Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vocabulary

New to the Nugget's vocabulary:
Polk-y dot (polka dot)
Parakeet
Toucan
Ornithomimus
Pteranodon
Fi-yah hi-dent (fire hydrant)
Squid
Anemone
Jeh-wee fish (jelly fish)
Eel
Scha-schauge (sausage)
Schun-schine (sunshine)
Wan'do dat! (Want to do that - this phrase reminds me of Liz Lemon on 30 Rock)
Bye-bye friends, see you later! (this one is delivered so cutely, it makes the tantrums so worth it).
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Today, the Nugget was on his play phone. Is there anything better than when small children talk into play phones? Usually his conversations consist of, "Hello? Hello? Hello? Hi Grammy-Grandpa. Bye-bye." Today, it went like this, "Hello? Hi Octopus. Octopus riding airplane? To Chicago. (passing the phone to me) Mommy, it an Octopus." Later, the Octopus called back to let the Nugget know he had arrived safely in Chicago, then asked to be put on speaker phone to say hello to the fishies.

The brownie

The other day, Hubby got a brownie and broke off a small piece for the Nugget. Of course, being 2.5, the Nugget ignored his bite of brownie and threw a fit, yelling, "I want the big piece." After a few minutes of crying, he realized he had his own piece of brownie. He munched it soberly, still snuffling, "Want the big one." We talked for a few minutes about thankfulness and gratitude, and about how we can choose to be happy with what we've been given or we can choose to be sad and resentful over what we don't have.

Later, I laughed over his toddler greed. But then I had an epiphany. I also keep holding out for "the big piece", my dream of a bigger family, another child. Sometimes I forget to take complete joy in "my little piece", the darling, funny child, who makes me laugh each day. It's human nature, to be on the lookout for more, always more. I'm sure I will fall back into wishing for what I don't have.

But today, I celebrate and thank my lucky stars for my little Nugget. Maybe someday, I'll get that big brownie. But today I choose to be happy with my lot.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Adoption Etiquette - Installment 2

Click here for Installment 1.

"So my loved one is now waiting in the waiting pool/list. How can I continue to support them? What happens next?"

1. One of the best things you can do is to ask the waiting parents, "How are you feeling with your adoption wait?" instead of, "Any adoption news?" Here's why. There may not be any news to share. Often, waiting parents just have to wait. Also, they very well could be chosen by a birthmom but may be waiting to announce it until they feel more confident that the adoption is going to happen (similar to how many pregnant mothers wait until the second trimester). Yet, most of us want our loved ones to check in with us, to not forget or ignore that we are expecting.

2. If your loved one is waiting for an open domestic adoption, keep your ears out. Unplanned pregnancies happen every day. If you hear anyone mention that their sister/cousin/roommate is pregnant and doesn't know what to do, casually mention that you have a loved one waiting for an open adoption. Chances are nothing will come of it, but a lot of people forget that adoption is a 3rd option and are only considering parenting or abortion. Many more would never consider closed adoption and don't realize that they can have contact and even a real relationship with their child after placement. Make sure not to promise that so-and-so would love to adopt the child, because a match has to feel right to both parties. But offer to put them in touch with each other if the expecting mother is interested.

3. Often, waiting families need a lot of distractions, especially when waiting for a first child. Include them in fun non-child-related outings.

4. If your loved ones have been waiting a long time, offer your empathy, not "solutions". It's really hard to feel like you're no longer controlling your own life, but that's where waiting adoptive families are. Their future is in someone else's hands. It's normal to want to help them get that control back, whether you are suggesting that they change their Dear birthparent letter, switch agencies, or try a different country. (Now if you actually have adopted, that's a different story, because you might have valuable insider information that they'd like to hear.) But it actually just feeds our insecurities during the wait. Offering an ear to listen is what most of us need most, and sometimes that's the hardest thing for our loved ones to give. Stay excited for us, and help us keep the faith that a child is coming.

"My loved one got a match/was chosen by a birthmom! What can I do to help now?"

