Monday, February 28, 2011

My Little Helper

You wouldn't have known Robbie was the same kid today. Well, this morning you would have. He started the fussing and throwing of things as soon as he was half-dressed this morning. Seriously half-dressed. I didn't even get the onesie buttoned... But, that's not what this is about.

I still had some major cleaning up to do when Robbie and I got home. I fully expected some sort of meltdown from the little one (he's nineteen months today, by the way!). Followed by food and/or beverage throwing. Accompanied with destruction of drawers. But none of it happened. Well, a little of it happened.

When I came back inside from letting Barkley out, I found Robbie in the kitchen and the roll of plastic wrap unrolled in the kitchen. There wasn't much left, and it was interesting to watch Roberto figure out that the cardboard roll made a great horn. He eventually started running around repeating words into it. Amazing how funny "Mama", "kitty", and "bath" sound through a cardboard tube.

He didn't just run around playing games. Oh, no. Robbie had his little helper hat on tonight. He fed the dog, carefully delivering the food bowl from the kitchen to the dining room where Barkley was napping. He found the canister of Clorox wipes, pulled out a half dozen, and began cleaning my kitchen floor. He threw away trash from the linen closet as I handed it to him. And when he felt like he'd worked hard enough? Robbie grabbed a bottle of seltzer, took himself into the living room, hoisted himself up on his little red recliner, and hung out for a while.

He laughed hysterically through bath time. He blew bubbles and threw water on his head. He let me wash his hair AND his face. He brushed his teeth. He even sat through fingernail AND toenail clipping. Something he hates.

God, it feels good to have my little boy back. Even if he wakes up a terror tomorrow morning.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

And The Award Goes To...

Me. Category? Worst. Mother. Ever. Don't believe me? Just ask Robbie; he'd be more than happy to fill you in on the horrors of being my child for the past week.

It really all started on Wednesday night during our flights home from Kentucky. Robbie screamed and fussed and wiggled the entire way. I was not patient. I was not understanding. I didn't care that he had a cold. I didn't care that he'd barely napped. I wanted him to sit on my lap during take-off and landing. I wanted him to sit in his seat and color during the flights. And, I'll be honest, I fully expected him to fall asleep on the second flight and be cuddly and wonderful. But you know about all of that...

Thursday night was perhaps the worst night of my life. Other than the night that I spent in labor - but I knew that would end eventually with a fabulous little boy. I wasn't sure that Thursday night would ever end. Robbie went down around 7:00. He woke up at 9:00 and screamed until 9:50 when Justin came home and took over. Of course, Robbie went right to sleep for Justin. Until 11:00, when he woke up screaming. Again. And at 1:30. Justin brought him into our room at that point, too tired to keep soothing him from the rocking chair. Robbie stayed there, tossing and turning, until 4:30. And then he was over it. We finally put him in his crib and let him scream. And scream. And scream. Until almost 6:00 when he finally wore himself out. I felt like a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad mother. But I couldn't deal with it. He was fed, dry, and warm. And I was going to lose my mind. Justin and I weighed the options and decided it was best for everyone to just let him scream.

I knew it was an ear infection around the second time Robbie woke up. However, as any seasoned mom knows, there's nothing you can do about it until the doctor's office opens the next morning. There are only so many times you can try to shove Tylenol down a baby's throat. Or offer him a bottle and have it thrown across the room. So, we waited. But we were at the doctor's office when the door opened for the walk-in clinic at 8:00.

I was right. It was an ear infection. Actually, it was two. And a cold. But, lovely child that my son is, he turned on the charm and flirted with the doctor. Me? I burst into tears, so tired of the screaming and not being able to fix anything. Robbie's doctor told me that I'd done a great job. In fact, she confided that that morning, she'd told her two little boys they needed to get their acts together because, although she loved them, she did not currently like them. This made me feel a little better.

We spent yesterday in New York visiting Justin's family. It was the first time Robbie got to meet them, and he was a perfect gentleman. He even took his medicine without a problem. Twice. And then it was back to Bartlett Avenue, where all hell broke lose this afternoon.

Robbie didn't take a nap. He was wound up and, at some point, pooped (we all know the fun of Augmentin, right?). I got him up and tried to clean the house. Robbie wasn't having it. He knocked down the gate to the bathroom. He tore down the (already broken) linen closet door. He knocked down the gate by the stairs. It was all I could do to remind myself that I was the adult in the situation. And I had to remind myself over and over and over. After he screamed. After he clawed my face. After he tried to choke me.

