Saturday, April 21, 2007

New phrases

My husband confessed that he heard Q talking to himself and demanding, “Where the H is my hammer?”

J looked at me innocently, “I have no idea who he learned that phrase from.”

Integrated into his normal conversation this week is a new (and much more positive) phrase that cracks me up everytime he uses it, “I be happy to!”

He uses it when I ask him if he’ll feed the kitties, “I be happy to!”
If he’d like to sit next to the milk gallon at the supermarket, “I be happy to!”
And most amusing, perhaps, he’ll ask, “Mom will you read to me?” Then answers for me, “Be happy to!”

How can I not be?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Golden Day

It’s pouring here. It rarely rains so definitively in this region. Afraid of being trapped inside with an increasingly crabby child, I decided to run an errand about 30 minutes away at Baby Rus (named by a confused family member). I suggested to Q that we go run errands. He happily announced we were going on another ‘adventure’ and cooperated with trip preparations. I fear that some day my label of ‘adventure’ for running errands, or going to a new library, is just not going to fly with this boy. But I’ll take it while I can.

Miraculously, Baby Rus had the nifty tool I was looking for, as well as the bottle nipples I’m hoping to implement sometime in June. Afterwards, I realized that going straight home was a waste of resources. If we’d come all this way, we really ought to do one of our other shopping errands, pouring rain or not. I let Q decide, asking if we should head home. “Go to more buildings.” He stated firmly, mouth full of PB&J.

So I decided that I would risk the odds of the vacuum store being closed on a Sunday, and attempt to find one of the two places in Southeast CT where I can get replacement bags for our fancy, beloved vacuum cleaner. I started by taking a wrong turn. As I drove through a Waterford suburb, Q kept asking, “Where’s the vacuum store, Mommy?” Um, I have no idea? Somehow I managed to navigate through the unlikely suburb (normal routes would have one take frontage roads by the interstate) to a strip mall. Where the vacuum cleaner store had just opened 5 minutes earlier. I got two boxes. Should last us a good 6 to 12 months…

It was still pouring. But the grocery store at the strip mall beckoned with whispers of oatmeal and raisins, which Q has been asking for all week, at least, ever since we ran out. He sat cheerfully in a car cart through this trip. I’d parked by the vacuum store, so we got drenched, and I committed the cardinal sin of leaving a car cart stranded far from its corral.

We came home, unloaded, put away groceries, read books and tucked me into bed, and Q into his room for quiet time. I’ve given up on thinking he’ll nap, but if he stays in his room and lets me nap, it’s nearly as good as both of us napping. The sound machine will make ocean sounds for an hour, after which he’s allowed to come get me.

He ended naptime with our agreed upon closure, “Mommy did the ocean turn off? I can get Mommy the ocean turned off!” The twist? Boy is naked.

So after getting him dressed, we had more books, playing with Daddy, and dinner, where he ate broccoli, sunflower seeds, raviolis, oatmeal with raisins. The broccoli is a fabulous victory, recently born of Q being hungry enough in a restaurant to actually try broccoli again, which he used to love. The sunflower seeds are entirely new. Each time we add a new food to his repertoire, I feel a happy glow. I’m not willing to make an issue out of meals, but I’d like my philosophy of offering him variety to pay off eventually. Cheerfully he told us, “I smelling my seed flower suns.”

More playing with trucks, kissed the cat, kissed Daddy goodbye, fed the kitties, watered the plants, helped clean up toys, had a scrubby bath (ie with soap, hair washing and full out screaming), more books, and into bed.

And I realized that although there were some brief battles here and there (and absolutely no attempt at potty training), this was an absolutely golden day. He was funny and sweet and smart, telling me about the pots steaming and dinging, repeating that we were looking for a nifty tool, resisting a tantrum when I decided that another crib sheet was redundant (I have a linen fetish, and perhaps have passed this on). Today was one of the days I’ve been telling myself that I need to have with Q before the next kid arrives. I don’t have to sit home all day playing with his trucks, but simply remember to enjoy his little boy antics and snuggling to read with me.

Friday, April 13, 2007


After several time outs over kitty abuse today, it should come as no surprise that Q finally got scratched. Unfortunately he’d already been put to bed (twice), and the cat (she’s pathological) had snuck into his room, and was evidently hiding under his bed. I think he spotted her and did something (?) to piss her off. She was front declawed by previous owners, so I was relieved, to be honest, that he got scratched, not bit.

