Thursday, January 31, 2008

Another haircut...and new accessories

The only person whose hair gets shaggy faster than mine is my son's. This is what he looked like a mere four weeks after his last haircut:

Notice the bangs in his eyes. It's a miracle he could see. I guess if his hair wasn't blonde, he wouldn't have been able to!

So I took a deep breath and braced myself and took him to the Great Clips just up the road. It was the last day of their big haircut sale, and man, I couldn't resist the lure of a cheap haircut for my son who seems to need one all the time. It was worth the expected ear-splitting tantrum. Okay, maybe not to the other customers or the stylists but it was to me!

Luckily, his little personalized Sesame Street book (a first birthday gift from his buddy Mason) served as the perfect distraction device. I read to him while he sat on my lap and looked at the pictures, and the stylist swooped and dived in and managed to cut his hair. She got a little over confident there at the end, though, and she produced a set of electric clippers. That didn't go over so well. William might have let her approach his head with a relatively quiet pair of scissors but a set of buzzing clippers vibrating on his ears? Nope. Not even Elmo could save that. But other than that touchy little moment, we were relatively drama free. Yeeha!

I even let him have a sucker afterward because I was so relieved that 1) we got his hair cut at all, and 2) he actually behaved pretty well once we got settled. Of course, William wouldn't let either one of us be covered by a plastic cape, so instead our clothes were completely coated in a fine layer of thick blonde hair. Small price to pay. So I felt a little bit like a piece of about-to-be-fried chicken? So what? My son can see again. It's a miracle! Praise the Lord!

So here's William, posing with his Mardi Gras beads:

He really really loves the beads. I told him he was lucky he didn't even have to work for them, standing out on a beer-soaked street, trying to avoid being trampled by marching bands and mobs of bead-crazy kids on an early spring break. I'm sure his aunts Nancy and Loretta would love to tell him about the time his mom nearly got run over by a float, trying to get some beads, too.

Doesn't he look dapper with his new haircut and his new accessories?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stuff to stash

I have finally figured out that there are just certain things you need to stash more or less all over your house. You know, at least on each floor, or at least in each bathroom. And now that I've purchased yet another flashlight for the junk drawer in the kitchen, I think we're finally good to go. Of course, keeping William away from said certain things? Not so easy. He can find a way to get to almost anything he really really wants. However, like a good Boy Scout, I believe in Being Prepared.

For the record, those items are:

1. Flashlights. The power blinked a few times last night, and David made me go fetch the flashlight out of his nightstand drawer so we wouldn't be stuck downstairs in the total dark. The flashlight that used to be my flashlight that stayed in my nighstand drawer, that is, until he walked off with it, thereby necessitating a trip to Target to buy another one for me. Just so you know, that's happened more than once. More than twice. There are MIA flashlights all over the house; they're just invisible. But at least we have them in the most important places in the house now: the kitchen and our bedroom. And I have one stashed in the guest room, too. (Don't tell David.)

2. Band-Aids. William has discovered Band-Aids. Last weekend, he begged for an Elmo bandage, even though he didn't have a cut or scrape that needed one. So I stuck one on his belly. But I forgot to tell Aaron and Diane, who were babysitting him that evening, that he wasn't really injured and not to panic. Aaron said they eventually figured it out. We have about forty boxes of Band-Aids in our house now, including three boxes of Elmo Band-Aids. Unfortunately, William knows where they all are.

3. Phillips head screwdriver. I don't even know why I ever bothered putting them back in the toolbox in the utility room. I finally just left one in William's room (safely out of his reach, of course). I mean, that %&@* crib aquarium needs a new set of batteries every other week, it seems, and I was forever having to search for the elusive PhD screwdriver. Screw this, I said, (har har), I'm just going to put one in William's top dresser drawer.

4. Scissors. We now have three pairs of scissors in the office because I kept losing them and buying new ones. But hey, now we'll never lack for scissors. I think there are also three sets in the kitchen junk drawer. I once got up in the middle of the night and moved all the scissors in the office to a top shelf because I dreamed about William getting to them. David woke up and asked me where I had gone, and it just seemed too silly to tell him the truth.