No matter which option you choose, be specific about how you'd like to help instead of making a blanket statement like, "I'm here for you when you get the call." Often adoptive families will be so jazzed and stressed, they won't be able to think about what kind of help they need or they'll be too afraid to ask for help.

1. Caring for an older child if the parents can't bring him/her along.

2. Caring for the family's pets or dropping them off at the kennel.

3. Cooking meals and stocking their freezer. It's also great to stock the pantry with snack items for the friends and neighbors who will be dropping by to meet the new arrival. (cheese and crackers, salsa and chips, pop, juice, ice, etc.)

4. Housesitting (and perhaps tidying up while you're there).

5. Serving as a liaison - get a list of emails or phone numbers and send out updates so the new parents can concentrate on bonding with their baby and/or forming their relationship with birthfamily. Make sure not to tell anyone the adoptive family hasn't said to - often they may want to break the happy news themselves or are specifically NOT telling someone until they know for sure that the baby is coming home. Also, helping to address, stuff, and stamp baby announcements!

6. If you have baby stuff lying around unused, offer to give it or lend it until they are able to get their own. A lot of adoptive parents don't get pre-placement baby showers, so they may be missing things like a swing, a pack-n-play, a baby tub, or a bassinet. Loaning yours (until the gifts start arriving) would be a big help.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Toe Jam


The Nugget's new favorite pastime is looking for toe jam. He'll announce that, "I check toe jam now," and off come the shoes and socks. He'll search carefully between each toe, then double and triple check just to be sure. When he makes a linty find, he shows it to me with a big grin, all his adorable dimples showing. Ok, so maybe it's not the most socially acceptable habit, but his cutie patootie feet don't stink yet, and it's a relatively sedentary activity, which is pretty rare for the Nugget. So I'll take it.

I got him a coloring sheet from the library last week. It was an owl, which went along with the live streaming owl-cam they had set up on a counter, of course with a selection of owl story books. The Nugget was enamored with the owl cam, so I snagged the coloring sheet to do at home later. In a moment of utter post-dinner chaos, I tried to calm him with some coloring. I grabbed a purple crayon (his favorite color) and asked if he would help me color the owl's feet. He gladly lent a hand, scribbled around the talons, then pronounced, "Owl has purple toe jam."

I wonder what his preschool teachers will do if he tries to engage the entire class in a toe jam inspection this fall.

busy weekend




It's been an eventful month. Right after our Florida vacation, Hubby went on a weeklong business trip. He returned just in time for a plethora of weekend activities, then it's a short week and off to my folks' house, where we'll celebrate Easter and have a shower for Baby Manny (the Nugget's cousin-to-be).

Pictured above, the Nugget shows off his umbrella and new rain boots. The windbreaker jacket is also making its first appearance as spring seems to be here to stay. I love that Grammy chose one with dark gray sleeves - all jackets for small messy children should have dark sleeves!

The Nugget got to celebrate his friend M's 3rd birthday on Saturday - toddlers bounced and cake was devoured. A good nap was had afterwards. The Nugget discovered party blowers and enjoyed watching his unfurl until he misplaced it.

We took a spontaneous trip to the (free!) Ag Fair this morning after a friend posted about it on her Facebook page (I'm starting to wonder what we did before FB) - farm animals were patted and I think I used up my entire bottle of hand sanitizer. The Nugget was especially taken with the ducklings.

This afternoon we participated in our moms' group egg hunt - our children, bedecked in colorful wellies, raced over the lawn of a local school and filled their baskets with shiny eggs. This is my favorite kind of weekend - simple pleasures and the joy of discovery.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Transportation

"Hi trains. What are you doing? Oh, you going on train track? Yeah. Through tunnel. Ok."

"I fly to (hometown) on blue plane. 2 hours! I fly 2 hours! I tell people when propellor spinning start."

