Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Blog Has Moved!

Thanks for checking in! I've recently moved my blog to Please come visit!

Monday, July 25, 2011


It's started. We knew it was coming. But tonight, it happened. The climbing. Oh, the climbing. Sure, we've seen him life his legs up and pretend to pull himself up on his crib. But nothing like this. And I have a feeling that life as I know it may be over soon. Very, very soon.

I was in Robbie's room putting laundry away, having left him on the other side of the gate. It's an average gate. One you'd find at Target (which, incidentally, is where I found it) or any garage sale. You know, it has the bar that goes (stupidly) horizontally across the front? The bar that just invites a child to climb up on it with both feet, balance himself, throw his hands in the air, and yell, "Tada!" The bar that gets him just close enough to the top to throw his leg over and shimmy down to the other side?

Yeah. We have that gate. On three different doors. And don't you for a minute think that he didn't do the same "Tada!" routine on every single gate. I suppose there is good news, though. After all, the companies weren't stupid enough to put that damn bar on both sides of the gate.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Things I Never Thought I'd Say

25 July 2011

"Don't put the bath-water-soaked-toilet-paper in your mouth!"

24 July 2011

"Don't brush your teeth with the dog's water."

"Don't spit pretzels at the cat."

"We don't flush hair brushes down the toilet."

On Spitting...

Every day I make Robbie repeat the same sentence several times. "I. Will. Not. Spit." Variations may include "food", "at the dog", "on Daddy/Mama/any other individual in spitting range".

But none of it really seems to work. Robbie repeats what I ask him to repeat. He gives me the obligatory, "Sowee." And then he spits again, with that gleam in his eye. Sometimes, if I seem really angry, he avoids eye contact for a few minutes and then offers a sweet smile.

How do you deal with spitting? It's not like I can take anything away from him (which is what I do when he throws things). Spanking seems too severe. Time outs don't appear to do much good. And spitting back, while extremely tempting, is just gross. Maybe ignoring it is the way to go? Hoping he'll stop if he doesn't get attention? And do girls even do this?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Beach Buddies

Robbie and Pete have known each other since they were two months old. Their forced friendship has been blossoming for the past two years, over play dates (really an excuse for the moms to get together and take a collective breath, hoping to survive motherhood until the next play date) and four months of playing together on Mondays at day care.

Unfortunately, as they have gotten older, the boys have seen each other less and less. Life happens, and people don't get together as often as they should. It's days like today, though, that remind me how important lifelong friends are. I still have a few of them, and I want to do whatever I can to make sure Robbie does, too.

The boys were beyond excited to see each other. I had to cajole Robbie into his swim diaper before he was allowed to greet Pete with all the enthusiasm of a pent-up puppy. They babbled incoherently, playing with the cats and dog. They squealed with excitement when they realized they got to ride in a car next to each other.

Then they hit the beach, flying through the sand and making a mad dash for the water. And went their separate ways. They played around each other for the better part of an hour, sharing shovels and watering cans. Suddenly, though, they were right there together, arms around each other. Smiling and "cheesing" for the camera.

Rob and Pete crowded together on the beach towel for a dinner of pizza and Diet Coke (I know, I know. No judging!). Then it happened. They were off, pieces of pizza in hand, running across the field, shrieking in delight. They chased each other up the hill and down the hill, around the other beach-goers, and, much to Rob's delight, to the parking lot gate.

The entire way home, all we heard was, "Pete. Fun. Water. Fun. Pete." I guess that means Rebecca and I are just going to have to suck it up and get together more often. Fabulous, isn't it, when a forced friendship blossoms into something beautiful?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lessons in Ice Cream

Ice cream is ice cream, right? A delicious frozen treat no matter how it is served? Not necessarily. Especially when one Robert Gaetano Manna is involved.

In the past, we've had melt downs (pun totally intended) over ice cream when Justin shared his vanilla-based ice cream and I didn't share my coffee-based ice cream. I figured I would stay ahead of the game this time by ordering a kid's scoop of coffee cookie ice cream in a cup. The sizes are generous, and I got an extra cup and spoon. It was perfect. Robbie, Justin, and I would all sit around and enjoy our treat.