5. Tape. Let me ask you. When was the last time you taped pieces of a paper piano back into a book? If you don't remember or your answer was "never," you have never been the parent of a toddler. William loves lift-the-flap books with a zeal usually only seen in new missionaries, but he sometimes loves them a little too much. I have a whole set of Spot books sitting on my dresser, all of which need a little TLC: tape and loving care. Is it bad if I've ever seriously considered throwing a book away because I'm so darned tired of taping it back together?

6. Tylenol and/or ibuprofen. David once had a patient whose parents didn't have any children's medicines in their house. Man, I can't even imagine. I think I have children's Tylenol stashed in every single bag that William owns, not to mention his bathroom and his diaper changing station. And the kitchen medicine cabinet. And at Diane and Aaron's house. It kills me to have to take it out whenever I send him and his choo-choo-train bag to school every Friday. What if I forget to put it back in and we need it??? Oh, yeah, right: buy some more. I sometimes forget we're not in the desert with our one lone grocery store anymore. Which reminds me. I bet some of that children's Tylenol is about to expire...must add to shopping list...

7. Raisins. Okay, I only actually keep raisins in the kitchen pantry. But I thought they were worth adding to my list because I also stash them in my purse, the diaper bag, other bags, the car and so on. I'm feeling a little antsy because I don't think David has any raisins in his car right now. Hopefully he at least has a flashlight...and some ibuprofen.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Just one calorie

William was holding two sippy cups tonight, doing the double-fisting drinking thing. A guzzle of milk, a swig of water, a chug of milk, a swallow of water. It was like he couldn't make up his mind what he wanted to drink, so he just alternated drinking out of both cups.

He put the sippies down and plopped himself down on the floor next to David, who was sitting by the fireplace. Then he realized, hey, I'm still thirsty, and he poked his daddy and said, "Milk?"

As his daddy handed over the sippy cup of milk, I said, "What's Daddy going to drink, William?"

And as David picked up the sippy cup with water, William smiled and said, "Wah!"

I said, "What's Mommy going to drink, then?"

And my dear son said brightly, "Diet Coke!"

Does my kid know me or what?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

William plays the blues

We had our second Kindermusik class of the new year this afternoon.

I don't know if the others in the class love to have us there--it's a rowdy class, but take a wild guess who's the rowdiest member--but William and I really do enjoy it. The class took a month hiatus, probably so the teacher could recover from the exceedingly high activity and noise levels that are the hallmark of our class. And we discovered that we missed our weekly class. So we both looked forward to the new semester, which started up again last week.

Last term, I felt guilty that my son, who is the youngest member of the class, tended to run around the class in circles for a good bit of the time. But as the weeks slid by, he started paying more attention. He has always loved the rudimentary instruments that we use: the sand blocks, the rhythm sticks, and so on. But he actually managed to play the triangle and a cymbal one week. And he discovered the great joy that is "We all fall down!" in "Ring A Round the Rosy."

Last fall, one of the other parents saw that I looked frustrated after a class. William had run around like a wild man, wiggling to get out of my lap almost every time I tried to get him to sit down and listen to the songs. He reassured me that his son, who is a year older than William, spent most of the first year in music class running around, too. "But they pick up on things," he told me. "You'll see." And slowly, I am seeing. William does still run around a lot, but tonight, he managed to play his rhythm sticks pretty well, sit down on the story blanket for most of the "Shiny Dinah" book and actually listen to the story, and dance with me for an entire instrumental number. I'd say he's made definite progress. I still feel like I'm part of a wrestling match a fair amount of the time, but I don't think you can expect a 21-month-old boy to sit still and be quiet and follow all instructions for almost an hour. I mean, maybe you can, but I sure can't. I'm just pleased that he's able to do what he's doing now. And I'm happy that he's really having fun. Anything else at this point would be lagniappe.

Another good thing about this semester. This time, in all our lessons and songs, we're concentrating on trains, buses, and other things that go. Needless to say, William is thrilled. Sing and and dance and read about and make noises like trains for an hour? Sign him up.

