Thursday, September 30, 2010


I wondered how long it would take for Robbie to turn into his father. It turns out, fourteen months. To the day. I walked in to get Robbie out of his crib on Tuesday to find him in a shirt and his diaper. His pants had been thrown onto the floor. Just like a man to want to sleep in his underwear!

And, in my female naiveté, I thought it was a fluke. How wrong I was. I put Robbie down to bed at 7:00 tonight and then stayed upstairs to clean. Robbie decided not to go to bed and stood in his crib saying "Hi" every time he caught a glimpse of me. I peeked in after twenty minutes or so, and there he was. Robbie was standing there with his arms folded on the railing, head on his arms, and adorable, toothy smile on his face. And his pants were tossed in the corner of the crib. I suppose some man genes just can't be messed with. God help me if he starts taking off his diaper. I'm so not ready for that.

I asked Robbie why his pants were in the corner. He just looked at me like I was an idiot and laughed. I asked him if he wanted me to put them back on, and he kept laughing and shook his head. I didn't have the energy to argue with a 14-month-old about why he should wear pants to bed. So he's upstairs, with his uncovered legs curled under his diapered bottom. At least he still has his shirt on. I think.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Learning to Cuddle

Those of you who have met my son know that he does not like to cuddle. He wants nothing to do with being held; he has too much to do. Until recently.

In the past week or so, Robbie has discovered how much he likes affection. One night, he cuddled with me before he went to bed. Granted, he had a bottle of milk. But, still. He spent twenty minutes rocking with me before I put him down. At one point, he rolled over a little and let me rub his back. Robbie had his head buried in my elbow and occasionally threw his head back to give me a huge grin before snuggling up again for more. And now he comes to Justin and me for kisses, although he's still not sure how much force to use as he throws he head into our mouths. There have been some painful encounters...

Last night, Justin decided he wanted to cuddle with Robbie a little, so he brought the baby into bed with us around 10:45. Roberto stayed asleep for a little while, stretching out across Justin and smiling in his sleep. Justin tickled Robbie a little, and Robbie started laughing with his eyes closed and a big grin on his face. He rolled over onto his belly for a little while and snuggled closer to me, so I could rub his back. After a few minutes, Robbie sat up and moved between Justin and me to get kisses from both of us and then took turns laying his head on our shoulders.

A few months ago, Justin asked me if I thought Robbie knew that when we kissed him it meant that we loved him. I said I thought so, but I really wasn't sure. Now i know that he realizes that hugs and kisses are good, and he gets a kick out of them. And I'm hoping that, even if it's only at night, Robbie might be more amenable to a little cuddling.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One Year...

This marks one year since the end of my maternity leave. I can't believe that Zhining has been in our lives that long or that Robbie is that old or that I've been a working mom all this time. I remember the night before I went back to work; I was a crazy woman. If you don't believe me, just ask Justin.

Before I went up to bed, I yelled at Justin, telling him what a horrible man he was for forcing me to go back to work. Even while I was doing this, I knew it was terrible of me. Justin would have loved for me to be able to stay at home, but going back to work was what was best for our family.

And then I stormed upstairs to Robbie's room. I picked him up from his crib - he was still so small then - and took him into bed with me. I cuddled with him, cried over him, and told him how sorry I was to leave him. I panicked a little bit, wondering if this crazy Chinese lady was going to be nice to my son. Sure, she seemed decent enough. But what if he cried and she just left him in his crib in a wet diaper without a bottle for hours on end? And what if, God forbid, he didn't understand her because she was only speaking Chinese? Like I said, I was panicked.

Justin came up to bed and found me cuddling with the baby and asked me what I was doing. He calmly took Robbie from me and put him back to bed and then let me cry my way to sleep, which was exactly what I needed.

And here we are, one year later. I've survived working full time, finishing grad school, and being a wife and mother. In tact. My child is well-adjusted and social. My marriage is strong. My career is exactly where I want it to be. I've graduated. Sure, my house is messier than I would like it to be, but it's cleaner than it would be if I was home with Robbie all day. My time with Robbie is more precious, and so I enjoy him more. As angry as I was with Justin for "making" me go back to work, I couldn't imagine my life without all these things to juggle. So, here's to another fabulous year as a working mom!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Justin and I had one of those weekends where we kept discussing different aspects of our marriage. It felt like every time we turned around, we were talking about something different. We don't have these marathon discussions often. Usually, we let a fight build up, boil over for about twenty minutes, and go back to happy. Now, I don't mean to imply that these talks were fights. They weren't at all. We just worked our way through how our lives have changed in the past year, kind of redefining our roles.

A major part of all of these talks came down to what it always does. I need more help, and Justin doesn't feel like I appreciate what he does around the house. It's the classic marriage war. We've all had the discussion (or fight on some of our less-than-stellar days) a hundred times. You want your husband to help while you try to cook, clean, feed the child, wash the child, put the child to bed. He wants to sit on the couch in his underwear and watch Sports Center. And he wants you to fall to your knees in gratitude when he puts away his own laundry. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

I know that Justin hears me when we talk, and he really does want to help. He just, like any man, gets bogged down in life and can't multi-task. We talked about how I would like to take time to just "be", too. And how I could do it that much faster if he helped me. I wasn't sure how well Justin had "heard" me this time or how much it stuck. However, I can say that I am confident he heard me, at least for a little while.

Justin got home before I did this afternoon, and I called him to help me with a little game of "Pick a Baby". On Mondays, I bring Robbie's best buddy home from day care with us, and it's a feat to get them both into my house. There was no grumbling or, "Give me a minute". He came right down. In his bare feet. Now that's service! We got into the house, and Justin disappeared into the kitchen. He came back out with a bouquet of flowers from my favorite florist around the corner. Robbie and I go visit her a few times a week. It is a gorgeous arrangement - perfect for fall. And Justin knows that fresh flowers are my favorite thing. I don't think he could have let me know that he heard me any better.

But he did. After giving me the flowers, Justin asked what he could do to help around the house. I said I thought we could get Robbie ready for bed after my run and then spend twenty minutes cleaning the house together. I came home from the run (2.5 miles in 28:05; that's an 11:15 mile!) to find the boys sitting at the table with Robbie was eating dinner. We fixed dinner together and ate as a family. Then, we divided the chores and, at 8:15, were both ready to relax. It's so nice to know that I'm ready for bed and have a few hours to savor.