Except Robbie didn't want his ice cream. He told me it was yucky and tried to throw it. I was confused; the entire way down, Robbie had been talking about 'cream. He didn't want any sort of taste of the deliciousness. After five minutes, I was ready to lose my mind. Who has a two-year-old throw a temper tantrum while out for ice cream?

And then, as I looked around to point out all the kids being good with their 'cream, it occurred to me. They were all being good with their 'cream CONES. I bolted to the counter, grabbed a cone, and spooned the ice cream into it. And to my immediate left? A very happy little boy, grinning from ear to ear. He looked at me as I offered the cone and said, "'Cream, Mama. Tank you."

Lesson learned. Ice cream in bowls is for babies and grown-ups. Kids eat ice cream in cones. And, since I don't have a baby any more, I'll be ordering an extra cone from now on.


I'm sure I've mentioned Robbie's love of all things coffee. At least once or twice. Right? Well, just in case you forgot... He loves it. Absolutely loves it. It's actually gotten to the point where we order him his own coffee if we go to Dunkin' Donuts (a small and, of course, decaf - when Justin remembers). It's so much easier than trying to wrestle our own drinks away from him.

So, after church this past Sunday, we stopped by Dunkin' Donuts for a little mid-morning pick-me-up. Young Robert decided his own coffee wasn't enough. He toured the backyard with his cup, my cup, and a sippy cup of juice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Long Drive Home...

Since Justin had flown back to Boston for class and work, Mom drove home with Robbie, Barkley, and me. We left Lexington at 7:45 Thursday morning and, according to the GPS, would arrive at home by 11:35 that night. At least, that was the plan...

After our first stop, Mom discovered that she had lost her watch. A watch she had, actually, just found after several months of being lost. So, we turned around, drove back to the gas station, and, miraculously, found the watch. Despite my knocking an hour off our arrival time before the stop, we were back to 11:35.

A few hours later, the check engine light came on. Before you panic, let me tell you it was user error. I had the car on cruise control and hit the decelerate button too quickly. We pulled over at the next exit and managed to find a gas station. Full service. With a mechanic on duty. At 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon. $6.36 later, we were on the road with a new quart of oil and a cleared car.

The good vibes from our easy car repair lasted a while. We were able to find a McDonald's with a play place (despite entering the wrong street in the GPS, which my mom patiently accepted). Robbie went crazy! And, I'll admit, it was pretty awesome. The slide (piano keys, of course) played as he slid down. There was a guitar that played when climbed on and computer stations. It was pretty impressive. And, after an hour of running around like a mad man, Robbie was willing to get into his car seat, refuse to eat his hamburger, scarf his apple slices, and watch more Elmo. As a side note, how is this possibly my kid? Refuse the burger and scarf the apple? Really?

We drove through Newark as the sun set, and, much to Robbie's delight, dozens of planes were taking off and landing. There was a full moon over New York City as we passed, a sight I have never seen before that trip. It was breath-taking. And none of my cameras were able to capture a good picture. Of course.

Things were going so well. Too well. Just as we'd made our way across the George Washington Bridge, Mom commented on how smoothly the trip had been. You know, Robbie behaving, getting lucky with finding her watch and a mechanic, no traffic. And then it happened. We hit a bump. And all of a sudden, all we heard was "bum-bum-bum". It sounded like a flat tire.

Fortunately, there was an exit up ahead. But, really, what were the chances there would be a gas station? Or a service station? At 9:45 at night? Apparently, pretty good. There was a full-service gas station. With someone willing to get on the ground and look at our car. Amazing!

He said it looked like we had a frayed cable and something was leaking, which did not bode well for the 200 miles we still had to drive. What's a girl to do in a situation like that, you ask? Well, luck continued to be on our side. Justin's aunt and uncle lived off the next exit. I know, I know. Incredible luck!

We pulled into Tom and Chris' house around 10:30 that night and received a warm welcome. Mom got to meet Chris for the first time. We enjoyed the full moon over Long Island Sound. We got a good night's rest. Barkley got to play with another dog. And, even though we got home 17 hours later than anticipated, it was well worth it.

Oh, about the car repairs... We went to the mechanic early the next morning. Ironically, he had worked as a mechanic for Jeep for 20 years. It turns out the bump knocked my emergency brake cable loose and it was hitting against the rear axle. The liquid? Well, that was more of a problem... Turns out the seal in the rear differential was bad and needed to be replaced. I still feel like we got off pretty easy with a bill of $225 (I needed all my fluids flushed, too. Apparently something that should be done every 15,000 miles. Shockingly, I'd put it off for almost 90,000.).

