Birthday, straight ahead! Where's the teaching manual?

My little Boo is turning two years old soon. Not that soon, but soon enough. I am petrified and sad and excited all at once.

Last weekend Hubby and I (well, hubby and my dad, really) put together Boo's birthday present: a playset for the backyard. We got it super early, just in case it would take us a while to put together. It took a day. It rocks. It's not one of those huge gigantic bigger-than-the-school-playground's-equipment type of playsets, but it has everything we think Boo and his little buddies will need for at least the next six to eight years: two swings, monkey bars, gymnastic rings, rock climbing wall, chalk walls, a slide, and space for a sandbox if we ever feel the need to go out and buy 200 lbs of sand (uh, no thanks). It was super cheap too! I researched these things for the past month and I'm pretty happy with our purchase. Boo loves it. He loves being outside and thank goodness the weather has been cooperating.

I'm a little scared of this birthday. One was such a cool milestone, like "hey, you made it to one year without your parents dropping you! Congratulations!" But two... it really does mean the end of all things baby. He's speaking in these little three to five word sentences and actually having conversations with us. He has opinions about what he wants to eat and what he wants to wear (especially shoes - we've created a monster shoe snob!). He's doing everything that we do and is so excited to show us all the things he's learning. And in the end, I'm responsible for this kid. Holy crap! I'm responsible for this kid!!! See, that's the part that's freaking me out just a little right now. Not that I'm irresponsible or have unhealthy habits (does an addition to email and chocolate count?), but everything we really do now is going to shape how he acts and reacts, how he views the world and how he makes decisions. I am still amazed that these responsibilities just happen. Forget stupid MBAs and PhDs - there should be degrees in parenting before we're all given these life-altering tasks!

This is truly the part for which there is no prep. It's all on the fly, making it up as we go along. In theory, we know how we'd like to raise our son overall; it's the little tiny details of the day to day that have the most lasting effects though.

Brace yourself, son. We're all in this ride together. May it be wildly fun and somewhat educational for all of us.

PS-Boo is also now addicted to Finding Nemo. That's Nemo in his lap on the swing in the photo. He loves Nemo and always shares his milk, water and snacks with him.


THAT child

My son is now THAT child that you talk about in restaurants, and I am now THAT mom, the horrible one who seems to have no control over THAT child. I am mortified and yet humbled all at the same time.

It has happened all so quickly. Within the span of one week, my sweet, soft-spoken Boo has come out of his shell. Big Time. He's yelling HI! to everyone he sees, no matter where we are. He yells BYE! repeatedly to everyone as we leave places. He's laughing big belly laughs at waiters and doing everything he can to get their attention, stomping happily all over benches and booths at cafes and restaurants, slamming his toys on the table, randomly letting out loud little screeches for fun, pounding on glass, and in one lovely instance, pulling down a large potted plant located next to our booth (he really loves plants and flowers). Lovely indeed.

I try to be calm. I try to be stern and let him know that certain actions are not appropriate for when we are out in public. I try not to lose my cool. But I can't help but feel out of control. I don't threaten to leave because quite frankly I am one selfish mama and if he's having a good time and I am having a good time, why leave? He has yet to harm any other kids or adults. He has yet to throw an actual tantrum in a crowded public place. He has yet to steal another kid's toy or shove a kid down (which has happened to him more times than I can count). He's just a happy and hyper little monkey, and I'm his baffled novice mama trying to make sense of it all and trying to figure out my role in this whole phase.

So I apologize now for anyone who may be embarassed by my son's behavior, or by mine. I also apologize for my lack of attention - you see, whereas once I used to be able to chat it up and let my son play nicely beside me, I am now suddenly focused on THAT child who is suddenly not someone else's but mine. I am waiting for the tantrums to hit. Those are next, aren't they? Oh dear.

Good thing we love the little bugger to death. As frustrating as this phase has been this week in public, it's been super fun at home. Now if only we can teach him the difference between how we act at home and how we act in public... might be difficult, considering I am still learning that fine art.