To our mutual delight, our new "at home" kit not only came packaged in a box shaped like a choo choo train, but it also contained two harmonicas.

I think William has some real natural aptitude for the harmonica. (Monnn-kahh is his name for it.) He hasn't quite figured out that he can slide the harmonica back and forth to hit all the notes in an octave, but he does understand that if you breathe in, it makes one noise, and if you blow into it, it makes another.

I like to call that two-note song "The Toddler Blues." Think of all the things William has in his life that could inspire him to play the blues. Diaper rash. Time Out. Vegetables. Naptime. The baby gate at the foot of the stairs. It's enough to make me want to pull out my own harmonica.

Speaking of which...I am delighted to report that I can actually fake knowing something about music when I "play" my harmonica. Maybe it's not too late to teach this old dog some new tricks after all. Why is it that playing--or even just pretending to play--the harmonica is so much fun?

Monday, January 21, 2008

It STUN me!

I so love it when William does something new that totally surprises and delights me.

A few months ago, I started singing the "Bumblebee" song to him. You know. "I'm taking home a baby bumblebee/Won't my mommy be so proud of me?/I'm taking home a baby bumblebee.../Ouch! It stung me!" You're supposed to cup your hands together as if you're really holding a bee, and he loved that. He laughed and laughed and "held" his baby bumblebee in his little chubby hands.

Well, I had forgotten about that song in the wake of Christmas, when we were working our way through all the Christmas songs that I only know about a third of the lyrics to. But last week, I thought of the "Bumblebee" song again and started singing it to him.

But before I could sing the last line, William jumped in and shouted, with a huge grin on his face, "Ow! It STUN me!"

He actually remembered the last line of the song AND got it right. Months after the fact. I squealed so loudly it's amazing I didn't set off the smoke detectors. I love this kid.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gah, not again

I was just about to pat myself on the back for managing to keep my child hale and hearty for a pretty long stretch of time now.


Until 6:11 a.m. That's when I sprang awake from some bizarro dream to hear William coughing. In my post-dream addled state, I thought he might have been throwing up at first, but it was just a cough.

But it became a barky cough. And we all know what that means. The Croup. Dum dum dum.

Luckily, it seems to be a fairly mild version. David immediately began the now-standard regimen of albuterol, in addition to the regular doses of Flovent. And when he listened to William's lungs, they didn't sound wheezy at all. So whew and Thank God for that.

The runny nose has arrived again, too. However, now when we wipe his nose, William also wants you to wipe the nose of whatever stuffed animal he happens to be holding. So after his (long) afternoon nap, I dutifully wiped Mimi Bear's nose, then wiped William's nose. And he was happy. And so David and I were happy, too-- if a bit snotty. We both discovered remnants of William's faucet of a nose on our sweaters this afternoon. But hey, at least it wasn't vomit. All I could think of this morning when I was worried that William might be throwing up was that he ate almost a quart of strawberries last night, and can you imagine the stains on his bedding? Yikes. I would always rather deal with a cough and a runny nose than vomit. Isn't that optimistic of me? Hee hee.

In the meantime, we'll continue giving him albuterol several times a day, until the cough goes away. I'm grateful that at least he readily accepts taking medicine through his air chamber since he already receives two doses of Flovent every morning and evening. He always looks a little startled that he's getting extra doses--like he's thinking, 'Wait a minute, I don't usually get this much, and I can count'--but it's usually not a problem. We just have to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" a couple of extra times. No problemo. He needs to learn all the words by Opening Day in a couple of months anyway. (We're root, root, rooting for the Braves and the Red Sox, of course.)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

David's birthday

We celebrated David's 25th birthday last night for the tenth time. (You figure it out.) We had a family dinner here at the Larson-Wyckoff manse, complete with barbecue and fried okra from the Loveless Cafe and a dark chocolate fudge cake that I managed to make and decorate while William was at school.

