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Preferred, Deferred

September 30th, 2006

Another beautiful day, the last in our vacation here in North Carolina.   I haven’t spent this much time with Casey since before Kenny was born, and that in itself has made this vacation a dream.

So where has Kenny been, one might ask.   With Gramma and Papa, I’ll answer.   And no, not because Casey and I have been pawning him off, either.   This little guy loves his grandparents.   In fact, he’s always loved them, both Casey’s parents and mine.   But still… Still, I have always, up until this week, been the one that he preferred to be with.   To sit with, to cuddle with, to hug, to hold.   It’s been All About Mommy.   Oh, he would play with them, indulge them in a hug or two, but whenever  I walked back into his view, it was “MaaaMAAA!”  

Not this week.   For the first time a few days ago, Kenny looked right past me and held out his arms for “PAAAPAAAA!”   I was old news.   Routine.   Boring, even.    

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I’m not mad, or sad, or resentful, please don’t misunderstand.   I’m thrilled that Kenny is so loved, and loves so much in return.   But I Am His Mommy!   I knew this day would come.   I knew even that with weaning, comes the inevitable clash that he no longer needs me every few hours for nourishment, thus no longer needs those precious, quiet stretches of time where he snuggles in my arms and only has eyes for me.

It’s hard, though,  to come to terms with the fact that there are other loves in his life.   Other people whose company he enjoys.   Other people who make him laugh, dry his tears and snuggle up with.   Lord help me the first time he brings home a girlfriend.   You know that joke about Dads saying that their daughters can’t date until they’re thirty?   Well, I might just institute a rule that states that Kenny can’t date until old age makes me blind and deaf.

I’m truly kidding, of course.   In fact, as I write, I hear my sweet, sweet son coming up the steps with Gramma, the tune of, “MaaaaMAAA!” on his lips.   I am so blessed to know that he already has a wonderful relationship, a special one, with this whole family.   And Monday, I’ll have him all to myself.

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Finding Quiet in the Chaos

September 29th, 2006

The Outer Banks is a place that by its very nature, begs you to find a solitary spot and curl up in a chaise or on a porch swing and just be quiet for a while.   To read, to write, to think, to pray… the reason for sitting there alone in the sun is merely for  solitude itself, not the action that compelled you there.

It is a place where everyone helps to clean up after dinner, where everyone takes turns taking out the trash and where household chores become joys for being a part of the greater group.   It is a place for long walks in pairs and  trios on the sand, for big sun hats and suntan lotion, for blankets spread out in the afternoon to lounge on with good bottles of wine and hunks of cheese.   It’s a place where the baby takes a nap every day (!), where the dog finally runs as much as he should, where Mommy and Daddy remember they are Kristjana and Casey.   It’s grandparents and playtime, bunkbeds made into forts and an old Weber grill just waiting for the next round of burgers.

This is our fifth day here.   The day stretches out before us with endless possibilities, limited responsibilities and no To Do lists in sight.   This line of lapstops on the breakfast table allows the execs and MBAs among us to check in and then check right back out again and return to the spot in the sunshine.     Gramma has Kenny on a stroll, Dave and Sonila (who ended up coming back merely an hour after I wrote that they had left… it’s hard to leave this place!) are playing tennis, George and Casey are reading, one in the sun, one on the couch, and I am going to finish writing and find that empty porch swing.   Dudley is curled at Casey’s feet, vaguely aware that his buddy Maggie is gone, and strangely subdued.

This is the kind of place that proves that we all need time away, to find quiet in the midst of the chaos of life, and to remember how much fun this life really is.



Guest Posting, by Kristjana’s husband Casey: “A tribute to Maggie”

September 28th, 2006

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Maggie “Mooks”, my parents beautiful golden retriever died today as we are vacationing in the Outer Banks NC.   Mooks was 13 years old and lived an incredible life.
This is important not because Maggie was a good dog (she was a great dog), but because Maggie spanned an incredible time span in the life of our family.   She was part of 13 years of joys and sorrows for all of us.   Many people have good dogs.   Many people have had special dogs.   Mags was a joy.

