Friday, March 31, 2006

BOYS! TRUCKS! SAND!  Posted by Picasa

Hummus or die!

Noah’s Pop Pop and Nana (Martin & Sylvia/the in-laws) met us at the park yesterday afternoon. I think they got a kick out of following him around, watching him wander near and far. It was neat to learn that Mark was also an explorer as a child.

Mark joined us at the park after work and then we decided to go over to Deuce for dinner. I hadn’t been before, but Mark had enjoyed it the one time he went and I had been told by a neighbor that they did indeed have high chairs – which is my litmus test for how welcome kids are. Of course when they brought out the high chair it was obvious that it had never been used before, the belt was wrapped up in tape and paper. The fact that it was happy hour, and that the place is dark and lit with red light made it not exactly Chuck E. Cheese – but Noah was very good and no one seemed inconvenienced by us. The food was good and Noah really enjoyed their homemade ketchup. At one point he dipped an M&M in it.

After dinner we came back to the house and Noah cavorted happily with Sylvia. In fact he was having such a good time that when they left he had a complete and total meltdown. Of course it had been a long busy day, it was after his bedtime, he’d eaten an insane amount of food, and then got himself a new bump on the head when he fell and hit the wheel brake on his high chair – so there were quite a few factors. But honestly he had a freak out like he’d never had before. He was inconsolable and exasperated. He went into the fridge and got the hummus, insisting he wanted some, then refused to eat it, continued to cry as I undressed him and put him in the bath, and then kept trying to climb out of the tub. I gave in, hauled him out without having washed him and then followed him naked and wet back to the kitchen where he again wanted the hummus but refused to eat it. WEIRD. It took Mark and I quite a while to get him to chill out enough to get him ready for bed. He was just SO overtired and overstimulated – and his whimpering had me upset. I can’t stand it when he’s so unhappy and I can’t fix it for him.

This morning we got together with neighbors Marita, her son Louis, Roger, and his son Ezra. The boys played with trucks in the sandbox (not really together but near each other) while Roger, Marita and I ate scones, drank coffee and chatted. It was really nice. I’m feeling good about the time we’re getting to spending with other children – and even better about having other adults to talk to during the day. Having peers with which to share your experiences is so helpful. And what I’ve realized over time is that just because these other parents aren’t my instant best friends with every thing in the world in common, what they can contribute to our lives is a sense of community that is priceless. And that goes for you too, my little blogging family.

Which brings me to this- where the hell are some of you? Everyone's posting has dropped off dramatically. I had to add a whole bunch of other blog feeds to my Google homepage so that I'd occasionally have something new to read. Wake up out there!

WHOA! They're putting on some sort of free show out there. And I have a snack, drink and a friend to share it with. Does it get any better? Posted by Picasa

This was the exciting view from our window yesterday. They're ripping up Girard to prepare for repaving. The sights and sounds were like toddler boy heaven.  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 30, 2006

You want computer. You want. You want. You're mad, mad, mad.

I’ve shown Noah some things on the computer that he really enjoys watching. Over and over and over again. And then crying when it’s time to stop. This of course also means that every time I take a glance at my email or intend to jot down a blog entry, he starts squawking to play with the computer. I’m a freakin’ genius.

Mark had fun at the Extreme Makeover: Home shoot. The crowd was electric and he felt he was a part of something. Of course that something was heavily branded by Dewey construction and Sears. Anyway, he was glad he went. And we already caught a long glimpse of him on our local news coverage of the event. I can’t wait to see if he turns up on the show. It’s scheduled to air April 30 – keep your eyes open for a really tall guy in a Drexel T shirt.

The weather here is heavenly. Yesterday afternoon we went to the park and had a chance encounter with Noah’s posse – Frannie and Tripp. It was just too nice NOT to be at the park. After dinner we took a walk to the library and the liquor store – we ran out of Noah’s brand of Tequila. Today Mark’s Dad and his wife are coming to visit and I’ve requested they meet us at the park rather than the house. It’ll be nice for them to see him climbing and voyaging about rather than just stuck inside gazing out the window with longing in his heart.

Noah has become quite the climber. He can clamber up into just about any chair. It makes me proud and scares the crap out of me. Of course I’ll probably be saying that about Noah for the next forty years of my life. The thought of it makes me proud and scares the crap out of me.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

To the extreme

Noah is obsessed with M&M’s, or shall I say “num nums.” I believe he asked for them nine bajillion times today. I'm not exaggerating.

Potty readiness is in effect. We haven’t bought a potty or anything yet, but we talk about it all the time. “Mama has to go potty.” “See Daddy pee pee in the potty?” And said when Noah pees on the floor during naked time - “You peed. It’s okay. I’ll clean it up.” He seems to be getting the idea. Last night right before he got in the bath he ran over in front of the toilet and peed on the floor. It impressed the piss out of me. And then Mark cleaned it up.

