Tuesday, July 30, 2013



The weather was amazing on Sunday and we were all a little cabin-fevery, so I walked the kids down the street to the little playground on the corner. I parked the baby in the shade in his stroller and pushed Nico in the swing for a little while, then retreated to the shade myself. Nico had brought along his lovey, the blankie formerly known as Bee and now usually called Tiny. "Tiny loves to slide!" he informed me, and then he climbed right up the little slide and went right down. Like hey, no big thing, just going down a slide as if I haven't been too nervous to try it until this very moment! And then I offered to go on the bigger slide with him and he went ahead of me and right on down. I think he meant to wait for me at the top and slid down by accident, but once that happened he was set. I didn't put this on a summer goal checklist or anything, but it's pretty rad. As I've said before, Nico is not a physically daring child, so any new display of playground bravery is kind of a big deal.

And then we got home and I turned around to find that the baby had hilariously thuggified his little ball cap all by himself. Oh, kids. Bringing the awesome, one step at a time.

Monday, July 22, 2013



I had some errands to run today and even though I kind of wanted to go by myself for speed's sake, I offered to take one or both kids with me. MB said he'd keep one and I could take one, and he wasn't picky about which. It turned out Elliott was asleep when I started to get ready to go, so we offered Nico the chance to go with me. That ended up being the best thing that could've possibly happened. I realized somewhere along the way that other than his ill-fated swimming lessons, Nico and I haven't really hung out, just the two of us, in a very long time. I won't say he's neglected and he has taken the transition from only to oldest child in stride quite well, but hanging out, just me and my little dude without baby brother along, that's a rarity these days. We started at Old Navy because I had a coupon and wanted to buy a few baby gifts. I made Nico's day by buying him a pair of orange socks and he made mine by chilling patiently in his stroller while I shopped, by agreeing to wear the new sun hat I picked out for him, and by actually trying on two pairs of pants. The cashiers were handing out balloons on sticks and Nico proudly carried his yellow balloon out of the store. "I'm making you yellow, Mommy!" he announced, peering at me through the balloon once we were back in the car.

We had lunch at Panera, probably Nico's favorite restaurant, and he behaved beautifully and ate his whole lunch, even though I didn't bring a kid-sized fork or a sippy cup for him to use. We stopped at Target to buy diapers and Nico did not throw a fit when I explained that it wasn't a buying day for toys. He asked to see the toys, but accepted that we were just going to look at them in the aisle and not take one home. We ended our errands at the grocery store, where he helped push the cart and insisted on putting items into it for me. "What happens if I give Daddy his food when we get home?" he asked. "Will that make him happy? Will that make him smile if I give him his food?" I told him yes, of course.

It's true that three and a half is frustrating, maddening, challenging. But it's also inquisitive, funny, and downright wonderful. It was so nice to be reminded.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

And so it goes

And so it goes

So, hey! Summer! I can't go into great detail, obviously, but my supervisor at work quit right before our first of three summer camps started. The leaving wasn't entirely unexpected, but the timing was and I suddenly found myself on the hook for planning and running three weeks of day camp instead of one. Two are done (and went really well) and one is planned out and starting tomorrow. One more week! Let's do this thing! Anyhoodle, it's gone about as well as possible considering the complete lack of lead time, but it has seriously eaten my brain. Then after work there's the kids and whatever needs to be done at the house and washing at least half of this by hand (or all of it every other day)...so by the end of all that, I'm just done.

I've also been reading actual books again, which I didn't realize I missed so much until I started doing it again. I've read and enjoyed Cinder by Marissa Meyer, A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C Bunce, Hidden America by Jeanne Marie Laskas, The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. There might've been another one in there somewhere. I also went to Nashville on July 10 and saw Neil Gaiman on his book tour. It was seriously incredible. You wouldn't really read his books and think of him as a funny guy, but he is so funny. He read from the new book (which I had already read and really liked), answered pre-collected questions from the audience, read from another new book, and then signed for all 1700 people in attendance. The signing was kind of the least cool part of the whole thing just because there were so many people that he literally just had to sign the books and move on, but I am glad we stayed. We were only allowed to have one thing signed other than the new book so I had him sign my copy of Odd and the Frost Giants to both Nico and Elliott. I guess they'll have to fight over it one day. If I could do it all over again, I'd stay overnight in Nashville instead of making the drive back afterward so late at night, but otherwise, no complaints. It was a fantastically cool experience. Here's part of the reading that someone posted online:

The boys are awesome, awesome. Elliott charted in the 90th percentile for weight at his three-month well baby visit and was off the chart for height (17 lbs 11 oz and 28" tall). He's SO big, basically the size of some people's one-year-olds. He's still the happiest and most sunshiney baby on Earth. He can roll back to front and then eventually gets mad that he's stuck on his tummy. He's grabbing toys with purpose and putting them into his mouth. He has also figured out how to bounce his own bouncy chair and will do so with great enthusiasm.