It was so nice to have a happy little birthday party for David. Mark and Diane and Aaron and I all got to sing happy birthday to him on his actual birthday, and no one was sick. That might not sound like a big deal, but Diane said she can't even remember the last time she actually saw David on his real birthday.The last God-knows-how-many years, he's had to work or be on call or was sick. Or there was the year we had just gotten back from a weekend in Las Vegas, only to come down with the flu. David mostly remembers taking exams at Princeton on his birthday or being on call for 48 hours during residency. And none of us will ever forget how sick everyone was last Christmas and for Aaron's birthday. So I really wanted to do something nice for him this year. He works hard, and he deserved a nice birthday for once.

So here's the birthday boy and his baby!

I don't know about the adults, but the cake was a bit hit with William. He even asked for ice cream when he saw that we hadn't put any on his plate.

Since I can't quite let go of the belief that birthdays should be Festive, even if it's just a little bit, I trotted on down to the Publix yesterday and bought a helium Spider-Man balloon for David. Yes, I bought a Spider-Man birthday balloon for my 34-year-old husband. Not for my toddler, who also loves Spider-Man. David's just lucky that I managed to resist the siren call of the party aisle at Target yesterday, too. We could have gotten all decked out with pointy birthday hats and all sorts of paraphernalia. But good sense and my checkbook managed to prevail. Barely.

It was a very Festive Day for William all around, even if he wasn't totally sure why. He did say "birfday?" a few times, but I'm not sure how much meaning "birfday" has to a 20-month-old. I mean, he can say "touchdown" too, but I wouldn't expect him to give a lecture on how to score six points. A little girl in his class at school was celebrating her second birthday, so her mom brought a huge bunch of yellow and orange ballons, cupcakes and goody bags to William's class yesterday. So William got his own balloon and treat early in the day. He must have been about out of his mind, what with having cake and balloons twice in one day. And since he has an affinity for Spider-Man, too, he didn't quite understand that the Spider-Man helium balloon was for his daddy and not for him. But that's okay. He got to enjoy the Spider-Man balloon in the end. He's been walking around the house today, tugging the balloon behind him.

Anyway, here are the three of us, post-cake. David and I managed to eat our cake and ice cream without smearing any into our hair. However, the same cannot be said for our son:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Film at 11

I've been experimenting with my camera. Turns out, hey, I can take short movies, too. Of course, now that I want to film William doing something hilarious, he doesn't want to actually DO anything hilarious.

Doesn't that really just sum up life with a toddler? When you don't want him to do something, that's all he wants to do. But when you want him to do something, well, not even all the Craisins in the world could make him do it.

However, last night, I did capture him giving a maestro performance of a wild animal at the zoo:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

News from the William Front

Two items of notable news from the William front today.

First, William and I fell down the stairs this morning.

Oh, we're okay now. We just fell down the short little jaunt of stairs that leads to the landing, and it's all carpeted. But my left leg hurts, and my neck and shoulders are sore. William has a dandy little bit of carpet burn next to his right eye from (yikes) sliding a little bit on his head.

It was pretty traumatic, even though it became apparent pretty quickly that we were both okay. He cried and clung to me for a few minutes, while I hyperventilated--where are all the paper bags when you really need them?--and checked him out all over to make sure nothing was broken. Needless to say, when all was said and done, he wanted to walk down the rest of the stairs. He didn't want to have anything to do with me carrying him! Can't say I blame him, myself.

Since he's watching me while I type this, I just asked him how he was feeling. He said "Semma?" which is an all-purpose word that means...something or other, we're not really sure. Then I said, "What happened to your face, William?" And William pointed to his eye and said, very solemnly, "Bruise. Bruise." I'm so sorry, kiddo. At least it's only a bruise.

The second notable news item is that William asked for a diaper change today. I was talking on the phone with my friend Jennifer, and he toddled into his room, chose a diaper from the pack on the floor next to the changing table, then walked back into the office and laid the clean diaper on my lap and gave me a big smile. It doesn't get much more direct than that, does it?

So I am very very proud of the fact that my son is starting to understand that maybe it's not so good to have a poopy diaper because maybe one day we will actually be able to potty train him. And I am still hyperventilating a little over the whole fall. I may have nightmares about it for a long time.

