Tuesday, January 31, 2006

He's a regular Michael Winslow

Not a great night for sleeping. Noah was making a ton of noise in his sleep and since I wasn’t in the room with him I kept leaping out of bed just to get in the room and realize he was asleep. It happened like three times. Then when he woke up at 3:30 am I probably took extra long to get in there and as a result he was pretty damn awake. It took me almost two hours to settle him back to sleep enough to put him back in his crib. Anyway, you’ve heard it all before. Once we get a bit more settled with the new crib locale we can try some sleep training. After someone kills me.

This morning we went to the local free library branch. I renewed my card and chased the boy around the stacks. It was a good place to go to get out for a bit on a grey day. I got a nonfiction book on China, a Cornelia Funke book to indulge my interest in kid lit, and a board book for the boy. And on the way home we got some more cookies – from a different local bakery. This time they were chocolate sprinkles.

Here are a few new Noah bits:

- Noah has begun to meow at the cats. It’s a high pitched “Owwww” and it’s diabetic coma inducing.
- He also hisses like a snake – even if the word you said was stick or he's pointing to a picture of a worm.
- When I was leaving a vm for my sister Elisha yesterday Noah heard me say her name and went over to the refrigerator and pointed at her picture.
- I wasn’t sure if he was going to do anything but try to stand on that table I got him last week, but I’m happy to say he loves to sit in a chair and have his snack.
- For the first time the other day he began moving forward in his little rider car rather than backward.
- We’ve been working on his word recognition. When we read books I’ll open the page and say “Where is the computer?” and he’ll point to the right thing. It is so cool to see him learn new words.
- He’s taken up fishing as a hobby. I got him a bath tub toy set that included a plastic fishing rod and floating fish. While he doesn’t yet have the manual dexterity to hook the fish while floating, he can hook the fish with the rod while holding the fish with the other hand – and while that might not sound too impressive, I assure you it ain’t all that easy.
- He knows the location of all the power buttons on the TVs and stereos in the house and wants to spend a great deal of time turning them off and on and off and on, and off and on.
- He’s become fascinated with the dustbuster and my hairdryer and will pick up an array of objects and pretend to vacuum or dry his hair with them, all the while going “zhhhhhhh.”
- And he now picks up the phone and says Hello - though it's really more of a "Ha-Ohhh."

Monday, January 30, 2006

Mmmmm. Red tastes as good as it looks.  Posted by Picasa

Saving his pennies for some day

It was a momentous weekend. We finally did it. We moved Noah’s crib from our bedroom to his own room. I was worried that he would be upset or confused that his crib moved or that we weren’t in the room with him, but he doesn’t seem to care all that much. As Mark pointed out, he is used to waking up in a room alone because of his napping. The last two nights Mark and I have slept in the guest bedroom next to Noah’s room – as a sort of a transition which is definitely more for me than him. I think I need a couple more days before I can sleep on a different floor than him. Plus there is the fact that he still wakes up once during the night. Both mornings he woke up at 3 am on the dot. I nursed him and got him back to sleep – it took half an hour on Saturday, and an hour on Sunday before I could put him back down in his crib peacefully. I hope this wakeful period changes some day soon, but I’m not sure how to go about it. I know I need to get acclimated to sleeping in a different room first, before I make any other great strides.

On Saturday, after moving the crib we were able to clean up our bedroom a bit while Noah took his nap. So that was obviously a positive outcome. I went through the wardrobe and my closet and sorted clothes into piles of maternity, post-birth fat clothes, and pre-Noah “I’m never gonna fit into these again” clothes. It was way overdue. After the boy woke up we decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and go for a walk. Mark got new guitar strings at DiPinto, Noah tried to chuck himself in the river and mastered climbing hills at Penn Treaty Park, and then we hit Canvas coffee for a snack. After the boy went to bed Mark and I watched “Wedding Crashers” which I found incredibly formulaic but funnier than I had been expecting, especially since I wasn’t expecting much at all.

Sunday we went to Freehold to have lunch at Fritzy’s German restaurant for Grandma Laima’s 96th birthday. Noah didn’t sleep on the car ride there, so I was a tad worried how he was going to get through lunch peacefully. However he was well behaved for the first hour and a half. Even the waitress and hostess complimented him on his behavior. The secret is we just kept feeding him to keep him occupied. But right before Grandma decided she wanted to have dessert at the restaurant and not back at her house, Noah had decided he was full and he had been in his seat long enough. So we took turns following around the restaurant for the next half hour so that he could make eyes at the other customers. That kid is a sucker for attention. It kills me. By the time we got out of Fritzy’s, back to Laima’s and said our goodbyes it was 4:30 pm and Noah had been up 9.5 hours without a nap. Crazy. But surprisingly not as unmanageable as I would have imagined.

Today is beautiful out. I took Allison’s suggestion and took Noah to the park from 11 am til noon. He had a blast. I took a towel to wipe water off of the play equipment, but it proved not near enough of a towel. So the boy got a bit wet. I realized it was probably a bit dangerous in that he could slip on the wet steps, but I just tried to keep a hand on him. And luckily for us both he never slipped. To get him to leave the park I bribed him with the promise of a cookie – so we went to the next door bakery and got cookies and bagels. I bought some chocolate chip but the cashier gave him two sugar cookies with red jimmies (sprinkles) on them. They made for a lovely mess.

Mark and I tend to want to spend all our baby free time together. Which is great. We enjoy each others company. But there are some things for which you need quiet. So tonight is the first Me-time Monday. Mark and I have decided that every Monday for two hours after Noah goes to bed, we will spend time separately. I can read a book and he can go to the basement and work on music. I’m looking forward to doing some reading – and will fight my temptation to read a child rearing book and instead pick up some lovely fiction. Hooray.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Swedish for won't drink milk

Yesterday we needed to get out of the house. So I decided to go to the Wal-Mart vision center to see if they could fix my favorite pair of glasses that Noah broke a couple of months ago. Well, they can’t. Since the hinge is broken they said my best bet was to take it to a jeweler. Though that one small errand was my whole plan for going out, I decided we weren’t ready to go home yet. So we headed to the Monster Pets so Noah could rejoice over the bunnies, birds, fish, doggies and lizards. Oh and spend a great deal of time playing with the dog toys. And then since it was lunch and I was starving we went over to the Ikea to eat. They have a $.99 kids menu there but it’s mostly unhealthy crap, like every other place. Don’t kids eat anything besides mac & cheese and fried food? So I got a mozzarella, basil and pepper panini and the salmon entrée with mixed vegetables and potatoes and we picked at both. Then we headed over to the kids furniture area where Noah spent a good 40 minutes sitting in little chairs, at little tables and running through tunnels. He had a blast. It was just what he needed. Me too for that matter. And of course we didn’t go home empty handed. In addition to the lovely Swedish ginger thins and Ligonberry sparkler, we got Noah a table, two chairs and a car wash curtain – by which I mean a curtain of brightly colored plastic strips now hanging over his bedroom doorway.

