Friday, December 15

O' Tannenbaum's Remodel

We've a new element that's been added to our holiday evening routine. We're calling it the Christmas Tree Ornament Rearrangement Ceremony. It's a recurring and surprisingly solemn event that commences nightly at about 7pm EST...just in case you wish to attend.

Thursday, December 14

Like Father...

I could not have planned this shot any better if I had been trying, I tell ya.
This is Birthday Jude and Ben in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Sunday, October 22

Tuesday, September 19

Rules of Jude's Jurassic Nursery

Stegosaurus Me: Stomp, stomp stomp...."Eeerraaawrrrrror!"

Tyrranosaurus Jude: Stomp, stomp, superdino leap..."Moooo!"

Stegosaurus Me: Stego-speechless.

Friday, July 21

Why Sheep Run from Toddlers Or Tales of Momsomnia

OK. This is becoming a habit. It's the third night in a row that, from 8:30pm on, I have only the muted TV and my laptop to keep me company. The other two personages dwelling in my humble abode have both dropped off into deep, dark, couldn't wake them if the house was on fire slumberland. They're crashed right here beside me and I'm left to my own devices. Again.

Well, I say beside me, but "beside" is relative when it comes to a slumbering ToddlerJude. Here I am, surfing happily with my laptop on it's uber-cool, homegrown Boppy and Dali artbook lapdesk, and I'm relegated to the upper right hand quadrant of the bed. King sized bed, too, there should be room. But anything outside my quadrant is a danger-zone wherein the JudeMonster sleeps ... and I'm scared to go there.

The second he falls asleep he's suddenly transformed into a Cirque du Soleil performer practicing for his debut. If you get too close you will be flopped on, it's inevitable. But, wait, that's the easy part, he's a changeling too. It gets worse as the Cirque de Soleil show goes off and WWE comes on. The Smackdown is next as a heel drop lands right on your laptop keyboard. This is followed by multiple gator death-rolls right before the action sequence ceases and he comes to rest across your legs. And then he magically turns himself into a ton of bricks and your legs become numb useless stumps. At which point you are dying to try to ease them out from under him and jumpstart your circulation, but you're terrified because the slightest whisper of a nudge and an episode of WWE RAW follows right behind The Smackdown.

Your only hope is to take full advantage of the in-between-sit-up-like-a-Weeble-Wobble and babble incoherently flashes.

I really could just avoid all this by putting him in his own bed but, 1) He would have to have one before we could put him in it. (His crib, you're thinking? That beautiful crib he has slept in all of twice in his life? Haha...that's where he practices his trapeze act. That or he wants to be a monkey in the Zoo when he grows up, not sure which) and 2) It just wouldn't be as much fun, now would it?

Wednesday, July 19

JudesFamily News Flash!

Go here for a culinary communique on JudesUncle!

Tuesday, July 18

Hey Jude! July 2006

Hey Jude,

This week you turn 20 months old. This is the month that we haven't been able to go to the park every evening because after being teased with the most idyllic spring ever in the history of the Earth, we are currently baking in the oven that is now what we used to call "ousside". Consequently, you're running a grove in the floor from the foyer to the breezeway to the breakfast nook to the kitchen to the butlers pantry through the dining room, around the dining room table, across the library and back to the foyer. 'Cause, you know, we have energy to expend, despite the tropical rainforest on the other side of the front door.

You are doing a whole lotta talking...9/10ths of it is still in that alien language you babies speak. But it sure sounds like you're having entire conversations with us, even if we are too dense to understand what you're telling us. It's ok most of the time though because you seem to enjoy holding both sides of the conversation and cutting us a break. The other 1/10th consists of words which we actually, thankfully, understand (you're very patient with us, I have to say). This month we've heard "pungent" (that was while watching the Food Network...who says TV rots your brain!?), "octopus" and according to your Nana, "gecko" (as in the Geico gecko). Oh, and we can't forget this months most favorite word and new recreational pastime, "No!". Or actually, more linguistically precise, "eeeeNoooooo!".

Yes, "No!". You tell everything "No!". You tell your Nana "No!". You tell me "No!". You tell the cats "No!". You tell all the furniture in the house "No!". You even tell your Dad "No!", which is baffling considering that as his mere presence materializes into the same room with us, I, the one who carried you and slept with your foot jammed up under my rib for months, suddenly becomes chopped liver. You say "No!" when you really don't mean it. We know because frequently when you are offered your nightime bottle you say "No!", and not a millisecond later reach out and snatch it from my retreating hand. Oh and when you're not telling us all "No!" you're telling us all to "Mooooooooove!" Even the furniture, which, despite your best efforts, doesn't listen.