N: (waking from nap) Cheese bagel and Nugget ride school bus 'gether. Where are you, bagel? Bagel, where are you?
M: Did that happen in your dream? Did you dream that you rode a school bus with a cheese bagel?
N: Yes. A good dream.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Adoption Etiquette - Installment 1

Adoption touches 10% of American families. That's a pretty big number, so chances are that you have a family member or friend who was adopted, has adopted, or has made an adoption plan. Not so long ago, adoption was this hushed topic that people didn't mention in polite company. Many adoptees were never even told the truth about their own life stories.

Thankfully, the face of adoption is changing. Open adoptions mean that birth families can proudly display their child's crayon drawings on their fridges and cheer them on at a soccer game. Scrapbook stores have entire corners dedicated to stickers and embellishments made to celebrate adoption finalizations, and match day phone calls. The internet makes it easy for waiting adoptive families to find support through others in the same boat. The movie Juno gave voice to teen birthmoms, showing the main character as a real, likable girl who made an adoption plan after an unplanned pregnancy. As adoption moves out of the shadows and into the sunlight, there's another piece of the puzzle that needs to be addressed, and that's adoption etiquette. The world at large is really starting to embrace adoptive families, and I sure hope that same support will soon be extended to birth families as well. Yet, despite good intentions, American society does not teach us what to say when it comes to adoption, resulting in a lot of awkward exchanges and hurt feelings. I'm going to start a series of adoption etiquette posts to help bridge the gap.

"So my best friend/brother/cousin told me that they are adopting! What am I supposed to do? How can I support my loved ones during this very exciting/anxiety-filled time? What should/shouldn't I say?"

1. Be excited and positive! A family is growing, and that's cause for joy, not alarm. Do not tell adoption horror stories. That's like telling a pregnant woman about miscarriages and stillbirth statistics. Ask questions, show interest, be happy! They need your celebration and support just as much families built "the traditional way". Tell them they'll be great parents. Tell them how much life is going to change. Treat them as if they're expecting, because THEY ARE. Simple, right?

2. Respect their choice. Don't criticize the hopeful parents' choice of agency/attorney, domestic/international, infant/older child, etc. So many people asked us why we were choosing infant adoption when there were older children in need. (And to answer that question bluntly, we did not feel financially or emotionally prepared to help an older child overcome the issues in their past. We thank God there are families who are able to do so, but we are not among them, at least not yet.) What a stab to my heart and a guilt trip. You don't ask a newly pregnant mom why she is reproducing instead of adopting a special needs child. There are so many choices in the world of adoption, and adoptive families have to do a lot of soul searching to make the personal choice that's right for them.

3. Don't ask about the money involved. If you are sincerely interested in adopting yourself and would like to get an idea for financial planning purposes, that's one thing. But adoptive families are not purchasing a child, and it's not cool to ask about the fees the same way one would ask a friend if she got a deal on that handbag. Especially not in the presence of an adoptee. Very uncool.

4. YES, you can throw a shower! I am very disappointed to see that etiquette websites encourage not to throw baby showers until after the baby is placed or the adoption is final (Um, adoption finalizations take about 6 months. It would be really nice to have some onesies before then!) Ask your loved one what they want. Yes, adoptions can and do fall through, but waiting families are expecting a child. If you wait until after the baby is placed, the parents will have to buy all the necessities themselves. Most of the adoption fees do come at the placement, so outfitting a nursery and buying an entire layette by themselves can be a real hardship for many families. Pool entry is a great time to throw a shower. Offer to store the gifts for them if they'd rather not look at them during the wait. I loved having the nursery ready before the Nugget arrived - when the wait got particularly rough, I would sit in there and pray/imagine our baby-to-be. For other families, that would be a nightmare, so ask. When it comes to older child adoptions, a welcome party would be incredible - especially with practical gifts like shoes, clothes, school supplies, towels and bath toys, fun toiletries, and books...but bear in mind that an older child will probably be overwhelmed from the transition alone, not to mention having to meet many new strangers and presents, so keep the guest list short and stick to an end time, or try to throw it for parents only just before homecoming.

