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Happy Halloween

October 31st, 2006

We took Kenny to our next-door-neighbors’ houses on both sides for his first venture into trick-or-treating.   One of our neighbors was actually ready for him with a Starbucks bag and biscotti (which they figured would be good for teething!)  

kenny cow.jpg   Kenny wore his cow costume, and really enjoyed going visiting in the dark.   He was all smiles and happiness about picking candy (which Casey and I have already consumed much of) from big baskets and all the attention from our neighbors.   He even liked the biscotti!

Earlier today, we played “let’s clean house!”   I sang “Let’s Tidy Up the Nursery” from Mary Poppins and handed him the feather duster, which he gleefully patted on all the furniture he could reach while I followed behind with the Pledge and dust cloth.   Then I put him in his highchair in front of Sesame Street (for the second time ever), which he roundly ignored, and vacuumed the downstairs.   He was so thrilled with a morning with the merry maid, that he promptly fell asleep and took a real nap.   I celebrated by mopping that same downstairs floor and windexing our Wall of Glass (four very large sliding glass doors that face the water and let in enough light to show every particle of dust on the Pergo and every fingerprint on the furniture).   When he woke up, we both celebrated by eating chocolate chip cookies and playing with the pumpkins we never carved:


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Kenny continues to pronounce more words clearly everyday.   Today it was “Aaplane!” while we were playing at the park, obviously beneath a flight pattern from BWI.   He’s learning to climb, too.   At the park, the steeper the steps the better, and climb he did.   At home, he always seems to want to be on top of something.   I understand him wanting to climb up on pillows or large boxes.   What I don’t get is his insistance on standing on things that test his balance and threaten to topple him over.   Why does he pull magazines off the coffee table and then stand on them?   I watch the top glossy start to slide away and  watch his little feet start to slip, yet when I try to pull them away, he loudly protests and stands on them all the more defiantly.   He will also try to stand on the corner or his playschool barnyard.   I have no idea why.   He will stand there and bend over to play with the animals while his ankles wobble and his knees buckle.   Last Friday at our weekly home group Bible Study, he insisted on standing on one of the poor gent’s feet and holding onto the coffee table for the majority of our time there.   He fell over several times, but always wanted to go back for more.    I guess there are some mysteries about being a thirteen month old that I will never understand.   Like, why does he beg for crackers when I serve up grilled new york strip steaks?   Why does he kick me in the head when I change his diaper?   Why does he push the dining room chairs across the room?   Why does he take his cheerios out of his cup, put them on the floor for three seconds and put them into his mouth?     Why?   Some things are better left a mystery, I guess…

Who Is That Kid?

October 30th, 2006

Tonight, just before shuttling Kenny off to his bath, Casey found a video of Kenny from March 26.   Doesn’t sound so dramatic, but I couldn’t believe my eyes at the little Wiggler that was on the screen.   He had no teeth.   He could strenuously roll himself over, but not yet crawl.   He was barely eating rice cereal.  He had a bald spot on the back of his head.   As I watched the video roll, my mouth gaped open.   I see him all day, every day…   I had no idea how much he had changed!   To be honest, I almost didn’t believe that it was really baby Kenny I was watching on the screen, that he really used to be that small and immoblile.   The only thing that was the same was his wild cackle.   His laugh hasn’t changed a bit.. it just got bigger.

It started me thinking on all the things just this week that he has learned.   He has started repeating whatever I say, however garbled it might be.   “Waffle!” “Ouusside!” (outside), and “BaTiiiii” (bathtime) are pretty clear as new words.   The rest of what he repeats is mostly just vowels with haphazard consonants thrown in.    