Not to point out extremes here, but one second it's "No!" and the next second you're the perfect cherubic angel as you fold your hands together to say grace at dinner. Of course, you giggle the whole way through your dad's reverent rendition of supper prayers. But I suspect my peeking and winking at you the whole time probably doesn't encourge an attitude of worship and piety either.

You can't pass by a mirror without checking your hair and running your hand through it to smooth it out. I'm guessing genetic traits die hard here and that you'll be like me, obsessed with your hair just a tad. Good thing you have such great hair. Come to think of it, your Dad happens to spend time preoccupied with his hair as well. There are the special, super cool and masculine hair products he uses and wasn't it just recently he stopped outside the door of my kittylair/office after a haircut and asked, "Is my head crooked?" I think it was and I think I fell out of my chair laughing.

Taking you to the store has become a complete comic drama. Two nights ago I told your Dad that I'm not taking you to the store ever again until you're, least two...and even then I'm not sure. Between the "wow is she the worst mother ever" looks I get at Costco as you're crawling flat on the floor underneath the shopping cart and the aching arms I end up with at Safeway because you insist I carry you while I'm pushing the cart and putting stuff in it with you hanging upside down, head by my knee reaching for everything in sight. I can't take it anymore. In any store, if I try to put you in the cart to ride you either squeal like a banshee or you drop each item over the side of the cart one at a time as I push you through the aisles. I even thought that putting you in one of those stupid "kiddie car" shopping carts (that I hate so much since that woman at the Kroger in Conway, AR ran over my foot with one) would keep you occupied for a five minute run into the store. Uh-uh. I didn't figure in the extra seemingly eternal era required for you to get out of the kiddie car and back in about 40 times. I'm not doin' it anymore. Your Dad can.

As far as "firsts" go, this month was a cool one for you since you watched your first Fourth of July fireworks. You were enthralled. You chilled out, relaxed in your Dad's arms, eyes to the sky and "ooohed" and "ahhhhed" and clapped the entire show. It was pretty spectacular, I have to admit. You also got your first taste of live music with the cheesy Elvis impersonator and his band that were playing that night. You stopped dead in your tracks and stayed rooted to the spot the second your eyes lit on the drummer, the keyboardist and the bass player with their shiny instruments and their sparkly outfits. I don't think I've ever seen you actually stand still for that long. The rest of the night every time you took time out from playing volleyball in the sand with the big kids you'd dance and stomp and clap as Elvis crooned. People sitting nearby and walking through the crowd kept telling me how cute and how sociable you are. We knew THAT already!

Your Nana came and stayed with you while your Dad and I took a little holiday to Vegas. It was the first vacation we have had since about 6 months before you arrived on the scene, and it was so bittersweet. We needed a change of venue and some fun and yet, every second away from you ripped my heart out. Poor you, you ended up with a very, VERY bad ear infection and I think your Nana lovingly held you in her arms for about 4 days straight. This makes ear infection number 5, we're gonna have to talk tubes, little man.

I loved this month with you. An infectiously fun and playful small human is materializing right before my eyes. From your standing in front of the TV doing stretches with Miss. Melanie on PBS Sprout to your running and hurling yourself into the giant LoveSac in our bedroom (a sac attack, as it were) you are a bundle of challenge, entertainment and fun...and I so totally dig you.


PS. Oh and I don't want us to forget our conversation we have at least three times a day, every day, rain or shine.

You: "Mom"
Me: "Jude"
You: "Mom"
Me: "Jude"
You: "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom"
Me: "Jude, Jude Jude Jude Jude"
You: "Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude"

Yay Jude! Kiss Kiss, Baby.

Bonds That Are So Strong

Once in a while we are reminded of the interconnectedness of all things, all beings. I was reminded last week while we were enjoying a little Vegas holiday, sans Jude (he was home with his Nana watching carefully over him).

Thursday, walking the Strip in the late afternoon:

"I keep feeling like my mom is gonna call me and tell me something's wrong."

"Nothing's wrong", JudesDaddy assures me.

"I keep taking my phone out of my pocket and looking at it to see if she called, how weird is that? I feel so silly. This paranoia is so unlike me. It's disturbing to be so disturbed".