Noah and I went to the Hancock Rec Center playground today rather than Liberty Lands. It’s closer – and it’s got the extra bonuses of foul mouthed teens playing basketball, broken glass and the ear shattering hum of motorized scooters. What more could a toddler ask for?

Tonight we operated without Daddy patrol. His job requested he go to NE Philly to participate in a taping of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He could have gotten out of it but I encouraged him to go. We aren’t really fans (I don’t like the message it gives that everyone deserves over-the-top luxury homes) but it isn’t everyday you get to participate in the taping of a television show. He isn’t home yet, in fact he just called me from there and I could barely hear over the people screaming, but I’ll be sure to share any fun stories he allows me to pass on. Anyway, the day seems really long when you don’t have the cavalry coming in at 5:30 pm. We missed you, Mark! Our home was so much less Extreme without ya!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Weighty issues

Saturday morning we got out of the house early for what was most likely our last breakfast at Silk City. I’ve been a patron for over 11 years now, and I spent so much time hanging out in the bar and diner in 1995 that I moved to Northern Liberties just to be close. For me it MADE this neighborhood inviting, and I’m so very sad to see it go. I’ll miss the vegetarian black russian, the sweet potato fries, the chocolate bread pudding, and most of all the vibe. I could write a whole damn mushy eulogy – but I’ll spare you.

At 10 am we headed to Liberty Lands Park to take part in the spring cleanup. I spent about an hour shoveling and raking new mulch around the playground equipment while Mark and Noah checked some clowns that were performing for the kids. Mark said Noah was really awestruck by the performance and was one of only two kids who didn’t get bored and start wandering around. Meanwhile I pulled muscles in my upper body I never knew I had. It was hard to push the stroller home – but totally worth it. I’m sure we are going to get a lot of use out of that park this spring and summer and I wanted to contribute.

At noon Patrice came by with our lovely little Bella-tubey. She hung out with us and the babies for a few fun hours before hitting the road. Sean got to our place around four to eat Mexican grub with us and collect his lovely daughter. It was nice having the Milligans over – it seemed like it had been a long time. Oh and while Sean and Bella were here we watched the Teletubbies segment with THE MAN in the house. Noah was obviously a little freaked out but he handled it really well and I do think watching it again with Mark and I reassuring him that THE MAN was just singing a funny song seemed to help. Noah has still brought him up a few times since then, but in a much less distressed manner.

Yesterday we went to Lowes to price screen doors. Though we currently have a screen door on our back door, it was improperly installed by Mark and my Mom (sorry guys) a few years ago. It has no latching mechanism so it will flop open if Noah leans on it, tossing him head first on to the concrete slab that is our backyard – and it isn’t even an effective screen because it doesn’t fit properly in the frame and bugs can get around it. So it’s imperative that we replace it so that we can get some blow through breeze through the house when it gets warmer. Unfortunately what we realized at Lowes is that we either had to drop an arm and a leg on some sort of specially sized door, cut it ourselves which was the problem last time, or pay an arm and a leg to have it installed. It was very frustrating trip, especially since I was already feeling a bit moody for no apparent reason. I also looked at outdoor carpeting because I’m thinking it would be nice to have a little cushioning back there for Noah’s outdoor play area. Anyone have any outdoor turf experience?

Yesterday afternoon I got all fired up reading a blogging debate that has been raging on a few Mommy blogs. It all started with this post on Morphing into Mama where in essence she says that wives must maintain their appearance for their husbands – or else the husbands have succumbed to false advertising. “Five years ago when Husband and I married, I was 120 pounds. I now weigh 125. I would have to use extreme measures to get back down to 120. That’s not a weight gain I can control within reason. However, if I’d maintained the 40 pounds I’d gained during pregnancy, well, that would be unfair since I can actually do something about that.” Obviously this post pissed off a bunch of people, including myself. I didn’t comment or anything, I just ended up flitting around to read a bunch of bloggers sounding off. Homesick Home, Tertia, Moxie, Suburban Bliss, City Mama. In particular I was nodding my head vigorously in agreement as I read Moxie’s post – “What’s got to give in the family’s life for a mom to lose her pregnancy weight?” Her comments about time, comfort food and our bodies as symbols rang my bells. But here is my take on Morphing into Mama’s original post: False advertising MY ASS. Life takes us on an unseen path where changes are inevitable – not just changes in circumstances but in self. People are pliable and what they are and what they become are dictated in some degree by the path they are on. When you marry someone you are pledging to be a constant partner, supporter and companion to them – for the good changes and the bad. Marriage is not selling someone a concrete bill of goods that should be then degraded or exchanged if expectations are not met.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Beware of THE MAN

Ms. Bella’s tube operation was a success and she and her parents are at home recuperating by eating brownies and marshmallows.