I remember when my sister in law Kathie picked out Maggie as a surprise present for my Mom’s birthday, and the look on my Mom’s face as Maggie was brought to the side porch of our house with all of Mom’s friends gathered round.   The next week Maggie spent wedged under the downstairs toilet, doing her best to keep cool and safe in the new, scary environment.

Things got better from there.

Maggie soon shed any worries and realized the Cook home was going to be a fantasy life for a golden.   A large yard, a pool, a never ending number of squirrels and birds to joust with, and a family that doted on her.
I remember being at the beach and watching Maggie, during her 2nd week with our family.   This tiny little puppy ran as fast as she could, for as long as she could.   This would equate to 40 or 50 yards, before pooping out and dropping to the sand in sheer exhaustion, panting for 30 seconds, re-energizing her little body.   Then off like a rocket, she did it all over again.   100% effort.   This is how Maggie lived for 13 years.
As I sit here today, as a husband and father to a beautiful baby boy, I think back to that day at the beach at Gilgo, on Long Island.   I remember delighting in Maggie the puppy, and wondering where my life would be when Maggie was an old gentle dog.   It wasn’t a sad thought.   It was acknowledging that Maggie was a beautiful little pup that was going to be here a long time.   None of us knew then just how much she would become a family member.   I have not been at home since Maggie was a puppy.   But for years whenever I wanted to think of something happy and peaceful Maggie would come to mind.    I think Dan felt the same way.   I know my little nephew Ryan felt  close to her to.   Seeing “Maggles” was always a highlight of visiting Grandma and Grandpa.
Maggie was, upon reflection, a gift that God puts on the earth to help us live better lives.   Isn’t it incredible the different ways that God allows us to delight in his gifts?   For 13 years, many lessons came through Mags.
Love is patient – Maggie would wait hours in the same spot for my parents or my brother Dave to return home from whatever he is doing.   Maggie in many ways was Dave’s dog.  
Love is kind – Mooks was one of those dogs that made the grumpy old men in town say something nice.   Maggie was therapy to the old, especially my Grandma in her later years.   Maggie was one of the few things that my Grandma would respond to during her last few days in hospice last year.  

Love does not envy (well:.. Maggie didn’t like it when other dogs got more attention, but who could blame her!)
Love is not self-seeking – Isn’t this the amazing thing about these wonderful animals?   The live every second for others.   In Maggie’s case, it was to be a constant companion to my Mom and Dad on hundreds of car trips, thousands of walks, and an innumerous number of moments when it just felt good to share an evening or morning with Mooks.   Maggie only wanted to be where they were.  

Love is not easily angered –   What a gentle little pup.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.   In the times when we were angry at Maggie, she would want to put her soft beautiful head on our laps, as if to say, “Don’t be mad.   There is no time for that.”       What a world it would be if we could all be so forgiving.
There was a desire in Maggie to forever to remain a puppy. I dare to say that her last full day on earth may have been her best.   She had a full day with my Mom and Dad. At dusk last night, Dave and I walked Dudley and Maggie on the beach.   Maggie frolicked like a puppy, playfully galloping and kicking her hind legs in the air as she was let free on the beach, bounding happily into the ocean to fetch a stick or snort some salt water.     Last night her dinner was covered with steak juice and other assorted foods from my mom.   Then while we kicked back and watched a movie last night, we all laughed as Maggie licked my Dad gave Mooks the last of his ice cream.   Why not, right?

Love never ends.   Thank you Lord for Maggie, and your promise to redeem all of creation, to make all of your creation, and creatures, new again.  