Later that night, after returning from Cirque Du Soleil's "O" my phone rings. It's Mom. My JudeBaby is sick! Fever! Ear infections! Again!

So, it wasn't my own misguided paranoia. It was a mother and her baby so beautifully and woundrously connected that thousands of miles cannot separate them. Intuitively part of each other's very essence, their spirits intertwined for an endless eternity.

Aren't we all such marvelous beings?

Wednesday, June 21

Jude's Law #9 (this one's for Daddy)

Don't grab your pocket change in the early morning dark. Doing this could result in attempting to pay the nice Arby's cashier with Chuck E. Cheese tokens at lunchtime.

Friday, May 19

Of "All Things Considered"...This One I Would Never Have Suspected

Of ALL THINGS in this entire house that we decide we must take to school with us this morning or we will die a thousand deaths...the toilet brush scrubber.

I was calm at first, I let him walk out and get into the car with it...OK, no big deal. He usually gets bored with his morning procurement and relinquishes custody before the ride is over. But today, anxiety began to set in on the way as I kept one eyeball rearviewed on him sitting ever so happily in his very cosmopolitan Eddie Bauer carseat(only for the revolutionary new safety, comfort and durabiliy features, c'mon!)clutching his prized toilet brush scrubber. I could tell already, this wouldn't end well.

By the time we pulled into the school parking lot it would have taken a whole BOTTLE of anti-anxiety meds and a couple of chocolate bars to keep me calm enough to refrain from instigating the guerilla warfare that broke out when I tried to relieve the insurgent of his lavatory cleaning utensil. The rebel yell that came out of him, I am positive, was heard by every single golden ager being detained in the Retirement "home" next to the school. Most likely causing a moment of detention center wide chaos as morning prune juice went flying everywhere.

After peeling each finger off of the toilet brush handle and beating a hasty retreat up the sidewalk and into school while he was making sure everyone knew his mother had just ripped his most precious thing in life away from him, I...was...a...wreck.

All this before having to log on at work and see how my project was, yet again, in fubar mode...wait, I hope he doesn't hold a grudge and put ME in a "home" 50 years from now!

Tuesday, May 16

Take Two Aspirin and Call Me In the...

We have yet another ear infection, no, make that a double.

You-must-hold-me-and-walk-until-your-arms-fall-out-of-their-sockets Jude was packed into the car pronto on Monday morning and we headed off to The Pediatrician, en route to party with a dozen other Moms who no doubt were also overjoyed on a Monday morning to be sitting there amidst kids with germs.

Keeping him entertained for two days has been about as easy as rounding up Ringling Brother's Barnum and Bailey's with the Blue Man Group on the side. We've had broken crystal, embarassments on conference calls with bosses because mute buttons un-mute themselves, winding trails of new Huggies to follow from upstairs to down, computers locked up and white sofas re-upholstered in radiant new Crushed Goldfish (we wouldn't have this problem if we had leather). But the one that deserves a 10 in the Ewwww-Ick category of the Destructo-Scale was pure stupidity on my part for enabling the 10 and handing him the instrument with which to stick the landing and nail the 10...drum roll, please....the shoving of the new Estee Lauder lip gloss's wand into the EAR! Ta Da! Yuck.

He goes back to that place where other people keep him out of stuff and I get to watch at a safe distance on the video-cam TOMORROW!

Tuesday, May 9

OK, This is a Blog that needs a Disclaimer...

The sole purpose of this disclaimer is so I'll have something to hide behind when readers start throwing whatever happens to be ripe in their gardens this time of year because there are vast differences in philosopy between us.

Ehh ehh ehmmm...This blog writer does not wish to agitage readers knickers into any twists of any variation of twisty-twirls. She's perfectly happy with potential veggie throwing readers to have a salad for dinner tonight and instead think things like "She's an idiot" She's never done this before and has no idea what she's talking about" (that one would happen to be true) "Her kid is gonna end up being a nightmare, she'll be sorry", or any version thereof.

OK, now that the business part is out of the way we can get on with our story.

I thought school was over. I'd done my time. Gotten the formal education, which btw, when I was a little girl thought I had to be missing out on this "formal education" people kept talking about. We never had Opera class at school and in P.E. we never got to play the game with horses and people riding them hitting something with stick. (Yes Mom, really).

But enough about my obvious opera lacking education. I'ts NOT over. I'm nervous.

