6.30.2005

I never thought I would say this: Kill Your Television...or at least, the news stations

I can't watch TV anymore. Commercials that follow a husband and wife through all the stages of family life with sweet sappy music in the background. Dramas in which a mother loses both of her children and eventually her lousy cheating husband. The nightly news. Children missing. Mothers killing their children. Fathers killing their entire families. I can't watch anymore. Since becoming a mother, I don't think I have become soft - I've become more human.

In another lifetime, I worked as a television news reporter. I covered a shooting in which a teenage girl was shot accidentally by her best friend with her friend's father's gun (which was not locked away). She was shot in the face. I covered the aftermath of the Springfield school shooting and interviewed a mother who had a child in elementary school, one in middle school, and one in high school. When I asked the youngest, who was eight, if his friends were talking about shooting someone at school, would he thnk of doing the same? His answer was chilling: an honest and immediate "yes, if my friends were I probably would." The mother sat motionless, just staring at her son; I can't imagine what she was thinking that moment. I covered countless accidents, many of them fatal, many of them ugly. I was warned in journalism school that when I saw my first dead body I would likely throw up--if not from the sight, then from the smell--but that eventually I would get used to it. I didn't have to get used to it - I just covered it, mechanically, and didn't think about the life that was lost. I couldn't. I had to think about shooting the video from the right angles, getting the best sound bites, getting to the scene before any other reporter and finding the exclusive angle that would make it a great story to add to my reel.

Once I covered a fatal accident and the dead woman's shoes were laying out in the middle of the road. I don't quite know how they got there, but it was a pretty bad accident. Her blood seemed to soak through the body bag. I saw her shoes and shot video of them. Just laying there. No life in them. Just shoes. I knew it made great video because it symbolized the woman herself, the life that was lost so tragically. The shoes that no longer would walk, run, dance, play.

When I got back to the station, my now husband, then producer of that night's show, criticized me for the shot. It was too personal. Too gratuitous. For some reason, at that moment, I couldn't see how he could think that way. It made great television, and helped personalize the story.

My husband and I have since both been out of the news biz, and we are grateful for every day that we are where we are, instead of some random town somewhere covering stories about people we didn't know and topics that, quite frankly, didn't matter to us personally. You move around a lot in the business, and after living in three states within three years, we were done. You enter broadcasting thinking you are going to change the world, only to realize you are the last profession that can do so.

So here we are...Mom and Dad to one adorable, innocent, sweet and amazing little Boo. Boo, who has changed my outlook on everything, but has especially made me appreciate the value of life - everyone's, no matter who they are. It is honestly difficult to do that if you work in the media. Newsies think they do, but they can't. They think they are doing a great service, that they are helping the American public. In some cases, they truly are. In many, they are not.

Take our local FOX news station. They spend more time covering every random, single incident crime scene, FOX's Most Wanted, and random accidents than any other station in town. These stories affect perhaps two to 10 people in the entire world each-that's it. How is this helping me learn about the important matters of the day?

Or the Today Show, airing three - what felt like 10 - parts of the Matt Lauer/Tom Cruise interview. Then every other station jumping on the Tom Cruise bandwagon from every possible idiotic and unnecessary angle imaginable. STOP MILKING STUPID STORIES. If you do not cover them, then they will not be news. They aren't as it is.

All I want is to have The NEWS back. Stories about politics, the environment, healthcare, education, racism. Tell me about the atrocities in other parts of the world, and in our own backyard, and then tell us how we as citizens can help. Cover both sides of the story - not just the one that the owner of your corporation wants us to hear (I'm talking to you, FOX). Dump the fluff and the crap and just give us the facts. Write with some actual skill. Tell me a story and make me believe it, feel it, and want to hear more. Show me some anchors and reporters with actual credibility, integrity, and brains. Real brains. Ask hard questions and don't let the President get away with not answering a single question that you ask. Stop covering the blood and guts and get back to the glory of real, solid hard news.