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Wide Open Spaces

September 26th, 2006

Living on the water, taking for granted the sunrise over the creek and the fishing boats coming in as the light brightens, I forget how breathtaking it is to see the sun peak over the unreachable horizon of the ocean.   Sitting here in this gorgeous beach house, looking out onto the Atlantic, sunlight pouring in the fifteen foot windows, my dog curled at my feet, already exhausted from a morning traipse in the sand, I’m almost lightheaded at the contentment this day brings.

Kenny is gleefully tromping through this giant living room, grandparents at his beck and call.   In fact yesteday, for the first time, my litle boy looked right past me after waking up from his nap and shouted, “Papa!” and held his hands out to my father-in-law.   It actually took a few moments to get over the innocent shun, but I am truly glad that he loves his Gramma and Papa like he does.   And watching them cater to his every whim – throwing legos, driving dump trucks across the carpet, reading the same page of the same book over and over – I’m filled with love.

Kenny was delighted to be surprised at the arrival of his uncle Dave for a few days as well.   Dave brought along a friend, a beautiful, intelligent  and witty lady, who was just as loving to him as if he were her own kin.   As they drove off this morning, all of us wishing they could stay, Kenny looked after the car trolling down the street as if to say, “Hey you guys, the party’s just getting started!”

I am humbled with gratitude at the showering of genuine love and affection my son has here in this house.   At this moment, he is dancing in his own little wild way to a Rodney Atkins tune, both grandparents cheering him on.   I’m humbled because I realize that there are untold scores of little guys out there just like him who don’t have this love.   Who don’t have any arms to run to, and doting loved ones who love them unconditionally and without measure.  

Thoughts like these are easily pushed into the back of my mind most of the time, because when I allow myself to continue on with them, I begin to wonder if there is any way I can have a part in saving even just one of these little ones from a loveless childhood and bringing them into our home to be showered with agape.   I suddenly want to adopt a household full of them and give them the love they are lacking.   I know that it’s not possible to save them all, but can we make a difference to just one?   It’s something Casey and I have talked about on occassion, and something we may look into in the future, but for now, all I can do it pray for those tiny hearts, that somewhere in their life they can feel at least the warmth of God’s love holding them up, where the human arms are lacking.

I can’t imagine loving a child more than we love Kenny. I look at my husband in the same frame of mind, and marvel at how one human could be created so perfectly just for me.     He does so much for me, for Kenny, and the selfless sacrifices he makes for  us are astounding.  

How did I manage to find myself in such a life?   I certainly don’t deserve it, and yet I’m infinitely grateful for  every bit of it.  

Vacation Time

September 23rd, 2006

First, this is the third time I’ve tried to write tonight.   I sat down for what I thought would be “just a minute” because I have way too much to do before leaving on vacation tomorrow, but due to some technical difficulties, I keep getting booted off, losing what I’ve written.

All of that wit and brilliance lost in the world wide web forever.

Now that all of that is properly vented, let me start again by saying that I am very excited about our vacation!   We are leaving tomorrow for  the Outer Banks for a week with Casey’s folks.   I keep having these awful feelings that we’re going to forget something important; maybe that’s why I made sure to pack all of Kenny’s things first: toys, books, diapers, lotions, clothes, stroller, bathtub, backpack, and blankets.   I’m fairly certain that he could survive for at least a month anywhere, arctic or tropical, with all I’ve packed for him.   I think I’ve packed ten times his body weight.   And I haven’t even gotten to the sippy cups and plastic bowls yet.  

Of course, the last time I packed for a trip and did Kenny first, I ended up forgetting to pack any of my bras.   That was for our ten day trip to London and Oxford back in July.   With the exchange rate being what it was, buying bras in London was not the most cost-effective plan I could have come up with.   But my son had  enough sweaters to  take him to  Norway and back!   (Never mind the very unexpected heat wave that forced us instead to buy t-shirts  and sunscreen.   Who knew it could hit 95 degrees in England?)  

