Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last photo(s) of the year

It's not even 8:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and I am already beat. We just got William to bed, and now it's anyone's guess how much longer David and I can keep our eyelids propped open. Yes, I could claim pregnancy and illness as my excuses, but the reality is...we haven't done much partying on NYE in the past half-decade or so. We'll break out our Trader Joe's sparkling cranberry juice in a little while and make our toasts...after all, it may be early here, but it's 2010 in Europe already! I know, I know. We're livin' large, aren't we?

And the last photos of the year...

Appreciate this one because I bet we won't be able to get away with bathtub shots with William much longer. Here he is with the new pirate ship that his Uncle Mark gave to him for Christmas:

And here's the official last photo of the year. (Gosh, I don't know about you but I looooove it when it's finally bedtime.)

2009 was kind of a rocky year for our family, so I won't be too sad to see it go. And I'm hoping that 2010 is a much better one. Happy New Year's Eve to any of you who might be reading this! Have a glass of champagne for me!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas, y'all

Just in case you were worried, I did not auction my child off on eBay or anything. He suffered through some serious time out. He apologized. I cooled down (eventually). We're friends again. It's in the past. Like many of you have said, I will someday have a big hearty laugh about his little Christmas Eve caper.


It's kind of funny to remember when William still didn't fully understand Christmas. He knew there were lights and sounds and good food and presents, but he didn't really understand the order in which they all arrived...and he didn't understand it enough to get really impatient about it, either. He was just delighted by whatever happened to happen.

This year, however, he knew exactly what was going on. We ate Christmas Eve dinner (also known as Aaron's birthday dinner) at the Wyckoffs' on Thursday night, and by the time I packed William into the car, it was really getting late. I told him that we'd need to go to bed really quickly to make sure he was asleep so that Santa Claus could come to our house.

David, who drove the minivan home after us, got online and looked up the website for NORAD, which "tracks" Santa's magical sleigh ride all over the globe on Christmas Eve. After I dressed William in his jammies, we told him to go check out the map on the computer to see where Santa was.

"Hey, look," David said. "Santa's in Newfoundland. That's north of here."

And as we watched the map, Santa was suddenly in Barbados. I guess he was travelling up and down the eastern seaboard before moving west, which seems to make sense.

"See, William?" David said. "Santa's there..." and he use the mouse to point out the little sleigh icon, and then he moved the mouse to put the cursor an inch or two to the left, over Tennessee. "And there's our house."

William took one look at the screen and took off running for his room. "Mommy, come on! Hurry!" he yelled over his shoulder.

I caught up to him as he was climbing into his bed. Out of breath, I said, "Okay, what story do you want to read tonight?"

William, pulling his covers up, said, "I don't think I need a story tonight."

Just so you know, he's never said anything like that before in his entire life. In fact, it was so unprecedented, that it caught me completely off guard. Let's see that little remark again, so we can absorb the full impact of it: "I don't think I need a story tonight." Nope, it still kills me.

"Well, how about I say a short prayer with you?"

"No, I'll say one when I'm lying down trying to sleep. Night night, Mommy." He shooed me out.

And I said, "Okay" and turned off the light and shut the door, and there was not a single peep out of him the rest of the night. William wasn't willing to take any chance that he'd make Santa Claus skip his house and...the horror...perhaps not bring him the Batman cave that he's been wanting for months now.

Santa, indeed, came through.

A Christmas Day family photo of the three of us. Probably one of the last ones we'll have of the three of us, since we're practically four now anyway!

We really did have a nice Christmas Day. I'll try to post some more Christmas photos soon.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve drama before 9 a.m.

So my original intention was to come here and tell you that I've reached the 30-week mark, hooray hooray. And then I wanted to tell you a sweet little anecdote about how William got to hear his baby brother's heartbeat at my OB appointment on Tuesday.

And it really was sweet, too. A slow, broad smile began to appear across William's face, making his cheeks look like apples, as he listened to the doppler's broadcast of the baby's heartbeat. He hadn't been exactly sure what to expect, but he knew this was a Big Deal.

Afterward, I asked him what he thought about that, and he said, "It was nice and a little weird." Why's that, I wanted to know. "Because babies make sounds like 'ga ga'," he explained. He also noted that the gel that my doctor used on my belly looked "just like our hand sanitizer!" Which, well, it did.

But anyway, like I said, I came here to tell that story. But then we had a little Incident this morning that really needs telling even more. I should title it something like "The Evil Genius Strikes Again." Argh. I'm still a little worked up over it, too.

Here's what happened. Last night, David and I wrapped gifts for each other and for his parents and brother. We stacked them way up on top of the (very tall) armoire in the corner of our bedroom, so William couldn't get to them. Heck, we could barely reach up there ourselves. This morning, after David left for work and while I was still asleep downstairs on the sofa (it has much better back support for awkward beached-whale pregnant ladies, what with all the pillows, and on nights when I cannot get comfortable, sometimes I migrate down there for a few hours), that's when William struck.

He took one of his little folding chairs from his table-and-chair set, dragged it up all 17 stairs, and carried it into our room. He moved everything out of the way from in front of the armoire (no small task). Then he found a box with a sturdy lid, stacked that on top of the chair. He climbed on top of all that and got down presents, which he then carried into his room. He shut the door and unwrapped all the gifts. None of which were for him.

I woke up and heard the feet running back and forth, and the bedroom door opening and shutting, and I went upstairs. I found what I just described to you and well, I think I went ballistic. I found a couple of David's presents strewn about, all of mine from David, one for Diane and something else. I yelled. A lot. I threatened permanent time out, I think. William ran out of his room, yelling back. There was a struggle on the stairs while I tried to drag William back to his room--for the record, it is harder to move an angry three-year-old when you're heavily pregnant than it is to move a dead body. (Er, not that I have actually ever moved a dead body. But you know what I mean.) Finally I managed to get him back into his room, slammed that door shut and marched downstairs to rewrap everything. William screamed and yelled from his exile. I fumed while I managed to get tape stuck all over the place, rather than in the right places. Grrrr.

(But hey, I am grateful for the Blu-ray copy of "The Princess Bride." Thanks, honey.)

So now, William's out of time out. He has apologized. I have confiscated the castle and all its accessories and placed them in time out. William has cleaned up the mess from the wrapping paper. He's back in his usual good spirits. I, however, am still feeling grumpy. What a way to start Christmas Eve, huh?

I called David, and he consoled me that one day, this will all be very, very funny. Hmph. All I know is that it's not even 9 a.m. and I feel like I've had a full day already.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let's go to the movies!

We have marked yet another rite of passage in the life of our young son William. A big one. A monumental one. One that no one should ever forget. That's right: we took him to see his first movie in the movie theater yesterday.

Don't you remember your first real movie? Mine was "Lady and the Tramp." David says that he saw either "Herbie the Love Bug" or "The Rescuers"; he saw both of them around the same time, so he's not completely sure which one came first for him, chronologically speaking. My brother's was "The Fox and the Hound."

William's first movie was "The Princess and the Frog." We took him to the Green Hills movie theater to see a noon matinee. He's been looking forward to it for months. Princesses? Movies? Popcorn? Time with Mommy and Daddy? How could it be anything other than perfect?