By the time we set out for home it was 2pm and Noah hadn’t yet napped for the day – and he was exhausted. So much so that he fell asleep in the car without nursing. This has happened maybe twice before in his whole existence. And he was so solidly asleep that I was able to take off his coat, sweater and shoes and put him in his crib without waking. And since we skipped a feeding I decided to try and pump – and lo and behold I was able to get a whopping 2.5 ounces. After his nap I gave him the breast milk in a cup. He took one sip, shook his head no and threw it on the floor. It was the exact same reaction he gives for cow milk and soy milk. So I guess it’s not just that he doesn’t like milk – it’s that he doesn’t want it in a cup. I guess now I’m going to start buying all kinds of crazy cups to see if that will make a difference. I might start with a straw.

This morning we had Frannie come and visit us again so her mom could take her mother-in-law to a doctor appointment. Frannie and Noah played well together and the time flew by. When Susan came back we went over to Holly’s house for lunch and to play with Tripp. Noah ate up a storm and got hooked on cantaloupe, and then the toddlers cavorted merrily. Tripp is a really smiley rambunctious little guy and when he started squealing with glee, a very over-tired Noah started to cry. It was time to go home.

Naps are an issue right now. I like to have Noah on a schedule. It works for both him and I. Problem is that we’re transitioning from a two nap schedule to one nap. Technically it would be best for him to take one nap from 1 – 3 pm, but sometimes he seems really tired at 11 am. However if I put him down then he sleeps til noon and I can’t get him to take another nap in the afternoon. Which therefore leaves him grumpy in the couple of hours before bedtime. I know the solution is to just keep him up at 11 am, now I just have to stick to it even if I feel like I need a midmorning nap.

The weekend is now upon us. Saturday we will clean and move the crib. FOR REALS. Sunday we are off to Freehold to celebrate Laima’s 96th birthday at the always lovely Fritzy’s German Restaurant. Hope you folks have a lovely weekend!

Noah and Frannie enjoy a very civilized midmorning snack. Check out Noah's new table, chairs and curtain. Can you believe how well they match his walls? Amazing. It's like Ikea consulted with me for their color palette. Oh - and they also go well with the bluish green bump on Noah's forehead.  Posted by Picasa

Did you know that chairs were for standing?  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Am I wierd?

Spacechick tagged me to write "Five Wierd Things About Me." I had to ask Mark for help to think of some of them, but here they are.

1. If you’ve met me in person this will come as no surprise. I laugh a lot. All the time in fact. Not in a “HA HA!” way but in a small nervous laugh that constantly punctuates my speech. The odd thing is that I don’t realize I’m doing it until someone draws my attention to it. And then I feel really embarrassed, but I still can’t stop. It’s almost like a speech impediment. When I was working towards my degree in Journalism my mean maternal grandfather told me that nobody I interviewed would ever take me seriously if I continued to talk like that. Sweet, huh? Those people who like me always say nice things about my laugh, but I’m sure it annoys the hell out of those that don’t. Oh well, screw ‘em.
2. I prefer wearing my glasses to contacts, much to my mother’s dismay. And it isn’t just because sometimes contacts bother my eyes or because I hate putting them in and taking them out, it’s because they make me feel like me. Like my nose stud, I think my glasses are a physical manifestation of who I am that allows people to get a glimpse of the real me before getting to know me. Noah is fond of them to – in a ripping them off my face and throwing them on the floor sort of way. I think my mom put him up to that. She says they hide my “pretty eyes.”
3. I dislike gift bags. I don’t mind receiving them, but I never wrap gifts in them unless I am in a serious time crunch. I love to buy pretty paper, cut it, crease the edges and use lots of tape. I had a bajillion gift bags from gifts that I have received, and I considered selling them on ebay until I realized there was little profit in that, so a couple of months ago I threw away all but the nicest ones, which I probably will never use.
4. I hate spectator sports. All of them. I can understand why someone would want to play a sport, but I can’t for the life of me understand what would cause someone to just sit and watch them. And worse yet – get emotionally charged about the outcome. It just seems dumb to me. On a few occasions I’ve tried to watch a game, but I find myself just staring into space rather than watching. And what makes me hate sports even more is that people love them so much, and talk about them ALL THE TIME. It makes me crazy just thinking about it.
5. It seems I can’t finish a drink. My house is often littered with glasses half full. I pour myself a drink, take a sip or two, put it down and forget about it. And then I get another one. When I lived with the band guys they complained about this trait the most because we lacked a coffee table and whatever drink I left on the floor would undoubtedly get knocked over on to the carpet. I tried to knock it off, but I was never very successful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

On treks, hair, butts and baths

We met Susan and Frannie in the park for an hour yesterday afternoon. I don’t know if it’s a boy/girl difference, but I am always astounded by how active Noah seems in comparison. While Frannie contentedly checked out the area in a one foot radius of her mom, Noah was heading for the hills. “People – there is ALL this open space over here. We NEED to check it out.” Susan, Frannie and I could barely keep up with him on his exploratory mission of the park perimeter. The excursion was put to an end when he climbed right onto a standing puddle on a piece of playground equipment. His pants were soaked with cold water and I had to hustle on home to warm him up and change him.

Later in the afternoon we headed to the hair salon so I could get my hair fixed. Noah toddled around playing with shampoo bottles while my hair was transformed from and mulletesque 80’s shag to a choppy bob. It’s still not my best haircut yet, but at least I’m no longer feeling embarrassed about leaving the house. I was swearing to myself that I’d never go to this stylist again, despite doing some freelance work for her salon - but then I started considering how accomodating she was about fixing my hair and how she didn’t mind Noah destroying her salon while she did it – and now I’m not so sure. Maybe one more chance.

Since we were out and in dire need of milk, (obviously for me and not for Noah) I decided to hit the Super Fresh. While trying to navigate our way through the store I felt like clocking this one biatch. These two women were shopping together. One was standing in front of the cart, and the other was standing to the side – and they were in the most narrow section of the store, by the frozen food island by the fish counter. I said “Excuse me” because I couldn’t get past them, especially since there was a display cart next to the freezer. In response to my request, rather than move from the side of the cart to the end, the woman took a fraction of an inch toward the cart. I just stared there and glared at her, and she looked back at me like “What are you waiting for – you’ve got PLENTY of room?” So against my better judgment I proceeded to TRY and squeeze the cart by. In the fraction of a second where I had to wedge my cart next to the display cart – Noah stuck his little hand down and got his finger pinched. He started crying hysterically. And had I not been tending to him and his injury, I would have knocked that stupid woman silly. The good news is that Noah quickly recovered, the bad news is that since I took him out of the cart seat when he started crying, he didn’t want to go back in. I had to carry him around the store while shopping. That is of course when I decided to coax him back in with a bag of cookies. And YES – I’m one of those fools opening things in the store before I pay for them.

