pretend to eat. That went on quite a while, until he had used all the pieces. I exclaimed, "Wow! That was a lot of food! I ate so much, my belly hurts!" "Your belly hurts?", Dylan asked. After I nodded yes, he ran over, lifted my shirt, and planted a wet, sloppy kiss on my belly!

*The other night, Jim was eating a hamburger with onions. Dylan asked, "What's that, Daddy?" "Onions", Jim answered. "I want one". He kept insisting, so Jim gave him one, saying, "Okay, but you're not going to like it". Dylan took a bite, said, "Nope!", then as Jim and I laughed, continued eating the whole thing!

*His new favorite phrase is "I can't believe this"! The phrase follows many things I say...
"Dylan, we need to change your diaper!" - "Oh, I can't believe this!"
"Stop playing, and come to the table for breakfast!" - "I can't believe this!"
"Oh, the bed is wet". - "I can't believe this!"
It's all quite shocking, I suppose. I have no idea where the phrase came from. But, considering his other favorite phrase is "Come on!", and the other day I heard myself saying, "Dylan! Come on! Stop it!", I'm going to take a wild guess.

Friday, September 25, 2009

WHAT Is The Question?

It has begun. They say that everyone has a question. Some people are "Why?" people. They are always wanting to know why things are the way they are. Other people are "How?" people, always wanting to know how things work. Other people are "When?" people, always looking at their watch, and wanting to know when the next thing is that they have to do.

At least for now, Dylan has become a "What?" person. BIG TIME. It goes on all day. "What is "scrumptious"?" "What is "nervous"?"
"What is "exhausted"?" That's what mommy is, answering all these questions!

Yesterday, Jim said, "...Blah, Blah, Blah". That started this completely ridiculous conversation...
D: What is "Blah, Blah, Blah"?
J: Blah, Blah, Blah means whatever, whatever.
D: What is "whatever, whatever"?
J: Whatever, whatever means and so on and so forth.
D: What is "and so on and so forth"?
J: And so on, and so forth means yada, yada, yada.
D: What is "yada, yada, yada"?
I chimed in, "Yada, yada, yada means nonsense".
D: What is "nonsense"?
J: Nonsense is Blah, Blah, Blah!!
Then, Jim and I pulled the hair out of our head, and pondered what the next few months will be like with Question Boy.

He is already correcting me. My toddler is correcting me! When we went to the park, I said, "Let's go play on the slides". Dylan turned around to chastise me, "Mommy, you don't play on the slides, you go down the slides"! "But, I... well...oh, you knew what I meant!"

I'm going to need a dictionary, a lot of patience, and some very thick skin.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Porn Chair

That got your attention, didn't it? I'll get to that.

This weekend we went to Erie, PA, to go to The Albion Fair, and to visit Jim's relatives. Although we are both only children, Jim's aunt has six children, who all have children, some of whom have had children, so the Erie clan is quite large. Uh, yea, QUITE large. The only time Dylan is around that many people at once is at birthday parties, so I think it was a little overwhelming for him.

Saturday, Dylan didn't sleep much in the car, so already his schedule was messed up. In spite of that, he did remarkably well at the fair.

We listened to a band play, ate some ridiculously overpriced fair food, looked at the animals, (he wanted to pet every single animal!), let him ride a pony, and make a sand art dinosaur. We didn't pay to get in, and we only had $31 dollars in cash, which we figured would be plenty. After the pony ride, though, we were out of cash! When we told Dylan we were leaving, he said, "No! I want to go on the rides!" I said, "Oh, buddy, I know. I'm so sorry, but mommy and daddy are out of money. We don't have any money left for riding rides". I was so proud of his reaction. He just said, "Oh! No more money?! You have ZERO money?" The whole walk to the car, he announced to people, "We have ZERO money!" Funny kid.

When we got to the hotel (Super 8), we were busy unpacking, when Dylan handed me something. "Here, Mommy!", he remarked happily, while handing me a magazine. A HUSTLER magazine!!! After I picked my eyeballs off the floor, I asked him, "Where did you get this?" "Under the pi-dow". "UNDER THE PILLOW!!?? JIM!! LOOK WHAT DYLAN FOUND UNDER THE PILLOW!! THEY HAVE TO COME AND CHANGE THE BEDDING RIGHT NOW!! OH MY GOSH!! THERE IS NO WAY I AM SLEEPING IN THAT BED!"