I turn to the people for news these days, not my television or radio or print or online. There is nothing real about the media anymore, in any shape or form (no, not even public broadcasting) at least not to this former news junkie. What's real are walks in the park with Boo, trips to the zoo, heated discussions about everything from same sex marriage to daycare to the war in Iraq over microbrews with people from all walks of life. Everyday life is chaotic and unpredictable and messy enough as it is; the news should inform and shed light on the truth, not instill unnecessary fear in us or pump us with useless information.

6.28.2005

New! Baby polls just for fun

Check out the new baby polls on the right sidebar. I'll update the questions each week. Vote away!

Oh, and you may have noticed (or not) the new design. The one I had before, I have decided, was too cluttered. Plus, a girl's got a right to change things up a bit every now and then, you know? ;)

6.27.2005

Planning is a mother's worst enemy

Having been a lifetime serial planner and obsessive organizer, motherhood has taught me this: that planning is a mother's worst enemy. If you make plans and you have children, the plans will, inevitably, fail. And when those plans fail, you will feel miserable, horrible for not being able to juggle the demands of motherhood and work and friends and life. Then you will try to reschedule those plans, only making matters worse because I bet that those plans will, too, fail.

I have learned through this past year that it is far, far better to leave plans open and to go with the flow. This type of thinking used to frustrate me to no end pre-baby. At work, one of my biggest pet peeves was that it always seemed like nobody ever planned anything with enough advance notice to actually get things done, and to get them done right. My new post-baby go-with-it strategy has worked wonders for me in having to deal with the inevitable all-last-minute projects and events at work. And, I believe, it has helped me enjoy life outside of work much more.

Sure, we still plan some things in advance. A family reunion in the fall. Attending friends weddings. Baby and bridal showers. The big things are still definitely must-plans. But dinner on Friday night? Let's see how we feel around 4:30pm that day before we decide. A trip to the beach next weekend? Let's see how we are feeling that morning. We just call the shots as we get to them.

I have learned, thankfully, that if we have this attitude rather than adhering to some schedule, we are much more successful at making things work, and thus, much happier. Who knows when Boo will nap. Who knows if we will be so damn damn tired that night and maybe we won't want to go out after all. Who knows if it will be 7 at night and suddenly we'll want to hit the town for some good cocktails. We can't plan those things anymore - we just have to do them. If others can join our plans at the spur of the moment, then great; if not, we'll catch them next time.

Coming from a serial planner/obsessive organizer/schedule overachiever, I'd say this is what therapists would call progress. I'll call it blog-ress for now :)

6.25.2005

Beach Day


Today we went to the beach. Not the normal one we go to that is about an hour away, but one a little further. It was such a beautiful day, and Boo had the best time. We went to the aquarium, walked on the beach, ran into a couple of friends who happened to be in town for a law meeting at the same time, enjoyed a leisurely lunch, and hung out for a bit. Boo loves exploring and discovering new things. Flowers, plants of all kinds, fish, turtles, sharks, sand, new floors he's never crawled or walked on, rocks, birds, oddly textured beach wood. He's so into checking everything out and we love watching him learn. He laughed and smiled so much today. It was the best day ever.

He slept for two hours on the way there, and two hours on the way back. We were so worried that he wouldn't sleep at night until late, but we did the routine and he fell asleep so well around 8:45 tonight.

We want to get a beach house so badly. I don't know how people live land locked. Maybe it's because every state I've lived in has been near either coast, and I've never had to be away from the ocean, but honestly, I could never live more than a couple of hours away from the ocean, any ocean. I'm glad that Boo shares the same love of the beach that we do. He was so crazy fun today. We can't wait to go back again soon!

6.23.2005

Trafficana

This morning I sat in traffic for about half an hour, and it was beautiful. So beautiful that I decided to continue my drive even once the traffic eased up and it was once again smooth groovin' on the freeway.

Truth be told, Boo fell asleep right after we dropped his papa off at work, and it was just as well that I just keep driving until he woke up. But I really didn't mind sitting there behin the semi, staring at the blue skies and watching my neighbors around me. Women putting on make up (so cliche), everyone on their cell phones, some of them gesturing and craning their heads around the cars in front of them as if they think they can figure out when traffic would ease up, a woman who sat so still that until her car moved forward I was really afraid that she was either a) made of wax but somehow turned human and busted out of the wax museum, or b) she was dead.