He’s also been  mimicking my actions more.   I was dusting earlier today and, noticing that he was watching, started singing, “Dust, dust dust” as  I skimmed the furniture with the feather duster.   Kenny reached for it, then spent ten minutes “dusting” every bit of furniture he could reach, singing, “Da, da, da!”   When I got out of the shower, he hopped  in (after opening the sliding door himself), and grabbed the squeegee and started wiping down the walls, just as I had done moments before.   I am already formulating a plan to play “Let’s clean the house!” in the very near future…

He is also starting to do what I tell him to, when I simply state what I want.   It’s a little amazing that he reacts and does what I say.   A good reminder that he understands more than I give him credit for.   Thank goodness he hasn’t learned how to say, NO! yet…

My favorite new skill he has acquired is that he’s learning to give hugs and kisses.   My heart melts so, I swear I can see it in puddles on the floor.   And he really squeezes, too.   Tonight as Casey took him upstairs to bed, I asked for a hug and he reached for me and wrapped his little spider arms tight around my neck and nuzzled in.   He really is a little kid.

And he is almost fully weaned.   We’re down to one or two nursing sessions a day.   I didn’t expect it,   but the one that he’s not letting go of is mid-morning. He’s fine going to bed (as long as it’s someone other than me!), fine waking up (as long as there’s an eggo in the toaster pronto!), but there’s something about the mid-morning that sends him over to our living room couch where he looks up at me with those huge brown eyes, smiles, and signs, “milk?”   I had said that November 1 was my goal, and we may not be more than a week away.   I’m going to miss it, I have to admit.   He’s so kinetic that nursing is the only time I can guarantee that he’ll relax in my arms and let me snuggle with him.     But I guess Boys will be Boys.  

Gotta Dance

October 29th, 2006

I need to find the charger for our video camera so that I can film Kenny as he comes down the stairs every morning, so I can post  it on this blog.   He  toddles straight to the stereo, bangs it with his innocent exuberance (because we all know that banging  on the stereo  is the best way to make it come on), yells, “MA!” (which means either, “Music please, Mommy” or “Hey Lady – Gimme my Rodney!”) and then, once Magic Mommy makes the music start, turns to face the wall (where he can watch his shadow) and does these slow, deep knee bends to the beat of music.   Then, about thirty seconds into the song, he turns around, smile so wide it covers his whole face, and continues this “dance” as if inviting me to join in.   If Casey is at home, he will reach for him and wait to be picked up, where Casey never fails to hold him up high and bounce him to the beat.

This has been going on every morning since we vacationed in the Outer Banks during the last week in September.   That’s five weeks, my friends.   Mr. Atkins must owe me royalties at this point.   Or at least ear plugs.   He can’t even have listened to his CD as much as we have.

But what’s a girl to do?   It’s one of the favorite parts of my sweet little boy’s day!   I’ve tried substituting plain old country radio, other cds, even Sesame Street, but all  I get is a hurt frown.   He loves other music in the car, or upstairs, or in other people’s homes.   But in our living room, it’s got to be Rodney Atkins, and nothing else.   Seriously, could you say no to this face?


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Art and the Epicurian

October 27th, 2006

I’ve written before about Kenny’s love/obessesion with crackers.  

New development:   He will now only eat one bite out of each cracker…   then it is apparently ruined, and no longer edible.   And the cry begins anew…     “CRAAAAAAACKER!!!!”

New Shoes and Balloons

October 26th, 2006

Well, Kenny has finally moved past being fixated on only one thing (that is, playing his Rodney Atkins CD 400 times a day).   He is now also fixated with  putting his “big boy” shoes on and then taking them off at least ten times a day.   That, and carrying around an unfortunate mylar balloon that I thought would be a good idea to buy for him because he loves   “BOOOONS!!!” so much.   I figured that the mylar was a lot safer than the traditional rubber balloons.   Little did I know that he would carry it with him for a week straight.     Snack time, diaper changes, and playtime…. Boon was always there.   It got in his way, irritated him, got tangled around his feet and bonked him in the head.   And yet he loved that shiny floater.

