Monday, December 31, 2007

More Christmas fun

Well, I meant to come back and post more photos about Christmas, and here it is, New Year's Eve, and I'm just now getting around to it. We've been busy. I thought we were busy before Christmas, but we've been nearly as busy since Christmas, too. It's been a terrific Christmas season. No one got sick, which is good enough to land it in the upper echelons of holidays for me. No Typhoid William this year, thank goodness. We also had a lot of fun.

But for posterity's sake, let's have some more festive holiday photos, shall we? I'll back up a little bit and put up a few pre-Christmas day photos, too.

The McDonoughs always have a holiday caroling party the weekend before Christmas, and this is our third or fourth year to go. Well, my third or fourth year. William's second year. And David's...well, I'll let him do the math. William had Big Fun. He got to run around and be the center of attention, and we all know how much he loves to entertain his audience.

And I'll add this little anecdote from the caroling party in, since Diane loves it. She asked him what he asked Santa to bring him for Christmas. And he said, "I said choo choo." And I heard him say it, too.

David and me, at the same party, taking a breather in the corner while our son did the dog-and-pony show.

That same weekend, we also attended a Christmas party at another family friend's house. William was especially excited about this party because his good friend Leland was there, too. Can you tell that they get along like a house afire?

And of course there was the big Christmas Cookie Extravaganza at the Wyckoff homestead on Sunday night. Diane had a special Christmas apron made for William to wear while he helped decorate his very first batch of the Traditional Wyckoff Christmas Cookies.

Um, the polar bear hat was from last Christmas, though...

Christmas Eve brought the annual celebration of Aaron-mas...that is, Grandaddy Aaron's birthday. We ate, drank and were very merry. Then everyone went home, except, of course, us., Santa....had presents to get ready. Here's a rare photo of all the Wyckoff men on Aaron-mas.

A fun Christmas Eve photo, apropos of nothing except well, I thought it was cute:

And I said I'd post pictures of William with his new red wagon from his Mama Judi and Grandaddy Johnny, and would I lie? We bundled William up and took a few spins around the neighborhood. And can I just say that wagons have really changed since I was little? William's new Radio Flyer wagon has cupholders. That's right, cupholders. In fact, I think his wagon has more cupholders than my car does. And it also has seatbelts.

See the seatbelt? What's next, XM radio?

Sadly, I don't have any pictures of one of my favorite memories from Christmas this year. On Christmas night, someone nearby set off a huge display of fireworks that were visible from our front porch. William stood at the front door and watched them explode over the houses across the street, big fireworks with double rings and bright colors and sizzling patterns. "Fire wuhks!" he crowed happily. "Fire wuhks! Boom!" And he was still talking about them the next morning. What a wonderful ending to a wonderful Christmas.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A choo choo!

Merry Merry Christmas from William and his peeps!

Here is the little prince himself, walking down the stairs to see what Santa Claus left for him:

Oh boy, it looks good!

Oh my, it was a CHOO CHOO! Just what he asked Santa Claus for!

I mean, what are the odds? He asked Santa for a choo choo, and he got one!

I'll post more later. The choo choo has been the big highlight so far, so much so that there are still wrapped presents bearing William's name under the tree. But he has also gotten a big red wagon and a shopping cart and a bunch of books, so he's in toddler heaven right now. And it's not even over yet! Incidentally, David is having just as much fun with the train as William is....

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day with their families.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Assorted anecdotes

I feel like such a slacker. Little funny or interesting things happen all the time, and David keeps saying, "You need to put that on your blog." And what do I do? I forget. So without further ado, here are some random asides, so I don't keep forgetting to write them down. Oh, and some new pictures, in case you forgot what he looks like.

* * *
We went out to eat pizza with some friends on Sunday night. We put William and Leland in high chairs at the end of the table so they could entertain each other. And boy, oh boy, was that a good decision! The highlight of the night was when one of them started madly shaking his/her head from side to side until the other one started doing it. Then they both shook their heads back and forth, with huge grins splitting their faces, until all four parents were laughing, too. (Okay, so it was funnier in person. But trust me. It was hilarious.)

* * *
William hugged country music singer Martina McBride on Wednesday. She brings her youngest daughter to the same Gymboree class that we attend each week. William is not big on the parachute time that ends each class, so it usually involves major wrangling on my part to get him to come sit in the circle around the parachute and sing songs. (I can't convince him to go underneath the parachute itself when we billow the 'chute up and down.) But he loves it when the teacher blows bubbles all over the place. So he joyfully flung himself into the fray of kids all grabbing at the bubbles drifting down over their heads, and in his joy, he dashed back to me and hugged me, then a few seconds later, he hugged the adult next to me, who happened to be McBride. And then he jumped up and ran back toward the bubbles again.

* * *
William uttered an interesting sentence the other day while he was sitting in his high chair. Here is his profound declaration, word for word: "Stinky baby! I pooped!" And when I checked his diaper ten minutes later or so, sure enough....