I have to tell you. Pulling into that driveway never felt so good.

Vacation - Without Robbie

Justin and I needed some time without Robbie, so we did what any good parents would do and left him with my parents for five days. I flew to New York, where Justin picked me up at the airport, and we went on a cruise to St. John, New Brunswick.

It was strange to be alone at first; it had been so long since we'd been without Robbie for more than a few hours. What in the world were we going to talk about? Would it be too quiet?

No. Not at all. It was amazing. Brilliant. Inspired. Definitely worth doing once a year. After all, as my mom reminds me, even kids need a break from their parents. And, she happily runs "Grand Camp" during the summer, wearing Robbie out to the point of him sleeping until 9:15 in the morning.

Justin sprung for a balcony, something we've never had in our previous four cruises. And it was so worth it. Our view from New York was staggering.

Unfortunately, so was the fog we faced the entire first day.

And the rain for almost the entire second day, our one day in port. We took a trolley tour of the city, stopping to see the reversing rapids which were, unfortunately, going the normal way while we were there. However, when we woke up from our nap (yes, nap!), the sun was out, so Justin and I took off for the hot tub on the top deck and had a perfect view as we pulled out of port.

The third day of the cruise was gorgeous. I spent the entire day outside, half of it (stupidly) without sunscreen. I know, I know... But I'd forgotten to pack any and figured the clear weather would only last an hour or so. I smartened up after a few hours and went to buy some. Miraculously, I only burned my chest.

The day the cruise ended, my flight didn't leave until 8:00 at night, leaving me the entire day in New York City. All. By. Myself. I'm not going to lie; I was intimidated and not entirely sure that I wanted to do anything but go straight to the airport and wait. But, I put my big girl panties on and explored the city.

Justin dropped me off at Central Park, and I wandered for the better part of two hours. I made my way down Fifth Avenue, where I stopped in Saint Patrick's for Mass and then had my make-up done at Saks. I walked to Times Square. I went to Macy's. I moseyed and took my time. And, after twenty minutes, managed to hail a cab, which Justin (wrongly) assured me would be the easiest part of the day.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Swimming and Girls

Robbie loves swimming. And girls. Getting to combine the two is a special treat. At first, Robbie wasn't too sure about McCauley. After all, what did she really have to offer him, other than cool toys and cute blonde hair? Neither one really brought stimulating conversation to the table.

But McCauley did share. She shared her balls, her float, her cheese sticks and chicken tenders.

She let Robbie play with the other toys they found in the baby pool after lunch.

They did a little hugging.

And, perhaps most importantly, she let him hold her hand.

Hair Cut

We made it almost two years, but Robbie finally needed his hair cut. It was time for the rat tail to go. Time for me to have a proper little boy instead of a baby. Justin and I decided it would be good to take Robbie to the barber shop Justin went to all through college.

I'm just not sure that words can do the experience justice. The panicked screams started as soon as Justin set Robbie in the barber chair.

He usually loves combing his hair, but not in the barber chair. And not with a stranger doing it.

The thought of scissors coming toward his face threw him into a tizzy.

And as they got closer, Robbie couldn't even bring himself to look.

Justin practically had to hold him down when they brought out the clippers.

All he really wanted was to escape.

But as soon as he had his lollipop, Robbie was all charm and smiles.


Robbie is fearless. Absolutely fearless. To the point of terrifying me. On the Fourth of July, we went to a picnic where there was an in-ground pool. Unfortunately, neither Nona, Pops, or myself had a bathing suit. Even worse, almost everyone else did. Much to the dismay of my desperate toddler.

Robbie did everything he could to get in the pool. He ran and stopped short at the edge. He dragged me to the pool, emphatically showing me, "Water! Water!". He threw a football in the pool. He tried to climb on the diving board. And finally I broke. I got Robbie's bathing suit from the car (you know, just in case there was a kiddie pool - I was NOT anticipating an actual pool). I found a relative I'd actually met once, and dropped my kid in the pool.

