Thursday, September 28, 2006

Words of Thanks

Thank you for your support after the incident the other day. I feel much better about it after having some time to settle down, seeing Sam is totally fine, hearing your war stories of toddlerhood, and meeting another mom at the playground who said that her daughter did the exact same thing when she was Sam's age - same bridge, falling under that bar while she stood there and watched, only she wasn't holding another baby. So thank you again, all you little bloggy ladies. It's good to know I can come here and share my incompetencies and be told what a good mom I am. I wonder what I'll have to do to actually get one of you to say, "Oh man, you did that?! You must really suck at this."

And here are some other words of gratitude I have mumbled today:

"Oh, thank you for wiping your face so nicely on my butt, Sam. Now YOUR cheeks are so clean and nice!"

"Are you helping mommy by cleaning the top of the toilet with mommy's blush brush?...Thank you!?"

"No, your mouth is full so you need to swallow those crackers before you get a bite of my lunch...or you could just open your mouth and scrape out the chewed up crackers and drop them on the floor. Yes, your mouth is empty now. Thank you for reminding me that there are always multiple solutions to a problem."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I don’t even know how to start writing admit this...

Sam fell from a piece of playground equipment yesterday. This is the third accident we have had in the past week. Last week he fell at the park while running on some uneven pavement and bonked his forehead hard enough for me to call the hospital and find out about signs of concussion and head trauma. The day before that he ran off the edge of our bed while we were playing on it. I couldn’t catch him in time as he sprinted in the other direction. Amazingly, the top half of his body landed in his bouncing Amby bed, which bounced him back up and gently onto the floor. It was like a cartoon, just a totally unlikely string of movement that resulted in him being scared but totally unscathed. I know that things happen and now that he is more mobile there are bound to be some bumps and bruises. What happened yesterday is different though, more serious, and I’m having a much harder time processing it.

We went to the playground in the afternoon and for once there was another mom there who I actually knew. She has a 2 year old daughter as well as a new 4 month old baby girl. While there her 2 year old pooped and needed a diaper change. I asked if there was any way I could help, and so I held the baby so that she didn’t need to be put back in the stroller that was currently full of other gear. As the diaper change took place Sam started to climb up onto the playground equipment. In the past I have always gone up there with him in order to help with steps and make sure he doesn’t run off the edge (like he did from the bed last week). Nothing has ever really happened that has required my assistance – I just follow him to be safe and cautious, and that’s what I was thinking when I made the decision to follow him up while still holding the baby. I figured if he needed me I could still hold his hand and that I was totally capable of doing both.

There is a bridge that connects 2 larger pieces of equipment that Sam likes to walk across. It has parallel horizontal bars along the sides but there is about a foot of space between each bar. We were on this bridge walking back and forth when the baby started to squirm some. I started to change her position and wondered if her mom was comfortable with me holding her while up on the equipment; it hadn’t occurred to me to ask her if it was ok. These are my thoughts when I look up to see that Sam is several feet away and standing near the edge of the bridge. He starts to lose his balance – I still have no idea why – and I know. I know standing there too far away that he is going to fall. The baby is still squirming; I’m trying to hold onto her while watching him. I still have in my mind that I can’t let anything happen to the baby up here and that I shouldn’t have come up with her. I think: he’s going to fall and I’m going to have to stand here and watch it happen. And then Sam sits back, trying to catch himself, but he sits down so close to the edge that his butt lands off the side, and because he is sitting he completely slips under the lowest bar and falls backwards off the bridge. I watch it happen. He’s laying on his back on the ground crying and now I am trapped with no way to get down to him while holding the baby. Her mom runs over and I hand her over the side of the bars. I turn back and jump off the edge to Sam, who has had to lay there crying for what felt like several seconds. It all happened so…slowly. That’s how it felt, and that’s what I can’t understand.

Why didn’t I run to him? I saw it happening. I knew it was going to happen before it actually did, and I froze. I always thought that when and if my child was in danger I would become Wonder Woman and rescue him as long as I was there to see what was going on. I envisioned myself as one of the women we hear about, lifting cars to get to their child trapped underneath. But that’s not what happened. Nothing kicked into gear allowing me a momentary feat of strength and agility. I just stood there…frozen. And that’s what I keep coming back to. I know I made the wrong decision when I followed him up while holding the baby. I should have either stopped him or given the baby back to be placed in her stroller. I know that. But that’s not the problem I am having for some reason. It’s to that point in time where it actually happened that I cannot let go. If I had moved faster…if I had moved at all…could I have grabbed him? I wonder how many times I will replay this, wondering.

