Monday, September 28, 2009

Lucky 7

Dear Hubby,

I know this blog was meant to be about the Nugget and my daily struggles and triumphs with motherhood, but you must know that you are half the reason this family exists.  We just celebrated our 7 year anniversary, without much fanfare.  Neither of us had time to stop and get a card, we vowed to celebrate with dinner out this week instead.  While that would certainly have not flown our first year of marriage, it felt just perfect for now.  When our love was new, it burned so bright and intense that I could not picture it ever getting better.  Yet it has.

We were given the blessing in disguise of infertility so that we might have the ultimate gift of parenting our Nugget.  We have been to hell and back twice, losing an almost-daughter and an almost-son.  We hope and pray together that God will complete our family with the second child that we believe to be waiting for us.  I'm so glad that you have been, are, and will be my partner through it all.

You are the steady, balanced rock that grounds me.  Your patience and strength amaze me.  You work hard each and every day to provide for our family, yet you are home and present each night and weekend.  You seem tireless when I am weary.  Your optimism shines through my dark cloud of self-doubt.  Without further ado, here's your anniversary gift.

Top 7 Things I love about Hubby (the clean version)

7.  He announces toenail trimming time, "I think I'll trim my toenails today."  Like perhaps we'll all want to gather around to ooh and ahh.  Or maybe because it happens so rarely that it becomes an event of significance, like a solar eclipse.  Either way, it makes me laugh, and it does indeed, make the day better.

6.  He is not afraid to make a fool of himself to please the Nugget.  He marches, tangos, makes goofy faces, reads in a falsetto voice.  He is a pretty serious, thoughtful guy, so to see these moments of silliness is especially touching and speaks of his love - what he will do for a single Nuggety smile.

5.  He makes me a better person.  He is respectful, kind, and open-minded.  It is so very rare to hear him utter a single unkind word against another human being (unless that human being has cut him off in traffic).  

4.  His smile still gives me butterflies.  Lop-sided, with dimples.  My favorite moment of our date night?  When I come back from the restroom and see this handsome man sitting at the table, waiting for ME.  I am so lucky, the very luckiest.

3.  He truly is my opposite in many ways.  We need each other for balance.  He is thoughtful when I am impulsive.  He is calm when I am exuberant.  He is introspective when I am extroverted.  Together, we are a team.

2.  He changes diapers, sweeps the floors, does the dishes...even when I am so neurotic that I push him away, try to make him stop helping, deluding myself that I can do it all...he finds a way to help.  Thanks, honey - please keep trying to help me, and I'll keep trying to let you help me.

1.  Seeing him become a Daddy, witnessing him falling in love with the Nugget, is the most wonderful thing in the world.  It's like being present for a miracle.  I know that the Nugget will grow up to be an incredible man, because he has this incredible person to look up to.  

Licensed to Thrill

I have this kind of love/hate thing going on with the licensed characters that completely bedeck the children's toy and clothing departments.  I DO remember clamoring for licensed products as a child, as a hopeful Disney animator I had an obsession with all things Disney.  I still appreciate it in small doses - We did the Nugget's nursery in Classic Pooh (the muted storybook illustrations not the yellow/red version), we proudly bought him an Optimus Prime t-shirt.  I adore children's book characters on notecards especially.

I'm not sure why some of it bothers me so much.  It could be the fact that the owners of the characters don't seem to care what crap they put their names on - from flimsy plastic choking hazards coated with lead paint to nightgowns that are already unraveling on the rack.  It could be the way they market to children - buy me, you don't know what I am, but I have Lightning McQueen on me.  It could be the fact that in mass quantities, they are just an assault on the senses and totally unnecessary - the Nugget does not need to drink out of a Dora cup that costs triple the amount of the plain blue one.  Maybe it's just the disposable aspect of it all - you know that 12 year old carrying the Hannah Montana backpack will be horrified by it next year and will beg her mom for a new one with the latest and greatest.  Yes, I think that's the clincher for me, that licensed characters are rapidly outgrown and need constant replacing.  It bothers the core of my little tightwad heart!

