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Silence Shattered

January 31st, 2007

For the second night in a row, Kenny woke up at 1:15 AM last night and started screeching.   It started off innocently enough as a cry, then a cry of “Maaaaaamaaaaaa!” then morphed into a screech that nearly took out the baby monitor on the nightstand.

Casey went in, and the screams got louder.   Only the screams weren’t random… they were screams for, “SNACK!”   and “WAFFLE-A-DIP!”  and “BLOCKS!   PLAAAAAY!”    You see, two nights in a row, Kenny has woken up and thought that it was already morning. It’s hard convincing him that it’s still the middle of the night, since he wakes up around 5:30 anyway, and it’s still dark then.   So it’s not like we can take him to the window and show him the night sky and settle him back in.   No, we have to say things that sound cruel and irrational to his tiny ears, like, “No, it’s not time for snacks, Honey; it’s the middle of the night.   It’s time to go back to sleep.”   And it’s not like he’s malnourished, or really in dire need for sustainence… last night I offered him a little banana, to see if he was really hungry, and he pushed it away and sobbed, “Waffle!”   Then, spying his toys on the dresser, cried, “Ball!   BatandBall!”

So for a good twenty minutes, Casey and I stood there, taking turns holding him, while he made these grunted screams that sounded as if they were shredding his vocal chords.   Finally, I said, “Enough!” and put him back in his crib.   Then the tyrranical screams turned to little boy sobs, and I picked him up again, and we curled together into the chair in his room.   I sang quietly as his breathing slowed, his hiccups subsided and the sniffles turned silence.   Casey sat outside the room, waiting in case he woke up again.   Finally, over an hour later, Kenny was asleep and Casey and I returned, bewildered and exhausted, back to our room.

I still have no idea what it was all about.   He didn’t seem scared, just disoriented.   He really seemed to think it was morning, and time for his breakfast and a rousing game of legos.

I’ve tried to figure out if there is something specifically waking him up ~ we are in a rented house during our stint here, so there are many quirks  we haven’t yet figured out.   This house has a pool, a hot tub and  two water fountains, and a sprinkler system, so maybe it’s some kind of water pump cycling on.   Maybe it’s a heating cycle that makes a thud when it goes off.   Maybe the neighbor works nights and comes home to open his garage door at 1:15.   Who knows.   All I can say is that he was absolutely inconsolable last night for an hour.

And then today he was his normal, giddy, happy self.   We read, “Goodnight Moon” two thousand times (except that he won’t let me read the black and white pages, because he only wants to look at the pages with the little mouse on them… and as soon as he spots the mouse, I have to stop reading and turn the page); we colored on a giant piece of construction paper.   We ate a whole container of hummos together.   We took Dudley on a walk, and Kenny “helped” the whole time.   (That’s a stress.. letting a one-year-old hold one end of the leash while walking a 75 pound weimaraner; don’t worry, I clip his end to Dudley’s leather collar, and I hold a shorter leash that is attached to Dudley’s choker, so that I’d take any of the pull if Dudley lunged.   The hard part is that Kenny drops his leash at least once a block, so that we all have to stop, I have to get Dudley back into a heel, hand the leash over to Kenny, and then start off again.   We don’t get very far very fast… Fortunately, he usually says, “All done!” about ten minutes into it, so then we’re free to speed off down the sidewalk.)   We went to the grocery store, and Kenny flirted shamelessly with the lady at the Deli counter.

And tonight, though he was a little clingy at bedtime, he eventually went down wide awake, happily hugging his stuffed sheep (called “Baa”) and murmuring, “Mama.   Nigh Nigh.”   I have to admit that I’m a little nervous about tonight.   I think I’m going to go to bed at 9, just in case.

Little boys, they are a mystery!!