Eventually, Robbie tired of the pool, so he got out and started walking around it. Then he found it. The water slide. And he was up it in a flash. We found a kind soul willing to catch the flying child, so down Robbie went. I'll be honest. I let him go down because I was hoping it would scare him and he wouldn't want to go down it again. Wrong. Horribly wrong. Robbie went down the slide at least fifteen times.

Unfortunately, that wasn't our only experience with slides. He had a blast at Southland pool on the frog slide but was devastated that he was too little to use the big kid slide. And, secretly, I was thrilled. I'm not ready to send my baby down big water slides any more than I have to. I guess diving boards are next... God help me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Aunt Hilary's Helper

Robbie loves his Aunt Hilary (Hiw-a-ree). There are always fun things to do at her house, like wash cars and play with sidewalk chalk. There's also an entire house to run around outside with a big goofball chasing you (there's no fence from the sides of the house, so Robbie can run around and around and around). There's a hill to roll down. And Aunt Hilary let's Robbie be a helper in ways that his terrible mom doesn't.

She let's him help decorate cakes.

And doesn't worry about it turning out just so (as I might...)

She let's him water the flowers.

And himself.

Then, at the end of the day, when he just can't take it anymore, Robbie can curl up with Daddy for a good book and a little love.

Lake Time

Robbie likes water. Sometimes. I think he likes the idea of it better than the actual thing. When he got to my aunt's lake house, he made a beeline for the dock. He wasn't so sure about swimming at first, but he caught on after my cousin's son, Will jumped into the water and started splashing around. All of a sudden, he wanted to be just like Will. And they had a blast, splashing around the lake, quacking at the ducks.

And then there was the boat ride to fireworks in the middle of the lake. I wasn't too sure how it would go for several reasons. First, Robbie does not like to wear life jackets. At all. Although, he did much better when he saw all the other big kids were wearing them. Second, his experience on small boats has been minimal and terrifying (remember the airboat ride through the Everglades?). Third, it was nearly 10:00 at night, well past any bed time I would have hoped for him.

He fidgeted a little at first, but then the fireworks started. Robbie was enthralled, staring at them with his mouth agape. He turned to look at me, pointed to the fireworks, and, very solemnly, said, "Stars, Mama." He sat through the entire show that way, sometimes getting a little excited when a really big one was set off, but completely enamored by them. Just like his mama.

My Own Time

I'd been looking forward to getting home for days. Weeks, even. Because I knew that, as soon as I pulled into town, I was going to leave Robbie, Justin, and Barkley for a few glorious days all by myself. Well, kind of.

We pulled into town around 12:30 Thursday afternoon, and my sister, Hilary, met us at Mom's house. We hugged and visited and ate cupcakes (isn't that what you do when you've just driven a thousand miles?). And then I left. Quickly. Oh, sure. I gave Justin a few instructions, mostly, "I don't care how you do it, and I know it won't be like I do it. But just make sure the dog and the baby are still alive when I get back. That's it. Good luck." A quick kiss and I hit the road, all by myself.

There wasn't even a car seat in the back of the car (I'd borrowed my mom's). No mess. No Elmo. Just music I wanted to listen to. And an errand I wanted to run (hello, Gap Outlet! - a REAL outlet) without anyone grabbing clothes or making me rush because he had a dirty diaper or a rumbly belly.

And then I was there, at my aunt's lake house, ready for some glorious time to myself. We sat out on the boat for a while. We drank for a while. We lingered over dinner (when was the last time that happened?). And, amazingly, I slept for ten hours. I lounged in bed for an hour, reading a trashy Nora Roberts book. I took a walk around the lake (not realizing that it was a 7.5 mile loop that would take me nearly two hours). I lounged in the sun and took a boat ride.

Of course, I painted an adirondack chair for my aunt and ran some errands with her, too. After all, it couldn't be a completely free ride! I had to earn my keep just a little. And, you know what? I was really excited to see Robbie when Hilary brought him up to the lake house Saturday.

Road Trips

I'm sure they're supposed to be fun. I mean, who doesn't love a good road trip with an almost-two-year-old? And, true to form, ours was full of excitement. And Elmo. Lots and lots and lots of Elmo. A good twenty hours worth. On repeat. And there was more. So much more.

Justin didn't get in until 2:00 Wednesday morning, and we'd planned to leave at 6:00. Being the kind and loving wife that I am, I let him sleep until 7:35. We had our coffee and hit the road by 8:35, sure that we'd pull into Lexington by 12:30. Or even earlier. After all, the GPS said 12:35, and we all know you can drive faster than the GPS and beat the arrival time.

