Friday, February 29, 2008


I think I took this picture late last week. I just wanted to post it here because it's so cute.

William was hiding behind the rocker in his room. Then he popped out and shouted boo! That's one of his two versions of "hideseek." The other is: he covers his eyes with his hands and then suddenly pulls them away and shouts "hideseek!" Yes, it's more like peekaboo, but he likes to call it "hideseek," and they're sort of related, right?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What? More snow??

This weather is just so weird! We had snow again!

Before I opened the blinds in his room this morning, I asked William what he thought he'd see outside. His face brightened and he crowed, "'NO?"

"That's RIGHT!" I said and threw open the blinds with a flourish. He was very pleased. So much so that getting him dressed before he could go check out the snow felt like the qualifying round for a complicated Olympic sport. You know, one of those multi-tasking ones, like the one that requires you to cross country ski while shooting a rifle at moving targets, or maybe Greco-Roman wrestling but with more clothes, not less.

It's been back and forth all day, though. It will snow like crazy for fifteen minutes, then taper off, and then the sun comes out. Then it stays clear and sunny for a half hour, and then the sky darkens, and the snow flurries start up again. Right now, the snow is really coming down out there. But twenty minutes ago, it was sunny and patches of blue sky were peeking out. Weird. W-E-I-R-D.

Weird or not, snow is a Good Thing when you're 22 months old. Who cares if you fall down and get the knees of your pants wet and muddy? Who cares if you drop a mitten and your hand gets all wet and cold? It's SNOWING!

Oh yes, and here's an off-centered cameo of me, to prove that I, too, was out there in the snow. It was snowing so hard for awhile that I even dug out my snow hat from my days at the University of Maryland to wear.

The only bad thing about the snow today is that I have to drive back in to church tonight to help serve dinner for the weekly homeless shelter meal. William and I made a grocery run earlier today, so I've got the stuff. I just hope the roads don't freeze over between now and then. It may seem like it snows a lot here in Nashville but that sure doesn't mean that all of us know how to drive in it. And believe me, I certainly fall into that category!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"See you in the morning!"

Okay, I just put William down for his nap, and as I covered him up with the blanket, I said a fairly generic, "Okay, night, night. I love you. Night night." You know, all the sweet little things we always say to him when we put him in his bed, either for a nap or for bedtime.

And I swear, I swear, he said, "See you in the morning!"

I almost fell over. Where does he get these things? I mean, I know where he gets them. But how did he suddenly start knowing how and when to say them?

Like the other night when he said, "Bye bye, pizza man!" completely on his own volition. Or when we asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up, and he said, "A doctor." Or when I asked him if he wanted to have McDonald's for lunch, and he said, "Yes," and then asked for a "cheebur." Or when I ran back into the house this morning to grab a smaller purse because we were headed to the downtown library for storytime and I didn't want to lug along my big heavy purse, William took note of the different purse and said, "Little purse!"

Isn't that crazy? I almost wrote, "What's it going to be like when he really starts talking?" but then I realized, he really is talking these days. And every day, I think I understand more of what he says. Of course, the flip side of that is that he understands just about everything that we say to him. David and I are going to have start spelling even more words out loud than we already are!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Vote early and often

A couple of weeks ago, David took Willliam with him to the local community center for early voting, while I ran errands on my own. The next Tuesday, I packed William into the car and took him with me to a nearby Methodist church, and he sat by my side in his stroller and ate sweet potato puffs while I voted in the fellowship hall. To his delight, William received a patriotic "I voted!" sticker both times and was clearly delighted by his reward for doing his civic duty.

We have talked both before and since about voting, and why we vote, and how everyone has a right to make a decision for the candidate they like best, etc. etc. And while I usually don't get into politics on this blog, I will say that I had decided that I wanted to vote for Barack Obama in the Democratic primary. William was charmed by the candidate's name, and he began saying, "Bock mama! Obama!" over and over again.