Sometimes these marathon conversations aren't fun to go through. There are tears (at least on my end) and often hurt feelings. But, they end the miscommunication that we so often fall into as we rush from place to place and chore to chore. And they give us the opportunity to appreciate the other person in the end.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

On the Move

We were a family on the move today! Justin impressed me with a 13 mile run this afternoon, as he prepares for a half marathon next weekend. Robbie and I worked in the front yard with our friend Elena, getting everything ready for fall. We weeded (something I've been meaning to do since, oh, July), raked, cut back hostas and lilies, and organized the mums I bought. I didn't plant them yet, and I'm not sure if I'm going to bother. I still have 200 bulbs to get into the ground, and I guess those should get priority. Right? And hopefully one of the neighbors will help... But that's a whole other story I don't want to get into right now.

While Elena and I were working in the yard, Robbie decided he wanted to go for a walk. Down the street. This kid has no fear; he just goes. And goes and goes. We corralled him in the Pack 'n Play, but he really wanted to head down to Mass Ave. and see what was going on in the real world. It's funny how he just suddenly realized that he could get so much more accomplished by walking instead of crawling.

Justin's run inspired me to go on my own. I ran 3.3 miles this afternoon in 39:55. Actually, I ran about 3 miles. I walked .3, and I'm OK with that. I averaged a 12-minute mile, something I never thought I would do. Now if only I can keep pace with my friend when we go running tomorrow. I feel like she could go another lap around the pond, and I'm done before we even start...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall Fun

Because fall is Justin's busy time with work, I feel compelled to fit as many fall activities into a weekend as I can. Even if it's 85 degrees an feels nothing like fall, as was the case today. But, temperatures be damned, we had all the fall fun we could muster.

This morning, we headed off to Arlington Town Day. I'm a huge nerd. I wait for this day all year. Well, maybe not all year. That would be really pitiful. But once late August roles around... Part of the reason I like Town Day is that I get to see former students. It's nice to get to catch up with them for a few minutes and hear what's going on, especially now that they're seniors and getting ready to start applying to colleges. Today was a little more special, though. I saw three girls, one of them who wasn't even my student, and they absolutely made my day.

The first girl wasn't my student, but she recognized me when we went out to breakfast. She told me that she hadn't been in my class but she'd really wanted to because my class was "the cool class, the one everyone really wanted to get into." Are you kidding me? It brought tears to my eyes. I think that might be the ultimate compliment, especially three years after I left the school. Then we ran into two girls who had been in my class, one of them, bless her heart, for two years. They told me they'd had a good English teacher last year, but my class was still the best English class they'd ever had. By the grace of God, I didn't burst into tears in the middle of Mass Ave.

Justin, Robbie, and I had fun perusing the booths and buying raffle tickets, which it looks like weren't winners... Justin stopped to meet our Congressman. I don't even know the man's name, but Justin recognized him standing in the middle of the road and waited to talk to him. God love him for that.

After Town Day, we piled into the car for more mandatory fun. We were off to pick apples at Applecrest Farm in New Hampshire. I've found it's much better to make the drive to New Hampshire because it's not as crowded. You spend less time driving to get there than you do waiting in traffic to get to the Massachusetts orchards. We hopped on the tractor and took the five minute ride into the orchards. I've never seen Robbie look so serious; he was doing his best to take everything in. The smells, the sounds, the people, the trees. And then he turned and looked at Justin with a huge grin on his face, like he just knew how great it was going to be.

And it was. We got him about a hundred yards into the orchard before we let him go. He had a good time toddling around. I picked him up, and we picked a few apples together. He dissolved into laughter every time he felt the weight of the apple fall into his hand. And then we had the best moment of the entire day.

I put Robbie down near a tree with a low branch and waited to see if he would notice, armed with a camera. Robbie did notice. He gave Justin and me a grin and started toward the branch, arm outstretched for the small apple. He pulled at it a few times, but the apple didn't budge. Undaunted and, apparently, hungry, Robbie grabbed the apple, pulled it toward him, and sank his teeth into it. He was a little surprised the apple popped away when he finished his bite. Shortly after, the apple fell and became Robbie's prized possession. He held onto it as we walked to the front of the orchard, rode the train back, and waited for ice cream.

Even Robbie has his limits with loyalty. When presented with a spoon of ice cream, Robbie tossed the forgotten apple onto the ground. Apparently, apple picking also makes you thirsty. Roberto downed my entire bottle of water, although about a quarter of it wound up on his shirt and pants. We need to work on his drinking habits... The water turned cloudy with ice cream residue very quickly.

At the end of the day, Rob was no match for apple picking. He was fast asleep before we even hit the interstate to make our way home. And it must have done something to him because he cuddled with me before he went to bed, something he hasn't done since he stopped nursing in May. At one point, he was on his stomach in my lap, his head nestled in the crook of my arm while I rubbed his back. He lifted his head up and shot me a smile that was pure bliss and made googly eyes with me like we used to do when he was a baby.


Robbie saw his first fireworks show tonight, and it was as magical as I'd hoped it would be. Granted, this was Arlington Town Night instead of the Magic Kingdom. But that doesn't really matter. What matters is that Robbie got "the look."

You know the one I'm talking about, right? You've seen it. Where the eyes glaze over, and you're totally in a trance. That's one of my favorite parts about fireworks - watching people watch fireworks. Everyone looks like a kid.

It was an amazing experience watching fireworks with Robbie for the first time. I got to say, "Look, a green one!" and "Wasn't that the most beautiful one yet?" And you know what? I really meant it. It was like I saw the fireworks for the first time.

I think that's the best part about being a mom; I love seeing life through a fresh set of eyes. Fireworks, brass bands, fire trucks, and trains. I've seen these things hundreds of times but never like I have through Robbie's eyes. Everything is shiny and new and amazing. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all see the world this way every day? I think I'm going to try.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bath Time Blunders

It had to happen. After all, before now, it had only happened once. About a year ago. Until tonight.

Robbie was playing in the tub tonight, blowing bubbles with his bottom and looking at me, laughing. And I contentedly read while he played. Until it was time to wash him, when I noticed the water looked a little yellow. And much thicker than it should. It took a little while for me to really see through the toys and bubbles. But boy did I see it. Everywhere. Diarrhea.

I'm sure my eyes about popped out of my head, and I looked up at Robbie. He met my eye and burst out laughing. And tried to shove a toy in his mouth. A disgusting, diarrhea-tub toy. Which I yanked from his hands and threw out of the tub. Along with all the other toys, which are now soaking in a Clorox filled tub, hopefully disinfecting.

I'm not sure why my first thought was to grab the toys and not the child, but that's what I did. Maybe because if I'd grabbed the child first, the toys would have sat in the water, gathering nastiness. So, yes, Robbie sat in the tub and extra 90 seconds. That also bought me some time to decide what to do with Robbie. Obviously, I couldn't just rinse him in the tub. That would need to be thoroughly disinfected. The kitchen didn't feel like a great option, but it was the only one I had.

