Saturday, October 13, 2007

And now there are two!

Helen Carlin MyLastName made our family number four instead of three. No more posts will appear at this address. Instead, you can keep up with Connor and Helen at


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Conquering the chain link ladder thingy

Yesterday, Connor got his third haircut (I'll post a photo soon). And guess what? I can actually comb his hair again without it being a tangled mess. It still looks like a tangled mess all the time, but that's the fate of us curly haired folks.

After the haircut, we went to the "blue park" - which is just a little park across from the salon I take him to, and has apparently become a mandatory part of the haircut process for Connor ever since I took him there the last time. Seriously...our conversation yesterday went like this.

"Connor - it's time to lop off some of those curls so we can comb your hair again. We're going to the haircut place."
"And I would like some some popcorn."
"Yes, Connor may have some popcorn."
"And play with the new toy?" {Translation, little big bird thingy that you push a button on his tummy and it alternates between playing two songs. The button can be pushed appoximately 207 times during one haircut.)
"Yes, and play with the new toy."
"And then I would like to go to the park."
"Yes, Connor, the park will be a fun place to go after you get a haircut."
Upon seeing the park out the window. "I think we should go to the blue park."

Important note: While Connor still uses his name in place of "I" sometimes, he totally gets pronouns these days.

While at the park, Connor looked at the chain link ladder thingy, plopped his first foot on, and climbed about 4 feet up to the slide and then slid down. The look of pure joy and satisfaction at accomplishing this feat unassisted was amazing. What next?


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sloth Bears

My friend, April Dawn Gladu, wrote the musical adapation of "The Jungle Book" that is being performed at Imagination Stage in Bethesda right now. If you have a child in the area who is age 4 or older (or a younger child with a long attention span), I highly recommend the show. Connor and I had the pleasure of going as her guests on opening day, and even though he's only 2, he sat through the entire perfomance and has talked about it enough afterwards that he appears to have followed the show pretty well. He has even asked to go to more musicals which makes my heart leap with joy since it may mean in the future I have a partner to do these sorts of things with. Ed would rather watch paint dry than attend most musicals.

There was a review of the performance in last weekend's Post and when Connor saw the photos, he instantly recognized the monkeys. He has also talked about the tigers, and the birds in the show. However, try as I might, I have been unable to convince him that the lead character was a sloth bear. He just doesn't buy it.

I think this is because a few weeks ago, my friends invited Ed, Connor, and me on a backstage tour of the sloth bear house. Here, we got to meet - and feed - real sloth bears. You put worms on your hand, raise your hand to a tube, and then the sloth bear sucks them right in. Not surprisingly, Connor loved this. He did it many times (the joy of being the only kid on the tour). He still talks about it several weeks later. Often, when he sees a yellow line that he's not supposed to cross, he reminds me it's just like at the sloth bear house. Maybe I should put a yellow line on the kitchen floor to see if it would keep him out, on occasion.

Elaine - who also helped Connor feed the sloth bears and did not jump in horror when a few of the gross worms fell on her hand and squiggled about.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Collecting Souveniers

A few weeks ago, Connor discovered the power of the pocket. He learned that he could now not only go through my wallet and remove all the coins, but he could squirrel them away so that they need never be returned.

Today, at the National Zoo's Annual Fall Festival at the Conservation and Research Center, he proved just how great pockets can be. The festival is billed as an education activity, though it's designed for children a bit older than Connor. We collected our first prize, by running beneath a net towards some candy. We were supposed to grab the candy and get out before the net dropped, which of course was impossible.

Perhaps we got caught because I am not running as fast these days as I have in prior days. It didn't seem to bother Connor much, because he still got the candy. And Connor didn't stop at one piece of candy, he got three. After all, he needed one for himself, one for me, and one for Ed. Connor stuffed one package of candy in his pocket.

Next, Connor found a ditch! And do you know what this ditch had? It had rocks...and acorns! Both of these objects fit in pockets - so in they went.

Finally, Connor found some nice brown leaves that made a most satisfying crunch when stomped upon.

And, since there was still room for a few more things in the pocket, Connor decided to take a few home.

I suppose there were some animals around to look at as well, but they don't fit in pockets.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Public transportation and golf

This morning, we asked Connor what he wanted to do. The only restriction we had placed on our approval was that we were not going to attempt to cross a bridge into DC either today or tomorrow because the AIDSWalk and the Army 10 miler are in town - and that means traffic is assured to be a mess. With that in mind, Connor decided he would like to take a subway ride. Woohoo baby! Dream big! To be fair, after I told him I didn't want to drive into DC, he wanted to take the subway to a play place we frequent on our way to RFK - but it's a really long ride so I wasn't up for that.

But...we did get to ride that subway. First, we got to walk from the parking lot to the subway - on an above ground, indoor walkway. We hung out at a fountain, a playground, a bookstore, ate at a restaurant, visited a toystore, and then capped our adventure with a bus ride. A ride. It's the best $1.25 of entertainment around - I suspect because little people are allowed to not be strapped down in a car seat.

Then we came home, had a quick nap, and Connor was ready to head out to the golf course. Lately, this has been among his favorite hangouts. I think he's preparing for the next family vacation when I'm sure he will deal a crushing blow in the game of miniwalk to whatever cousin tries to challenge him. He starts out the game acting like a fish out of water, but once he hits the greens, the tables turn.

Golfing, for Connor, presents a different experience than to most people. For example, unlike most golfers, Connor does not fear having his ball hit the water hazard. In fact, one might say after they saw Connor's signature move of picking his ball up and tossing it directly into the water, or his more subtle move of aiming his little body directly at the water while he hits his ball that he relishes being in the water. Personally, I think he does it just so he can impress my dad with how well he can fish a ball out of the water - something my dad is no stranger to. Note to my dad - the bigger the splash, the higher the probability that the ball will be retrieved.

What, you ask? So few shots of actual golf playing? All I can say is, we are all presented with many opportunities every day - and we have the task of making the most of them. Connor takes his task very seriously.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

The trouble with being skinny...

For the most part, having a skinny kid is great. I get to let him have a glass of the now forbidden fruit known as juice every morning while I have a glass of juice without feeling any guilt. Because frankly, childhood obesity has not made it to my list of things to worry about, and I'm not about to start my day without my ritualistic OJ or listen to Connor complain that early in the day how unfair it is that I get juice and he doesn't. And, just like any kid, sometimes Connor gets tired of walking, and it usually falls to the parent to scoop them up and carry them to the intended destination. I figure I might as well scoop up a kid who doesn't weigh much more than 20 pounds as one who tops the scales several pounds above that. Only trouble is, when Connor got curious and turned on the fan the other day, I thought we might lose him!


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Closing down RFK

Ed and I have had a piece of a season ticket for the Nationals since they arrived in town three years ago. Mounted down in Grateful Ed's (our basement bar) is a little collage that holds an Opening Day ticket, a photo of the scoreboard advertising Grateful Ed's Brewhouse, and now the Closing Day ticket. Prior to its opening, Ed announced that the fact that RFK was serving veggie hotdogs was a sign of the decline of baseball. You see, Ed is one of those guys who thinks Yankee stadium is the ideal setting for a baseball game precisely because there are no amenities. You cannot even get fresh popped popcorn at Yankee stadium - only prepackaged crap. Unlike me, Ed is not at all excited about the new stadium because he just knows there's going to be a bunch of fun extra stuff to do, and that is not what baseball is about to Ed (though we both think the sandbox located in front of the outfield seats, but behind a large fence in the San Diego ballpark is nothing short of brilliant - now that we have a kid!).