Late breaking news: It is SNOWING here. It's been snowing for about three hours, in fact. William was nearly beside himself with wonder. We bundled him up and took him outside to walk in the snow. And he got to take off his mittens and touch the snow on the bushes. He even got to "throw" a snowball, and we went to visit the small snowman that some neighborhood children built (by scooping up all the snow in their backyard in a big bucket). I don't think it will last until the morning, but at least William got to step out in the snow, real snow, tonight!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Choose your own parenting philosophy

The other night, I turned toward David, whose eyes were glazed over in front of some television show about the universe, and I asked him, "Do we have a parenting philosophy? I don't think we do. What do you think your parenting philosophy is?"

Without moving his head or his eyes or (barely) his lips, David muttered, "Spare the rod, spoil the child." And reflected in his staring eyes, the image of Carl Sagan flickered, droning on and on about the development of the cosmos.

Thanks, baby.

Apparently I have managed to make it almost two years into the life of my first child without developing an official parenting philosophy. And apparently my husband has, too. (For those whose sense of humor is not as finely calibrated along the sarcasm scale, David was kidding.) Yes, yes, we probably should have thought of this two years ago. But we didn't. See, this is yet another example of how people like me, once we decided to have a baby, got inundated with Pregnancy Info and Buy This For Your Baby Info but not nearly enough of You Have a Kid, Now What? Info or How to Successfully Raise Your Child Info.

And, apparently, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" is not an officially sanctioned or copyrighted parenting philosophy. Who knew, right? So I turned to our trusty friend Dr. Google. And even though I rarely ran across How to Successfully Raise Your Child Info when I was pregnant, that didn't mean that there was a dearth of people vehemently giving advice on that very topic. Au contraire. There are parent-centered philosophies (see: Babywise or Ezzo) and there are child-centered philosophies (for example, Attachment Parenting). Who knew there were so many kinds? I mean, I managed to become a parent without even thinking about it, but others are so passionate about how their methods are the One True Way that they've written hundreds of thousands of words about them. I'm a little skeptical about most of this, though: anytime anyone claims to know the Right Way to Do Something, my little Skeptic-meter pops up. (You can't see it with the naked eye, but it's finely honed, trust me. Besides. I'm the only one who knows the Right Way to Do Everything.)

So I did something extremely useful (see, I can be sarcastic, too!). I found a "parenting style" quiz on Incidentally, not that I really thought that it would be a useful exercise, but I hate those "yes or no" style quizzes. What ever happened to "sometimes" or "occasionally" or "it depends"? Are all parenting matters really so black and white? But I figured, what the heck. William's finally napping. Let's see what the quiz has to say before I go snarking on it.

I apparently scored a 70 percent, which means my parenting style most closely aligns to a style of parenting know as Attachment Parenting, or AP. Attachment Parenting, for the record, is one of the only so-called parenting philosophies that I could even remember. I was kind of horrified, though. From what I knew of AP, AP adherents tend to breastfeed their toddlers at night, sleep with their kids in their bed, and continue to strap their kids onto their bodies in slings even if the toddlers weigh 40 pounds and are crippling them.

Man, I had William in the bassinette the first night he was home from the hospital. Then we moved him to his his crib a couple of months later. I tried doing the sling thing with him when he was about two months old, but I soon concluded that 1) I was a weakling with a weakling's back and shoulders, 2) my child had a lot of mass and took up space, and 3) the stroller would be better for everyone's physical well-being. I mean, I think I may have lost an inch of height just from the month or so that I grimly attempted wearing William in a sling. And needless to say, I was not going to get on board with any program that expected me to nurse a toddler in the middle of the night when we should both be sleeping. Get up in the night to feed a kid who eats half his weight each day in Craisins, cheddar cheese, yogurt, and rice cakes? Ha! Ha ha ha ha! As I've said before, there's a reason that people use sleep deprivation as a torture technique. Imagine me, crazed and sleep-deprived, with my big bushy sleep-deprived Southern hair, trying to be a good, calm, patient mother in the bright daylight to a child who wants to read "Spot's First Walk" for the fiftieth time in a row or who insists on flinging green beans or macaroni off his high chair tray onto my recently clean floor as if he was a benevolent aristocrat tossing money to the poor. Without eight hours of sleep for me, I can only imagine the chaos, the screaming, the insanity that would ensue. I'm shuddering, just thinking about it.