I actually finally popped the sagging and limp metallic blue balloon today when Kenny unexpectedly went down for a nap.   I popped it and hid it in the bottom of the trash can.   When Kenny got up from his nap, he went straight to the closet where we had put the balloon for  its “nappie” and started calling, “BOON!   BOON!”   “Honey, the balloon went away.   Baby, I’m so sorry,”   I said.   We then exchanged these same two sentences for another twenty minutes before he finally walked away and came back a minute later with his shoes.   “OO?”    

So we spent the next twenty minutes putting on his shoes and taking them off again.   When he tired of that, he marched over to the stereo and patted it like a good friend.   “Aaahhh…” he said, smiling.   I keep reminding myself that it could be Barney.  

Isn’t it funny how kids will get so fixated on certain things?     I hear so often that babies and toddlers love repetition.   Then again, I eat the same cereal in the same bowl, leaving it for the same amount of “sog time” every morning, and I still love it.   Maybe I can make this work to my advantage… anyone out there ever get a toddler fixated on matching and folding socks??

The King of Comedy

October 25th, 2006

Kenny is starting to realize that he is a pretty funny little guy.

Sometimes he is funny on purpose…



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These shots were taken at a church costume party.   Put Kenny in a cow costume, and he turned in to a hamsteak.   Not only did he leave the whole costume on the whole time, but he ran around, crowing and laughing, happy as an oblivious angus.  

And he doesn’t need a costume to entertain: Yesterday I took him to the indoor playground at the mall, and within minutes he was so happy to be playing among the giant soft plastic animals that he started singing at the top of his lungs.   In fact, when he managed to climb to the top of the tallest one all by himself for the first time, he stood triumphant at the top, raised his arms above his head, and gave a true rebel yell of victory.   Sort of a mix between a “yeeeeeehaw!” and a “taaaDaa!”

But the biggest laughs always come when he is earnest and sincere, with no intentional punchlines.   Last night I had to leave for a rehearsal at church before his bedtime.   I bathed him and was putting on his pjs, telling him that Mommy had to to go church and that Daddy would be putting him to bed.   I caressed his face and nuzzled his nose.   He smiled and reached up and gently touched my chest and said, so sweetly and seriously, “Boobie?”   “Yes, honey,” I said,  “Mommy’s taking her boobies, too.”   “Nigh, Nigh,” he said, and walked down the hall.  

He is also a champion initiator of “peek-a-boo.”   Today I took advantage of a quiet moment while he was immersed in painting fingerprints on the sliding glass doors to open and sort the mail.   A moment later, I hear, “PEEEBOO!” and turn around, and there he is, half-hidden by the couch, cackling wildly at his own antics.   I started towards him, and he turned and ran as fast as he could and dove head-first into Dudley’s bed, burying his face it the slime-crusted fleece.   Muffled by the batting, I could hear his wild guffaws and passionate, “PEEBOO!!!!”

The fun never ends around here.

Attached, Part 2

October 23rd, 2006

Kenny and Dudley and I were stranded at the house today (the car was in the shop), so both my local family and my visiting relatives came to rescue us from suburban entrapment and spent the day at our house.   Including the three of us, that made for five adults and  four kids age four and under, and one very nervous weimaraner.  

I anticipated that this recipe would make for a fantasy day for Kenny… not only was his Grammy there, but his beloved Aunt Kim, two doting “other” aunts, and three little rugrats all his size.   But for some reason, the suddenly full funhouse was scary for the little guy, and he spent the better part of the day clinging to my pantleg.   When he did start to play, he made sure that I was in his sights, or he would turn wailing and crying and run to find me.  

I’m a little perplexed by this new behavior.   Up until recently, Kenny was Mr. Social, life-of-the-party and all around easy-going kid.   My cousin, mom to 17-month-old Olivia, suggested that I get out more with Kenny: playgroups, Kindermusik or whatever it might be, and get him used to being with different kinds of people in different situations.   Now this sounds like a no-brainer.   Even as she suggested it, I realized that “getting out” is something that I’m not very good at.  