And William loved it. I figured that, since he eagerly watches "Sleeping Beauty" when we give in at home, he'd have no trouble sitting through another full-length cartoon. And he didn't. He didn't eat as much popcorn as I had originally predicted, but he seemed to enjoy the overall experience. He behaved nicely, he laughed at the funny characters, and he whispered when he wanted to ask a question.

On the way out of the theater, however, he refused to put his coat back on. Flat out refused. Finally, in exasperation, David said something like, "William! Put your coat on now! It's cold out there! Do you want to get sick?"

And I would almost swear that William, worldly wise young man that he is now, rolled his eyes. "Daddy, you don't get a cold that way. You have to get germs to get sick," he informed us.

Um, yeah, that's right, actually. Why are we ever surprised when he actually remembers things that we've told him?

I asked William later for his review of the movie. He said that the funny alligator was his favorite character. (Louis, for those of you who've seen it.) And he's ready to go see another movie again soon. Hopefully something else rated "G" will be released before too long...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Serial posting because this is too good to not blog about...

This morning, I walked out of my bedroom to find William in the office (i.e. the computer room, which will soon be converted into Baby Brother's room, ousting me and my work to a location still to be determined). He told me that he'd been talking to Grandaddy Johnny on the computer, but there wasn't a picture. I asked him when, because we regularly chat with Grandaddy Johnny on the computer via Skype, and I figured, he was just talking about one of our past conversations.

Ah, well, as it turns out, he had JUST been talking to Grandaddy Johnny on the computer. As in, a few minutes earlier. While I was still in my room, he had come into the computer room, turned on the computer, somehow brought up the Skype program, called his grandfather and had a nice little chat. But because he likes to hang up the phone a lot, he had to call back a lot. And apparently he knows how to do all of that. Who knew he'd picked up so much from watching me do it? So the Skype log showed at least a half-dozen short phone calls that the two of them had had this morning.

Good grief. William can't even read yet, and he's already figured out how to do all this stuff? We are in big trouble--Big Trouble--when he does learn how to read.

For the record, Daddy said he was happy to talk with his grandson, but I needed to make sure to teach him how to turn the video system on so that he could see him on the computer screen. Apparently, William just punched the "Call" button, not the "Video Call" button, which was why there was no picture.

No place for guilt at the holidays

So over on my other blog Jennifer Larson, Writer at Large, I recently mentioned that I was feeling a little guilty about not taking William to do tons of Christmas stuff this year.

Being nearly 28 weeks pregnant, I'm just huge and tired, and my energy level is just not what it normally is. And unfortunately, lots of the best Christmas activities require Serious Energy. I just couldn't do the downtown Christmas parade on Friday night, no way, and I managed to miss out on getting tickets to see a local production of a mini version of "The Nutcracker," but there's no way we'd last through a full-length performance.

So I decided to do some more low-key fun things and hope that they will suffice, at least for this year. As several people have told me, William is three. He doesn't know any different. There are plenty of years ahead to do bigger things around the holidays.

And we do still have two big fun things planned, so it's not like I bailed altogether this year. I'm taking him to a local church's Walk Through Bethlehem event on Sunday afternoon, and my mother-in-law is taking him to have breakfast with Santa at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on the 19th. I figure, I'll take him to have his photo taken with Santa at the mall one day after school, and we'll be good. Right?

In the meantime, a few photos from our low-key day on Saturday. I took him to Cheekwood so he could do the kiddie art class, which involved making a candy collage, and then we looked at the Christmas decorations....

Then we came home and decorated a gingerbread house from a kit that I bought at Target. I could have taken him to any of about three different gingerbread house workshops around town that day, but they all cost at least $40, and frankly, I was hesitant to spend that kind of money on that sort of activity for a kid his age. Surprisingly, the kit occupied him for about two hours at home. Well worth the money.

And we're doing the typical things, like taking him to church each Sunday, lighting the candles on our Advent wreath and doing the Lego Advent calendar each night (I'm sure you can guess whose idea that was, right?).

And we already plan to attend the children's Christmas Eve service, which he adored last year. So really, we're doing the most important things, I think. I just wish that I DID have the energy to do more. But I'm going to try to feel content with what we're doing and remember that he's enjoying everything that we are doing, and that it's not worth completely wearing myself down.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Notes on Thanksgiving

Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone, and suddenly we're in the middle of Advent again. We had a nice Thanksgiving weekend, although David was under the weather, which took a little bit of the shine off it.

My parents came to visit, and at the last minute, my brother even managed to get off work, so he drove up to Nashville for 24 hours, which was a wonderful surprise. So we had the whole clan: Mom, Daddy, John, Diane, Aaron, Mark, David, William and me. When William noticed that we were having to pull up extra chairs to the table, I told him that it was a very nice problem to have. And he agreed.

Because I was pregnant and because I ended up making dressing* for the very first time ever, I didn't end up taking many photos. So I apologize for the less-than-ideal photographic record of what was actually a pretty nice holiday. It's still better than William's first Thanksgiving, when I, er, didn't take any pictures at all.

Mom and Daddy decided that a little Thanksgiving-morning run around the yard might help by wearing William out a little:

In fine Wyckoff/Larson fashion, William put away two big pieces of JellO salad. He had his piece...and the piece that everyone tried to convince me eat. (Y'all. I haven't eaten JellO voluntarily in more than 20 years. It's time to stop trying. Seriously, it leaves more for you to eat! Why object?)

So anyway, it was really nice to get our family all together for a holiday. We never get to have both sides of the family together on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so I appreciate the chances that we do have to spend a holiday together. We even watched "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" before dessert.

A couple of days after Thanksgiving, William said how much he enjoyed the holiday, too. That made me very happy because for awhile, he kept saying that he was looking forward to Thanskgiving because it meant that Christmas was right afterward. But he said he was glad to have all his grandparents and uncles visit him, and he asked if everyone was coming back for Christmas. I told him that no, Mama Judi and Grandaddy Johnny would probably wouldn't be able to both be here for Christmas--but that we'd invite them to come if they could. And I reassured him that no matter what, we'd have his DeeDee and Grandaddy and Uncle Mark come over for Christmas, and that was something to look forward to.

He brightened and said "Can we have DeeDee over again sometime really soon?"

I said, "Sure." And then I said, "And what about Grandaddy Aaron?"

William thought about that for a second. "Well, I guess he can come, too."


I am seriously tempted to use this as a Christmas card photo because it just makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. No one needs to see me in all my swollen, pregnant glory on a Christmas card this year anyway!

* Okay, yes, Diane chopped all the celery and onions for it, which is the hard part. But I, er, mixed it all together! And put it in the oven! And took it out of the oven! Surely that counts for something, right?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Scholastic book time

You know what one of my favorite things about preschool is? My son is finally old enough that his teachres stuff those Scholastic book flyers in his schoolbag every month.

Remember those? How can you not? When I was a kid, I lived for those book order forms. Granted, I was a big old, I loved books anyway. The chance to order brand new books and receive them all at once at school was absolutely irresistible to me. My mother usually only allowed me to select three, maybe four, books, but that just made the whole selection process that much more intense. I pored over the pages, flipping them back and forth, marking my choices with my No. 2 pencil, before finally winnowing it down to an acceptable number. Then Mom carefully filled out the information portion of the form and wrote a check for the total.