Well apparently, voting made a pretty big impression on my not-quite-two-year-old son. We drove by that Methodist church a few days ago, and William pointed to it and said, "Bock mama!" He did the same thing when we parked by the community center next to the library, where early voting was held. And then tonight, he walked over to his high chair, studied it, then walked behind it and began pushing his fingers at the back of the elevated seat. From behind the little plastic-zoo-animal-printed seat, we heard his little voice say, "Obama! Obama!" I leaned over from my chair to see waht he was doing, and it looked like he was pretending to vote. It appeared that he was pretending the high chair was a voting booth and he was pressing buttons, like he saw he pressing choices on the electronic screen in the voting booth at the church, and he was announcing who he had decided to vote for.

So rather than pretending to be a cowboy or a fireman*, my child is pretending to vote. I've always been a bit of an election junkie because of my background in the newspaper world, but who knew that the tendency would manifest itself in my own son at such a tender age?

Just so you know, though, William has also started pretending to be Spider-Man. David has taught him how to shoot webs from his wrists. Er, how to pretend to shoot webs from this wrists. So he's not just Wacky Voting Kid. He's also Spidey. Not sure if Wacky Voting Kid can shoot anything from his wrists.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Take me out to the...library

We have achieved yet another milestone here at Chez Larson-Wyckoff. Yesterday William checked out his first library book. I'm so proud! Yes, the way you know someone is a big old book geek is when they get a little misty-eyed at the sight of their child clutching a library book of their very own.

The book in question, which is Dooby Dooby Moo, came highly recommended by William's pal Leland. She typically has good taste, so we decided to give this one a whirl. Let's see, the book has been in our possession for about 30 hours now, and I've read it....three times, and David's read it at least twice, and Diane got sucked into reading it last night...and the night's not over yet.

In fact, this is what's going on downstairs at this very minute:

At this very minute, William is singing, "Moo moo moo," and his dad is singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." But I won't tell you why. I don't want to give away the plot.

I'm not going to think about what could happen when William discovers that we have to take the book back to the library. I've got two weeks to figure that one out.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

X-treme Weather

My Uncle Don once remarked how my grandmother had this weird ability to bring extreme weather with her, no matter where she went. When he was relating the story to me, I was visiting him in Seattle during the Great Heat Wave of July 2004. People were melting in the streets of their un-air-conditioned houses in a town where the summer temperatures usually hovered closer to 72 degrees, not 92. My uncle pondered if I, as Mama Lou's granddaughter, might have inherited that freak tendency.

Well, folks, it looks like I did. Whatever gene is encoded with Freak Weather, I apparently have it. In the last 12 days alone, we Nashvillians have experienced snow, sleet, cold cold cold, almost-heat, tornadoes, massive amounts of rain, and severe wind. What else is there? I mean, no, we haven't had a cyclone, but that's about all I can say. It has to be me.

Anyway, you'd think David and I would be used to loud, howling wind ricocheting against our house, given that we spent four years living in the wind tunnel of the high desert. But apparently not. We both tossed and turned last night, as the wind beat the trees against our house and called us names. David even got up once to log onto the Internet, just to make sure there weren't any tornado warnings. We never heard the sirens last week, so we didn't want to miss out on a warning again. But it was just heavy winds. And then the rain came.

But alas! We got a delightful break around noon. After church, we piled William into his red wagon, and we took him for a ride around our whole neighborhood. It was almost 70 degrees and breezy. How fun it was to take a little jaunt out in the sunshine! It made me really cheerful. I was so exhausted from a mostly sleepless night, and yet a half hour in the sun was like having a cup of coffee.

Here's a paparazzi shot of the boys. They were just leaving a bar...okay, not really. They were walking past the playground and pool, where the lounge chairs have been all stacked away in the poolhouse for the winter.

The winds came back, just so you know. And the temperature is slated to drop again tonight. So once again tomorrow, I'll put on a warm sweater and I'll make William wear a warm hat. But at least for an hour or so, it was nice to have a foretaste of springtime. Before the X-treme Weather returns again.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Temper, temper

I was just thinking about how when my son was a baby, he cried a lot. But usually it was for a reason. He was hungry, and he couldn't speak to tell me. Or he was tired. Or hungry. Or poopy. Or lonely. Or hungry. Usually hungry. The boy could eat. (Still can.)

