Friday, April 29, 2011

Bedtime with Daddy

I am not a good bedtime Mom. Something about me makes Robbie want to run around like a mad man. He doesn't like to sit on my lap and read a story or say prayers. He doesn't want to sing songs or cuddle. No, my child wants to "watch TD Elmo" every night. I have started telling him that Elmo went to bed like a good boy, and he seems to be buying that for the time being. I cannot, however, get him to stop saying "TD". Since he's changed the way he meows, though, I'm going to relish his mispronunciations for a while.

Just to drift for a minute... Robbie learned how to really meow on our cruise. He's been saying "ow!" when asked what a kitty says. However, two boys were pretending to be cats at the pool on vacation, crawling around the edge and then creeping back into the water (I guess they weren't typical cats, since they liked the water). Anyway, Robbie joined in, and the three of them meowed for about five minutes while they circled the pool. He hasn't "ow"ed since...

But back to bedtime. Justin is everything I am not at bedtime. Robbie sits in his lap. They read books (well, usually they just get through one) and sing songs. Of course, they're usually made up, much to Rob's delight. And then, although I'm aware that at this point you may think I'm lying, they cuddle. Robbie wraps his arms around Justin's neck and they rock.

The sight of this melts my heart. Not having spent time with my father for the past 17 years, I know how important time with a father can be, and I love that my boys are making memories together. But, it would be a lie if it didn't make me a little jealous. Sure, when he falls down or gets scared, Robbie wants his mom. But that doesn't happen every night (at least not if I'm doing my job right). Bedtime does... Instead of focusing on my jealousy, I suppose my energy would be better spent being thrilled that the two most important people in my life love each other so much.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

From the Crib

Remember the days when your child let you know he was awake by screaming? Or softly babbling in his crib for a few minutes while you listened from the comfort of your bed? The latter was definitely my favorite; I have no idea what he was saying, but he sounded so intent and earnest. And we still get that some times, but not in the past two days.

Yesterday, I was almost finished getting dressed when I heard Robbie start to stir. He didn't even sit up before he started with the "Mama? Mama? (Long pause) Daddy?" And then, still lying down, we heard him whisper, "Hungry. Belly hungry. Mama? Belly." He truly is my child - thinking about breakfast the minute he wakes up!

This morning, Robbie was still sprawled across his crib, face down and arms stretched above his head. Justin and I peaked in on him on our way downstairs, and he didn't move a muscle. I finished getting ready and Justin hopped in the shower. On my way out, I yelled, "I love you!" Justin yelled back that he did, indeed, love me, too (there's nothing like a little reinforcement in the mornings). All of a sudden, someone rolled over upstairs and a little voice called out, "Wuv you!"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Smelling the... Tulips?

Our front yard has been a work in progress for the past four years. I've heard rumors that it was impeccable for years before people stopped caring for it. Before they moved, our downstairs neighbors and I tried and tried to relandscape, making it at least appear to be presentable. It never really worked for more than a few months. Last year, I decided I'd had enough.

Left to my own devices, I dug up all the grass in the front yard and then dug up plants from other people's yards. Now, I know I'm pushy, but I did actually get permission to take the spider wort, lily of the valley, day lilies, and hostas. It looked pretty pitiful most of the summer, especially as watering cycles got forgotten... In the fall, I planted 24 mums (with the help of a neighbor on the other side of the house, who planted 12 of them). Oh, and 250 bulbs.

I spent hours on the yard. And hours. And hours. Over the winter, I wasn't sure the snow would melt in time for spring. But it did! The crocuses bloomed a few weeks ago. The hostas and day lilies have popped up. Daffodils and tulips are in full bloom. The spider wort is looking strong along the back - like it might just fill in all the extra space in the back. And today? Today I spotted a lily of the valley poking up through the ground. And the mums? Growing green and looking like they survived the winter.

So, it'll still be work. There's weeding and mulching to do. And maybe some pansies and impatiens to plant. But for right now, I'll take the lead from Robbie, who spent hours in his Pack 'n Play on the sidewalk, and stop to smell the tulips. After all, there are some places where roses just won't grow...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gator Sightings

The day the cruise disembarked, we had eight hours between leaving the ship and boarding the plane. The thought of eight hours at the Miami airport with my crazy child was, well, horrifying. So, we booked a Fort Lauderdale shore excursion. Since we missed out on seeing the monkeys and parrots in Honduras, we booked an airboat ride and botanical garden tour. It promised to be more interesting, with a gator show thrown in.