Sam is fine. We took an unnecessary trip to the ER where he waved at everyone smiling, laughing, and playing with his cars on the seats in the waiting room. He doesn’t even have a bump. But this morning I still woke up unsettled. Do you ever wake up and feel good for a moment because you acknowledge that nothing bad is happening that day, like unwanted appointments or tasks, and then a realization descends upon you and your heart sinks? I woke up this morning with him smiling at me and then I saw him falling and looking up at me sobbing and scared while I was trapped on the top of a bridge…

We went back to the playground this morning. I didn’t want it to become a thing, you know, like a thing where I end up never taking him back or not letting him get back on the equipment and it just spirals into a big fearful inability to function. When we arrived it was like it never happened for him. He pushed his pink toy stroller around, right under the bridge and walked over the place where he had landed without even noticing. I felt nauseous and asked him for a kiss. I stood next to the bridge from the ground and estimated it to be about 4 feet high. It felt so much taller when I was standing on top of it looking down. He climbed up to the top of the bridge and walked across as I tried to stop myself from hanging onto him the whole time, feeling the color drain from my face as he had a brief misstep and teetered a bit. I asked for another kiss. And then we went on the swings, rolled the acorns down the slide, waved at the airplanes overhead, and followed a butterfly back to the car. He’s fine. But I still come back to it, that feeling descending as I watch him fall. Why didn’t I move?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A jiggly bowl of guilt

So, I think it's time. It's time for me to join a gym. Since having Sam my exercise regime has been pretty much nil, with the exception of my awesome performance at the strollercize class, of course. And so as I watch my stomach jiggle (I originally spelled that "giggle" - wonder what that means...) due to my newfound obsession with baking and devouring the results, I figure I gotta do something here. But I'll be honest, it's not just to exercise. While the exercise element is all well and good and good for me too, this decision, in great part, is so that I can get a break...from Sam.

The gym that I am thinking of joining has childcare, and I would be joining specifically so that Sam and I could go during the week when Hubby is gone. I feel bad...sort of. In a lot of ways I think it might be good for Sam. We're in each other's face all the time. Maybe he'd like a break from me too. Maybe it would do us both some good. He might benefit from having some more independent time and exploring a new place with new people. I don't know. Maybe I'm just rationalizing it that way so that I can feel ok about putting him in a childcare situation, which I've never done. Truth be told, Sam has never been left with anyone other than one friend we had back in Chicago and family members. The idea of leaving him in a room with strangers may end up being way more than I can handle. I also recall a few posts I've read in the past that make me wary of gym childcare. I went and toured the place on Saturday and asked a lot of questions. I also asked about it on the message board for "the club." All the moms who responded said the care there was pretty good and that their kids enjoyed going. Maybe Sam would too.

I guess I just feel like I'd do a better job mothering if I could have just a little bit of time each week to do something for myself. It doesn't really happen on the weekend because there is always so much to do, including spending time together as a family. The time just flies by. And yet the weekdays are loooooong. It's just Sam and me for 13 hours every day. I feel like it's really important for us to have ways to break up the day and keep things interesting. I am able to find TONS of errands to do in the morning just for the sake of getting out of the house for a change of scenery, but I can't keep that up because it is just turning into a big spending habit that we totally CANNOT afford. This would be another way to have something scheduled in to break up the day and perhaps be beneficial for both of us. I get some exercise and a much needed break a few times a week, and Sam gets to do something a little more interesting than hanging out with Mommy at home or running errands. So why am I rationalizing this? Because when I read this over again it's pretty obvious that that't what I'm doing. Why should I feel bad about having someone else take care of Sam for a little while so that I can have 2-3 hours a week? Is it normal for me to feel bad about this? Jeez! Where does this come from, this mommy guilt?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Seasonal Insanity

It was around this time last year that I began the search for the perfect coat. No, not for me, for my then 5 month old son. I was obsessed with all things baby warmth. I began my search via the internet, favoriting websites and marking possibilities. How could I keep him warm in the freezing Chicago weather? It's so windy, so very windy. I considered snow pants matched with huge coats, fuzzy fleecy baby-in-a-bags, one piece down things with hands and feet built in - I had no idea what I was doing. The search ended up taking roughly 2 and 1/2 months. It was an actual source of stress for me. I even remember accusing Hubby of a lack of involvement in the life of his son because I could not under any circumstance get him to talk to me anymore about baby winter apparel. He had had enough. Two months in our conversations went something like:

"Why don't you just order that one?"