Now, at almost 22 months of age, William typically cries for one of two reasons: 1) he is exhausted, or 2) he isn't getting his way. Or sometimes, we hit the trifecta: a combination of numbers one and two.

William threw the mother of all temper tantrums tonight. And yes, I think it was a Category 3 storm.

Hurricane William started before bathtime, gathered steam during the bath and worked into a full throttle on the changing table. I still don't really know what caused it. I think he was mad that I cut short his usual Nude Olympics around the second floor, when he joyfully runs laps around the bedrooms and hallway before we finally plunk him into the tub. And I think he was also mad that his daddy was having to take Mommy pager calls in our bedroom, thus not giving William his undivided attention, which William is accustomed to at bathtime. And finally, William had a long day today. He was up early, he went to school, and then he ran errands with Mommy. He even gasp tried on clothes at Old Navy, which actually didn't go nearly as badly as you may have thought. So I'd say it was a safe bet that he was pretty darn tired.

He finally calmed down when David came back into his bedroom. I was trying to wrestle him, kicking and screaming, into his monkey jammies, without much success. He even rolled off the changing table at one point because he was so mad with anger. He didn't hurt himself; he mostly just turned over and then slithered his way down, the same way he gets down off the sofa. But he was apoplectic while he did it. And I can't be sure, but I think the ceiling fan may have been shaking. But as soon as William saw David, the wind died down. And while the tears still ran down his red cheeks, William stopped howling and thrashing. The boys settled into the rocker and read books, while I collapsed on the floor. Why is it that temper tantrums wear the moms out as much as they exhaust the person who actually throws them? And why was the sight of David enough to calm him down when none of my attempts at calming him down worked at all?

I still haven't figured out the perfect strategy for dealing with temper tantrums. Yelling doesn't work. Making threats ("I won't read you Mother Goose before bed tonight!") really doesn't work, either. Even offering a bribe, not that I really advocate that but sometimes you just get desperate, doesn't make much of an impact. Time Outs do help, because they get him to sit down and cool off. And I'm starting to think that being completely quiet and not engaging him at all helps, too. It's like he has to work his way through the tantrums, and it's better if I just ignore it and turn away. That is, when we're at home. But so far, knock on wood, William doesn't really seem inclined to throw tantrums in public. The few times that he's threatened to, I've just picked him up and left the store or public place.

Luckily for me, my son is starting to understand how to make amends after a full-scale blowout. He says contritely, "I sorry." And sometimes he hugs and kisses, too. Awwww. I guess it's just hard to be a toddler.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Be William's Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day to all my family and friends...and anyone else out there who may be reading.

My brother-in-law refers to Valentine's Day as something like "Day of Wretched Corporate-Mandated Excess." Heh. I'm not quite that cynical, but I get his drift. We're not really that into Valentine's Day here. We always exchange cards and little gifts, but it never even occurred to David and me to think about going out to a big dinner or anything. (It's a school night!) And I think neither of us want to spend big money this soon after Christmas on stuff we really don't need, either. (And some of you may know my stance on all the heart-shaped jewelry that all those excessive corporations like to excessively hawk for Valentine's Day.)

That said, we did enjoy our small little tribute to the day. I actually had fun preparing for it this year because I found the perfect Sesame Street Valentine's card for William. However, David had his heart set on a Spider-Man card. So we each got him a card. William, naturally, loved them both equally. I also bought him a copy of If You Give a Moose a Muffin. He is addicted to the other two books that he owns in that series: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Pig a Party. I told him that he could pick out whatever book he wanted for his Valentine gift when we visited Davis Kidd bookstore yesterday, and he gravitated right toward the moose book. It was a touchy few minutes, though, while he wavered over If You Give a Pig a Pancake. Back and forth, back and forth, what to choose? Moose or pig? Pig or moose? In the end, it was Moose 1, Pig 0. For the record, all of the books in that series are terrific. If you have small children and haven't discovered them yet, hie thyself to your nearest bookstore and look for Laura Numeroff.