Or trip to Jamaica is in less than five weeks and I have little else to wear but ill fitting jeans and threadbare T-shirts. And I believe patrons at a resort might be expected to dress a tad better than folks on the beach at Ocean City. So Noah and I were lucky enough to spend yesterday afternoon shopping with Grandma. Actually, I tried stuff on, Noah ran around in circles, my Mom chased him and then paid. I have to admit that I feel some shame about being a 31 year old woman who’s Mom has to take her clothes shopping, but more than that I feel lucky and thankful. My Mom actually thanked me for letting her be so generous, and for being good natured. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really like to clothes shop for myself and the experience often ends with me lashing out at anyone in the general vicinity. It’s really pleasant for all involved. But not only was I in a generally good mood yesterday, I also reminded myself how the proper repayment for generosity is not bitchiness. When I did tell Mom I felt a little sheepish having her shop for me (and Noah and Mark), she said “I’m glad you’re at home taking care of my Grandbaby.” It nearly made me cry. It saddens me sometimes to think that there are those that don’t value what I’m doing, that it’s right for US, but it’s even more moving to realize that the people who really matter DO. Exotic vacations and new clothing are certainly things that we could live without, but it’s very nice not to have to.

Noah is a regular artiste lately. All he wants to do is draw. “Jaw? Jaw?” he says as he moves his hand back and forth in the air as if he’s scribbling. On Tuesday we must have spent three hours drawing – not consecutively mind you, but a bunch of little sessions. I have NO talent, so I make sorry attempts at snakes, sheep, cars, bears – things he’ll recognize. And he just scribbles on top of them in a variety of colors. He LOVES it.

I can’t believe I have gone this long without telling you about THE MAN. Almost a month ago we were watching an episode of Teletubbies (go figure) and Noah saw something that changed his life. Each episode includes a computer animated segment that is sort of surreal – like the dancing bear he loves, or a butterfly (my personal favorite*), or the body of water and ships that materialize and then disappear. In the episode we were watching, the weird thing was a pink house. And in the house you could see the shadow of a figure running back and forth from room to room, until he opens up a window, sticks his head out and begins singing opera. SOMETHING about THE MAN IN THE HOUSE is unmistakably evil. And he made Noah cry, scream in fact. Maybe it’s that he’s a scary looking puppet like Prince Tuesday, perhaps it’s because that house belongs to the dancing bear and THE MAN is clearly an intruder, or possibly Noah just isn’t a fan of opera. Whatever it is, since that time Noah is haunted by that man. Several times a day he will bring him up to me with a worried look on his face. How? Well, he pantomimes opening up a window, does his sign for Teletubbies, gets a sad look and shakes his head NO. And I say something to the effect of “I know. You don’t like the man in the house. He’s scary. But he’s not here.” And now he asks me to draw a house by using that same motion, but then I have to reassure him that it isn’t THE MAN’s house. I keep thinking that maybe we need to see that man again, that maybe Noah’s moved from frightened to curious – but if he hasn’t I will feel SO BAD. I don’t want him to be any more traumatized by that evil, intruding, opera puppet man.

And since we were on the subject of Teletubbies once again I have to mention how cute it was when Noah saw the ride-on Noo Noo vacuum at the Montgomeryville Mall and started making the suction noise he makes (and that Patrice LOVES.)

Today Noah and I went to the Please Touch Museum for two hours with Susan and Frannie and this afternoon we’re headed over to Holly’s to play in the sandbox. Tomorrow Marita and Louis are coming to our place to visit in the morning and on Saturday we’re going to spend a few hours with the lovely Bella. But we need more babies. MORE. Spring is promising to spring real soon and with it will come a flurry of activity. I was finally invited to join the Northern Liberties Babies email group, courtesy of Marita, and I’m already getting a million emails about Moms who want to get together and area kid friendly activities.

* Though the other Tubbies are clearly taken with the butterfly when it lands on Dipsy he mumbles “Ahhhh. Get it off. Get it off.” It makes me laugh every time.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Hope hope hope

This weekend everyone seemed a bit out of sorts. We went to see my Mom on Saturday and she was sick as a dog. Mark started feeling a bit under the weather and I felt just exhausted, like a rung out dish rag, but not really sick. And Noah… something is up with him. I hope it’s still the teething. The nonstop evil teething, and not the beginning of a new phase. Please NO. He has of late become more obstinate – letting out a little shriek if we take him away from something and whining more when he isn’t getting his way. And for the last two days he’s even been a bit tantram-tastic. We’ve had a couple of prolonged loud wailing episodes that included throwing himself down on the floor. Now I know he’s not feeling great because his sleep last night was piss poor. In fact it was one of the most sleep distrurbed nights we’ve had in a long time – so I’m holding out hope that the sleeplessness and whatever is causing the sleep disturbances is also responsible for his short fuse and emotional outbursts. And I am praying that it isn’t the dawning of a new day.