But I went and read up on AP, and I will grudgingly admit that David and I don't believe in spanking as a form of discipline and we do believe in nurturing strong emotional bonds with our child and following his cues when it's reasonable. So I guess some parts of the whole AP ideal might dovetail with some of the stuff that we do.

At the other extreme, you've got the whole Babywise philosophy. Yeah, no thanks. I do believe that it's important to help create an age-appropriate schedule for your child in order to encourage consistency because babies crave consistency. It helps them know what to expect. But like anything good, it can be done wrong. If it's designed to really help the child, say, learn to go sleep at night, that's good. But if it's done so that the parent doesn't have to interrupt his or her schedule to feed a genuinely hungry baby, well, that's not so good. To me, that whole rigid schedule/parent-centered philosophy smacks of ignoring your child's needs in favor of your own desires. I wasn't willing to supress every single one of my own needs to meet my child's needs, but I sure wasn't willing to go the other direction and serve my needs at the expense of his. After all, when he first got here, he couldn't do anything for himself. And even though he's 20 months old, hello, he still needs help with most things. And he's my son! I love him. I want to help him out and meet his needs and help him thrive and be happy. (And eventually learn to use the potty, but that's a topic for another day.) He is...okay, was...a baby, not a Webkinz.(Apparently, there was some trouble for the Babywise folks awhile back after some failure-to-thrive cases developed in families that used that method. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the philosophy, I'd think.)

So I guess my parenting philosophy boils down to the gray area in the middle of the extremes. Where are the middle of the road parents, the people who believe that extremes are just that: extreme? Has anyone founded the Academy of Middle of the Road Parents yet? (Google says no.) I can envision it now. Our colors would be dark gray and light gray. Our motto (which would be scripted on our seal, which I haven't designed yet) would be something like: "It works for us." But in Latin. Everything sounds more important in Latin. No one would be lambasted for putting their child to sleep in a crib, nor would they be criticized if they really dig the Outward Boundness of wearing their kid around. We would advocate for regular bedtimes and mealtimes, but we'd leave it up to each family to figure out what works best for them and their situations. We'd wear mid-rise jeans; no low-rise or high-rise allowed. We'd organize group outings; we'd go to football games and sit only on the 50-yard-line. Okay, maybe those last two items are taking things a little too far. But I think I'm onto something here...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sleep? Maybe?

Sleeping issues are cropping up again here at our house. Gah. And I once naively thought it would all be solved once he started sleeping through the night.

We've had a span of several weeks now in which William's wakeup times have been all over the map. Some mornings, he's up around 8. Other mornings, he bonks on the button of his crib aquarium before 7. Some days, he wakes up early, but is content to talk to his stuffed animals for a little while. And then on other days, his eyes pop open only nanoseconds before his mouth, in a huge yell, does. Yesterday, he slept 'til...ahh!...about 8:15. But today, he was screaming to be liberated from the mean confines of his crib at 7:15. I don't even know what to expect anymore. I feel like the opposite of Pavlov's dog.

Don't even let me get started on bedtime. My child has readily accepted bedtime for months and months. And then, one night last week, we put him in the crib, and he started standing up and sitting down and turning around in a very agitated way. "No, no, no!" he said, over and over, sounding very upset. Nothing we said or did calmed him down. Finally, we just handed him his blanket, turned off the light, and shut the door. He cried for about ten minutes, until in the middle of one loud cry, he stopped suddenly. He had cried himself to sleep. He almost never needs to do that. It was very weird, especially the agitation. He was fine the next night, then agitated again the next night. Fine the next night, agitated the next. He was minorly agitated last night, but he didn't really cry. He just had trouble getting all settled in his crib. I don't know what to think. Was he overtired? Was something wrong? I still have no idea.