Graciously, and despite the fact that we didn't have a lot of disposable income in those years, Mom always let me order enough books to qualify for the free poster that you received for ordering a predetermined number of items. The poster was always something nauseatingly cheesey, like a picture of a tangle of kittens in a basket full of yarn, or else it was a little odd, like the picture of a single white duck in the middle of a lush green lawn. But still! You had to get the poster! It was like the prize in the Happy Meal.

And then I looked eagerly forward to the day when the Scholastic book orders came in. At the end of the school day, the teacher handed out the stacks of books, always bound together with rubber bands. When she put my order on my desk, I couldn't wait to flip through my new treasures.

Of course, today we have, Borders,Barnes and Noble and all that. We have super bookstores that stock just about everything, something that we didn't have when I was growing up and had to rely on teeny-tiny Waldenbooks or B-Dalton's limited selections. And these days, I can order just about any book ever published online, get free super-saver shipping, and have a box delivered to my door in about two or three days. You'd think that Scholastic book ordering would have lost some of its appeal for me. Weirdly, no. It hasn't. William has received order forms for three months in a row now, and each time, I've spread them out over the kitchen table and eagerly combed through the forms and made checkmarks next to the items with the most potential. Should we get "Thump, Quack, Moo"? or "Pinkalicious"? What about the series of beginning reader books about the solar system? Decisions, decisions!

This past month, I just ordered a set of Christmas books that all tell some version of the Nativity story. Lord knows (er, no pun intended) that we have a boatload of Christmas books already, but I'm always on the lookout for another one that manages to combine good artwork and good storytelling. So far, we've read three of the four books that arrived last week. William seems to be enjoying them. He certainly likes new books in general. But I don't know if he's really caught on yet to how exciting it is to get new books at school. Maybe he won't. Maybe he's already too accustomed to buying books at Davis-Kidd and receiving them through the mail. That makes me a little sad to contemplate, actually. But as long as he grows up loving books, it really doesn't matter where the books came from.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Round-Up of William's Wit

Time for a quick round-up of funny things William has said recently!

Let's see....what can I pull out of the recesses of my brain for you to chuckle at?

1. Upon seeing me race to the bathroom and throw myself headfirst in front of the toilet one morning, William felt compelled to cheer me on.

"Ready! Set! THROW UP!!!" he yelled enthusiastically.

2. The other morning, William was pretending to be various characters from Disney movies or from his castle. He kept doggedly trying to get me to interact with him, even though I was scurrying around, making his lunch, eating breakfast, trying to find his shoes and all the other stuff that I do in the morning. "Mommy," he kept saying. "Mommy!"

Finally, I said, "What, William?"

And he said, "No, you have to say, 'What, Evil Wizard?'"

3. Part of this is more of a sweet moment than a funny moment, but I want to record it for posterity anyway. The rest, is pretty funny.

William enjoys putting his head up to my stomach and talking to his baby brother. "Hello, baby!" he likes to say. "How's it doing in there?"

So after loosening the baby up with some small talk, he looked up at me and said, "Can he feel my love in there?"

Yes, let's say it all together now: awwwwwww.

But just in case you thought it was all sweetness, he then wanted to know, "How can the baby go peepee and poopy in there when there's not a potty inside your belly?"

4. Tonight, William earned a piece of his Halloween candy because he finished all his dinner, including his broccoli. (Granted, broccoli is his favorite vegetable, but still.) So I fetched the pumpkin from its safe place on top of the fridge and I handed it to him. He carried it off to root through the dwindling amount of candy and pick out the best piece. A little while later, he brought it back to me and said, "Here, Mommy. You need to put this up because I might want to eat even more."

Hey, he's honest!


By the way, I wanted to let you know that I keep getting all these weird spam comments in Japanese on one of my earlier blog posts, and let's just say that they are most decidedly NOT family-friendly. I'm going to re-enable the function on the comment section that asks you to type in a word or series of letters and numbers before you post your comment. Please don't let this deter you from making comments. I've noticed a major drop-off in comments, probably more because I've not been posting as often recently (due to that whole bone-dead pregnancy thing I've got going on). But if you have something to say, just rest assured that the verification feature was put there on purpose. You can contact me if you have trouble using it though, and I'll see what I can do. I just don't want to keep getting those spam messages.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Hand, hand, finger, thumb

So, want to hear the latest drama at our house?

Last week, I accidentally slammed William's hand in the minivan door. Poor little guy. Look at him:

But seriously, it was not one of the finer moments of my life as a parent. I was taking him to get a haircut, and right as I started to shut the door, he turned around and stuck his hand right there. Argh. Normally, William's not really a big cryer. When he gets hurt or upset, he really does not cry for very long. This, however, was not one of those times. I felt terrible, terrible!

We went down to Vanderbilt Children's Medical Center and got his hand x-rayed, and fortunately, nothing was broken. I knew he was probably going to be okay when he fell asleep in the van on the way to the hospital and then asked me to hold his injured hand as we negotiated the parking garage. He was a total angel in the waiting area, and David reported that he behaved beautifully for the x-ray technician, too. (They wouldn't let me go into the x-ray room since I've got Baby Brother on board.) William's hand was bruised, mostly across the knuckles and his ring and pinky finger, but otherwise, he was unharmed. What a huge, huge relief.

It did make me feel a little better when people started telling me that they've done something like this, too. Diane even 'fessed up to slamming one of her boys' hand in her car door back in the day; neither of them are quite sure if it was Mark or David, so I figured, it didn't scar them emotionally for life. And hopefully William will be just fine, too. He's already much more cautious around the minivan door, that's for certain.

I, on the other hand, will probably have nightmares about this for years. I still remember the horrible stomach-dropping feeling from the time I fell down the stairs with William in my arms. I may never fully recover from that. Mom can still recount all the hrarrowing scrapes that my brother got into as a small child, yet my brother remembers none of them. It's always the parent who has the memory seared into his or her brain.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Last year...or was it the year before last? friend Phuong sagely observed that very small kids don't really realize that it's candy that they are collecting when they go trick-or-treating. They just have fun collecting stuff, and then you can spirit most of it away.

Well, those days are over, over, over. See this picture of my beloved little boy?

In this picture, Sir William is literally dancing with impatience to go trick-or-treating. He could barely stand it when we kept telling him to wait just a few more minutes. Not when there was CANDY out there to get his hands on!

I love this picture (below), but it's a miracle that it exists. William was clawing to get outside, and we were all pleading with him to just pose for a photo, please please please please please.

But we did get a lovely family picture AFTER William had satisfied his trick-or-treat jones with a jaunt up and down our entire street and the adjacent street.

A special shout out to my lovely mother-in-law for gamely accompanying David and Sir William all around the neighborhood in the pursuit of life, liberty and candy. I stayed behind, with my big old belly, and handed out candy from a perch on the front porch. And er, I might have sneaked a few pieces of candy for myself at the same time, too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Getting better, feeling glad

Ah, relief.

No, not for me. I'm getting more physically uncomfortable by the day. Nay, by the minute. Occasional flares of sciatica, the standard heartburn and acid reflux that punctuates pregnancy for me, sore hips from lying on my side in bed. You know. All the fun, glamorous stuff about being pregnant.

But the good news is that David is better. He had a second chest x-ray yesterday, and the radiologist said that his lungs look clear. No more pneumonia. No more pleural effusion (one was spotted on his first chest x-ray last Monday). The heavy regimen of antibiotics worked their magic.