The weather was gorgeous. Robbie was placated by Elmo and his new coloring book. Justin and I hadn't heard it enough for it to be jarring just yet. Barkley was well behaved. Traffic was light. Things were good. Really good. Great even. And then we hit New York. And stayed. For three freaking hours. Yes, that's right. It took us three hours to drive through the city. Fortunately, Robbie stayed calm and made at least that part bearable.

Suddenly, the traffic cleared, and we were off. And still what felt like a million miles from home. Justin and I tried our best to tune out Elmo. We tried to trick Robbie into watching another movie. We turned up the radio. We did it all. None of it worked. Even when he took a nap, we had to leave that blasted DVD on because as soon as it was turned off, he woke up crying for Elmo.

At 8:45, we had a wake-up call. I was on the phone with my mom when it happened. I felt the car slow down and was sure our engine problems were back. Justin motioned toward the windshield, and I saw it. The deer. In the middle of the interstate. It jumped part way across the road and then turned around and came back toward us, headed straight for the car. Justin braced for impact as I stared the deer in the eye, panicked about how this was all going to play out.

And then it was gone. Nowhere. And we were safe. Nothing hit the car. No one was injured. Just like that, she was gone, serving whatever wake-up call she was intended to (I'm going for a "don't-ignore-the-little-details-for-the-sake-of-the-big-picture, but you can take from it what you will).

We made it as far as we could, but by the time we rolled into Charleston, West-by-God-Virginia, Justin and I were done. So was poor Robbie, who'd been crying about his booboos from the car seat for thirty minutes. We realized he was running a fever, and Justin set to work rubbing Robbie's feet, which had become swollen after sixteen hours in a car.

After learning that the first hotel we stopped at was full (Seriously? On a Wednesday? In West Virginia?), we found a Residence Inn with openings and piled into the bed. All of us. Justin. Robbie. The dog. And me, on the very edge. Robbie, despite his sheer exhaustion, took care to tuck Justin and myself in for the night before laying down. He handed Justin Cookie and lovingly gave me Moo. Then he offered Elmo some milk (I still need to check to see if that soured) and laid down to go to sleep.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lights, Camera, Spilled Popcorn!

We tried it again. You know, the whole movie thing? We were going crazy in the house with Robbie last Saturday and the weather wasn't fabulous. So, what occurred to us? Yeah. We thought a trip to see Cars 2 would be great. And it was. At least it started out that way.

When we got to the theatre, we explained to Robbie that we'd be seeing a move about cars. He yelled, "Oh, boy!", giving me the false confidence that he actually understood what I was talking about and would participate like a big boy.

We got some popcorn and settled in the theatre. Rob was entertained by the movie and the popcorn and the drinks for about 45 minutes, far longer than his last movie attempt in December. And then, suddenly, it was over. He had spilled a bag of popcorn on the floor and started eating it. He tried to climb the chairs in front of us, much to the irritation of the seven-year-olds seated there. He wanted to run up and down the aisles. He. Was. Done.

And so were Justin and I. Not entirely drawn in by Cars 2, I was actually relieved to have an excuse to leave. Except Robbie was soaked. All the way through. So, it was time for a quick trip to TJMaxx to find a new outfit before heading out on our next adventure, a trip to the beach to try to wear Robbie out. Actually, it was followed by two trips because they forgot to take the sensors off the outfit.

And then we were off to the beach. You know, to wear the kid out? Let him run around on the sand? Well, he didn't get the memo that he was supposed before he got to the water. He was soaked. And crazy. And not at all tired. Especially after an ice cream cone. And a lost phone on my part. But it's the stuff memories are made of, right? Driving an hour each way to the beach in hopes that an hour of activity will wear your kid out?

"Simming" in the Tub

Rob loves the bath. Has for a long time. He loves sitting in the bath, standing in the bath, playing in the bath. Oh, and drinking the bath water. But he does not like to swim in the bath, or, as he puts it "sim". Until last week (I know, I'm really behind on the blogs!).