* * *
We are getting lots of new words and word combinations these days. They seem to be coming faster than I can count them. William's now regularly using phrases like "Read, please" and "Puffs, please." He is saying words like "snowman" and "fireplace" and "baseball" and "horse." For a long time, he couldn't really imitate the words that we'd speak to him. Now he manages to do a pretty good job of mimicry. And about a month ago, he started putting more consonants on the ends of the words that he already spoke. So now we really do hear "bus" and "duck" more often than "buh" or "duh." It's just so amazing to me that this little person is really starting to speak and say things. He still throws tantrums when we don't understand what he's saying, but he's getting a lot more understandable.

* * *
Last night, I was making cookies for Christmas gifts for some of David's coworkers and for William's teachers at school. I had figured that four batches of galaxy cookies (recipe courtesy of my old roomie, Charlene) would make enough cookies for all of them, and with any luck, we'd have a few left over. But I wanted to package them all up for gifts before I let any go for general consumption. My son, however, had other ideas. When I wasn't looking, he stood on his tiptoes and spirited a cookie off the cooling rack on the kitchen table. A minute or so later, his father saw him meandering into the family room and said, "William, what's that in your hand?" I had my back to them, as I was fixing up another batch to put into the oven. And then I heard David say, "Is that a cookie? Where did you get a cookie? How did you get a cookie? Jennifer, did you give him a cookie?" He's never even had these cookies before! How did he know he would like them? But the crumbs on my carpet tell the truth...

* * *
I'm always all nervous that the people who take care of William won't find him as funny or charming or sweet as I do. I mean, clearly I love the little guy, but you know, the other people don't have to like him. But William's teachers seem to really enjoy him, or at least they kindly tell me so. One of them told me today, as we were leaving, "He's the kind of child you want to have at home." Awwwww. And he always hugs his teachers and the nursery ladies at church on Mondays. Awwww.

* * *
William loves Christmas decorations, as I have documented here. He absolutely adores putting a new ornament on the Advent calendar tree each day, and he never tires of looking at all the Christmas lights up in our neighborhood. The people who own the house directly across the street just put up Christmas lights a few nights ago. And guess what they included? A snowman! William was nearly beside himself with delight. I took him over to the yard today to check it out up close.

William reading "Hippos Go Berserk." He likes the "berserk" part.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Elvis has entered the building

Uncle Mark has taught William how to say "Hey baby!" And William has already tested it out on his friend Leland.

God help us all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Words, words, words

I'm really amazed by the way William constantly seems to be learning new words. It's like he gains at least one new word every day. I've heard this stage described as the "vocabulary explosion," and that's a very apt description.

Today at the zoo, he said a word that sounded like "meerkats." And he said it right by the meerkat exhibit, which he loves. And I wasn't imagining that he said "meerkats," either; a friend of mine was with us, and she said, "Wow, that sure sounded like 'meerkats' to me." It had to have been "meerkats." He's heard me say the word enough times, and he loves to watch them scamper about their little grassy habitat. So I think he said "meerkats" and I'm sticking with that. He repeated it tonight for his father, too.

William's starting to put words together sometimes, too. I've been encouraging him to say "please read" when he thrusts a book at me, and I think he may be catching on. He is pretty good about saying "please," and sometimes, he'll say "read" if I don't respond immediately. Hopefully "please read" or "read please" will come out soon. David and I are trying to repeat that sort of phrase a lot so he can copy us. I figure, if we prompt him enough, he'll catch on.

And last night, he said an entire sentence. It was not a particularly profound sentence, but heck, it was a sentence. I swear he said, "It's a snowman." He was looking longingly at an old glass snowglobe that I unearthed from a box of Christmas decorations, but I wasn't letting him play with it. He was fascinated by the way the fake snow drifted around the little snowman figurine, and he just couldn't get enough of watching me shake it up. In fact, he so wanted to play with it that he busted out with a complete sentence to distract me and get his hands on it. And you know, it worked for a few seconds! Luckily I came to my senses before he could steal the snowglobe away. I tried to get him to repeat the sentence, but no dice.

Of course, despite the vocabulary explosion, William still tends to say gobbledygook words that we don't understand and then get very upset when we don't know what he's saying. He'll urgently say...something, and I'll cast about trying to figure out what he's referring to, and he'll repeat the word in an increasingly louder and more frantic tone. He cries out with frustration when I say, "Truck? Bridge? Lawn mower? Dumptruck? What, honey, what are you trying to say?"

Or tonight, he was about to go nuts before David figured out that he was asking for a piece of pumpkin bread. He said, "No!" in an increasingly agitated voice to about fifty things until finally we gave him the right treat. It will be so much better when he can really talk. We encourage him to use his "words" but it's not like he has nearly enough words yet to convey everything that he wants to. I imagine I'd be frustrated in that situation, too. I'm a little envious of parents with children who really can speak clearly; it seems like it would be so much easier to communicate, and it would help head off some misunderstandings that could potentially lead to tantrums. Granted, William is speaking a lot more words than a lot of other children his age, so I can't really be jealous of anyone. But William's friend Leland is only six months older than he is, and wow, you can really understand what she says. I can't wait 'til William can do that, too.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Breakfast with Santa

I was so excited on Saturday. I finally got to take William to see Santa Claus this year. My friends Mary Clare and Jerri and I took our children to have breakfast with Santa at the local Junior League headquarters. We dressed them all up in their Christmas finery and fired up the digital cameras. I didn't get any great pictures, but at least William consented to sitting on Santa's lap without freaking out. And later, during a run-by, he even told Santa what he wants for Christmas ("choo choo!").