That's right. That's relief you can sense emanating from this blog post.

I will say that it was a hard two weeks at our house. David was so sick, and we were all a little unprepared to cope with it. First H1N1, then pneumonia. I just hope this is the end of it for us. It should be: William and I went down to the health department last week and stood in line for one of the precious few H1N1 vaccine injections that were dispatched to Nashville. The injections were reserved for high-priority cases, but even then, there were not enough to go around. We were lucky. I'm hearing from a lot of friends and acquaintances that they weren't so fortunate. More vaccinations are due in this week, and I hope that everyone who needs one is able to get one.

I'm just feeling glad that it's today and not two weeks ago, when this roller coaster was just starting for us.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Even doctors get sick

I'm normally not this bad about updating this blog, but this week...oh, this week.

Let's just say that the week started inauspiciously with me sideswiping the side of the garage door with the minivan, and it ended with a bang, literally, with my son wacking the back of my arm with a toy and leaving a big red mark. In between, David got H1N1 flu and is still laid up, with fevers and a terrible cough, five days later. Poor David. It has not been pretty. Thanks to a combination of him losing weight due to illness and my gaining weight due to a little parasite growing in my, I mean pregnancy...I think I now outweigh him by at least ten or twelve pounds. He didn't even go with me to the OB on Thursday for my 20-week ultrasound, the big one where we got to find out what type of baby we're expecting. He moaned at one point that he felt so bad that he even forgot the name of the closer for the New York Yankees, which is a Big Deal because, as you all know, he's a lifelong, diehard Red Sox fan and he looooves to hate the Yankees.

So, later, I'll try to be all pithy or witty or something, but right now, I am just tired. So, so tired. I do want to say, however, before I retire for the evening, that I am grateful to my in-laws for taking William off my hands for a few hours today and for giving me some extra tissues and Gatorade for their ailing son. I am grateful to my father-in-law for taking William to school two days last week. I am grateful to my friend Jaclyn for bringing over some delicious homemade chocolate cookies to boost our spirits (and David's calorie intake). And I am thankful to my parents for coming up last weekend and taking us to supper at the Loveless Cafe.

Oh, yes, and the Baby to Be? Well, William's going to have a Baby Brother--perhaps the only good news to come out of the week. (That's called burying the lede, for you non-journalism types. Because I'm guessing that you've all been wondering.) I always wondered how I'd deal with a little girl who had big wild hair like mine, and now I guess I won't ever have to worry about it!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Dear William...

Dear William,

I am really sorry that I was too tired and pregnant to go downstairs and get ice cubes for your water cup at bedtime tonight. I hope that you will not need too many years of therapy to get over the heartbreak. Sleep tight!



Sunday, October 04, 2009

Yes. No. YES. NO. Yes...

Why are small children so inconsistent? Or is it just my child? My child, you see, will answer a question in the affirmative and then, not, fifteen seconds later, answer the exact same question in the negative. Or vice versa. You could get whiplash if you were paying close attention and expecting him to stick with his original (or second, or third) answer.

Here's just the most recent example.

Me, about three hours ago: "William, do you want macaroni and cheese with the rest of your lunch?"

William: "NO! NO! I just want grilled cheese samwich, and that's all. No macaroni and cheese, and that's it!"

Later, when I'm about to start eating mac'n'cheese, I hear, "Mommy, is the macaroni and cheese ready? I want some. Is it ready? Is it ready? Is it ready?"

Then, from William, as he frantically inhaled two portions of mac'n'cheese: "Mommy, macaroni and cheese is my FAVORITE."

Inconsistent? Mercurial? Or does a small boy just like to exercise the right to change his mind?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

William the Big Brother

We recently bit the bullet and told William that he's going to be a big brother. Whew. What a relief to check that off the "to do" list.

It went surprisingly well, too. David told him that a little baby is growing in Mommy's tummy, and in a few more months, we'll have a new baby who will be born and who will belong to our family. And William will get to be the Big Brother. He clapped and said, "Yay!" and proceeded to ask dozens of questions. (Seriously, could he ask any more questions? At one point, he noted that there is no door on Mommy's tummy, and will a doctor have to do surgery on it?) He is pretty convinced it's going to be a Baby Brother, but he will tell you that it could still be a Baby Sister. We'll find out for sure on October 15, so stay tuned on that front.

The thing that has been really wonderful about this has been William's complete embrace of the whole idea. He's made a list of things that he's going to help the baby do (learn to clap, learn to stomp, etc.). He's taken to asking me, in a very serious voice, "What else should we do to get ready for the baby?" And then he will begin ticking off a list of things that we need to buy or procure, the things that he believes we will need. And perhaps most surprisingly, he's been pretty accurate. All on his own, he's determined that the new baby will need a crib, diapers, pajamas, binkies, toys, bottles, and (eventually) baby food. At one point, he ran to the bathroom and dug out some of his own old binkies and volunteered to give them to the baby. (Why do we still have those things, is really the question there.) I told him that it might be better if I took him to the store and let him pick out some new ones, and he readily agreed.

Even better, William has already, completely on his own accord, offered his crib and his old baby gear, like his bouncy seat and swing, for his new baby sibling to use. I acted like it had never occurred to me that we'd use that stuff again and wow, wasn't William so smart and generous to let the new baby have them? He beamed like he'd been given a major award. He's very proud of the fact that he's a big boy now and doesn't need that stuff--and that he can share it with his new baby brother (or sister). I had worried that he might be possessive of those things, since they did belong to him first, but he's been very excited about the prospect of passing them down. I realize that there may still be some reluctance that could crop up when it actually comes time for a new small person to use his old stuff, but at least for now, he's totally on board with it. Since he believes it all to be his Grand Idea, he's very happy to be so magnanimous.

Obviously we're planning on using as many hand-me-downs as possible, but there are some things that really do need to be brand new. A couple of nights ago, I noted that we'd probably need to get the new baby a lovey of some sort, like William's Natty. William immediately volunteered to give his other Natty (we call him Backup Natty, and he lives in the bureau drawer for emergencies) to the new baby. "I already have a Natty," he told me. For some reason, that really touched me. Natty is one of the few things that is fundamentally (and always will be) William's. I bought it for him when he was just a couple of months old, and Natty has gone everywhere with us. The backup has gone to school and on trips, too, just in case something happens to the original. William's not willing to give up his lovey but he is willing to give up the next best thing, which he also really likes, and I think that's kind of cool, coming from a three-year-old. Also, he seems to really care that his new sibling will need a Natty, and who better to meet that need than the Big Brother?

I know, I know, there will definitely be some adjustment in William's future when the new baby is born and comes home to live in William's house forever. But I'm just glad that for now, he's really excited about the whole prospect and isn't worried or anxious. I hope we can encourage that attitude as much as possible.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Well, maybe they did talk

I've been meaning to post this little anecdote because it cracked me and David up so much.

So William and I had a rather vehement disagreement in the car on the way home from church the other day. He insisted that dinosaurs could talk. He knows that there are no dinosaurs living today, but he kept insisting that when they did live, they could talk.

I said, "No, I'm pretty sure that only humans can talk." (Too early to get into philosophical arguments about what makes us human, what separates us from the animals, etc.)

William loudly objected. He said, "No! I saw talking dinosaurs on TV. They talked! They talked!"