Last night, Jude and I were practicing our award winning tower building skills on the floor of his nursery. I was cool, he was cool, we we're workin' together. A real team effort.

That's when I got whacked in the forehead with a block.

Utter shock and disbelief! He hit me? He HIT ME!!! Then while I was absorbed in my own post traumatic stress syndrome brought about by my recently whacked-head victimhood, he did it AGAIN!!

Those voices that keep me company in my head, they came to my rescue, since I was sitting there completely paralyzed.

The next 4.8 seconds in my head went pretty much like this:

"HE hit me he hit me he hit me he hit me! I can't believe he hit me!"

"Get a grip, we don't have much time here. This is one of those things we have to do something about."

"OK OK, what do we do?"

"Not, sure. Let's run through our options. Option 1 would be..."

"The whole smack his hand thing"

"OK...NOooo! I can't EVEN believe you brought that one up. Hitting is barbaric. Besides, teach him not to hit by hitting him when he hits you? Yeah, that's a brilliant move.

"Yeah you're right, OK OK. Ummm...oh I know! Time out!!"

"Love withdrawl, Shorterm manipulation, psychologically damaging... nu uh. C'mon c'mon! We practiced this over and over in here. Remember how we went over it? Think. What's the big picture? You memorized it"

"Oh right...ummm...oh I remember! I'm Here to Help Him Become a Person Who Has Empathy and Love for His Fellow Human and Learns That There are Things We Don't do Not Because We Will Get In Trouble, but Because We Genuinely Care.....that's it!!

"Right, and dont forget the consequences for his actions part, blah blah. OK, so how do you feel right now after he hit you?"

"It HURT! And my feelings are hurt and I don't feel like playing with him anymore"

"Maybe we should tell him that. But...don't be all mean about it"

"OK already!"

So, I told him that my feelings got hurt when I got hit and I didn't really feel like playing anymore. Picked up my half of the blocks and told him that I was gonna go watch tv in my room. Was that the right thing to do? No idea. The fear though, it was almost like an anxiety attack figuring out some way to let him know that WE DON'T HIT...without saying " No, no! we don't hit". It was worse than any college final I've ever had. And the having to make a descision in just a few seconds? Ugh!

Who knows what impression he picked up...if any at all. Or if my reaction even meant anything. All I know is that I can't spank or smack his hands or hit him. I have some pretty strong feelings about that. And the whole "spare the rod, spoil the child? All I can say is Analogy, People, Analogy, not literal. Besides, MY God would never advocate an adult hitting a child in any form or manner. Dunno 'bout some other people's God. And yelling "No" is pointless. By my calculations the take rate on "No" is about 2 in 15. One when he's bored playing the "Look at Mommy! I can make her say "no" over and over when I do stuff!" game. The second being when he's only halfheartedly doing what he's about to do anyway and thinks, "eh..OK, I won't do it." I figure its a waste. And time-out? I can't quite put my finger on it but I get this vague, uneasy feeling about time-out. Like I'll be 80 in line at the grocery store someday, glance over and see that week's cover of TIME magazine with the headline "Time-Out and the Thirty-Something Drug Epidemic. How Could We Have Known?" With the inside article all about how to get help if you were a victim of time-out.

Of course. I'm exaggerating. Although, who knew we shouldn't use lead paint on baby cribs thirty years ago? I think these are some things that we should know better about by now as a society. Then again, I also think there should be no wars, so I realize I'm expecting too much. Maybe, Jude's generation won't be as inclined to wage war when differences in opinion arise. Well, that is if we can instill some love for each other in them.

So, I don't know, I'm new at all this mommy stuff, cut me some slack...think what you want. We'll see over the years how well I do mommyhood, right? If we keep the Chronicle alive you'll get to be my judge and jury.

Are you going Paul Harvey on me now? Wanting to know "the rest of the story"? OK.

Well, I went to my room and sat in the rocker and watched tv, exactly like I told him I was going to. It actually took about 5 minutes before I saw a sheepish little boy come slowly around the corner, walking to me with his arms held open wide to hug me before going off to play again.

Soooo...when does this hitting thing go away?????!

Friday, April 7

Jude's Law #9

When cleaning up your home office, do not be fooled that neatly stacking a pile of uncased CD's will somehow disguise them from your Toddler's scrutiny. Twenty neatly stacked, ultra shiny, round CD's are so very alluring, and make perfect throwing discs to send sailing one by one into the Toddler's freshly run bubble bath while mommy is acquiring a warm fluffy towel.

