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Good Housekeeping

May 14th, 2007

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 Though there have been few posts as of late, I have been spending some time updating this blog.   There are new pictures on the banner, a new photo gallery (click on “Photos” in the bar above), and some new edits on some of the pages on this site.   There is still more I would like to do, but like ironing my husband’s dress shirts, these things take time.

So, I have come up with a question to keep you all writing for me in the next day or so, while I catch up!   Seriously, though, here is something I still can’t figure out, and I’d appreciate your advice!

When you come home with a car load of groceries and a toddler (or toddlers) in the car seat, which do you unload first?   Do you leave your kid strapped in the car (and  do you leave it running  or turn it off?) while you take the  groceries in, or do you take your kid in first and occupy them safely and then unload?    Right now I leave Kenny in the running car and take the groceries in, then get him and occupy him with something while I put them away.   This is a tricky one, though, because here in Arizona, we have an attached garage, and in Maryland, our garage is detached and up the hill from the house – you can’t see into one from the other.   I never quite know what to do, short of carrying Kenny with me back and forth as I carry bags with the other hand.   A good workout, yes, but a really tedious task.

So there it is, Mommies.   Help!

I Have (Almost) Overcome

May 10th, 2007

I have written several times about Kenny’s love affair with the Rodney Atkins song “These Are My People.” As of late, it has verged on obsession. Everytime we get in the car, it’s, “Daddy Song Radio!” (he calls it “Daddy’s Song”) over and over again until I either A) Give in and play it, or B) Crank another song up so loud that it drowns him out. I don’t happen to think that the B option is very kind, so I usually give in, at least for a few rounds.

Over the last few days, I’ve been reading a couple of books on neuro-linguistic programing (they are Casey’s and I started one because I was out of novels, and then started the other because I am flat-out facinated with the whole thing.) It’s basically the study of how you can change your own way of thinking, and therefore your way of speaking, reacting to people and situations, and being more successful at acheiving your goals. Anyway, there is a section in one of the books about the influence of music in your life. I was a music minor in college, and I know that music affects my moods, and I also know that listening to (and creating) music can have a tremendous impact on strengthening your mental capacities in many different areas. What this book stated, whick I already knew but had forgotten, was that listening to the same type of music over and over again, or listening to the same beat and note patterns, can actually stiffle your creativity and keep you from being able to think at your most cognitive. It suggested challenging yourself to listen to different styles of music throughout the day to affect your attitude and increase your creativity.

Before Kenny came along, I used to balance my daytime music between things like ABBA, Country, Classic Rock, Classical and Showtunes. But lately, it’s been all country – all the time – with the occassional dose of one of two CDs that Kenny likes, both Baby Einstein: one classical and one nursery rhymes. So yesterday we went to Barnes and Noble and I bought a Broadway soundtrack, another classical CD (this one more Baroque) and Sesame Street’s Platinum Hits. Guess what Kenny’s been begging for all day.

Not Sesame Street (though we’ve listened to it a few times through and he’s diggin’ the tunes). It’s the soundtrack to Hairspray. Track one, to be exact, a goofy and easy-to-dance-to tune called “Good Morning Baltimore.” He has dubbed it “Mommy’s New SONG!” and requested it about twenty times today. He especially likes it when I sing along, and he’s already able to shout, “Baltimore!” at appropriate intervals in the song.

That settles it: I’m picking the music from now on.

Funny Guy TV

May 9th, 2007

I have convinced Kenny that there are only three things that play on our television set: Sports on Saturdays (when Daddy’s teaching him the finer nuances of baseball, or whatever major sport is in season), The News (CNN – which I will very rarely turn on during a desperate plea for a brain break from singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” until my head’s going to fall off), and “Funny Guy TV,” which is the first half hour of Sesams Street.