So, the dripping child and I made a dash for the kitchen. Robbie hasn't taken a bath in the sink for months, but he was much better at it now than he was eight months ago. Probably because he was so shocked to be in a new place. So, hopefully Johnson & Johnson's bubble bath got him appropriately cleaned.

And to think... All this happened when he'd already had "two big poopies" at daycare. Is there ever a safe time to bathe?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Full Days

Do you ever feel like you didn't really live before you had a child? I never realized how much of my life I missed. On the weekends, Justin and I used to sleep until 10:00. After work, I would come home and hang out on the couch for a few hours. But ow there's just not time for it anymore. There are too many things to do and enjoy.

Take today for example. I picked Robbie up at 4:00, and we were off to the Farmers' Market. After all, there are only a few more weeks that it will be going on. Where in the world am I going to get pasta, fresh wildflowers, and raspberry chocolate chip scones after October? And it's so much more of an adventure going with Robbie. There are more things to look at, taste, and run to. He helped me pick out a bouquet of flowers this afternoon. While munching on a sugar cookie that had been dropped (by Robbie) on the asphalt. Now, I could have cared that the cookie had been on the ground. But I didn't.

We got home in time to see the UPS man delivering a package for the neighbors. I think he felt a little bad that he wasn't bringing me a package, but he let me know there was already something in there for us (a Keenex box cover, shaped like a couch). In my past life, I would have exchanged pleasantries with the driver and gotten inside. Today, we took our time, so Robbie could see the truck start up and drive away. And then it was time for the five-minute stair climb. It's so worth the extra time, watching him lean his head back to smile at me because he's so excited that he's doing it himself.

And after that, there was time to empty drawers, eat dog food (Robbie, not me), and fix dinner. All before 5:45. Even a year ago, I might have put Robbie to bed and enjoyed quiet time. But there were still things to do. There was a run to go on with a girlfriend (we only did 1.5 miles instead of 2.5, but still!). There was a backyard to clean and a house to straighten. There was dinner to cook, lessons to plan, and blogs to write. And it feels so nice to have used all of the hours I was given today.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Peace and Quiet

I finally got it tonight. A quiet house. Almost all to myself. Robbie went down easily. I put him to bed around 6:45 and he played with his Fisher Price farm for about thirty minutes. Is it wrong that I have a toy like that in his crib? I figure it's best to go with whatever works, and that appears to work.

Justin was gone to class tonight, and he flies out first thing tomorrow morning. I won't see him again until after class on Thursday night. I remember that this time last year, I dreaded his trips. I was terrified to be alone with Rob. Although, at this point, I was fairly used to days alone with Robbie. Justin was gone 42 of Robbie's first 90 days.

Now, instead of dreading these trips, I relish them. I love having a few hours in the evening to myself. And, in all honesty, Justin's trips aren't as lonely for me now that Robbie has become a real person who likes to interact and play. Granted, during the summer, when I was home alone all day, the trips made me want to claw my eyes out. But now the peace and quiet is kind of nice. I get my play time with Robbie after work and until around 6:30. Then it's time to do whatever I want. I can eat what I want for dinner, watch what I want on TV. I could decide to go to bed at 7:00, which is actually sounding like a pretty great plan for tomorrow night.

Don't get me wrong. I will be thrilled to see Justin when he walks through the door late Thursday night (assuming I'm able to stay awake that long). But it's really nice to sit and enjoy the quiet. I don't know how those couples who have to see each other every night for their entire marriages do it...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dishwasher Drama

Justin and I were in desperate need of a new dishwasher. The top rack of ours had fallen onto the bottom rack, and the top spinner (is there a technical name for that?) had fallen off as well. So, we traipsed off to Home Depot, child in tow, two weeks ago to purchase a new dishwasher. It came Saturday. Last night, I posted an ad on craigslist for a plumber and had one volunteer to come install the dishwasher last night. Originally, he wanted to charge me $200. Being the savvy woman I am, I told him I had another plumber who would come for $100. He immediately cut his price in half.

Now this "twenty minute job" took ninety. I kind of figured it would, knowing how Frank, the man who owned the house before us, worked his repairs and installations. But, everything was finally running and good. The plumber left, and I started the dishwasher before jumping in the shower. When I got out, I thought things sounded funny. Turns out there was no water going in to the dishwasher. It was all going into my neighbor's ceiling.

Knowing Justin, I thought it was best to not tell him and go straight to bed. Particularly since I was the one who hired the plumber. And I did go to sleep. Until 2:00 in the morning, when I woke with a start and couldn't go back to bed. I decided it was a fine time to investigate. So I pulled the dishwasher out from the counter and found the errant tube. Water spewed forth whenever the dishwasher was on. But there was nowhere to put it. Well, there was a cup to put it in, but I wasn't sure how that would help with the water.

So I moved on to the instruction manual, where there was no mention of this tube. And then I checked YouTube for installation videos. Nothing about that stupid tube. I finally decided it was time to go back to bed. After all, at this point it was 3:50. So, I slid the dishwasher back under the cabinet. Too far. I couldn't close the door all the way, and I couldn't get it back out. And I didn't care. I had to get some sleep in order to survive the day.

I hoped Justin wouldn't want to see the dishwasher this morning. In fact, I prayed about it. But it was the first thing he checked out when he came into the kitchen. And, observant man that he is, Justin wanted to know why the door wouldn't close and the unit had come unscrewed. So I burst into tears. And Justin just hugged me and told me he wouldn't have been upset (I'm not entirely sure I believe that, but I really appreciated it this morning).

So, today I was on a mission. Our dubious plumber told me he didn't know what that tube was for. GE had no idea what I was talking about and scheduled a service call. Home Depot told me none of their models have tubes on them. That's where I drew the line. I asked her to please go look because I could not deal with trying to find another plumber. So, Jenny, my new Home Depot buddy, unscrewed her model dishwasher and looked for a black tube. Which she found. Plugged into the little cup I had found at 3:00 this morning and inspected. But not very closely because I missed the part where there was an opening into the dishwasher.

I came home and had the dishwasher fixed in three minutes. And that counts unscrewing the countertop from the base in order to get the unit out from where I had pushed it in too far and it came up behind the lip of the counter. And now, my dedicated readers, I leave you to be thankful for your installed appliances as I head to bed for more than three hours of sleep.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

To Relax or Not...

Turns out "not" was the option I was given this afternoon. Justin and I are members at Massage Envy, and we've both built up some pre-paid massages by not going regularly. Justin actually has seven (now six) unclaimed massages. So, I booked one for each of us today. Justin got his. I only got twenty minutes of mine.

How, you might ask, does one only get twenty minutes of a one-hour massage? It starts when the fire department bangs on the door and says, "Everyone out! Everyone must evacuate the building!" and you are almost asleep on the massage table. Nothing quite like that to get you out of your lovely, relaxed state. This brought back memories of the time I indirectly caught the house on fire when I was five or six.