Sunday, April 2

On a Sunday Afternoon

Just a little bit ago I was sprawled out on the bed reading (yes I know R-E-A-D-I-N-G, all by myself, a grown up book even) with Jude lying next to me cater-cornered, snuggled deep in slumberland. Well, he must have faintly stirred or murmured because something caused me do one of those glance-checks that've become such a habit. The glance-check melted all mushy like into a gaze and, of course, I didn't go back to reading my book right away. Ahhhh...that little mop of soft brown waves, those silky eyelash fringes, afternoon-sun blushed cheeks, I took it all in.

With his little angel-face sleeping beside me, I thought about how bewildering and magical it still feels when I remember that this little guy was/is a part of me- note: this would NOT be something I'd be all getting all gushy about when he's playing table hockey across the counter with his water cup- but right at that particular moment though, this whole feeling of blended essences sort of enveloped us both. It hit me that not only is this little guy physically a part of me, but he shares my spirit too. This whole intangible yet distinct thing we all have that we've named spirit. I'd never really thought of it that way before--my spirit being part of one that is quite uniquely his. I mean, yes we are all connected, all part of each other here in this world, and I've pondered these kinds of things a bit in the past few years, but I've never truly felt it quite this...tangible, as if the two of us were encompassed in it's soft reality right there on the bed.

Strange, I know. And yes I'm going all transcendental and abstract on you, but this whole motherhood thing is perplexing, takes a while getting used to under the best of circumstances. It definitly is the most difficult, complicated, exhausting and demanding thing one can get oneself into, I have no doubt about that now. But, well, there's the dark side of those perplexing emotions that no one ever really talks about. Extremes. Extremes of our humanity that I didn't know existed. Of course, how could I until now, right?

And mixed up in it all is this whole notion of identity. See, there's this Me I've been working on for the last 37 years that I was just starting to get to know. Then in one long-long-loooong 23 hour day that Me was wiped out, and not just wiped out, but totally obliterated. I know, it's so drama queen. It's also confusing and unbalancing and I've been wandering around with "WHO Am I Now"? stuck on repeat in my head for a year and a half. Well, the mom part I knew was pretty much established, it's the rest that seemed to be MIA.

So, getting back to the little angel face moment I was having (it all ties together, I promise,just stay with me). Those sun-blushed cheeks he's sporting were acquired this afternoon when we were planting this year's purple hyacinth bean vines around the lamp post. This spring, for the first time, I had help digging homes for the tender baby plantlets. My small companion sat right beside me, his little hands gently helping me pat the soil all around the vines, and I guess what I'm trying to say is the light bulb finally clicked on. Took a while, apparently I'm a slow learner(reference Jude's Law # regarding bad toga tailors). But I now see that I've not really lost my identity, oh-it might have run away for a while or been hiding in sheer terror. But there's this redesigned version that seems to be peeking around the corner. Identity 2.0? I dunno, someone really needs to write a Mommyhood for Dummies book. I do know this though, now that this little boy has come to live with us(and who runs around in destructo-baby mode a little more often than I'd like), I'll be going down paths on my journey of Who I Am that has a whole bunch'a new road signs.

Monday, March 27

Jude's Law #8

It took me a few times to figure this one out, but I finally got it.

During a visit to the peditrician do not, under any circumstances, place your Toddler on the table with the white strip of paper prior to the Holy-Anointed, All-Powerful Doctor appearing. Because, by the time that door finally opens, your Toddler will look like a Roman with a very bad toga tailor. In turn, you will look like some slacker Mom who obviously is not qualified to be trusted with the care and feeding of a small human, and certainly not the molding and shaping of their impressionable mind.

Furthermore, if your Holy-Anointed, All-Powerful Doctor is like Jude's and keeps a Mommy Report Card in that top secret little chart of'll be sitting in the corner.

Friday, March 24

Shock and Awe, How to Wake Up Without Coffee.

Question: What has the power to strike instant terror in two adults and make them both scream NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!?

Answer: One small boy with a babypoop diaper bomb in his hand ready to hurl it across the nursery.

Tuesday, March 21

Green Acres is the Place to Be

Dear Grandpa,

I don't know if you happened to be looking down from above and checking on us this weekend, so in case you missed it, let me fill you in.