Friday, March 17, 2006

When your middle name is McCormack on St. Patrick's Day you get to have green cupcakes for breakfast. (Please pay no attention to the large purple bump on his head.)  Posted by Picasa

The service here is SO slow.  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Just a little squished

Noah had a hard day. This morning he slammed his little finger in the bread drawer. I panicked thinking it was broken but soon realized it was just squished. We washed it and applied a bandaid, but it made Noah cry so we removed it. In the afternoon, during a visit from Frannie, Tripp and new neighbor Stella, Noah dropped a can on his foot. I panicked thinking his toe was broken but soon realized it was just squished. And tonight while taking him downstairs after his bath, my slippers caused me to lose my footing sending us bobsledding down a few steps before I fell on my butt to stop it. Noah was facing behind me and I heard a loud thump as we fell – his head hit the top wooden planked step - he started screaming and in that fraction of a second before I turned him around to get a look at him I envisioned my boy a bloody mess. I panicked thinking he was broken but soon realized he was just squished. He’s got a hell of a bruised lump, but he seemed as right as rain as soon as we stopped trying to put ice on his head. I still feel rattled, freaked out and guilty about the fall even though I realize it was just an accident. It scared the crap out of me and I’m having a hard time coming out of it. I’ll likely be peeking in on him frequently tonight to check on him, that is if he isn’t already waking. During his toothbrushing tonight Mark and I realized that the remaining flesh over his second molar looked like a meaty mess. Poor little guy. What a day.

I have to mention that Mark was a genius at the ice thing – to ease Noah’s mind about having the ice put on his head for short increments Mark also applied ice to his own head and mine. We counted to seven and then the next one got a turn. Noah still didn’t love it – but it calmed him down quite a bit.

On an up note for the day, it was nice to have a gaggle of Moms and babies come for a visit at teatime. Noah and I walked to the local bakery earlier in the day to pick up a treat for our guests and I was nearly giddy about the festive green iced and besprinkled cupcakes that we got. Nerd.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I am a transit GOD

Yesterday afternoon I took Noah to the Haircuttery in Port Richmond for a quick trim of his feathery wispy flyaway hair. Of course before finding the place I drove past it and all over creation. I was a little worried about how Noah might react to getting his hair cut. He’d had two quick trims before but they only took a second, and they were by someone who he sort of knew – but more cutting and a stranger were in the works this time. Not only was he INCREDIBLY well behaved and cooperative during the cut, he even sat in a chair in the waiting room for fifteen minutes reading a book until they were ready for us. I was so proud.

Patrice and Ms. Bella came to spend the night at our house so they wouldn’t have to fight rush hour traffic on their way to Temple Children’s Hospital for her tube consultation. It was nice to have a few hours with them in the evening and this morning before they had to hit the road. I’m certain that Bella’s vocabulary has surpassed mine. All of these WORDS coming out of that precious tiny mouth. It really is mind blowingly cute. And it’s no wonder she’s so verbal – Patrice is constantly singing little songs and making up funny little rhymes. She’s such a fun mom.

Today the boy and I went to Ikea. AGAIN. I know. But I don’t have anything new to report. A wise hound once said “We write about what's on our minds, on our hearts and in our lives, and we have faith that those who are visiting want to read it because it's us, it's ours, it's the story of our lives as we see it." So THANK YOU for reading through the tedious posts about grocery store trips and visits with the grandparents. It means a lot to me that I’m being heard by people that care to read, even when what I’m posting is fairly insignificant.

The Girard trolley line runs right outside of our house and you can hear it gliding by every time it passes. I can tune it out but Noah LOVES it and will point up in the air and draw my attention to the noise every time he hears it. He loves to stand on the wretched blue futon in our office, peer out the window and watch it pass. And when it’s gone he signs for “more.” YES. I am to provide more trolley. It’s become fairly obvious to Mark and I that Noah thinks we are omnipotent and orchestrate everything that occurs in his world. At the snap of our fingers we can produce trolleys, people, and dogs.

And a very Happy Birthday to the vivacious young Katy!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ed's brother AJ is a photographer. He took a billion pictures of Noah while we were visiting on Saturday. This photo is my favorite Noah photo ever. It just does such a great job of conveying his personality.  Posted by Picasa

Taking a moment to relax after a long day at the office.  Posted by Picasa

The bar room floor is an excellent place to sit down and immerse yourself in a good book.  Posted by Picasa

An offer of pipe cleaner jewelry guarantees you an IN with the bartender.  Posted by Picasa

Ice cream is nearly as good as sleep.

I’m happy to report that the Northern Liberties shindig was quite fun. I had brief chats with a few other playground mothers who were friendly and not standoffish, Noah got over his shy inclination to hide behind tables and then began flirting with the bartenders, and we all enjoyed the food and drink. But honestly I don’t think I can adequately convey the feeling of chaos in the room. There were SO many small children flitting hither and thither, between the legs of people who were drinking – and it almost felt like the little ones had taken over and we were approaching a Lord of the Flies scenario. There were moments that were downright primal. But luckily we call came out relatively unscathed.