On the butt front, after bathing the boy last night we let him run around bare for a good while before slathering him in ointment. Speaking of baths – Noah LOVES them. All the sources say to make baths a part of your bedtime routine, but Noah gets so excited in the bath that it’s hardly calming. He wants to play in there for a good half hour. And as of late he loves baths so much that he tries to climb into the bath with his bath toys several times a day. When I ask him if he wants to take a bath he nearly knocks me over on the way to the bathroom.

And to our defense, the stairs Noah is learning on are a small staircase of 4 steps between our kitchen and dining room. I kind of figure they aren’t too bad in the grand scheme of things, sort of like a training staircase. The problem has always been that we can’t gate those steps with a conventional gate because one side of the gate has to screw into the wooden banister instead of a wall. We would have had to hire a carpenter – and who has the funds for that. So we’ve made the best of it by teaching Noah how to go up and down them carefully. And that has worked thus far. Until of course he slips and busts his head open.

After a good three months of going up and down the steps on hands and knees like he'd been taught, Noah decided it was time to take the steps like the big folk. And now all he wants to do is practice. Up and down. And up and down. And the whole time I'm holding my breath.  Posted by Picasa

SUCCESS! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Neglect and Nicole both start with N

Yesterday we spent a good portion of the day at the veterinary hospital. We had to have Master Noah dipped for fleas. Kidding, of course. Our friend Tracey’s cat Bobby was in dire straits and had a life or death situation due to urinary blockage. Noah and I volunteered to escort her to the vet hospital for moral support. We were there for about three hours. That's three hours of following Noah around the winding corridors, three hours of showing him the fish tank, the magazines, the sick doggies, and best of all three hours of playing in the maze of doorways in the entryway. And because I SUCK – three hours without a diaper change. I brought the diaper bag, but lo and behold it had no diapers in it. Noah was generally a good little man and was a big help in keeping Tracey’s spirits up – and in return I punished him with an awful case of diaper rash. I mean AWFUL. Today when I was changing his diaper and using a wipe his poor little butt started to bleed. I feel just horrible about it. I hope it heals soon. Any suggestions besides baths and Desitin? Oh, and calling CPS.

And I'm happy to report that Bobby the cat is already at home with his master recuperating from having his little cat penis operated on. Poor little guy. The vet said he had been a mere four hours away from renal failure and death. We wish him well.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Greetings from the sweet baby Jules. Posted by Picasa

Helter skelter

This weekend had its up and downs. Saturday I came home from what I consider a disappointing haircut to a giant purple goose egg on the center of Noah’s forehead. Seems he slipped and hit his head on the floor. I’m certain the same thing could happen every day under my watch, but it still made me feel guilty for leaving. I could tell Mark felt just awful about it. Despite the fall, Noah was in good spirits and playing happily. He didn’t seem to have any of the symptoms of a head trauma. We checked the book several times during the day just to make sure. We’re weird like that.

Janette and baby Jules came to visit in the afternoon. We haven’t spent much time with them in MONTHS, so it was really great to see them. Janette has this way about her that always makes me feel loved and grounded, so a visit from her was long overdue. And in the two and a half months since Noah’s birthday party Jules had become a boy. He’s almost eight months old now – crawling and pulling up on everything in sight. He’s gone from just chomping on hands and rattles to playing with toys. Those two months are some seriously pivotal ones. It’s just plain amazing how much they change. It was cute to see Noah and Jules interact. The boys seemed to be having a good time, despite the fact that Noah was running a teething related fever of about 102.

After we had a dinner of enchiladas de mole from Taco Riendo, Tracey came by for a visit. She said Noah’s bruise made it look like he was growing a horn. I put Noah to bed just before nine and Janette and Jules hit the road. Tracey was still here at 11, when Noah woke back up and I couldn’t get him back to sleep. It was the beginning of a long night. It was one am by the time we could get him to bed, and it was 4 am when he woke back up again. We all got up and headed to the play room. I think I fell asleep for a half hour, sprawled out on the ground with my face buried in the carpet – while Mark continued to play with the boy. I tried to get him back to sleep at 6:30 – but it was a no go. For some reason Noah didn’t want to nurse. It seemed the position necessary for nursing was a painful one. My guess is that his sinuses were bothering him since it was his second eye tooth that seemed to be causing him problems. Mark however went down like a ton of bricks. The crazy thing is that when Noah was awake he was pretty good natured – running around, playing, looking at books. But any time I tried to put him to sleep he’d cry hysterically. Would you believe that I couldn’t get Noah back to sleep until noon? And that in order to do it I had to put him in the hip hammock and walk around the block a couple of times?

He was like a zombie when he woke up after a three hour nap. My Mom had come to visit with him and it took her an hour to catch a glimpse of his jovial rambunctious self. After dinner we went to the Hancock Rec playground and Noah went down the small slide about 50 times. By 6:30 pm he was exhausted to the point of me not being able to keep him up one more second – so to bed he went. And remarkably he slept straight through til 4 am – and then went back to sleep til 7. And he still woke up cranky and with bags under his eyes. I already put him down for a nap at 10.

I guess the positive thing about all this was that it certainly gave me a reprieve on moving his crib yesterday. It’s gonna have to wait another week. At the moment I wouldn't dare create one other reason for him to have difficulties sleeping.

Oh- and the haircut. I have to get up the nerve to call the stylist tomorrow and tell her I have to come in so she can fix my hair. I should have said something right away but she didn't really ask me what I thought before I left and since her next client was there and a walk-in, in my state of not-liking-my-hair shock I just ran out the door. I wanted really clean, sleek layers but what I got was an 80’s shag. I figure it’ll look a million times better if she takes the back layer up about an inch so it looks less mullety. Til then I have to stop looking in the mirror.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Bridging the gap

My father in law’s wife bought me an outfit for Christmas that I was never going to wear. It was a crushed black velvet peasant skirt with a spaghetti strap top. It was too dressy for me to wear anywhere but to a Christmas party, and then too revealing for ME to wear period. My bras have straps the size of a whole box of spaghetti. I’m not normally a gift exchange person, but the labels said DKNY so I was guessing they weren’t cheap, and since I had the gift receipt I hoped to exchange them at Macys for a new watch. I wanted to go some weekend with Mark so that I didn’t have to shop and baby wrangle, but the weekends always fill up and we haven’t had time to get around to it. So yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and take Noah with me to the Cherry Hill Mall. The good news is that the outfit was $82 – so I’m very glad I didn’t just shove it in a closet, especially since in exchange I got both a watch and a new wallet, which I was sorely needing. The bad news is that though it took us about 15 minutes to get TO the mall it took us an hour and a half to come home. When I was five cars away from the toll booth to get on the Ben Franklin Bridge they shut it down .COMPLETELY. We sat for a half hour in that same spot until they started letting cars on and we inched to a quarter way across where we sat for another half hour. I was gonna go insane. Surprisingly Noah was semi-rational. As long as I continued to feed him. He had raisins, chex mix, M&M minis, a biter biscuit, and a cup of watered down apple juice.