Jim asked Dylan, "You found this under the pillow, on the bed?" "No", he replied. "This pi-dow", he answered, pointing at the chair cushion. "See?", Jim reasoned. "We can sleep here". "Well, it's still gross, and I'm still complaining!"
I marched down to the desk, and handed the lady the HUSTLER magazine, saying "My 2 year old son, just found this in our room!"

She was apologetic and said that they would "make it right when we check out", or something like that. So, for the rest of our stay, I avoided "The Porn Chair". When I turned around to see Jim and Dylan sitting on it to read books before bed, I shouted, "EWWW! Why are you sitting on The Porn Chair!" And, so it went the whole time... "Jen, why don't you sit on The Porn Chair"? I just hope Dylan only saw the front of the magazine, (and that he doesn't call one of the chairs at school "The Porn Chair").

I still remember the first time I saw a Playgirl magazine, at a friend's house when I was 11. "OHMYGOD! THAT IS WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE??! THEY PUT THAT, WHERE? I AM NEVER DOING THAT!!" I was traumatized for weeks. Luckily, if Dylan did see the inside of the magazine, he is so young, I'm pretty sure he won't remember it! (Just as a little side note, the hotel did NOTHING to "make things right". They said since we paid online, there was nothing they could do. WHATEVER.)

Sunday, Dylan woke up at 6:30am, and after waking me up making noises at 2:30am, we were all exhausted already. Then we went to Jim's aunt and uncle's campsite, where there were probably 30 or more people. Jim wasn't even sure who all of them were, and I gave up trying to keep everyone straight.

For the second day in a row, Dylan's nap schedule was messed up, so he was less than thrilled to be there. He actually announced at one point, "I want to go somewhere fun!" Yikes. He was, let's say, less than adorable, the whole day, and I was exhausted and frustrated. I am convinced Jim's relatives think he is an epic brat, because every time they see him he isn't on his normal schedule.

For me, one of the highlights of the trip was watching Dylan and his cousin Keith, "play football". That basically consisted of Keith pretending to fumble the ball, and Dylan grabbing it and running, giggling, with Keith chasing him, yelling, "I'm gonna get you!" He is the nicest 6th grade boy I know. Hopefully THAT is what Dylan remembers about this trip. I know Jim and I will be laughing about The Porn Chair for years to come.

(I did a horrible job of taking pictures this weekend. I might have a couple to add to this post later.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Vacuum

Quite some time ago, I invited another mother, that I didn't know very well, over to my house. Her kids and Dylan enjoyed the playdate, and we had a nice conversation, but I was pretty sure her and I weren't destined to be friends. Why? Because she wouldn't sit on the floor. Does that sound ridiculous to you?

When she showed up, I noticed that her kids were pretty dressed up. I mean, it was a playdate. Kids usually get dirty when they are playing, especially outside, as we had planned. I also noticed that she was pretty dressed up - a fancy blouse, dress pants, and fancy shoes. My usual attire for a playdate is jeans, a t-shirt, and comfortable shoes. Heck, that is my usual attire period. I don't like to wear dresses, and I think pantyhose are probably the most annoying invention of all times. Oh, and also, I'm a nanny. Dressing up for work is like saying "Hey, would you mind throwing mud on my shirt, and splashing red paint on my pants, so I can never wear these clothes again? Thanks!"

At the time of the playdate, we hadn't lived in our new house very long. We had more rooms than furniture at that point, so the family room, which is basically a playroom, didn't have a couch or chairs yet. Didn't bother me. I always sat on the floor, playing with Dylan, anyway. As the kids played, I sat on the floor, talking to her, while she stood awkwardly, looking down at me. Strangely enough, I didn't hear from her after that.

Dylan's preschool is in an area with a mix of income levels. There are some middle income families, but there are also some very wealthy families. At Open House, sitting with this group of women, I felt extremely underdressed. I started a dialogue in my head, "Why are these women so dressed up to bring their kid to preschool? Look at their perfect hair! Their manicured nails! Their perfectly coordinated outfits, and their matching accessories! Look at their purses! What are they trying to prove? Who are they trying to impress? They are housewives! They are just going home after this".

Why do we do this? Why do women judge each other? We do it about everything - clothes, hair, parenting style, what have you. It has always bothered me, and yet, there I was doing it. This week I realized something. Maybe, just maybe they LIKE dressing up. Maybe they just enjoy looking pretty. Maybe having perfect nails and hair makes them feel really good about themselves. Maybe they used to have jobs that required them to dress up, and they came to like dressing like that. Maybe it is just a personal preference, and I'm just being a big, dumb, jerk. Maybe they are judging me, wondering "Why is that woman dressed like a slob? Does she have no pride?"