Yesterday the boy and I went to visit my mom at work. It’s been quite awhile since I had a proper visit to cubicle land, and I’ve never worked in an environment as conservatively corporate as my Mom’s place of business – so I was feeling a bit out of sorts while we were there. I spent the afternoon mostly trailing behind Mom and Noah as they made their rounds to the oohing and ahhing spectators. Needless to say EVERYONE knew of Noah, had seen a million pictures and had been anticipating his arrival. We tried to eat outside at a picnic table since it was such a warm day, but Noah was more interested in chartering the outer territories of the office park. I felt more than a bit embarrassed when Noah catapaulted himself down the hill toward a muddy water gully between the buildings and I had to throw myself down there to get him. Did I mention it was between the buildings? And that they have windows? I’m sure it was a treat to behold. Anyway – Mom was thrilled to see Noah and show him off and Noah was thrilled to run around some place new and be seen. And I was tired.

I need to diet. I have to wear a bathing suit in about 5 weeks and I’m disgusted with my lumpy body. But I’m also finding it impossible to diet. I feel like I happily sacrifice so much for Noah – sleep, career, fashion, socializing, personal time - that I feel unable to sacrifice one more thing – like the occasional cookie. I've lost over 60 pounds since I gave birth to Noah - but I've been stuck at the same weight for the last few months. (At least I'm not gaining.) It will obviously take something more extreme to drop the next ten, and I'm just not willing to give it. I am, however, willing to hate myself whenever I dress like I might be seen.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A weekender

For us here in Philly, Saturday’s weather was even nicer than Friday’s. (Sorry Utah!) And we had a really lovely day. In the morning Mark took Noah to the Rec Center playground while I vacuumed – which is, I’m sure, the way we’d all love to spend a Saturday morning. Luckily I got it done in a jiffy. When Mark got home he was pissed that some neighborhood kids were pouring juice down the sliding boards, making them unusable, but Noah still had a good time just trotting around the baseball field and climbing a mud hill. After lunch we loaded up the wagon and jaunted out to Princeton Junction to pick up Mark’s best friend Ed and then head over to Ed’s brother’s house in Mercerville. We were very happy to meet baby Audrey, Ed’s four month old niece and also spend time with her parents AJ & Amy, her Grandma Diane, and of course her Uncle Ed. Surprisingly we talked about babies. Go figure. Then Mark, Ed, Noah and I took a stroll around the marina at Mercer County Park before going to Chevy’s Fresh Mex for dinner. Dinner was mexi-licious. Noah was great during dinner, but he and I lit out to the Petco across the parking lot while the men waited for the bill. There were snakes, ferrets, rats and fish to be seen – and some steam to run off after sitting in a high chair for an hour. And after a stop at Ed’s to ready the boy for sleep, we set off home.

Today we indulged in kitchen and bathroom cleaning. FANTASTIC! And this evening we’ll partake in a greasy food buffet and an open bar at a neighborhood fundraising party. Kids are welcome and our area is swimming in ‘em, so it’ll probably get quite crowded. I’ve found some of our neighborhood parents to be a bit standoffish and cliquish in the past, so it should be interesting to see how the evening goes down. Luckily we are meeting Noah’s pals Frannie and Tripp there, and I believe their parents will be there as well.

Tomorrow Noah and I set out to Malvern to have lunch with my Mom at her place of business. She’s been dying to have me bring Noah to her work so she can show him off. I’ve been resisting because the drive time will be as long as the visit, but I think after lunch I might do some errands like getting the boy’s hair cut. Though naturally my agenda will depend on Noah’s whim. As always.

Hear her ROAARRRR! This is baby Audrey and her Uncle Ed - who also happens to be Mark's best friend. I'm not so sure Audrey is willing to share him.
 Posted by Picasa

Like many young men, Noah is afraid of babies. Posted by Picasa

Ed and Noah stroll along the resevoir while having a heart to heart.  Posted by Picasa

G is for Goat. Maaaaa!  Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 10, 2006

Let the sunshine in

Spring is in the air and we’re all chomping at the bit for the warmer weather. Today we had not ONE but TWO “play dates.” (I know how much you ladies love that term.)

This morning we received a call from Marita, mother of 22 month old Louis, who lives around the block from us. She called to invite us to come over and play in their sandbox. Her and her husband bought the two abandoned lots next to their row home and as a result have an enormous outdoor garden space. I had only met Marita a few times in dealing with the Kensington South Neighborhood Association, of which she is now the president, and I’m excited about the prospect of having another area mother and child with whom Noah and I can spend some time. I felt like things went well, despite the fact that the boys barely interacted. Damn you, parallel play. Conversation didn’t seem awkward, I just hope I wasn’t SOO chatty and inquisitive that she found me annoying. It happens. I also had the whole cry-it-out /weening conversation with her and she gave me advice but not in a demeaning or mother superior type way, which is a good sign. This sounds SO totally Jr. High but - I hope she liked me!