And naptimes have been wonky, too. Some days, two hours. Those are decent days. Some days, one hour and maybe 15 minutes. Those are bad days. Especially when he wakes up in a bad mood. As a general rule, William is a pretty happy kid, but NOT when he first wakes up, especially if he's still tired.

So I don't know what's going on. I really don't. I realize that his sleep needs are going to change as he grows up. But he used to be pretty consistent, if nothing else, and I have no clue what is setting off this wild pattern of wakeups.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New words

I love the fact that William is becoming more and more verbal every single day. Not that we don't still get the huge Donald Duck hissy-fit tantrums that result from a Misunderstanding, but it's getting easier for us to figure out what he wants. He can imitate more words now, too, even if he doesn't really understand what they mean.

New or recent words from the little prince's mouth:

Touchdown (accompanied by appropriate hand motions)


Reindeer (he was seriously, seriously bummed when our neighbors finally took down their Christmas decorations)

Fireworks (boom!)

Ball game (We always sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to him when we give him his asthma medication each night, and he always crows "ball game" through the air chamber at the very end. And he likes to say "snacks" a lot, too, because we replaced "peanuts and crackerjacks" with "peanuts and William snacks." We're very William-centric here, can you tell?)

Shampoo (and he even knows what you use it for. It is a Bad Idea to ask him about shampoo when he is eating with his hands, just so you know.)

Banana (all three syllables! w00t!)


Cream of wheat (sounds like "creeem whit")

Shower (sounds sort of like "shaw")

Roll (he likes bread products)

Mailman (Actually he's had this one for awhile, but he's really started saying it a lot lately. Maybe we've seen a lot more mailmen lately. I don't know.)

Chicken Little (Sounds like "chik lil")

Diet Coke. (Be quiet, Mom.)

I've been working hard to convince him to try to say William Wyckoff, but he's not too interested in that yet. Once or twice, he's managed to say something that sounded a little like Wyckoff, but I could have been mistaken. So I won't list it yet, but I'm working on it.

I think my favorite new word is the full-length "banana." He says it with such pride. Such joie de vivre. Did I spell that right?

Incidentally, William managed to keep all of his New Year's resolutions from 2007. I went back and reread my blog post from New Year's Day of last year and discovered that David had suggested that William 1) learn to walk, 2) cut back on his binky addiction, 3) eat big people food, and 4) learn to talk. Check, check, check, check. We're four for four here. Not bad, eh? I don't have the energy to make New Year's resolutions for myself this year, let alone my newly verbal son this year, though. In order to keep batting 1.000 (I mean, we set the bar kinda high, didn't we?), I'd have to go find my toddler books and look up what he's likely to do this year, and I just don't wanna. If anyone else here would like to suggest good resolutions for William, though, please feel free!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The things I say the most

I realized a few months ago that there are two things that I say now more than anything else to my son. That is, other than "No!" or "No, sir!" or "William, NO!"

"You're all right" or its alternate, "It's all right." See also: "You're okay."


"Good job!"

Seriously. I don't think I ever uttered the phrase "good job" before in my entire life, before I had a baby. And then I had a little guy, starting to do things, and all of a sudden, I started saying it all the time. I didn't even think about it. And the funny thing is, other parents say it all the time, too! What, is it some latent parental thing that's encoded in our DNA but only manifests itself when your child hits, oh, say, six or seven months of age and starts trying to Do Stuff? Maybe.

The "you're all right" is a staple of the toddler's parent because the typical toddler is always doing things like bonking his head or stumbling, thus necessitating the all-clear from Mom or Dad. For example, William was running through the family room and slipped on the three thousand annoying flash cards that were fanned across the carpet. He skidded and fell down, landing on his diaper-padded bottom, which really just surprised him more than it hurt him. I automatically said, "You're all right." Because he was. He just needed to hear me confirm it. If I say he's okay, well, then he usually is okay. It's sort of the Mom version of the old Jedi mind trick.

There are plenty of other things that we find ourselves saying that we never really imagined ourselves saying. For example, take this sentence that I spoke tonight: "William, please do not poop in the bathtub." And another gem: "William, we do not put our toothbrush in our ear." Ooh, or the other day when William was carefully using his plastic spoon to "feed" part of his lunch to one of his little toys: "William, eat your yogurt. Don't just feed it to the sheep." As my child gets older and even more inquisitive, I expect that I'll be adding some new ones to my personal list. I could probably collect such gems from all my parent friends and make a book out of them.