Connor has been to an enormous number of games for someone his age. His career of going to games started within his first three weeks of life when Ed and I were both at home on maternity / paternity leave and there was a day game. Before age 2, he'd probably made it to a dozen games or so, and now I'm certain the number of games he has attended tops 20. Over time, he's gone from nursing to sleep in my lap every game to being among the more energetic fans. He can even do "the wave" (another thing Ed hates when baseball fans do, though he finds it enormously entertaining when Connor participates). Probably the most frequently asked question Ed or I get from folks is "Does Connor need a ticket?" and Ed's standard answer sums our gameday experience up perfectly "Technically, no, but he does need about 20 seats". Fortunately, our row happens to be populated rather sparsely, so it's usually not a problem.

In all of the games Connor attended this year at night, he did not fall asleep once.

He laid on the ground a few times, he put his head in my lap a few times, he would even settle down with a nice cold bottle of milk for a few minutes - but sleep did not visit him, regardless of how long past his usual bedtime we were out. But on Closing Day - when the stadium was practically sold out - and we had almost no room for Connor to do his usual roaming (I think we were limited to about 5 seats), and the stadium was noisier than it's been since Opening Day, Connor climbed up on Ed's lap at naptime...and slept. He slept soundly for several innings, and while uncomfortable for Ed (normally it would've been my lap, but these days, I have no lap!), we got to once again experience the joy of watching the same innings of baseball, on a beautiful day in September.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why we need more medical insurance

"You know what I should start doing? I should start planning Connor's swingset."
"You mean, you're going to build him something."
"Do you know those come pre-made?"
"Only the shitty ones. He needs trap doors, ejector seats... Let's just say this, honey, the pre-made ones don't come with a zip line to the bottom."

My trip to Labor and Delivery

I went to the hospital on Wednesday...and I got me

...a head down baby! So now, I can go back to my plan of giving birth at home. Prior to that, Baby Helen had decided she would prefer to lie sideways in my uterus, rather than in a position that it was possible for her to enter the world in a non-surgical manner. But the head of OB at the hospital near my home took one look at the sonogram and declared my baby was a "turnable baby", so with a lot of external pressure, he and another doctor performed an external cepahlic version - and it worked. At the end, he wished me well and told me to go back to the midwives.

Though the procedure took less than two minutes, my stay in the hospital lasted several hours (most of which was just waiting to be officially discharged, which was long after the doc announced I could go home). For the last half hour or so of my hospital stay, Ed went home to get Connor, went to a fast food joint for some fries, and then played roll down the steep hill with Connor until my release. Because of this, Connor probably thinks hospitals are cool.

Elaine, who is much happier than she was a week ago.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Next year, we're getting the moon bounce!

Last Saturday, Ed and I hosted our annual Oktoberfest party. I think we've been hosting this since 2002, with the exception of 2006. Last year at this time, Connor had just started sleeping through the night and Ed and I were fearful of doing ANYTHING that might jinx that situation. Inviting a bunch of people over to our home who would not necessarily tiptoe around in near silence would have been tantamount to telling Ed he could never in his life ingest anouther beer. That's territory you just don't tread on.

But this year, we decided to gear up, with the slight modification that we would go from having the party be an exclusively evening affair to more of an all-day fete, which is much more akin to the way the real Oktoberfest works. Sadly, I didn't take my camera out once. But luckily, if you know Vickie, you can get access to her movie of the big event (or you can e-mail me and I'll tell you how to sign in as me to see the movie). And here's a snapshot she captured of the little man.

At first, Connor wasn't too sure what to make of all the kids. In fact, he kept asking Ed and me to take him to parts of the house without other kids. But once his friend Zoe arrived, he finally understood what having a party meant. They jumped on his bed, ran around outside, played in his playhouse, swung in the hammock, took a ride on the swing, and generally enjoyed running around. Thank you weather gods, for allowing us such a beautiful day. On Friday, all I could think about was how the toddlers were coming! If you haven't seen a bunch of toddlers lately, I assure you the prospect of having many of them in your home is much scarier than having a bunch of drunks in your home. The drunks, after all, fall down at some point.

Shortly after dinner, the kid crowd cleared out and the adult crowd arrived, with a small amount of overlap. We learned that Connor is pretty darn comfortable among the drinking crowd (not that my mom friends and their spouses don't drink - but let's just say the average number of drinks they consume is well below the average for my non-kid friends). Traditionally in Germany, kids are kicked out of the beer tents at 8:00. Connor was able to hang until 8:30 when he actually requested to be taken to bed. He slept the whole night without making a peep - and even had the courtesy to sleep in on Sunday morning. Maybe he is our kid after all.

And Eamon, you can be certain there will be a big festival next year - and like the title says, we'll be getting a moon bounce!


Friday, September 21, 2007

Crap day!

Yesterday morning started out bright enough. Connor and I hung out reading books, he ate a nice big bowl of oatmeal before his nanny arrived, and was having a fun time sorting through the very nice drawer of useless kitchen tools to see what he needed to capture for his own use. Then he dropped a glass bottle which naturally busted into a million pieces on the floor. But then things turned around. Once his nanny arrived, we played a game of slam dunk three balls at once which had Connor laughing and allowed me to leave the house without a bunch of grief. For the record, Little Man lets Ed leave the house four days a week with no grief, but I think it's just so on my one late day, he can really pile on all his tricks.

And then the crap part really started. First, I left the house about 2 minutes too late, because just as I got to the corner, my bus passed by me. Damn. Now I had to ride my bike to the subway. Then, when I got to work, I realized that my teeny-tiny pearl bracelet - the one my friend Kellee had specially made for me in China to fit my freakishly small wrists, the one bracelet I can wear - fell off my wrist somewhere between my home and office. Ed and Connor met me for dinner at a restaurant near my midwife's office, and Ed informed me that on the drive over, Connor had seen a McDonalds, gotten all excited and shrieked "There's Mommy's letter!!". I hate McDonalds. I often tell people that because there aren't a ton of things Connor can do to really get under my skin, he'll probably rebel by bringing a giant box of McDonalds fries home when he's a teenager, slamming them on the dinner table, and informing me that he's having McDonalds for dinner. That, or he'll join the Army.

Next, we went to my 36 week appointment with my midwife only to find out that Helen is still lying sideways. No surprise, but sideways babies are not candidates for home birth. The only bright spot to this news is that she hasn't dropped anything down into my pelvis, so she's still a turnable baby, which means I'll be going to the hospital for an external version whenever the only doctor in the area who performs these maneuvers can squeeze me in and thinks it's appropriate. When we got home from the appointment, Connor decided he was not going to bed, so Ed and I spent from 8:30 (bedtime) to about 9:30 putting Connor back in his bed. But, I think Connor's stomach might have been bothering him because the last time he got out of bed, he asked "Does Connor need to flush his poopies?" which, in our neverending game of Jeopardy! is Connor's way of saying he just took a dump. I posited that this might have been the reason he was having trouble sleeping and he agreed. Finally, ater I settled him in bed for the millionth time, it stuck. But only until 3:40 when he came into my room to play helicopter on my bed. This is when Connor asks in a very pitiful voice "Does Connor need to lay next to Mommy and sleep?" and climbs up into bed and makes himself comfortable. He pretends that he's going to sleep, until just the point when I fall asleep and then he starts moving around like a helicopter. This happened at 4:10. I looked at him and said "This isn't working, Connor. You need to go back to your bed." And man, I was tough as nails. I plopped him across the hall in his bed and even when he asked me to lay with him for just a few minutes, I told him I was tired and needed sleep, so I was going to my own bed. I told him he could come get me when the wake-up light came on. Miraculously, he stayed in bed until said lighting.