I said, "Well, they were just pretend dinosaurs. You know they're not real because the dinosaurs are extinct. Those were just made-up dinosaurs you saw on TV."

(I know. I'm a real buzz kill. The next thing you know, I'm going to be telling him the truth about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.)

But William stubbornly insisted, "They did too talk! The paweontowogist [that's William for 'paleontologist'] on TV said they did!"

You think he watches too much TV?

Also, how do I argue with a paleontologist? When I was a kid and learning about dinosaurs, we didn't even know that they were related to birds. People practically thought the earth was still flat.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jim Wehweh

Tonight, I was finishing up a phone interview and checking some things on the computer, when William wandered into the office.

"Mommy, do you know Jimawella?" he asked in a very serious tone.

I stared at him blankly. "Jimawella? Jim wella? Gymboree?" I guessed.

"No, Mommy, Jim Wehweh!" he insisted. "Jim Wehweh!"

Finally, I realized what he was asking me about so urgently. He doesn't say "r" or "l" particularly well in some words, so it took me a few seconds. Apparently, he had finished watching his kiddie shows on PBS when the news came on. He was interested in it enough to watch the first few minutes, but he wasn't familiar with this new character that he was seeing.

You know, Jim Wehweh. It was the Jim Lehrer show. Jim Lehrer may not have the panache of a Sid the Science Kid or the get-up-and-go of the Super Readers, but he's been around an awful long time and has outlasted a whole bunch of other characters. Plus, he has that nice soothing Southern accent. (Yeah, I like him, too.)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Pukefest 2009

Oh boy, today's turned out to be a Pukefest.

And no, it wasn't me puking, for a change.

William barfed all over the hallway this afternoon. Thank God for the Oxyclean spray stuff that gets stains out of carpet, even watermelon and strawberry yogurt. I prayed that it was just a weird, random chance thing. But 15 minutes or so later, I found out that it wasn't. Oh well.

Right now, he's resting in his bed. The floor next to his bed is covered in towels, and he has a towel draped over him. There's an emesis basin next to the bed, too. It was in heavy use this afternoon while he puked his way through a few episodes of "Sid the Science Kid" and "SuperWhy!" Mostly it was just the water and ginger ale I had coaxed him to sip.

Luckily for both of us, I am fairly immune to the grossness of puking. I do it regularly myself, after all. And I've been a parent long enough to have gotten used to dealing with it from my offspring. I know there are people who'd disagree but I'd rather deal with some puke than an explosion from the, er, other end.

David's due home any minute with supplies from Publix. Hopefully we can coax some Pedialyte into William.

Today's blog post was brought to you by the letters E and W. And W. And another W.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Today was William's first day of preschool!

Sniff. He's growing up so fast. Next thing I know, he'll be asking to borrow the car keys.

But seriously, I don't know which one of us was more excited. Or ready.

"Let's get in the car, Mommy."

It was so weird getting William ready for school this morning. I was so accustomed to making sure I packed a backpack full of all his stuff, plus his enormous puffy nap mat, and lugging it all with me. This year, he has a tote bag that he carries all by himself. An empty tote bag. And that's it. No extra outfit (or two); the teachers keep an extra set of clothes at school. No blankey. No extra Natty. No diapers. "No PullUps!" William cheered. Just a tote bag, waiting to be filled with art projects, newsletters from the school, and notes from the teachers.

I dropped him off in his brand new classroom at 9 a.m. The school was a zoo. They won't start using the carpool line for drop-offs and pick-ups for another week, so everyone was straggling into the building. We had to stop and say hello to people along the way, too. We arrived in the classroom, hung up his totebag, and he scampered off to play with the trucks on the floor with several other boys--and he didn't look back.

And that was it. It was sort of anticlimactic, actually. I did try to snap a few pictures (that didn't turn out very well) but decided to go ahead and leave when I saw him get upset over something (a disagreement over a truck, I believe). Um, yeah, your teachers have reassured me that they know exactly how to handle this sort of thing, been doing it for years. See ya, kid.

Because it was the first day--I feel that I should capitalize those words and make them into First Day--they asked the parents of the three-year-olds to arrive at 11:45 a.m. for pick-up. Another change from the past: the three-year-olds have music class as their last activity of the morning, so the parents pick them up in the music room, not their classroom. Last year, we picked the kids up from their classroom, where, more often than not, half of them were still quietly and adorably snoozing inside their enormous puffy nap mats. Occasionally, William was one of those kids, but sometimes, he would be running around the room like a champion sprinter.

The door opened, and teachers been escorting children out into the hall and depositing them in the arms of their moms. (Yes, it was all moms. However, I do have to give a shoutout to the husbands of two of my friends, who have kids in William's class. They came to school this morning for drop-off.) William was about the fifth or sixth child to emerge. His teacher pointed him in my direction and said to me, "He had a good day! He played with the trucks and in the sand." William beamed a huge William smile. Then he threw his arms around me and nearly pulled me over in the hallway. As we walked to the car, he told me that he ate graham crackers for snack and that they sang songs in music class. Not a bad report from a three-year-old.

So I guess it went pretty well!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Three plus one equals four

Isn't it hard to believe that this little guy...

...eventually became this not-so-little guy?

(for the record, those are David's shoes. He's not that big yet.)

And since David and I have had three years now to develop amnesia about what it's like to have a tiny little needy baby in the house all the time, we thought, "Hey! Why not do it again?"

That's right. The Three Peas in a Pod are going to become Four Peas in a Pod pretty soon. Well, not that soon. Not soon enough for this pregnant lady, at any rate. William's going to be a big brother, sometime around the beginning of March.

This, folks, is what you might call the ultimate leap of faith. It will probably feel more imminent, of course, once I get over the All Day and All Night Ugliness that characterizes pregnancy for me. Right now, I'm excited in theory....but sick in practice. But we're definitely glad.

Um, and can I ask you all for a big favor? Can you reassure me that I'm not, in fact, crazy to have another one? I mean, I remember the last one (sort of), and I know there are going to be sleepless nights and all that. But can you tell me the benefits outweigh them? Thx.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Look, Ma! No cavities!

I am pleased to announce that William's very first visit to the dentist went very well. Not only did he willingly let the hygienist clean his teeth, but he didn't have any cavities. What a relief.

When the assistant called his name, I stood up, prepared to accompany him to the exam room. But she said, "Oh, you can stay there. He'll be fine." And he went willingly, didn't even look back or blink an eye.

Then they called me back to meet with the dentist. At first I was a little nervous. But then a woman came in and handed me a big orange balloon and a small bag. "William's too busy playing right now, so he wanted you to hold this," she told me with a smile. Apparently, the dentist has a small game room with video games the kids can play while their parents meet with the dentist to discuss their care. I figured, if he's playing, he can't be too traumatized, right? So far, so good.

Then the dentist came in and reassured me that everything went just fine. William apparently didn't want to lean all the way back in the reclining chair, but other than that, he didn't object to anything. Of course, he did tell the dentist that the hygienist "already cleaned my teeth!" when he came in to examine William's teeth.

For his good behavior (although I suspect they probably give the same stuff to the rotten kids, too), William received the aforementioned orange balloon and a bag filled with a new toothbrush, toothpaste, flosser, sticker and small toy. Not bad. I told him that my old dentist used to have a treasure chest, and he allowed kids who behaved during their dental appointments to pick a tiny toy out of the treasure chest. William was fascinated by that. I told him that he actually got better stuff than I did; the treasure chest was cool, but the prizes weren't all that special. (Think Crackerjack box toys.)