Robbie was not a fan of the airboat ride at first. I had no idea it would be so loud. But it was. About ten times louder than I would have guessed. I looked over, all smiles, to my darling child, whose face was crumpling. I couldn't even hear his screams above the roaring motor. Eventually, he calmed down and seemed to have a pretty good time.

Rob's good time did not, however, stop me from being a terrible mother. After the airboat ride, the tour guide pulled me aside. His words were something along the lines of: "I know you have a child with you, and I'm not angry. But, it would really be best if you could move to the back of the bus. Sitting in the middle of the bus is really disrupting the rest of the tour. Again, I understand that he's a kid and I'm not mad. But we really need you to move to the back of the bus."

Are you kidding me? Now, let me tell you several things. First, my child was being bad. He was crying and throwing toys. It was, even without being chastised, mortifying. I couldn't console him. Second, the tour guide didn't shut up at any point on the tour. We were on a bus for several hours total. I know more than I could ever imagine about alligators and crocodiles. Third, it's all in the tone. You don't need to talk to me like I'm twelve. Ever. Or make me feel like I'm a terrible mother. Or assure me that you're not angry with me. I don't care if you're angry with me or not. When I booked the tour, I checked to make sure there were no age restrictions. If you don't want a kid under three there, then enforce a restriction.

Here's how the converation should have gone: "It seems like your little boy loves to run and move. I know the seats on the bus can get a little tight, but there's a bigger section in the back of the bus. It might give him a little more room to play, so I thought I'd suggest it to you." In this scenario, I don't feel like the world's worst mom. And I'm not angry to the point of writing the company to complain about the tour guide. In fact, I might actually write the company to praise the guide for his tact. Don't get me wrong; I would totally see through this. But it wouldn't make me feel so horrible that I want to cry - which I did once we got to the airport.

On a brighter note, I did get to hold a baby alligator. And we saw an alligator wrestler stick his head in an alligator's mouth. On the boat, we only saw two gators. But it was pretty awesome to skim along the top of the water.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


It took a lot out of me. More than I thought it would. Or maybe it was just the trip home... I'll skip all the details. Suffice it to say that our flight that was supposed to land at 11:15 actually got in at 1:30. And then there was luggage to get. And the long drive home from Manchester. We walked through the door at 3:30. But, of course, there were some messes to clean up. And a panicked little boy who didn't know where he was. I finally hit the pillow at 4:15 this morning. After being up at 4:00 the morning before. It was a long, long 24 hours.

Today was supposed to be for recovery. Sleep in. Get Barkley. Have a nice brunch with the family, since we didn't have any real Easter plans. Do some laundry. You know, enjoy the last day of spring break. Except that's not what really happened.

Justin and I woke up at 10:15 to a little boy asking to watch Elmo. Oh, I didn't mention that I brought him into bed with us when he started screaming? It's the only time he's ever slept with us. I just didn't have the patience to soothe him to sleep. I rolled over around 7:00 this morning to find Justin essentially sleeping on top of the child. Luckily, everyone survived.

After the "early" wake-up call, I showered and went to pick up Barkley from PetSmart. Easy in and out, right? No. They brought him out and asked if I'd noticed he was shaking his head. I believe my exact words were, "Notice? He's been here for NINE days. When would I have 'noticed' that he was shaking his head?" And then I pulled back his ear. Puss. Blood from scratching. All sorts of debris. And I'd smelled something when they brought him out.

I hit the roof - absolutely furious that Barkley had been in so much discomfort for so long. After all, something like that doesn't happen at the last minute. Barkley and I went immediately to the vet (conveniently located in the same building!). They got us in right away. Poor Barkley had to get an injection for pain and a thorough cleaning. They sent us home with ear meds and more pain killers. And on his birthday, none the less...

Fortunately, PetSmart really stepped up to the plate. The covered the $250 vet bill (just the injection was $32!) and reimbursed us for Barkley's entire stay. I'm still feeling bad about being so angry, but it's my BarkBark. He gets ear infections fairly often; I just like to catch them before they get this bad.