Surely today will be better. And if you read this far, send all your baby turning mojo my way, because I do not want to end up in the hospital with a c-section.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Because I needed another backseat driver

It's no secret that I am terrible with directions. I come by it honestly, though. Family legend has it that after my parents got married, they set off across the country on their honeymoon. Not too far into the trip, my dad handed my mom a map. If she did then what she does today, she started flipping the map around so that it was oriented with the car going up the map, because everyone knows that's the right way to hold a map, even if it means west is "up". My dad, quite proficient at map reading, was not impressed. But heck, the wedding was over and there was nothing to do now, so off they headed, and I do believe they got to where my dad was hoping they would get. This started my dad's career as being my mom's personal Mapquest service. Who needs a computer when you've got a yellow tablet, a pencil, and an engineer for a husband?

Long before our wedding day, Ed learned that I suffered from my mother's skill deficit in the map reading department. I've gotten better over the years (as has my mom), but I can still manage to get lost going someplace Ed and I have been 100 times. It's impressive if you really sit and think about it.

Last Thursday, as I was driving Connor home from pre-school, I decided to stop by a friend's house that is a few blocks further down the main street than mine to drop something off with her nanny. I hadn't cleared this detour with Connor, and as we passed our street, I heard from the backseat "I think that we forgot to turn onto Connor's street".

Thursday, September 13, 2007

10 years

Ten years ago today, I drug Ed to a "Miss America" watching party, and the rest is history. We're celebrating with a night out at a cool new restaurant. I can almost tell you what will happen before the date even occurs.

Back in our "going-out" days, Ed and I seemed to have a knack for sitting next to people on first dates. We would always overhear snippets of conversation like "So, you said you were a lawyer, what kind of law do you practice?" with the questioner appearing to be very interested in the answer, perhaps wondering how many hours a day the person being asked the question was likely to work. Or, "How many sisters and brothers did you say you had?" - perhaps the questioner was wondering how many children this potential new mate would be interested in having should they hook up for good. And of course, the conversation is loaded with awkward pauses. I always laugh when this happens because (1) I think it happens way too much for us and (2) it reminds me of September 13, 1997.

On this particular night that started our string of eavesdropping on first dates, we sat outside on a rooftop deck and the folks next to us were on a first date. The guy was nervous, the girl thought a little more highly of herself than was perhaps warranted. At one point, the guy dumped a glass of water onto the woman's lap. From her reaction, you would've thought he had just given her a black eye. He felt horrible, she rubbed it in by pretending to be incredibly uncomfortable, and I can't say as Ed and I were all that helpful. There we sat, making snarky comments, thinking we were really funny (and we were!) because clearly the woman was overreacting. This was a hot day in Washington, DC. The water would likely dry before they were finished with appetizers. It was

At that point, I'm sure the thought we'd be parenting the same child one day never crossed our minds. And parentng any child at all probably didn't occur to Ed. Heck, it wasn't even supposed to be a date because everyone knows that office romances are a BAD IDEA. But sometimes, everyone is wrong, and two people find themselves hanging out watching a baseball game on TV 10 years later and one of them will say to the other "I don't feel like going to work tomorrow. Would you mind having the baby tonight?". Followed by, "Try and do it in the middle of the night because I want to sleep through the whole thing this time, rather than just early labor. I've done it before, you know." (Ed's youngest brother was an unplanned home birth and despite the sirens, lights, and EMTs tromping up the stairs in the middle of the night, Ed apparently seemed not to notice anything as he slept soundly in another bedroom. Now why couldn't he have passed this good sleeping gene onto his son?)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy 25 month birthday!

Dear Connor,

Today, you turned 25 months old. The date sort of snuck up on me because I am feeling the pains of being sleep deprived. I owe part of this to you, part of this to your sister, and part of this to your nanny who needed to go to the ER last night (she’s fine, thankfully). I think it’s safe to say that this was definitely a “daddy month”, which is a bit different than every other month of your life. In part, it’s because you have suddenly realized that we are two people with two different tolerance levels for various things. I can’t even remember what I told you no about, but as soon as I did, you looked right at me and said “Connor need to go see Daddy”. I told you your efforts at manipulation were fruitless because I was going to tell your daddy I had already said no, but you persisted. He’s clearly the softy in the house.

You seem to be coming to terms with the fact that my large belly leaves very little room for you to sit in my lap. After trying many times to sit squarely on my crossed legs like normal, you’ve finally conceded that there is simply not room, and now just go for my knee right away.

We spent this month marking the final days of summer by enjoying splashing in the neighborhood pool and then loving the cool afternoons that are perfect for outdoor adventures. Today though, was your dad’s early day, and after attempting to cajole you into some outdoor time, you decided that playing with his wallet was the very best activity of all. I came home to find you sitting in the chair pulling money out of your dad’s wallet. When you heard me start to open the door, you quickly started shoving the crumpled bills back into your dad’s wallet asking “is there enough room for all de money in Daddy’s wallet? I think there is not enough room. I think I will put it in Mommy’s backpack”. I was fully supportive of this move. Earlier in the week after asking “Where’s Daddy?” you answered your own question by saying “I think Daddy is at work making some money”. I’m very glad that you have put together that it is Mommy’s job to spend that money, which I presume was the reason for your enthusiastic redistribution of wealth today.

You’ve decided that the particular is superior to the general for just about everything. If I tell you something is in my bag, you quickly say “I think that it is called a backpack” or if I say “Look, Connor, there’s a bird” you respond “I think that it is called a pigeon”. I had to remind you one day that I have graduated from grad school and I do know a thing or two about what things are called, but you weren’t buying it for a minute. You also constantly say “I think” before statements and frequently say “I don’t know” even when you know the answer. You also try and mess with your dad and me by calling objects by a different name, which you think is very funny. You get your pronouns correct about half the time – but almost everything still leaves your mouth in the form of a question. You’re turning into one funny dude. Today, I told you that you were not making sense and you smiled and said “Connor IS making sense!”. You also told your daddy earlier in the day “That’s funny…hahahaha”. Sarcasm, Connor, might be your best coping mechanism in this house.

You learned to jump this month. Both feet legitimately leave the ground in tandem and rarely do you end up on your rear end. You show off this new skill to just about anyone who will watch. You can also use the "big swings" by laying on your tummy, you can climb the ladders at the playground, and you no longer flip to your tummy to go down most slides; you prefer to sit upright, instead.

Two notable events happened this month. First, you got a baseball from a baseball player at a baseball game as we sat 6 rows from the field. That was very cool. Second, the same friend of mine who gave us the fancy dan baseball seats took us to a “backstage visit” with the sloth bear at the zoo that he had won at a silent auction. While there, we got to feed the bear mealy worms through a long tube. You didn’t mind at all when the worms crawled around your fingers. Your dad did most of the feeding with you, but I played along a bit, and I didn't even jump or get squeamish once. This is my attempt to not pass on all my irrational fears to you. While watching the sloth bear, you remembered that this sloth bear looks a lot like the moon bear we saw take a swim while we were in Rhode Island last month. How you remember these things, I do not know.