This was a much bigger deal for me than for my son, obviously. Last year, David was all hyper-paranoid about turning over his infant son to a stranger in a mall, even for 30 seconds, so he begged me not to take William to see Santa. Plus there was the little not-so-incidental stomach flu that he got last December. That was the bug that sparked the nickname Typhoid William. I'm not sure anyone would have wanted to hold him after that. So anyway, last year got nixed. But this year, we're all relatively healthy (so far), and at least we didn't have to go wait in line in a huge, overheated germ-infested mall for hours on end (and yes, some people were doing that on Saturday at the nearby mall).

So without a paternal veto this year, I dressed our son in his Santa overalls for the big occasion. And coached him on what Santa says ("ho ho"). So when Santa walked into the hallway just as we were entering, William really seemed to recognize him. He was a little unsure, of course. He didn't dash over or anything, but I think he knew the big guy in the red suit was the same as the Santa on his shirt. Of course, I still didn't get any really good pictures of him in the Santa outfit, darnitall. He smiled plenty...just not when I snapped the shutter.

We had a lovely breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes and doughnuts, the ideal food to give to already-hyped-up toddlers. Rumor has is that Leland just ate straight chocolate chips after awhile.

Mary Allen is trying to get William's attention in this photo, but he is too taken with his second pancake of the morning (or maybe it was his third doughnut):

The only way William would have been happier with breakfast is if I had also given him a juice box. And maybe some cheese.

Speaking of cheese, Leland had been planning to ask Santa for some cheese and crackers for Christmas--don't you love a child who's so delightfully easy to please?-- but she was a little shy when it finally came time to sit on Santa's lap. So her mom helped her out, and William dashed back and forth in front of them, for some extra festive atmosphere.

All in all, MC and Jerri and I agreed that it was a terrific morning. None of our three kids had a temper tantrum or freakout, not even on Santa's lap. They all played well together, too. We even took them to the nearby bookstore to play with the choo choo trains, and they did great there, too. Other kids were having Saturday morning meltdowns, but none of ours did. It's a Christmas miracle!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Trying for a good picture

I recently put the following photo up on my Flickr page, and Natalie wrote a hilarious note about it. She said that it looked like William was celebrating his successful ascent of Mount Larson-Wyckoff. It does, doesn't it?

And for that reason, I don't think we'll be doing the big family portrait for a Christmas card this year. Oh well. We'll probably go for something candid of the little prince by himself and hope for the best.


...or possibly something like this. Look how he looks like he's saluting! It's all that early exposure to the Marines. "Yes, sir, I love Christmas, SIR!"

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

No, William!

Has anyone here ever read the children's book "No, David!" by David Shannon?

This book is cracking me up. The author's note explains that as a child, he once drew a series of pictures of himself doing all the things he wasn't supposed to do, and all of them were captioned with his mother's inevitable words: "No, David!" So, as an adult, he decided to take that concept and weave it into a children's book.

It is hilarious. David jumps on his bed, plays baseball in the house and breaks a vase, and he splashes water all over the floor of his bathroom. Meanwhile, the narrator-mother says things like, "No, David, no!" and "Settle down!" and "Go to your room." But at the end, as David looks forlornly up from his Time Out corner, she tells him "Davey, come here," and she wraps him in a hug and says, "David, I love you."

Awwww. That's what William always says at the end of the book. (He hugs me, too.)

As for me, I was drawn to the book because I find myself saying, "No, William!" an increasing number of times each day (in an increasingly louder voice), as my toddler explores his independence. His currently infuriating activities are limited mostly to throwing his sippy cup off the highchair tray onto the floor, screeching loudly and joyfully whenever I'm trying to have an conversation on the phone, and dragging every single piece of tupperware out of the one kitchen cabinet without a latch. This is the life, right? Yes, Life with a Toddler.

William already knows he's not supposed to do certain things. But you know, I think he just likes to get a rise out of me by doing the things he knows darn well he's not supposed to do. For example, he's well aware that he is not supposed to toss things off his highchair tray, but he reliably does so anyway. And I have to admit, that's the one thing that really drives me nuts. It doesn't bother David so much, but for some reason, it just makes me so mad! I always have to pick up the spoon/fork/bowl/sippy and wipe up whatever's left behind, and then I have to either get him a replacement or take it away altogether. And when I sternly say, "No, William, we do not throw our sippy cup off our highchair tray!" he just laughs and laughs. Argh!!! Nothing has solved this problem yet. Not ignoring it, not scolding, not ending the meal. Argh argh argh. I know exactly how the mother in the "No, David!" book felt.

David has suggested it's time to institute Time Out when William doesn't stop with a stern "No, William." I'm new at this Time Out thing, so I'm not really sure what to do. How long does a toddler get Time Out? How do you get them to understand what you're doing? And God, how do you get them to stay in the place where they're supposed to be having time out? Is this really going to work?