Technical Difficulties

January 31st, 2007

It seems that the latest post I wrote, “Things I Learned Today” was on this page for several hours – at least long enough for a couple of you to comment on it! – and then disappeared during a WordPress glitch this afternoon.   Ah… if only I had a draft copy to re-post, as I remember it was vaguely funny… my apologies to Alicia and Crisann that the post and your additions are lost in cyber-space!

As for other technical difficulties, I am apparently having one today… I am wickedly hormonal (though I won’t go to the lengths that Alicia does to describe this time of the month!) and let me tell you that  a day of hearing the continual cycle of “Cookie!   Cracker!   Juice!   Dudley!   Hep!   Om!   Blocks!   Ball?   BatandBall!   Bat!   Ball!” and on and on was really getting to me.   Sometimes Kenny has these moments where he literally says all the words he knows in a row, and then repeats over and over again until he garners some sort of response or reward.   He knows so many words now that this can go on forever.   Especially when I am peevish and charged with estrogen and other hormones gushing from the pituitary gland.

And on top of that, to log in tonight and see a whole post missing… ah… that’s too insulting.

I’ll recover, yes I will, and tomorrow is another day.   If only Kenny could learn that 5 AM in Arizona is still 5 AM in Mommy’s brain, and not time to jolt of out bed and start demanding, “Waffle-a-dip!   Nack!   O-JUICE!”   Sleep, sweet sleep… that’s all I really need.   That and  a day at a spa.

“AaaaLooo?” … and other phenomenons…

January 28th, 2007

Yesterday, Kenny picked up one of the phones, something he does often, but rather than playing with the buttons or mutely holding it to his ear, got a concentrated look and shouted, “AaaaLoo?   Aaaalooo??”   I snorted out a laugh ~ mon dieu! he sounded too French!   Then he handed the phone to me, as if I could make some sense out of the silent device.   I played along, then handed the phone back to which he responded with another enthusiastic, “AAAALOOOOOO?”

As for all the amazement I’ve received over his apparent early potty-training interest, it was a passing fancy.   We actually just put toilet locks on all the toilets to keep him from throwing things in there, and he has quickly lost interest.   I’m actually relieved.   I’ve heard too many horror stories of parents who started potty training too young, and it ended up taking years instead of weeks to accomplish the feat.   I will, of course, react when and if he asks to go on the toilet again, but I want to wait a bit before really giving it a go.   Any advice out there as to when a good age is to start?   I know it depends on the kid, but I seem to hear that two is a popular age to get going at it.   Any thoughts from those of you who have succeeded??

I am amazed at the way he is suddenly putting words together in simple sentences.   What used to be, “Waaffle!” is now, “Waffle-a-dip!” (waffle and “dip” – syrup).   “Hep?” (meaning, “help”) has become, “Mama hep!   Dudley!” which means that he wants to “help” walk Dudley when we go on our walk.   He is stringing the words together more and more everyday.   I’m especially happy about the addition  of “Peas!” (please) to most of his requests.   Like during dinner tonight when he was presented with a plate of rice, broccoli and tofu… he devored the broccoli, then the tofu, but refused the rice, which is usually a favorite.   Instead he looked up at me and asked, “Waffle-a-dip!   … Peas?   Peas?”   I gave in, only because he really did already eat the important stuff on his plate, and because he asked so sweetly.

I’m a sucker for a guy with that much charm.

Times, They Are A Changin’

January 26th, 2007

Our first week here in Arizona is drawing to a close, and I think it’s safe to say that we are settling in.   The weather is cooler than we expected (30’s in the morning, high 60’s in the afternoon), but we’re loving every minute of life out here so far.   Kenny is the constant rascal, as is Dudley (as I write, Casey is practing a little Dog Whisperer on him…).   I have had some internet connection challenges, but Casey managed to get me up and running again tonight, so please forgive the long delay in posting.