Nico seems to have shot up several inches just in the past few weeks. His ankles catch serious breeze in pajamas that have fit him forever and (sadly) in his very favorite bright orange pants. The other day MB let him wear his orange long-sleeved car shirt, the one he wore on his first day of preschool in January, and the sleeves were a good two to three inches too short. He still constantly asks me "what happens if" and the scenarios are getting more complex and more fun to hear. The other day he asked me, "What happens if I was the grownup and you were the kid? What happens if I put you in the car and buckle you in and then I buckle me in and I start the engine?" He has finally started building with Duplo blocks and is really good at assembling cars from the pictures in a kids' K'Nex set he got for his birthday. He's still stubborn and resistant to change and I'm still feeling a little sulky over the swimming lesson debacle, but for the most part Nico is pretty great.

I took both boys to a reptile encounter yesterday and then to the children's museum. It was the first time Elliott has shown any interest in the goings-on, and when I put him on my lap in front of the Duplo table he was very keen on getting his hands on the blocks. Nico was very sweet and brought him a little pile to play with before turning his attention to building and embellishing his own car. (This reminds me of the other day when he built a very elaborate vehicle with very obvious and deliberate wings. "Oh, look! You built a plane!" one of us exclaimed. Witheringly, Nico said, "It's not a plane. It's a flying truck." OBVIOUSLY, geez.) Eventually Elliott fell asleep, exhausted by the intense workout of flailing excitedly at blocks, and Nico and I puttered the rest of the afternoon away. I didn't get a single thing done at the house, and I don't regret it one bit.

This happened the other night and it made my heart hurt with happiness:

And look! Look! Finally a photo proving that my bald baby does actually have a tiny bit of hair growing in...I'm not sure how I feel about how much he looks like a non-baby kid in this one, though.

I hope everyone is having a nice summer...hopefully it won't be autumn before I'm back here again.

Reading:  Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O Frost and Gail Steketee

Playing:  the Brave soundtrack

Monday, July 01, 2013

This must be immortalized

This must be immortalized

My day did not start out fantastically. I woke up at 8:00 to Nico standing by the bed and had to haul ass to pump, get us all dressed, and make it to the pediatrician's office by 9:00. And then the nurse looked at us and said, "You realize you're an hour early, right?" Best of all, I called and confirmed this appointment last week AND had it in my phone calendar at 10:00. Once the appointment was over we rushed to Nico's community playgroup, only to walk in just as they were singing the goodbye song. We did receive an invitation for a play date via text before arriving at playgroup, so that helped redeem Nico's day a little bit.

Toward the end of the playdate Nico was being bratty and refusing to eat the yogurt he had requested over and over. I told him fine, I'll eat it. When he saw me take a bite, he ran over to his chair and somewhat frantically demanded I stop eating his yogurt.

"What happens if I take the yogurt away from you?" he asked earnestly. "What happens if I take the yogurt out of your mouth and I put it in my mouth and it goes down to my tummy?" I couldn't help it, I said, "Then I win." (He ate the rest of the yogurt, so I won anyway.)

Despite this episode of slight toddler assholery, Nico was pretty good overall today and magnificent at dinner tonight. We needed to go grocery shopping and didn't want to shop hungry, so we took the kids and went out to eat. Both children were nothing short of stellar, so if you need any ponies they'll all be in my backyard.

Elliott only fussed a little and that was after he spit up and soaked the front of his shirt. Nico nearly ate his entire grilled cheese sandwich as well as his applesauce. Best of all, he was well-behaved and polite through the whole meal. Few things make me want to high-five MB and do a victory dance more than when Nico says please and thank you in proper context with no prompting from an adult. And at one point he looked at me and said, "Mommy, how is your food?" Like a real little person or something!

I'm sure by admitting all this in public I'm dooming myself to a day of disastrous tantrums tomorrow, but I'm taking the risk. And oh, you guys...Elliott had to get three shots at his well baby visit this morning and Nico held his hand. Today being a parent was awesome.

(Yesterday at the zoo. I finally let him ride the tram and he was SO happy.)