Eventually, I did the only other thing I knew to do: I took Robbie and left the house. After all, in public, my child is charming and there are witnesses. I have to be the adult in public. We went up and down the aisles. I took my time, sifting through coupons (I saved over $71 with my card and the coupons). Robbie flirted with people in the aisles, the cashier, the bagger, and the people in line behind us.

Then we got home. He screamed for a cheese stick, so I gave him one. Then he screamed for another. As I was opening it in the disaster area that is my house, Robbie opened his mouth and spit out all of the cheese he'd just chewed. Much to Barkley's delight.

Speaking of Barkley... My other "child" is also on the list. He peed in the house twice today. In the middle of the disaster. But, back to the rest of the day... Robbie tore around the house, pulling items from drawers and throwing them onto the floor. Finding myself at my wits end (again) and without any other errand to run, I put Robbie in his Pack 'n Play and went to the other side of the house. He ate dinner on his own, too. I just couldn't bring myself to sit with him while he threw food and screamed.

He screamed his way through dinner. And his bath. And getting dressed. And medicine-taking. He tried to throw the bottle again. He squirmed out of my arms when I tried to rock him. So, I ignored him. Went about my business, putting away laundry. He puttered around for a little while and then got his bottle. He climbed into my lap and fell asleep in my arms after a long talk about how I was a bad mom and he was a bad boy but we were both going to work on being nicer tomorrow. The time? 5:55.

It's been a long four hours since then. I cleaned our room, sorted through my clothes, bagged up four bags of things that didn't fit. I dusted and vacuumed. I finally got the groceries (mostly put away). I did a load of laundry (still have to remake the bed). I cleaned up chicken juice from some chicken Justin defrosted - dated December 2009. I purged the fridge of rotting produce. I cleaned up Barkley's second mess.

Is everything finished? Absolutely not. There are still (non-perishable) groceries on the counter. Only one load of laundry got done. The downstairs wasn't vacuumed or mopped. But I'm all set. Done. Ready to put clean sheets on my bed and crash. So, I'll leave you to mull over your less-than-stellar parenting moments. And perhaps not feel so alone in them.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bloody Lip

This afternoon had all the makings of a fun adventure. Grandmama is here. Daddy is in class. Barkley was in the mood to play. And then Robbie crashed. He threw a fit when I went out back to clean up the yard. Incidentally, melted dog poop is disgusting. Best just to clean it up before the next snow comes. Roberto threw turkey stew and pears across the living room. He dumped Selsun Blue into the tub, making it near impossible to wash his hair and face.

And then he made his escape from the bathroom, running around the house like a naked maniac. From the bathroom to the living room, where he laughed at Grandmama and turned in a few circles. He looped through the kitchen and then dining room and tore back up the hallway toward me. And then he wiped out. Full-frontal disaster.

I didn't notice the blood right away. But it was there. All over his face and hands. In his mouth, covering his teeth Probably made worse by the snot dripping from his nose. I couldn't even tell where it was coming from. Eventually, I was able to wipe his face enough to figure out that Robbie had bit his lip during his face plant. Perhaps it was my lack of experience with blood, but I figured he was doing OK if he was willing to take a bottle. Which he was. The lip may be swollen tomorrow, but at least there was no panicking tonight.

About Those Flights...

This picture might be the only smile I got from Robbie. It's his "Cheese!" smile. If you know how to get a child to behave on a plane, please let me know. Apparently I have no idea. At all. On our first flight, we cleared the front of the plane. The gentleman sitting on the other side of the row first moved up to the front row to escape us. As soon as the "fasten seat belt" sign went off, he bolted to the back of the plane. I got the last laugh, there, though... The poor guy was also on our flight to Boston. I won't lie; I got a kick out of seeing the irritation wash across his face when we passed him during boarding.

We had seats to ourselves during both flights, which was a huge relief. It's so much easier to deal with a squirmy child when you don't have to also worry about him kicking the woman next to you. Or vomiting on the gentleman in the suit on his way to a job interview (as happened in August).

Robbie does, apparently, enjoy flying the business commuter flights to the standard puddle jumpers. As soon as he was able, he left my lap to stretch out in the leather seat and sit like a real big boy. He made friends with the flight attendant and was, perhaps, the only one to listen intently to his presentation on how to buckle a seat belt and use an oxygen mask.