It’s funny to think that last time we came out here, Kenny was seven months old with no teeth, nursing and refusing any form of solid food,  and barely rolling over one way.   During the three months we lived here, in a posh golf course condo on the fourth hole, he got six teeth, started distinguishing “Mama” and “Dada,” started to eat a little (though he didn’t turn into a gourmand until after his first birthday), learned to sit in a highchair and the cart at the grocery store, and learned to crawl.   I wonder what milestones we’ll cross this time…   So far, he has taken a nap every single day for a whole hour.

Yes, that’s right.   No Nap Joe has taken a one hour nap five days in a row.   We’ve been taking a walk at noon everyday,  Kenny falls asleep sometime towards the end, and I come home, park the stroller in his room and tiptoe to another part of the house.   It’s like a whole new world has opened up for me.   So this is what it’s like to have a kid who naps!!   I can take a shower without singing distractions to keep him from flushing his legos down the toilet!   I can fold laundry without him waiting until the pile is nearly done to pull it down!   I can *gasp* check my email or read a blog or two without worrying about him braiding the computer cords around my feet!   I can eat lunch without sharing  and worrying  whether whatever I want to  eat may be a potential choking hazard or allergen!

I’m afraid to write any more or I’ll jinxs this precious balance we’ve found.

Ok, I’m ok.   It’s just cementing in my head what I always figured it would be like to have an hour (or two, but I’m not getting my hopes up) to myself just to turn off and be quiet.   So this is how all my stay-at-home girlfriends have hobbies and clean houses…

New words this week:   “Shpicy!” (“spicy,” after eating half a bowl of salsa), “shocks” (for “shoes and socks”), “Ditar!” (“guitar,” is in “Dada?   Om?   Ditar?”   translated, “When is Daddy coming home so he can play his guitar for me?” because he loves listening to Casey play), “Hi-change” (“hiney change,” which is what I call a diaper change), and “Tu-tee?” (“cookie”).   And those are only the ones he’s said spontaneously in the right context; he will attempt to repeat most everything I say, from “bee-to!” (burritto), to an accidental four-letter-word that I said when I dropped a glass mixing bowl on the glass Viking stove top, shattering both.   (Yes, I really did.   That’s another story.   And it was only the one that starts with “s” – not, thank goodness, the other ones I was thinking of.)

So life here is great so far ~ a gorgeous neighborhood, friendly people, great shopping, endless parks and walking paths and lovely weather.   And a kid who is finally taking a nap.


January 23rd, 2007

I’m still digging out from the move to Arizona, but I wanted to write a quick note to say that Kenny and I have both recovered from our rather harrowing cross-country flight.

Kenny is back to being the sweetest boy on the planet, and I have reinstated myself as Mommy of the Year.   (ha ha.. just kidding…)   But we are enjoying the first few days of our adventure.   Today we traipsed to a baby consignment shop to buy a used crib (I can’t really expect my son to sleep in a pack-n-play for the next three months!), though it is still in pieces on his bedroom floor.   Who knew  the right screwdriver  would be harder to find than a decent crib???   Ah, the perils of living in a rented house!   Tomorrow we go on another excursion to find toilet locks (he’s really into the toilets now) and a toddler seat and step to put in the bathroom for his continuing facination with the advent of using the potty.

More to come…

The Day That Lasted a Year

January 21st, 2007

Yesterday I was “that woman” with “that poor baby” on the plane from Baltimore to Phoenix.   I have never been “that woman” before, nor has Kenny ever been “that poor baby” – not even close.   Oh, I’ve been on “that flight” before where “that woman” couldn’t control, soothe or quiet “that poor baby” who screamed for the entire five hour and twenty minute flight.   Ok, ok… there was a least a cumulative (though hardly consecutive) forty-five minutes or so when he was not filling the airline airspace with gut-wrenching cries.