For me, David ordered a beautiful vase of flowers, containing roses, irises and star-gazer lilies. Back when we got married, I was all crushed when I couldn't have star-gazer lilies in my wedding bouquet or arrangements, but my father, who performed part of our wedding service, is Very Allergic to them. I mean, horribly, evilly, head-swellingly allergic. (Easter is tough on him.) We didn't think it would look so good for the preacher to be weeping and sneezing into his bible when he was supposed to be marrying us. (Especially since he was more than happy to give the bride away, right, Daddy?) So David tries to always give me arrangements with star-gazer lilies because I love the way they smell. But I digress.(Don't I always?) (And could have I used any more parentheses in this post? Geez.) I got flowers, so I was happy. I bought a little box of Godiva chocolates for David, so he was happy, too.

Then Diane, Aaron and Mark all came over to have dinner with us tonight, and William received a stuffed dog that talks and wiggles from his grandparents. While his parents grinned the grins that only grandparents who can go home and escape the noisy toys can grin, David grumbled, "That might have to disappear when Dee Dee and Grandaddy go home." I think it's a darling little dog, myself, and I can think of far, far noisier toys. David just hasn't spent much time in a nursery or toy store recently. I mean, can he really have forgotten all the incarnations of Tickle Me Elmo? Let's see...a little dog that just asks you to hug him or a bright red monster laughing maniacally at a sinus-puncturing pitch? You decide.

William, for his part, just hugged on the doggie...and then put him in Time Out.

That's his little time out chair. He spent a fair amount of time in that chair earlier today. It may have been Valentine's Day, and it's supposed to be a day All About the Love, but toddlers never forget their primary mission: to get what they want. And so William had a screaming, thrashing temper tantrum at lunchtime that landed him in the time out chair. Luckily for all of us, it calmed him right down. Maybe, hmmmm, maybe that's why he put the eager little dog, with its madly flapping ears in the time out chair. Maybe in William's toddler mind, the dog needed a time out to settle down, too?

Here's William with his beloved Dee Dee and his new little doggie friend:

Anyway, not a bad day at all for corporate-mandated sentimentality or whatever. We had a nice family dinner, and I'm here at home, warm and safe with my boys, and I'm happy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A snowy day

Look what we woke up to this morning!

That was taken about 15 minutes ago. William and I came back in to warm up briefly, and we're about to head back out in the snow! But, brrrr, it is cold. You can see how William's little nose is all red. Mine probably is, too. We probably look like a pair of clowns out there!

By the way...somehow I think William knew we were going to get snow. A few days ago, he suddenly began asking us to read the book "A Snowy Day" by Jack Ezra Keats. He wanted us to read it to him before naptime and before bedtime, almost as if he was trying to memorize it so he'd know what to do when it finally snowed here. Well, let's go put his memory to the test, shall we?


We went back outside to frolic in the snow some more. (It's a good thing, too: it's nearly all gone now.)

Then I guess William finally had enough of the cold. He said, hopefully, "Back inside?" I laughed, thinking, "Like I'm going to force him into staying outside where it's freezing cold!" And so we made our way back into the nice warm house. And had scrambled eggs for breakfast.

I'm just thrilled that I finally, finally got some pictures of William in the snow. This is not his first or even his second big snowfall, but it's the first one that happened both during the day and when he was old enough to walk in it. And um, it's also the first one in which the camera's battery was working. But I think it was worth the wait.

In fact, I think I had as much fun taking pictures of him as he did playing in the snow. It's one of those things that makes parenting so wonderful: you get to re-experience everything for the first time with your child. Sure not everything is going to be so wonderful to almost experience again (see: junior high). But snow? Snow has to be one of the top five.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hard to choose

I've been wrestling in my head with a very first-world problem for the last couple of days. Where do we send William to school next year, and for how many days each week? Yes, he's not even two years old, and I'm already all angst-ridden over his education. Didn't I just pay off my own college student loans a couple of years ago?

Of course, this all assumes that I will not be working next fall. I had assumed that I'd probably have another job by now, but I don't. I kind of still think I'd like to have a job by this summer, but I have no way of knowing that will happen. So for now, I have to operate as if the current situation will be the status quo, come Labor Day. Which it well may be.