I've tried it once a few days ago. I plopped William down in this little wooden chair in the living room and turned it toward the wall. I told him, "You're having Time Out right now." He immediately began to slide down and out of the chair, so I had to pick him back up and plop him back down again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Sort of defeats the purpose if I'm having to interact with him every five seconds, I'd think. Finally after about two minutes of this, I let him go. I had intended to let him sit there and think about what he'd done wrong for a few minutes (what? is that hysterical laughter I hear from all the experienced parents reading this?), then I'd hug him like the mother in the book and say, "William, I love you." But, he just gleefully ran off shouting, and I sat down on the floor and sighed.

Don't worry. I hug him and tell him I love him all the time. And I do love him all the time. But sometimes it's hard to say those words after your child has just swept a tidal wave of food off the highchair tray, spattering the walls, floor and nearby cabinets. Sometimes, I just find myself helplessly screeching, "No, William, NO!!!"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

More antibiotics please

The knee is still swollen. It still hurts. I have to go back to the orthopedist in the morning. Ugh. I'm worried he's going to want to admit me so they can administer IV antibiotics, and I so cannot be admitted. Who's going to watch William while I'm imprisoned in some hospital room? I don't have time for that! Heck, I don't even have someone to watch him while I trundle off to all these doctors' appointments.

I'm hoping he'll just up the antibiotic dosage or put me on another one. Of course, that would be Antibiotic No. 4, just in case you'd like to keep track, since he put me on clindamycin on Friday, after the other doc put me on augmentin and bactrim on Tuesday. And that doesn't even count the shot of Rocephin. This is getting ridiculous, isn't it? Between getting all my meds and also picking up William's asthma medication, I've been to three different pharmacies in the last six days. I feel like an ersazt junkie skulking from one place to another, trying to find the right place to score her fix.

So what I need is either 1) a miracle drug, 2) the current drugs to kick in and start working, or 3) a fairy godmother to take care of my son if I have to go to the hospital. Actually, if it's not to much to ask, can I have either No. 1 or No. 2 AND No. 3? I mean, who doesn't need their own personal fairy godmother around? I'll take her even if I don't have to go to the hospital.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Light, light, light!

I knew that having a child would make certain things like Halloween and Christmas seem brand new and exciting again. It was one of the things I looked forward to, especially once William was born. I anticipated the day when he would be able to appreciate all those things that I loved as a child, and I looked forward to experiencing them all over again. And tonight proved again that it was worth the wait.

I bundled William up in his coat, hat and mittens***, and we took a stroll around the neighborhood to look at all the Christmas lights. David's not big on the whole Christmas light decorating thing, and I don't do ladders, so we almost never hang our own lights. But I still love to look at everyone else's. And the gaudier, the more festive, the better. Not that I can't appreciate a house tastefully decorated with the requisite strings of white lights and tailored holly garlands and wreaths, but there's something so fun about a house with lots and lots of colored lights draped over the eaves and shrubs and fake candy canes lining the sidewalk. It's like the state fair: tacky, maybe, but mesmerizing and captivating all the same.

And my child, well, he likes them all. Christmas lights equals love. It's so simple and nice, isn't it? He pointed happily at the animated reindeer in our neighbor's yard and chirped "deer! deer!" He said, "Wow!" at the green and white explosion of lights three houses down. And he stretched his little mittened hand out to respectfully touch a net of white lights on the mailbox at yet another house. He didn't want to come back inside the house, even though it was below 40 degrees outside (I'm sure our neighbors were a little skeptical about the crazy lady taking her toddler for a brisk walk after dark in the frigid cold).

"William," I said, trying to reason with my son even though I know how silly that is. "William, we can come back out here tomorrow night and look at the lights again." He considered that, but he wasn't going for it. Finally, I had to pick him up and bodily carry him inside, as he kicked at me and howled for "light, light, light"!

Tomorrow night, kiddo. Tomorrow night. I promise. I know. I love them, too.


Please note that William is actually wearing mittens in this picture. And he hates mittens. Hates 'em. Hates anything covering his hands. And he was so excited about going out to see the Christmas lights that he grudgingly consented to wear them. And he even left them on the entire time we were outside. I was shocked. I guess it's all about how you, talk to them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My knee

You know how you don't think about your feet when you're wearing comfortable shoes? But the minute you get a blister or your feet are cold, it's all you can think about. You take your feet for granted.

Well, that's apparently how I was about my knees. Until a few days ago. One day last week, I noticed that it hurt a bit to kneel on my right knee. I figured that, in my absentmindedness, I must have bumped into something and bruised it. I'm always running around after William or crawling around and picking up toys/food/sippy cups/etc.

But when I woke up yesterday morning, my knee was sore and swollen. And it felt warm to the touch. I compared it to my left knee and immediately noticed a difference. The right knee was swollen up in an arc, while the left knee was still relatively flat. Uh oh. Of course, in a classic example of worst-case-scenarioism, I immediately diagnosed myself with a fast-growing knee tumor. It's cancer, I concluded. I'll have to get chemotherapy and radiation. Or they're going to have to take off my leg. How could this have happened? I won't be able to have any more children. I'll never find a wig that looks anything close to this hair of mine at all. (Of course, would that be so bad, really?) The saner, more rational side of me thought about how William's had MRSA a couple times this year, and I hoped it wasn't that kind of infection plaguing my knee.