I am so relieved that it's over. I really wasn't worried too much about William behaving for the dentist. He always behaves pretty well at the doctor's office...unless they have to swab the back of his throat, and geez, I hate having that done to me, too. I was just fretting that there'd be something Terribly Wrong (and Terribly Expensive) with his teeth, and luckily, there wasn't.

No cavities. Woot!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ick ick ick

Every once in awhile, I think, "I wish I was a better parent."

I think it's a pretty natural feeling. None of us is perfect. We all do things from time to time that we regret---or we wish we could rewind time and do that over again and improve our performance second time around. For example, I wish I hadn't yelled at William this morning for spilling his milk; I'm pretty sure he did it on purpose, but hello, it was just spilled milk, and we all know what they say about spilled milk.

But you know, I felt much better about myself this past week after catching an episode of this horrifying television show that airs on TLC. It's called "Toddlers and Tiaras." The title alone should give you a pretty clear idea of what the show's about. Seeing it reminds me of driving past a wreck on the highway; it's awful, but you can't help but slow down and gawk.

I'm not going to link to it because I don't want to be responsible for any more viewers. Just suffice it to say it's a show about parents who put their toddlers and kindergarteners in full-on makeup and sequined gowns and ask them to shimmy their hips in a dead-on imitation of a stripper in front of a tacky hotel ballroom full of other people wearing t-shirts with their children's names emblazoned on them.
And it's not just makeup and hairspray. Some little girls even wear these weird retainer-like devices called "flippers" that make their teeth appear to be perfect and blindingly white and straight in a way that a six-year-old's teeth never, ever naturally look. (I'm sort of twitching, just remembering it.) Think dentures.

I have no problem with a teenager who wants to enter a Junior Miss pageant; ostensibly a teenager is old enough to make her own decisions. But a preschooler? Ick. And NO. Lots of the little tykes interviewed on the show talk, in lisping voices, about how they want to win, how they want to be the best, and all I can think is, "That's your mom talking. She's trying to live through you, and you're barely out of diapers." These kids aren't old enough to understand what this is all about. They're trying to make Mommy happy. Or they just like dressing up. But from what I saw on the show, it doesn't just start and stop with one or two pageants. It becomes an all-encompassing lifestyle. And an expensive one, to boot.

And most egregiously, it sexualizes young children. I'm sure that many so-called pageant moms would disagree with me, but you watch those little girls strut their stuff and tell me what you see. It's Jon-Benet Ramsay-esque. That may not be the intention, but that's definitely the effect. I hear moms bemoan the "hoochie mama" clothes that are marketed toward tweens; eight-year-olds in belly-baring t-shirts and low-rise jeans are bad enough. But a four-year-old winking and shaking her hips and getting a score for it? Oh my. Can we please put a smocked bishop dress on her and give her a Madeline book to read instead? If she really needs a crown--and from what I can tell, that's a big deal for the little girls--they sell some perfectly nice little tiaras in toy stores these days.

Granted, I have a little boy, so it's easy for me to say, "I'd never do that to my child." But you know what? I'd never do that to my child. And I'll try to stop yelling at him when he spills milk, too.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


One of the things they never tell you in advance about being married to a physician is that you're going to have to suffer through on-call nights, too. We had a rough night a few nights ago. David got paged about once every 90 minutes all night long. Every time I fell back asleep from one wakeup, I'd be jolted into wakefulness again.

Of course, it was much worse for David. He actually had to get up and call the people who paged him and THEN provide a medically useful answer to their questions. Gah. Meanwhile, I was wondering how many nights of interrupted sleep we've experienced since David was in residency and how much accumulated sleep debt we've managed to long. But that just made my brain hurt, so I then switched to tossing and turning and wishing the bedroom was cooler.

Anyway, the next morning, I yawned at the breakfast table. William asked me if I was tired. I told him that I was.

"Daddy's pager went off a lot last night in the middle of the night," I said. "So I didn't get a very good night's sleep."

William nodded, his eyes wide with sympathy.

"The king's pager went off all night last night, too," he said. "And the princess didn't get a very good night's sleep either."

Isn't it nice to know that the castle people know exactly what we're going through?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Child Containment Devices..unfortunately, a thing of the past

Sometimes I really miss highchairs. Or strollers. Or other Small Person Containment Devices.

Today, I took my beloved son out on a lunch date. We went to the Bread & Company in Belle Meade, as it's one of my favorite lunch spots and they have a great children's menu, too. I ended up chasing him around the store half the time while we were waiting on our order. He'd dash back and forth between the drink station and the refrigerated case with the salads. I tried to hold onto his hand, but that only worked intermittently; he's very strong when he wants to be.

Then, when we finally did get our food and chose a table at which to sit, he could barely stand to sit in his chair. He ran circles around the table while I frantically asked him to stop and sit down. (Okay, and I occasionally threatened him, too.)

Every once in awhile, I'd have to drag him back into his chair. And while I was doing so, I looked longingly at the mom a few tables over whose (much smaller) child was neatly ensconsed in one of those wooden restaurant highchairs. I miss those. I guess I could have tried to cram William into one, but I think that would have been utterly absurd, not to mention potentially impossible, logistically speaking. At some point, I gave up. I decided just to be That Mother, the One Who Can't/Won't Control Her Child. Surely I have accrued enough karma over the past few years to make up for this lapse, though, right?

The weird thing about this is that usually William is very serious about eating, and when presented with food, he gets down to business. I don't know what was going on with him today. And yet, amazingly, William somehow ate all his lunch...except for the bites of chicken finger that I snatched. He also ate my pickle and some of my sandwich. (And he told me about how the castle people like to eat turkey sandwiches for lunch; the knights make the sandwiches.) I am seriously considering finding an All You Can Eat buffet restaurant and taking him to it. I always thought those places were a bad deal for people like me who, most of the time, don't eat enough to make up for the cost. But for my child? I think it might work out just fine. The restaurant will lose money, but I won't.

Too bad he won't fit in the highchairs there, either.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The beach convention

You guessed it...we've been at the beach again.

As my longtime readers will recall...every summer, the Wyckoffs join two other families, the Bryans and the McDonoughs in Holden Beach. They've been doing this for more than 20 years now. This year, we managed to get every single member of all three families, plus spouses of the kids and their children, together. It was more like a convention with that many people! We should have made t-shirts and totebags.

Anyway, we had a good time. Last year, David and I discovered that we got a little lonely on our little trip to the beach without any of the other families. This year, that was NOT a problem.

But you know, considering how many people were living together under one roof, I'd say things went remarkably smoothly. William and Alethea and Glenn's son Graham shared a room with twin beds, and to our shock and amazement, they did really well. The first night, Alethea had the nursery monitor downstairs so we could listen to them chatter to each other. We heard them talking about William's flashlight and goodness knows what else. But after they got used to sharing a room, they actually...went to sleep. Amazing. I mean, seriously, that is amazing.