Shout out to Hubby's blog

The day has come. Hubby has actually updated his own blog, Paper Knapkin! His thoughts in his most recent post pretty much emulate my own so please go visit him and say hello. I am sure he would appreciate the visitors, and also please leave any advice you may have for our impending 14-hour journey/hellish trip to the inlaws (the trip being the hellish part, not the inlaws, thank goodness!).


The Meme of the Moment

Well, crap. I've been tagged by Bridgermama. It's the weird thing meme again, where I must confess six weird facts/habits and I don't know if I have any more weirdness in me that I haven't already owned up to on this blog. So while my list may be a tad dull, I am still nonetheless always game for these things. Here ya go...

1. I have never eaten a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. That's right. My mom always made turkey and cheese or some other type of sandwich, but never PB & J. Now I hold onto this odd fact like a badge of honor and I think maybe on my 40th birthday I'll have a birthday cake made out of PB & J sandwiches to commemorate the occasion.

2. I did, however, often feast on a lunch of spam, fried eggs and rice almost every day during summers as a young child. My great-grandmother lived with us and made my lunches during summers. Don't knock it - she lived until she was 102!

3. Like Bridgermama, I too am phone-phobic. Astonishing, considering the jobs I have had in the past have been all about chatting it up with people in person and on the phone. But really, I HATE talking on the phone, so thank God for e-mail. I love e-mail. I would rather chat with you via e-mail than on the phone, even if you are working right next to me. So basically, don't call me - I'll e-mail you.

4. Not a single day goes by that I don't have a chocolate product. Not one. I must eat something with chocolate in it at least once a day.

5. Wayne Newton once gave me a little peck on the cheek after a brief interview at some stupid country fair I was covering. I count this as weird because I think he's kind of creepy and weird. One of my old co-workers had this massive crush on him, which I found to be even more creepy and weird and quite disturbing.

6. I have a photographic memory. I used to be able to look at a page of text and almost immediately memorize every word on that page, but now it's more like half a page. Damn mommy brain.

OK. There is my ultra boring six weird facts/things/habits. Now who to tag? It is REALLY difficult to find someone who hasn't been tagged by this yet! Hmmm...I am pretty sure some of you may not bite on this meme, but seeing as how the blogosphere would explode if I didn't follow through on my end of the bargain, you're tagged!

Cathy with a C
Ready or Not
Beanhead Babbles
Deputy's Wife
Watching Me Grow
O Mama

Rules and Regulations:
1. Reveal six weird facts/things/habits about yourself and then tag six people.2. Leave a "You're Tagged!" comment to let the people you have tagged know they have to reveal six things (or the entire blogosphere will explode and it will be their fault).3. Leave me a comment letting me know that you have completed your mission (if you have chosen to accept it!)


Almost Two

Dear Boo,

I haven't written you a letter in a long time, bad mama that I am, and since you will soon be 23 months, I figured it was about time. I keep hoping to capture the wonder of this age through our monthly 100+ photos and sporadic videos of you, but it's not nearly enough to capture the pure joy you bring us and the beauty of this age. Plus, everytime we turn on the video camera, you stop whatever momentous thing you are doing and just want to see yourself in the screen.

Right now, you are growing into your own independent self. Your vocabulary is astonishing to us, and your level of comprehension is quite frightening. With this newfound maturity comes the inevitable urge to test it out, and test us you do. You are stubborn and smart and cunning, and we love you for it because it probably makes us better parents. Let us know if we pass the test. I think sometimes we fail, but we know you will test us again to see if we can make up for it.

You can recognize letters and numbers, and we love it when you tell us what letters you see. And yes, sometimes i's really do look like t's depending on how they are written. And yes, b's sometimes look like d's. Mama mixes them up too, depending on the person's handwriting.

You are learning your colors, and know blue, yellow, green, pink, and purple. Sometimes you can point out red and orange, but those are harder since they look so similar. Sometimes you mix up yellow and blue, but I realized today that sometimes you just like to say one color over the other, and that's ok.

I love how you are starting to mix it up Boo-style when you are singing. You can still sing songs in great pitch but now you are adding some extra little somethin'-somethin' to the songs here and there to make them your own. It's adorable. Maybe I'll get you a turntable for when you turn two so you can be the ultimate mix master.