I put Robbie in the tub and turned around to put clothes in the hamper. The next thing I knew, my little fish was belly down and kicking in the tub. Surprised, I asked him what on earth he was doing. He looked at me, raised his eyebrows, and said, "Simming, Mama." Of course. Silly me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Sprinkler System

Robbie's really started to come into his own with opinions and activities lately. For example, tonight I asked Robbie what he wanted for dinner. He very specifically informed me that he would like "food" for dinner. Excellent...

Our exploration into Robbie's vocabulary continued after bedtime. He'd been "down" for about an hour when we went in to check on him. Our cherub had, once again, thrown all of his toys out of the crib and taken off his diaper. But this time he went a step further.

When Justin went in to investigate, Robbie said, "Dirty." We had no idea... Until Justin stepped in the puddle. And discovered that the floor, the sheets, and the mattress were all soaked. Great. Just great.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

'Lil Whale Watcher

It seemed like a good idea, this whole whale watching thing. Rob likes boats. And, well, who doesn't want to see whales on a gorgeous June afternoon?

The event started out smoothly enough: Robbie loved exploring the boat, cup of Dunkin in hand. He waved to all the boats as we passed them, stared at the rushing water, and said, "Holy cow! Moo!" about a dozen times. And then the first thirty minutes passed. And the second. And the third. And nothing was exciting for my child, who was, at this point, two hours past his nap time and declaring his extreme hunger and thirst while expressing his disdain for everything offered him.

After two hours of seemingly aimless sailing, we finally came upon a humpback whale! We all ran outside to keep our eyes peeled for the next spouting. Rob leaned up against the railing, saying, "Here, whale, whale, whale. Come play," over and over. And, suddenly, there one was! I was looking to the right when I heard Robbie yell, "Whale!" and point to the left. Sure enough, there was a whale breeching! Robbie actually spotted his first whale, one named Gondola.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to see another whale, Pinball, about twenty yards from the boat. It was absolutely incredible to see this huge animal glide through the water so seemingly effortlessly. Robbie squealed with delight every time he saw the whale, pointing and exclaiming, "Whale!" Although Justin was taking a nap to recover from seasickness, I really enjoyed the one-on-one time with Robbie, showing him something so incredible. After all, there's only one first time to see something as incredible as a humpback whale.

During our hour trip back to Newburyport, Robbie continued to deteriorate. The only thing he put into his body all day was a medium coffee, 32 ounces of water, some Diet Coke, three pieces of orange, seven pretzels, and two mini cookies. I was calculating all the liquid the cherub consumed and the number of diapers we had used (at that point, two). And then I felt it. And it was warm. And wet. Soaking wet, actually.

Yes, as I was comforting my tantruming, exhausted toddler, he peed on me. A lot. I'd like to say I calmly moved Robbie, but I more tossed him aside, only to see a pool of liquid being absorbed into my shirt. Thankful that Robbie at least hadn't hit my shorts, I sent Justin to find a t-shirt. After all, what whale watch would be complete without commemorative shirts? But my dutiful husband came back empty-handed. He assured me that it was funny and that my shirt would dry. Unconvinced, I took my urine-soaked self and found where they were selling t-shirts.

Dry, and much happier, we docked and headed to New Hampshire for dinner at Markey's. Robbie hung in pretty well, eating his grilled cheese and sampling lobster. True to tradition, we headed to Dunlap's for ice cream afterwards. Not in the mood to share with Robbie, we ordered a baby ice cream cone for him. He ran around the field, enjoying his own ice cream.

The sheer joy of this lasted for only a minute. You know, until the whole thing toppled to the ground. Robbie screamed like he'd lost his best friend, crying, "Dirty! Mess!" for the next ten minutes. Rob was inconsolable for the next ten minutes, refusing any ice cream at all until MPaPa (Grandpa) offered him his vanilla cone. Then, they were best buds, sharing a cone.

The ride home was complete with MPaPa asleep and snoring in the backseat and young Robert imitating him and snoring from his car seat. There's nothing like trying to be just like MPaPa.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Fond Farewell

I climbed on the scale this morning. You know, just to see how I was doing. And I stepped off. Then I stepped back on, just to check and make sure it was working. It was. My scale read 199.0. Three times.

I did it! I have shed 86 pounds in under 23 months and finally dropped below the 200-pound mark. I'll be honest; I didn't really thing it was ever going to happen. I've been dancing around it for a month now, dealing with a mental block. Rectifying who I am now with who I have spent my entire adult life being. And I guess I finally decided that I was ready to move forward.