Since it was such a warm and beautiful day I decided to take Noah to the park for about an hour and a half today. It had been quite awhile since we’d been and he really loved it. He went down the slide a billion times. I had to help him to go down by sitting him down and getting him started – but a couple of times he just backed up and slid down on his belly, feet first. With as nice as it was I was really surprised we were the only people at the park.

Last night was a crappy night of sleep. And surprisingly not because of the boy. I kept waking up because I had a pounding sinus headache. In fact my sinuses have been bothering me off and on for about 24 hours now.

Oh- and the boy still won’t drink milk. Not regular milk, not 2%, not cold, not warm, not with chocolate syrup and not even vanilla soy. However he didn’t let the soy milk dribble back out of his mouth like he did the rest, so maybe there is room for growth there. He just shook his head NO vehemently and threw the cup on the floor.

On a similar front, crib relocation time is upon us. Please take a moment to say a few words to whatever higher power you might hold dear – Christ, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, Tim Gunn.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Twenty things about my teens

I was gonna try and keep this in more of a chronological order, but I can't be bothered to sort them out. I apologize for the over-wordiness of all this, and hope it is the least bit interesting to someone.

1. During the summer between elementary school and junior high school I was IQ tested for the first time by recommendation of my sixth grade teacher. As a result I was deemed “gifted” and enrolled in the “gifted” classes for English and Math. Math I could have done without frankly, but I LOVED my “gifted” English teachers all throughout school. Even the villainous Mr. Stoneback who made students cry. The reading lists were good and writing was one of the only things I really enjoyed being challenged by in school.
2. Junior high SUCKED. No surprise there, I guess. The clique I hung out with through most of my days at South Junior High were my obviously gay but very closeted neighbor (who I still love dearly and miss immensely – more on him in a sec), a girl who was overweight and a pathological liar, a girl who later became the drum major and a chubby blonde boy who was my first boyfriend and was later known for being on the football team but getting injured in the beginning of every season. As you can tell I was not in the upper strata of society – but I had friends, so that was something.
3. While dating said chubby boy his very shy best friend confessed to me that he had a crush on me. And then he apologized for it. Constantly. For days and days. It creeped me out and got on my nerves. And then one day in the hallway between Biology and Algebra I told him I didn’t care if he liked me, that I was sick of him talking about it, and I would rather he never talk to me again than here it one more time. And he didn’t. In fact we never spoke after that. For my part I can say it was because I was SO embarrassed by my behavior and my outburst that I could never look him in the eyes again. We went through five more years of high school without a peep. I still feel shame about it.
4. But that isn’t the thing I feel the most shame about from my teen years. I love my neighbor David. Because we moved in with my stepfather in the middle of my fifth grade year but I was allowed to finish the year out in my old school district, David was my first friend in the area. We started hanging out that summer. He was smart, funny and sweet. Over the years I spent a ton of time at his house and considered his English mom and Irish dad to be anther set of parents. But David was obviously different – and in the high school years different is very, very bad. And though it was David’s differences that made me love him, a couple of times in junior high I lashed out at him from being so “weird” that it impacted my social perception in school. The very worse was the time that we got into a physical fight on the school bus home and I tried to put lipstick on him. Thinking about it now makes me want to cry. I can’t imagine how horrible it made him feel and I’m sure it was that sort of treatment even by his closest friends that caused him to not “come out” until he went away to college. It’s all water under the bridge now because David and I are still close and keep in touch (far too sporadically) but if I could take back one thing it would be those interactions.
5. Throughout my teen years I babysat for John and Robin Matthews and their three daughters – Hannah, Kyla and Shea. I thought they were the ideal family and wanted to be just like them when I grew up. I really couldn’t overemphasize the impact their family had on my life – they spawned a lot of my interest in art and music and gave me an excellent idea of what a “whole” family was like. The girls were all amazingly smart (supra-geniuses, in fact) and sweet and are now all grown. Hannah, the oldest, graduated from college last year. (MY GOD!)
6. I became a Girl Scout in my teen years so that I could teach at Girl Scout camp during the summers. I really loved working with the kids – and my finest memory is teaching my troop to sing “Fishheads” with an accompanying dance. And though I never finished my paperwork for the coveted Girl Scout gold award – I do have the silver.
7. As Patrice can confirm in early high school I was obsessed with Matt W. It was an on again, off again, not quite just friends, not quite full-on boyfriend thing that set the precedent for ALL of my relationships with men. My inner image of him is baggy acid wash jeans, Hard Rock Café Tshirt, black Reebok high tops with no socks, laying on the floor watching tennis while eating two sandwiches after school. Oh, and that conversation we had were he told me wanted to summon a demon to do his bidding. Ha!
8. My best friend throughout all of high school was Michelle. What is most interesting about our friendship is that she was a year younger and didn’t go to my school, or even live nearby. She lived about 20 minutes away and went to an all girls Catholic school. We met when her Mom and my Dad introduced us when they were both tending bar at the Bier Garten, which Michelle’s Grandmother owned. And because we spent every available moment together, the dynamics of the in-school social scene didn’t really reach me completely. I’m no longer in touch with Michelle; we had a falling out about a stupid boy when I was a freshman at Pitt. The saddest part of that to me is that I feel like I don’t remember a lot of my teen years because I don’t have her to reminisce with me about them.
9. Patrice and I became friends when we joined Executive Council in ninth grade. I think she stayed in it throughout high school, but I only did the one year. As I recall you had to be reelected by your peers in the following years, and I didn’t want to put my name in because I knew I couldn’t take the rejection of losing. I never “ran” for anything because I was too scared to put myself on the line. But my closest school friends for the bulk of my high school education were made through Exec Council and my “gifted” classes.
10. My favorite class in high school was the Psychology elective I took during my senior year. It was a fairly simple class that a lot of kids took because the teacher was notorious for grading easy, but I just fell in love the theory, the emotion, the humanity of Psych. As a result I went to Pitt as a Psych major though I had previously wanted to do nothing but write. I didn’t get my degree in Psych, but I took enough classes, particularly in Child Psych, to qualify for a minor had I not transferred to Temple.
11. My German heritage meant there was no question about what language I was going to take in high school. I took three years of German, but refused to converse with my Oma who always tried to correct my pronunciation to her dialect. As a result I don’t remember much German at all, sadly. My senior year I decided to take a first year of Spanish and ended up in a class of all freshman. But I really dug Spanish and felt some of it came natural to me because one of my babysitters had had a Puerto Rican husband who only spoke Spanish in the house. Surely I could have absorbed some of it without realizing. Right?
12. In eighth grade my Mom gave me a black eye on the way to school. It was a total accident. I said something really bitchy to her in the car and she backhanded me. It wasn’t a hard of a hit and would not even have left a mark except that my mom was wearing a big ring and it happened to catch me right in the eye. I began crying and when my mom saw my eye was swelling up she started crying too. We were hysterical. She turned the car around and we went home to spend the day at home goofing off. The big problem occurred when I went back to school and some of my teachers seriously worried I was abused. The smaller problem was that for a time when I was in the car with my mom and she moved her hand suddenly I involuntarily ducked. It made her feel bad which made me feel worse.
13. I got my period late. And despite all the waiting and wishing, still didn’t recognize it when it happened. I expected it to be redder. I called my mom at work to ask her what the hell was wrong with me.
14. And in conjunction with that I have to mention that I was flat as a board until about my junior year. I used to pray for breasts. And now I’m living out some sort of sick joke.
15. My mom got me a used Mustang to drive when I turned 16. It was light blue and had a sunroof. I totalled it a couple of months after getting my drivers license when I drove through a red light. In my defense I have to say I was unfamiliar with the area, and it was dark, rainy, foggy and the traffic lights were on posts on the street corners and not hanging over the intersection so I didn’t even see the light until it was too late. One car hit me and pushed me into another car. It was pretty dramatic and I remember crying like a lunatic in the street after it happened. I relived that accident SO many times. In the blink of the eye in which it happened I thought I killed Michelle, who was in the passenger seat and at the point of the first impact. Luckily no one was seriously hurt. I was at my Dad’s for the weekend when the accident happened and my Dad made me call my Mom and tell her about it. It caused a big rift between my parents since my Mom said my Dad shouldn’t have let me be out that night. There once peaceable relationship was never quite the same.
16. When I turned 16 I got a job at West Coast Video in Quakertown. It was the PERFECT job for me. I got free rentals, made use of my interest in movies, and worked with an odd bunch of other teen lackeys. Oh, and the video store was in the vicinity of a different school district so I didn’t have to deal with the yahoos from my school, but rather yahoos I soon came to know strictly through work. There were only two bad things about the job. One was that we gave out free popcorn with every rental and I REEKED of popcorn, the second was that we had an adult video room and had to deal with all kinds of pervs. After I became a shift manager and could open and close the store, I had to call the cops more than once to get them to clear a masturbator out of the adult room.
17. My job resulted in me hanging out with some older kids – high school graduates and college kids. People over 21. People that I honestly thought were the coolest people in the world. The coolest among those was Kate – it was when she learned I liked Jane’s Addiction and invited me to take a bus trip with her to go see her boyfriend’s band play at CBGB’s in New York City that my life was drastically altered. It’s that band that I began driving into Manhattan to see. It’s that band that I moved to the DC area to do PR for. It’s that band that replaced their crazy bass player Steve with Mark, my husband. Not only did I fall in love with the band, which led to my life with Mark, but it was those trips to NYC that caused me to fall in love with the idea of living in the city.
18. Also through West Coast I became friends with Gayle – and in doing so started hanging out with a slightly more “adventurous” group in high school. We hung out with older guys, tried alcohol, went cruising the strip in Lansdale. Throughout my senior year I was in two cliques. I was never a “bad girl” per se, I was a “gifted” kid for God’s sake, but in my last year of high school I was certainly bad-er.
19. I also really loved my Photography classes and was incredibly blown away when I actually won an award for my “senior wall” during the end of year art show. I nearly didn’t put up a wall because I didn’t think I was near good enough to take up the space. It felt good to win something.
20. I skated through school on natural talent. I rarely did homework at home - preferring to rush through most of it in homeroom, lunch, or just the class before it was due. And the big projects you were supposed to spend weeks on were always done the night before. I never really tried in school – most likely because if I tried and failed then I’d be crushed. And also because I was lazy and knew I could get away with doing the bare minimum. I was even like that in college. It wasn’t until I went back to college part-time after a couple year hiatus that I took my school work seriously.