I successfully filmed you performing the Itsy Bitsy Spider, complete with actions, and reading a book – or rather, chanting the words to a book – but I can’t share these great video clips with blog nation because I haven’t figure out how to get them from the DVD recorder to the computer. Let’s just say – you’re one cute kid. Your grandpa thinks if we both have the book memorized it’s probably time to get a new book. So, he sent you a new book, which is very boring, but again – you adore it. I think you might already have it memorized we’ve read it so many times. Thanks, Dad!

Your grandma, on the other hand, sent us much more useful things. She sent a pink blanket that she made for your sister and new clothes for both of you, but the only thing you considered might be for Baby Helen was the outfit that clearly did not fit you. Oh well, she’ll have her claws in all your stuff in no time. I suppose it’s only fair that you let her know you’re taking everything you want out of all packages before she has at them. My mom was surprised that you didn't realize the pink blanket was for Helen, but I don't think the thought ever crossed your mind.

I cannot report that you have become a good eater, but I can report that you eat clams, shrimp, and mussels. What’s that about? You won’t eat mac and cheese from a box, but you’ll eat things that most adults don’t care for.

Enjoy these last few weeks of being an only child, Connor. Pretty soon Helen will be here and it’s not clear any of us will know what hit us for a few months.


Friday, September 07, 2007

The whole baseball experience

The days at RFK are coming to a close. We won't be watching post-season action involving our home team, because well, that's life for me in baseball. Frankly, I wouldn't know what to do if a team I actually cared about was playing in October. The last time this happened for me was 1985. That was a long time ago.

All in all, Connor has enjoyed the season. He's certainly learned about the finer points of the game, which means he can dig through my bag,
looking for sunglasses or other entertaining items, and he fully understands the purpose of the concession stands and the lovely folks who come around bearing treats during the game. On Wednesday, he shared my lemonade, gobbled some popcorn, and then decided he needed some french fries. (And I wonder why he's hit the growth chart, finally!) At one point during Wednesday's game, we went up a few rows and a guy behind me actually remarked "that's the popcorn eating kid! Man...he made that stuff look good" because apparently he had watched the spectacle known as Connor shoving fistfulls of popcorn in his mouth whenever someone behind us will take notice. Prior to arriving at the game, Ed and Connor had been walking around and a random lady bought him a pack of peanut butter M&Ms from a street vendor, just because he was cute, I guess. Ed tried to pay this kind stranger, but she wouldn't take his money.

But most importantly, on Wednesday, a friend of mine gave me his law firm's tickets to the game. These are great seats - just 6 rows back from the visitor's dugout. Miraculously, we were on time for the game, and that was a good thing. As the visiting team was exiting the field after pre-game warm-up, the shortstop had a ball in his hand and as he looked up into the crowd to see who he could toss it to, Ed stood up, pointed at Connor and said "little guy here". And that baseball player - in mid-throw - changed the direction of his intended throw and tossed the ball right to Connor. Ed caught it, gave the ball to Connor, and Connor lit up. You see, like every other toddler I know, he loves balls. And Ed and I, well, we've always dreamed of getting a ball from a major league player, but we've never been so lucky. Not even the time I went to the San Diego ballpark on my birthday and anniversary and sat close enough that an outfielder could've tossed me one. Ed and I hollered, but we never got a ball.

Connor held onto the ball for a while, but Ed and I were seriously concerned that he would toss it (along with all of our dreams of owning a ball tossed around by an actual major league baseball player) back onto the field. But the next morning, the first words out of Connor's mouth to me were "Connor got a ball from a baseball player! Did we forget to bring the baseball and the baseball glove home last night?" "No Connor, we didn't forget. It's sitting on the dining room table."

And here's a little dance party in the seats!


Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Every few weeks, we head off to the midwife's office to check on Baby Helen. Before Ed and Connor meet me there, they often detour to the waterfront to check on the ducks. Apparently sometimes little birds will eat bread right from Connor's hand! This week, I met them there and we headed to see the midwife together, but not before snapping a few photos.

And as for Baby Helen's transport once she arrives, all I can say is "WATCH OUT!".


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sauce making weekend

A few years ago, Ed and I were at the Farmer's Market lamenting the fact that so many lovely "seconds" tomatoes were being sold so cheaply, and we weren't buying them! So, inspired by my Midwestern heritage and the memory from my childhood of my mother spending a few days each summer in the kitchen canning the approximately 3 million pounds of tomatoes produced in my dad's garden, we took the plunge and purchased a huge basket of tomates. We called my mom, got some canning advice in the hopes that we wouldn't cause anyone who came in contact with our sauce intestinal distress, pulled a few recipes together, and made a grand mess. We had sauce for the year, and much like my childhood (which at the time was certainly taken for granted), we avoided lackluster imitations of the real thing sold at grocery stores. We spent some time discussing what next pioneering feat we would attempt, but as of yet, we've failed to get ourselves off the grid.

Last year, with a one year old in the house, we knew that a big day of canning was not in the cards for us. For one, some stages of canning tomatoes are better done with two people (though my mom manages each year without a helper). And more importantly, we just couldn't bear the thought of bringing a mess into our home. I think Ed's rule was that we were only doing work that needed to be done - not creating work to do.

But this year, those heirloom tomatoes called, so we decided to introduce sauce making to Connor. As shown in the video, he's obviously a natural. And, just so viewers realize we do learn in this house - last weekend we made sauce and Connor took care of the tomatoes inside. This weekend, Ed moved the process outside.


Monday, September 03, 2007

When Ed is in charge of bedtime

I often wonder what goes on when I'm away from Ed and Connor. Apparently, Ed often wonders as well.

Last week, I went to my pottery studio for less than an hour. During this time, Ed had plans to put Connor to sleep. Did I mention Connor sleeps in his own bed...every night? I guess that's one detail that Ed didn't know, because when I got home, I found this:

I looked across the hall into my room, and found this:

The little guy was in such a hurry that he left his blanket on the floor next to the bed. On the bright side, the last time Connor attempted to sleep in my bed, he fell out. This time, he clearly staked out the middle of the king size bed as his territory, lessening the chance that he would plummet off the side at an inconvenient time.

When I asked Ed why Connor was not in his bed, Ed thought I was joking. Ed's claim is that in the few moments it took for him to walk downstairs and turn the monitor on, Connor scampered soundlessly across the hall, and fell asleep. On the bright side, the monitor is so overzealous with its job that Ed could hear Connor's rhythmic breathing as soon as he turned the monitor on, so naturally assumed all was well.


Monday, August 27, 2007

A day with Connor

This is the reason Ed and I are exhausted when we get to work on Monday!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Missed Opportunity

Now that Ed and I are old, and we're parents, I've started to notice that a few opportunities that were formerly available to us, are just not there anymore. Take going out on the spur of the moment. It's just not possible because we need to arrange for someone to take care of Connor. It's not like I can call Connor and say "Little dude, rather than coming home at 4:00, we're going to stay out drinking until 9:00. Feel free to grab a bottle of milk and head to bed when you get tired, and flip through one of the 15 or so books you've memorized and pretend we're reading it. Oh, and find something healthy for dinner." No, we must come home each night. We also can't dart off on vacation whenever we want, because we have to consider whether the potential pain of disrupting you is worth any joy that might be gained from the vacation.