I texted David, and he helped me find a doctor to call. Luckily for me, the stars must have all been aligned properly because my new doctor immediately fit me in for an appointment yesterday afternoon. I couldn't believe it. I wonder if that's a world record? Anyway. The doctor graciously fit me in, and he decided that I have an infection of the soft tissue surrounding my knee. The exam form says bursitis/cellulitis. Man, the things I've suffered through for this child. Professional-strength nausea, Bell's Palsy, tendonitis of the wrist, a big old swollen knee. It's a good thing he's so cute, I tell you what.

I told the doctor about our family's little experiences with MRSA and said that's why I wanted to be seen so quickly, that I was worried about having a serious infection, especially since the knee was warm. (I didn't mention the cancer thing, of course. No reason to immediately tip the guy off that I have a very small, tiny tendency to overreact from time to time, right?) He prescribed a shot of Rocephin, two oral antibiotics and told me to keep a close eye on my knee and make sure it doesn't get any worse. David had ominiously warned me about possibly needing to have it drained, which sounds pretty freaking horrible to me, but we didn't really get into that at the visit.

So then Dr. Anderson asked me, in that rhetorical tone of voice as he looked at William in his stroller, "You probably spend a lot of time down on your hands and knees, right?"

You think?

You never miss your nice unsore capable knee until you try to kneel down on the mat at Gymboree and hoist your toddler into your lap for bubbles and parachute time. Ow ow ow.

So I'm grimly taking my horse pills--seriously, they are bigger than those monstrous prenatal vitamins that I used to choke down--and I'm trying to figure out if my knee looks more swollen today than yesterday. I reported in my phone call to the doctor's assistant that I think it's the same. Of course, as soon as I hung up the phone, I started second-guessing that statement. Oh well.

I think I'll go lie down and put my knee up for awhile. It put on a good show for Gymboree today, and I think it's earned a little rest and relaxation.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Santa hat revisited

It is so hard to get a really good photo of William these days. He's nearly always in motion. And it's hard to coax a smile while he's standing or sitting still enough for me to get the whole thing on camera. He's like a little blur. I really want to get some good pictures of him wearing his Christmas outfits, but man, it's a challenge. And I'm used to crawling around on the floor and taking dozens of shots to get just one final picture that's worth something.

This one was a lucky break!

I'd like to get a good photo of him to use for a Christmas card, but I am experienced enough at this to know that I may need multiple opportunities to wind up with anything worth using.

Here are some of the other pictures I took this afternoon:

Playing with the new Little People nativity set (read: unbreakable! yeah!):

This is pretty typical of a picture of William smiling. Hilarious and accurate, but maybe not so great for a Christmas card, eh?

Last Christmas, I plunked a darling little Santa hat on my dear son's head every time we left the house. In fact, I started doing that the second Thanksgiving was over because I had the little "Baby's first Christmas" hat and I wanted to get as much use as possible out of it. Here, remember it now?

I won't be so lucky this year with the new, bigger Santa hat. It was a fight to get even a few snapshots of him wearing it. And he's usually pretty good about wearing a hat. Oh well. I'll keep trying.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving revisited

William says, "I'm thankful for Richard Scarry books."

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone again, and we ate, drank and were merry and thankful. At our first Thanksgiving in our new home, we had Mark, Diane, Aaron, Mom, Daddy, William, David and me. The only one missing was my brother John. The adults stuffed themselves with turkey, broccoli casserole, stuffing, sweet and mashed potatoes and oh I don't even know all what else. Meanwhile, William, now that he's become a toddler, was a little pickier. He ate mostly his Mama Dee's sweet potatoes and cranberry-orange relish, the Sister Schubert rolls, and a few bites of corn pudding. No turkey for him, thanks. Ah well, the more for the rest of us.

We couldn't talk him into eating any pumpkin pie, either. But he did soak up all the extra attention like a sponge. Four grandparents and an uncle all at once! Here he is with his Uncle Mark and his stuffed pig and his turkle. Yes, a turkle. My father started calling that stuffed turkey a "turkle" because he says it looks like a combination of a turkey and a turtle. And well, it kinda does!

And William enjoyed playing with his balloon. Mom and I learned that the good folks at Harris Teeter are sneaky. They offer free balloons and cookies to kids to get them to lure their parents into the store. Mom and I just stopped in there to pick up a few small things during our pre-Thanksgiving dinner drive around town to look at all the leaves. And William got the last balloon in the store, since they were fixing to close for the day.

So anyway. Now that Thanksgiving is over, and now that I've been thankful and I've stuffed myself with turkey and the like, I say now you can bring on Christmas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Time to be thankful

Since I have no idea if I'll be able to scrounge up enough time to do this on the actual day, I thought I'd go ahead and post some of the things I'm thankful for this year. We've had a crazy busy year, but as we coast into Thanksgiving, I am realizing how much happier I am this year at Thanksgiving than I was last year. I have a lot to be thankful for.