Oozy Ooozing

Grocery shopping with a toddler is a challenge. Having a bout of IBS while grocery shopping with a toddler is like an Olympic event. While in the stall of a public restroom with other occupants I had to read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to Noah – while desperately coaxing him to stay in the stall with me rather than sliding under the door or worse yet into the accompanying stall. Amazingly we survived. But then while moving things around trying to locate a package of chicken breasts that didn’t look too yellow I was splashed in the face with raw chicken juice. I feel ill just thinking about it. I’m very thankful for the baby wipes I had with me. Despite being able to scrub off immediately I swear I could smell the faint odor of salmonella on my black hoodie while completing our shopping. It’s definitely going in the wash tonight. Yick.

I just put Noah down for a nap. When I went upstairs I was disappointed to see that there was a water bubble the size of my fist in the wall behind our bed. We just spent a couple hundred dollars getting a patch put on our roof to deal with that leak. Obviously, it didn't work. Mark is going to be very unhappy. Very. Since we've had that leak he's been really anxious about our house being waterlogged and growing lethal mold. I know he had problems sleeping this morning because he was worried about the storm causing more damage to the house, but he went to work pleased that the leak hadn't recurred. I DREAD telling him. He's gonna be sad.

That’s all for now. I’m working on completing my 20 things about my teen years list. It’s becoming insanely long. Every “thing” is a huge story.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The dastardly duo take a quick break from removing every piece of clothing from Noah's dresser.  Posted by Picasa

Babies R Yous

I was up to my eyeballs in babies this morning. Well, I had two fourteen month olds – so it probably isn’t THAT impressive of a feat. I babysat Francesca for four hours while her mom went to a meeting. I’m happy to say that the morning went really well, thanks in no small part to how low-key a baby Francesca is. She makes Noah look like a total spaz. But the two of them are learning to play very well with each other, or at least parallel with each other, as toddlers do. Noah has been spending a lot of time with babies lately. We had Ms. Bella and family over on Sunday afternoon at my mom’s place, and the past two Fridays we have had playdates with Francesca and Tripp. I think Noah is definitely benefiting from the peer time – and so am I.

I have to mention that when we saw Patrice, Sean and Bella on Sunday – we realized that Bella was calling Noah “No No.” It was SO cute. I could just die.

My Oma called this morning to say that they’re transferring my Grandfather to rehab today. Though it’s a good sign overall, we’re still worried about his vision and his mind. When we were at the hospital on Saturday he said something about buying my Oma a juicer, and my Dad said that had to have been at least 10 years ago. And Oma told me last night that Grandpop was being belligerent with her, and talking about really old arguments. I just hope they don’t send him home in a state in which my Oma and Dad are unable to care for him. I guess all we can do is wait.