"Ok, how about that one?"


"...that one?" (shrinks away in fear)


And so I had to go it alone. In the end I made what I thought was the perfect decision - it had hands and feet and zippers and down and a hood and it would make my babe a bundle of toasty goodness all winter long. Except for the fact that I did not actually intend to bundle up my child and go trecking through the windy blowing blizzards of our freezing city. What was it exactly that I needed this SNOWSUIT for?

Here is a picture of one of maybe 3 times total that I put Sam in this thing. Think "A Christmas Story" here.

See how he has to explore with his tongue because all of his limbs have been rendered immobile?

Clearly this is not a garment I could expect him to wear for any period of time over 3 minutes. I tried to put him in it for a car ride once and had to pull over and take him out so that he wouldn't sweat to death, big sweaty head that he is. Or maybe I just opened all the windows and froze myself as his body temp equalized...

Today is chillier than it's been. For our grocery trip this morning we sported long sleeves and I my new jeans jacket - let's go 80's woohoo! But it hit on my walk to the car as I held my 3 layered child: "Oh no, what is Sam going to wear for a coat this winter?!" And it all started flashing before my eyes again. Snowsuits, boots, parkas, fleeces, hoods, hats. Dear God, it begins again, with a whole new set of toddler like issues. Meanwhile the like new blue suit sits in the closet longing for another body to smother.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Great Escape

I mentioned before that my parents were coming this weekend. I also mentioned my big plans to bail on them and my son so that Hubby and I could get some much needed going out time. Since we're still new here we pretty much have no one to watch Sam so that we can get away, so having this opportunity presents some much needed and long awaited date time.

We saw Little Miss Sunshine yesterday - really very good. I realize I've seen like 3 movies since Sam was born over a year ago, but I'm pretty sure it was very good despite my desperate, biased excitement over just seeing any movie at all. I actually laughed out loud several times, which is rare for me at a movie. Great characters, great acting - definately worth a spot on your Netflix queue ( I can't believe that word is actually spelled that's so strange to type). And speaking of Steve Carell, can I just say I am ridiculously excited about the new season of the Office starting this week? We've been gearing up for it by watching episodes from the previous seasons. Hubby and I actually fell asleep last night whispering in bed about what we think will happen with Jim and Pam, which, as always, results in me having dreams about Jim (Hubby knows. He's ok with it. He has a crush on Pam too) and then whenever I wake up I find I am still thinking about what will happen Thursday. I'm obsessed. I have never been like this over a TV show. Ever. I'll probably write about it AGAIN before next Thursday because I think about it SO MUCH. Lame, and yet I care not. Now back to the topic at hand...

Today I got to shower for more than 3 and 1/2 minutes while I had 3 other people there to watch Sam. I even shaved my legs because, that's right, tonight we are going out to dinner, just the two of us. We're going somewhere that we could never take Sam, we will spend lots of money we don't have, we will gorge ourselves on food while it is still hot, and I will wear a skirt and perhaps even a necklace. It is unseasonably hot here today, supposed to get up to 85 or so. We plan to bid farewell to the summer in style, hopefully sitting out on a patio of some fancy schmancy restaurant and eating multiple courses. Bon appetit.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Flicks Results

Here ya go, the results from yesterday's Friday Flicks game. Below are the answers followed by the points awarded. I had a system for points, not KEP's perhaps, but a system. Laina totally rocked it. Looks like we have a Leo fan in the ranks. Thanks for playing!