This afternoon we’re headed to Liberty Lands Park to meet with Susan, Frannie and a new neighbor who just moved into the area with her little girl. Mark says at this rate we’ll need to start a Mommy gang and buy matching jackets. How sickening is that idea? I wouldn't wear such a ridiculous monstrosity, unless of course grey pleather were involved.

Today’s lovely weather had me pulling back the insulating plastic wrap and throwing open the windows. Of course it’s also caused every yahoo and their brother to blast their car stereo to noise pollution levels as they cruise past my house – while Noah’s napping, of course. Ah… warm weather in the city. I just hope Noah is desensitized and oblivious to the noises of revved engines, emergency sirens and howling neighbors or we’ll get even LESS sleep.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Couldn't you just DIE?  Posted by Picasa

A wandering man on the go.  Posted by Picasa

Like a weed - a very cute, very smart weed

On Tuesday we hightailed it to Qtown to spend time with some of the family. We picked up Papa Joe from work and hit the Quakertown playground for an hour before we were treated to Applebees for dinner. Remember this playground? A mere seven months ago Noah couldn’t even walk and now he’s running up and down the steps and slides. Incredible. It nearly brought me to tears. My Grandfather is in far better shape after his stroke than I could have imagined. I’m not sure how long that will last since he went right back to smoking a million unfiltered cigarettes and of course he went to the bar over the weekend. You can’t teach an old dog, I guess. Oma is doing okay. I fear for her health as well. She seems frailer every time I see her.

We babysat Ms. Frannie for a few hours in the afternoon yesterday. She wasn’t much interested in Play Doh, stickers or coloring but she did proceed to try to stand on the coffee table, climb into the toy box and throw herself down the stairs. As you can tell she’s in a more active stage now. The kids were very well behaved in their parallel play, though Noah was being a tad territorial. Frannie was pulling greeting cards out of a picnic basket and when she’d take one out and put it on the floor to get another one, Noah would pick it up, take into the other room, drop it on the floor and then close the door behind him as he went back to Frannie to get the one. It was funny – and I was glad that Noah wasn’t grabbing things out of her hands. He was being a bit possessive, but still mannerly about it.

OH. I’ve got a couple of exciting tidbits to relate. Exciting to me, anyway. Noah has certainly taken his time about it, but I’m very happy to report that he started making M sounds. Yesterday and today have been soundtracked by a string of “mamamamamama.” Sometimes referring to me but mostly just testing out the new sound. I was wondering if the boy was EVER gonna call me “Mama.” Mark kept saying that maybe it didn’t occur to Noah to address me because I was ALWAYS there - taking me for granted like the air he breathes. But I really think it was just the “Mmmmm” mastery that was required. In other tantalizing news our home has been invaded by the four 8 inch plush Teletubbies I bought off eBay. Noah is definitely interested in them but I have to admit I’m pushing the love envelope by saying “Why don’t you read La La a story?” and “Do you want to have Po in the crib with you?” I’m very serious about my match making. Though it did occur to me this afternoon that it might not be wise to foster your child’s attachment to toys that can not be easily replaced. Duh. I guess if he really does attach to one of them I’ll be bidding on eBay for some backups toot sweet. And last but not least I have to tell you I was thrilled this morning when Noah was actually playing with his Little Touch Leap Pad for the first time by his self. Though the books are still a bit too complicated, he was enjoying the activity page that included (what else) A to Z animals and the sounds they make. He’s learning, practicing and growing. My God.

Long night. Teething boy. Sleepy me. Naptime.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

He's got it Baa'd

Noah is in a very obsessive stage at the moment. It started with the Teletubbies, and the constant requests to watch them. And it progressed to the dancing bear segment on the Teletubbies. And then he started asking repeatedly for “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “I’m a Little Teapot.” And now he keeps asking for “-ish” and kneading his hands together to let me know he wants the Play Doh. Yesterday he took it to a new level. I was on one of the Teletubbies websites showing him some of the little animated games and he was really getting a kick out of them. But then he saw the stupid “Little Bo Peep” game, and it was all over. I won’t bother you with details other than to say it contains a lot of baaing. And given Noah’s inclination toward the bleating of sheep, he LOVED it. So much so that whenever we stopped watching it he cried. Last night while Mark was changing his diaper and putting him in his pajamas, Noah was crying and baaing. “Boo hoo hoo BAAA! Boo hoo hoo BAA!” It was so sad, so cute and so funny all at the same time. I was having a real hard time keeping a straight face. And can you guess what he said as soon as he woke up this morning? Baa. He said baa.

Just as amazing to me as the obsessions themselves are the ways he's developed little hand motions or one word requests to communicate his wants. For the dancing bear he shakes his shoulders, for the spider song he wiggles his fingers together over his head, and for the teapot he tilts his head to the side. He’s got his own little language and we must all conform.