I feel like there was a million things I wanted to blog about, but now I’m drawing a blank. I best get to the billion of emails I need to return and comments I need to leave.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Here is Master Noah with the lovely Ms. Mary. It appears they're standing in front of the "Elbow Room." My Oma met Mary the day before we did and told me that she met a girl I knew from the "com-pu-tah." Oma said Mary reminded her of me - because she was tall and her hair was in her face. These apparently are my defining characteristics. Please note that my Oma didn't say that we both had big smiles, were a bit "cheeky" and wore glasses. Nope - it's that pesky hair in the face thing. I have to remember to use that in my self description from this point forward. Posted by Picasa

There she was

Once again blogging from the remote location of Quakertown, PA. This weekend we house and dog sat for my mom who returns today from her trips to Vegas and the equally fascinating Dayton, OH. Mark took the train back to Philly last night so that he could get some things done on his vacation day today – some things for the family (bills, filing) and some for his sanity (setting up the music studio in the basement). For the second night in a row, Noah slept a full eight hours without waking to nurse. Of course this was certainly helped by the fact that on Friday night he was unable to sleep (teeth, insomnia, just for fun and games) until 1:30 am – and only got six hours of sleep. We’ve both been playing catch-up since then. And of course I’m in the midst of reading that “No Cry Sleep Solution” which emphasizes routine bed times, wake times and locations – and we’ve had little of that since early December. But all that is about to change. I think. This week we’re planning on moving Noah’s crib from our bedroom to his own bedroom. GAH! I’m sure it is time for it, but I am DREADING it. He will be SO FAR from us at night. And he’s growing up – and that just sucks. He’s one step closer to not needing me at all.

As I’m sure you’ve realized I’m pretty co-dependent by nature. I really need to be needed and I’m not big on alone time. I’d rather be with Noah and Mark than without them. The only times I prefer to be left alone are to go to the bathroom, to shower, to read, to write and sometimes to drive. Mark says he feels bad sometimes for needing alone time when I don’t want the same in return, but honestly any time I anticipate having to myself I think of all the things I SHOULD do with it – cleaning, laundry, organizing – and I’m much happier playing blocks or reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Oh – my Grandfather seems to be doing much better. As my Oma says “He’s back to his nasty self.” We went to visit him on Saturday and the nurse said they were hoping to transfer him to rehab as early as today. And while at St. Lukes’ we met Ms. Mary of the blogosphere. It was a brief encounter – one that would have been aided by beer, and a lighter atmosphere- but it was certainly nice to meet her in the flesh. And she was super sweet and seemed like excellent nursing material. I hope our paths cross again sometime, under better circumcumstances of course.

The beast awakes. Gotta go.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

20 things about my childhood

I'm doing 100 things about me in increments. I'm gonna start sort of chronologically. Maybe you'd like to do the same? "Tell me about your childhood."

1. My parents were married in October of 1972 and I was conceived just after their first anniversary when they flushed my mother’s birth control pills down the toilet.
2. My parents are young – they had me when they were just 20/21 years old.
3. My mom got pregnant again when her and my Dad were having problems, but stress caused her to have a miscarriage and they got divorced when I was 5.
4. Mom and I moved a couple of times and I went to three different elementary schools in three different school districts, all within a 20 minute drive of each other.
5. As a result I had to keep changing best friends – as one of my behavior reports indicated something along the lines of “she forms a strong bond with one other child and ignores the others.” I’m ashamed to say that I don’t know what happened to Jessica, Marlene, Erika and Desiree.
6. My first crush was on Jack Schecter. I chased him around the playground threatening to kick him in the balls with my new cowboy boots. If that ain't love, I don't know what is.
7. I got in trouble when I was about six for playing doctor naked with my friend Holly. As a result her mother wouldn't let us play together anymore.
8. My mom worked fulltime but aside from a brief stint at the Wigwam private kindergarten program, I never went to a day care center. I always had a home day care provider.
9. For a brief period in addition to working fulltime for Prudential Insurance, my Mom cleaned the bathrooms of the sweater factory where my Grammy worked. I came along and sat in the large carts they moved the sweaters around in, started a button collection, and unwrapped the Lava soap my mom had to replace in all the bathrooms.
10. I spent every other weekend with my Dad and we went out a lot – to the movies, out to dinner and to the Dairy Queen for ice cream and to feed the ducks.
11. When I was around 9 my Dad moved to Denver Colorado with his girlfriend Mary and her three kids. Watching their packed up car pull away is one of the saddest moments I can remember from my childhood.
12. But Dad kept in touch and I flew out to Denver (by myself) for a month every summer until they moved back after my sister Elisha was born.
13. When I was in fifth grade my mom moved in with my stepfather and when I was in seventh grade they got married in Vegas. I was a tad upset I wasn’t invited.
14. Once in second grade I was fooling around with one of my clogs and accidentally kicked it in the direction of the teacher. I was mortified, especially when the teacher then made me walk around the rest of the day with one shoe on.
15. In fourth grade I got in trouble for passing a note to my friend during a film strip on dairy production. It was a drawing of a cow’s udders with the word “tit” written under it.
16. I briefly played softball, took dance classes and flute lessons. I quit them all because I sucked and didn’t have any patience or stick-to-it-iveness.
17. My childhood pets were Candy, a black lab we had when I was real tiny and who was given away because he got to big, Gunther, a Schnauzer who "ran away" after my parents split up, Pepper, a tabby cat my mom took to a farm, and Casey, an all white cat that died when I went away to college.
18. One of my happy memories is of my mom and I dancing around the apartment to "Oh Mickey" while we cleaned. That may be my only happy cleaning moment.
19. For the most part my parents did a great job of getting along when I was a kid, despite my occasional devious attempts to play them off of one another.
20. I got a lot of love and attention from the adults in my life, but nevertheless growing up as an only child I was pretty lonely.

With teeth

Today is the first annual Ellis day! Can’t wait to hear all about him. Good luck Katie and Kent!

I’m sad to say that reports coming in from the Milliceccobach vacation are not good. Sean came down with either a nasty case of food poisoning or a merciless virus – we’re hoping the former, so the rest of the family won’t be impacted by the illness. They fly home tonight, and sound more than ready to be at home in their own bed.

I don’t have too much to report. Had a horribly sleepless night. Noah could not stop moving. He wanted to nurse for hours straight, while kneading his hands and poking at my face endlessly and every time I stopped him to see if I could rock him to sleep he arched and screamed bloody murder. That went on from about 12:30 to 3:30 am. So I’m tired.

As I finished typing that last paragraph I glanced down to Noah who was sitting at my feet pouring pink syrupy infant ibuprofen on the carpet and smearing it around with his hands. Lord only knows how he got the child safety cap off. When I took the bottle away from him and started to clean up he let out an earth shattering yowl – and in doing so gave me a glimpse of what had us up last night. It’s a brightly shining molar crown. Teeth. The gift that keeps on giving.

My Grandfather was returned from ICU to a room on the ninth floor yesterday. (Seen him, Mary? He’s the big crotchedy guy who wants to go home to drink and smoke and probably doesn’t have visitors.) From what I understand from my Oma his condition isn’t much better, or worse – of course getting medical info from my Oma is like trying to have President Bush teach you about the Muslim faith. I’m planning to visit him on Saturday or Sunday (probably around 11, Mary) so hopefully I’ll get a better idea of what his condition is then.