1. Howard - The Aviator
2. Lee - Marvin’s Room
3. Ismay and Rose - Titanic
4. Jim – The Basketball Diaries
5. Sal - The Beach
6. Boss Tweed - Gangs of New York
7. Porthos and Aramis – The Man in the Iron Mask
8. Juliet – Romeo and Juliet
9. Gilbert and Arnie – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
10. Kid - The Quick and the Dead

Laina – 14
KEP – 6
Jay – 3
Kristy P. - 3
MamaChristy - 3
Rooney, Carrie, Loni, K, DMD, KTS - 1

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Flicks

For the past few months I’ve been playing KEP’s Friday Flicks game. She posts 10 movie quotes and we guess the movie, actor/character, and the theme that ties the ten movies together. She awards points each week and after several rounds declares a winner. I won once and then learned that there is also a PRIZE involved – woohoo! Anyway, for this session she is doing a blog tour for Friday Flicks and I am hosting this week. So welcome fellow Flicks players and everyone who has never seen this game can play along and then check out the point standings and future rounds over at Holding the Mirror Up to My Soul.

Remember you are guessing the movie, the character and/or actor and the THEME. Answers will be posted some time on Saturday. Oh, and this is probably obvious but you can’t use the internet…because it’s lame, and although it might not be an official rule I never read anyone else’s comments when I play.

1. “Come in with the milk. Come in with the milk. Come in with the milk.”

2. “You know how every goddamn Christmas I say, Looks like we didn't get a card again this year from your Aunt Bessie? Well, that's my sister Bessie.”

3. “I wanted to convey sheer size, and size means stability, luxury, and above all, strength.”
“Do you know of Dr. Freud, Mr. Ismay? His ideas about the male preoccupation with size might be of particular interest to you.”

4. “Just my own naked self and the stars breathing down, it's beautiful.”

5. “Now get some sleep, I may wish to have sex again before we eat breakfast.”

6. “They don't speak English in New York any more?”

7. “Aramis, is this the way to hell?”
“Hell may be our destination, but not this trip.”

8. “You kiss by the book.”

9. “God Arnie, you're getting so big. Pretty soon I ain't gonna be able to carry you no more.”
“No, you're getting littler Gilbert. You're getting littler, you're shrinking! You're shrinking Gilbert, you're shrinking! Shrinking, shrinking, shrinking!”

10. “No no no no, you see it's a gun fight. We both have guns. We aim, we fire, you die.”

Thursday, September 14, 2006


It's time to follow up on some recent topics. After all, I don't want to leave anyone hangin'.

Sam's visit to his new pediatrician was awesome. I told her I was concerned about his lack of verbiage. She asked some questions about what he was doing and about his ability to understand what I was saying and then she was not concerned at all. She's thinking he'll probably start talking in the next few months. I liked her a lot and the office is nicer than the place we went to in Chicago. Good news all around there.

The bad news, at least for all of you commenters on my last post - you're too late. I had actually already cut Sam's hair when I put that picture up. It was meant to prepare you for my son's new look and prove he really needed his hair cut. I guess it didn't do the job. But we just trimmed his bangs out of his eyes and neatened up the back. He still has his curls so there is no need to worry. I'll post some new pictures soon so you can all rest easy. And know that it really had to be done. The back of his head always looked like this (see left) because he would rub his head around while he slept. They weren't curls back there, just little blonde dreads. And besides, this wasn't his first hair cut so I didn't need to get all emotional over it anyway.

Now let's back it up a bit more. Remember when I first moved here and I was really lonely because I couldn't figure out where all the other moms were? You may recall a post comparing myself to The Last Unicorn trying to figure out where all others had gone. Well, I found them this morning. I found the ocean where the Red Bull forced them all; they're at the freakin' Target. Yep. Went there this morning to get Hubby some socks and there they were, the whole herd. And they weren't even shopping alone, they were hanging out the Target. Am I missing something here? No wonder I've had days and days worth of trips to abandoned playgrounds where Sam and I collect acorns by ourselves. Who needs a playground when you can hang out at...Target?

All right, here's another. Remember this horrible woman who was making babies cry for her "art"? Well I found something worse: baby ear piercing. Why, oh why is this ok? I cannot fathom it. I cannot hold back my glares of disgust at the parents of the poor baby girls with earrings in their little lobes. You put your child through pain and possibly infection for your own vanity? It's grosser than that which is grosser than gross. Blah. It is my all time worst pet peeve.

Lastly, for those of you on the edge of your seats hoping 80's Sunday will return this Fall - sorry, more bad news. With Hubby gone ALL THE TIME throughout the week now that he is back to work my blogging over the weekends has been pretty much nil and will probably stay that way. Sorry. Just can't keep up. But you can come by tomorrow as I will be hosting KEP's awesome Friday Flicks game. She, like me, hosted a game and needed a break. She just found a much more creative way to deal with it in organizing other bloggers to host it at their site each week. Tomorrow is me so come on by.