5. Do not belittle adoption. Don't suggest surrogacy or fertility treatments; if your loved one has already chosen adoption, they've thought long and hard about their options, trust me. Don't say, "I bet after you adopt, you'll get pregnant." Don't even tell true stories about this. Sounds innocent, right? To adoptive parents (yes, we're a sensitive bunch), it's a subtle dig that the gold standard is a bio child.

6. Do not joke that they're taking the "easy way out". No, we don't get morning sickness or labor pains, but adoption is an emotionally gut-wrenching process. We take time off work to complete mounds of paperwork and attend required classes. We are picked apart and dissected in every way by social workers. We have to beg friends and neighbors to write us reference letters. We have to prove to the world that we'll be fit parents (while we watch news stories about child neglect). We have to be fingerprinted and background-checked like criminals. We wait for an uncertain amount of time, having to be ready to drop our entire lives at any minute, our hearts thumping with each phone ring, that this could be it. We prepare our hearts for a specific child, yet know that we could lose it all in a flash, that the country could close or that the birthparents could have a change of heart during the grace period. We know if that happens that we have to put on our strong faces and be ok with that. The easy way out? I don't think so.

7. Please don't ask about our fertility issues. Believe it or not, some adoptive parents are fertile. Some aren't. But if we want to talk about it, we'll bring it up.

8. If you have other questions, ask! It's natural to want to know more about the process, and most adoptive parents will be happy to tell you what they're doing to bring their child home. The milestones are certainly different - dossiers and dear birthparent letters instead of ultrasounds and belly measurements - but the nervous happy preparation for parenthood is the same.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What does your Daddy do?

Extra points for anyone who can name the movie from which I stole this post's title.

Because so many of the Nugget's songs contain themes of Daddy going to work, I asked him what he thinks Daddy does at work all day. His answer was right on the dot.

"Daddy go to work in Daddy's car. Daddy work on computer. Daddy presses buttons on computer."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Escalators

The Nugget discovered escalators recently. We'd been avoiding them until we deemed him coordinated enough to ride without certain injury. Well, he thinks an escalator is just the world's most amazing ride, even forsaking the precious elevator buttons to ride the moving steps. We got to indulge his mania in the airports last week, but alas, there are no escalators at home. No matter. Here's what happened tonight.

Nugget: (stands on bottom step of our stairwell, holding railing) I riding esc'lator! Mommy, Daddy ride esc'lator too!

Me: (after standing for about 30 seconds) I think we need to walk up this escalator.

N: Ok! (reaches the top of the steps and says, like a game show host) Thank you for riding the esc'lator today!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Giving thanks

Instead of saying the usual grace before meals, we just go around the table and say what we're thankful for that day as well as list any petitions. I feel like it makes us a little more mindful of our blessings instead of just going through the motions.

Now that the Nugget is more verbal, he's starting to chime in too. Here's a partial list of what he's thankful for:

Nucas and Dawa
Daddy's car
Doggie Fergie (the neighbor's dog)
Grandma and Papa
Grammy (pictured) and Grandpa
Airplanes
Airports
Control Towers
Chopsticks

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flowers for Mommy


Nugget: (noticing a sunbeam) Ooo! I like that sunshine!

N: (watching a photo slideshow of his friends but expecting it to be a video) Weewow and Skywa, move please!

A recent Nugget song:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Mommy and Daddy go to work
Daddy go to work in Daddy's car
Oh yeah. Digger truck goes scoop.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday.
Ice cream, cake, bananana.
Snack please.

The Nugget pulled out his collection of planes and started zooming them around and landing them at the "airport". He's played this game before, but since our trip to FL, he added 2 new components.
1. He ran to his block bin and pulled out a cylinder, plunked it down at his airport and declared it was the control tower!
2. He started looking for airplane fuel, so I offered him his doll's juice cup, the kind that "empties" when you tip it. He happily fueled up all his planes, saying, "Gulp, gulp, gulp! Airplane drinking fuel!"

