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.