I always get a case of the anxiety bug whenever I’m traveling anywhere.   That could be the reason I’ve had four chocolate chip cookies in the last four minutes.   Dudley doesn’t help, either.   He gets frantic at the sight of suitcases (even though we almost always take him everywhere with us) and will frequently try to secretly bury a bone in the midst of the suitcase we are packing.

We spent the day today preparing for our trip by attending a Navy football tailgate party.   What a blast!   I have to admit that I was a little dubious about how much fun Kenny would have, but our little sport rose to the occasion and was a barrel of laughs.

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Kenny is more fun by the day.   His “little” personality is anything but little these days.   This is a kid that likes to party.   He watched the action with intent concentration, then chased after the other kids (though he was by far the youngest), running as fast as he could manage, all while gripping frantically to a miniature football.   I was so proud of him as I watched him entertain himself and (unknowingly) the masses.  

I couldn’t help but think tonight, as I was putting him to bed, about how much fun it is going to be to get to know him and watch him grow.   Some days I forget how massive the world must seem to him; so much of every day is brand new, exciting, sometimes scary and always  big.   I’m so blessed to get to walk along side him, to hold his hand and to watch him experience it all.

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I love this Mommy stuff.

Whatever Works

September 21st, 2006

I finally found a cup I can get Kenny to drink out of.   Now before you start raising eyebrows or leaning towards a hasty judgement, let me explain that I first tried every other cup in the house.

Occasionally at five o’clock, especially on nights  that I know Casey will be working late,  I pour myself a very small glass of red wine.   Consider it my way of making a casual nod to the traditional cocktail hour.   You know, the end of a work day for all the nine-to-fivers out there.   And the acknowlegdement that my work day, while it never really ends, is at least drawing to a close.   So tonight, with Kenny in the highchair devouring penne with marinara, I poured a smooth  demi tasse  of Marietta Old Vine Red and took a long sip.   Kenny pointed at me and the glass I was holding and signed “more.”   “No, Honey, this is Mommy’s wine…” but wait a minute… why not..

No, I didn’t give him a sip of wine.   I dug out the plastic wine glasses that we used to use on the boat, ones that look exactly like the glass I was holding, and poured in a mixture of orange juice and water, the same thing that was in his spurned sippy cup and bearing absolutely no resemblance to my wine, and held it up to his mouth.   He took a small sip into his mouth, wrinkled his nose, swallowed and smiled.   He held up his hands for another sip.   And another.

He only really drank about two ounces, but that’s two more ounces than he’s been drinking of any liquid besides La Leche, so I’ll  count it a minor success.   The funniest thing was, after several sips, he got tired of me holding the glass, and reached instead for his sippy cup where he took several long swigs before hurling it onto the floor in very close proximity to Dudley’s rear.

I laughed so hard, Kenny started hamming it up with funny faces, then hurled the rest of his bowl of pasta on the floor.   (Oops… I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to reward delinquent behavior by cackling…   but who can resist a kid who’s so delightfully funny!)

Now I obviously will not let him drink out of his wine glass in public.   I can just see dropping him off at the nursery at church with a wine glass in the diaper bag.   But at this point, I’m just relieved that he’s willing to drink fluids.   Just wait until I start writing about the trials and tribulations of weaning him off his wine glass…

The Anatomy of Time

September 20th, 2006

It’s high time I recognize that I am no longer the “new mommy” of a “baby,” but am instead the Mom of a Toddler.   Yikes.   And how can I reconcile this year that has flown impossibly fast and left me a year older, with a one-year-old running around the house where a tiny baby used to be, sitting safely contained in his bouncy seat?

I came to this realization rather abruptly today when someone asked me to do something, and I started to respond with the old, “Oh, I’m just too busy, what with a new baby and all…” when it hit me that a one-year-old is not a new baby, and I really had no excuse whatsoever, No Nap Joe or not!