And after that I may be on a little haiatus. My parents are coming in to see their grandson walk and Hubby and I have big plans to totally bail on them and our son so we can go see movies and eat out as much as humanly possible.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wordless Wednesday - Um, Haircut?

Monday, September 11, 2006

A real boy?

I seem to have missed something because for some reason I do not see my little baby anywhere. Instead I have this real boy. What happened? He wears jeans and sneakers (Vans to be exact, for any fellow long lost punk rock skater girls out there - Baby Vans!) And he eats cookies with me and decides he gets to hold both of our cookies and give me bites when I ask. I guess he's willing to share as long as he is in control.

Sam was so hard as an infant, so constantly colicky and fussy. We would see other couples with their babies doing normal things with them and just wonder if we would ever get to drive in the car again without him screaming the whole entire time. Would we ever eat breakfast at a diner like all the families we saw during my pregnancy? Would we ever have a baby that would take a nap in a stroller? For that matter, would we ever be able to use the stroller without him screaming the whole time? He was rough. And as we got through each little improvement we would say to each other, "Wow, it's like we have a real boy." We even had a friend say it once to us when we went out to eat breakfast for the first time. He said, "Wow, he's like a normal baby now," as Sam sat in his carseat and looked up at the ceiling fan. We didn't get through that meal but at least we'd made it to the restaurant and ordered.

And now he's a real boy in almost every respect. I won't mention his sleep problems here since we are still at a standstill with that. And...well...he's not talking. I've tried not to obsess, and I know there is not a real "normal," but he's now 16 months old. He has no words, none, none that we can tie to an actual meaning. He babbles all the time, he knows exactly what we are saying to him, and he is very good at getting his point across, but not with words. We have our 15 month check up Wednesday. I know, bad mommy. We're a month late because I wanted to be on our new insurance plan so that we could have the appointment with the person who would be his new pediatrician. Then the insurance kicked in later than I'd expected blah blah blah. The appointment is Wednesday. And I'm worried. We'll be meeting with his new doctor and I have no idea how to prepare myself for an appointment in which I am bringing in a totally non-verbal 16 month old. I have avoided doing research on what the range is for the age at which children can begin speaking because I wanted to give him time and trust that he would get there on his own, but now I am afraid we are long past the time where it was ok. I'm afraid there is something wrong and I have been in denial.

The thing is, I don't really feel like he is behind or anything. We are communicating and he seems to be developing so well in every other way. I'm just shocked that he's not talking yet. And being at playgroups where other kids his age have tons of words and I sit there and watch them learn new words right then and there...that's killer. And of course whenever anyone finds out he's not speaking they ask what his doctor says and I have no answer because I'm the negligent mom who hasn't taken her kid to the doctor since leaving Chicago 4 months ago. But by the way, "What does his doctor say?" is not actually a comforting response when engaged in a discussion about a concern of a parent. Well, maybe it would be if the doctor had been consulted and said everything was fine, but in that case we wouldn't be having the discussion because it wouldn't be a concern!

He's not talking. And I want to hear him. I feel like he has so much to say and I can see that's he's starting to get frustrated as his ideas become more complex, making it harder to get his meaning across. I'd like to hear one "mama" that actually refers to me, one exclamation of a word other than "eeeeh" when he excitedly points at something. I just want to know he's ok.

Friday, September 08, 2006


This is surprising. You know how you blog in your head? Well, that’s what I do ever since I started this blog 6 months ago. I write in my head and think of topics I want to be sure I post about, then I hear the phrases I want to write in my head throughout the day. Today I had one in my mind before actually going to the event the post was going to be about. And now I’m all off, because my response wasn’t quite what I’d expected.