Things did start to look up. We met Micah and Allie for an Easter lunch at Ixtapa - nothing says Easter like some Mexican food. And we hit Bedford Farms for ice cream (back to Jenny Craig tomorrow!). Robbie played and "helped" me clean up the house. He never did take a nap... But he was asleep at 6:45. I'm hoping this means getting him on schedule will be easier.

So, it's Sunday night. The laundry is drying. The house is clean. The blogs and pictures are posted. And it's time for bed. I'll post about the gator show (and insulting tour guide) tomorrow. Until then...

Comfort Zone

I put on a loud face at work. My kids are always a little surprised to learn that I’m the nerd they actually thought I might be. I don’t like parties. Or bars. Or anything that requires me to be extroverted when I really don’t have to be. Like jet skis. Nothing about them appeals to me. In fact, I find them to be particularly terrifying.

We spent Wednesday in Cozumel and ventured to Paradise Beach. With a name like that, it would either be amazing or the worst beach experience of our lives. Either way, we’d walk away with a great story. Fortunately, Paradise Beach really was a paradise. For $14 worth of wrist bands, we had access to everything. Free chairs and umbrellas. A beautiful pool. The beach. Free snorkel and life jacket rentals - yes, I was the mom with the kid in the life jacket. All the inflatable ocean toys you can imagine - slides, climbing walls, trampolines... It was impressive.

And then there were the jet skis... This was our bonding day, since we didn’t get to see the monkeys in Roatan (our trip to that port was cancelled). We decided to spend the money we would have spent on seeing the monkeys and parrots on having an amazing day at the beach together. And, yes, this included a jet ski rental.

I could have opted out; everyone would have gotten a little more time to ride. But it was something Justin really wanted to do, and he is always doing things I want to do. Plus, I knew I would kick myself for not taking advantage of actually doing something alone with Justin. I signed my life away, donned a life jacket, and hopped on behind Justin - ready to face a jet ski on the open sea.

On Food Throwing...

I know I’ve never had the perfect child. I had the near-perfect child. It’s not something I talked about in public; I didn’t want to be one of “those” moms. But my kid slept through the night regularly at eight weeks. He love to laugh. He “speaks” two languages -- three if you count baby gibberish. However, I’m having a really rough time coming up with a list of great things about traveling on a cruise ship with my child.

It’s been rough. Really rough. Justin and I haven’t eaten a meal together, from start to finish, in ten days. And we’ve only been on vacation for six. Every time we eat, Robbie throws things. The first night, he launched his sippy cup across the table - right only my full glass of red wine, which landed in my brother's lap. And he was wearing his only pair of dress pants. He’s thrown rice, meatballs, blueberries, cheese, fish sticks, onion rings, watermelon, sausage. Everything. And made some interesting combinations of food. Like spaghetti, meatballs, and fruit salad. Together. Tasty.

Justin’s left every dinner to take Robbie back to the room, letting me spend some time with my brother and sister. Last night, however, it was my turn. After four nights of room service, Justin deserved some uninterrupted time with adults. And thank goodness because he won $90 at the roulette table. Definitely worth missing the last of dessert and getting an extra hour to read. Oh, and did I mention that I was asleep by 9:00? Things could have definitely been worse.

We did eventually figure how to keep Roberto under control at the dinner table. We kept him in his stroller, where he wasn't at a good level to lob anything onto the table. Justin made it through two dinners, and the look of surprise on his face when he saw there was actually a dessert menu. And specialty coffee. I also sunk to a level I swore I would never get to. I brought the iPod with Sesame Street on it. And let Robbie watch it while we ate dinner. I know. I know. He needs to learn how to actually eat dinner with adults. But that just wasn't going to happen. And I really wanted to have dinner with Justin. So, down I sank. And it worked -at least for a little while. But, now that it's back to reality, Rob's stuck with crayons and paper.

Grand Cayman

Today was my perfect day. Let’s be honest: how could any day that involves Grand Caymen not be perfect? Justin was up in time to see the sunrise and the ship dock, something he’s always thought would be fun to do but has never actually done. Roberto slept until 8:00 in the morning (actually, 9:00, but we had to put the clocks back an hour). And I got some quiet time to laze around in bed. After surviving a full day at sea, I needed the hour to myself to regroup. I had no idea that chasing after Robbie full time would be so exhausting... Or that tantrums could be so loud.