The real challenge, though, came after both flights. We got in from Laguardia thirty minutes early and had to wait over an hour for Justin to come and retrieve us. Robbie offered his ball to a stranger sitting down the row of chairs. And she was a stranger... No one I would have approached. He made two runs to the escalator, forcing me to make a quick decision between child and purse. He spun in circles until he couldn't walk. And he cried. A lot. That made two of us...

A Briefing on Kentucky

I disappeared when I went to Kentucky. And it's not because there isn't electricity or cable in Kentucky, although that would be a good excuse. It's partly because I just wanted to enjoy being home and partly because I don't really like my mom's computer. I know that sounds silly, but there's something comforting about the old Mac.

Robbie and I did it all while we were home. Lunch at Shakertown with Tom's family. Dinner extravaganza with the Dreidame clan. Crazy child. Lunch with friends. Pedicure and manicure with the mom. Visits to our 103-year-old friend in the nursing home. A trip to the children's museum.

A note about going to a children's museum... First thing in the morning on a school day sounds perfect, right? All the big kids are in school. The little kids can run around and play with everything. Right? Uh, no. School days are actually the perfect time for, you guessed it, field trips. There were big kids everywhere. Even in the "under three only" section. We went with my good friend Jill and her two boys and still managed to see everything that was open. And, you know what, the hour that we spent there was just enough.

It was the moments where we weren't doing anything that made the trip so memorable. And, since a picture is worth a thousand words, it seems easiest to just show you what Robbie and I did for five days.

Most importantly, Hilary (Heeahee) had a balloon waiting for Robbie.

And Nona tested out his ball pit to make sure it still worked. Luckily, it was big enough for two. And Robbie was happy to share.

Robbie didn't have to share the entire time, though. Eventually, Nona got tired of the ball pit and Roberto got to play on his own.

He did get pretty worn out running all over the place...

And then there was figuring out how to make funny noises with his mouth... Nona helped him figure out how to do it.

So did Aunt Hilary.

Eventually, Robbie was making his own noises.

Leaving for Boston was rough. It always is. I hate that last hug from my mom and sister. I hate shutting the door to the house knowing that I'm leaving. Especially when I don't know when I'll be back. But, I'm recovering and adapting back to life in Boston - snow and all.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

One of Those Kids...

Yes. I was the lady with one of "those" kids on the plane. Again. Roberto was none too pleased to find himself seated on my lap for a two-hour flight from Boston to Charlotte this morning. And the man in front of us was perhaps even less pleased to find himself seated in front of a cranky nineteen-month-old. Particluarly after my darling child chucked a book at his head. After kicking and hitting his seat for well over an hour. When I offered an apology once we'd landed, his fiancee readily told me it was fine. However, the gentleman directly affected didn't even turn around to acknowledge me. Part of me understands. Part of me wishes a child on him who does the same.

Our second flight started off much the same way, although we were fortunate enough to have a row to ourselves (only because I asked the gate agent to move us). However, Robbie found himself forced to sit in my lap for taxi, take-off, and landing. He immediately started screaming. The flight attendant offered Pringles, which I declined because I knew they would have been thrown around the plane. She came back a few moments later with a stuffed cow. Wearing a cowboy hat and bandana. That mooed three times (loudly) when squeezed. From San Antonio (I know only because that's what the banner across the hat read). It came from a lady three rows up. The woman in front of us turned around and proceeded to play with Robbie for fifteen minutes. This cow was, without a doubt, the most hilarious thing to happen to Robbie.

He passed the rest of the time coloring, organizing my pens, throwing peanut butter crackers (donated by a lady from the first flight, desperate to stop my screaming child), and blowing kisses at the other people on the plane. It was, all in all, an extrememly successful flight. Made even more successful by its timely arrival in Lexington.

A timely arrival was paramount today. I had a ticket to the Kentucky game, which started at 4:00. My flight landed at 3:43. I was in my seat by 4:10, and Robbie was on his way to Nona's house to take a bath and decompress from the strenuous day of travel.

The game was, in a word, amazing. They were up by twenty when I got to Rupp Arena. I saw the most exciting game I've seen in years. Sure, it wasn't intense. But it was a lot more fun than the Coppin State game. Or Hartford. Or whatever no name team we saw in 2008.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Every day when we come home, I let Barkley out and leave Robbie upstairs. The whole thing takes about thirty seconds. Just long enough for a little boy to discover the heart full of candy that his mother left on a lower shelf of the baker's rack.