However, I think the day is rapidly approaching approaching when the Nugget will insist on a character of choice.  His vocabulary now includes "Curros George" and "Melmo".  

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sweet Tooth

The Nugget wakes up each morning requesting juice or cookiesauce.  He gets one cup of diluted juice post-nap, and I'm pretty strict about it, but that doesn't stop him from asking each morning, hoping that today will be the day that Mommy caves.  As for cookiesauce, I'm not sure what that is, but he's not getting that either.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The Nugget started "playing pretend" a few months ago, and each day we witness his imagination grow a little more.  I am that person who names marshmallow Peeps (and thus can't bring myself to eat them so they sit mummified for years), so I am not really surprised that the Nugget has started to speak and relate to inanimate objects.

1.  The Nugget likes to fist bump, high five, and shake hands with people but will also engage trees, doors, walls, cups, and stuffed animals in the same manner.

2.  Yesterday, when Doggie was playing with her squeaky cow, the Nugget became very agitated.  Usually he squeals and runs to throw it for her to fetch.  When asked what was the matter, he just kept repeating, "Cow, cow, cow."  When Doggie dropped it, he gently picked it up, touched its nose, signed "Cry", and said, "Sad".  I asked him if he was upset because he thought the cow was crying, and he answered in the affirmative.  We assured him that cow was just fine and liked to squeak for Doggie.  He does not seem to share the concern for the squeaky mouse - perhaps because the squeak is normal for a mouse and uncharacteristic for a cow?  Anyway, I am very pleased that he is displaying empathy and comforting skills, even if just to a latex cow.

3.  The Nugget likes to feed stuffed animals pretend bites of his food.  I indulge him as long as it's a dry food like a cracker.  Lately, he's also been sharing crackers with any animals decorating his shirts - he'll hold it to their mouths, make chomping sounds, and say, "Yum!"

4.  The Nugget has started making my old stuffed bunny hop around the room.  He slams the bunny down on the floor then flies him way over his head in an impressive leap, narrating each bounce with an exuberant, "HOP!"  (Note that only the bunny hops, not the horse, cat, tortoise, or duck.)

5.  We are finally the recipients of play food cuisine, lovingly cooked up by the Nugget in his play kitchen.  And yes, the experience of being served a plush sandwich coated with dog hair and a side of drooled-on wooden fried egg could not be more fantastic.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nugget Pronunciation Guide

Pre-Nugget, I feared I would never be able to speak toddler.  When random small cousins, nephews, or friends' children tried to ask or tell me something, I always required their parents' translations.  Luckily, as the Nugget's verbal abilities are taking flight, my toddler translation chip has clearly clicked into gear.  Now I'm the one everyone looks to for translation...trippy.  Interestingly enough, the Nugget continues to sign some words that he can't yet say.  Other words, he chooses to speak only, even though he knows the signs.  Still others, he will sign and say in tandem.

A Nugget to English Guide - 26 month dialect
kkrrk.......oink or quack

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A September Manifesto

If woman and month could mate, I would choose September.  As it is, that's not possible, so Hubby and I got married in September instead.   

My favorite line in "You've Got Mail" is when Tom Hanks tells Meg Ryan that, "I would send you a bouquet of freshly-sharpened pencils."  I love that movie so much partly because it opens in the fall, pumpkins, scotch tape, and mums featuring not so much as props but as supporting actors.

Many people feel renewal in the spring, but I feel it in the autumn.  The golden sunshine, the crunchy leaves, the tang of apples, the crisp notes in the air.  Football season, new backpacks, yellow school buses filled with children still fresh and eager for their new beginnings.  