Hilary, Hunter, Justin, Robbie, and I got off the ship around 9:00 and found a bus to take us to Seven-Mile Beach. Other than visiting a cold Gloucester beach last March, Robbie has never really been to the ocean. So, this was quite an experience for him. Robbie ran right to the ocean and sat down to start digging. He filled his bucket. He threw and ate sand. He swam in the ocean for the first time. The swimming freaked him out at first, and he clung to me. Eventually, though, he got a little braver, letting his legs float and kick in the water. Justin and I have been so busy getting through the semester that we haven't really stopped to enjoy our family. Today was the day for that.

We walked the beach. We enjoyed Robbie without any distractions. We drank a little Caybrew in the ocean. Really, what can be better than sitting in crystal clear water with the sun on your face and a beer in your hands? Not much, my friend. Not much. And I'm so glad that we were able to slow down to make some family memories.


You know you hated having your mother put on your sunscreen. She was never patient enough, always rubbing it in too hard and having some of it ooze into your eyes. She didn’t care that your ears were sunburned already from the last failed application of sunscreen (probably when she had trusted you to do it, which is why she is applying the sunscreen this time).

I can remember promising myself that I would always be gentle with my kid when it came to applying sunscreen. I would remember what it was like to try to stand still while my mom scrubbed the lotion into my body with a vigor I’ve never felt anywhere else. That was before I had a toddler who bolts from my reach at the mere site of a bottle of sunscreen. Now, when I can grab him, I rub viciously, trying to get as much lotion to penetrate his skin as I can before he slips out of my grasp again. And he screams, much like I wanted to do through all the sunscreen applications of my adolescence.

Let’s be honest; as mothers, the more our child wriggles and screams about sunscreen, the harder we try to rub it in. And I’ve noticed that, as the week has gone on, I’ve gotten even less patient about Robbie’s reaction to sunscreen application. He screams the instant he sees the bottle in my hand. I will say, however, that he also screams when he sees Justin putting the lotion on my back. I guess he’s worried that Justin’s hurting me as much as I “hurt” him when rubbing lotion on.

This is why I would like to thank the inventor of spray-on sunscreen. Sure, my kid still screams like a maniac when he sees me coming with the sunscreen. And, as my sister says, he sounds like a pterodactyl when I spray him down. But it lasts only a fraction of the time and covers nearly as well. And what’s a few splotchy red marks if my child doesn’t have the horrible memories of being subjected to the thrice-daily sunscreen rubdowns?

Friday, April 15, 2011


We made it. Well, almost. We're actually in the air somewhere between Atlanta and Miami. But I'm confident that within the next hour, we will have made it. Luggage, passports, cruise boarding passes, and all. Not that I didn't try to leave one of the passports (Robbie's) at home in the scanner. Or the boarding passes for the cruise on my desk under a pile of papers at school. Of course, it wouldn't be a Manna event without a fair share of drama. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Our flight from Manchester (just north of Boston and a lot cheaper during spring break) landed in Atlanta on time, but it didn't reach the gate until 9:20. We didn't get off the plane until 9:30. Our next flight left at 9:50. This posed a problem. Particularly when traveling with an over-tired toddler who was still wide awake and an exasperated husband who was convinced we would miss the flight. However, since I conjured a lint roller in the middle of the T last week just by thinking about it (yes, I needed one and figured I'd find someone with one - and then ran into a friend in the middle of the T whose friend opened her purse to reveal a lint roller), holding a plane for twenty minutes seemed like child's play.

Well, child's play if you include fastening a child into a stroller while traveling through the B Concourse at break-neck speed while holding on to headphone plugs that had fallen out of my already overflowing purse as a child-safe activity. I don't, actually. We jetted (pun intended) past twenty gates, down an escalator (yes, unsafely with the stroller - there was no time for an elevator), on a tram, through crowds of dawdling travelers, up another endless escalator, down a food court, and past nine more gates. Only to find that our flight was delayed. Thank God!