Don’t get me wrong; we get out to run errands or go places nearly everyday.   But due to the location of our house, and the location of the rest of our retail and social destinations, I look at nearly a half-hour drive each way, no matter where I go.   So I’ve fallen into a pattern of getting the “things to do” done and getting my sweet little Kenny home.   To be honest, I feel guilty about having him in the car that much as it is.   Then to consider adding frivolous outings and playdates, we’re talking an hour at minimum in the car everyday.   And I just have trouble justifying that.

The solution?   I really don’t know.   I know deep down that I need to give Kenny a better social life.   I also know that we spend too much time in the car as it is.   It’s a quandry, isn’t it?   I suppose I could work to streamline the necessary outings to make more time to fun ones.   I find myself envious of the Moms I know who can actually walk to a friend’s house, or at the very least, pop in the car for a quick five minute drive to fun places to play and hang out.  

My husband grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone, all the kids knew which cul-de-sac to meet in for an after-school game of baseball and everyone could  recognize their own mom’s dinner bell.   And even though my family moved constantly when I was a kid, we always had neighborhood friends and nearby parks and playgrounds, no matter which town we were currently living in.   I think I took for granted that when I had kids, we would magically be transfered to a picture-perfect small town paradise where the tree-lined sidewalks were all you needed for transportation to fellowship and socializing.

I need to stop this stream of writing, or I’m going to start writing an essay supporting the re-instatement of communal living.

In other news, Kenny  is still enraptured by Rodney Atkins.   It’s Rodney in the morning, Rodney in the  evening, Rodney at suppertime.   The louder it is, the happier Kenny is, the more adorable his wiggling and the more excited he is to play it again.    He dances, he sings, and he revels in the spirit of American  Country:

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I’ve tried playing other CDs, but he will only tolerate a song or two, then his earnest little face pleads with me to give him more of the good stuff.   I’m thinking of writing a letter to Mr. Atkins and suggesting that he  consider coming over to babysit sometime.   It’s the least he can do.

Pictures! (to make up for a lapse in writing…)

October 22nd, 2006

I realize that in the world of blogging, a four-day haitus from posting is nothing short of neglect, or at the very least, bad manners.   So please forgive the lapse, and know that Kenny and I  are here, alive and kicking!

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In these past four days, we have spent loads of time at my parent’s house with my visiting grandparents (otherwise known as “Gigi and Papa” to Kenny),

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my visiting cousin and her one-year-old daughter, Olivia,

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 and my sister and her kids:

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(that’s four-year-old Kaitie with Kenny and Papa in the picture)

…and we went to another pumpkin patch, this time with Daddy:

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We also bought Kenny’s first pair of “big boy shoes” (hard soles, as opposed to his beloved leather-soled StarChild shoes) … let me tell you, that has gone over like a funhouse at a funeral.   You would think that we were practicing the art of footbinding the way he carried on.   It wasn’t until today, four days after the purchase, when Casey took him outside to play some football in the yard that he finally forgot his discomfort, and kept them on the rest of the day.   The previous record had been fifteen seconds.

And finally, I had my first ever “girls night out” since Kenny’s birth!  

I went out last night with my sister and my cousin.   It was very tame and suburban, but fun all the same.   Let me clarify – I have had opportunities to “go out” before, but, call me a sentimentalist, I just love  hanging out with Casey so much, I’ve chosen to be with him everytime there’s been an chance to have someone else watch Kenny.     What can I say, my husband is my best friend!

So while I was away from the computer, the time was well-spent.   Lots of fun, lots of memories made, and I even had a night off to boot.


October 18th, 2006

Anyone out there remember the Erma Bombeck book titled, The Ties That Bind… and Gag!?   I used to chuckled a little at that phrase, before I had my own kid, but without any kind of recognition or empathy.   I have to admit that I once thought that only Moms who “could’t really hack it,” or Moms with “kids with issues” must ever relate to a phrase like that.

So I’m either one of those aforementioned Moms, or I’m slowly realizing that some things are beyond even my control.