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I starting a mental inventory of all of the things I do each day, and how I can better streamline my time management.   I thought of all  of my girlfriends, specifically those that have not only more than one child, but that have hobbies, for goodness sake.   I looked at all the “necessaries” like laundry (that is never caught up on), house cleaning, meal planning and grocery shopping, bill paying and financial upkeep of the household, and general errands.   Then I began to ponder those inevitable time-eaters… and I discovered two that I spend an obscene amount of time on, yet are beyond my control.

The first is Dudley, The Weimaraner.      

Kenny Sept 13 026.jpg     I can’t begin to calculate the number of minutes each day that are spent chasing him in order to dig trash, toys or contraband food out of his mouth.   To run him out of the kitchen to keep him from stalking the poor boy learning to eat real food with real utensils in his highchair.   To clean up the piles of chewed sticks, tracked in dirt and various other random debris that mars my otherwise clean(ish) household landscape.   Then there are the first-thing-in-the-morning walks so you know who doesn’t start doing back flips in a desperate attempt to blow off extra energy.   (And I’m not talking about Kenny!)   It all adds up to… I don’t know… let’s say two hours a day.   Hey – weims are a demanding breed.  

The second is Driving in the Car.   We live on  a gorgeous piece of waterfront land in a very nice house.   And this tranquil and idyllic spot also happens to be a good thirty to forty minutes away from everything.   From Church, from MOPS, from friends’ houses, from the “good” grocery store, from the park, from the Mall.   So on any one day, I spend an hour or two driving to and fro.   The alternative to this would be to simply stay at home, have a half dozen more kids so Kenny would have a home-based playgroup, and raise weimaraners (so Dudley would have some interaction, and I would finally have a hobby).    Yeah.

Couple those three to four hours mentioned above with a kid who’s not really a napper, and suddenly a see why  I don’t scrapbook and why there are three loads of laundry waiting to be folded on top of the dryer.   I should get a medal just for vacuuming this week!    

But really now, there has to be a solution, dogs and driving and all.   I can’t spend the rest of my life barely catching up on the little household tyrannies.   I do spend glorious amounts of time playing with Kenny, giggling and chasing him, building towers out of blocks and reading  “Swim  Duck, Swim!” twenty times in a row.   I think the issue at hand is, when does the time come that it’s ok to “do stuff” while I’m home with Kenny  all day?   Not just getting dinner ready  while Kenny is banging blissfully on a  pair of  pots at my feet.   But does there ever come a time when it’s ok to set him with his toys and books and Do Something Else?   I’m not complaining about having the chance to play with my little boy all day.   But I know that other stay-at-home women out there take classes online, volunteer for Meals on Wheels and plant flower gardens. And it can’t all happen just when their precious little ones are napping.    

So what am I missing?   Was this in the orientation at the New  Moms class that I forgot to go to?   Is the answer in a handbook I  neglected to order?   I count it a lucky day when I get a whole shower.    What is the secret to Getting Things Done?

On another note, here’s an update on the World of Weaning:   Kenny doesn’t seem to be in any hurry.   He’s eating a little better, but is still very opposed to drinking anything (water, juice, cow’s milk) out of any sort of a cup (sippy, straw or other device that is not part of my anatomy).     I know that a big part of it has to do with the familiarity and comfort in nursing for him.   So we’re still working on it!   I’m down to about four feedings a day.   Next week I’m aiming for three, and I’d like to have him completely weaned by the end of October.   Any more advice or support is greatly appreciated!

Waste Not, Want Not

September 18th, 2006

Ok, how many of you Mommies out there eat like, six meals and four snacks a day?  

Come on… you eat your own meals, that’s a given.   Then you end up feeding your kids on their own schedule, where who can help but pop a bite or two in your own mouth while you’re fixing it?   Then the dreaded moment when your kid is clearly, “All Done!” and something kicks in your psyche that is your own Mommy’s voice talking about not throwing away food because there are starving children out there in third world countries.    So rather than throw away the smashed bits of toast or waffles or string cheese, rather than toss those picked-over chicken tenders  to the dog and begin an irreparable habit with your four-legged beast, you instead shove those cold and slightly mushy morsels  into your own mouth without thinking?   Not the already chewed bites, but the perfectly edible, yet too small to save  pieces that your little angel passed up with no more than a squish with his pointer finger.