Last night the three of us went to a neighborhood meeting. I was able to overhear some of the information conveyed while I followed the boy up and down the hallway leading to the meeting room. He was pretty well behaved, but a well behaved toddler can still be a distraction so I’m not sure if we’ll be trying this again anytime soon. On the upside he enjoyed himself and got a lot of smiles and compliments from the neighbors. This afternoon we’re going out to Qtown to visit with my Oma and Grandfather who’s home from rehabilitation, and to have some hang time with Papa Joe. I best go get ready for that excursion. Baa.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Poor acceptance speech

I suck at accepting compliments. Especially such overwhelmingly sweet and over the top compliments. My first inclination is to write a long post about how you’re all wrong – listing everything I do that others would disapprove of and everything I think I should do that I don’t. But I won’t do that this time. Partly because it’s time consuming and I don’t have the time to waste on my self doubt. And partly because I’ve come to learn that by dismissing someone’s praise you’re also dismissing the person who gave it to you. When I lived in Rockville MD with the band I worked at a vocational service agency that offered career preparation and counseling to less employable populations, and one of those was women. In particular women returning to work after raising a family and older women who wanted to change careers. My boss Roberta was a bit of a motivating feminist, and she often talked about women’s issues. Often I flash back to her telling me that many women were programmed not to accept compliments. That if you told a woman you liked her shoes instead of saying “Thank you” she’d very likely dismiss the compliment by saying “These old things?” or telling you how she bought them cheap. I am TOTALLY one of these women. So in the spirit of Roberta I’ll just say thanks for your kind words and also thank you for the inspiration and guidance I receive from you all on a daily basis.
So the reason I haven’t blogged is that I was just feeling bored and boring. I mean how many times can I recount incidentless trips to the grocery store, the Walmart and the pet store? When Mark mentioned I hadn’t blogged I told him I was tired and he could do it for me. And I think he did a really good job in relaying some of the key goings on in our house. And with better grammar, spelling and a new fresh voice. I hope he chirps in with details every once in awhile.

The Teletubbies devotion continues at our house. When I went to Walmart on Friday I intended on buying a plush “Tubby” doll so the boy could love it, kiss it, hold it and swear his undying devotion forever and ever. But aside from DVDs they had no Teletubbies merchandise. When I got home I did an online search to find out what store was carrying the stuff- and the answer was NONE. Well, none in the US. The only stuff I could find was from the UK or used. So over the weekend I won an eBay bid for four small plush “Tubby” dolls from a mother trying to lessen her storage. Unfortunately none of the dolls lactates, but I’m hoping that Noah will attach to one enough that it will later be a comfort to him at bedtime.

I did get Noah some Play Doh when we were at Walmart. I was SO hyped to have him try it and to have another fun activity to do with him, and I was sorely disappointed on Friday when his overwhelming reaction to it was to decide he didn’t like the feel of it on his hands. He’d touch it and then make this “EW gross” face. But we played with it some more since then and he seems to be enjoying it. We’ve gotten to calling it “squish” since those were the directions I’ve been giving him on how to play with it. Mostly though he just wants to watch me make snakes.

We go to Jamaica in less than 7 weeks. And I’m overly paunchy and not yet pregnant (dammit) so I have to go on a diet. I’d like to lose 12 pounds. Of course I have no real plan or agenda for that weight loss. I’m thinking it would be best if it fell of magically while I went about my normal daily life with no alterations. Cross your fingers for me on that one.

While I was typing this Noah put a yogurt covered raisin in the mouth of his singing Leap Frog Tad doll. SO cute. OH and favorite cute Noah thing – he breaks into song when he hears The White Stripes “There’s No Home For You Here.” We’ve listened to that album about a Majillion times and the first time he sang along to the “AHHHH” part I thought it was a funny fluke, but soon realized he did it every time. I have to videotape it and post it – though I have NO idea how to do that.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Guest blogger: marksthespot

In a departure from protocol, Nicole asked me to blog for her tonight. (I'm her husband, if you don't know.) She feels like she has nothing to say right now, and I think she's suffering from blogger's angst. ("No one could possibly care about the run-of-the-mill details of my boring life.") It will pass, I'm sure.

What she's probably expecting is that I'll fill you in on what Noah's up to -- how his obsession with the Teletubbies (his first obsession! how sweet!) continues unabated, plus a bizarre super-obsession with a poorly animated soft-shoe-dancing bear that appears in several episodes (he cries if we let the program go forward without watching that part at least four times); how he's slept relatively decently the past two nights (up briefly at 1 a.m. and up for good around 6); how he charmed my father, his wife and my 96-year-old grandmother on a visit today, running like a screaming meemie around my dad's apartment, laughing heartily with everyone and begging us to retrieve his ball from down the blocked-off stairs, only to immediately throw it right back down (memo to my family: you saw this twice; it's funny exactly three times); how he continues to master animal vocabulary, and even a few new human words (he's really started mimicking much more readily, and we have a sneaking fear it has something to do with increased TV consumption); and how generally he's really incredibly fun right now, happy and smiling and impish with only the briefest dark clouds, and we're in no hurry to see him start leapfrogging developmental stages.