I sat there, filled with such peace and calm and I actually found myself smiling. I am sure one of my traffic neighbors watched me thinking I was the crazy lady in traffic. Sitting there, smiling away, looking up at the sun, staring back every once in a while at Boo. Traffic, I decided today, is a blessing. It forces us to slow down and in many instances, stop. Stop and bring all of our senses down to one slow pace. You can't move traffic with your mind. You can't yell and honk it away. You can't do anything but wait, and think, and hopefully, smile.

My new state of traffic zen is called Trafficana. And I love it. Sometimes, traffic really sucks. You have to catch a plane. You have to make a meeting. You have to get to the post office before it closes. You've had a shitty day and you just want to get home and pop a cold one. Maybe that's when traffic hits you - when the forces of nature want you to slow down, breathe, and just chill. Maybe that's why there's more traffic than ever, because we're all so busy and frantic and overcommitted and running late because we've overbooked ourselves that some random thing out there decides "ok, it's time to slow everyone down again" and bam! There's traffic.

I think traffic is a blessing to mommies everywhere. We're always running around double time, physically and mentally. Our minds are racing faster and more cluttered than most people's; there's a lot of traffic in our heads already. Sometimes I am running so fast that I can't think straight. Sometimes I'm trying to do a dozen things at the same time, and I know deep down that if I slowed down and just did one thing at a time, I might actually be more productive. But then the voice sets in: "how dare you do just one thing at a time! you'll never get anything done that way" and so the cycle begins.

And then Bam. Traffic. I can call people and write my to do lists and balance our bills and blah blah blah during the inch inch inch of the traffic slow dance. But today I decided not to, and I think it made all the difference in the rest of my day. I was very productive the rest of the day, and I was happier. Granted, I am on a vacation day, but still...early this morning I made a mental checklist and tried to figure out how I could do it all today. The only thing I didn't get to was making cookies, and the rest just happened in a nice, slow pace...and everything still got done.

I've come to appreciate the little moments of zen in my Trafficana world. I can slow down. It is okay. The world will not end. I can always make cookies tomorrow, and if I don't, the next day is just fine too.

My present to myself

Dude, I'm getting a Dell. Sweet.

6.22.2005

Working moms

Yesterday was a 14 hour work day. Actually, possibly a bit longer since I started doing some work from home around 6:30am and continued until about 12 am this morning, much to my husband's dismay ("turn that computer off already!"). I haven't worked one of those in a while, possibly since before Boo was born, and it was great and exhilirating and crazy and frustrating and nutty. I'm taking a few days of vacation starting today, and I am still working a little. What's wrong with me?

Many working moms say that one of the greatest reasons for working is because at work, you get verbal, written and monetary praise for the work you do whereas at home, the praise you get is usually in the form of smiles and hugs from your family, which is perfect enough for many moms. Which is more valuable? I wonder how many working moms out there don't get the recognition they deserve, whether they work one day a week or seven; is the money they receive from paychecks reflective of the thanks that they deserve but don't get? I'm willing to bet no. In my field, there are far more women than men, and yet when you look at the data, the men still bring home way more bacon than the women, even if they are less experienced. That makes my blood boil. Why are the men more deserving in many employers eyes?

What happened to the movement for equal pay? Did that die once the Republicans took over the White House? Working Mother magazine broaches the topic every once in a while, but they take a rather subdued observer stance rather than an active you-can-do-something-to-change-this stance. The mainstream media haven't touched that topic in some time, at least not that I have noticed. But then again, they're all about touting the latest celebrity chef, which is apparently far more important than tackling issues like women's rights, healthcare, and the real problems facing our educational systems today.

Equal pay for equal work. So simple. So logical. So invisible in today's workplace. So sad.

I'm a big believer in giving thanks where thanks are due. If you are a working mom, I hope that you get the recognition you deserve - both at work, and at home; both monetarily and verbally.

