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.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rob Goes Greek

Justin, Robbie, and I were on our way out of the store with groceries for tonight's dinner when we saw the flier reminding us of the Greek festival going on down the street. We debated in the parking lot for a few minutes before Justin ran the groceries inside and we piled in the car for a little Greek food. After all, nothing like a little lamb, feta cheese, and baklava the night before a Jenny Craig weigh-in.

The line was outside the tent and down the sidewalk. We waited well over half an hour to get to the front of the line, with a very special young man in line behind us. He started crouching down next to Robbie about fifty yards outside of the tent. He continued next to us most of the way through the line. At one point, I had to ask him three time not to hand my child a piece of trash he found on the floor. Three times! He had the nerve to tell me it was OK, as long as Robbie didn't put the piece of plastic in his mouth. Oy!

About three bites into dinner, Rob got moved by the music. He hoped down from his chair and started to boogie in the middle of a very busy aisle. Barefoot. You know, 'cause that's the kind of classy we are. He made his way to the dance floor and clapped and twirled all over the tent-covered parking lot. I would have given anything to have had my camera. He moved with such abandon, not caring about anything but the music. And the girls. He loved the girls on the dance floor.

You know, every now and then being an adult is so much better than being a kid. Like tonight. I loved getting to decide last-minute what to do with my family. Or, occasionally, to have ice cream instead of a real dinner. It kind of takes the boring out of the monotony that life can sometimes bring.

Too Dangerous

Remember how I told you about the girl from daycare whose father pulled her out? Yeah. More has come to light on that. It turns out, the father didn't actually see Robbie do anything to his daughter. He saw Rob pull another girls hair and push her, which is, in my opinion, much less egregious. It's nowhere near as terrible as a face clawing.

One of Zhining's policies is that she only gives a deposit back if she is given two weeks notice. This girl's parents pulled her out in one day, so they do not get their deposit back, which did not sit well with the father. Apparently, he sent Zhining an email saying that he pulled his daughter for her own safety because my son was so dangerous that he shouldn't be in daycare.

Now, my response to this is somewhat mixed. I don't think my son is malicious. Or dangerous. I do, however, think he is a 22-month-old acting out in pretty typical ways. I don't like those ways, and we're working on that. What I hate is that we're going to be "that" family for them. The ones who ruined daycare. The parents who have no control over their child.

Justin was a little more concise in his response: he burst out laughing. It was the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard. And I wish that had been my response. I'm thankful that Zhining also feels the entire thing is stupid and that the problem lies with the parent and not Robbie. She told me today that she thinks the problems will just continue because the little girl has been enrolled in an unlicensed daycare. Best wishes for that family. I really hope there aren't any children "too dangerous for daycare" there. Surely no one bites, hits, pulls hair, or shoves in that setting...

Broken Bon Bon

Rob loves balloons. And, as a faithful reader of my blog and listener to my stories at lunch, my good friend Elys knows this. So, it only made sense that she would stop and pick up a few balloons for him on her way over for a Tupperware party Wednesday night. Robbie was immediately sold on Elys and ran around for the next half hour with his balloons.

He didn't let go of them for the next three and a half hours. I put him in bed with his balloons and an episode of Sesame Street on the computer. Really, the goal was just to keep him quiet, even if he didn't go to sleep. And he didn't. When I came upstairs three hours later, he was in the same position: standing at the foot of his crib, looking up at Sesame Street, and clutching his single remaining balloon in his right fist. I finally wrangled the balloon string away from Robbie and got him to fall asleep and thought I was home free.

Wrong. So wrong. I woke up at 3:00 in the morning to screaming. Heart-wrenching screams from the room down the hall. I went in, saw the balloon on the floor, and looked at Robbie. He had tears streaming down his face and was pointing at the floor, crying, "Bon bon! Bon bon!" (his new word for balloon, even though he actually knows how to say balloon). I handed it to him on my way to get him some milk, and he just cried harder, limp balloon in hand.

He finally fell asleep, but that wasn't the end of the bon bon. As soon as we got home Thursday, he ran upstairs to look for it. And that poor balloon followed him around the backyard for the rest of the afternoon.