Kenny hates being left behind.   Oh, he loves to have Gramma Ruby and Papa George, or Grammy and Grampy, or even Aunt Kim (with only a little  screeching at the begining) babysit him for a little while.   But it has become virtually impossible to leave him in either the church nursery or the MOPS “moppets” so that this poor lonely Mommy can have a little cranial stimulation or girly fellowship.   He doesn’t just cry when I take him into the nursery… he wails.   And he screams, howls and generally looks so pathetically miserable that I totally cave and take him back with me wherever I am going.

Now, “attached” can be good:

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“Attached” can be sweet:

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“Attached” can even be silly:

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But this kind of “attached” is horribly frustrating.   Sure, I’m secretly touched that my little boy hates the thought of being anywhere without me (or his Dad).     It’s partially my fault… For the first year of his life, we never really  left him with anyone but our own parents or siblings.   How could I expect him to magically be ready to be left behind in a strange place with strange people so that I could attend a church service or a Bible study or a women’s group?   Yet, I somehow thought that the prospect of playing with little people his own size (which he loves, as long as I’m in his sightline) would outweigh any anxieties he might have about me leaving the room.   Well.   We all know what happens when we assume.

I don’t really know what the solution is.   Part of me believes that if I just stick to it and leave him for those two short times within the week that he’ll get used to it and stop crying after a while.   The other part of me is afraid that he will hate it so much, and be so scared that I’ve really left him for good, that he’ll start wailing every time we even get near the entrance to the church.   Where is the line between forging independance and nurturing insecurities?

Is it just the age and stage?   The stranger anxiety / separation anxiety peak?   Or have I waited too long to start leaving him with other people?   I would love to hear from anyone out there who has faced this problem and had success.   Thanks in advance…


Gabbledy Gabbelty, (or “Dinkle Dinkle”)

October 17th, 2006

The title of this post is merely a record of Kenny’s favorite words.   I have no earthly idea what “Gabbledy Gabbelty” means, but he’s been saying it a lot.   “Dinkle Dinkle” is the sound he makes typically to accompany the sign for “milk” but now does any time he’s hungry or thirsty, leaving me to interpret the correct translation.

Really, though, his vocabulary is growing remarkably, though I may still be the only person who really knows what he’s saying.   And his personality is growing at an even faster rate.   He is a certifiable flirt; a comic, a miniature politician, and a clown all rolled into one.   He runs like a marathoner with the finish line in sight, like a linebacker ready to break through the offensive line.   He sings like a karaoke king.   He laughs like a champion in a tickle contest.   And he kisses and snuggles like no one else I know.

But it’s his non-stop talk that grabs my attention and intrigues and perplexes me.   I understand a lot of it… “apple,” “cracker,” “Ba!” (his stuffed sheep), “Dougey!” (Dudley), “Dougey, Dop!” (Dudley, Drop!), “Da DA DA DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” (Daddy’s home!), “Nack?” (snack), “Teddy,” “ba ba?” (bathtime), “Bay BA!” (baseball), “mmmmmmmm   ma?” (Mommy, can you turn on the music, please?).   But the rest is a mystery.   He will talk for thirty minutes in the car to his sippy cup (we live in the boondocks, so we drive thirty minutes everywhere.)   He will walk over to Dudley and passionately give an entire, unintelligible address.   He wil scold me with his nose scrunched up and finger pointed and I know that he really means what he’s saying, but how on earth am I supposed to know what it means??   He is facinating, this boy of mine.

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I only hope I am as facinating to him as he is to me.

And I would be remiss not to report that Kenny is just about weaned.   The last two days he has gotten by with two very small feedings (morning and bedtime) and a very half-hearted midnight snack.   I can tell that I definitely have much less milk to give as well.   My goal was to have it all done with by the first of November, and it looks like we’re right on track.   As much as I will be glad to say goodbye to my role as the Dairy Queen, I will be sad to see it go.   I guess this is a foretaste of all that motherhood holds in the future.   Ah, how  bittersweet it is to watch these precious ones grow!


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