We're now making our final descent into the Miami airport. Robbie is sleeping. Justin has stopped cursing under his breath. And I finally got a few minutes to myself to let you know how great family vacation is once you have a kid to really make it. But I'm not leaving my man-to-man defense for zone anytime soon; the woman behind me nearly had three nervous break-downs in the past ninety minutes with her kids arguing. And that was with the husband taking one of them to another row.

Now it's time for me to return my seat to it's locked-and-up-right-position (not that I ever move it) and re-attach the trays to the seats in front of me. But, before I sign off... Thank goodness for fabulous people on this flight. We wound up sitting next to teenage boys on both flights and both were such gentlemen about moving to another seat to give us more room. Since I always complain about people on planes, I need to give credit where it's due.

I'll be blogging on the computer while we're on vacation, but it probably won't post until we return. I'm sure you'll want to clear next Saturday night to get completely updated on all the Manna fun. Until then, happy sailing!

Wuv You

It happened on Wednesday night when I opened the back door to get Robbie out of the car. As I peered into the car, Robbie turned from his car seat, looked at me, broke into a huge grin, and said, "Wuv you". To me. Unprompted. For the first time in his life. And I think he really meant it.

Later that night, Robbie was in bed and I was rummaging around in our room getting ready for our vacation. I kept hearing, "Mama! Mama! Mama!" After the fourth or fifth time, I finally asked Robbie what he needed. The response? He giggle followed by, "Wuv you, Mama." That was all it took; my heart melted for a second time.

I stopped rooting through my drawers and went in to see Robbie. We made googlie eyes at each other for a few minutes before I reached into his crib to give him a hug. Robbie held me tight and said "happy" a few times. I'm not sure that he's ever hugged me back before. Well, other than when I'm torturing him by leaving him with a babysitter or, worse yet, his father.

I always know that I love my son, even on the days when it's hard to like him. But it's days like this that I know I live for him, for the moments when there is nowhere I'd rather be than listening to him laugh and play and even call my name a hundred times. Especially when it's followed with a "wuv you."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Justin sent me an email today letting me know that he went to Babies R Us over lunch. To buy clothes for Robbie. After we spent money at both Kohl's and Target this weekend getting him outfitted for our cruise next week. Generally speaking, Justin is not allowed to shop for clothes by himself because he goes overboard. Today, we made an amendment to that. Justin is not allowed to shop for clothes by himself because he has no taste.

Rob wears Polo shirts (generic, of course) and madras shorts. He wears shirts with dangerous animals on them (Justin's rules - nothing wussy or cuddly for our kid!). Robbie dresses like a little Justin. Minus the every day button down shirts and Chinos. We save those for special occasions.

So, when Robbie and I got home today, Justin proudly showed off his purchases. He'd received a $10 coupon and only spent $7. That should have been the first alarm. Justin smiled broadly as he pulled the first outfit from the bag. And I nearly dropped Robbie I started laughing so hard. He bought a bright yellow muscle tee and some long jean shorts. You know, a little something like this:

Pass the coozies! And bring on the NASCAR. I think we have a new fan.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Walking the Walk

Robbie, Barkley, and I went for a walk around the block this morning. It took us nearly 45 minutes. Robbie picked up every piece of mulch, tossed every rock, and walked up every front walk. He threw his hat up in the air and ran the other way when I leaned down to pick it up. Robbie helped hold the leash. He raced up the hill on the third leg of the block. He tried to help carry the dog bag after Barkley pooped but declared it to "tinky" after closer inspection.

Barkley helped along the way by stopping to sniff every tree and light post. He stepped on and around his leash. He purposefully ran the opposite direction of Robbie after the "throw-the-hat-and-run" game. And I thought it was so tough when it was Barkley and the stroller... I had no idea what was coming down the pike.

It's afternoons like this that make me realize why I need an hour at the gym before coming home for dinner and bath time. I can't keep up with my kid. He makes me tired and frazzled (and exceedingly happy). But, in all candor, it takes less energy to run five miles than it does to chase my kid around the block...

Sunday, April 10, 2011


As my mom says, "The days are long but the years are short." As spring starts to finally reveal itself, I find myself realizing how true this is. Justin, Robbie, and I took a walk to the park yesterday and we passed many of the families on our street. The one with young children? Except now they're in second and third grade. And my baby? Running down the sidewalk at break-neck speed. It just all seemed so... Wrong. I am supposed to be pushing a baby in a stroller. The neighborhood kids are supposed to still be in pre-school and kindergarten. I am still supposed to be in my twenties.