Again, I'm sure you're asking how that happens. Well, it helps when there is a light bulb in a fixture with a wattage over what is recommended (apparently, those recommendations are pretty accurate). I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and left the light on, so I could see my way back to my bed. A few hours later, the whole attic was on fire. I remember Mom coming in and, very calmly, telling us to please get dressed because the house was on fire.

Today I managed to get dressed with a little less panic than I did the first time. Really it was more irritation than anything. We all gathered in the parking lot and learned there was a gas leak. So, I suppose it was important that we evacuate, And, in all honesty, I'm kind of relieved that I was able to escape that massage. It wasn't very good. So, I had a free mediocre twenty-minute massage. And I still have two pre-paid massages left. But now I have to find the time to escape from Robbie, Justin, and the house in general to have an hour to myself. That part could be a problem.

When I got home, the boys were ready to show me what Robbie had started doing while I was gone. That kid was walking all over the place! And with more confidence than he'd had even yesterday. We went to play with some friends later in the afternoon, and he did a pretty good job keeping up with the other boys, who are both experienced walkers. When Robbie is just around Justin and me, he still wants us to clap. If we stop, he will stop walking, look at us, and clap. He only starts again when we continue to clap. We could have a monster on our hands!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Big Spill

It happened today. Robbie's first major accident. It's one of those things that you know is going to happen, but there's nothing you can do to prepare for it. In fact, before it happened, I knew it was probably going to happen.

After breakfast, Justin put Robbie on our armchair to sit, expecting him to wriggle his way off in a matter of seconds. But Robbie stayed. For an hour. Just talking and sitting and, eventually, playing with the toy I brought over for him. Then he got bored and stood up. He toyed with putting one foot or the other on the arm of the chair, and I told him no. I should have told him to sit down or gotten him off the chair altogether. But I didn't.

And then, all of a sudden, Robbie was on the floor. I'm not sure how it happened. I missed the spit second it occurred but say him topple over the arm of the chair and land on the floor. On his head. Square on the top of his head. And I saw his poor face crumple as the fear and pain hit him at once. I was across the room in a split second, cradling him in my arms, telling him it was going to be OK. Justin was right behind me, equally concerned.

Ironically enough, we were both exceptionally calm. While rocking Robbie, I asked Justin to go get a bottle of milk. Justin was back in a matter of seconds, and, suddenly, everything was right with the world. Robbie grabbed the bottle and sucked away as the last few tears rolled down his cheeks. We could see the bright red bump forming, but it was already forgotten. By Robbie at least. I don't think Justin or I will ever get that image out of our heads. And young Robert will certainly not be standing on chairs any time soon.

In other news, we got a new dishwasher today. And that easy self-install? Yeah, not gonna happen. The last dishwasher was connected with copper piping, which is going to require a plumber. Lovely. Fortunately, that trusted babysitter was at the house tonight. The pushy one. The one who told me that Justin and I needed to go out this weekend, so she could come over. And she did the dishes for me. I knew I liked her. So glad I gave her all those A's. They've definitely paid off!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Workin' for the Weekend

Even when you love a job, you know you do it. Especially around 1:00 on Friday afternoon. You're using all your energy to work for the weekend. I've been using all my energy for that since 5:25 this morning when the alarm went off for Justin to get up early and head to Connecticut. Except Justin slept another twenty minutes to 5:45 when I finally made him get up and help with Robbie (who was also up some time around 2:30; I'm fuzzy on the details because he wasn't upset enough to warrant me actually getting up).

I was still working for the weekend when Robbie and I got home around 4:45. Roberto and I took a slow walk to the house from the car, my child showing his Kentucky roots in bare feet. He stopped every few inches to pick up a new treasure - a leaf or semi-decomposed pine cone - gathering them in his hand with care. He then gingerly placed them on the steps as he climbed them to get up to the house. All of them but one. That last one? He handed it to me to safeguard and he climbed his way through the door. It almost broke my heart to have to leave it outside!

My head has been pounding all day. My ears are blocked. My body is just tired. On days like this, the weekend doesn't start until Robbie has gone to bed and I am off the clock. From 6:34 on, it has been perfect. Every married woman's dream Friday night. You guessed it. A husband who finally turned to me and said, "Are you sick?" Chinese food on the couch. Pawn Stars on the TV. Two episodes. And I'm getting ready to put a third one on and watch from bed. After I take a healthy dose of NyQuil.

To my dear seester... This posting was just for you. I wanted to go to bed without doing it but didn't want to disappoint you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sleepless Nights...

Young Robert has been a great sleeper since he was born. He slept through the night the first time when he was ten days old and started doing it regularly when he was eight weeks old. So I am a very, very spoiled woman. And I really have no right to complain when he doesn't sleep well. But, man! I'm just so tired!

Robbie hasn't slept well for the past week. He wakes up every time we walk past his room. He wakes up every time he rolls over. In fact, I'm not even sure he goes to sleep at all. It feels like he just lies in wait. Compound that with the fact that I have caught his lovely cold, and you have game over. And the worst part? I can't do anything to make it better. At all.

It used to be that I could fix anything by nursing him. I was the most important person in his life. But not any more. Now there are so many more things to go through. Is it the diaper? No. Is it a fever? No. Is he hungry? Usually yes. But tonight... No. Does he want a bottle? Always yes if it is milk. Usually no if it's water and he's crying. Does he want a toy? Never if he's crying. Why bother trying anymore, you ask? Because that's my last resort. After that, it's either start over with the diaper or see if he'll cry it out and eventually go down. That's what I'm currently doing.

I know this is a combination of several things. First, Robbie has his first cold of the season. That always makes it hard to sleep. Especially if he's achy and a little feverish. Second, I think there are about nineteen teeth coming in. Well, at least two. Which I'm sure is more uncomfortable than I'd care to remember. Finally, Robbie's just started "really" walking -- more than two or three steps at a time. That's a pretty huge life change, although I'm not sure why it has to affect his sleep. Do all those experts really know what they're talking about?

So, I'm off to take some NyQuil. And hope I don't have any reason to wake up until the alarm goes off at 5:30 for Justin to head off on a day trip for work. Thank God tomorrow is Friday.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Tragedy...

Well, maybe "tragedy" is being a little dramatic. I suppose it's really just more unfortunate. But, no matter how you look at it, my cell phone met its match in one Robert Gaetano yesterday afternoon. Remember how nice it was to have Robbie involved in the grocery shopping? Well, before he got really involved, I made the mistake of keeping him occupied with my cell phone, may it rest in peace.

I first noticed there was a problem when the outer light wouldn't go off. And then I heard static coming from the phone. I knew at this point there was a real problem. Especially because the static kept going even after I turned the phone off... And when I turned it back on? No picture for a few minutes. Finally, a few hours after we got home, I heard a creepy beeping. My phone breathed it's last breath.