I’ve been feeling kind of blah and lonely the last two days. I knew that would happen. Running around seemingly non-stop for a month and a half, praying for the doldrums to come – and then sitting around feeling low and bored. I’m such a lame-o. I might have to do some sort of meme later so I have something to write about. I keep contemplating writing one of those 100 things about me, but that’s a lot of things, and a lot of me. Surely too much me. Maybe I can do it in increments.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Out for a morning stroll.  Posted by Picasa

I liked this horse better when I was on the otherside of that fence.  Posted by Picasa

“I wonder what the Mayor is eating right now.”

For a scintillating Friday evening Mark, Noah and myself decided to go grocery shopping. Actually, it was all Noah’s idea, and he was pretty insistent. As we were getting out of the car I spotted Mayor Street and his wife getting out of a white Jeep in the parking lane in front of us. Mark and I looked at each other awestruck and lollygagged it into the store so we could follow Philly’s first couple. It was fascinating to us that the Mayor and his wife did their own shopping. They each got a cart, but she did the bulk of the shopping while he just tooled around looking at pretzel crisps in his spare moments between requests by grocery store patrons to pose with their kids for their picture phones. Mark said “I think I see Ed Rendell over there by the lunchmeat counter.” We beat the Streets out of the store, but we used the SuperFresh staff for our checkout and the Mayor preferred to scan his own groceries.

Saturday morning I got a call that my paternal Grandfather, my Oma’s husband had had a stroke. He fell out of the bed in the middle of the night and couldn’t get up. The ambulance was called and he was taken to St. Luke’s in Bethlehem. After learning he was out of the emergency room and in his own room Mark and I cancelled our plans on Sunday to see his Grandmother for her 96th birthday so that Noah and I could go to visit my Grandfather.

My Grandfather is not a healthy man. Despite shortness of breath and loud raspy wheezing, he was still smoking several packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day while sitting on the sofa watching TV and playing solitaire. The only time he left the house was to go binge drinking every Saturday and Sunday. He ate poorly, got no exercise and never went to the doctor. He’s overweight but had lost a few pounds in the last year – but it just fell off inexplicably. For months my Dad has been saying he feared Grandpop to be very ill but there was no way to know because he’d never go for a checkup. So to say that his stroke wasn’t surprising is an understatement. The good news is that he is awake and though his is speech is slurred by left side paralysis, he can talk – mainly to say he wants to go home from the hospital despite the fact that he can’t walkor even swallow. I spoke to the doctor yesterday and was told that he could recover from much of his stroke paralysis but it will take an extended hospital stay and some rehab – but they're also concerned because he has heart disease, high blood pressure, failing kidneys and compromised lungs. So things don’t look good in the long term and if he does return home I fear a large burden of his care is going to be placed on my Oma, who has her own failing health with which to deal, and my father.

Noah was very good in the hospital. My Dad spent almost our entire visit following him around in circles on the patient floor. He got a lot of smiles. And despite being overtired and napless he only got a little temperamental when we had a late lunch at the Copperhead Grille. He started to fuss when I wouldn’t give him some of my beer. I called Mark from the restaurant to tell him we were in a room with 12 televisions, all on football – but he didn’t answer the phone. My burger was good and messy and Dad insisted on treating, as always.

Noah and I spent the night at my mom’s house since we were in the area and she wanted to go over some dog care basics with me before we watch her dogs this coming weekend. After Noah went to bed we drank a couple of cosmopolitans, ate popcorn, talked and watched Desperate Housewives and Crossing Jordan. This morning she left for Vegas and we took our time getting out of the house and got home this afternoon.

For some odd reason Noah wants to take all the colored foam balls he got for Christmas and put them under the entertainment center. We retrieve them, throw them and he fetches and returns them to their rightful place. And in music news, the Noah stomp is the newest dance craze at the Eggerts household. This hot step entails a one legged march using only the left foot. It's a dance sensation soon to be sweeping the nation.

Friday, January 06, 2006

When does your flight leave?

Yesterday we got the car inspected. YAY. So much fun to deal with auto mechanics and shell out lots of money for problems that could be for all I know imaginary. Mom picked us up from the dealership while the car was being serviced and we toddled around the Willow Grove Mall for a few hours. I say toddled because all we literally did was let the boy run around and follow him, aside from taking him on 20 trips on the escalator, lunching in the food court and riding on the carousel. There wasn’t one iota of shopping done. Toddling only. And GOD that boy is a flirt. He just lives to get attention from the ladies. Smiling and waving at strangers in the mall. It’s SO funny. Until someone doesn’t return his attention – and then I want to punch them.

Today the roofer is banging around on the roof (go figure). Hope he gets all that nonsense done so we won’t continue to get water bubbles in the wall behind our heads while we sleep. After lunch the boy and I are going on a play date – we’re going to Holly and baby Trip’s house to play, along with Susan and Francesca. It should be a toddler free for all. Noah hasn’t played with Trip in quite awhile so I’m interested to see how they do. Last time we were over there he obviously preferred playing with Holly. Cassanova.

Oh, in my updates yesterday I forgot to include that Noah has acquired the ability to pucker. Big open mouth kisses have been replaced by the cutest little puckered up mouth you’ve ever seen. Not that I’m partial.

I just placed an order for fifty dollars worth of toddler parenting books. Obviously because I’m insane. I ordered “What to Expect: The Toddler Years” to keep me up to date on the developmental info I thrive on, “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” to hopefully provide us all with more sleep without causing me a baby crying induced nervous breakdown, “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers” for tips on dealing with a misbehavin’ head strong toddler in a gentle reassuring way for us both, and “The Happiest Toddler on the Block” for a different theory on how to deal with said toddler. Hopefully I gain SOME useful knowledge out of ONE of them. Since all my other baby books sort of dropped me off at the one year mark, I’ve been flying without a safety net the last couple of months and I don’t like it. Do any of you use books as a resource? Any ones that you’ve loved or hated?

Oh and speaking of being netless - Patrice leaves today for almost an entire week. That sucks. And it's even worse because my mom leaves for Vegas on Monday. Half the staff of my emotional support team is traveling to freakin' Nevada. Sheesh.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

One very healthy rabbit

I could go on for days about sleep issues, the incessant fear of weaning, teething and the battle of the naps. But even I'm tired of hearing about that crap. So I’ll spare you. At least for today.

A few new Noah things
- Noah has learned to nod yes and no, though no is far more prevalent. He often uses them in the correct context, but sometimes he just answers no if your statement sounds like a question. Like “Aren’t you the cutest EVER?”
- He’s also using more hand gestures. He throws his hands up as if to say “I dunno.” And the pointing seems to never end. My favorite is when he bumps his head on the table and then he repeatedly points at the table, rubs his head and then gives the table a slap with his hand. Stupid table.
- He is doing very well with the spoon. After months of pretend eating with the measuring spoons we gave him as tub toys, we finally wised up and decided to see if he could actually feed himself. Depending on the day and the consistency of the food he seems like he’s either got it completely mastered or he’s gonna need a lot of work.
- He is still an eater. In fact to date there isn’t anything that he consistently won’t eat. The only times he refuses something it seems to be either full tummy or a mood based decision. Oh, except for milk. Still can’t get him to drink milk. He keeps taking a sip, grimacing and letting it run out of his mouth. Hopefully I’ll be able to wean him before he’s four. (Oh wait, I wasn't going to talk about that.)