I turn it on for him most weekday mornings at precisely 8 am, after our morning jog / walk and our shared bowls of cereal and yogurt, so that I can make my bed, take a shower and get dressed for the day. I’ve discovered that it’s far safer (and saner!) than letting him “play” in my room and bathroom while I try to get ready. That usually involved him: A. Trying to jump into the shower with me, B. Him using my long dresses hanging in the closet as ropes to swing on, or C. Using my toothbrush to clean Dudley’s teeth.

All of this means that I can not only control a very limited amount of TV viewing for his little developing brain, but that when he points at the TV at other intervals during the day and says, “TV on?” I can say, “No sweetie. Funny Guy TV is only on when Mommy’s in the shower.”

You have to have guessed by now that this has come full circle. Today at Barnes and Noble, we spent some time in the children’s section, looking for some new CDs for Kenny (we only own about four, and they are wearing mighty thin). He saw a display for some Sesame Street CDs, and shouted, “GWOVER! BEE BIRD! Funny Guys, MAMA! Shower!” I had nothing to say to this spout of wisdom, but soon noticed an elderly lady and an older business man giving me the fish eye. I was about to sputter an explanation when Kenny declared, “Mama Shower NOW! Funny guys! E-mo! Mama shower!”

I’d like to say that we bought the CD and hightailed it out of there, but just then, perhaps from the force of his vocal chords, he squatted and did an enormous poop in his diaper. And yes, the diaper bag was in the car. And yes, it was 99 degrees today. Do you know what Desitin does when it’s left in the car on a 99 degree day? We went out to the parking lot, grabbed the bag and ran back in to change him. “Hot, Mama! No new diaper,” he said, and started to make blowing noises like he does to his food when it’s hot. We fanned it off a bit and got him cleaned up. And then we bought our CD and hightailed it out of there.

Except that I noticed that he wasn’t holding his sippy cup anymore by the time we got to the car. So we went back in. We found it. We went home. The moral of the story is: Beware of toddler verb conjugations.

Spaghetti’s Ready, Freddy!

May 8th, 2007

Kenny loves pasta, and Casey isn’t too fond of it, so whenever Casey is out working late or out of town, I make all kinds of pasta dishes for Kenny and I to try. One of his favorites is penne pasta, cooked with green beans, and tossed in a modified homemade alfredo sauce (warm whole milk, a little butter and parmesean cheese, simmered until it’s thick). The hands down favorite, though, is spaghetti.

Tonight I was trying to come up with a different alteration, and created a super yummy sauce started from Safeways’ “O – Organic Marinara” and simmered with finely chopped chicken breast (raw, so it cooked in the sauce), chopped spinach and a touch of red wine. After I poured it on the whole wheat spaghetti, I doused it all with a big handful of freash grated parmesean. When it was ready, I called Kenny to the table… “Spaghetti’s Ready!” He was delighted with the rhyme, and said, “‘Peg-Getty Retty!” so I said, “Yeah… spaghetti’s ready, Freddy!” and he yelled, “FREDDY PA-GETTY!” and continued to repeat it over and over as he devored a huge plate of uber-healthy spaghetti. He really did eat more than I did.

His ear is nearly healed, as well. But there is no rest for the weary around here… one of my incisions opened up AGAIN (now four weeks post-surgery) and we had to traipse to the doctor’s again, where the surgeon found that one of the disolvable stitches didn’t disolve, keeping the wound from completely closing. Please tell me that’s the last time we’re going to a doctor for the next few months…

A-B-C… as Easy as 1-2-3..

May 7th, 2007

First off, congratulations to Elizabeth of Hearth, Hearts and Home, whose vignette on her daughter’s ability to sing in her sleep is the latest to be featured in “Mommy Story of the Week.” Click on the link in the sidebar, and don’t be shy to submit your own! New stories are posted each week.