6.20.2005

Beanstalk, Dad's Day and Dogs

Boo grew an inch or two in one week. I swear he looks like he did. My family commented on it too at Father's Day BBQ Sunday. Today, he was wearing this cute green and yellow striped sleeveless one piece (very hot today - such random weather this week) and he looked like little Jack and the Beanstalk. Not that he's super tall or anything, but he just suddenly looked Big.

My husband kept saying on Father's Day "It's Father's Day, I'm not supposed to do anything." I wonder, then, why the same rule didn't apply to Mother's Day? I seem to remember making all of the food, putting all of the things away before guests arrived that husbands don't seem to think about putting away because they don't affect them directly, making sure the gifts were wrapped, making the cards, sending the ones that needed to be sent, making the grocery list, doing a fair amount of clean up work after the brunch... But hubby did vaccum the house and take out the garbage on dad's day, so I suppose that evens out...;)

We gave the dogs a bath tonight for the first time in, well, a very long time. We finally have the space to wash them without worrying about them getting all of our papers and food and Boo's toys all wet. Boo had a great time. We think our youngest dog believes that since Boo started crawling, he is a dog too, and that's why she tries to play with him more now. But she's so gentle with Boo, it's adorable. Boo gave her a big hug tonight. Right before she pummeled the poor pup because he was trying to get to the stairs. That's the other our little pup seems to do - she seems to try to stop Boo when he tries to go places he is not supposed to go, like up the stairs. It's a beautiful, complex, sweet and fun relationship to watch blossom. Boo and the dogs.

6.19.2005

It's early and I am pissed

Have you ever been so pissed off about work that you can't sleep, you get the shakes, you start crying because you're so tired and you don't know what to do because nobody is awake to bitch with yet so you just start working on work again?

6.16.2005

Some moms are crazy

That's all I really want to say. CRAZY. I feel like I have to scream it out through this blog because I would get no release otherwise. It is a bad, bad mom to be judgmental of another, and yet, these feelings are here. SOME MOMS ARE CRAAAAAAAZY!!!! Cuckoo. Nutso. Freaks of nature in their own special way. Sometimes I watch/listen/read and let it slide and forget about it. Then other times I watch/listen/read and feel my blood pressure rising as I smile politely and nod, but inside I just want to shake them into their senses and scream "What the hell are you thinking? Are you CRAZY?!!!? Yes, you are! Now snap out of it and get back to reality!"

All right. It's out of my system. I think.

From now on, all moms are great and good and perfectly normal.

Except for the crazy ones.

6.15.2005

Zoom Zoom Boo

Boo was all over the place tonight. The kid has so much energy. I don't know how he does it! Up, down, left, right, forward, backward, zoom zoom zoom, laugh laugh giggle squeal, smile, investigate, move on. That's him in a nutshell these days. I just kept watching him tonight, letting him run, crawl, cruise and bounce about, letting him explore and really just trying to make sure he didn't hurt himself. I kept thinking (praying) he would wear himself out in time for bed. What a good baby - that's exactly what he did. Sweet little Boo. Zoom zoom.

6.14.2005

Pals - A Shout Out to Ya

Normally I write about my mommy experiences in very general terms. Today, I'm just feeling specific. So if I don't know you and you are reading this blog, I promise I will get back to the general madness of mommyhood tomorrow or the next day. Today, it's all about our pals.

BOO'S PALS
Today is Boo's cousin's birthday. Happy birthday lil' D! A & E - the pictures are SO cute! I am trying to convince A to get me a radio flyer wagon so I can be shuttled around town too. I can totally fit in one of those still! :-) Lil' D turned one, just like Boo did recently. And just like Miss M in CA, and Master S in Vancouver BC. Lots of first birthdays this year. A collective Happy Birthday to all of Boo's baby pals throughout the world! He got to play with his pal O at the zoo the other day. So fun. O's mom is a former coworker, and I miss seeing her in the halls, but I know she is so happy where she is in her life now. A Beep Beep tribute to ya :)

MOM'S PALS
Sometimes I don't think I pay enough homage to my friends in this blog, but right now, it's all about the love. I love my friends. It's almost summer (you hear that summer? That means sunshine, and we'd really like to see more of you in the NW soon!). Summer means even more fun family and friends time.