Because, as I'm sure you know, we want your mischievious little great-grandson to have as many experiences in his life as possible as soon as possible, we visited a farm this weekend. Of course he loved it, like I can imagine all little boys would. This being his first up-close and personal how-do-you-do, pleased to meet you social event with an incredibly varied assemblage of "ooohhhh dog" members of the kingdom Animalia, otherwise known to some of the rest of us as goats, llamas, pigs, horses, mules, bunnies and baby lambs. You know, basic farm types. Come to think of it, maybe he has something there. Calling all furry creatures other than "eee-ats" (aka kitty-cats...interpreting is half the battle in this mommy job) dogs would make life much simpler.

Watching his reaction to this new world was, as MasterCard would remind us, priceless. It all paled in comparison, though, to his excitement when we wandered over to the old, red, farm tractor. Seeing his face transform into the perfect example of wonder and delight as his Daddy lifted him up into the seat, sent me on a whirlwind of time back to when I would spend hot afternoons riding shotgun on the old tractor with you.

As he grabbed the big wheel and gear shift (oh yes, a natural, you would be proud) I told him all about how I loved to ride on tractors too. About how, when I was a little girl, his great-grandpa would let me ride for hours on the tractor. About plowing fields and afterwards rumbling up the gravel road to see the pigs and pigletts. I rambled on about all the vivid memories I have that are yours and mine alone, wanting to share them with him, this little guy sitting on a tractor for the first time ever, clearly revealing glimmers of you.

Oh how I miss you, Grandpa.

Tuesday, March 14

Rub-a-dub-dub. Who's in the Tub?

Around here we looooooove our evening bath. We play, we chortle, we find all sorts of interesting new things to do with bath toys, which, by the way, can be anything from an egg beater to a squashed in the middle Twix bar still half in it's wrapper, you never know what will show up. Morning baths however? Oh no, no, NO! Apparently, an embargo has been imposed on any bath attempting to commence between the hours of 7am and noon. Oh the protests when I blatantly attempt to disregard this ban on pre-noon bathing! You would think I'm trying to dip him in boiling oil. The squenching up of the face, the whole-body writhing, the "how could you torture me like this, don't you love me?" look in the eyes...he has it perfected. It would be easier to give the cat a bath.

But back to the beloved evening baths we do so enjoy, and the original tub tale I started with.

Recently, while running him an evening bubble bath, in order to gather various and sundry post-bath items, I walked out of the bathroom for one second (ok more like 6 seconds, but it felt like one). Waltzing back into the bathroom, hands full of jammies, towel and the requisite Burt's Bees Apricot oil-what, oh what, did my weary eyes behold? One half-full tub with one fully dressed, delighted with himself little boy sitting crosslegged IN the half full tub. Complete with courduroys, sweatshirt and socks. Nearly, falling on the floor laughing, I stumbled over to lift him out of the tub, dripping everywhere. Instant protests ensued from his lips! He wasn't done with his bath! How dare I? He had only just gotten in. To which, still laughing myself to tears, I replied, "I know I know, but I think you skipped a step"...

Friday, March 10

Pre-reminiscing? Already???

There's a sleestak asleep in our bed. OK, a baby sleestak (yes, Sid & Marty Kroft kids, time travel back for a minute). Little, baby, sniffy wheezes are filling up the bedrooom while we huddle in the dark, absorbed in the addictive world coming to us through the LCD screens of our laptops.

This particular baby sleestak is currently sporting a stuffy nose. Hence, the whole reason for the sleestakedness. And we're not talking one-nostril stuffy, or even pretty stuffed up stuffy, we're talking all out superglued shut stuffy. A mini Lockheed-Martin GA Compressible Flow Wind Tunnel might not be enough to blast through this snot blockade.

He's throughly miserable.

We took turns most of last night doing our best to pace a small freeway into the bedroom floor. Because, as it turns out, this snuffly, achy, baby sleestak can only be consoled when he is being carried HOUR AFTER HOUR by one of his pre-assigned Love and Attention Administrators. Exhausting.

So, here I sit, in the rocker by the bed, finally released from freeway duty, watching the bizzionth episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent, and I think I'm coming down with a tiny case of an achey-breaky heart. As much as it's so, so, SO nice to have my bedroom stay clutter free of Nerf balls, stacking rings, little people and, well just about anything else within reach, for at least a night or two, I desperately miss his little sparkly self.