Pictured above, the Nugget discovered purple flowers (crocuses?) growing in the middle of our backyard. He immediately plucked just one and gave it to me, and I think my heart exploded. I remember that I had really wanted a girl, but I just knew our first child was going to be a boy. Originally, we thought we'd request that our second child be the opposite sex of our first, so that we could have one of each. But in moments like these, I know that I could definitely not love the Nugget any more if he were a girl, and so we have left it up to the universe to decide for us the second time around as well. In fact, his exuberant boy energy is fantastic, and I love it. My brother just found out they are having a girl. I know he was hoping for a boy, but I know he'll be wrapped around his daughter's little finger. Somehow God knows best which child we need.

More than Mommy

I had another, "Who the heck am I?" moment the other day, so I figured it was time for another "me-list".

10. I am not a phone person. I mean, if you are very talkative, I am happy to listen, but I'd much rather e-mail. While I find lulls in natural conversations comfortable, they make me absolutely self-conscious on the phone.

9. I'd rather shop for gifts than shop for myself. It's pure fun, less guilt involved.

8. I love the smell of Scotch tape, lilacs, and the ocean. I hate the smell of cinnamon buns, permanent markers, and any bakery-scented candles.

7. I have very bizarre, very vivid dreams. I average about 4 nightmares/anxiety dreams each week. I get murdered in my dreams about once a week, so no, you don't actually die if you die in your dream, I know from experience. Two nights ago, I was shot in the neck...fun stuff. I fly in my dreams at least twice a month. I used to be able to lucid dream.

6. I feel that all religions offer some grain of truth, but that no one has it totally right. I believe that God is love and love is God. It boggles my mind when religions push war, violence, discrimination, and exclusion...or focus so hard on the rules and regulations that they miss the whole beauty of life and what could be.

5. I find it very hard to sit longer than 30 minutes without getting up. I actually get indigestion if I am forced to sit for a long movie, a meeting, or a flight. Hubby is constantly having to pause our Netflix rentals so I can stretch my legs and finish the 3-5 little tasks I come up with during the course of a hour long show.

4. I hate the show, King of the Hill, but I find that once it starts, I just can't stop watching it. Do you have a show that sucks you in like quicksand?

3. People often tag me as "quiet", but I'm not. I really like to listen and get to know people, so sometimes at the beginning of a friendship, I'll forget to talk. But I'll get over that once I get to know you better.

2. Just because I do something or believe in something doesn't mean that I expect anyone else to do the same.

1. I don't like sad movies. I can deal with a sad moment in an otherwise uplifting movie, but not an overwhelmingly sad movie. I realize this could make me shallow, but I watch movies for their escape value.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Break





We are home from our family vacation! This was my family's first vacation in over 12 years, so it was much anticipated. My parents generously took us and my sibs to Sarasota, FL for 5 days. Here are some highlights of the trip.

10. Seeing my parents get a little tipsy at the resort party or, "Spring Break for Baby Boomers" as my mom called it. My mom had some complaints about the resort (it was very nice but being remodeled) so the owner wisely kept her wine glass full. Really funny, and my parents are just so cute when they are tipsy!

9. The Nugget started a shell collection. He'd find a shell, proudly show it to everyone within a quarter mile about 3 times ("Ooo, look! A shell!"), declared he was "klecting it", then would violently pitch it as far as he could before starting the process again. I managed to save 4 shells for his klection.

8. Visiting Mote Marine Lab, which was probably more fun for me than for the rest of the family. I particularly enjoyed the manatees, since I have a soft spot for them since my stint at Columbus Zoo's Manatee Coast. The Nugget like swimming like a sea turtle and was very taken with the sharks. He followed them across the aquarium, saying, "Hiiii, sharks!" and laughing maniacally until he fell of the concrete ledge.

7. The Nugget discovered Connect Four. He spent the rainy afternoon carefully dropping each chip into a slot. He started making "L's" and sorting them by color. He'd say whatever he was doing as he dropped each chip. "Lllllllllllll. Reeedddddddd. Bwaaaaccccckkkk."