As for my talented little munchkin, out of the blue, while standing in line at the grocery store today, counted to ten out loud for the first time. Wow. I count to ten everytime we okay hide and seek, and he loves to say his “Num-bahs!” out loud. Up until now, he’s been counting everything “wun-two, wun-two!” but today in the grocery cart, he looked at the things I was placing on the belt and the inspiration sprung forth: “Wun. To. Free. Fowa. Five. Seek. Seben. Ate. Niiiiine. Tenn!” I looked up at him in surprise, and then sputtered, “Did you just count to ten?” “Num-BAHS!” he answered, smiling from ear to ear. Then, as if on a roll, he shouted, “A B C D E F G!!!” The checker, a nineteen-year-old with more piercings than ten looked unimpressed. I was quivering with praise. He did it several more times today after Casey got home, and Casey was even more proud than I. What a kid.

In fact, there seems to be little that Kenny doesn’t “pick up” in the course of a day. Shortly after he woke up from his nap today, we had a record number of rings on the doorbell: a friend of mine stopping by, the airconditioner repairman, the post man, the repairman again and then the Fed Ex guy. Keep in mind that Dudley goes slightly deranged when he hears the doorbell or sees a “stranger” on the front step. On the fifth ring, as Dudley was attempting to tear down the door with his teeth, I muttered, ‘Oh, for Goodness Sakes!” The Fed Ex guy delivered a box, whose contents were padded in mounds of that little styrofoam popcorn. As pieces floated to the floor, Kenny lifted up his arms in glee, yelling, “Sakes! Sakes!” Picking up a few pieces, he started running in circles, ‘Sakes, Mama!” I let him play for a few minutes, then said, “Ok, Buddy. We’ve got to head out to the grocery store.” Kenny looked up, hope and excitement filling his face: “Mama? Sakes? Kenny hold some Sakes?” Yes, folks… Kenny wanted to take the precious “sakes” with him everywhere for the rest of the day.

On a more serious note, he got a mosquito bite on his ear on Saturday in the exact same spot where his Staph infection was last month. Over the last 48 hours it’s gotten considerably swollen and red, and we visited his doctor / angel, this morning for a verdict. She is unconvinced that it’s Staph again, but to be safe he is on an oral antibiotic and a topical one, and on close watch from me and Casey, with the instructions to go straight to the hospital if it gets any worse. So far it’s holding steady, thank God, and we are praying hard that it will only get better from here on out.

We are now considering moving to any part of the world where mosquitos don’t exist. Are there places where mosquitos don’t exist? Last year here in Arizona, we saw nary a bug, but this year, due to a cool and damp winter, they are breeding out of nowhere. So much for the desert…

It’s All Relative

May 4th, 2007

Kenny loves to play “hide and seek.” He loves it so much that we play it for great lengths of time all day. Don’t get me wrong… I’m pretty impressed at the tenacity he exhibits when charming me into playing over and over again. But here’s the kicker: Kenny’s idea of “hiding” is to stand very still in one spot, usually right smack in the center of the living room, and wait for me to count to 10. Then, when I shout, “Here I come!” he will dart behind the couch or a chair, but only for a second or two, then actually start following me around as I “look” for him. It’s anybody’s guess as to when I actually “notice” him there, and when I say, “I found you!” he shreiks with pleasure and yells, “Again! Again!” It gets pretty mind-numbing after a while, but how can I deny my precious boy this obvious thrill?

Speaking of thrills, he still, after NINE months, begs me to play Rodney Atkins’ song, “These Are My People” at least five times a day. There are a couple of other tracks he likes, but listening to them certainly doesn’t lower the count of the first. It’s maddening. I love good old Rodney, don’t get me wrong – in fact, Casey and I are going to one of his concerts later this summer – but I’m dead tired of listening to this song. Yet Kenny is all smiles and giggles, waving his arms, occasionally singing along and generally exuberantly happy when it is playing. We even have two different versions of it, and he doesn’t seem to be partial as to which one is playing, just as long as it’s on, and it’s loud. To coin a phrase, … It gets pretty mind-numbing after a while, but how can I deny my precious boy this obvious thrill?