So, with that said, I am extemely thankful for:

*My husband David. He works long crazy hours, but he always gives me a kiss before he leaves the house each morning and tells me he loves me before he goes to sleep. He works hard so that I can stay home and supervise William, and he never complains that I should be bringing home the bacon, too.

*Our son William. He's active and healthy and bright and funny and huge and inquisitive and opinionated and stubborn and hilarious. When I ask him who loves him, he says, "Mama!" And when I ask him who else loves him, he says, "Dada!" Yep.

*My parents and brother. My brother John is a graduate student at the University of Southern Mississippi this year, and for that, I am deeply profoundly grateful. And I'm so proud of him. And my wonderful parents love me and support me even though I was once a teenager. And they've put me and William up at their house for visits a LOT this past year, even though it's entailed lots and lots of noise, toys, and special foods. I am so lucky to have had the chance to spend so much time with them this past year.

*My inlaws. Aaron and Diane have graciously welcomed me into their family and always make me feel warm and special. And they never ever complain about how often I make them babysit William. And William loves nothing more than to get together with his Uncle Mark and pretend to be a monkey. Some people complain about their in-laws, but I am incredibly grateful for mine.

*My grandparents. I am 33 years old and have three living grandparents. All three have spent time with my son. And I will have the pictures to cherish when they are no longer with us.

*The fact that we are now living in Nashville. Everyone knows how much I wanted to get out of the desert! And now I'm here in Nashville. I woke up this morning and thought about that. How this year, I don't have to travel to see family on Thanksgiving. How this year, I don't have to think wistfully about next year. How this year, I know exactly how lucky I am to be here, in our house, just a few minutes down the road from my in-laws and just a day's drive from my parents. And I've already had more company stay with us in our new house than I did in four years of living in Twentynine Palms!

*My friends. I'm always thankful for my people. You know who you are.

And while I won't necessarily put them in bold font, I am also grateful for a lot of other things: the autumn leaves that are blazing around Nashville right now, the new friends I'm meeting, my Monday morning group at church, the music class that William and I are taking together on Tuesday afternoons, the plethora of good places to eat around here, the fact that I can always find a good bookstore when I need one. I'm thankful that William loves going to Mother's Day Out on Fridays, and I'm thankful that David's had the chance to go to several big sporting events here recently. I'm thankful that I never have to worry that the lone grocery store will run out of meat or that the only KFC will run out of chicken.

So that's my list. I know I'll be adding to it. I'm trying to really be conscious of all the blessings in my life. I feel that I need to acknowledge them more often, so that I don't take them for granted. And for me, that means writing them down. Or at least saying them out loud.

I wonder what William would say he's thankful for? His parents and grandparents? His "school"? Cheese? Blocks? Trick or treating? Natty and his blanky? Spider-Man?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Turkey Boy

The moral of this post is: don't turn Diane and me loose in Pottery Barn Kids. Because look how William ends up:

Now the monkey boy is a turkey!

But hey, at least I managed to resist buying him a smocked turkey T-shirt at the little chichi children's boutique that I poked my head into on Friday. Even at 40 percent off, I just couldn't justify it. Even if it would have been incredibly cute with the turkey headband. Aren't I virtuous?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Count

I meant to post about this earlier this week, but we were having keyboard technical difficulties. That is, the wireless keyboard's batteries were gasping their last few breaths, but Luddite Jennifer couldn't figure out how to open the battery chamber and install new ones. Which is especially funny when you consider how many thousands of times I've had to wrench dead batteries out of William's toys and stuff and stuff new ones in. I practically have a PhD in Philips Head Screwdriver Usage, but the keyboard didn't need one, so it kinda of threw me. But, as usual, I digress.

William has started counting! Okay, so he's just imitating us, but still, it's pretty amusing to heard him "count" his way down the staircase. He doesn't put much stock in "one." So he always starts with "two" and almost always adds "feeeee," "fooooo," "fiiiii," and sometimes "siiiiih." Apparently, "seven" is the big bugaboo for him, but a few times, we've prompted him, and he's added, "aaaaa" and "niiiiiii," and even "ten" (like maybe three times). Also, he sometimes studies his fingers while we're changing his diaper, and he'll "count" his fingers--again, always starting with "two" and usually skipping "seven." This is especially hilarious to watch because he gets that David-like look of concentration on his face as he touches his fingers together. Hee hee hee. I wish I had a picture of that, but it's fleeting so I can't make any promises.

Again, he's not really counting. He just memorized what we do when we give him his air chamber of FloVent or albuterol each morning and evening. We count out loud to fifteen for every puff of medicine he's taking at the time, which varies between one and four. Over the months, he's heard us do it so many times that I guess it made an impression. I guess asthma's good for something after all! And hey, it's got to be a good start, right?

Is the Count still on Sesame Street? Remember him? Has anyone watched it recently? Did it ever strike anyone else as an adult how weird it was that a children's puppet show featured a vampire puppet? But hey, no matter what his lifestyle entailed, the Count loved counting. And William apparently does, too, now. Maybe we need to TiVo some old episodes and introduce William to the Count.