Suddenly, and I assure you, inexplicably, I can't wait until the creation of the next Charmin labrinth that would send Mr. Whipple into conniptions. I promise to myself that I won't sigh at the next kitty food fingerpainting masterpiece, or inwardly "ugh" when, lovingly he brings me one of my most expensive makeup brushes, bristles soaked in JudeSlobber. I won't mind always having to buy extra tubes of Flava-Craze ChapStik that I know will become JudeSnacks when he inevitably finds them. Even though I thought I'd stashed them all stealth-like in a place he wouldn't notice. Silly me. When will stop thinking I can outwit the Toddler Superpowers?

So, yeah, here I sit, baby sleestak snotting up my pillow, remembering that there will come a time when I'm paying for his million dollar college tuition, and I'll long for JudeTheToddler to be here again, if only for just a few minutes (OK OK, maybe like 3 seconds), wishing with all my heart that I was smack dab in the middle of a spectacularly intricate Charmin labrinth.

Monday, March 6

Jude's Law's 6 and 7 (aka JudesMommy's Rules... name change suggested by the very witty Thomas D.)

6. From now on be absolutely SURE the little, twisty, slidey cap thingy on the parmesan cheese is entirely twisty slid closed. Because, no matter what part of the house your Toddler is in, as soon as you open the fridge door, they will magically appear with superfast hands pulling out everything at eye level faster than you can say "cheez whiz". This, I've determined is due to a Toddler's superhuman hearing (which is selective and, of course, is in "off" mode when you actually WANT them to come to you, even at this early age). This rule does not apply so much to screw cap items (you know, that jar of jalapeno pickles from 2003 that seemed like such a yummy idea that day you stupidly broke that Don't Go Grocery Shopping Starving rule). Results of breaking Jude's Law # 6 (as I discovered this weekend): Toddler + Half twisty slid closed parmesan + Toddler closing eyes and shaking for all he is worth = You + Your Kitchen envloped in a sudden weather event we here now call a Parmesoon. Pleeeaase learn from my mistakes! Memorize this formula. It will serve you well in the future.

7. Opening the freezer door too early in the morning may cause you to be doomed to the fate of feeding your Toddler a fudgesicle for breakfast. Yeah, it will be pretty much counterproductive to insist on those organic, wild berry, waffles at that point, doing so will only cause a tug of war that might end up in a Fudgicane (apply Jude's Law #6).

Saturday, March 4

JudesMommy aka SappyMommy

No one gave me a heads up on what a sap mommyhood turns you into. Aside from emotions already being completely out of whack due to the hormones and identity crisis, not to mention the sleep deprivation, now I discover there is the little thing of your toddler doing adorable things that melt you into an instant heap of crying mush, in public no less.

It's the smallest things too, things no one else would be interested in really. You'll see in a minute. Read on.

So, I'm dropping Jude off at nursery school one morning very recently, and as I turn to leave the toddler room, ready to take on the adult part of my crazed multiple-role existence for the day, I glance back to check, be sure the little guy is OK, settling in, getting ready for Circle Time. The first thing I see, well and hear actually, is a little boy standing in the very center of the room wailing. Oh, and I do mean wailing. As if he were absolutely sure he had been abandoned there in that toddler room for the rest of his mortal life and would never, ever, ever see his beloved mommy or daddy again. Heart wrenching, yes, but I was more interested in making sure mine was not sharing his sentiment.

I found him standing quite near the wailer, staring at him. I watched. As I watched, I saw my small, carbon based offspring, MINE, walk over to the shelf of his favorite school bus toys in the room, take TWO off the shelf, walk back over to the wailer and hold one out to him, an offering of toddler peace and joy.

That was the moment when I learned about becoming a sappy mommy, a heap of teary mush. And here I mistakenly thought I was immune, despite being accused by JudesNana of him having me completely wrapped(uh SHE can talk!). Frightening the power these tiny humans wield! I'm so doomed.

JudesMommy's Rules 1-5

1. Let the nice checkout man scan the ballon BEFORE giving it to your toddler.

2. Allow your freshly bathed, naked, toddler boy to run free for a maximum of only 3 minutes. Any longer and you risk the health and well-being of your furniture, your carpet and the cat.

3. If you value your sanity, resist the urge to teach your toddler how to turn things on and off.

4. When the time comes to encourage your toddler to feed himself, go ahead and invest in that full body bio-hazard suit you've had your eye on.