Almost as delightful was the fact that William thoroughly enjoyed not only playing on the sand this year but also playing in the water. That was BIG. Last year, he wailed bloody murder if David and I got within a dozen feet of the tide, but this year, he was begging for Diane or David to carry him out into the water so he could "jump" the waves. (I think Diane got a picture of us doing that, so I'll wait to see if she can pass one along to me to post.) I think my favorite part of the entire week, in fact, was when David held one of W's hands and I held the other, and we stood knee-deep in the surf and hopped the waves.

And of course, William enjoyed looking for the best shells to bring home for souvenirs.

Another reason this year's trip was so good? The food. Other people's cooking, yum yum yum. Hal's homemade cinnamon ice cream, Ashley's shrimp scampi....mmmmm.

I'll try to post some more pictures later.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Long overdue Fourth of July pics

Hey, it's only three weeks after the Fourth of July, and here I am, finally posting photos from the big day. Er, well, night.

A storm was headed into Nashville, so our neighbors started frantically setting off fireworks before it was completely dark. We set out the picnic blanket in the backyard, intending to settle in for the show.

But a few drops of rain tenatively began to fall, pushing us back toward the back stairs, where we were positioned to dash back inside once the bottom fell out of the sky.

Luckily, we got to see quite the show before it really began to pour. Our next-door neighbor had invested in some really big fireworks; when he set them off, it sounded like a cannon going off. David and I remarked that we had lived for four years near a live fire artillery training zone for the Marines, and we thought we knew what it sounded like to live in a war zone. But these fireworks convinced us otherwise! I think my ears may still be ringing a bit. It was worth it, though. Look how much fun William (and DeeDee) had!

Monday, July 20, 2009

We're all a little fruity

On the way to take William to school this morning, I commented on how frustrated I was about the traffic on our usual route.

Within the last few months, two new grocery stores have opened along our route. The rejiggered traffic light at the entrance to one of them has really started making the traffic worse, and the new store is not helping. They're adding at least five minutes to our commute because traffic stacks up behind the new light, and you sometimes sit through a green light...or two...because none of the cars ahead of you can move. Grr.

So I had just finished a remark about how I wished the traffic wasn't so bad, when William piped up, "This traffic is driving me cherries!"

"Huh?" I said.

"You know," he said. "It's driving me cherries and bananas!"

Me, too, kiddo. Me, too!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gear for the beach

As some of you know, our family takes a big trip to the beach each summer. This summer will mark our fourth time to take William to the beach.

As I was talking with one of the other people who will be going to the beach with us, I started reminiscing about all the stuff that we had to take with us to the beach the last few times to accommodate William. When he was three months old, we were flying in from California, so we prevailed upon Diane, who generously lugged along a Pack-n-Play and a bouncy seat for us. The next year, William was one, so we still brought the Pack-n-Play but ditched the bouncy seat in favor of a booster seat for the table and a gigantic basket of toys. Last year, we brought the inflatable bed and the booster seat and toys, both for the house and the beach. Each year, we had to slightly adjust the specific type of gear that we brought, but the end effect was the same: we were Sherpas for our son.

This year, however, will be the most gear-free year we've ever had. Pretty much we'll be bringing toys. No stroller. No travel bed (we're planning to have William sleep in a twin bed in a room with the other little boy, Graham, who will be coming to the beach). No special seating. Just toys. And yet this is the year we finally have a minivan and could actually fit all the extra stuff in! Ah well.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Money, money, money

I've discovered there have been three times when I've been delighted to realize that I'm actually saving some money.

The first was breastfeeding. Free. Well, except for all the necessary supplies, like nursing bras, nursing pads, etc. But still, overall, very cheap. For those of you who have never breastfed, let me put this in perspective: a can of formula costs, at minimum, $22, and it might last you, oh, several days. Ouch, right?

The second was when William switched over to whole milk around his first birthday. I'd been giving him some formula in a sippy cup with meals for awhile because I'd had to give up the ghost of pretending the pump did any good for either of us. But even a small amount of formula each day cost $$$. A can of formula might cost $22, but a gallon of milk is only about $3. Plus, you can buy milk nearly everywhere, which is nice and convenient. Well, everywhere except airline flights, apparently. Ahem.

The third is the biggie, though. No more diapers! That's right, about ten days ago, we declared William to be officially potty-trained. You don't realize how much you're spending on diapers and PullUps until you no longer have to buy them. That's the beauty of underpants: they come in cool patterns AND they last much, much longer. Oh yes, and they are cleaner. I do not miss regularly spending $18 or $20 on a big pack of Pampers, nor do I miss buying the even-more-costly PullUps. We're still using PullUps at night, but we probably won't even have to do that much longer; once we finish the pack we have, I think that'll be the end of that.

So you'd think we'd have all this extra cash now, wouldn't you? Sadly, no. We can always find other things to spend it on...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


You can't keep a good man down.

William went running down the sidewalk this evening, and unfortunately that mean old sidewalk reached up and tripped him. Down he went, SPLAT. The result was a skinned knee, two skinned palms, wounded pride and lots of tears.

However, a green popsicle and some hugs and kisses and attention from Mommy and Daddy can make it all better. Oh yes, and six band-aids. (Were all six necessary? No. But when you're three, you have to milk these occasions for all you can. Oh the drama.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

That's enough

William said the most hilarious thing that I've heard him say in a long time on Friday afternoon.

When he woke up from his nap, I told him that we were going to the swimming pool. I handed him a bathing suit, and asked him to start getting ready. As he tends to do when he hasn't had enough sleep, he got all upset and irrational and began crying and kicking and screaming. (Seriously. He loves the pool. It's not like I was telling him to get ready to go have teeth extracted or something.) I let him carry on for awhile and mostly just ignored him, knowing that eventually he'd run out of steam.

So I was downstairs in the kitchen, listening to him rant and rave on the staircase and packing up the bag with our towels and sunscreen, when the crying came to a sudden halt. And I heard a little voice say, quite calmly, "Well, that's enough of THAT! Whew." (And I think he may have even said, "That's enough of that nonsense" because he did say that later, but I don't know if he actually said it the first time.) I heard him come pitter-pattering down the stairs and around the corner and say something about how it was almost too late and it's a good thing that he stopped crying when he did. And he was calm and happy and ready to go swimming. So. Bizarre.

Cheekwood photos

A little taste of Family Night at Cheekwood last week for you.

William, about to follow Leland down to the front where they could dance:

William and Leland sharing food, a not uncommon phenomenon with these two:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rise and shine

The 5:30 a.m. wakeups continue. Ay yi yi. Do you know how early 5:30 a.m. is? Do you know how early it is when your three-year-old stalled about going to sleep until 10 p.m. (!) the night before?

Y'all know me. You know that I've been fairly rigid about William's bedtime as long as he's had one. Unless there's a special occasion or we have company visiting, we expect William to go to bed at his bedtime, settle down and stay in bed, end of story. It even worked until very recently. We didn't even have that much trouble after the transition to the big boy bed, except for a few nights. But these late-evening stalling episodes are just delaying his actual bedtime, and because he's getting up early no matter what, it's just reducing the total amount of sleep he's going. Which is Not Good. Oy.

Due to the stalling and the early rising, I'm estimating that William got about seven hours of sleep last night. Maybe seven-and-a-half. That's enough for me to function, but this is William we're talking about. High Octane Boy. Without enough sleep, he tends to get wired and wired and more wired, and that just exacerbates the problem because then he gets too wired to settle down. And it just snowballs.