For the most part, I think Ed and I have pretty much come to terms with these changes. But last weekend, it really hit home how different our lives were. There we were, enjoying the County fair. And indeed, Connor, it was nice to have an excuse to go to the fair other than the fact that I dig County fairs. With you, we have a real-live-walking toddler who can enjoy some of the less scary rides, get excited about riding the train, shove popcorn in his mouth, and all sorts of great fair related things. Connor enjoyed the fair so much with his nanny on Friday that we went on Saturday, and then Ed and Connor went back on Sunday which I had brunch with some friends. You see, we basically had to go on Saturday because the first words out of your mouth to me were "Connor wan to go back to de fair. Connor wan to ride de geen alligator, do de moon bounce, ride de ponies, and ride de merry-go-round". It was almost as if Friday was Connor's scope it out day and Saturday morning was when the fun was going to happen. He repeated the same list to Ed at 8:30 when I decided it was appropriate for Connor to go in and let Ed know of our plans since the fair opened in just 30 short minutes!

So there we were at the fair, with all the other parents of toddlers who think sleeping in is 7:00 (and yes, Connor, we do appreciate anything after 6:00, so 7:00 really was quite wonderful last Saturday and Sunday). Ed and I were remembering how the last time we went to the County fair - before I was pregnant with Connor, we were walking around on Sunday afternoon, with all the childless old people like we used to be that sleep in on Sundays, and an actual carnie asked if we too, would like to be carnies for the evening. He told us that starting at closing time, they were looking for help to tear down all the rides. Pay would be by the hour. To what did we owe this prestigious recognition of our clear hidden talents that this professional carnie could sense instantly we would make excellent carnies? I have no idea. But I do know that not one such job opportunity was presented to us this time around. Clearly, our time to be carnies has passed us by.

But, lest you think we're irresponsible parents, Ed set up the tent in the basement and Connor filled it with balls yesterday afternoon. We think someday Connor might make an excellent ball pit operator and we want him to be able to put list previous exerience on his resume.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Open or closed?

Connor is a bit obsessive. Although annoying at times, it can also be a very good thing, like when it comes to picking toys up. He diligently puts all the cars in the large blue bin, the wooden baking stuff in the large green bin, the necklaces in the previously empty drawer in the workbench, etc. In fact, just the other day Ed was pointing out to me how he had two equal sized bins out and he began putting the animals in one, preparing to put cars in the other. Connor stopped him and pointed out that the animals go in the large green bin, not the one Ed was using. Ed, in all his wisdom, was going to explain to Connor that the bins were the same size so it didn’t matter which one the animals went into, but thought better of it and simply put the animals where Connor requested and the cars in the remaining one.

Sometimes, Connor notices other children are obsessive too, and last Sunday, he preyed on that. Zoe and Connor were enjoying Miles’ kitchen. Connor was opening all the cabinets, and just as quickly, Zoe would close all the cabinets. This went on for a little while, until Connor decided he was tired of opening the cabinets and allowed them to remain closed. But a few minutes later, Zoe, feeling as if she had won the battle of open and close the cabinet was relaxing in Miles’ low-to-the-ground beach chair, when Connor decided he would like to sit there. He looked at Zoe, looked at the cabinet, walked over to the cabinet and opened one door, and then stood beside the now coveted chair. As expected, Zoe quickly got up to close the cabinet, at which point Connor swooped in and sat on the chair and grinned. When Zoe saw him sitting there all pleased with himself, her mouth opened wide with shock and the injustice on her face was clear. Apparently Zoe doesn’t know that sometimes you have to lose the battle (of open / close the cabinets) in order to win the war (sitting in the cool chair). Zoe’s mom’s comment on the scene “your son just duped my kid”!

So I guess Connor is obsessive AND manipulative.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Connor has been engaging in a lot of preparatory activities in anticipation of baby Helen’s arrival. This past weekend, we went to the farm, per his request, and he insisted on bringing his baby with the baby’s stroller, because I guess he figured we all ought to get used to carrying a bunch of extra stuff. Maybe he’s worried that since Ed and I rarely bring the stroller when it’s just the three of us that we don’t understand what it takes to transport a baby.

This afternoon, he was very excited to open up a box containing shelves for baby Helen’s room and help put them together – though I tried to talk him out of this activity as I would much prefer Ed be the shelf constructor in the family. After we got the shelves put together, I pulled out a box of baby toys and we tossed them on the shelves, but only after Connor assured me that baby Helen would share her toys with him. When Connor noticed a book that I used to read to him every day when he was a baby, he got very excited (a book, mind you, that has been in his room until about a month ago that he hasn't paid any attention to) and asked me to read it, about 10 times. I'm hoping he's just making sure he has every action and word memorized so he can read it to Helen once she arrives.

But yesterday was really exciting. We are currently sharing a nanny with a toddler a couple of months younger than Connor. This toddler happens to have a baby sister who doesn’t come over, except to drop off and pick the toddler up. When I arrived home yesterday, the baby was in her carrier on the front porch and Connor was standing right beside it about ready to jump out of his own skin with excitement. As soon as I got to where Connor was he announced with joy "Baby Helen is finally here!". I sat down and took a look and explained that this was actually baby Sasha. Connor then looked at me very seriously and said "Baby Helen is still in Mommy's tummy. Baby Helen is getting bigger and bigger. Baby Helen needs to get a little bit bigger before she can come out." He seemed a little disappointed that he couldn't share the great news of Helen's arrival with me, but he also seemed to understand that we were all just in for more waiting.

As we were walking inside, Connor said to me "I think we should take baby Sasha inside the house", at which point baby Sasha's mom said she'd be OK on the porch. Then Connor ran and got a little ball and announced "Connor goin' to throw de ball at baby Sasha!". While baby Sasha's mom had a bit of panic at the thought of Connor beaning her 3 month old with a ball and started to tell Connor "no!", I explained to Connor that baby Sasha couldn't catch a ball yet, so it would be more fun to play catch with me. I thought baby Sasha's mom didn't quite appreciate that Connor had opted to get a small soft ball and indicate his intentions before baby Sasha took one in the chin. He could've just grabbed a baseball and given it a fling - what I fear he might do once baby Helen finally does arrive afte she annoys him one too many times.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Telling your first story

When I was pregnant with Connor, Ed and I decided we would sign up for a membership to our neighborhood pool. It's the nearest pool to our home and the hours are much better than the public pool. Sadly, the waiting list was a couple of years long - and I understand from a friend that it's only gotten longer.

At the beginning of summer, we got an e-mail from the woman in charge of membership, and we were offered an "August membership". For a reduced rate, we're able to use the pool on weekdays in August and however long they stay open in September. Ostensibly, this is because many members go away in August and demand for the pool goes down.

We decided to purchase the membership because it would allow us to compare the public pool with the neighborhood pool so we would know which to join in the future. From the outside, the two pools don't even compare to one another. The public pool was rebuilt last winter and it now has waterslides, sprayers, and the toddler pool has little fountains in it. It definitely looks more fun. The neighborhood pool, on the other hand, has none of these features, but it does have a picnic area and a playground. I would've guessed Connor would like the public pool best. I was wrong. At the public pool, he wants to go for exactly 45 minutes - and he wants no part of anything outside the toddler pool (though he would like to go down the waterslides approved for people 48 inches or taller). The neighbhorhood pool, however, has somehow captured Connor's imagination. I have to drag him out of the pool long after his toes and fingers have turned to prunes. He regularly wants to jump into the big pool, and he adores seeing Ed catapult himself off the diving board.