Sam and I started school today. I found a great parent/toddler program at a Waldorf School. We go for one morning a week. We’re not really considering Waldorf for Sam’s education later on and I’ll probably write more about that as I learn more about it, but what this program does for children this young I think is really right on. It’s very much based on imaginative play, imitation, and showing children how to find joy in their work through our own example. Pretty progressive, and that’s what I thought this post would discuss. While I think of myself as a fairly progressive parent I know I am by no means anywhere near the end of the spectrum. I’m used to being with moms from the club where I tend to come off as pretty crunchy. This was going to be a situation where I fell more on the other end, and I knew this as I sat at our first meeting among several knitting women. I felt self-conscious going to “school” today and found that I constantly pulled down Sam’s shirt to cover up the fact that he was not in a cloth diaper. But other than that I really don’t have much to say on the issue. I didn’t feel uncomfortable and I liked the program. Maybe I’ll write more about what we do one day later but for now I have a different issue to address.

Sam is the youngest in the class, which ranges from 15 months of age up to 3 years. He did pretty well for most of the morning. There are certainly different expectations of him since he is different developmentally, and I did my best to be reasonable in what we could expect from him. So he spent a lot of time outside of the activity and watching or exploring something else altogether. It was also his first time there and his first time doing anything like this for so long (2 ½ hours). Anyway, here’s what I didn’t expect to be writing about today…

I’m worried about the influence that older children have on Sam. Sam is still very sweet. He hasn’t really hit the tantrum phase yet. He does not scream except for when he feels wronged, like when I pull him away from something he is exploring. He is not violent – he has started swinging his arms at us sort of like hitting just a bit and I think it’s because he gets a new and different reaction. But for the most part violence has not crossed his mind because he’s had no experience with it. And Waldorf is certainly very peace driven, making my concerns today that much further from my mind going in.

I saw some stuff I didn’t really like. One kid bit another child and I saw very little response from the biter’s mom. I saw 2 girls hitting each other and again not much in the way of ramifications. And 3 times one child took a toy that Sam was playing with, which really upset him, and the mom of the thief hadn’t even seen it happen. I know all of this is normal kid stuff. I know. I know Sam will be exposed to these kinds of things and that eventually we will be dealing with these very issues when he is the biter/stealer/hitter. And the toy taking is totally normal behavior. He does that at playgroups too but the difference is that I am there to mediate, trade toys, redirect, so forth. My problem is with the lack of mediation among the parents. And I don’t know if that is some sort of Waldorf discipline thing I am not aware of, although that seems very unlikely considering everything else I know about the philosophy, or if this is just these parents, or if it is the setting where the parents are supposed to be “finding joy” in their baking of bread and sewing their doll and so they really aren’t seeing these things…I don’t know. But I know I left there worried about what Sam might pick up from watching and interacting with older kids. I don’t want him to see kids hitting each other yet because it’s just not something I want him to learn…ever. That’s unreasonable, yes. But not so soon, you know. And as I saw from a distance a child walk up and take his toy and his face turn red as he started to cry I was really torn. Things will not always go his way – people may wrong him – but when is it appropriate for him to see that?

For the first time the word “shelter” did not have the negative connotation it has always had for me. I mean, if he had been the one bitten or hit I would have freaked out. And then if no one dealt with the child who hurt him I would have freaked out more. The mom of the one taking his toy was busy sewing her bookmark and she never knew that my son’s crying had anything to do with her daughter, and that’s ok. They all take each other’s toys and we deal with it the best we can until they are old enough that they can understand sharing and empathy. Fine. But dude, I just don’t want him to see kids being violent and I certainly don’t want him on the receiving end of it. I wanted to go home and lock us up in our apartment so that we could play catch with the beach ball and feed each other toast. I wanted to shelter him, which is not what I have ever wanted before. Ironic since my biggest problem with the Waldorf philosophy is that it seems to set forth sort of an “us and them” negative view of the world and our culture. I don't want to lose him...and I don't want to lock us up...and I don't want him to find out that others can physically hurt him...and I don't want him to be afraid of the world...and I definately don't want him acting like a 3 year old yet.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

E. & I. R.I.P.

Remember Ebony and Ivory? Yeah? Well, they both bit it today. I know, pretty freakin' fast if you ask me. How long did they live, like 10 days? I realize I'm being crass and nonchalant about death here. It made me sad, it made Hubby sadder, but I had to move on pretty quickly and deal with the damage.

When I discovered Ebony floating mid-tank and Ivory upside-down behind one of the plants I knew I had to move fast. I distracted Sam with Sesame Street (tv is an excellent distraction for a kid that watches very little tv) so that I could flush said dead fish down the toilet without a toddler seeing the heinous act I was about to commit. And so it was done, fish were flushed and Sam was none the wiser. Not a great way to start the morning, but not a total tragedy either.