I love how when you sing Old MacDonald, 9 times out of 10, when we sing "and on that farm he had a..." you excitedly burst out "Pig!" Apparently, Old McD has more pigs than cows, sheep, or chickens.

Your love of animals has gone nutso. Your favorites are zebras, lions, hippos and giraffes...hmm...all the main characters of Madagascar. You like to line them all up to read or to watch tv, and then you lay them down on their sides and tell them "night night, zebra...night night, lion..." and so on. You love to share your food and your drinks with the animals, and I'll catch you offering "milk, lion?" and then holding your milk up to lion to drink. It's nice that you share with your animals. Remember that sharing applies to other humans too.

You love saying hello and goodbye to everyone we pass by in public. It's an endearing trait that might scare people when you are, say, 25 years old, but right now it's lovely and sweet. Sometimes you shout "bye bye" to everyone very loudly in the store, and it's really very kind of you. Just disregard the shocked look on the old lady's face as we walk by her.

Foodwise, you are an eating machine. At home, that is. In public, not so much. Your favorite foods are blueberries, mandarin oranges, strawberries, waffles, PB & J, peas, rice, fake chicken patties, and Annie's organic ranch bunnie crackers ("hop hop"s, as you call them).

You are starting to pick out what clothes you want to wear and what shoes you want to wear. Sometimes you don't really match, but that's ok. You are still adorable.

You try to trick us into thinking something is our idea when you are the one who suggested it. You'll say "cookie? cookie?" and when we ask "do you want a cookie?" you'll light up as if that's a great idea, and say "ok! Cookie! thanks!" as if it were us offering you a cookie and not you asking for it. You do this with a lot of things you know we won't normally give you, and it's very cute.

You are also starting to whine, and we're trying to get you to use your words instead. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you suddenly break down into tears at the drop of a hat, and then you are suddenly smiling and dancing around again just as quickly. We love to just watch you because you are a mystery to us. A lovely little riddle.

Your papa and I are absolutely in love with you, more and more each day. We love how you are becoming your own person. We're scared when we see bits of ourselves in you, and we hope you continue to test out things so you can become who you want to be. You will soon be two, little Boo. We're very proud of you, and thank you for putting up with us and our amateur parenting ways.

Mama M


Boy's birthday in Vegas denied...by him!

And by Boy, I mean Hubby. You see, buying presents for my sweet husband after 13 years of being together is starting to get tough. There are really cool things I want to get him - like a week at racing school or one of those vacations where you get to learn how to be a vitner for a week - but they all tend to be quite a bit out of my price range. There are lots of cool little gadgets and gizmos that he'd probably think were cool, but wouldn't get much uses out of, and we're at that point where we just hate spending money on somewhat useless objects. And honestly, I think we're both at that point where we have pretty much everything we need or want.

So this year, I thought I would offer to get him and a bunch of his buddies a couple of rooms in Vegas for a weekend. A guys weekend. Isn't that nice of me? I thought so. I was so excited to run the idea by him. His reaction was less than stellar. "Eh," he said and shrugged his shoulders. "None of the guys will go."

What? No guy will go to Vegas for a guys' weekend? Away from us hounding, nagging women? Away from the screeching, needy, whiny kids? Where the $5.95 buffet is open 24 hours a day, and so is the craps table? Where beer is cheaper than water and you can drink it all you want without someone reminding you that you have to drive The Family home so stop drinking already?

Then I ran it by a couple of girlfriends of mine and they agreed with him: the guys probably won't go. Why? Because of the money but also because of the wives. Well, that's just crap, I think. The money part, I get, but ladies, if the guys are all gone, then WE can have a girls' weekend too! HELLO!

Ah well. I guess it's a new CD and an iPod giftcard for you again, dear hubby. Kidding. I'll come up with a new brilliant plan, although my original brilliant plan was squashed (sigh).

Boys. They're so difficult.



It's 2:30am and I haven't been able to sleep since 11:30pm, when Boo woke up and got into bed with us. Normally, he gets up, comes to our bed, and I am out (after a few rounds of him kicking me and squeezing my head with his sweet little cuddle/death grip). Tonight, no dice. I'm up. Luckily, I went to bed early and got about an hour of sleep.