Oh, and one more thing. Maybe, just maybe, I'm a little jealous because they look better than I do.

So, I've decided to try to be less judgmental. But still, if you come to my house, I'd really appreciate it if you just tried sitting on my floor. I vacuum! (Sometimes)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's Hard To Save The World, If You Can't Get Up

When I was at the end of high school, and starting the arduous task of looking at colleges, I had one teeny, tiny problem. What did I want to major in? The difficulties stemmed from one simple fact - I have too many interests. I like art and being creative (art major). I am good with children (teacher). I am interested in the way people think and why they do what they do (psychology). I love to write (journalism). I have a "save the world" mentality and enjoy helping people (social worker).

Considering the fact that I went to school for Art, and then Elementary Education, and I am now a nanny, I think it is fairly obvious that I chose poorly. However, recently I have come to the realization that I was definitely not meant to be a social worker.

First, Sunday night Jim and I watched a movie from Netflix. Jim picked it, and I knew it won some award, or awards, but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge about the film. The movie was "Slumdog Millionaire". I won't say too much about the movie, in case you haven't seen it. I will just say that it incredible and if you haven't seen it, you should. I am a critic. (You notice I didn't say that I'm critical, Jim!) I love to critique stuff, and lately I've been critiquing movies quite a bit. Has anyone else noticed that lately movies just seem to be about special effects, not a good story line, or building characters?

If a story is good, I get just the teeny tiniest bit involved. During Slumdog, I was either sitting on the edge of the couch biting my nails, screaming at the screen, or hiding my eyes, complaining to Jim, "I don't think I can take anymore of this!" At one point, he thought he might have to turn it off because I was nearly hysterical. First off, the movie shows the horrific conditions that some people in India (and in other places in the world), are living in. Sad, doesn't begin to describe it. Gut wrenchingly depressing is more like it. Then, there was the depiction of how evil and greed can drive people to do absolutely despicable things to children. That was the part where I was practically on the floor sobbing, and begging Jim to turn it off. If I was a social worker, I would usually be on the floor, in a puddle of my own tears. I would be a wreck.

The second clue came a couple nights ago. While I was finishing up on the computer, Jim was flipping through channels, and stopped on a National Geographic show called, "The Girl Who Cries Blood". I'm not sure why I ever let him have the remote. I was only kind of paying attention until I looked up, and sure enough, there was blood pouring down her face, from her eyes!! Did I mention that this was not a drama, or a horror flick? This was a documentary about a teenage girl (from India, coincidentally enough), who has gone to countless doctors and has been unable to ever get answers about why this is happening. Her mother was always at her side, trying to keep her spirits up and offer support. When they finally were able to be seen by an American doctor with every possible resource at his disposal, I felt certain they would get the answer they deserved and this poor girl could go on to lead a normal life.

Instead, after doing every kind of test imaginable, poking and pricking the poor thing, who was a trooper, the doctor had no idea what was wrong with her. He had never seen anything like this before. It didn't make any sense. So what did he do? He accused the girl of doing it to herself somehow, then asked the mother if she was putting the blood on her daughter. I went berserk. "WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM?! WHY IS HE ASKING THEM THAT?! THAT IS SO INCREDIBLY RUDE!! Yea, I'm sure the mother cuts herself, then gathers up her own blood, then pours it down her daughters face, AT ONE O' CLOCK IN THE MORNING, just because they want some attention!! WHAT A @#$ING MORON!!" I think Jim was ready to turn that one off also, just so I would shut up! When the show ended with the mother and daughter still not getting any answers I yelled at Jim, "I'M NOT WATCHING ANYMORE OF THESE SHOWS SO JUST QUIT IT!"

Maybe I wasn't meant to be an artist, or a teacher, but for my sanity and those around me, thank God I didn't become a social worker.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Things I've Learned This Week

( I apologize for posting fluff on September 11th, but if you are like me, you need a little light and fluffy on this day).