It wasn't enough that he got into the candy and double-fisted it. He took a bite out of every single piece of candy. When I came back in the kitchen, he had already sampled six piece of candy and had two others in his grubby little hands.

And would you believe me if I said he ran down the hall, candy in hand, when I asked for a bite?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


It's amazing what temperatures above 32 degrees, a good run, and a bath-time dance party can do to lift your spirits! It was, I'm sure, mostly the dance party. Robbie and I got home late (I did a full 68 minutes at the gym - clocking in five miles!), so we had a quick dinner and then it was off to the bath, with the Glee Cast station on the cell phone at full blast.

Robbie bebopped through his bath, taking time to clean his balloon thoroughly. After all, even a balloon gets dirty after three days of intense play. We practiced blowing bubbles in the tub, Rob laughing hysterically when I came up from the water with bubbles all over my face. He kissed me and leaned up against me and even let me wash his face. It's amazing what music can do!

We jammed through teeth brushing, diapering, and pajama-putting-on. Robbie rocked out while I made my bed and picked up the third floor. He even started singing along a little bit. And then it was time to go to bed.

Robbie calmly handed me back my "pone" and cuddled up with Moo. For about thirty seconds. He was unsatisfied with the water I gave him and let me know in no uncertain terms that he wanted "nait nait" (milk). As soon as I brought him some milk, he laid down, wrapped his arm around Moo, said "lou you" and "night". And that was that.

Now, the house is clean. Dinner has been cooked. And I have some time to read and catch up on my DVR'ed shows. Yeah. Mid-winter blahs defeated. At least until the next snow storm!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I have them. The mid-winter blahs. No real sun in recent memory. Mounds of snow on the ground. Six snow days to make up. A house I can't air out. A husband who's in class or study groups four to six days a week. A child who likes to color his face with my lipstick. Yup. The blahs are here.

I keep hoping that I can shake them, but nothing really seems to be working. Not the gym, where I could only run for three minutes before stopping from frustration. My bra strap kept slipping (no sports bra today), and my hair was in my face (yeah, forgot the rubber band, too). And my child wouldn't stay in the play area. Clean house didn't happen. I'm giving up on that for the next week or eighteen years or so.

For now, I'm going to have to look forward to Saturday morning when I get to fly home to Kentucky. Five blissful days of not being in charge. Of living in someone else's house. Of not having a dog whine in my ear at 5:30 in the morning and then poop in the dining room anyway.

Yeah. I need a vacation. I need to pass Go, collect $200, and move right on to spring. How many days are left again?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bah Humbug

I hate Valentine's Day. There. I said it. I think it's a crappy holiday. It makes you feel terrible if you're single. It stresses you out if you're not. It. Is. The. Worst. Holiday. Ever. It's a day of expectations and disappointments. Even in second grade, when you're hoping the boy you have a crush on will put a little extra note in with your Snoopy Valentine. But, no. It's just signed the way he signed everyone else's.

I wanted to have Valentines for Robbie to take to daycare. Maybe make some cute cookies. Put up decorations. None of it happened. Ironically, the Valentine's decoration that was on our closet door for ten months and only taken down to put up Christmas stockings didn't even make an appearance. And to think I'd left it up that long because I knew eventually it would be in season again...

Robbie made the morning a little brighter, though. He wanted hugs and kisses. And his balloon. When I tried to put him down, he clung to me, screaming, "Down! Down!" He still doesn't know the word "up"... All hopes of a Valentine's reunion at daycare were dashed, however, when he started screaming as soon as he saw me walk through the door. He had drawn me a picture, though. Unfortunately it was all in black crayon. Perfect little cupid...

Robbie was helpful at home, running in circles with a ball, a lawnmower, and, yes, his balloon. And he ate dinner with me while we watched The Berenstein Bears. Balloon in hand.

Justin made it home around 7:45 for an anti-climactic end to the worst holiday ever invented. Just enough time left to sit on the couch and listen to bad 90s music. Bah humbug.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


We celebrated Valentine's Day a little early at the Manna house this year, since Justin has a late study session tomorrow night. Even though Robbie has no idea about Valentine's Day, I still picked up two small presents for him. I should have only bought one.

When Robbie came downstairs from his nap, his present was on the coffee table - unwrapped, of course. I might have been a day early, but there was no energy to wrapping anything. He went straight for it. There was a box of alphabet books (one for every letter). Attached to the box was a Mylar balloon. Heart shaped. Red with chocolate candy and "I love you" written on it.