I think I could deal if it was just nighttime stalling or just early wakeups, but both? No. We've tried everything we could think of to nip this in the bud, but so far, nothing's worked. Some friends have given me a couple of new ideas--set an alarm to come on when it's time to get up and explain the time on the digital clock to him and tell him what number will be showing when it's time to get up--so we may try those soon.

Feel free to remind me about all this when William's 15, and I'm trying to drag his body out of bed so he won't be late to high school.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Adventures in swimming

It's been extremely hot* and miserable here the last few days in the Country Music Capital of the World, although it looks beautiful from inside a nice air-conditioned house.

Yesterday morning, David had to work at the clinic, so William and I got up early and made it to the neighborhood pool by around 9:30. We scored one of the few umbrellas, and then we splashed in the baby pool for a little while.

Eventually, William worked up some courage and dragged me off to the big pool, where we spent the next 45 minutes "swimming." For William, "swimming" entails his flinging himself off the side of the pool and my frantic efforts to catch him before his dead weight plummets like an anchor to the bottom. For some reason, he likes to jump down, not out, so it's always an adventure for me, trying to catch him before he goes completely under the water. Then I hold him and propel him around the rest of the pool so he can talk to all his people. He visited Libby the Baby in her floaty thing with her parents in the middle of the pool, the gaggle of shaggy kindergarteners in the shallow end, and the cute bigger girls in between. He also wanted to start a water fight with some of the slightly older boys, but they (thankfully) didn't think that was such a good idea--instead, they waited for him to ask them to squirt him with their water guns and then gently sprayed him on his tummy.

There was a moment of drama when he realized that the Sleeping Beauty figurine that he kept in his bathing suit pocket was missing. We then paddled around the pool frantically looking for it, until a little girl found it and dove down to fetch it for him.

At one point, I hoisted William up to the side of the pool so he could jump off again, but he stopped and studied a small sign on the pool edge. He pointed to the sign, which read "4 ft" and asked "Why does that have a 4 on it?"

I explained, "The water is four feet deep here. You're only a little over three feet tall, so if you stood on the bottom of the pool, the water would be over your head, and you might not want that to happen. So the sign says four feet."

William looked at the sign dubiously. "I have two feet," he said, looking at his two feet and then looking all around, as if he was expecting to see some mythical swimmer with four feet who belonged in this part of the pool.

So we moved off from the four-footed-swimmer's part of the pool, back to the shallow end, to collect the squirty dinosaur toys. Then we sat under our umbrella, ate snacks from Trader Joe's and watched more people show up, even though it was really starting to heat up. We came home, showered, ate lunch, and played SuperWhy games on the computer together. William's getting pretty good at those, too. If he could actually read, he'd be a menace.

It was a really nice morning together, regardless of the heat. I'm glad we went early, too, because it was about 100 degrees by about 4 p.m. and there was no way I would have taken him to the pool then.

(*No, it's not been as hot as it was in 29 Palms. But it is way more humid here.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

California, here they come

I have to write down as much as I remembered about a little discussion we had last night with William.

You know how William adores castles and loves to talk about his "castle people"? Well, last night, he informed us, with great seriousness, that the castle people were moving out of their castle.

We gasped in mock surprise. And then William told us that they were moving to California, where they were going to move into another castle there. The knights apparently will stay in the old castle here. I didn't realize that the knights weren't considered part of the "castle people" but apparently they're not. Also, who knew there were so many castles out there, especially in a country that's not even a monarchy?

This whole little bit reminded me of my little brother when he was about William's age. John had these two stuffed things that he slept with at night; one was a soft Fisher Price doll that John called Blue Baby and the other was a shapeless lump of pale yellow cotton called, yes, Yellow Baby. Once, John apparently misplaced his babies, which would normally be cause for major alarm. But instead, he calmly informed us that "Yellow Baby and Blue Baby went camping." Where did he get that? Who knows? At least we can hazard a guess as to where William got his idea for his castle people to go west!

By the way, William just now informed me the new castle in California would be near the beach and it would be "an orange, green and yellow kind of castle." That would be a most, er, interesting-looking castle, don't you think? The castle will also have a lot of "new knights with round heads and helmets with visors on them that come up and down." I can't make this stuff up.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The return of the lightning bugs

When I was little, one of my favorite summertime activities was catching lightning bugs. I used to stand at attention in the dark until I spotted one close to me. Then I'd carefully cup my hands until I could grab one. With my hands still cupped, I'd peer down through my fingers to watch the little green glow flash in my palm. Sometimes, I'd deposit them into a jar. (Didn't we all do that? Don't we all now tell the same sad tale about the jar full of suffocated lightning bugs that gave their lives for our pleasure?) Sometimes I'd just catch them and release them and enjoy watching them light up around me. It was practically a rite of summer, the appearance of the lightning bugs as the weather warmed up. And we knew the summer was ending each year, when they disappeared again.

In California, at least where we lived in California, there were no lightning bugs. When the sun sank below the horizon, that's all there was: darkness. I missed a lot of things about the South in those days, and most of it was related to things that I associated with the summer: iced tea, fried okra, barbecue and yes, I missed the lightning bugs. But I grew accustomed to their absence. And when I moved back to the South a couple of years ago, I was delighted all over again to rediscover them. Unfortunately, we don't get as many in our neighborhood here as I remember having in my yard as a child, but we do still see them.

This summer, William's finally old enough to not only appreciate them for their fleeting beauty but also to try to catch some himself. In fact, he and his friend Leland were chasing after them at Cheekwood last night; we had taken them to hear a musician play in the gardens while we had a picnic supper. After the musician packed up his banjo and his ukelele (why, yes, it was a kiddie show, however did you guess?), the sky began to darken. And sure enough, little fluorescent dots began to flicker all over the vast expanse of green lawn. Sweaty from dancing, William tried to chase after a few lightning bugs. He wasn't quite quick enough and had to be satisfied with letting his dad trap a few for him to study. But I feel confident that he'll be catching them himself by the time the summer ends.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A whole slew of photos, from Natchez to baseball to ice cream

I am very, very, very behind on posting pictures here.

I'll hit a few of the big highlights of late...

William with Miss Aubrey at his class' end of the year party:

William with a banner on Pentecost at his grandaddy's church:

You see, that was William's first time ever to attend a Children's Time in church, and I was worried he wouldn't sit still for it. Luckily, Dad had apparently through this through in advance. He gave all the kids these ribboned banners and told them they could run through the church and wave their banners. I wish I had a photo of William beaming as he trotted after all the bigger kids, waving his banner through the aisles because his expression was priceless.

William with his Uncle John in Natchez:

William swimming at a friend's house in Natchez (note: "swimming" actually means "playing on the side of the pool and resolutely refusing to get in the pool):

Me with a margarita:

Dressed after "swimming," William then progressed to playing in the playhouse:

William with Grandaddy Johnny:

William and Leland at the pool on Saturday morning:

William and David singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the Nashville Sounds game last night:

Saying "Cheese!" for Crackerjacks (his first ones!):

At the big Miss Martha's Ice Cream Crankin' ice cream festival this afternoon, with David and DeeDee:

William, shoveling ice cream down his gullet as fast as he could:

Two very sweet little old ladies pulled me aside and cooed over how adorable they thought he was--how serious he was, eating his ice cream.