Since I got such a great response from my last general question, let me pose another: What do you do to keep your sanity when your toddler (or older kid) is bent on repeating something until your ears bleed? Or so stuck on a specific activity that it’s all you can do to keep from melting from the monotany? By the way, I’ll post the best story in this week’s “Mommy Story of the Week” for all to read. Let me hear from you!

So… what’s the secret?

May 2nd, 2007

Ok, I think of myself as a pretty put-together kind of gal. I shower and attempt to coordinate my clothing every day. I cook healthy meals three times a day for my family. No one has ever run out of undies because I forgot to do the laundry. (Ok, Casey did once, but that was because he must have worn like, three pairs one day.) Kenny is bright and happy. I make cookies every week.

Yet…

I have no hobbies. Yes, I blog, but that’s pretty much the extent of my extra-curricular activities these days. I haven’t gone on a run since before our onslaught of medical catastrophies, I read the occasional novel (I’m so hooked on Phillipa Gregory’s yarns about the Tudors…), and Casey and I order chinese food, eat ice cream sundaes and watch 24 every Monday night. But no scrapbooking, no online chat rooms, no home-based business, no sewing my own clothes, no gardening, no playing Mah Jong, nothing.

I am not entirely lamenting my own lack of super-productivity, I am merely bewildered at the laundry list of accomplishments my stay-at-home contemporaries seem to boast. Kenny runs me from the minute he wakes up at 5:30 (Usually with a “DADA HOLD YOU!” cry) until his one-hour-to-the-minute nap midday, then until he crashes at 7. I can barely unload the dishwasher without him climbing in there and unscrewing the propeller. I can only shower and get ready during the first 15 minutes of Sesame Street in the morning, because after that, he’s bored and it’s back to All Mama, All the Time.

What I want to know is, when do you women have time? Do your kids nap for four hours a day? Are they TV junkies? Do they just like playing by themselves? Do you have a Nanny? Or am I just not as organized as I thought?

Let me hear what you have to say!

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Just Another Day in Paradise

May 1st, 2007

A sample from today’s events:

We met Casey for lunch down at our fancy mall and missed his fragile naptime window. I decided to try walking him around the mall in the stroller so he could sleep. Bad idea. He slept for about twenty minutes and woke up wailing in the men’s department at Nordstroms. We quickly got back to the car, where he started screeching “walk!” as he apparently didn’t want to get into his car seat. I promised him a cookie if he would get in right now (bad mommy tactic), but then had to recant when I realized that all I had in the diaper bag was pretzels. Really bad Mommy.

When we got home, I sat Kenny in the living room with a load of toys so that I could spend twenty minutes or so cleaning the kitchen. Within five minutes, my ears picked up howls of laughter, and I looks around the corner to find Dudley laying on the couch and Kenny on top of him, trying to get a “horsey ride!” I decided the kitchen was safer after all, and brought Kenny in there, only to see within minutes that he had completely emptied the tupperware shelves and had submerged the pieces neatly into Dudley’s water bowl.

After cleaning up all the tupperware, Kenny asked for some juice. I started to make his typical half water / half juice cocktail on ice when he started wailing “IIIIIIIIICE!” then laid down on the floor and started howling, beating his feet on the freezer door. After about fifteen minutes of tears and wails, I finally figured out that he wanted to put the ice in his cup by himself. oh… is that all? Well, why didn’t you say so?

Ah, but then there was the marathon of “huggies!” on the living room floor when Kenny climbed all over me and planted kisses on my face and head. Then we sat close together on the couch and read books and sang songs. We did his favorite puzzle over and over and ran in circles to his Baby Einstein CD. He even asked to go to the potty twice and did his business there. After dinner on the back patio, we played basketball and he practiced throwing the baseball as hard as he could. I think the fun definitely out-ranked the frustrations.

All in all, just another day in paradise.

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