Robbie grabbed the balloon, unclipped it from the box, and didn't let it go. That balloon went all over our house; it even ventured into the basement. Robbie, Justin, and the balloon watched Star Trek. They ate dinner together. They made a mess in the living room together. And then came bath time.

Robbie took the balloon into the bath. He cried when I took his shirt off and the balloon string got caught in the sleeves. He washed his face and hair while holding onto the balloon. When I got him out of the tub, he screamed, "Ba-oon!", reminding me that he didn't want to leave it there. He brushed his teeth while holding onto the balloon. We barley separated the two of them to get Robbie dressed for bed.

After he was dressed, I set Robbie down. Five seconds later, and he was running all over the upstairs with his balloon. I had to do a quick rescue mission from the stairs when Robbie decided that he and the balloon needed to go downstairs just one more time.

When I put Robbie in his crib, he stood up and screamed. I assumed it had to do with the balloon, but it was me this time. He wanted to cuddle with me. And so, good mother that I am, I held Robbie on my lap and rubbed his back. We sat there, rocking, for ten minutes - Robbie, Moo the giraffe, the balloon, and me. He eventually let go of Moo. But never the balloon.

He went to sleep holding onto the balloon. I know, I know. Never let a kid go to sleep holding a balloon. I just went up and took it out of his crib - but not before snapping a few pictures!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quality Time

This has been a crazy semester, and it's only February... Justin's taking nine hours and involved in study groups; we hardly see him during the week. And when he has a weekend class? Forget about it.

That's why today was set aside for quality time. Yes, I forced my poor husband to spend an entire day with me. I'm not sure we were ever more than twenty feet apart. Well, other than when I left for my Jenny Craig weigh-in (2.5 pounds this week and 18.2 in six weeks!).

We started the day off with a trip to Haverhill to drop Robbie off with my friend Amy. She and her husband graciously agreed to watch Robbie while Justin and I ran (OK, OK... Half walked) a 5K in Salisbury. We spent an hour in the car each way. And my poor husband stayed with me for the entire race. He could have run it and been finished in half an hour. But, no. He stayed with me, encouraging me. Even though I yelled at him. I was so mad at myself for not doing as well as I thought I should have. We crossed the finish line at 44:30. In my defense, I've been trying to increase my speed and not focusing on my distance. Oh, and the last mile of the race was on the beach, which meant running on the sand. Terrible.

Despite my yelling at him, Justin was supportive and agreed to spend the rest of the day with me. We cleaned up the house, watched TV, played with Robbie. The stuff Saturdays are made of. That's what Justin kept telling me as I struggled down the beach.

Tonight was our romantic night out. We cashed in some massage credits at Massage Envy and then tried to make it to a movie in Lexington. Apparently, though, they lock the doors to the theatre once the movie starts. So, no movie for us. That left plenty of time for coffee, since our dinner reservations weren't for another two hours.

I've sometimes worried that Justin and i will run out of things to talk about. At what point will we know everything? When will all the interesting topics be exhausted? I was glad to learn that it wasn't tonight. It felt so good to get out of the house and just be together. Enjoy each other's company. Talk about anything and everything.

Yes, there are times my husband drives me up the wall. Like when he fed Barkley the filet I brought home for him and took all the credit for it. But I'm so fortunate to still be so in love with him. And even more fortunate that he's still so in love with me.

And, I know this is a silly request... If you read the blog regularly, please feel free to become a follower. I'd love to know who's reading!

Friday, February 11, 2011


Roberto loves to color. Especially all over his face, which is what he did this morning with my eyeliner while Justin was in the shower. You've seen than he loves to color all over his face with Sharpie when he can find one. And today, something I've been waiting for for a long time happened. Robbie really discovered coloring on paper.

Sure, he's colored on paper before, but he usually loses interest after a few strokes of the pen. Or crayon. Or eyeliner. You get my drift. Not today, though.

When I got to daycare today, Robbie ran to the door to greet me and then took off to the back room. Zhining told me to come back and see what QiQi was up to. I ventured back, and stood in the doorway to watch for a few minutes. There was my son, seated at a table, coloring a picture for me.

I watched quietly for a few minutes and then Robbie turned around to see if I was watching, with that big grin spread across his face. He turned around and went back to coloring. After all, you can't leave daycare for the weekend without finishing your clown.