Recently, an old pal that I used to work with way back in the day got in touch, and her emails just light up my day. We're hopefully going to catch up in a few weeks! She, another pal, and I have some great memories together and I can't wait to catch up. She's one of the sweetest, kindest, most generous people I know, and now she lives an hour or so away with her hubby and two kids. My cousin T and his wife J and their son Master S just emailed and said they're coming down in a couple of weeks too. S and Boo haven't seen each other since they were about 5 months old so this should be a lot of fun! We also heard from my former co-anchor and his wife about their latest news up north. Very exciting changes! Our politico pal Freddy-B gave a shout out to us tonight and it was so great to talk with him. He's working for Dean and traveling all over with him. We're so proud of you, Freddy-B. Can we get an autographed photo for Boo? We are teaching him the famous Dean campaign speech scream so he can show off when you visit...so visit already, will ya? (HL if you are reading this, while FB was working with Dean in Atlanta, a certain very pale reporter with initials RD from J-school days ended up covering the DNC's event! Crazy small world... we are all in trouble if they let RD report the news in such a large market...:-). HL has a new hubby, beautiful growing-up-fast little G, and a new life in a new place...I hope you are well and happy and good and we'll have to do girls' weekend soon. Maybe August? My pal J is abandoning us this summer to visit her boyfriend's pals in Cali instead of visiting us this year. What a traitor - abandoning us for a boy! :-) We'll try to go to NYC next year on our way to Switz. Or maybe you and said boyfriend can come visit us next summer! Or maybe we'll have another reason to visit you two next year....?!? Beautiful wandering soul KM is back tonight from her adventures across country and back. Welcome back KM! Looking forward to girls' night with you and Miss AD. My pal ASR is sick, and sounded awful on the phone tonight. Feel better! A & D are settling into their new house quite nicely and I can't believe it's almost time for Baby D to make his/her entrance into the world! LeeLee is getting psyched up for her trip to Maui. I am still practicing my yoga moves so I can contort into one of your suitcases. Maui sounds soooooooo nice right now... ML - I loved talking with you the other day and wish we lived closer to each other again :( My parents are busy scheming to get the whole family together every other weekend for some random planned trip from now through the end of September- to the beach, to Crater Lake, to another beach, to their place for a BBQ. Boo's maman and grossdaddy many thousands of miles away are enjoying their retirement and we love the Sunday calls. And there are many more people I've failed to mention that we want to make contact with on a daily basis, but just can't. There' so much going on with all of our friends and families all over the world and I always wish we could all keep in touch more. The Internet, the phone - neither replace the hug, the smile, the laughter in person. The older I get, the more I wish I had the ability to keep everyone at least in the same country, but more like on the same street. Sometimes I long for the days when all of my little friends lived on the same street and we just yelled out our windows to each other if we wanted to go outside and play.

I hope Boo is blessed with so many wonderful friends and family throughout his life. Thank you, all of you, for being a part of our lives.

6.13.2005

Hyperspazz

When I was in elementary/early middle school, one of my nicknames was Hyperspazz. I even created a little character that was my signature on notes and served as my logo. Now that I am a parent, I wonder how my own parents did it. I was Hyper with a capital H. But really, I was just a super happy kid who liked to sing and dance all day long, challenge her teachers, and have a whole lot of fun all the time no matter what.

Boo, we are noticing, is quite the happy and sometimes hyper little boy. When he gets excited about something he makes the most awesome sound - kind of like an evil sinister mad man laugh mixed with adorable baby giggles. His feet kick up and down like crazy. His eyes get huge and he lunges for whatever it is that is making him so happy. We love being able to witness this. Extreme happiness at its cutest and most honest.

We also have a feeling its a preview of what's to come. He's mischievious. He's smart, and will likely be a smart-ass like his parents. He's clever in choosing his actions and reactions. He reads us so well and knows how to adjust his actions to better position him to get what he wants. He's loud, he's active, he's all over the place.