Now I’m a very physically active, still fairly svelt thirty-something Mom, but even I can see that this multi-meal habit has got to stop.   Kenny is a great eater, but he leaves  at least  a tablespoon or two of food on his tray at the “I’m finished now, my lovely Mommy” signal.   And try as I might to toss the crumbs, I’m caught in a generations-old guilt cycle of not letting good food go to waste.   Today, not counting my real meals, I’ve consumed half a toaster waffle, two different half-eaten apples, most of a polly-o string cheese, four crackers (in pieces), a scrambled egg,  and at least a bowls-worth of Cheerios.   Oh, and there was the rest of the chicken from a  deli-sandwich somewhere in there that I thought Kenny ate, but found instead in the creases of his pants when I picked him up out of the highchair.

What’s a Mom to do?   Do I just close my eyes, hold my breath and throw it down the disposal?   Do I recycle it into compost for my tulip garden?   Do I wrap it in sheets of plastic wrap and convince myself that Kenny will eat it later?

My hips are on the line here, my sisters.   Somebody talk some sense into me!

Comedy of Errors

September 17th, 2006

I’m using the word “comedy” here in the truest sense of the Greek… meaning humor, mishaps, pitfalls and accidental shenanigans combined with good-nature and love  (loose translation).

Friday morning dawned grey, and the sky spit mist and drizzle.   Kenny and I shared a plate of scrambled eggs and then I bundled us up to take Dudley out for a walk.   Just before I got him into his warm clothes, he  threw up – a little unusual, but he’d had a runny nose and a light cold, so I didn’t think too much of it.   I did think of it when he spit up again  as we were going out the door.   But Dudley was tugging on his leash, and I figured the fresh air would do Kenny  good.  

That was one of those mis-guided thoughts of first-time Mommy-hood.

Twenty minutes  into our walk, Kenny started projectile vomiting over and over. I picked him up quickly, and within seconds we were both completely soaked in everything he’d eaten or drank in the last twenty-four hours.   We were a mile from the house, and I was afraid to have him ride in the stroller.   For one, it was soiled and stinky, and second,  the design of the jogging stroller doesn’t allow him to sit up all the way, and I was afraid he’d choke.   So I wrapped him as best I could in the damp and smelly blanket he’d been tucked in with, and with Dudley trailing behind, we trudged home.

Fortunately, Kenny  seemed to feel a lot better with an empty stomach, and he giggled and sang all the way home.   We got into the house, where a contractor was doing repairs on the roof, no less, I put Dudley upstairs, changed us both in record time, and we set  off in the car to the pediatrician, who is forty minutes away from our house.   (The distance is ridiculous, I know.   It’s a long story, and we’re working on a change.)

Anyway, he slept the whole way, and was in high spirits by the time we got there.   The doc said that it was most likely just a case of his tummy being full of all the drippy mucus in his nose, and that he needed lots of rest  and fluids.   To  celebrate his clean bill of health, and because it was lunchtime, we  went to a little cafe, where my little boy ate nearly half my lunch, then we returned home where  he took a two hour nap, and I took a shower that lasted almost that  long.

When Casey got home that night, he dragged in several packages that had been dropped off by our garage.   One was a new backpack I’d ordered from REI, and the other had a “Michigan Department of Agriculture” sticker on the side.   Casey and I looked at each other and both said, “What on earth did you order?”   But the pizza arrived and we sat down to eat.   Suddenly, he jumped up and said, “Oh No!   Where was that from?”