So anyway. Here are my two big issues. First, should I enroll William in our own church's playschool program, or should I keep him in the church program that he currently attends? Secondly, should I enroll him for two days a week or just one, which is what he does now?

The second question seems easier to answer. The little prince currently attends school on Fridays. He loves it. Loves it. Would probably love two days a week now. As he gets older, I think he will only continue to thrive, so it makes sense to send him two days each week. Especially since, as David pointed out, he will be going on three years old this time next year. I can't imagine not having him in school two days a week at three year of age.

I guess I initially hesitated because it will cost more to send William to school two days a week. But it's not that much more expensive than, say, attending one day of school each week and going to Gymboree one day each week. And I think he would enjoy it. Admittedly, David and I are kinda biased (okay, very biased), but we think he's showing signs of being reasonably bright. He has a huge vocabulary now, and he's putting together phrases and short sentences. He already knows some shapes and colors, and he is incurably curious about everything--and he usually remembers things that he's learned. It could only help him to be in school an extra day each week, I think. Investing in that sort of thing could only be a good investment.

So, where to send him? One factor looming large in my mind: our church program does cost more. I'm not sure, though, how much more; it may turn out to only be like ten or twenty dollars per month more. It is further away from home than his current program. And he has absolutely loved his current program this year. We really have adored his teachers, and it seems to be a very low-key environment. But he will not keep the same teachers even if he stayed there. Several of the teachers at our church program already know (and adore) him from the church nursery, so it's not like he'll be in either an unfamiliar setting or with completely unfamiliar faces if he goes there. Also, our church program is nationally accredited, and they have teachers who do music and gardening as sort of "enrichment" for the kids. David said he thinks that would be great for William.

I serve on a church committee with the director of our church's program, plus one of the moms on the board is in my Sunday School class. I know both of them, have regular contact with them and like them, so that's reassuring. William has had some interaction with our church's program already because he stays in the nursery on Monday mornings while I attend my disciple class. He's done just fine. We don't know a soul at our current program, but William has done really well there already, so I feel sure he'd be happy as a clam there in the fall, too.

Sometimes I get a snobby vibe from some of the parents who bring their children to our church program, but given that I have never spoken to them, I have no idea if that's fair or not. also, I admit I chafe at the fact that some people actually join our church just to be able to send their kids to the playschool and kindergarten programs there...because they are the so-called "right" programs. I tend to have a fit of reverse-snobbery at that whole notion. Besides, there are several Hummer-drivers who bring their children to William's school now, too. It's not like it's immune from that sort of thing, even if it doesn't have the "right" designation. Gah. Now I sort of understand why David doesn't always want to admit he went to Princeton. You don't want people to think you chose a school, or whatever, just because it is the "right" (read: socially acceptable) choice. Or at least I don't. Or am I just being perverse?

See? See how hard this is? I want someone to just TELL me what to do. David and discussed this the other day, and I'm sure we'll talk about it some more tonight, too. I guess we'll come to a decision. It's hard to know what's right to do. I mean, there's not really a downside. Either way, at either school, I'm sure William will be fine. He's curious and social, and he'll fit in wherever we take him. It's just hard to choose.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Valentine Man

Check out the beeeeyooootiful artwork that I had commissioned recently:

William's teachers proudly informed me that William not only placed all the pieces of his Valentine in the appropriate spots but he did so all by himself without any help or prompting from anyone. The teachers said he did the best Valentine in the class. I'm sure they don't just tell that to any ol' parent who walks in the door to pick up their energetic little tyke at the end of a busy day. No sirree. William is special. I mean, really. Can we just go ahead and call him a genius or what? Is Harvard still accepting applications for the fall?

David noticed that William even placed the right hands on the right side of his little Valentine person. Genius! Genius, I tell you! I wonder if any galleries are currently looking for new artists to exhibit.