All started off well… we ran around the terminal to wear Kenny out, boarded and got the front seat at the bulkhead, got the carseat strapped in, cooler with snacks and juice safely stored under the seat, arsenal of books and little toys tucked within reach and Kenny peeking out the window happily shouting, “Aapane!   Aapane!”   We took off, got to  cruising altitude, and when the seatbelt sign turned off, I took Kenny out to let him play in the floor at my feet.   About five minutes into this adventure at 30,000 feet, Kenny looked sweetly at me and said, “Poddy?”   “Oh, Honey… we can’t do that here…” (the bathroom was occupied, and there was no way I was letting Kenny’s precious sterile bum touch a public airplane toilet) “… you can go in  your diaper and then we’ll change you.”   After all, I reasoned, he’s only just started asking, and who knows if he even really has to go, or just wants to.   So he did his dramatic little squat and grunted while his face turned beet red, and then he started to cry.   The smell permeated the still air, and I planned to do an immediate change, but just then the seatbelt sign went back on.   The attendant appeared and said, “You’ll have to pick him up and hold him or strap him back in until the captain turns the seatbelt sign off.”  

And that was the begining of the next five hours of hell.   Kenny screamed when I put him on my lap and the lady next to me (an elderly grandmother type with a thick accent), obviously smelling the odor rapidly escaping our seat area, gave me a pseudo-patient, tight-lipped smile while I tried desperately to keep Kenny from kicking and scratching at her, as he was doing to me.   Half an hour passed like this, so I dumped him into his own seat (which we paid for anyway) and strapped him in.   His screams got louder and now he looked at me with a tear-streaked face and tragically sad mouth and yelled, “MAAAAAAMAAAAAAA!”   That lasted for about five minutes, as the granny next to me started offering advice to both me and Kenny:

“Maybe he has fever?   Is he teething?   You so tired, little man!   Stop being naughty and be good for your mother.   When he going to sleep?   He nap soon?”   Desperately ignoring the seatbelt sign, I jumped up, grabbed Kenny and laid him in the floor to at least change the super-stinky load in his pants.   What I found explained the tears: he’d pooped through the diaper and all down his legs, coating the inside of his pants, down to his socks, and up his back inside his t-shirt.   Have mercy, oh my soul.

I used all my wipes to clean him, then realized that I didn’t have a spare outfit.   So there we were, a mere hour into the flight, and all he had to wear was a diaper and his sweater.   I would have been terribly uncomfortable, not to mention cold, so I can’t blame him for the fact that he was more than miserable the rest of the flight.   All four flight attendants came by to try and calm him, cheer him up, bring him snacks or play peek-a-boo.   The seatbelt sign stayed on, and Kenny stayed, squirming on my lap, or screaming in his seat.  

I tried everything – books, snacks, toys, songs, baby tylenol, orajel, you name it.   I loved him all the way through it, though, even when I was to the point of crying myself.     One of the flight attendants brought me a bloody mary “on the house” and several people asked if I needed a break, that they would hold him.   Kenny is not the kind of kid who likes to be held by a stranger, so that was a no-go, but I did seriously consider it a few times.   As we began our descent, he finally nodded off on my shoulder.   I slipped him into his seat and sat there, numb and exhausted.   Just as we touched down on the runway (bounced is a better word), Kenny woke up and screamed through the whole taxi to the gate.   I could hear the people in the row behind me complaining.   The Granny next to me asked, “You going on to San Jose?”   “No, I’m getting off here.”   “Oh, Thank God.”

We latched onto the gate, and I unbuckled Kenny and grabbed the car seat, diaper bag and cooler with super-human effort, waited for the stroller to come up and dragged it all up the gangplank into the terminal.   Who was there, past security with a visitor pass, but Casey, my hero husband.   At the sight of him, I burst into tears and held onto his chest for dear life.

Kenny smiled wearily at his Dada and Casey picked him up and held him tight.   By the time we got our bags and got into the car, Kenny was his normal, happy, hilarious self.   I drank about five glasses of wine when we got to our new place, and then I was back to my normal, happy, hilarious self, too.   I wonder if he remembers it even now.   He’s sitting in the floor with Casey as I write this, looking at his airplane book, happy as a lark.