Today while we were swimming, Connor took a moment to sit by the side of the neighorhood pool with me. He looked up, and told what I believe is his first story.

"Once upon a time, there were two frogs who were sitting on Connor's lap. The frogs jumped into the pool and went swimming under the water. Then they came and sat on Mommy's lap."

OK - so not much on plot, but the story came complete with actions which were very fun to watch. I guess it's a no-brainer, we go with the neighborhood pool next year if this is the sort of inspiration it brings Connor.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy 2nd Birthday

Dear Connor,

A couple of days ago, you turned two, and I‘m not certain that I ever really knew it could be this good. As a coworker of mine noted shortly before you were born - all the negatives of having children are apparent before you have children, but the positives are a lot harder to see. And, as I get closer to giving birth to your little sister, I think a lot about how hard those first six months were. Your dad and I both agree though, you’re worth all the sleepless nights, worry, and all the other crud that comes with having a baby (and even the occasional toddler crud). Hopefully your sister will be too - and if not, I guess we can see if your Aunt Linda will take her for a few months. But Connor, you should know, we wouldn’t change a thing.

I don’t know if eventually you’ll hit the renowned “terrible twos” but so far, I see few signs. It could be that you are intentionally postponing them as you insist that you are three, not two. (And I suppose you did have three birthday parties, which should be worth at least an extra year.) Lately, you’ve been a pretty sweet little dude. One day this past month, you were munching on some of the Smarties one of your grandmas gave you (there‘s a stash from both of them at this point), and you reached in your little baggie that held your beloved Smarties, pulled out a purple one, almost put it in your mouth, but instead got a huge grin on your mouth and handed it to me. Now Connor, I do not like Smarties. I don’t even quite know why I gave you some to begin with, except it seemed like something you might like. But I was so touched by your generosity, that I stuck that candy in my mouth, grinned, and enjoyed it. A few days later, I was preparing to go to yoga and you ran into the kitchen and requested a bottle of water from your dad. You then ran out to catch me before I left the house and gave it to me, because you have observed that I always take a bottle of water with me. Now, if you could just stop playing with your food and requesting and then refusing to eat items, your dad and I could keep from losing our minds.

Having you around this month has been like having a nonstop Jeopardy! game going on. You have decided to start almost all of your phrases with questions. For example, if you decide to go downstairs, rather than saying “Connor goin to go downstairs in de basement” like you would’ve said last month you say “Is Connor goin to go downstairs to de basement?”. It’s not clear to me how I’m supposed to respond to this series of endless questions, but you talk so much that it’s not clear to me you’re really looking for a response.

You have become expert at opening presents, and you’ve internalized that there could always be yet another present on the way. It’s not so much that you were disappointed in the loot you hauled in over the past three weeks of weekly birthday celebrations, but after the last cupcake had been digested, you did tell your dad you would like a pussycat for your birthday. I suggested perhaps a fish would do - and while you thought a fish was pretty good, you thought a pussycat AND a fish would be even better. Keep dreaming, friend. And grandparents reading this - if you decide to get Connor a cat, you will also be deciding for Connor to no longer have a mother.

On the 11th, you got up nice and early which worked out fine, because we hadn’t made your birthday cake yet - a task I knew you would love. You decided we should have cupcakes, and that was a fabulous choice because the last time we were at the grocery store you decided we needed three packages of cupcake/muffin papers. Might as well use ‘em up, I suppose. Plus, this allowed us to make a special frosting-free cupcake for you Aunt Linda. You decided we should frost them with red frosting, which is the one color of food dye that I didn’t have - but your Uncle Bill kindly offered to head to Safeway and acquire red dye for us. Dyeing the frosting red was so exciting, you wanted to put another color in. At first you suggested green, but I told you we needed to go with a primary color so we didn't end up with brown frosting. Eventually we settled on blue in order to make purple. Although you quite enjoyed licking the frosting from the beater, you were back to your old mantra when it came time to eat the cupcake “Connor no like frosting”. Good thing we made more than one cupcake without frosting.

Perhaps your greatest achievement this month is that you officially kicked that stupid growth chart to the moon - or at least to the far out suburbs. At your two year appointment, which unlike the rest of your appointments occurred before the actual date, you were in the…get this…10th percentile for weight. Nothing short of a miracle, I tell you. You maintained your 75th percentile height and your head now exceeds the 90th percentile. I’m sure the latter is because you’re so darn smart.

You freak your dad and me out regularly when you wake up talking about the same thing you went to bed talking about. It is not at all unusual for you to say “Mommy came back” when you see me first thing in the morning if I have come home from yoga after you go to bed - or simply to tell us exactly what game you want to play. It is always the same game you went to bed asking us to play, as if you merely pause your brain for over 9 hours while you sleep, without actually turning it off or resetting it.

From the bottom of our hearts, your dad and I hope you had a great year - and wish you many more great years in the future. We both love you so much - and not just because you’ve finally learned to sleep like a normal person, but because you are such a wonderful addition to our lives.


PS - I know the post was a few days late, but it’s taken that much time to calm down from all the partying we did this weekend.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Becoming that kind of mom

We all know her. She's the one who looks at you when you try and give her child something like you are a total and complete idiot who doesn't know a thing about kids. And, before you had kids, you would look back at her like she needed to get a grip on reality. You wanted to say to her "it really doesn't matter if the red fruit touches the orange fruit...your child can cope". But, you kept your mouth shut because you knew that someday, you might have your own child, and empowered by that knowledge, something deep down inside you told you it was better to separate the two pieces of fruit and then pass the previously offensive plate to her child.

And now, you (ahem I), am so glad I did not roll my eyes at that mom and offer my poignant advice to her. On the flight to Rhode Island, Ed, Connor, and I all had drinks. Starting a few weeks ago, Connor has decided he does not like ice, and refuses to drink anything with ice in it. I have, of course, used this to my advantage, and now put a few cubes of ice in almost everything I drink just so he keeps out. Ed, however, has apparently not been privvy to Connor's ice protests and on the plane, he blew it. Ed combined his remaining ice with Connor's ice free apple juice. When he made this bold move, I looked at him in a panic. And I said to him, as if I was JFK speaking to Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis, "you just put ICE in Connor's drink". And Ed looked at me like "yeah?", and I hissed at him, "Connor does not like ice in his drink". And all I could think about was the fact that we were trapped on a small plane with an occasionally irrational toddler who may look up at any moment and notice his drink had been tainted with the dreaded ice, and all hell could easily break loose. And I, of course, would be the one that had to deal with the aftermath.

And it was then that I realized, I was her. The crazy mom who thought the entire world should bend to please her toddler, even if his requests were completely insane.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Why my sister-in-law might want to consider party-planning as a new career

Connor is learning the benefits of having extended family extended across the continent. Two weekends ago, my parents visited, and along with them came many gifts AND an enormous chocolate chip cookie with Connor's name on it. We sang, we ate the cookie, in general - we celebrated.

This week, my in-laws took their turn spoiling their grandson. On day two, Connor opened a few presents, played with the toys, and was starting to get into this present opening thing. Within a couple of days, he actually looked up and said "Connor ready to open more presents", because I guess he's realized where there are grandparents, there are presents.