Okay, in all seriousness, I am actually proud. William really did do a nice job, and it was cool to hear that he arranged the body parts correctly without any help. All the teachers did was glue them on after he picked out where he wanted them to go. He really seems to be making more sense of the universe and how things work every day. That really is quite amazing. I'm constantly amazed by the fact that he says new words every single day, and that he can answer questions and even put together some sentences. He really seems to have been paying attention all these months, collecting all this information in his brain like a woman rolling soft yarn into a ball, and now it's just spinning out of him.

I really do love my little Valentine man made by my little Valentine boy. I'll be keeping this Valentine for a long, long time.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The storm

This time last night, David and I were anxiously watching the weather. We had planned to watch Super Tuesday coverage on CNN. We ended up watching terrible storms whip their way across the western part of our state. Every few minutes, the windows of the family room would shudder and creak, and one of us would worriedly glance up from the television.

Storms were headed toward us. Not just storms, but tornadoes. My father-in-law, Aaron, had called us just as we were putting William to bed. "Turn on the weather on television," he implored me. That's why we were perched on the sofa in front of the television.

For about 45 minutes or so, we watched the weather map on the screen light up with violent red and purple swatches of storms. The meteorologists tracking the storm started warning people in various areas to take shelter. We started to tense up. As lightning lit up the foyer, and thunder rumbled almost continuously, David suggested we started clearing out the hall closet, just in case we needed to hide out. We pulled out vacuum cleaners, William's toy fire engine, a basket of picture frames, two huge bags of Halloween candy (so that's where they ended up!), two suitcases, and God knows what else. David piled sofa cushions and the weather radio in the nearly empty closet, while I ran around collecting framed photos, our wedding albums, the folder with our birth certificates and marriage license, other photo albums, and my jewelry box. I added a canteen of water, a bag of Craisins, jackets, and a flashlight. And my purse. The TV droned in the background, the counterpoint to the soundtrack of thunder and violent wind.

Then the meteorologist on television started describing our neighborhood. Off 100, near the Kroger, just over the county line...all I could hear was him saying that the tornadoes were coming for us, for our house. I've never felt that scared of a storm before. I began to breathe harder.

David said, "I'll go get William."

"Don't forget to get Natty and his monkey. And his blankey," I said, shakily, looking frantically around the house. What else would I try to save? What else could we not do without? What was priceless, what could not be replaced? What else did we have room for, in our little foxhole?

David returned with William, who was wrapped in his blanket and looking around wide-eyed, clad in his Christmas pajamas and a mismatched pair of socks. David settled himself and the baby at the back of the closet against one of the sofa pillows. I anxiously paced around the family room, almost manically, trying to figure out what I'd forgotten. I grabbed David's iPod and his black Princeton ball cap. I made sure we both had shoes on, in case we had to walk over...well, I tried not to think about that. Did we have jackets? A blanket for us? Why do we not have a safe-deposit box?

"Jennifer, come in here," David finally ordered. I went into the closet and huddled next to my son and husband on the floor. We kept the door open so we could listen to the television. We could hear the television, but I was distracted by the rumbling of the wind, the thunder....I imagined it was the roar of a tornado rotating grimly, inexorably toward our house, the house we dreamed of buying, the house that we celebrated moving into. Toward our family.

William thought it was all a game. He snuggled up with his daddy but reached out and held my hand. "Hi!" he said. "Hi!" David was calm, too. I felt like I couldn't quite get enough air. I tried not to show William that I was afraid, but it was hard, so hard. I know now that I need to be especially conscious of that in the future. I am the parent, and I need to remember that even in scary times. Especially then.

The minutes ticked by. Finally, the storm seemed to subside. The noise lessened, and we could hear the television warning people near Hendersonville about the storm's progress. It seemed we had made it through unscathed. I couldn't quite believe it. I left all our precious belongings in the closet last night after we went to bed, just in case we had to flee back into our little hole in the wall for safety.

As I put William back into his crib, he smiled at me, and I exhaled. Here was all that really mattered. Not all those things that I piled along the walls of the hall closet. What had I really been so worried about?