I’ll tell you one thing, though.   I will never again roll my eyes at “that woman.”   You really never do know what’s going on.

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Three Cheers For the Little Guy

January 19th, 2007

Kenny asked, for the first time today, to go to the “Poddy!” and actually did his business there.


Recently, since he is so dramatic when he poops, I’ve been saying, “Kenny, are you pooping?   Do you need to go to the potty?” and I’ll take him in there.     Not with the intention of early potty-training, but merely to begin encouraging an awareness of it.   And whenever he is with me in the bathroom (which is often, since he follows me everywhere all day) I’ll tell him, “Mommy is going pee pee on the potty,” (or whatever else it might be…).   So today, in the middle of playtime, he suddenly looked up and said, “Poddy.”   I was a little wary, but he repeated it, and when I said, “Ok, let’s go find the potty!” he ran to the bathroom.   I took of his pants and his diaper, set him onto the seat, knelt down to hold him up,  and he smiled with relief… and peed all over my shirt.  

I started cackling in surprise and the hilarity of the fact that I was being slowly soaked with my baby boy’s pee… something that hasn’t happened since the first week of diaper changes when he was brand new.   But I didn’t want to send the wrong message, so I composed myself, gave him a big hug and then praised him for his accomplishment.   And went to change my shirt.

Someone remind me next time that I should ask what exactly he needs to do before setting him on the family throne.   But what’s a wet shirt compared with the fact that my little sixteen-month-old boy recognized the fact that he had to urinate, asked to go, and then waited until we were safely settled on the toilet  before letting it go?   I’m so proud of him.

In other news, we leave tomorrow for the move to Arizona.   I can’t believe I’ve got a five-hour date with Kenny on an airplane.   We’ve already flown for 13 hours together this week.   The poor kid is going to start wanting to take a plane instead of a car when we go to the grocery store…

No One Said it Was Easy Being One.

January 18th, 2007

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Kenny’s jet-lag and travel fatigue finally caught up with us today. He woke up too early, too hungry and too grouchy. He had his moments of Most Charming Baby on the Planet, of course, but the bulk of the day was a little hair-raising. It was one of those days where he begged to be held and clung to my legs if I set him down. He was great at the mall when we took a trip to buy him new shoes (which cost as much as the ones I was wearing today), though he ate his way through nearly a box of crackers and a bag of raisins. (At least now he can sign, “More, please” while he says, “Mo’ peas!”) But once we were back home, he was a picture of misery and exhaustion. How can such a picture of delight and perfection turn into such a portrait of gloom??

If I picked him up, he wiggled, if I set him down, he howled. If I read to him, he wanted a snack, but if I fixed him a snack, he threw it on the floor. One of my favorite bloggers, Linda, wrote this a few days ago about her son, who is a few weeks older than Kenny, and she captures much better how a moment in a day like today can be:

“Riley seems to now be in a stage where it’s Highly Annoying to be carried anywhere — unless, of course, he’s in the mood for such an activity and then woe onto you, buster, if you don’t react to those little raised arms and tragic downturned mouth in .3 seconds or less because DOOOOOOOOOOM — and he reacts by twisting his body with a surprising amount of strength and shoving at his captor, usually right in the neck. His body language is loud and clear: put me down or I am going to shoot actual flames from the top of my head and burn your eyesockets, woman.

I couldn’t put him down, though, because we had to cross an icy, slushy parking lot, so I grimly held on to what felt like a thrashing salmon and made the endless trek to a shopping cart, where I then had the delightful challenge of shoving a tantruming toddler with wildly whipping appendages into the seat while simultaneously trying to hiss soothing sounds over his increasingly furious vocalizations, which sounded like a cross between a dying manatee and a bugling elk.”

Yep, that sums it up.