Hey, maybe I will...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New year, new look for William

And you thought William's new look for 2008 was just a haircut. Well, I say....nothing heralds a happy new year and a new look like a busted lip.

That's...em....three busted lips my dear son has racked up over the last six months. The first was the faceplant at MBA homecoming. The second was at the balloon festival in Natchez. And the latest was courtesy of the slippery wood floors in our hallway. I walked in the garage door and was greeted by a sweet pink face and a pair of lips the size of Angelina Jolie's.

Can you see the swollen top lip? It already looked better by the time I took this picture:

Poor baby. Actually, I should probably amend that to "poor David." I was away at a meeting when William skidded off through the house in his sock feet. David heard the thunk from the living room. He tried to put a cold rag on William's mouth, but William wasn't having too much of that. He didn't like the cold bag of ice cubes, either. David was all upset, but William recovered his good cheer pretty quickly.

Don't worry. William is just fine. Just fine, David, really!

So why do I chronicle these things in such exhaustive detail? Ah, I just think it's a good thing to balance out all the times I crow about all the new terrific things that William does. You know, show the other side of our parenting efforts. Yeah, we let our kid run around in sock feet sometimes and he falls down. I let him have fruit for dinner instead of vegetables because I just didn't feel like convincing him to eat the vegetables. David forgot to pull the crib rail up tonight when we put the little guy to bed. We mess up a lot. And sometimes we don't mess up, but William, well, William did seem to inherit the Larson Klutz Gene, and not even perfect parenting efforts can quite override genetics that strong all the time.

Happy New Year!

Happy 2008!

A belated Happy New Year from our household. I hope that 2008 brings as many good things as 2007 did!

Mom and my brother John were visiting for the week, and the Wyckoffs came over for New Year's Day. We all celebrated the big day with the traditional pot of black eyed peas. Even William ate a few for good luck. He's getting to be much pickier about what he eats, but we eventually convince him to open up for a few peas.

I can't believe it's 2008 already. I remember New Year's Eve 1999. My roommates, Charlene and Loretta, and I threw a big party at our house in Memphis in honor of the upcoming milennium (yes, yes, we knew the new milennium didn't officially start until 2001, but that's beside the point). David was there, of course, and a bunch of our friends. It was quite the party--we all were up 'til well after 3 a.m., such a contrast to this year when David and I blearily watched the ball drop in Times Square from our warm bed before turning out the lamps. 2008 seemed like a lifetime away. And I guess it was! Since that night, I have moved away from Tennessee, finished graduate school in Maryland, moved to California, gotten married, moved to the desert, had a baby, and moved back to the South.

Whew. I'm sort of out of breath, just listing it all. We've even been here in Nashville for almost six months. That amazes me, too. And needless to say, I am constantly amazed by how much William has grown and changed since that mild April day in 2006 when he appeared in our lives. Mom, David and I were looking at a photo book that I made of pictures from 2006, and we all were just marveling at how small he used to be! It's amazing to look at the photos now, and then look down at the active little guy in corduroy overalls who is asking me for "more race, please?" (That's Williamease for "more raisins, please?") How is it even possible? It really is a miracle. I still get excited every time William does something new. I get excited about every new word and every time he does something we ask him to do. I know the excitement will eventually wear off, but I think I will always marvel over the fact that my big active child used to be a tiny little lump of baby.

Here's William reading his night-night, catalogue...with his grandma the other night. And yes, he chose the One Step Ahead catalogue on his own free will. Remember this is the same child who likes to eat lemons.

And here's William, playing on the floor with John. William had a haircut by the time we took this picture, but I don't know if you can really tell since it's kind of tousled. Thank God Mom and John were here to distract him while the lady was cutting his hair.

Anyway, I hope everyone is all ready for the new year. I think I am. Maybe I'll even eventually take down all the Christmas decorations!