6. Hearing my brother and sister-in-law's name list for their baby and watching them get so excited to welcome their little one! Love all the names and can't wait to meet Baby Manny (due July 30). My brother and I did everything together when we were little. It will be especially fun to have him join me in the parent 'hood. Sorry for the bad pun.

5. Watching the Nugget at the beach. He constantly begged all of us to take turns playing in the water with him. He was totally content to just stand as the cold waves lapped at his legs, watching his toes sink deeper into the sand. He helped Uncle T dig a giant hole and slid down the mound of sand into the hole again and again. He chased gulls and terns, yelling, "Hiiii birdie," with wild cackles of glee. Do you notice a pattern emerging?

4. On Friday, it rained and stormed all day. We did the aquarium in the morning, then spent the afternoon desperately trying to keep the Nugget entertained with the limited toys and books we'd been able to fit in the luggage. It was evening, the first sunbreak of the rainy/stormy day, so I was desperate to seize the moment and let him romp on the beach. I told him to stay out of the ocean, so he could stay warm in his street clothes - polo shirt, hoodie, and shorts - but told him he could play in the small tidepools. I pictured him wading into his ankles, gently rippling the water with his fingers, perhaps sitting on the dry sand to scoop up some shells for his pail. Are you laughing yet? Here's what really happened:
a. Wild seal-trying-to-escape-the-jaws-of-death-like flailing and splashing in the tidepools,
b. Girls-gone-wild-style bucket-o-water dumping on his chest.
c. The classic Nugget bottom plopping maneuver...also in the tidepools.
I made Hubby swear to never let me take the Nugget to the beach in anything but a swimsuit, no matter the temperature, because let's face it, this is a child who is going to get wet.

3. Not so much a highlight, but a memorable moment for sure. On the walk home from the beach that night, he was so elated to be able to walk in anything he pleased, that he went out of his way to splash in every puddle. He was wearing his new water sandals, a gift from Grammy. In one puddle, some pine needles floated into his sandal (he has super sensitive feet), and he started howling. Grammy tried to calm him, explaining that there were some pine needles in his shoe, and we'd fix it. She gently pried off his wet sandals and took out the needles, but he refused to put them back on, turning into the typical toddler lump of goo on the sidewalk. The resort used shell fragments as gravel, so he couldn't walk barefoot without risking a cut. Like any mom, I hefted the soaking wet, sand-covered, snotty, crying, 40 pound toddler and walked the rest of the way back to our condo. It was probably only a couple hundred yards, but it felt like an eternity. The best part was the look on my brother's face as he caught a glimpse of his future in 2.5 years. It was the same look he had when he witnessed the Nugget smear sour cream all over my shirt later that week when he came in for a post-taco cuddle. Oh, and the Nugget woke up every morning telling us, "Nugget got some needles."

2. Big Olaf's ice cream. I'm glad there's not one at home, or I'd weigh about 500 pounds.

1. Watching the Nugget randomly come up to each of my family members to hold hands, ask for a hug, or show them a treasure. He is just so at ease with every single branch of his family tree, no matter how long it's been since he's seen them last. Such a delight to witness the love. Like at Christmas, he was able to correctly identify each person by name. It was especially cute to hear him say with surprise, "Look! It's Grammy and Grandpa!" when we pulled up to the condo. We had told him that they'd be there, but I guess seeing is believing. He'd also make the rounds every 10 minutes. He'd run up to whoever was nearby and say, "Hiiii!" Just in case they'd forgotten he was there. It didn't matter whether they'd just come in the door or if they'd been in the same room with him for 2+ hours. I am so in love with this kid.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Forking