It's currently in a bag of rice on my counter. Not sure why it's in rice, but my sister is the resident cell phone expert. She said put it in rice, so that's what I did as soon as I got home. Of course I hadn't sent myself any of the videos I kept on the phone. Like Robbie's first steps. So I'm still holding out hope that there might be a resurrection of sorts on my counter later tonight.

Other exciting events in the Manna household today include the onset of the first cold of the season. Yup. Rob woke up with a face covered in snot this morning. Lovely. So glad he's back in daycare... Maybe this makes me a bad mom, but I cannot stand the sound of the kid when he is all stopped up. It just makes my skin crawl. I will be so glad when he can finally blow his own nose, especially because he grabs the tissue and shoves it in his mouth when I try to wipe his nose for him. It's moderately disgusting. And could someone please tell me why all those medical geniuses haven't invented a medication for children under two with coughs and colds? Could someone please organize a 5K to fund research for that? I'd be the first to sign up!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What a Helper!

Over the past few weeks, Robbie has started trying to be more involved in what Justin and I do. Some moments, it's absolutely incredible to watch. Others, I long for the stationary baby who napped in my arms. OK. Let's be honest. I always long for a baby to nap in my arms. Unfortunately, Robbie wants nothing to do with cuddling or sleeping near anyone else.

Lately, Robbie has taken to putting his things away at night, which I'm really enjoying. He takes his toys that he's thrown out of his Pack 'n Play and throws them, one by one, back in at night. Tonight, he played in the kitchen while I put away groceries, unloading the contents of the drawer under the oven. He pulled out the cookie sheet and the four cake pans, one by one, methodically putting them on the floor. And then he reloaded the drawer, making sure to include his snacks that were pulled from the baker's rack in the kitchen. Robbie then pulled everything out, taking the time to bang the pans together before restacking them in the drawer.

The other way Robbie really enjoys helping is at the grocery store, which I discovered this afternoon. We have a new method for shopping now, which is much more fun than when I used to go on my own. Now, I pull an item from the shelf and hand it to Robbie. He then apprises the situation and finds the perfect place in the cart for it. Maybe he doesn't find the perfect place, but he does chuck it nicely into the cart. The only problem was that he got bored after thirty minutes and started pulling items from the cart and throwing them onto the ground. He also ate his way through the lid of a yogurt, causing potential disaster for the unsuspecting bagger. Guess who got an open yogurt for dinner tonight?

While I've mostly enjoyed Robbie being more involved, it does have it's pitfalls. Take sleeping for example. Robbie is very concerned now that he will be missing something fabulous when we put him to bed. Bedtime is full of tears for ten or fifteen minutes, while Justin and I lie low and pretend to be doing boring things that couldn't possibly interest a one-year-old. We don't really have to pretend. If only Robbie knew that we were just sitting around waiting for it to be late enough to go to bed. The same problem happens in the morning, particularly if I get up at 5:30 to go to the bathroom. It's as if there is a hair trigger rigged to his bed and he knows when I step foot out of my room. In an instant, he is up at his post, crying.

So, as much as I love playing with Robbie during the day, I wish he'd go back to his sleep-until-6:30 ways. In fact, that was part of our prayers tonight...

Monday, September 13, 2010


I realized something important at breakfast this morning. We had cinnamon rolls. You know, the Pillsbury kind? Where you put your own icing on? The best breakfast invention in the world? When I was growing up, it seemed like we always ran short on icing, which was the best part. However, with a baby in the house, I don't put icing on his cinnamon rolls. That's just entirely too messy, and, particularly in the morning, I don't have time to stick him in the bathtub. So, the kid doesn't get icing. You know what that means! Justin and I don't run out of icing for our own cinnamon rolls.

My friend Jane and I went for a run tonight - more accurately, we went for an injury-inducing adventure. Jane and I started off running well enough until an 80-pound, pure-muscle, maniac of a dog came barreling towards us. Now, in all honesty, I know that the dog was probably coming to play with Barkley. However, there's no telling how Barkley would react to this mad beast tearing down the road at him, especially if Barkley is on a leash and the other dog isn't. Let's also add to it that the dog had the biggest choke collar on that I have ever seen.

At the last minute, the dog veered off to the left, taking out Jane. Right at the knee. Broke her right out of her run. And where was the owner? Doing the fake "Oh-I-need-to-act-like-I'm-trying-to-catch-my-dog" run. She barely broke out of a walk, and her dog continued on his path of destruction, searching out the elderly and small children. The owner hardly apologized! Can you imagine? If Barkley had nearly taken out a jogger, I would have fallen all over myself trying to apologize. But, I'm also not from Massachusetts. I'm a Kentucky girl, and we like to at least try to make people feel better.

And now I must leave you to finish getting caught up on Jersey Shore with Justin. He hasn't seen an episode all season, and he's nearly fallen off the couch three times laughing. I can't miss any more of Snooki's one-liners.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sneak Attack

I pulled the ultimate parental sneak attack tonight. Actually, it was a sneak out. I'm not proud to admit it. Scratch that. It was amazing. Some of my best parental and spousal work. But let me start at the beginning...

Justin and I agreed yesterday that I would clean the house if he did the laundry. I was supposed to clean the house last night but was too tired. So I planned to do it today between the 5K (best time yet - 38:34!) and a baby shower. Then I had the opportunity to go to Target with a girlfriend, which trumped cleaning house. I postponed cleaning to after the shower and before dinner, while Justin and Robbie were already at our friends' house. But dinner was ready early. This brings us to 7:45 this evening.

I knew I needed to leave in order to get home and clean the house, but I didn't want to be responsible for taking Robbie home. It would have required a bath, stories, and crying. This would not help me get the house cleaned. Robbie was sleeping in the guest bedroom, and out of Justin's sight and mind. After all, football was on. So, I did what any good wife would do. I kissed my husband goodbye and told him I was leaving to go home and clean. And slipped out the door without asking if he minded bringing Robbie home.

Apparently, about five minutes after I left, Justin asked, "Is my son still here?" and nodded and went back to the game when he found out I had indeed left the sleeping child. It was a much better reaction than I expected. No irritation. Just acceptance that I needed some time to myself to get the house clean and enjoy the quiet. And you know what? I did clean the house. I cleaned the hell out of it. I dusted and mopped. I organized the new bins I bought for the bathroom. I cleaned the litter box and changed the loads of laundry over. I put away toys and sorted through junk mail. And I finished just as Justin and Robbie walked through the door. The first thing Justin said? "Wow! The house smells really clean." Music to my ears and totally worth the brief moment of guilt I felt for leaving my child without telling my husband he was in charge.