5. Learn to think of the splats of yogurt in your hair as luxurious spa conditioning treatments.

Either it's personality disorder or...

Toddlers are bi-polar.

That is the only rational explanation I've been able to come up with for their astounding ability to go from heartwrenching sobs to fits of giggles in less than a nanosecond. Bi-polar, yep. And because they don't allow us to put two foot high humans on lithium yet, parents have to endure this behavior that threatens to put any halfway sane mommy or daddy right into a rubber room. I've witnessed it, in grocery stores especially. What is it about grocery stores that turn a kid into the exorcist baby?

So, I've been fearfully waiting for my laid back, zen-like little man to enter this stage of human development. Since, by my grocery store observations, we have not yet eradicated the wailers through the process of evolution.

I think it happened, it's really hard to be sure though. Last Thursday night the ususal evening routine began of Jude being carried by JudesDaddy into the den through the garage door. I, walking in to welcome with open arms my menfolk returning from a hard day out in the corporate and nursery school fields, was greeted with a beaming grin! Yay, just the thing I look forward to at the end of my own stressful day (Wait, did I say end? I lost my mind there for a second. I meant to say, phase three of my stressful day. It would be hours before my day could be called complete thanks to this new role called Jude Mommyhood). Just as JudesDaddy set the him down on the floor and I knelt down with open arms, the nanosecond thing happened.

The huge grin morphed into a look that can only be descibed as poingnantly tragic (when dealing with toddlers there are not enough superlatives in the english language to cover the drama they can dish out). Quick as a wink he bent forward and flopped onto his head in what was a pretty good execution of a yoga Downward Facing Dog position.

I stood up. We were both looking down at him in complete and utter confusion. "What IS he doing?", I asked JudesDaddy.

"I'm not sure, meditating?"

"Well, is he crying? I don't hear anything".

He bent over and craned his neck, trying to get a look at his face. "I don't think so. "Hey, Little Man...what's wrong? You OK down there? Whattsamatter?". He stood back up, looked at me and shrugged. "Whadda we do?"

"I dunno, I don't remember reading anything in the toddler books about this. I guess we just stand here, maybe, wait him out".

Befuddled, we stood, we waited, we looked from him to each other. In about 45 seconds he stood up, gave me a look of the "I'm not happy about this situation" variety and came begrudgingly into my arms. I suspect all the blood was rushing to his head or he may have stayed down there.

I remain clueless as to what the obviously unacceptable circumstances were. But since my overloaded mommybrain can no longer handle any processing that is not absolutely essential...I'll not worry about it. Maybe it will come to me in my what serves these days as sleep.

Cleanliness is next to...

I think the whole notion of "cleaning up when we are finished" might perhaps be sinking in, maybe, just a smidge. Twice in the last couple of weeks while putting dishes in the dishwasher Jude has come up behind me and smushed his banana into the silverware basket then turned and strolled away, as if to say, "Right, done with the next item on my busy agenda."

He's in the right vicinity, I suppose.

Addendum later that afternoon: Girlfriends told me that having a baby causes brain cell loss of ginormous proportions. Do you think I belived them? Of course not, because I would happen to be exempt from any such normal side-effects commonly described by women all over the world, having been struck with a narcissistic case of the "it will never happen to me" syndrome. OK, so, I've been sitting here for the last 5 hours diligently engaged in laboring for my employer, while in the back of my mind something seems strangely amiss. Something naggingly not quite right...can't put my finger on it...ummmm.........I'm sitting here with conditioner still in my hair (and we're not talking the leave-in variety). Ironic, that.

Now, I'm not exactly sure if this particular incident can be attributed to this loss of brain cells factor women speak of, or if maybe it has more to do with the fact that for the last few weeks I've not been able to take a single shower without a tiny hand flinging the shower door open WIDE a minimum of four or five times to subject me repeatedly to a blast of cold air and a two and half foot tall human boy's face sporting a mischievous grin staring up at me. Hence, making shower taking a rushed affair these days.

So, I'm not decide. We won't go into the whole similar situation of going to nursery school with a backwards diaper on incident that occurred earlier this week. That we can chalk up to sleep deprivation, I'm sure, since between being preganant and the first year of babyhood my sleep debt must be up to, oh I dunno, twelve years by now. But who's counting?
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You know it's going to be a trying day when the first thing you see in the morning is your one year old streaking across your bedroom, headed for your bathroom with your wireless mouse in his hand...