But isn't this what all one year olds are like? We wouldn't have it any other way, honestly. We love the madness, the hyperacivity, the games and songs and dances that fill our home 24/7. For us, it's one of the most cherished aspects of raising a child: you get to act like a child yourself sometimes, and almost relive your childhood (but not in the bad your-child-should-do-all-the-things-you-didn't-get-a-chance-to-do sort of way - that's just wrong).

Through Boo's playfulness and sheer babyness, I get to be Hyperspazz again. Bouncing on sofas and making up silly characters with different accents. Running around and around and around the coffee table, back and forth, back and forth, chasing each other. We love the laughter that echos throughout our house, our car, everyplace we go when we play. We want Boo to know that you can have as much fun as you want, whenever and wherever you want. That you make your own happiness and you can help others by sharing yours. He may very well grow up to be the next Hyperspazz, and that's ok with me. I think I'm not only ready, but I'm looking forward to it.

Off the Bottle

Boo hasn't had a bottle in days. I've recognized this pattern now. Each time we worry about how long it will take to wean him off something, it really only takes a day or two. Phew! Only sippy cups for him now.

6.12.2005

Flying Words

Boo has always been very verbal. He has loved babbling since he could. Some of his favorite words these days:
Cookie
Birthday
Doggie
Bad Dog
Bye bye
He talks nonstop. Babble babble babble. He's totally having some sort of conversation, with inflections and movements and facial expressions to match. We can catch a word or two here and there, but the rest is beyond us. It's absolutely adorable. Words just fly out of his mouth. Luckily, they have all been good words so far. Although, I am not sure what it says about us as parents if his favorite word this month is "cookie..." We swear he only has a couple of Gerber arrowheat cookies about every other day! He calls Cheerios cookies, crackers are cookies...

My husband and I think it's hilarious that suddenly Sesame Street is taking on a health stance with Cookie Monster. Now "cookies are a sometimes food" on the show. After my husband heard about that he instantly wrote "Cookies are an all the time food" on our chalkboard. Okay, maybe it's no surprise that cookie is Boo's favorite word these days.

Sleeping like a baby

There are many things I love about Boo's entrance into toddlerhood, but perhaps the one I enjoy and appreciate most at night is his newfound sleep habits. He has always been a great baby, and he has slept for 9-10 hours each night since he was just two months old. But it has been sleep that has sometimes been interrupted. Sometimes it means we just go in, help him find his pacifier, and go back to sleep. Sometimes it has meant he can't be consoled and then comes to bed with us, where he conks out for the rest of the night. More often than not, during the past six months, it has meant solid sleep once he's asleep, but getting him to go to sleep has been the challenge. During his first six months, he was content to fall asleep fairly quickly while we recited Guess How Much I Love You to him once, twice, or sometimes three times. Since he became mobile, he's all over the place. Who can sleep when there's cruising and crawling and exploring to be done?!

Something happened when Boo turned one. He started to fall asleep fairly quickly once again. We recite the book once to him, wish him good night and tell him we love him, and then walk out. Sometimes he whimpers or cries for a few minutes, but he gets himself to sleep pretty quickly after we leave the room. It's Heaven.

I think maybe now that he wears us out more during the day, he perhaps wears himself out more as well, and is just so tired after a long, hard working day that he can't bother with putting up a fight. Sweet little Boo. Such a big boy now.

6.06.2005

Mommy Bliss

There are days when you wonder why you even bothered rolling out of bed, and there are days when you want to grab everyone you love and squeeze them hard and smother them with kisses and tell them how much you love them and mess up their hair. Today started out as the first kind of day, and then slowly revealed itself to be the latter.

I love being a mommy. I LOVE it. It is hands down the hardest thing in the whole world and it challenges me like no other life experience I have ever had or imagine ever will have. It forces me to look in the mirror and own up to the person I am. Being a mom, you have no excuses - you are the mom, the teacher, the disciplinarian, the friend, the role model and mentor. If you are not true to yourself, I believe it is harder to be the best mom you can be. If you are not true to yourself, you are cheating your child of understanding the honesty, humility, the rawness that inevitably comes with being a simple human being. The truth is we are all fallible. We all have flaws and scars and triggers. Our job is to be able to own up to them and then try to turn any negative into positive.