What Niki's not expecting is that I'll hijack this post to make sure that all her blogging friends know exactly how fantastic she is, as a wife and friend but especially as a mom. I feel we're pretty good parents, and I know I try my best, but the depth and absolute surety of her commitment to Noah amazes me every day. Make no mistake, like all parents we're dog-tired all the time, and Niki has it much worse than I do. Because of the way things just seemed to have developed , in addition to being with Noah all day while I'm at work she bears the brunt of managing his quirky sleeping patterns. But while sometimes I can't stop staring off into space and dreaming I live in a giant bed set in a field of beds beside a stream flowing with beds, Nicole always seems to summon the energy not only to take care of Noah but to really engage him, and most importantly to enjoy him. I always heard that great parents are hard-wired to put their kids first in everything, and while I know I'd throw myself in front of a bus for Noah, Nicole truly is thinking about him, his happiness and his development in every plan she makes, from major life decisions to figuring out to do with an unplanned morning. Again, it's amazing to me.

I always knew I wanted to have a family, but being an only child from a relatively unhappy marriage who never, ever was around any small children consistently before Noah, I had no idea what it would take to parent with even marginal success. I am grateful beyond words to have Nicole as a partner in this, and when I'm not sure how to proceed, I just follow her lead. (Hey, that rhymed, Jesse Jackson-style.)

This turned from what I intended as a quick shout-out to my old lady to a rambling, stream-of-consciousness mess. I apologize if I've bored you or given you the willies. But given one shot at this forum, I had some things to say. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogger.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

King Noah awaits callers to his royal throne.  Posted by Picasa

The farm gets a hella lot of mail.  Posted by Picasa

I don't know who told you could use that coupon here, but it sure wasn't me.  Posted by Picasa

Can I get a price check on the red peppers? Posted by Picasa

Service with a smile.  Posted by Picasa

Welcome to Waterworld.  Posted by Picasa

Noah is already a member of Septa's bus driver union. Posted by Picasa

Time for Tubby Bye Bye

Monday seemed to go well. Tammy arrived and didn’t faint at the sight of our shabby cleanup job. The kids all seemed to enjoy the museum and Noah has seemed to finally have gotten over his fear of those animatronic chickens in the barnyard section. And I actually remembered to take my damn camera and take some pictures this time. I’ll post a few shortly.

Me-time Monday was pretty much a wash for me. I was so tired I knew if I sat down to read I’d just fall asleep – which is what I did last Monday. So Mark went into the basement and I watched some crap I had DVR’d and then went to bed early.

Yesterday Noah and I went to BJ’s wholesale in South Philly. I spent a lot of money on large quantities of staples. Among other things I came home with 12 cans of green beans, 18 cans of soup, 35 granola bars, 3 jars of pasta sauce, 4 boxes of pasta, 3 marinades, 2 giant BBQ sauces and 8 boxes of rice side dish. Oh, and I bought a box of frozen mini quiches which are meant for party snacks, but are also great for feeding a toddler.

We stopped into the Petsmart in the same shopping center only discover they didn’t have much in the way of pets there. Some fish, some parrots, one chinchilla and a guinea pig. But they did have a few cats that were up for adoption. There was one in particular who kind of stole our hearts. If the adoption representative had been there I might have adopted him on the spot and showed up on my friend Tracey’s doorstep with a little surprise. To which Mark replied “That is NEVER a good idea.” In the evening Noah and I took the El to West Philly to meet Mark after work for passport photos (for Jamaica) and Indian buffet.

Today we are trooping out to Reading to see Ms. Janette and baby Jules. It’s been quite awhile since we were out in her neck of the woods. I hope Noah does well in the car. Since the days of two naps are over I know he’ll be awake at least one whole leg of the trip, and that terrifies me.

Oh. So TV. You all know now that Noah watches some TV. What you don’t know is that in the last two weeks he has become obsessed with one particular show. Teletubbies. All he wants to watch is Teletubbies. He loves them. They are his new friends. And he wants to see them frequently, to which Mama has had to put her foot down to some degree. But he wants it SO bad, and he has a sign for it. See, every time he turned on the TV and a different show was on he’d make the sign for “more” and I kind of thought he meant he wanted more Teletubbies but I couldn’t be sure. So the other night I said Teletubbies a few times while rubbing my stomach with my hand. He picked it up right away. Now he says “tee… tee” and puts his hand on his stomach. He even does it during the show when they aren’t on screen. He says “Hello” and “Bye Bye” to them. He puts his hand over his mouth when they are surprised. He dances when they dance. It really is cute. And frightening. Mark and I have decided that I could easily ween Noah if we could get him a LaLa that squirts milk.

Well, I best get packed up for our Reading extravaganza. Oh- I am WAY behind on reading and commenting on blogs. I’ll get around to catching up tonight hopefully. Hope you are all well.