I presented the Nugget with new St. Patty's Day socks from the Target dollar spot. He immediately fawned over them, "Look, Mommy! Socks so green-y. Have stripes on it. Have a shamrock on it. Shamrock smiling. Hi Shamrock."
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We had lunch at Nucas and Dawa's house today. Although it was all finger food, the Nugget requested a fork. I asked him, "Why do you need a fork? What are you going to use the fork for?" He looked at me quizzically and replied, "Forking."
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Speaking of friends, the Nugget has a new-ish friend he calls Anvil. The Nugget is always excited to see any of his friends, but lately he's gone positively ballistic for Anvil. We hosted a playdate last week, and while he greeted all his other friends with big grins, he jumped up and down yelling, "Anvil's here! Anvil's here!" for a full minute. Then, he went around the room, telling each guest, "Look! Anvil's here!" I find it really fascinating that children as young as 2.5 can clearly click quickly with some playmates and be lukewarm towards others. What is it about Anvil that the Nugget finds so irresistible? Toddler pheromones? Personality traits that complement his own? Did they know each other in a past life? It's certainly fascinating. I'm learning so much about human nature from the Nugget.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Conversations in the car

Nugget: Nugget going to eat. Going to eat clouds.
Me: Ok. What do clouds taste like?
N: Fruit. Clouds are fruity.

N: Oooo! A bus, a purple bus! I know Nugget wants to ride purple bus. I know Nugget wants to ride purple bus, blue bus, yellow bus.
Me: Yes, Nugget loves buses. You want to ride them all.
N: (sadly) Yeah. I ride Mommy's car.

N: (Sees a pile of dirt.) Ooo! Dirt mountain! Digger truck made dirt mountain. I no see digger truck. Digger truck, where are you? Oh, digger truck go home.
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On an unrelated note, you can tell I'm a Buckeye girl, because when it hit 40 degrees this week, I got all excited, busted out the puffy vests in lieu of our triple layer coats and took the Nugget to the playground, where he romped in a foot worth of snow to get to the finally-ice-free play structure. In WA, when it hits 40, the hardcore kids are dressed in full length down parkas. The others are all inside. Wait til it hits 50 - I might just get the shorts out.


When Daddy gets home...

The Nugget gives a play-by-play, his little feet stamping involuntarily with excitement, "Daddy take off boots, coat, hat, mittens!" The Nugget helps take off Daddy's backpack and unzips his coat for him. The Nugget gives Daddy a recap of the day's events, some actual, some imagined. The Nugget immediately attempts to shimmy up Daddy's body (he'd make a heck of a rock climber) to reach the ceiling fan in the kitchen. Then the boys exit the kitchen, leaving me to finish making dinner.

It's taken 2.5 years for us to get this rhythm down, and I am so thankful for the days when the transition goes smoothly, for the exhale I can release when the Nugget is safely in Hubby's jurisdiction.

I have to admit that my spring is tinged with melancholy, because apparently it is conference season for library software developers. 2 conferences in Feb. 1 in March. 1 in May. 1 in July. That we know of - more keep getting added to the calendar, all within this short span of time.

Oh, how the Nugget needs his Daddy, with his calmer demeanor and slower, more deliberate and thoughtful actions. The Nugget and I are made of quicksilver. We understand each other in a very primal way, because we have the same need for motion, desire for connection and attention, ability to sense, absorb, and effuse emotions without thinking. We can easily spiral upwards together into beautiful days full of laughter and fun, giggling over sunbeams and beetles, while the rest of the world smiles at our maniacal laughter. Or we can easily spiral downwards, absorbing and amplifying each other's every small stress and unhappy thought until we're both a bundle of ragged nerves. We are like loose kites, floating too high in the breeze, needing our grounding string holder. Travel safely, partner. Hurry back and find our strings!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Here comes Peter Cottontail....2010


Here's what the Nugget is getting this year:
1. Ella's Kitchen Smoothie Fruits - usually on sale at Babies R Us.
3. A pinwheel and bunny ears from the Target Dollar Spot!
4. Probably a couple chocolates from my parents' local chocolate shop

Need some other ideas? Here they are, with a month to prepare yourselves!