Maybe you'll think it's silly, but for the past 17 months I've seen the artwork for the big kids waiting by their bags to go home to proud parents and hang on the refrigerator. I thought about the day Robbie would color a picture for me. And it finally happened. I have my picture. And it's a creepy clown...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Say, "Ah!"

My dental appointment started as a near disaster this afternoon. Robbie hit panic as soon as the dental hygienist put on her mask. He sat in his stroller and screamed until his face turned red. There was a parade of hygienists in the room, trying to make Robbie feel better. This only made him cry harder.

Eventually, for the sanity of everyone in the office, I pulled Robbie out of his stroller and sat him on my lap. Pam, my hygienist, gave him a tooth brush, a dentist mask, and a blue glove. He was in heaven. Robbie brushed his teeth and carefully studied as Pam cleaned my gums. Not a pleasant process for those of you fortunate enough to not need it.

Pam really impressed me. She explained everything she was doing to me, getting Robbie really excited about it. He played with the sucker, the water shooter, and the tooth polisher. And he sat completely still on my lap for an hour while all of this went on. I've never seen him so still. Until Pam brought out the floss...

All bets were off when the floss came out. Robbie dropped all of his dental accessories, slammed his hands down on my chest, and laid down on me to try to see exactly what was going on in my mouth. I'm not sure quite how he did it, but all of a sudden, Robbie's head was under Pam's arm and peering into my open mouth. I'm sure it was quite the scene for anyone walking down the hallway...

After my cleaning was over, Pam gave me a rinse to help my gums. She also handed one over for Robbie (don't worry; it was just water for him!). And there we sat, both of us swishing. Only I spit, and Robbie chugged. Before we left, Robbie took a seat in the dentist chair, sporting some stylish shades. He was sent home with a care package of toothbrushes, floss, sunglasses, and a sticker. A pretty decent haul for his first trip!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ill Prepared

My favorite step-sister is in town this week, and Robbie and I ventured down to Harvard Square to meet her for dinner tonight. Since I was running about half an hour late, we drove down instead of waiting for the bus. I dreaded paying $20 for parking, so I nabbed the first parallel parking space I found.

Not wanting Leah to be waiting for us any longer than she had to, I tossed Robbie into his stroller, strapped my purse onto the back, and took off. I thought enough to plop a hat on his head. But I didn't grab gloves for Robbie or myself. I actually am not sure where his mittens are, since he pulls them off as soon as I put them on his hand. And mine... Mine were in the front seat of the car. Going back for them wound have required leaving Robbie on the sidewalk, making my way over a five-foot wide, three-foot high mound of snow. I figured I could tough it out.

Not so much. Our hands were fuh-reezing by the time we made it to the restaurant. What I had not thought about was how badly it hurt to have the heat return to your hands after being cold. And I really didn't think about how that might feel for a certain little boy. He screamed for about five minutes, completely inconsolable.

Fortunately, Robbie was able to make a quick recovery once his hands warmed up enough for him to grab some pens and start coloring. He did surprisingly well throughout dinner, too. Robbie ate his chicken, dipped bread into artichoke dip, made friends with the people at the next table... You know, the usual.

And I'm so glad that I got to spend some time with Leah. We usually only see each other at Christmas and maybe once during the summer. In the eleven years our parents have been married, we've never hung out just the two of us. It's a shame it took so long for us to do it, but I'm glad we finally did.

For those of you concerned about Robbie, the trip back to the car was rough. I wrapped his hands in my scarf, which he dropped part way to the car. I figured it wasn't worth the pain of our poor little hands to go back and find it. Robbie cried for about five minutes after we got into the car, and then it was off to dreamland. He's tougher than he looks!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Finding Me

I've spent some time over the past week looking back at who I was before I was a Mom. I'm not sure that I really like that person. Nor am I sure that she is someone I would want to be friends with. She was insecure, quick to anger, and horribly apt to cry. She constantly struggled at maintaining her relationship with her husband and the rest of her family. She made excuses for everything. She let life happen to her. She looked a little something like the lady pictured on the right...

And then I think about the person I've become over the past eighteen months. I make decisions for another person. I am in charge of making sure that he becomes the best person he can be. I am responsible for molding him into "a contributing member of society" (a quote from my sage mother).

I wipe up messes, change diapers, fix food that will be thrown on the floor, create ways to make hair washing more fun and less torture. I read stories to a little boy who just wants "down." I discipline him when he is bad and comfort him when he falls. I spend hours trying to teach phrases like, "Holy cow!" (hasn't caught on) and "Good boy!" (a favorite when petting the dog).