So this weekend, I claim my new beginning.  While I continue to celebrate our adoption "pregnancy", I choose to shed the pain and worry like Doggie sheds her hair.  I will stop worrying about the whens and hows of adding a child to our family, accept that I have no control over the situation, and let God work his magic.  I choose to celebrate and revel in the here and now.  I choose to be happy with my imperfect life, to focus on the fresh applesauce cooling on the stove and make peace with the dog hair decorating the rugs.  I will spend my beautiful autumn watching the Nugget pick apples, climb monkey bars, and examine fallen leaves.  I welcome family and friends who will be stopping by for the football season, not with a perfectly cleaned house but with a cluttered, cozy home; not with gourmet cuisine but with comfort food cooked and baked with love (and lots of cheese).  I will be thankful every day to live here and now, with the most clever, kind, hard-working Hubby and the most charming, charismatic, kissable Nugget ever.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bragging Rights

It's solely within my rights as Mommy to brag about the Nugget's latest achievements!

-Today he counted to five!  "One-two-fee-fo-five."  It gets a little dicey after that, he likes to skip around and "nine" seems to be a favorite and is thrown in several times for good measure.

-Oh my gosh, the ABC song!  Wow the cuteness is just overwhelming as he shyly and proudly chimes in with me.  It seems with every rendition, he recognizes and adds another letter to the song.  He's starting to correctly notice letters on signs and clothing and point them out too.  We also sign the ABCs and he is starting to hold my hands to "feel" the letters and attempt to shape his fingers the same way.

-He's like a lemur on the playground lately.  He's added the balance beam, a chain ladder, and a twisty ladder to his repertoire.  Just a few months ago, he would creep cautiously on the wobbly bridge, scurrying back to the safety of the platform if a big kid passed him and made it lurch.  Now, he's the kid jumping furiously on it, controlling a Nugget-powered mini earthquake.  He attacks the merry-go-round every time, although he's been thrown from it, knocked over by it, whacked in the head by it, injured in basically every way an inanimate object can hurt a child.  This is a child who does not need encouragement to "get back on the horse"; rather I am holding him back from it, the tears from his latest injury still flowing down his cheeks, his limbs flailing desperately, propelling him back towards the object of both his injury and obsession.  He loves it fervently and is mastering it a little more with each trip to the park.  This week he learned to slow it down by dragging his feet and (to Mommy's chagrin) how to mount and dismount it while in motion.  We try to hit the playground during school hours, so the speed is at least limited to the strength of the four-year-old set.

Labor Day Weekend and a Summer Wish

We spent the last hurrah of summer at Grammy and Grandpa's house.  My cousin K got married, and we were honored to be included in her special day.  

The Nugget got to nap through the ceremony at my parents' house while Daddy watched football to kill time (poor guy)!  Daddy delivered the Nugget just in time for a family photo at the church.  The Nugget was a very happy dancer, the kind of exuberant toddler we used to admire in our pre-parent days, bopping around on the dance floor and hamming it up for the photographer.

The weekend itself was very relaxing, just the sort of small vacation we needed.  The Nugget played at the park, mastered the giant tube slide with the help of his new neighborhood buddy T.  He created music on the piano and got to watch exotic shows like Yo Gabba Gabba and Blues Clues courtesy of my parents' DVR.  He laughed uproariously at squirrels drinking "wa-wer" from the bird bath.  He asked Grammy over and over for "mo ca-cker peas".  He begged for "mo Melmo" but fled to the security of a lap before Tickle Me Elmo could start cackling and twitching.  He was quick to offer night-night hugs all around.

When he slept, we got to relax with a cold drink, abundant snacks, and the kinds of laughter only siblings can elicit.  I am renewed in my courage to keep on the adoption road, because despite all the pain and fear of disrupting, I want the Nugget to experience that type of laughter.  And thanks, Mom and Dad, for providing us with each other.  

Today, I thank God so much for our Nugget, our little blessing, who brings love and joy to so many.  I pray for one more star in my bright sky, a little one to dance to the Nugget's beat, breathe on him in the car, fart on his pillow, and to become his best friend for life.