Oh and I think I’ve hit menopause. Let me start by saying I am not pregnant. I am definitely not pregnant. However, it’s been 32 days since I had my period and my cycle is normally a 24 day cycle. Did I skip a period because of nursing? I can’t imagine why since I’ve been regularly getting it since Noah was 6 months old and I don’t think his nursing went up drastically enough to change that. The suckiest thing about this is that it’s harder to get pregnant if you don’t know what the hell is up with your damn cycle. I repeat – I am not pregnant.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Rotted to the core

As a family Mark, Noah and I are really blessed with several supportive and generous people in our lives. I know that if we needed anything or just wanted something we could go to my Mom, my Dad, Mark’s Dad or his Grandmother for help and they would help us out if it was in their means. And God forbid Mark were to unexpectedly lose his job or we were to lose our house in a fire, I’m sure there would be fights about who gets to put us up and help us out. That is a really nice feeling to have and I hope Noah always has that feeling without taking advantage of it. The holidays saw us overflowing with gifts both tangible and monetary in nature – and though that is far from the meaning of the Christmas season, we certainly feel grateful not just for the gifts but for the love behind them.

Some of you might remember the rant I went on about using the word “spoiled” to refer to children. As I explained, to spoil is to damage irreparably, to ruin permanently – and I don’t find it proper to talk of children in that manner. Of course my sensitivity to that word is based on the fact that it was used by family members to describe me. I don’t think it was used so much to describe my demeanor as it was describe the fact that they believed I was excessively indulged in a material way, by my mother in particular. My mother raised me as an only child and she was always very generous to me within her means, as was my father, however his means were never as great. Even when my mother was struggling to pay the bills she would use any extra to buy me the name brand sweater I wanted or take me to Disney world. This generosity and my mom’s interest in giving me the best she could afford is what caused many people to think of me as spoiled. And I’m sure it’s still occurring.

In the years since I graduated from high school my mother has moved up the ranks in her field and her career has become very lucrative. She’s not rich, but she’s comfortable. More comfortable than she probably ever dreamed, especially since she doesn’t have a college degree. And she’s even more generous now than when she was when I was a child. She loves to shop for others as well as herself, and she’s started college funds for every child in our family. And of course she is most generous with Noah and I.

I worried when I decided to stay home with Noah that my mother would be disappointed. She loves her career and has a very strong work ethic - and I felt that she wouldn’t respect my decision. I was very wrong. Not only has she been emotionally supportive of me being home to raise Noah in the early years, she’s gone above and beyond in helping out financially. Not just in showing up to our house with necessities like diapers, clothes and food – but also treating us to niceties that are not essential enough to fit into our budget. She treats us to things that we would otherwise have sacrificed.

Which brings me to this – yesterday she booked a vacation for us all to go to Jamaica in April. Mom and her husband Larry took many trips to the Caribbean and very much enjoyed it, so much so that she always thought she’d like to share it with us. And since Larry was battling with cancer the last couple of years, it’s been quite awhile since she’s been able to get away. And she could really use it now. So this Christmas she asked if we’d like to go away with her in the spring and we couldn’t be more excited.

By nature Mark and I aren’t really beach resort vacationers. We like to pick a city and do research to find out about the history, the things to see, the places to eat. And the whole time we’re away we’re on the go, to the point of getting little sleep and wearing our feet out. But with a toddler it’s a bit impossible to tour the sights in the cities of the world. Hell, we saw one thing a day when we went to Jim Thorpe for a weekend. So at this point a beach resort vacation is ideal. Plus, they say the secret to a good gift is to give someone something they will really enjoy but wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves – and this trip to Jamaica fits that bill. I just can’t wait to see little Noah dancing in the waters of the Caribbean.

There are two things that worry me about this trip. The first is in my control – whenever my mother does something over-the-top generous for me I always fear that my thanks won’t be enough, that I won’t seem grateful enough, that she won’t really know how much I appreciate what she’s doing and all that she does for me. And the only way to fix that is to make sure she knows, to the point of her getting sick of me talking about it. The second is not within either my control or hers – it’s all about the others. I can already hear the chiding voices of people talking about another thing that my mom did for me. I know from experience that there are those who pay quite a bit of attention to what my mom spends her money on and what she does for me, and I know there are those that still think of me as spoiled. But I can’t really help that. Can I?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Cheers to you and yours for a very happy 2006! Posted by Picasa

As always Bella was a PARTY animal. I was amazed I could keep Noah up until ten - but Bella stayed up for all the action, and then some.  Posted by Picasa

You couldn't ask for a cuter bunch with which to ring in the new year.  Posted by Picasa

On December 31st I went Christmas shopping for Noah. He got a shopping cart and a broom and dustpan. My plan is to hand over both tasks to him once he becomes proficient. He'll make a fine husband some day.  Posted by Picasa

Do YOU see the tree? I see the tree.  Posted by Picasa

More and less

Hope everyone had a lovely holiday season and a kickass New Year. For my part in 2006 I hope to be more healthy, more positive and more content. But now the holidays are over and since I feel like we’ve been on the move for the last six weeks and I’m looking forward to the January/February doldrums. And some new damn TV. LOST – why have you forsaken me?

Yesterday we went to “see the tree.” Mark’s Dad has this thing where we both have to host each other at least once during the season under the pretense that we see each other’s tree. They came to our place for Christmas Eve but we hadn’t yet been to their apartment. With as much of a whirlwind as the last month and a half have been I was kind of dreading making the trip. I’m tired and in dire need of spending a few days chained to our house. But as I told Mark, we’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and I didn’t want him to think that I didn’t value spending time with his family – so we packed it on up and got our tired asses into the car to trek the hour and a half to central Jersey yesterday. And the TREE! Words could not describe the glory, artistry and splendor of Martin and Sylvia’s tree! Of course, I’m lying. It was your run of the mill tree. BUT we saw it. In fact, we photographed it. But more importantly we spent time with our family and that’s what it is really all about.

Last night when flipping channels I ran across the TLC special brilliantly entitled “Woman with half a body.” It was on right before “Face eating tumor.” Who the hell comes up with these titles? At any rate, I was glued to the tube watching the story of Rose, a woman whose lower body was amputated when she was a child. Oddly enough the miraculous thing was not just her ability to overcome “bewildering obstacles” to become a mechanic, race cars, get married and have a child – it was her attitude in spite of it all. In addition to her other issues, when her beloved mother died of cancer she had to move her husband and son in with her father who has Alzheimer’s disease and emphysema and her brother who is mentally disabled and often violent. Rose’s plate is beyond full of reasons for her to feel heartbroken and defeated. Nevertheless her positive attitude was dumbfounding. It was yet another wakeup call to me to count my blessings and disregard my petty worries. I really value those.