But, time goes on. Justin and I spent some time today on the front porch while Robbie took a nap looking back at our life in Boston - and speaking with nostalgia about our time in Georgia. I'm not sure when, exactly, we changed. I know it was gradual, the evolution of ourselves and our marriage. Some days I long for Warner Robins, for summers with cookouts and beers. For Friday nights at Margaritaville. For Sundays longing for an open liquor store - or even a restaurant that would serve it. Others, I think about how much easier life was when we rented an apartment. About how excited we were to move to Boston, all the adventures we had that first year here. And now, I look back to life in our house before Robbie was born. And when he was just a baby and the house was mostly still ours.

I would love to go back. Not to do anything different, but maybe just to enjoy it more. Relish being carefree. Take more time to enjoy Justin and the little family that was just the two of us. Savor the time when Robbie was just a baby and not a toddler, yearning for independence. And, maybe, that's the real reason I blog. Just to be able to savor. To make the years a little longer, too. After all, how long will Robbie be yelling, "Ready! Ready!" while Justin and I scurry to get everything we need to head out the door. All the while, holding a sand shovel and my purse. Yeah, I think I'll take the long days.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hat Head

We've gone through different stages with Robbie. You know, balloons, eating only oranges, balls. We've been on hats for a while but last night took it to an all new level.

Since we had parent night last night, Robbie stayed at day care until a little after 7:00. When I got there, Zhining asked me if we usually put Robbie in "double pajamas." I must have looked confused, so she explained that there were two pairs of pajamas in Robbie's backpack. So she put both pairs on him. About that time, Robbie popped up from the crib, smiled at me, and said, "Hot, mama. Hot."

We got home after a few pictures of Robbie in his double pajamas, and Robbie went to sleep with his hat on his head, water in his cup, and Moo the giraffe tucked under his arm. And I didn't think anything else about the hat. Until 5:45 this morning when I got up to go to the bathroom.

By the time I got back upstairs, Roberto was wide awake and calling for me. I walked into his room to change him, and there he was. Standing in his crib, grin on his face, hat on his head. And it didn't come off until near bathtime tonight.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Potty Time

I've been waiting for this moment for the past year. Specifically, since I bought him a potty for $5 at a consignment sale when he was nine months old. It's been sitting in our bathroom due to lack of storage, taunting Robbie with its singing handle and toilet paper roll. Robbie plays with it occasionally, putting toilet paper or a shoe in. You know, productive stuff.

Tonight, we hit a turning point. Robbie stood up in the bathtub, said "Poop", and then tried to climb out of the tub. I asked if he had to poop and he said, "Pee pee". We talked for a minute about going to the potty. I asked Robbie if he had to go to the potty. He looked at me and said, "Pee pee" again. And then he did it! All over the floor.

I screamed, "In the potty!", making Robbie jump, and, in turn, stop going to the bathroom. He looked at the potty and back at me, smiled, and ran to the potty to sit down. He never did use the potty tonight, but he sat on it and told me what he should do on the potty. It's the first time he's ever seemed to really get what the potty is for.

I know it's best not to be too optimistic. But, we leave for our cruise in nine days and Roberto can't go in the pool if he's still in diapers. I know I always work best with a deadline; maybe it'll work for my kid.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On Your Mark...

Last April, Justin and our friends Micah and Allie ran a 10K in Cohasset. Robbie and I waited at the finish line. Listening to them talk about the race made me decide that I was done being the fat wife at the finish line. Even though I'd been told that I would never be able to run, I decided I was going to. Slowly but surely, I built up my endurance and even managed to run some 5Ks without stopping.

But this Sunday I took it to a new level... You know the aforementioned Cohasset 10K? Yeah, I ran it this weekend. Seriously. Micah and Allie picked me up Sunday morning and we headed down. I met up with my friend Anna from the gym and we were all set o run it together. And run it we did.