Boo has seen me screw up many a time, and with each day, I believe he begins to understand my words and actions more and more. He has heard me curse too often, get mad at other drivers, be abrupt with the poor high school kid behind the counter who was rude, yes, but probably had no idea what he said was rude. He has seen me eat one too many fast food items and chocolate products. He observes every action with super spidey sense, even when I think he's not watching me or I think he can't hear me. He absorbs. He mimics (boy does he like to mimic). He dances (we danced a lot tonight to the tunes from his new train). He smiles.

In the end, Boo always smiles. No matter what I do or what I say, his chubby little cheeks get even chubbier as the corners of his mouth twist up and reveal four big teeth smiling back at me. No matter what. Even when I've had the shittiest day or just encountered some horrible new obstacle in life, his smile is there waiting for me. His arms are always ready to hug, and his eyes prepared to light up. It is this reinforcement that reminds me that as long as I do what I believe is right most of the time, and I am true to who I am as an individual, Boo will love me no matter what.

THAT is considered bliss to this mommy, who happens to really really love being a mommy. Loves it, loves it, loves it more than all the chocolate in the world... and that's saying something!

6.04.2005

Mealtime Madness

Since turning one, I think Boo suddenly realized that he technically has ventured into the realm of toddlerhood and has gleefully taken on some of the typical characteristics of early toddlers. The biggest example of this occurs during mealtimes.

Boo has always loved eating. He ate up everything eagerly - peas, carrots, squash, bread, eggs, prunes, sweet potatoes, weird combinations made by mischievous baby food companies to see if people would actually buy said weird combination (blueberries pears and corn anyone?) - he ate it all up with a smile and a "yum, yum!" after a bite.

Suddenly, he has learned that he has choices and not only that, but that HE can actually be the master of that decision-making process.

Today it was all about the milk. Since he turned one last week, we tried whole milk in a sippy cup for the first time yesterday. I don't even think he could tell the difference. So he's completely off formula now and on to the good stuff (that would make us fat, bloated and gassy but somehow provides babies with the perfect blend of vitamins, fat and minerals without the old-people side effects). He loves it. But he loves it better in his bottle, so our routine yesterday and today has been to give him milk in a sippy cup, let him drink about an ounce, stage a quiet grumbling of a protest which includes holding the sippy cup above his head threatening to toss it down to the ground, then we switch it to a bottle and he gulps the remaining elixir down with a smile.

As for food food, he wouldn't have any of it today unless it was some sort of snack-type product or carbohydrate. Annie's all natural shells and cheese (with some steamed chopped carrots)? Not today, although he loved it last week (with broccoli). Yo baby yogurt, which he absolutely LOVES for breakfast on a normal baby day? Apparently toddlerhood doesn't call for the same yogurt (or even our Yoplait yogurt) in the morning anymore. Chicken bits from our salad? He wouldn't have anything today except for milk, Cheerios, fruit puff snacks, arrowheat cookies, bites from our waffles, fruit and oatmeal bars, and, surprisingly on this one, a whole wheat grape jelly sandwich. Oh, and he had a bite from my husband's chocolate chip cookie.

He's still pretty messy when he eats. Crumbs are everywhere, even 10 feet away. His sippy cup goes to his mouth and then the mouth smiles as the cup crashes onto the floor. After the jelly sandwich, which he used to comb his hair and create war paint onto his pants and shirt, we had a nice relaxing bath. I haven't even looked at his highchair to survey the full damage yet. I did a quick wipe down before his bath and called it good.

Supposedly, babies his age are like this. Highs and lows, likes on week are dislikes the next, solids only one day and milk only the next. It's pretty draining though, to try to figure out what your kid will eat at that moment, and then to do the song and dance from there. When he's old enough to talk and understand, I know there's know way we'd allow him to think that home was an open kitchen 24-7 catering to any whim of the moment, but for now, I know we're supposed to take his cues and go from there.

Boo still says "yum yum" when he likes something. And his smile when his taste buds are happy is the most beautiful site on earth. I just miss those times when the "somethings" that he liked was closer to everything instead of almost nothing.