Last night, Ed's grandfather and Aunt joined us at the beach. Before the evening's festivities, Connor did a little cleaning around the place.
My mother-in-law got a cake - and it made a big enough impression that Connor let me know that he would like to have another piece for breakfast. Yes Connor - sure - I'll be hurling in the bathroom over the thought of this while you OD on sugar before your dad has even gotten out of bed.

The cake, however, was nothing compared to what my sister-in-law had planned for the evening. First, we were instructed to take rubber bands and fasten them in a pattern around a white t-shirt. Connor dictated where the rubber bands would go while I fastened them. I think he did excellent work. Next, we dipped the t-shirt and poured ink from bowls.
Today, we removed the rubber bands - and this is what we got!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Connor has a way of remembering things that don't make a big impression on anyone else. A couple of days ago, when my parents were visiting, he wanted to go play golf with them. On the way to the mini golf course, he told me "Connor goin' to have the tiger ball!", and indeed, when we played mini golf with my family in Missouri last month, he did have a tiger striped ball. Sadly, no such balls existed at our local course.

He's also been employing his memory in the recall of songs and stories. A couple of months ago we checked out Goldilocks from the library. It was a particularly bad version (poor grammar, hideous illustrations) but regularly, Connor tries to bring it home again. I keep putting it back on the shelf before we leave because I can't stand the thought of it being in my house again. But alas, Connor has enlisted his nanny in the fight to bring Goldilocks back by telling her he needed it from the library, which prompted her to tell me, and for the last few days he's requested it. This afternoon, we will go to the library and hopefully find a version we can both live with. He'll also start singing "Da wheels on da bus" and he has two books that if you push a button, a song plays, so he'll open those up, push the button, and start chanting the words.

This morning though, he looked at me and said "gamma and gampa fly home on de big airplane"..."gamma goin to send Connor candy in da mail". My mom mentioned this one day when he had a pack of Smarties, and clearly the boy has not forgotten.

I think it's safe to say his memory already exceeds his daddy's, and it won't be long until it exceeds his mommy's as well.


PS: Sorry about the lack of photos. I failed to take out my camera this weekend - and on Sunday night, I set my laptop on top of a high shelf and moments later, watched it plunge to its death. Thankfully, a friend browbeat Ed and I into purchasing the super-deluxe warranty package, so in two weeks time I will have a new laptop. Even more thankfully, Ed backed up the computer a few weeks ago, so even if there is damage to my hard drive, I won't lose that much.

Friday, July 20, 2007

He's fine...

We went to the pediatrician yesterday. I arrived late, which meant no wait (bonus!) and my pediatrician was super nice. She was much more worried about the excessive milk consumption of the past few weeks, months? I can hardly remember how long it's been, than she was about the sudden drop. She was worried that he might have anemia from all the milk, but he passed the test - woohoo! His iron levels are on the low side of normal - but higher than when he was last tested. Connor liked the band-aid that had a pussy cat on it. She also warned that at some point, he might decide he would only eat one food item for an entire week, and while this would be equally alarming, unless I felt he was sick, I shouldn't let it bother me. Being a very brave soul, she looked inside his mouth and as it turns out, Connor has 4 more teeth coming in.

Because it was the end of the day, and there were no other patients around, I got to chat with my pediatrician a bit while Connor busied himself with playing in the play area and we were waiting for the results of the iron test. It was really nice - and definitely made me happy about switching to her as Connor's primary pediatrician. We had a laid back conversation about diet, and discipline, and home births, and health care in general. Inspired by the movie SICKO and the fact that house calls are a regular part of a doctor's world in France (who she strongly believes has a superior health care system than we do here in the US) she said she would love to come to my home to visit the baby when she arrives, rather than having me bring her into the office. Typically, pediatricians made rounds at the hospital for new clients, but I had to bring Connor into the office when he was 3 days old, and back again when he was 1 week old since we were never in the hospital. Only possible glitch in the plan is that my pediatrician only works 1.5 days per week. She said she would talk to Dr. G (my former pediatrician) and see if she could convince him to do a house call if he was on duty. So now, besides desperately hoping this baby arrives early and makes the school cut-off of September 30, I'm also hoping she comes on Friday - which means my new target birth date is September 28. That's not asking too much, is it?


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Milk Strike

Up until two days ago, Connor was the champion of milk drinkers. He may not eat, but the boy can drink (taking after his father, I might add, who can be the champion of drinking other things that come in a bottle). Connor was going through more than 2 gallons of whole milk - in a week. For reference, a bottle for Connor is 4-6 ounces. Two gallons of milk is 256 ounces, or about 36 ounces per milk, per day. For a while, I was getting really concerned about all the milk consumption, but Ed and I both figured that it's high fat (a good thing for our skinny child), so as long as we make sure what little food he does eat has iron in it, he's probably going to get everything he needs. And hey, it probably is the most efficient way for him to get the necessary calories - at least until he has more teeth. And don't think for a minute we were the source of all this milk drinking. We never offered Connor a bottle, instead, we waited for him to ask for one.

But two days ago Connor went on a milk strike. On Monday, he refused to drink his bottle at bedtime. Instead, he acted like he was drinking it, demanded a second bottle, but the first hadn't been touched. Thinking something was wrong with the milk or bottle, I tested both, and didn't notice anything obvious. I got him another bottle from the refrigerator, poured from a different milk container - just in case the gallon I had poured the first from was somehow "off-tasting" to Connor. It didn't help. He had an enormous amount of milk earlier in the day so I didn't think much of it.

Tuesday, the milk strike continued. In total, he drank about 12 ounces. He did not have his morning bottle (which is sometimes two bottles) nor did he have any milk at the baseball game or in the car home from the baseball game (when I would've expected him to have at least 3 bottles). Wednesday, same story. it's Thursday and I'm wondering when I should panic? He has had no milk since Ed came home from work at 4:00 yesterday. Should I just be happy that Connor is getting down to the recommended amount of milk each day - even though he doesn't appear to be consuming more food? Should I be grateful that he seems to have kicked the night time bottle and goes to sleep without it? What does it mean when he asks for a bottle but then only drinks a couple of sips and asks me to get another one? We have now tried three separate containers of milk. We're getting nervous around here. (And just after I was so excited when I weighed him the other day and it seemed as if he was going to easily stay on the weight charts for his 2 year appointment next month.) I should note that Connor still looks and acts fine, though he was a bit crabby this morning and the news that we didn't have any papers to cook the muffins in made him burst into tears. Really, Connor, it's OK to put the batter directly into the pan.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy 23 Month Birthday!

Dear Connor,

Today, you turned 23 months old, which means in only one short month you will be two. Now that will be a milestone to celebrate – and we will definitely par-tay with your cousins! I’m breaking out the cotton candy machine for this event – a machine you’ve never before witnessed in action. I have hidden this machine from your cousins only because I didn’t want your Aunt and Uncle to have a heart attack when I pulled it out. But now I have an actual reason to bust out the machine, and it’s going to be great.

This month, you spent a lot of time showing your dad and me that you know all about opposites. You started out the month telling us “no” just as a matter of course, to whatever we asked. Unless we tried to get clever and reverse the sentence, as in “Do you want to stay up late?” and then you would happily reply “Connor wan’ to stay up late”. By the end of the month, you had reintroduced the word “yes” into your vocabulary and were using it quite often, but decided that you would say the opposite of everything else we said. For example, if I say “Connor, please get in the car” you will repeat back “Connor, please get out of the car” without missing a beat.