The reality is this: if I had mere seconds to grab something and seek shelter from a terrible storm, none of those picture albums or folders or frames would be on my mind at all. I would grab William, and that would be the end of it. There would be no thoughts of anything else. None. If something terrible happened, would I miss my mother's pearls or moan over having to replace our birth certificates and car titles? Absolutely. Would I mourn the loss of my wedding photographs or William's baby photos? Probably, yes. Would it even occur to me to not just go straight for my son and make sure he was protected? No, no, no.

That is all that matters. As long as I have David and William, that is all that is really important. And the storm just reminded me.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Yes. No! Yes. NO!

Just when you think you know your child. Just when you think you know your child and the surefire way to his heart...through his stomach.

So here's what's happening with our toddler right now: the Great Food Rejection Struggle.

Here's how it works.

William loudly clamors for an item of food. Let's say he wants toast. "Toast! Toast!" he bellows from his throne...I mean, high chair. "TOAST!"

"Do you want some toast?" I inquire meekly. "What do you say when you want something, William?"

"Toast! Peeze?" William says with a huge smile."Peeze, toast?"

"That's right, good job!" I say and scurry about, finding a piece of whole wheat bread to stick into the toaster oven.

When the bell chimes, William beams some more and sings, "Toast! Toast! Toast!" I curtsy before the high chair and proffer the beautifully browned piece of warm toast, fresh from the oven.

William takes the warm toast from me and then screws up his face in a scowl that only a toddler can achieve. "No! NO!" he howls, and pushes the toast back at me, flinging his arms in abject despair. "NoNONoNO!"

I quickly pull the toast back. Which results in my lovely son immediately screaming, "Toast! Toast!" and waving his hands frantically at the toast in the international symbol for "gimme toast, gimme toast now!"

So I offer it to him again. And once again, he reacts as if I am handing him raw liver. "NO! NO! NO!" he wails and begins crying pitifully and angrily. "No!" And he pushes the toast off the highchair tray, where it breaks into many hundreds of crumbs all over my newly-swept kitchen floor.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

"What? What do you want?" I holler, forgetting that I'm supposed to be the adult here. "You asked for toast. I gave you toast! What more do you want from me? I made you toast!!"

I mean, why would he ask for something that he loves, only to act like I'm betraying him when I actually give it to him? Do you ever ask for a beloved food and then say, "Oh my GOD, what are you thinking, giving me (say) a delicious Oreo cookie milkshake like that? Do you hate me or something?"

This is a particularly frustrating little game when it involves a food that is either expensive or time-consuming to make. I can practically hear my bank account sobbing when William throws his formerly favorite out-of-season fruit on the floor. OR maybe it was just me sobbing. And gah, the frustration when I spend time, mixing up a bowl of piping hot Cream of Wheat (William's favorite breakfast, by the way...some days...), only to have it coldly rejected. And desired. And rejected. And desired again. And rejected again.

It also drives me nuts when I've just stocked up on a food item that I know he loves and then he suddenly and unpredictably declares it verboten. I have a brand new box of animal crackers sitting in the pantry that were suddenly, with absolutely no warning, Untouchable. I have no idea why. Just last week, they were the Big Thing.

It's got to be just a Phase. Right? Everything else with toddlers seems to be just a phase, so I'm banking on that. I'm assuming that he's trying to assert his independence and impose his own will on the universe after months of being sort of at the mercy at whoever could pick him up. But man. I hope he figures out that yes, he can be independent now without having to resort to this crazy food struggle.

Otherwise, what the heck am I going to do with all those animal crackers?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Science center field trip

I don't know what took us so long, but we finally went to the Adventure Science Center on Saturday morning. William adored it, so we bought a yearly membership. He's a little young for most of it, but there's lot of noise! and lights! and people! So of course, he loves it. And there are dinosaurs and trains, which just compounds the love.

It was a little nerve-wracking when hordes of enormous pre-teens barrelled around a corner and practically knocked him down, but it didn't seem to bother him. David and I, however, sucked in a deep breath each time a seven-foot-tall twelve-year-old rushed by, but for William? No problemo.

And he got to meet his dad's old med school roommate and his wife and daughter. Here we are with Chip, Cindy, and Ella in front of the dinosaur exhibit.