There are times when hubby and I wonder if having Boo sleep in our bed for a few hours in the morning (usually he gets up a few hours before we want to wake up) is bad. As in, bad parenting. Should we try to get him to go back to sleep in his own bed? Sometimes we do. It usually works. Lately, though, I just don't give a rat's ass. I want to wake up and see both of my boys all cute and sleepy, snoring away a symphony. The dog sleeps in our room too and snores. Three boys snoring in one room and still I manage to sleep. Is there some sort of medal for being able to do that?

Is it wrong that I just don't care about trying to get him back to sleep in his own bed, no matter what time he wakes up? I was surprised to learn recently that several mamas have the same issue: their toddler gets up in the middle of the night and comes to bed with them. They seem at peace with this, and so should I. Why do I feel that damn mommy guilt, then? Oh, I hate the guilt. Maybe it's the lack of sleep but right now it's pissing me off. I know I'm not hurting him by letting him sleep with us for part of the night. It's not like he'll do this when he's in high school. For now, is it so wrong that I want to cuddle with my kid in a part-time family bed? I know he'll want to stop cuddling soon enough, so I figure I should get all the cuddling in that I can now!

Sleep. It's overrated. Ironically, hubby is usually the one who can't sleep when Boo is in bed with us. Tonight, it's me. I think it's time for some ice cream. Or Ebay. Or Ebay and ice cream.


Move over SNL...SSL is in the house

I am officially the parent of a toddler.

I am buying advance sales tickets to Sesame Street Live two weeks before they go on sale to the public.

There's no going back now. I am just thankful he doesn't like the Wiggles.


Mama pals rock and thanks to Hooters

Today, the unspeakable sadness slipped through my lips and I spoke about the experience for the first time out loud with mama pals E, A, and T (all together, our first initials spell TEAM! Or MEAT... depends on how you want to look at it :). It felt nice to say the words out loud. I almost cried but wanted to laugh instead and laugh we did, and I just can't say enough how much I love these ladies for letting me get it out there, and for being who they are. They are the kind of pals that when I am with them, time seems to go by twice as fast; just spending a couple hours with them makes me feel rejuvenated. I also love the idea of our kids all growing up together, since they're each just a few weeks or a month or so apart. (That means none of you can move!).

I also want to thank you for all of your supportive and kind comments and emails regarding my last post. Someday I will write about what I have been through (am going through, in some ways), but not yet. The experience has, in fact, shed some light on my relationships with other people. I shared the news with some people without even thinking about it (through emails until today); others I know I will share when the moment is right; and still there are some folks I just don't plan on ever sharing this with. There is one friend in particular who has become almost an alien to me and other friends since the day her preggo stick said "hey, you're having a baby!" and I just don't feel like she will be supportive or even care, really. As one friend put it, she was an uppity pregnant woman, and now she's an uppity mama. It's made me really sad, to realize that I don't want to share these kind of life-altering things with her, that I don't feel comfortable doing that anymore. But I suppose this is life, and as we are all subject to change, so too are our friendships.

I'd also like to thank Hooters, whose bright orange signage provided me with about 15 minutes of random reflection as I drove home from the playdate this morning. Hooters. In Portland. It just doesn't seem right, but there are three that I know of in the area. Portland, where the short-haired, liberal-minded, artistic intellectual is seemingly more popular than the long-haired, big-chested women whose serious reading repetoire includes magazines like Cosmo and Glamour. Yet Hooters must be doing well here for the company to have established at least three locations. Right? I suppose there are boob-minded pig men in every city. Then again, as I drove along, I remembered also that Portland has the most stripper bars per capita than any other city (or something like that). Perhaps our men think more clearly about how to save the environment while ogling over naked women, or in the case of Hooters, large chested women in tiny white tees. This was a serious conversation I was having in my head as I drove home today. So thank you, Hooters, for taking my mind off of my sad situation for a while and giving me some random food for thought this morning.

Thanks again, for your support, everyone. I promise to be visiting your blogs all this week!