I had a little heart attack, since I only heard the result (screaming in pain) from downstairs. I wish it were a clear cut case of needing to get rid of the cat. She’s not a good tempered cat. But we’ve been surprised at how much she’s put up with, especially lately as he’s gotten bold. I really wish she weren’t so obsessed with interfering with bedtime. (Constantly having to be tossed out of his room at bedtime, she used to hop in his crib just as we were settling him down as a baby, walking between me and books as we’re reading.)

I also wish this were the sort of event that would instruct his little head not to mess with the kitties. (One time out was over deliberately stepping on the other cat’s tail. Usually he just pushes his luck, fiddling with their ears to watch them twitch, or chasing the mellow one from room to room…) Sigh

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I just spent 10 minutes at Grandma’s house with Q sitting on the pot, not peeing. You can lead a toddler to the potty, but you can’t make him pee. We agreed that he could wear a diaper if he wasn’t going to pee. He seemed resigned to that. No accidents today though.

Last night- on the manners front- he was in the bath and announced, “Excuse me Cygnet,” (a friend watching him take a bath while sitting on the closed toilet), “I have to use the potty.”

We were stunned, and she quickly vacated the seat. He changed his mind, but nonetheless, it seemed like terrific progress.

He’s thoroughly enjoying ‘Time to Pee!’ by Mo Willems (suggested by Loree Griffin Burns). I was charmed that he recognized that the toy bus a child is driving in the illustration had a pigeon driving it. (An allusion to Willems’ book, ‘Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!’)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter in all its glory...

The least blurry photo. When I showed my husband the decorated truck last night he said, “Isn’t it a little, um, girly?” I pointed out that it was a truck, and how could that be girly? He said, “Yeah, but it’s a truck in drag!” Which made us both like it even more.

It took Q a while to spot it across the room, but when he did, he ran straight over to greet it. Love at first sight. But he’s carefully not neglecting the other beloved trucks now that he’s home. The ribbons didn’t last.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Newbery Award 2007

I am not always impressed by Newbery Award Winners. Some of winners in the first 20 years seem to have won just because there weren’t very many kids’ books being written, so anything with a serious topic and decent writing had to be applauded. And truly, ‘issue’ books always have an edge over other well written children’s books even now.

This year’s winner The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron caused a wild ruckus, due to the use of one word. The upset even includes omission from some children’s collections at libraries. In case that doesn’t yet sink in, think about it, this is the Newbery Award, the highest award we give children’s chapter books in this country. You can see an article in the “New York Times” on February 18, 2007 (sorry I can’t link to it because it’s now moved to their archives, but check access from your local library database) called “With One Word, Children’s Book Sets Off Uproar”.

What’s the one word? Scrotum.

Now, I’m definitely not someone who needs to use the word ‘Scrotum’ very often. And I don’t. But I am a big believer in using appropriate words to avoid confusion. I am a big believer that the forbidden is more exciting than the accepted. So when a huge fuss was being made over this book, I made a mental note to read it sooner rather than my eventual approach to the Newbery Award Winners.

My opinion now? Not only is the word ‘scrotum’ appropriate in context, but in many ways, I think I can argue that this word is crucial for the book.

The Higher Power of Lucky is about a motherless little girl who is desperately afraid that her beloved guardian will abandon her and return to France. Intertwined with her story is that of a small boy who is being raised by his grandmother while his mother, unknown to Miles, serves a prison sentence.

Most of all, what is frightening for these two children is the mysterious and unpredictable world of grown ups. Lucky is worried she will be left behind, so when she sees her guardian’s passport, and a mass of paperwork, she assumes that the next stop is a group home in Los Angeles. Miles’s mother never visits him, so he assumes that she simply doesn’t love him. Without accurate information, even children will tend to suspect the worst. And the worst is that we are unloved and unimportant.

‘Scrotum’ is not a word we need to shelter our children from. Near the end of the book, Lucky asks her guardian what the word ‘scrotum’ means, and the simple answer, reflected to me a larger truth. In attempting to ‘protect’ each other from the truths that affect each other’s lives, we can create greater problems than an anatomically correct vocabulary. When we know facts, the potentially horrible unknown no longer has power over us.