Monday, November 12, 2007

All in favor of Thanksgiving, say Aye!

Thanksgiving is next week! I can't believe it. I love Thanksgiving but man, is it really almost here again?

Thanksgiving is a lovely lovely idea for a holiday. Here's what you're expected to do: eat good food, surround yourself with people you care about, and be thankful for all your blessings. Usually there is some lazing around on the sofa while a football game plays on the TV and a big plate of leftovers lurking to look forward to, as well. No major decorating required. No shopping for perfect presents or desperate last minute dashes to Target for stocking stuffers. That sounds just about perfect to me.

But...and you knew it was is what is rapidly becoming my standard pre-Thanksgiving rant. Thanksgiving barely seems to exist anymore in the minds of many people (read: retailers) except for, of course, the grocery store people.

Case in point: I wanted to buy some Thanksgiving books to read to William, so I made a happy little trip to a couple of the (very large) chain bookstores here in Nashville, but I couldn't find much of anything! What I found was a piddling little pile of Thanksgiving books for children, nearly an afterthought on a small table or crammed up on one high shelf, nearly completely obscured by the hundreds of sparkly Christmas books. This must be what it feels like to celebrate Chanukah. The Chanukah kids' books get a tiny little afterthought display, with a few defiant titles, while the Christmas books are piled into huge mounds all around them. Sigh. I finally found a boardbook copy of "Corduroy's Thanksgiving," so I bought that. So now we have "Spot's First Thanksgiving" and "Corduroy's Thanksgiving," and that's it. And sadly, that's nearly all there seems to be. I wanted something sort of meaningful, but that was a big strikeout. W is too young for historical books about pilgrims and Indians, but would it be too much to ask to have more than a couple of Thanksgiving books for children for sale this time of year?

I could go on for days about how Macy's hung up its glittery red balls and white lights two weeks before Halloween. Heck, my own subdivision hired people to put up wreaths and garlands on the neighborhood entrance! Why can't we celebrate Thanksgiving first and then worry about Christmas? Why does everyone have to gloss over Thanksgiving? But it's so inevitable that I am having an increasingly harder time even working up enough energy for a spirited rant, really.

Well, I'm going to eat turkey and put a turkey headband on my toddler and read our (few) Thanksgiving books and then I'll think about Christmas stuff. We're going to do autumn and Thanksgiving first. I know that I am reveling in every drive I take around Nashville right now. The trees are blazing with orange and yellow and even purple and red leaves, and I feel like I have stars in my eyes as I gaze upon the first real autumn that I've seen in person in seven years. I took William out into our back yard today and picked a glorious red leaf from a bottom branch of one of our brave little trees. He was fascinated by it, kept saying, "Leaf? Leaf?" That's right, sweetie. Let's enjoy all this beauty outside while we can, and then let's say our prayers and be grateful for all that we have. And then, only then, will we start making our Christmas list and checking it twice.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

William's 18 month doctor's visit

Get ready for this news, campers: I'm growing a giant!

As of 2:30 p.m. today, William weighed 28 pounds, which puts him in the 75th percentile for his age group and gender. And he is 34 inches tall, which puts him in the whopping 90th percentile. I was like, "Get out! Are you serious?" when Dr. Keown laid those stats on us. William is huge! It's not just our imaginations!

For those of you keeping track at home, by the time David was that size, he was almost two-and-a-half years old! While I was sputtering in amazement by how big William is getting, David pointed out that I do have some tall genes on my side of the family. Daddy is well over six feet tall, my uncles both top 6'4", and my brother is about six feet tall. And David's brother Mark is over six feet as well. So it's not that crazy that William could grow up to be tall, too. David said he'd be delighted for that to be the case.

But you know, it's funny. I'm just used to William being bigger-than-average. A mother at the mall today asked me how old he was, and when I told her, she said, "My, he's so tall!" And I really didn't think much about that. It didn't occur to me that he really might be that tall. But you know, now that I think about it...a mother with her toddler in Old Navy last night was asking me how a coat fit William, and she said that she figured she'd better buy the next size up because her 21-month-old son was "so tall." And I looked at the little boy and thought, "He doesn't really look that tall. In fact, I bet William's at least his height." And maybe he was.

Anyway, William checked out just fine overall at his 18 month well baby visit. He's eating and sleeping pretty normally (most of the time), but he's getting to be a pickier eater, which is normal. They asked if William could say 15-20 words, and David immediately was like, "Oh yeah." And I said, "Really?" Because I didn't really know for sure if some of his words counted, because he often leaves the consonant on the end off some of his words. But David said that it counts if he uses the same word consistently for something and that we understand it. So we started counting them up. Yes, no, hi, bye-bye, mama, dada, duck, dog, moon, cheese, please ("peees?"), thank you, cat, car, bus (buhhh), milk, water (which sounds like waaa, but we know what he means), pumpkin (which technically is "puhhhh" but he always uses it when he sees a pumpkin, so it apparently gets to count), school (skooooo), church (chuuuuhch), fish (faaaah), feet, toes, ball, socks, shoes, hat, choo-choo, wow, go, tree, bird, banana ("baaahh"), belly button (which, again, is really "bellbo"), and truck (which sounds like "truuuhhhh"). And occasionally monkey ("mon-mon"). And there are a couple of other words that we think we've heard him say, like door and sheep and watch, but he hasn't used them enough times that I'm completely ready to add them to the list. So not bad.