Then it was time for breakfast. Unfortunately for me I had forgotten that Ebony and Ivory had become part of our morning ritual. Sam would watch them eat their food while waiting for me to finish making his breakfast. Then we all, including the fish, had breakfast together. So I decided to make his breakfast first and not put him in his seat until it was done, hoping food would deter him from the empty fish tank. No go. I put him in his seat and gave him his very favorite breakfast, scrambled egg with cheese and raisin toast (yeah, you heard me right - I fed him the breakfast I last saw spewed on the inside of my car in order to create a diversion. I was desperate) and yet the first thing he did was point to the fish tank. Crap. I panicked. I didn't know what to do. They're gone. The fish are gone and I have a toddler pointing to them waiting for me to make a big deal of feeding them and turning on their light and saying good morning to them so he can sit and wave to the fish while he eats his breakfast!

And so I did what any good, lying, conniving, petrified, desperate mother would do. I went and got the fish food and turned on the light and fed that empty fish tank. I sat back down and waved and said hello and good morning to Ebony and Ivory and joined my son in waving to "the fish."

I've spent the rest of the morning trying to divert him every time he points to the tank and starts walking over to visit them. We've watched a lot of tv as a result, which I hate but it does the job - "Look Sam, Elmo," eyes glaze over as he walks zombie like back to the living room. It's a choice between that and his discovering that the fish have disappeared and Mommy is a big fat FAKER/LIAR/FISH KILLER. I don't know how long I can keep up this charade. After this nap we'll have lunch and I'll have to sit and wave and talk to the fish all over again, displaying a gruesome performance of dishonesty for the sake of my son. And I know I can't put new fish in the water the dead fish were in because they'll just die and probably faster this time around. Which means I have to clean out the whole tank first and then cycle the fresh water for another 48 hours! I'd better go tivo some more Sesame Streets...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Just smile and wave

How did I have the world's friendliest baby? I wouldn't say I'm totally anti-social, but I also am not particularly good around strangers. More importantly I've become a bit jaded in my 10 years of urban dwelling. I've taken on the -avoid eye contact look down at your feet and walk fast- mode of travel. I'm not saying I like it, it just happened. In fact, one of the things I think would greatly improve our society is to get rid of this isolating mind set of ignoring our neighbors and focusing only on ourselves. I know this is something I wish I could change, and yet I press on, eyes averted and missing my surroundings. So how do I make my mark on society without making any changes to my ingrained cynical self? I produce Sam.

I love going out with Sam; he is friendly to every passing stranger. He waves at everyone that walks by, every animal that walks by, every object in his view - he waves and he smiles. He does what I wish we all did, and he does it happily and without self-conciousness. I wish it could stay this way for him.

Today we went to the arboretum where they have a Garden Railroad exhibit. Sam loves it. Train tracks set amongst plants and meticulously sculpted houses and bridges based on fairy tales, not that Sam cares about that part. What matters, clearly, are the trains. He stands at the edge of the garden area, waits patiently, and as they come around points and yells, "eeeeeh!" But what I loved the most about his response was his need to share his excitement with everyone who passed by. He would get their attention by either waving or yelling at them (in a friendly way, of course) and then point to the train for them just in case they were not aware of its presence. He loved the trains and wanted to make sure everyone else, even total strangers, saw how great they were.

Our urban living environment has rubbed off on him in one way that drives me crazy though:

This is what Sam does every time he is set down in grass. He lifts his hands and legs so that he has as little contact as possible. And he doesn't move, that would involve touching the horrible, prickly nastiness that is nature. I have tried so hard to get him to like playing in grass and it just doesn't work. Maybe nature was introduced too late. What a failure I am.

He did like playing in the sculptures though, and they were inspired by nature supposedly...

After the arboretum we went out to dinner and sat outside. Sam waved at the people who walked by as well as those at the surrounding tables. I was my cynical, anti-social self, glaring at anyone who dared ignore my beautiful baby's smiles and waves, those who planted their faces in their plates tuning out their surroundings, or maybe just avoiding eye contact being busily pissed off about a couple bringing a toddler to a restaurant. Who is the person who doesn't smile back at this face? Clearly someone very cynical and anti-social.