Vintage Fun
1. Magic Capsules! Remember the little sponges that grow in water?
2. Astronaut Ice Cream - crunchy.
3. Tin Kaleidoscope - beautifully made
4. Gyro Wheel - sweet!
5. Your vintage candy: Junior Mints and Pop Rocks

Feeling European
1. How cute is this travel hedgehog game?
2. A racing snail? What's not to like?
3. Balloon-powered boat. I would love to see this in action!
4. Your European candy: Cadbury Flake and Salt Caramel Lollies

Little Explorer
4. Animal stickers
5. Your explorer's candy: Endangered Species chocolate. The manatee bar is my favorite. Not just because they are chubby. They're also delicious. The chocolate I mean, not the manatees.

My Toddler Still Puts Stuff In His Mouth, So No Choking Hazards Allowed
(Let's go with the flow and get him some nice new tableware!)
2. Lunchbots Pico - upgrade from your plastic snack cups
3. Tempered glass cups - he'll feel like a big kid and you can stop washing those darn sippies, but these won't break when he slams the table because the peas are touching his meatloaf

Handmade for Baby
1. This adorable hippo teether
2. A festive spring bib

For the adults
1. John and Kira's gourmet ladybugs - sneak these during the kids' naptime

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Lazy Housekeeper - Kitchen Edition

1. I eke all the dish soap out of the bottle by storing the almost-empty container closed and upside down in a small drinking glass on the windowsill.

2. I try to wash dishes after each meal. I hate scrubbing, so I soak crusty casserole dishes and come back to them later.

3. I wipe down the counters after I finish the dishes. I only remove all the counter appliances and do a full wipe down about once a week. I realize this is a little gross, but it's a time/sanity saver for sure. And I figure a smudge under the Kitchen Aid is definitely not going to give us all food poisoning, so I pick my battles.

4. I have a large collection of cloth place mats, which really cuts down on the table scrubbing time. The placemat just goes right in the laundry when it gets soiled.

5. I go through my fridge about once a week when I bring the big grocery haul home. While I'm pulling old leftovers or expired staples, I try to wipe down at least one shelf.

6. My kitchen cleaner is also the same 1:5 ratio of vinegar to water I use in the bathroom. I give the kitchen sink a scrub down with baking soda when it starts looking grimy.

7. Sometimes the disposal starts to smell. I used to buy those little Plink balls, but to save money, I just grind lemon rinds in the sink every 1-2 weeks. I don't buy lemons just for this purpose, I use them in a recipe and grind up the leftover rinds. So I have a yummy dish and a sweet smelling kitchen - score! Limes and oranges do the same trick.

8. If you have babies, I do recommend a dish rack made for their accoutrements. The tiny spoons and bottle parts just fall through a regular rack and end up sitting in that dirty water that collects underneath it. Rewashing dishes is hazardous to my well-being. We originally thought we would wash everything in the dishwasher, but the Nugget went through so many bottles so quickly, than instead of buying a dozen bottles or running the dishwasher 3x a day, we ended up just washing by hand most of the time. Good thing too, since his bottles were ridden with BPA - the horrors! We have the SkipHop Splash, but I'm in love with this new one by Boon.

9. I love having a bottle brush handy. The Munchkin Deluxe has a teeny brush stowed inside the handle. It also suction-cups to the sink so you can let the bristles air dry. These go on sale at Target every few months, so I stock up then.

10. I try to organize our little pantry by shelf. One for baking supplies, one for dinner ingredients, another for snacks and breakfast items. Boxes are bulky, so I stole an idea from my friend K: I washed used pasta sauce bottles and use them to store the Nugget's various grahams, goldfish crackers, and pretzels. They can sit in the little corner nook and I can easily eyeball what needs to be restocked.

11. Did you know that you can nuke your kitchen sponge? 60 seconds on high will kill whatever nasties are lurking in there.

12. I have a dirty/clean magnet on the dishwasher so that Hubby doesn't start unloading crusty plates or so I don't empty a dirty glass on top of clean dishes, Oy! Now, if you can give me the trick to remembering to flip the dang magnet, I'm all ears.