Don't judge! You know you would have done the same thing. Except you might not have actually cleaned. Trust me, I know. The couch looked really tempting... But now I know I can enjoy it tomorrow without being concerned about all the chores I put off for a third day.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I can't guarantee that this is going to be a fabulously witty entry. I know how some of you rely on that from me... I am absolutely done. I made a deal with Justin earlier tonight that I would clean the house before I went to bed if he would do the laundry tomorrow. The only thing I have done is made a bigger mess. But, in my defense, I have excellent reason to be tired.

Justin and I participated in the Ollie Road Race in South Boston this morning. Justin signed up to do the five-mile run, and I signed up to do the two-mile walk. I opted for the shorter distance because I knew I could be successful at it. There's nothing like getting partway into a run and discovering that you suck. Case in point: the Spartan Race. I didn't want that again. Plus, I know I can knock out two miles pretty fast (pretty fast for me).

Now, from the start, this race wasn't too well organized. We had to walk about a half mile from the T station to the starting line, which is where we would have assumed registration was. Nope. It was at the Bank of America Pavilion, another half mile down the road. This means we also had to walk another half mile back to the start after registering... So I got off to a pretty good start, staying caught up with the rest of the runners. When I hit the mile mark, I started wondering where the turn around point was. No one in a "Race Crew" shirt had any idea. Are you kidding me? No one happened to mention, "Oh, when someone asks, THIS is the turn-around"? And this was the SEVENTIETH YEAR this race has been run. I can't believe this question has never come up before.

With no choice but to continue, I ran on to the two mile marker. Nope. No pretend finish line there. All of a sudden, there was a white van slowly driving by me. I looked over, and it was a very nice guy from the race offering me water. When I asked him about the turn-around, he looked surprised. Mhmm... It was over half a mile back the other way. So, I had two choices. I could keep going and do the full five miles, which is probably what I should have done. Instead, I turned around and headed back. I knew I had a half mile before I caught up with the course on the way back to the finish line, so I walked most of that. But, once I caught up with the other runners, I kicked it back into gear. And let me just tell you that I ran 3.75 miles in 45 minutes! I was so proud of myself!

Now, in retrospect, I should have just kept going and done the whole race. I really wussed out on this one. Especially because it turns out that the races was only 4.58 miles, and not the full five. But, who cares? I ran further than I have ever run in my life, and I did it faster than I have ever done. This gives me hope for tomorrow's 5K. I'm aiming to do it in under 40 minutes, and I really think I can. Who would have guessed?

So, now that you can see why I am so done, I am going to go to bed. After all, this mess will still be here in the morning. As fabulous of a husband as Justin is, I can trust that the mess will still be here tomorrow.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Nights

I'd like to say there was a time in my life when I got really excited about going out on a Friday night. Like in college. But in college I worked every Friday night because those were the nights you could make the most waiting tables. And after college? I was too tired to go out. Between working full time and being in grad school and driving back and forth to Georgia to see Justin, there was very little energy left for Friday nights. And now? Forget about it. I'm usually game for going out to dinner in the middle of the week to break things up, but I'm done by Friday. All I want to do is curl up with a good book and go to sleep.

With no dinner plans tonight, Justin and I were unsure of how to proceed, so I called our good friends Micah and Allie. Allie and I made the colossal mistake of attempting to involve the men in our decision-making, which just made it more difficult. And after a series of calls back and forth to Justin and Allie, I grew tired of mediating and made an executive decision. Justin wanted Christopher's, which serves some pretty fabulous burgers. Being the mother of a one-year-old, I decided that hanging out with Robbie in a crowded restaurant, waiting at least 45 minutes for a table was not on my list of fun things to do. In that moment, I knew I had to take one for the team. I would get dinner together (this involved a trip to the store), feed and bathe Robbie, and pick up the house. I know... How does she do it?

Well, having a husband come home and bathe Robbie helps. Until you have to go in to make the child stop screaming because he does not like the way his father repeatedly dumps water over his head to rinse off the shampoo. But, really, Justin was invaluable tonight... He did cook the burgers after I made them (I mixed bleu cheese in with the meat, which I thought was pretty fabulous and inspired).

You know what? It was the perfect thing to do. After dinner, we sat around the dining room table for an hour or so. Talking like we haven't had time to do in months. And laughing. I'd honestly forgotten how hilarious we all are (OK, how funny the rest of them are!). And when we decided it was getting cold with all the windows open, we did what any normal people would have done. We went outside and built a fire and sat, staring at it, for the next hour.

In case you're keeping track, we really did nothing tonight. And my kitchen is still a wreck (I keep waiting on Justin to clean it for me, but I doubt that will happen this late in the game). But it was the perfect night of nothing. Sometimes, at the end of a long week (even though it was really a great week), there is nothing better than the solace of your house and good friends. Thank goodness for both!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where'd He Learn That?

Do you ever look at your child and wonder where in the world he learned to do that? Welcome to my afternoon. Every time Robbie and I hang out, I feel like I'm with a bigger, more grown-up person. And I'm learning to relish how fun he is getting to be.

This afternoon, Roberto and I went to the grocery store. I've been going while he was asleep, and Robbie's favorite cashier and bagger had been asking about him. Usually, Robbie sits in the cart when we go, but I only had a few things to pick up. So we did what any sane mother of a one-year-old would do. We walked around the grocery store. Me with my purse and Robbie with his backpack. The juxtaposition of the backpack cracked me up: he's too little to wear it, but he looked like he was ready to walk into kindergarten. I think he knew he was wearing it and looking cute, too; he had a little extra swagger. Since we were walking, I needed Robbie to help carry the groceries. I gave him the ibuprofen, and he stood in the middle of the aisle, shaking it and laughing. And then he dropped to his knees and started a mad dash around the grocery. Fortunately, I nabbed him before some unsuspecting shopper wound up with a toddler under her cart.

When we got home, it was time for a snack. I pulled out some pretzels and humus. Robbie, pretzel in hand, waited for me to open the humus (how does he remember what this stuff is?). He then very delicately put his pretzel into the tub and dug around for some humus, which he licked off his pretzel. And then put the same pretzel back in the humus five or six more times. If you come to my house, make sure to ask for fresh humus... At any rate, I went to the kitchen to make some ravioli for Robbie's dinner. I was gone for no more than 45 seconds. When I came back? There was a big hand print in my humus. And my coffee table was being wiped with a very humus-y toddler hand. He was very, very thorough and quite pleased with himself. I'm just thankful it wasn't my new couch. Or the dog. That actually would have been worse than the couch. He's much more difficult to clean.