We might have been slow, but, by God, we were steady. We ran all but about 200 yards of the race. Including the monster hills. Sure, my time wasn't exactly what I was aiming for (1:15 was the target; 1:22;45 was the actual) but I don't care. I did it. And you know what? It felt great. I'm so ready to sign up for my next one!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I was nervous about Saturday. Terrified, actually. I was facing 48 hours of alone time with Rob Manna, a daunting feat for even a more experienced, kind, and patient mother than I. So I did what any of you would have done: I over-planned. We dropped Barkley off at PetSmart and were at the gym by 8:30. I ran/walked/made it through four miles and Robbie played nicely by himself for an hour. Then it was off to Jenny Craig for a big weigh-in. Last week, I lost 4.2 pounds (meaning 28 pounds since January and 80 pounds since Robbie was born).

Since I hit such a milestone, I decided I needed a change. I felt different and needed to look different. It was time for a new haircut. I wanted to go drastic but wasn't at all sure the direction that should take... Having worked hard for the last two years to get "long" hair, I didn't want to go too short. And I have a very definite part, which makes bangs difficult. Thus, the reason I've had the same haircut for the past six years... But, after much discussion, we took off an inch-and-a-half, cleaned up and shortened the layers, and cut some sweeping bangs. I have to be honest; I looked fabulous! Just like the new person I felt like inside. It feels nice to finally match how I feel.

After a brief nap, Robbie and I hit the road for a, well, road trip. We headed up to Salisbury Beach to the arcade on the boardwalk. A friend of mine works there, and she suggested I bring Roberto up for a little while when I mentioned my apprehension about our weekend alone. She tossed me a roll of quarters and told me to have fun. Robbie just stood there, in awe of the big kids, flashing lights, and ringing bells. And then he was off! Running around like a madman, throwing balls, hitting buttons.

We hit the skee ball slopes first - one of my favorites! Robbie tried to throw the balls up the ramps for a little while but quickly grew tired of it. He figured out a better way: climbing the ramp and walking to the end to throw the ball in one of the holes. Unfortunately for our ticket gain, Robbie tended to just throw it into the gutter...

He rode the bulldozer and took his turn at the merry-go-round. He straddled a motorcycle and tried to drive fast cars. Robbie bopped 'gators on the head and tried to feed Big Bertha. He shot some basketballs and had nice people give him their tickets. And he left with not one but two balls.

We made it home in time to pick Barkley up from PetSmart, make a batch of cookie dough, and toss Rob into the tub before heading out to watch the Kentucky game (well, I guess it turned into the UConn game, but whatever).

Part of what I really like about Robbie growing up is that he's a great partner-in-crime. He has a great sense of humor and likes to have a good time. He'll laugh for a good five minutes and dance his head off and not care that anyone's watching. If anything, this Saturday, I learned that I need to live my life a little more like my son. And that's a lesson I definitely needed to learn.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Head Banging

It's been a long two days. Very, very long. Temper tantrums galore. Usually, they amuse me. Robbie slowly sits down on the floor, looks behind him, and lays down - all while screaming loudly and checking to make sure I'm watching. And then he does it. He starts banging his head on the floor. Repeatedly.

Lately, though, they haven't been quite so entertaining. This is probably because Rob and I have been on our own for five days now, and the temper tantrums have occurred daily. Actually, it's often two or three times a day. In the morning, after he's changed and I dare put him down to finish getting dressed myself. When I pick him up from daycare and he has to stop playing and put his coat on to go home with his terrible mother. At the gym when he has to play in the kid's area while I run (although, lately, he's gotten better about this; today he quietly played for the full 70 minutes!). And then at home when dinner isn't just what he wanted or I dare put him in the bathtub. Last night, he screamed like a banshee when I picked him up and tried to put him in the tub. It took five minutes to get him in (I know I should pick my fights, but he was filthy). When I did, he screamed like I was pouring boiling water over him instead of the then tepid water.

I wound up getting Robbie up before I went to bed last night. I brought him in bed to cuddle with me, to let me have a few nice moments with him. He didn't wake up, but he did move around to snuggle a little closer to me. I tried to keep those moments in mind this morning when the meltdowns of Day Five kicked in. Literally. I got kicked in the face at 7:07 this morning and didn't respond well to it. Fortunately, tempter-tantrum-having-toddlers tend to quickly forgive their temper-tantrum-having mothers.