1. If I go into a public restroom in which everything is motion sensor activated, I will inevitably...
a. Get my bum sprayed with water when the darn thing flushes before I'm done.
b. Say "Damn it!" out loud, instead of in my head, which is what I meant to do, causing people in other stalls to laugh.
c. Put my hand under the soap dispenser. Wonder what is wrong with it. Move my hand, and squirt soap all over the counter.
d. Wave my hands under the faucet several times before I get the water to actually hit my hands.
e. Wave my hands under the paper towel dispenser several times. Nothing comes out. Remark to the lady behind me that the
thing isn't working. Watch as the next sheet comes out the minute she puts her hands under it.
f. Leave the bathroom feeling like an idiot.

2. Two hours of ME time goes remarkably fast. There is a definite difference in ME time and regular time, and I need to have a word with the man in charge about that.

3. Waiting until you are 2 years behind on your kid's digital scrapbooks and also managing to time it during PMS, looking at pictures like these...

is a very bad idea.

4. Taking a week off (which for me is only 2 days) makes your week a heck of a lot more fun, but your bank balance a heck of a lot sadder.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why Do I Do This To Myself?

I don't do Wordless Wednesdays, but if I did, it would go like this...

Last year...

This year...

GAH!! (Sob)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Can't See Through These Bushes

Dylan started preschool today. Well, technically he went last year, but it wasn't the same. It was a "Mommy and Me" class, so I went with him, and the program fell apart, (due to lack of involvement), by November.

This year he is in the Two's class again, since he won't turn three until November. (Why are they so strict with the birthdays?!) This year, however, he goes without me. GASP! I need to get a grip.

Now for two mornings of each week, I won't know...
1. What he is doing.
2. Who he is playing with.
3. How he is feeling.
4. How other people are treating him.

For someone who might have control issues, this is difficult. The first three really aren't so bad.
1. He will be playing, doing art projects(bringing home paint splattered clothes with a layer of glue/glitter/or play-doh on them), eating a snack ( I hope he saves some for the other kids!), participating in music time (I hope I know some of the songs he comes home singing, or can at least understand the words!), sitting for circle time (Gosh, I hope he sits!), and going to the bike room, (I hope he doesn't run over anyone!).
2. He will probably play with anyone who wants to play with him. I have a list of the kids names, so that will help decipher the stories I might hear at home.
3. He will most likely be feeling happy, happy, happy! Today, for the first day, I got to stay in the room for a while. There was screaming and wailing by several of the kids. Dylan, on the other hand, walked in and before I could even say "Bye", was off playing.

I think number four is often the hardest for parents. It certainly is for me. For 2 1/2 years now, he has only been treated kindly by the people around him. For the most part, he doesn't know what disappointment, rejection, and cruelty feels like, and I would like to keep it that way. What will he do if someone treats him badly?

Life, out there in the big, scary world, without mommy, is only going to get harder. I guess all I can do is trust that I have helped him develop the self esteem that he needs.

Or, like I told a friend of mine, I could buy a set of binoculars and hide in the bushes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thank You

Dear Dylan,

From the moment you were born, I was in love.

Actually, even before that, when I saw your little button nose on the ultrasound, I finally understood what the phrase "love at first sight" was all about.

I didn't think it was possible to love you any more than I did at that first glimpse.

Then, you grasped my finger with your tiny hand, squeezing as if to say, "I need you", and I thought I would actually melt onto the floor of your nursery.

The first time you smiled at me, I was so overcome with emotions that I cried, and then wrote a poem about it.

When you first said "Ma-ma", and when you first said "Mommy", I clutched my heart, finding it hard to breathe.

With each milestone you have reached, my heart has filled with pride.

When you ran over to help me unload the dishwasher, your face beaming up at me, I wrote this post.

When you hurt yourself and ran to me for comfort, I wrote this post.

When you first told me you loved me with sincere emotion I thought it couldn't possibly get any better.

Today, something happened, (it doesn't matter what), and I walked over to where you were busy playing. I sat down on the floor beside you, and announced, "Dylan, I'm sad!" You stopped playing, and looked up at me. "Why Mommy?", you asked. I explained why in the simplest terms I could think of, and you looked at me with your sweet face and said, "Mommy! I'll hug you, and then you'll feel all better!" Of course, I was smiling when you finished giving me a hug and kiss, and you said, "See? It worked!"

Later, during dinner, you asked me, "Mommy, you still sad?" I answered, "No, Dylan. I'm happy". How could I not be?

I don't know how you do it, kid, but every time I think that I couldn't possibly love you any more, you prove me wrong.

What can I say? Just these two little words that are so insufficient to express my gratitude for who you are, and what you bring to my life...

Thank you. (A million times, thank you.)