Despite all the trial and error associated with motherhood, I found myself. I'm not entirely sure where I was hiding, nor am I sure it's important that I know. Instead, I'll focus on loving this new life of mine and keep trying to look a little more like the lady pictured here:

It's a little hard for me to look at the first picture. I weighed 70 pounds more than I do now there, and it reminds me of all the time I wasted. All the time I abused my body and made excuses for it. All the times I let it dictate my life. But I'm glad to have the picture, glad to have a reminder of who I was and why it's so important that I continue taking the time to find me.

Do me a favor. Make some time for yourself. Head to the gym. Even if you're tired. Especially if you're tired. Get up fifteen minutes early and just enjoy the quiet. Send the kids to bed early. Make them play in their room. Take a break from being someone's mom/wife/whatever-you-are-that-usually-defines-you. Just be you. Everyone around you will appreciate it. And so will you.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Terrible Eighteen-and-a-Half-Months?

My child is driving me crazy. Bonkers. Nuts. I am losing my mind. He threw a temper tantrum while trying to get dressed this morning. He came home and threw a temper tantrum. That may have had something to do with dumping a cup of cold hot chocolate over his head. When did he get big enough to reach the counter?

And then the dog food... Robbie, for some reason, is convinced that the dog food should always be put in the water dish. He does it everywhere we go. Tonight, he managed to get all of the food in the dish before I noticed.

But Barkley didn't seem to mind.

And neither did Grover.

I was so frustrated with Robbie today... Between dog food and spilled drinks and dumping water out of the tub and screaming... It was all I could do to hold it together. And then he wouldn't go to sleep. I needed to, somehow, recoup my bad mom moments of the past few days. So up I went with a bottle of milk. I grabbed Rob, his giraffe Moo, and his blanket, and we went into my room to lie down. We cuddled for an hour. Rob drank his bottle, I rubbed his back, he gurgled and whispered to me (when did he learn to whisper?). I apologized for being terrible. And then I put Robbie back into his bed where he fell fast asleep. Just like that, the day was saved, and I feel centered and like at least a tolerable mom.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl

I realize this is two posts in a matter of hours, but I was off the map for two days. And tonight was so bad that it does, indeed, require two posts.

My son is out of control. Completely. He goes to bed at 6:30. Every. Single. Night. He might sit in his crib for an hour and talk, but he's in bed. Not tonight. The screaming started around 6:15, just as we got to Micah and Allie's. Or Allie and Micah's. He didn't stop until sometime around 7:30 (or before - I was out sliding into parked cars until around 7:30).

This child was a maniac for four hours. Running around. Climbing on furniture. He's never climbed on furniture until tonight. Grabbing drinks. Trying to touch the TV. Stealing food. Begging for food. Grabbing dog toys. Hitting the drums. Running around like a maniac. Oh, I already said that? Well, he did it so much that it's worth two mentions. And the final straw? He dumped a bottle of water all over me.

I missed the first half dealing with a screaming child and going to CVS to make it better. I missed the half-time show talking to a cop and a man whose car was parked on the street during a parking ban. And I missed the second half because I was making a futile attempt to discipline my child.

So, it's official. Tonight, I was one of "those" moms. I was the one who could not control her child. Who wanted to yell at him. Maybe even pinch his arm a little. I managed to restrain myself, though. After all, I knew he'd be asleep as soon as we pulled out of the driveway. And he was. And we made it home without hitting any of the other cars illegally parked during the ban.

Cars, Cars, Cars

Our car luck has not gotten better. I found out last Thursday that the title to our Honda should have been transferred over 14 months ago. Expensive mistake. And tonight the drama continued.

It's all Robbie's fault, really. If he had just gone to sleep when he was supposed to, none of this would have happened. But he didn't. He screamed for well over an hour. We were at Micah and Allie's and only had a sippy cup. I figured that it would just take a quick trip to CVS to get a bottle and some Tylenol to make everything better. That just made it worse. So much worse.

When I came back to Micah and Allie's, someone else was parked in their driveway. I came around the block and tried to get around a parked car. I didn't. I slid right into the driver's side front panel. I got out of the car, and an elderly woman just started yelling at me. It wasn't her car. She didn't even know who it belonged to. But she yelled. And then she called the cops. I know because she opened her door while on the phone. Nevermind that I was trying to leave a note for the owner of the car.