Oh yes, and David just reminded me that he also says bear, light, fan, and boo-boo. And supposedly he says chair and rock, according to his father.

William knows and can point to at least four different body parts, and he can scribble (when I let him). And walk and run and all that good stuff. He eats with utensils sometimes, and he drinks from a cup, and he doesn't use a bottle, and yes, we brush his teeth twice a day. And often, he helps us brush his teeth, although his technique could use some refining. He can open and close things (gah, like doors and drawers all the time). And he has lots and lots of opinions. Okay, so that last one wasn't an official measurement. :)

And he got his Hep A shot and his flu shot. And in solidarity with my big kid, I got a flu shot, too. Owie. But we have matching fluorescent orange band-aids now, so hey, there you go.

And now, William is fast asleep in his little bed, completely worn out from his big day, which oh yeah, started out with another haircut. I'm not sure I have the energy to fully describe that little experience except to say two things: 1) He screamed so loudly that dogs were cringing and wincing three blocks away, and 2) David had to stand up and hold him while I kept up a silly running monologue over his shoulders to distract him while the hairstylist darted in and out with her scissors. But it is done.

Whew. I'm tired, too. Maybe I should go sleep in my own little bed.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Oh so stubborn

Do you ever remember your mom saying to you, in a moment of supreme frustration when you were your most obstinate stubborn self, "I hope you have a child just like you when you grow up!"

Or was that just me?

Anyway, Mom, just so you know: I think your wish was fulfilled. I have a child who is just as stubborn as I

Ever since William learned to say "No," he's been even more determined than ever to Get What He Wants. See, sometimes when he doesn't want to do something, he just says "No," and toddles off. But sometimes he also uses his pre-No skills to bolster his point. This typically involves one of two things: the locking of knees and the arching of the back, or the wild thrashing of arms and the frantic kicking of legs. So instead of just doing one of those things, he does one of those things AND shouts "No! No! No!"

When does William like to perform this type of stunt? Okay, to be fair, he is a really cheerful delightful kid most of the time. But he's still a toddler. And he's still my child, as we've established. So the big shows tend to happen when I'm trying to do something truly horrible like buckle him into his carseat to take him home from Gymboree or church, or put him in the stroller so we can run into Target and pick a few things up for the house. You know, when I'm trying to restrain him so he'll be safe. He laughs at safe; he spits in the eye of safe. And he bucks around and shouts, "No! No! No!"

Ah, good times. Somewhere, my mom is laughing.

Now, just in case you thought that I have changed since I grew up and would mildly defer to the wishes of my stubborn toddler, let me just lay that little fear to rest. He may be stubborn, but I am the Master of Stubborn. The Grand Emperor of Stubborn. The Sultan of Stubborn. I've had nearly 32 years more practice being stubborn, in fact. He may be stubborn--and freakishly strong, I might add--but I am bigger and older. He puts up a good fight, but I Always Win. It might take me awhile, but he will ride in his carseat.

And yes, I am also smart enough to know that I'm not always going to win, and that there will be times when I realize I have to pick my battles. In fact, already there are times when he gets upset and behaves like the toddler he is. Sometimes I just let him do it. But when I really need to win, I win. When it's good for him and his well-being for me to win, I win. Sometimes I am bruised afterward, but I do what I have to do.

Now. When he gets to be as tall as I am, we may have some trouble.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The end of DST for now

Witches, ghosts, vampires, nothing. Here's what I'm really afraid of: the end of Daylight Savings Time.

I remember when I used to love the "fall back" half of the "fall back, spring forward" occasions. Spring forward was lousy because you lost an hour of sleep, which was particularly painful when I was in college and needed my extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning to make up for Saturday night. (And for my fellow Rhodents: why did it always seem to happen during Rites of Spring? Could someone not have seen that coming and done something about it?) But, fall back = sleeping late! What could possibly be bad about that, right? Yeah, then I had a baby, a baby who doesn't really care what time it is when he wakes up. 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 6 a.m. Who cares when you're in diapers? William may own a wristwatch, but as anyone who's ever seen it knows, it doesn't really work. His little internal bioclock isn't subject to the whims of Congress.

So, we just put William to be an hour later than usual in the (probably vain) hope that he'll sleep in an extra hour tomorrow and not wake up at his customary time. Which would still be better than the 5:45 wakeup call we got today, right as I was blearily stumbling around, trying to get out of the house so I could volunteer at the local Race for the Cure. Who knows what that was all about. I am hoping it was just a strange freakout that will never happen again.

I guess we'll see. I know that David and I could really use the extra sleep. We had a busy day today, what with the Race for the Cure and a birthday party for our little friend Leland. Leland's party was terrific. Too bad I was sort of a zombie from stumbling around since o'dark-thirty.

Speaking of Leland, here's a photo from her party today:

William made his daddy take him down the slide. A lot.