But tonight, after two bedtime tantrums, I went up to his room, again, and scooped him up, sat with him in the rocker, and then instead of trying to sing him to sleep, I just talked to him for awhile. I told him about how much I love him, how special he is to me and that he’s my best little buddy. I told him that I knew that sometimes it was scary to be left alone in a dark room, but that I would be right downstairs, and if he really needed me, he could call me and I’d come right back up. Then I said a prayer out loud for him, asking God to help him to go to sleep and rest his little body. I kissed his sweet buzzed little head and put him in his crib. He looked up at me, smiled his sweet little smile, and rolled over and went to sleep.

Ah. A day redeemed.

Now if only I could finish cleaning the house, folding the laundry, filing mail and packing for the move and still get to bed before it’s tomorrow…

Back to Reality

January 17th, 2007

… or as close to it as being a mommy to a wild and wonderfully spastic 16-month-old can be.   My own sweet Mommy came over today to play with Kenny for a few hours so that I could go through a tower of three-week-old mail, pay bills and clean this horrifically dirty house (Kenny actually stopped playing twice this morning to run to me with icky dust and dirt on his hands to “Waaa!   Waaa! (wash)”… at least the renovation – the culprit for the grime – is OVER!) in preparation for our departure and the arrival of our housesitter.  

All went smoothly until he heard me turn on the vacuum.   Then he turned into something resembling a cartoon character in unabashed glee.   He raced to the top of the stairs, pushed his cherub face into the baby gate bars and started yelling, “VAAAAAACUUUUUUU!   HEP!   HEP!”   Because he has this bizare facination with holding onto the vacuum when it’s on and pretending to “help” me suck up the dust bunnies and construction sawdust.   Which all you mommies out there know means 10 minutes of productive vacuuming turns into 20 minutes of really getting that one tiny spot on the floor super-clean and nothing else.   My Mom tried luring him away with books, toys, a ride on the rocking horse, a snack, a peek-a-boo and a tickle-fest.   But he howled, “Mama!   VAAAAAACCCUUUUUUU!” until she brought him down and let him touch the mysterious and facinating machine.   And then he wouldn’t let go.

At least I got through the bills to be paid.


PS – I’m still having technical difficulties with getting pictures to post… hang in there!

A Nutshell

January 16th, 2007

This is going to have to be short.   We arrived home yesterday afternoon, happy and exhausted, and have been going nonstop since.  

You see, we have the unique opportunity with Casey’s job to go live in Arizona for three months, just as we did last year, and we leave this week.   How about that for scheduling?   We were planning to have Casey fly Dudley out on Friday, and Kenny and I would follow him out on Saturday.   But you see, airlines won’t fly dogs if the temperature is below 45 degrees.   And Friday’s projected high is 38.   So it turns out, Casey and Dudley are leaving tomorrow to drive out, and Kenny and I will catch our originally scheduled flight on Saturday.   We have spent the evening packing the car, and trying to lull the super-jet-lagged Kenny to something close to sleep.  

So here’s the Hawaii wrap-up:   (and I’m having trouble getting photos on here today, so I’ll have to post those later!)

I ran my race.   I actually did far better than my goal:   I hoped to finish with a respectable 10 minute mile pace, and ended up flying through the finish line at 1:23:55… that’s a 9-minute-mile, my friends!   So I was thrilled.   I couldn’t walk the next day, mind you, but I was thrilled.

Our last days were gorgeous, fantastic, dreamy.   The trip home was only delayed three hours, so we counted ourselves graced.     But now, alas, with our tans quickly fading, Casey running around the house trying to fit “one more thing” in the car, Kenny wailing in his crib, “But it’s only 6 in Maui!!” and   me, fighting off the urge to eat ice cream to deal with the stress, we prepare, a little earlier than we thought, for our next family adventure.   I’ll write more tomorrow night when I can think more clearly, and hopefully post some pictures from our last days there.



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