You are now officially in your “new, big room”, which was formerly the playroom. Your dad and you installed shelves in the closet (you got to run the cordless drill!) so we were able to stash many of your toys in there. We even put the whole bed together so now rather than camping out on a mattress on the floor as if you are a refugee in your own home, you look as if you’re actually planning to stay a while. You can’t quite climb up on the bed unassisted, so we pushed your toybox close enough to the bed that you don’t have to be a performer in Cirque du Soleil to climb up on it and jump to your bed. Getting off your bed poses no troubles, and on Saturday morning you tested that by going to the kitchen and calling downstairs for your daddy at 5:20 AM. The words “Daddy, Daddy” have never sounded so sweet, as it made your dad feel completely obligated to go fetch you and allowed me to stay in bed guilt-free. Normally, you come straight into my room and look me in the eye demanding a bottle, but apparently you knew you were up in the middle of the night and you figured your daddy was still down in the basement partying like he does every night after you go to bed. Your dad wisely got out of bed and took you back to your bed and tried to sleep with you until the wake-up light turned on. You hung out with him for a bit, and then came and hung out with me – and you snuggled up and really did give going back to sleep the old college try (though ultimately failed), but you didn’t get up for good until AFTER the magical light came on at 6:00, so you get points for that. Sunday, you made it in your room until after 6:00.

You took it easy on us this past weekend. Normally, naps are just a complete disaster around us. You complain about having to take one, you insist your dad or I sleep with you, and sometimes you just flat out refuse to sleep, even though you are exhausted. The only sure way to get you to sleep is to go on a car ride, but then the nap only lasts about 45 minutes, and if we try to move you from the car to your bed, you wake up and refuse to go back to sleep, on top of seeming angry that someone woke you. Two weekends ago, you took a short car nap but by 4:00 in the afternoon, it was clear you needed more sleep. But, naturally, you refused, so we decided to go swimming and cross our fingers that we could get you into bed earlier than usual. I started to drive to the swimming pool and within two blocks you were completely asleep. Two blocks, Connor. It takes most people two blocks to get comfortable in the car and you acted as if someone had just landed the final punch in a heavyweight boxing match. It was very difficult for your dad and me not to scream when this happened. But this past weekend, Connor, was totally different. On both Saturday and Sunday, you simply told us “Connor wan’ a bottle in da big, tall bed” and you promptly got in bed and fell asleep. That rocked. It allowed us to actually catch up on work around the house while you slept so we could play even more with you when you were awake. I think it was a win-win for everyone, except I did sort of miss having an excuse to take a nap.

You are incredibly close to being able to jump, and I do believe you accomplished the feat twice on Sunday while imitating the golden tamarinds at the z-o-o. (A couple of weeks ago, our friend Scott thought he was talking in code to your dad when he asked if you would be up for a trip to the z-o-o and your dad had to inform him that you can already spell zoo, so he wasn’t tricking anyone.) And that wasn’t the only exciting thing that happened in the small mammal house. We went up to the shrew cage – excuse me – the elephant shrew as you were so quick to correct me when I had called it a boring old “shrew” – and the elephant shrew charged at the glass, and this startled you, and you were not going to take any chances so you quickly put me between you and the dangerous elephant shrew. Your dad and I both told you that the elephant shrew couldn’t get you (well, actually, your dad tried to trick you into putting extra sunscreen on by saying that it kept the animals away from you, but I rolled my eyes and busted your dad for that lie and told you it only kept the sun from hurting your skin because frankly, I don’t want to relive the great elephant shrew near attack every time I pull out the sunblock, plus I don’t even think this passed the two year old laugh test for reasonable). For the remainder of your time in the small mammal house, you would walk up to an animal and then repeat “animals can’t get Connor” over and over as if you were trying to convince yourself it was true. You were definitely skeptical and kept your eyes peeled for any strange movements. But really, that excitement was nothing like last week when we met Teo at the zoo. In the large mammal house, two gorillas were having sex or “wrestling” as all the other parents kept telling their innocent children, and watching that kept your attention for quite a while.

You taught your dad and me that saying something even once is enough to imbed it into your vocabulary. When you use the potty chair, you are instructed to tuck your penis in because I do not want to be cleaning up pee all over. One night, your dad flippantly told you to tuck your wiener in, and this was terribly funny to you – so funny that you now refer to your penis as your wiener dog. Thanks, Dad. Always one to see the bright side, Daddy is looking forward to the next time he sees a wiener dog with you around and you refer to it as a penis dog.

You’re coming to realize that maybe your dad and I aren’t as funny as we think we are, but we love the laughs. On one car trip this month, you spent the whole ride in the backseat practicing your laugh. Later that day, when your dad was home, you used your new laugh. Next month, I suspect you’ll practice your belching and farting because what man can get by without those skills?

In this house, we play to our strengths, and that means your dad does the grocery shopping. You used to go with him, but ever since you realized that you can take stuff off the shelf and put it in the cart, the trip has required a bit more supervision. Sometimes, we go to a store that has a shopping cart with a two-seater car on the front – with two steering wheels, two doors that open and close, and two horns. Driving this thing is akin to driving an 18-wheeler down a bike path. Your dad gives us a limited number of items to acquire, while he runs around and does the majority of the shopping, checking in with us and filling up the cart. At each item on our list, you wait for me to stop the cart, you open the door, exit, close the door, acquire the item (and anything nearby that looks particularly good), toss it in the cart, open the door, sit down, and close the door. This is not the fastest way to get through a grocery store, but it’s the most fun! Of course, sometimes you take it a bit too far. For example, the milk and eggs are within arm’s reach of each other, but you insisted on getting back in the cart and driving to the milk rather than taking the energy to walk there – all of two steps – after we had gotten the eggs. You’re a very precious little guy, Connor, but this was a bit ridiculous for even me.

You’ve also decided that sitting in the backseat of the car is for the birds. One day, you promptly climbed right into the passenger seat and I said “dude, you need to sit in the back” and you looked up and me and said with all seriousness “dude, Connor need to sit in da front”, which at least allowed you to sit there until your dad and I stopped laughing. You buckle your own car seat belt and stroller belt, you climb up to your booster seat on your own for meals, and you try to comb your hair on your own – because, after all, you are almost two. You’re either getting taller, or stretchier, or both, because you can now acquire many items off the kitchen countertops that were previously out of reach. You also taught yourself how to unlatch the dishwasher so your dad had to explain about the lights and the hot water inside. Sometimes, you pick out your own clothes and the combinations are groovy!

You started swimming lessons and “Mama J” is actually trying to teach you some skills. So far, you have mastered safe entry and safe exit, will tolerate floating on your front with a parent’s arms supporting you but you are not about to relax on your back with a parent’s arms supporting you for very long – unless your very clever daddy puts Elmo on your tummy. I forced your dad to make a pact with me that he would never, no matter what, do that thing where the parent stands 10 feet away from the kid and asks the kid to swim to him, and then when the kid is almost there, keeps backing up and then acts all proud when the kid makes it the length of the pool. I know we’re a few years away from that, but that is my singular worst swimming memory ever and if a teacher ever tells me to do that I’m going to tell that teacher to stick it up his/her rear and I had to make sure your dad would do the same.

Your energy level constantly amazes your dad and me. It doesn’t seem possible that one person could find so many things so much fun. We both love it when you look up and run screaming around with excitement for no apparent reason except – you can! We’re looking forward to many more fun adventures and can’t wait to whoop it up with you next month!