It's a funny thing, this moving past a big obstacle. I felt different immediately, walking a little more proudly, feeling like I was finally in the land of acceptable. Even the gym was different. I wanted to quit today, especially after the past few days I've had at work. I didn't want to run 2-minute sprints at 6 miles per hour. But I did. Because not doing them was something someone over 200 pounds might have done.

But not me. Not this girl. I can do anything. Forty-eight hours of labor? Check. Lose 86 pounds? Done it. Pull out a three-minute sprint? Piece of cake next to everything else.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Words! Words! Sentences?

He's saying new words every day. Today, when I dropped him off at day care, Robbie pointed out a "forest" to me. He doesn't even know the word tree, but he knows forest? We're talking about toys and friends and planes.

But I really got thrown for a loop when we got home from the gym tonight. Robbie had been telling me that he was "tursty" the entire way home, despite drinking all of my water. So, you can imagine my surprise when he brought me a cup and said, "I want juice. Peese." Are paragraphs next? I don't think I'm ready for that!

Pack 'n Play

Last night was Tuesday Night Dinner with Micah and Allie, so Robbie and I headed to their house around 7:00. Once again, after dinner, I put Robbie to bed and assumed he was down for the count. An hour later, we heard the sound of something small and metal hitting the floor. Allie and I looked at each other and jumped up, both of us saying that didn't sound good. And it wasn't.

Now I've learned my lesson about putting Robbie to bed at Micah and Allie's. I dutifully cleared the bed of laundry (Allie had removed everything else), pushed things back from the shelves, and set up the Pack 'n Play as close to the bed and as far from the dressers and shelves as possible. None of my efforts mattered.

In a move that I would have paid good money to see, Robbie shimmied the Pack 'n Play four feet across the floor to Allie's dresser. Her underwear was strewn across his bedding, drawer hanging open. Half of a lint roller had been unfurled, creating a large, if not sticky, ball, which sat in the corner.

And then there was my child himself, standing facing the door. I believe I may have heard, "Uh oh," escape his lips when Allie and I walked through the door. He had an uncapped Sharpie and had been using it to entertain himself for a long time. Fortunately, none of the ink reached the wood furniture (in the event that happens, I recommend using a Magic Eraser). It did, however, reach the sides of the Pack 'n Play, the books, the credit card resting on the dresser. You know, pretty much everything around.

Oh, and my child. It reached him from head to toenail. His face, fortunately, had only a few, easily removable swipes of marker. His palms were covered. His legs, well, those speak for themselves. I actually didn't get them cleaned off. Partly so I could get a picture in the morning (you wouldn't believe me if you couldn't see it). And partly because there was just too much to try to remove it all. After all, Allie only had so much hand sanitizer (apparently excellent for removing Sharpie in case you were looking for another quick rememdy).

Monday, June 13, 2011


We've been working on the word "share" with Robbie lately. I think not having the right words has fostered his frustration lately, resulting in toy-stealing and hair pulling when a certain little girl stands her ground and doesn't give the toy up immediately. So, whenever I give Robbie anything, I have him ask me to please share. And when he has something I need, I ask him to please share. I'll be honest; I was pretty impressed that the whole sharing thing seemed to take. However, until we left the grocery store this afternoon, I wasn't sure he really understood.

Because Robbie survived an entire day driving to and from Maine and going in more stores than any man would ever care to visit in a two-hour period, I bough Robbie an Elmo balloon at the grocery today. He carried it all through the store, delighted at his new Elmo.

When we got into the car, Robbie deftly pulled the balloon inside and next to him. Once he was in his car seat, I peeled a banana for Robbie and asked him if he could show me how to share the banana. You know... Like by giving me a bite?

Instead, my son looked up at the balloon and said, "Share." He then lifted the banana to Elmo's mouth and said (I kid you not), "Here you go!" Now if only I can get him to share with real live people and not Mylar balloons...


I don't really remember what a good night's sleep feels like... I haven't had one in so long. For the last two nights, Robbie has woken up screaming in the middle of the night. I actually think he's having nightmares; when I go into his room tears are streaming down his face. He gloms onto me, afraid to let go it seems.

Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to put himself back to sleep for the past two nights. Of course, it might have something to do with the fact that we had company and I was somewhat reticent to ruin Louisa's night of sleep as well. (Occasionally, I have some manners). This resulted in a toddler occupying a seemingly larger percentage than he should have.

It sounds sweet, you know? Cuddling with a little boy, relishing perhaps a tiny bit of baby smell. Let me assure you. It is not. Particularly when he snores. Sure, it's not the rafter-shaking snores Justin can produce. But it's definitely not the quiet mewings of a new baby. As I'm trying to relax, it just reminds me that my time with a precious baby is quickly fading. And that, sooner rather than later, he will become a real boy.

Duck! Duck! Robbie!

My best friend from high school was in this weekend for the fabulous NKOTBSB concert at Fenway. Since Louisa had never been to Boston before, Robbie was happy to play tour guide for the morning. He showed Louisa the Make Way for Ducklings statues, complete with Bruins jerseys for each one. And then he was off to see the real thing. After all, what's better than live ducks that actually quack back when you quack at them?

When Robbie walked over to the pond, there weren't any ducks nearby. However, as soon as they spotted Robbie, three or four of them swam over to quack at him. He was so beside himself that they came to see him, it was all I could do to keep him from hopping in the pond with them.

I'm not sure what we're going to do when the Res opens and we go swimming. There are ducks there, and I have a feeling a certain toddler will be swimming after them. At least then it will be warmer than 50 degrees and he'll be dressed for the adventure!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Holy Cow! Moo!

It's funny how toddler brains work. I'm noticing that Robbie's seems to rapid fire, placing random things he knows and can say together, even if it doesn't really make sense. His new favorite saying? "Holy Cow! Moo!" I guess it makes sense. Cows do say "Moo." But it really only confuses things that Robbie's giraffe is named Moo.

We also focused on sharing today, something I'm hoping will help him react a little better when his best friend from daycare has a toy he would like. And, in spite of a sharing snafu today, when I picked Robbie up from daycare today, A wrapped Robbie up in a big hug and said, "QiQi is my bestest friend in the whole wide world." And all I really have to say about that is, "Holy Cow! Moo!"

Monday, June 6, 2011


Last night, we put Robbie to bed early. After all, he'd only gotten seven hours of sleep the night before (we had to be up early for a 10K, that I finished in an amazing 1:15:19!). Despite a four-hour nap, Robbie was cranky by 6:30. So, he was off to bed where he fussed for a while before finally falling asleep.

Justin went up a few hours later to put some laundry away and immediately called me up. And there he was. My son, naked from the waist down. He had tossed his pants over the side of his crib and chucked his diaper into the hallway. So we did what any responsible parents would do: we took pictures. And, in a shocking move, I will not be posting them here even though nothing is showing.

Imagine my surprise this morning when I got an email from Justin telling me that he found our son awake in his crib. Naked from the waist down. Needless to say, tonight he's sleeping in footed pajamas. After all, one of these mornings he'll have poop in his diaper.

Dog Parks and Lobster and Arcades, Oh My!

We took Robbie from one shore to the other on Saturday. No, we didn't travel to California. We went from the South Shore to the North Shore. I think it's an event best described in pictures...

We walked the mile loop, and the dogs swam. Then we found the hill... The dogs took off up the incline, with Robbie quickly following. He managed to make it up with minimal help from Uncle CaCa (Micah). He held Micah's hand for a few minutes when it got rough, but he really wanted to do it on his own.

There was a big hill, and Robbie had a blast running up and down it.

And Justin tried to show him how to role down the hill.

It wasn't very successful. Robbie had more fun going down the hill with Aunt Allie.

And climbing back up again.

When Robbie needed a break for some water, he felt like he needed a space. Rob took off down the hill and across a field to find a place to sit and have a little peace and quiet.

After the dog park in Hingham, it was off to New Hampshire for a little lobster at Markey's and ice cream at Dunlap's. Robbie liked the experience so much that he wanted to be a part of the ice cream.

And, yes. There was more. We headed to Joe's Playland for a little arcade fun. Now, Robbie's been there three times, and he knows how this works. He puts the quarter in, presses the buttons, and collects the tickets. And he gets the adults in his life to pour all their money into the machines to win him a new Cookie Monster and an Elmo. And then he falls asleep in the car, only to have his terrible mother making him take a bath at 11:00 at night.

Yeah. It was a full day.