The cop who came out was extremely nice, making sure to let me know that the woman was "just an old battle ax" with nothing better to do. He didn't do any paperwork, but he did find the owner. Fortunately, the owner of the car was very chill (may have been a little drunk) and apologized for parking on the street. Oh, did I mention that there's a parking ban?

I mention this only to bring up the battle ax again. She came out and told the cop to tow the car. The cop asked her if she was the woman who had yelled at me. When she said yes, he let her know that she had no business yelling at me. I really appreciated the back-up.

Now it's back to wrestling Robbie, who is still up and running around like a mad man. Maybe tomorrow I'll let you know about a special interaction Barkley had with Robbie's nose... But for now, I'll go rescue Micah and Allie's TV from Robbie's sticky fingers.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

An Auspicious Day...

The day did not start off well. When trying to get the cars out of the garage, there was an incident with the Jeep. Justin was backing it out and, as he tried to avoid one of the gate panels, he ran into trouble with the other one. Somehow, the rear tire wound up behind the gate and the rest of the car was in the front. I'm still not sure how Justin got the car out with only some damage to the gate. OK. A lot of damage to the gate. But none to the car.

Things just got better from there... I took Robbie to daycare and then headed to the gym. As I got to the base, I realized that I didn't have my shoes with me (you know, wearing snow boots and all). Luckily, there was an inexpensive pair at the Base Exchange. Unfortunately, I left my other purchases there and had to return after my uneventful work out. The work out only lasted for twenty minutes because I went to the kid-friendly area without a kid.

The next three hours were great. The best of my day. I uploaded pictures, talked to friends, got a massage. It was everything that a snow day should be. Then I called the insurance company to get some information on finally transferring the title of our Honda, something I didn't realize was so important. Apparently, there might be some major fines... 'Cause this is something I was supposed to take care of 14 months ago. Hmm... Guess I'll go in tomorrow and hope to get someone patient. Keep your fingers crossed and send up a few prayers around 4:30 tomorrow afternoon.

Here's hoping for school tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stay at Home Mom

I am not meant to be a stay at home mom. At all. I love my child, but I love him best when I don't see him all day every day. Particularly when there is no where to go because of snow and ice. Much like today.

Robbie has figured out how to get into everything, and so he does. The morning started off nicely enough with a family breakfast. Robbie kindly took the dirty plates into the kitchen for me, I found them set on the counter. Seeing how well that went, I figured i could continue to send Robbie to the kitchen to put things up. He helped when I peeled my grapefruit, setting the peels on the counter near the plates. It all went wrong, though, when I sent a third plate into the kitchen with Rob. And heard the crash. Robbie is now limited to plastic ware.

Later this afternoon, Robbie went on a tear around the house. He found a role of partially used wrapping paper, which he unwrapped down the length of the hall. He had a big time coloring the paper with some different pens he found around the house. And then he found the cat food dish... Which he brought into the living room, proudly showing how helpful he is. The dish is an automatic feeder, so Robbie helpfully put the food from the tray into the top. And then he fed some of it to Barkley. And some of it to himself. Some days, it's just easier to let them eat cat food.

Don't even get me started on trying to keep a house picked up with three people living in it, stuck inside all day. By the time Robbie went to bed, there were toys strewn about the living room, dishes on the coffee table, pieces of apple on the stairs and floor, cds and dvds in various spots, food all over the dining room table, more dishes on the kitchen counter, and a roll of wrapping paper down my hallway. But, there's always tomorrow to get it done. After all, it's just another snow day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow, Snow, Go Away!

More snow... Shocking, since it's a Tuesday and not a Wednesday. I haven't had a full week of school since 13 December. That's almost two months. It's absolutely killing me. And tomorrow is another day at home. With Justin. And Robbie. And nowhere to escape, other than the basement. But that would require doing laundry.

Lawrence closed down early this afternoon, so I headed straight to daycare. It took just over an hour to get there, but I was still an hour early. I rang the doorbell (forgetting that I was early and kids were still napping; luckily, I was spared the wrath of Zhining). I heard feet running toward the door, and a little voice calling, "Mama! Mama! Mama!" And those little feet and that little voice belonged to my child! He knew I was coming for him!

Then I heard Zhining say, "No, QiQi. Not Mama. To early."

Robbie, undaunted, continued calling, "Mama! Mama! Mama!" all the way to the door, with Zhining still trying to convince him that I wasn't there yet. The look on his face when he pulled the door open and actually saw me standing there was priceless. So was the look of surprise on Zhining's face!