But the real "Where did he learn to do that?" came later in the night. It was almost time for bed, and the living room was a mess. All of a sudden, I looked up to see Robbie throwing his toys back into his Pack 'n Play! Now, sometimes when I pick up, I encourage Robbie to help me. He never does. But tonight he did it without any prompting! And then, when he ran out of toys next to the Pack 'n Play, he walked around the room to get other things to put away in there (most of them being his, a few being pieces of mail that he wanted to claim - unfortunately none of them were bills that he wanted to pay).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


You ever go to the store to buy a pair of shoes to match a specific outfit? I usually don't. I purposely buy outfits that coordinate with the one pair of black shoes, one pair of brown shoes, or one pair of running shoes in my closet. I know. So utterly un-feminine of me. Because of this, I surprised myself when I bought a navy Liz Claiborne skirt with white polka dots for $6.00 at a consignment store while I was home. It's probably because I was so excited that the skirt fit and was in what I have currently deemed an acceptable, regular person size. But back to the shoes...

Needless to say, wearing skirts is a problem with my limited shoe resources. Those loafers just don't look cute with an above-the-knee skirt. In fact, they're barely passable when covered up with long pants. This posed a problem for my new navy skirt, and I set out for Target yesterday to find the right pair of navy shoes. I was determined to wear this skirt today, and wear it I did. Unfortunately, my shoes wore me.

I realized when I was running into school this morning (the commute took me just over an hour, and I was super late). I could feel the skin on my ankles protesting, but I didn't have time to pay attention. By the time I had walked the nine miles to my classroom (OK, maybe it's only a quarter of a mile), my feet were in a full-blown fight with the rest of my body. I sit here typing with three exposed blisters, areas rubbed raw, and throbbing feet. And the shoes? They're in the back seat of my car. I went barefoot the rest of the day after work.

I'm sure you are asking yourself why in the world I bought shoes that were too small. Obviously because I am not as smart as most people. Yes, I did try on the shoes. And they seemed to fit well. However, I did not walk around in them nearly enough. And I was late getting Robbie from daycare. And I am still in denial that my feet are half a size larger than they were before Robbie was born.

It wouldn't be so bad if this was the first time I had been forced to learn this lesson. Unfortunately, my sister kindly picked up a pair of shoes for me last fall for Robbie's Christening. I told her my old shoe size and suffered through wearing the shoes. I still try them on every now and then, hoping that they may fit. They don't. Those shoes? Currently in the corner of my bedroom, mocking me. And my big post-natal feet.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


When I went to pick up Robbie from daycare today, I didn't expect anything out of the ordinary. However... When Zhining came to the door, she threw it open, looked at me, forcefully pointed to Robbie who was sitting on the floor, and proclaimed him, "LAZY! Still no walk." And Robbie just grinned and crawled over to me.

Zhining seems to be finished with Robbie's crawling stage and is ready for him to start walking and studying for his ACT. I'm not entirely sure that she believes he is walking some at home. Actually, I'm not sure Justin believes it because he hasn't seen it yet either... But, back to daycare.

It turns out that Robbie is worse than just plain lazy. Yup. He bit Zhining. Hard. While she had parents visiting because they were considering bringing their child to the daycare. Fabulous. But, rest assured, Zhining has taught him other skills to offset the biting. For instance, he knows "Wipe your mouth" in Chinese and does it. He also knows, "Blow your nose." Apparently he confused "Give me the Kleenex" for "Shove the entire Kleenex in your mouth", but I can see how he might make that mistake. I also learned today that Zhining is teaching Robbie manners, something I have obviously neglected to do, seeing as how my child is a biter and a hair puller... Every time she gives him something, she says, "Say 'thank you'" in Chinese. Robbie has begun to say the word, which is always a good sign. Is it terrible that I wasn't even thinking about making him say "Thank you"?

This is why the world needs daycare, you know. It's a method of combatting all the pertinent skills that I am neglecting to teach my child. Like please and thank you. Waiting in line. Sharing crayons. Gathering immunity to community germs. You know, the usual. And so, for the sake of the well being of the rest of the world, Robbie will continue going to daycare while I go back to work. You're so very welcome.

Monday, September 6, 2010

So It Begins...

Or ends. This is it. The last "real" hour of summer. School starts tomorrow, and I'm not sure I'm anywhere near ready. Sure, I've kind of been back at work for the past two weeks, but there's really no turning back at this point. And I feel OK about it. The house is clean, which is a great way to start off the school year. Particularly if I didn't have to actually clean it myself. Robbie's lunch is packed. Mine is semi-packed. I know what I'm wearing tomorrow, even if it isn't ironed yet. And I've taken the Tylenol PM I know I'll need to actually get any sleep tonight.

The start of the school year for me also means the start of the semester for Justin. He's back in class tomorrow night, and I'm actually looking forward to it. When Robbie goes to bed at 6:30 tomorrow night, I'll have three blissful hours all to myself. In a house that doesn't need to be cleaned. I love having Justin home, but the idea of peace and quiet with no one making a mess or needing dinner is amazing.

For some reason, I've been really emotional about the end of my first full summer with Robbie. Tonight it occurred to me why. It marks the end of relaxation. I know this seems obvious because school will be in full swing again. But, it's also true for Justin. The fall is his busy travel season. He'll be gone three of the five weekends in October. Throw in class Tuesday and Thursday nights. Oh, and the occasional Saturday class (I think there are four this semester). Add it all up, and I don't know when I'll really get to see Justin again. It's just a sign of how fast life goes and how unlikely it is that time will slow down again until next June.

I feel even more confused because I love fall; it's my favorite season. Football. Changing leaves. Pumpkins. Mums. My family's annual visit to Plum Island. My birthday and our anniversary. What's not to love? Except for the change in pace, it's absolutely perfect. And Robbie will be able to enjoy it a little more this year. He already likes to crunch leaves beneath his bare feet (he's a Kentucky boy at heart!). Maybe, just maybe, he can learn to like the sound of them crunching under his shoes when it gets a little colder.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Missing Robbie

Don't panic! This isn't an Amber Alert. Robbie's isn't actually missing!

I really have not seen Robbie much for the past thirty hours. We've had friends in from out of town all weekend, and Robbie has spent most of the time with one of his favorite babysitters. Justin and I have had dinner out two nights and a brunch today. We went to the Sox game today and didn't have a child squirming in our laps. Nor did we have to worry about him in the crowded T, where he likes to go through other people's bags... It was nice to sit in a restaurant and not have to feed anyone else. It was amazing to not change a diaper every few hours or deal with meltdowns. I wasn't sure what to do with myself when I got through an entire conversation. In fact, I've grown accustomed to having Robbie as an excuse to get out of a dead end conversation.