The package contained one hundred and twenty (120!) tulips!   I mean, tulip BULBS.   What Casey had thought he ordered was a surprise for me… the ultimate in romantic bouquets… 120 of my favorite – tulips – just because he loves me.   I was elated at the thought of what he’d done.   And I laughed for a good ten minutes at the thought of planting that many bulbs this weekend.   My sweet, wonderful, gloriously amourous husband!   He was so bummed that the “flowers” were bulbs, and while the concept of that much gardening is frightening, I cannot be sad, but am instead joyous!   What beauty we have to look forward to in the spring!   And what a sweet and unexpected gift from my perfectly lovable husband.

(I’ve only planted ten so far… I need to get this written and get out in the dirt!)

Saturday was a wonderful day.   Lots of cuddling, a trip into Annapolis, lunch at an ourdoor cafe, a little shopping for Mommy and ice cream cones and long walks.   When we got home, we put Kenny to bed and Casey and I had a “date night” right at home.   We opened a bottle of our favorite wine and sat out on our deck looking out at the water as the light faded.    We just sat and  talked, all the worries and stresses of the week past melting away, and enjoyed each other and the friendship we share.

Today is bright and beautiful, Kenny is napping (he actually fell asleep in the new backpack on our walk  – not at all a good idea for it’s design.   We had to get him out and Casey carried him home.   Consider that another in the comedy of errors), and Casey and Dudley have driven off to Wings To Go to get sustanence for the four o’clock NY Jets game.

Sitting here on the screened porch, one ear listening for sounds from Kenny, I’m struck again at the beauty of where we live, and the incredible blessings of this life, tulip bulbs and all.


Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid

September 14th, 2006

After I took this picture of Kenny yesterday, it became apparent that our little boy was starting to look a little too shaggy:

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We had intended to get his first haircut on his birthday, but being a Saturday, we decided that the mall would be a little too crazy, so we postponed until today.   Fortunately, Kenny loves having his hair brushed, so we figured it would be a breeze.   We went to Cartoon Cuts, and Kenny was enthralled! First off, he’s never watched cartoons before, so that was pretty engaging.   And his stylist was decked out in so much costume jewelry that she jingled as she moved, making that a nice distraction, too.   So between the entertainment and the head massage, I think he would have stayed there all day if we had let him.   Hm… maybe Mommy and Me spa trips in our future?

He looks absolutely adorable.   His new cut makes him look every inch a little boy… our son is a baby no more!   I tried to take some “after” pictures today when we got home, but he was feeling just as adorable as he looked, and couldn’t help himself from hamming it up a bit for the camera:

Kenny Sept 13 019.jpg                                Kenny Sept 13 020.jpg    

So you’ll have to take my word for it that his hair looks great.

Isn’t it funny that kids are able to pick up our emotions from us?   I was giggling as we got in the car to leave the mall (he just looked so CUTE!) and he started cackling, too.   As we drove home, I popped “ABBA” into the CD player, and as I’m bopping along and belting out “Waterloo,” I look  in the rearview mirror, and there’s Kenny clapping (with the beat, no less), smiling and singing “Da Da DAAAAA” right along.   When we got home, while I was trying to take pictures, he egged me on, a little catwalk ham in the making, and made a different face for each click of the shutter.

Kenny Sept 13 024.jpg                               Kenny Sept 13 025.jpg

After the photo session, I put in another CD, and he walked around the house in his drunken sailor walk, clapping to the beat and stopping every few feet to dance.   Kenny’s dancing consists of bucking his hips and doing the chicken-strut with his chin out.   I kept trying to get it on video, but he would stop and look at me as if to say, “Please, Mommy, this isn’t Dancing With the Stars.”

And then strangely enough, all that joy and fun from our afternoon came to a screeching halt at five o’clock.   Kenny’s internal clock is pretty accurate, and the five o’clock whistle tends to be his cue to turn from a charming little boy into a banshee.   They don’t call it “the witching hour” for naught.

As I sit here at the end of the day, looking at these pictures and thinking about Kenny, I realize once again that he’s not a baby any more.   He’s growing up before my eyes, and there’s no way to stop it.   Makes it all the more bittersweet to enjoy every second.

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