But you know what? I missed him. I really did. I didn't realize it until just a few minutes ago - I know, great mom, right? I went upstairs to check on him and could smell him from the hall. Never a good sign. But, it was a nice excuse to get him up to cuddle. He seemed amenable to coming downstairs and visiting and has spent the time playing Scattegories with us. He's currently entertaining himself by throwing pens through Justin's legs and trying to color Grover.

These are moments that I take for granted when I see him all day every day. There's nothing quite like watching your kid play after you haven't seen him all day. I know I go through that every day when I send him to daycare, but it's different when you have to wake him up to play with you. And I promise. His diaper really was dirty. I was being a responsible parent by getting him up and changing him. There was no selfish motivation. None at all. Seriously.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

We Have a Walker!

Robbie has been flirting with walking for at least a third of his life. At the beginning of June, Zhining assured me, "Qi Qi will walk. One month. Yes, I think one month." In early July, Zhining amended, "I think two weeks. He will be ready in two weeks." Well, it's three months later... Usually she's right on about these things, but not walking.

Until Friday. On Friday, Zhining was adamant that Robert would walk next week. And, even though today is not "next week", Robbie did start walking. I was on the phone with my mother-in-law when it hit me that Robbie was walking. I know, I know. It shouldn't have had to "hit" me. I should have been so astonished that I dropped the phone when he did it. But, I'm one of those moms who apparently doesn't notice her child's milestones fast enough. Robbie was a good three steps in when I realized that he was walking on his own.

He went back and forth across the room (well, from the chair to the bed, which is a good five feet) four times before it occurred to me to take a video of this moment for posterity. It isn't the best video, but I do have proof of Robert walking around this afternoon. Even if it was to take the bribe of an iPod.

Robbie's continuing to struggle a little with whether he wants to walk or not. When we got home from running some errands this afternoon (I finally got the perfect new linens!), Robbie held my finger to walk to the house. When we got there, he decided he wanted to turn around and go the other way. He tried to let go a few times, but it's hard to be so confident when you're facing a concrete sidewalk and no soft chair to run into if you fall. So, I can understand his hesitation to walk.

I'm hoping Robbie will do more of this tomorrow, particularly because we have a babysitter and I think it would be important for her to earn her pay by running after Roberto to make sure he's exhausted by the time I get home. Now, I know I should be careful what I wish for. But I also think I've had a good run, so to speak. Robbie wasn't a full-time crawler until well into his ninth month. And I've made it over thirteen months without a walker. So, even though I sometimes (often) long for the baby who stayed where I put him, I think it's time to make the leap to walker. This week. This week Qi Qi will walk. Yes, I think this is the week.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hurricane Earl?

Before I get started, let me apologize for missing my post last night. I went to bed around 8:00 because I wasn't feeling well. I woke up at 11:00 and thought about coming downstairs to write but just didn't have the energy. I'll try to do better in the future!

Currently, I am sitting on my couch waiting for a hurricane. I know, I know. I don't live on the beach, and I won't really get to see a hurricane. But I am pretty pumped for a huge storm. Lots of wind. Pouring rain. Is there thunder and lightning with a hurricane? That would just make it better. I might enjoy it a little more, though, if our roof was fixed. It was scheduled to be re-shingled tomorrow, but I had to reschedule. The materials were set to be delivered today, and I was (apparently unnecessarily) concerned about them blowing away in the hurricane. Plus, the roofer's wife was still in labor last night. If it was me, I wouldn't want Justin heading off to re-shingle someone's house while I was in the hospital. But, I'm pretty irrational about those things.

I took Justin up to Lawrence today to see the high school. For some reason, it's important that he knows where I am and can picture it during the day. I like knowing where Justin works. Actually, I like knowing where anyone works. I got to see my friend Rebecca's office and feel like I'm really talking to her when we email during the day. Not that either of us abandons our professional duties for long...

After leaving Lawrence, Justin and I made our way to Water Country and spend the day on water slides while Robbie enjoyed a day with Zhining. It's nice taking time just the two of us every now and then. We don't get a lot of time together when we aren't busy being a parent, and I like getting to remember what it was like just the two of us. And, shockingly, we really like spending time together. I think we're both as tired as Robbie is right now... We climbed a lot of stairs to get to the tops of the slides. We felt slightly irresponsible, knowing we spent the day before the "hurricane" was supposed to hit playing at a water park. We certainly didn't spend it putting up lawn furniture or shutting windows.

Robbie did get to spend some time talking to Nona on video chat while he took a bath tonight. It's funny that he recognizes her as soon as she comes on the screen. He blew her a kiss when he first saw her (could he melt my heart any more?) and played peek-a-boo. There's nothing like virtual peek-a-boo. Nona and Pops had their eyes covered in Kentucky, and Robbie had his eyes covered in the bathroom... A new spin on an old classic! Robbie also showed off his standing skills, pounding on his chest while talking to Nona and standing in the tub. I have no idea what he was saying, but it was apparently very funny. And then he decided it was time to end the conversation because he was climbing out of the tub. When did he get big enough for this? He knows to climb out of the tub? Oy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Dentist

I had my first of several dental appointments to fill cavities today. And it was not successful. I am so disappointed and embarrassed. When I was little, I prided myself on not having any cavities. I got a smug satisfaction out of it, especially if my brother or sister happened to get one. And now it's all coming back to bite me.

I really enjoy my new dentist, Dr. Bliss. I'm sure her name has something to do with it. And the fact that we're the same age and she talks too much. She practically stole Robbie from me the first time I met her, and she had a balloon waiting for me to take home to him tonight. So, what I am going to say is no reflection on her. She's great.

My teeth are not. I was supposed to have four cavities filled tonight. I left with two-and-a-half finished. Two of them were easy. Then we got to the doozy. I could feel the drill, so Dr. Bliss gave me two more shots of Novocain. Which didn't work. She pulled out the mirror to show me the status of my poor molar. I looked in the mirror to see that she had drilled away a quarter of my tooth, and there was still plenty of gray tooth left to be drilled out. It's a really humbling moment to realize that you haven't taken care of your teeth the way you should.

Then came the moment of truth. Dr. Bliss told me she wasn't comfortable drilling any further with the nerve that bad. She put in a medicated filling (I'd never heard of such a thing!). This is supposed to stop the cavity from progressing further and allow the nerve to heal. Then, ideally, when she goes back in a few months to put in the real filling, the nerve will be healed enough to allow this to happen.

What happened to that fourth cavity? It was right next to the tooth that was mostly drilled out, and she was concerned that the area wouldn't be fully numbed. So now that waits a few more months, too.

And now I wait another four weeks to have the three cavities on the other side of my mouth taken care of, one of which is just as bad as the one she couldn't finish today. I am so not looking forward to any of this. At all. But, she seems confident that I'll be able to avoid crowns and root canals for now. And to think, a little flossing probably would have prevented most of this drama. Guess I'll go do that now...