Tuesday, December 23, 2008

kickin' it oldschool

a play in One Act
by Summer Doyle

Scene: 1am, my parents' living room
Props: empty beer bottles and pizza boxes
Characters: 7 friends from high school

(When we enter it is already late in the evening. We hear the animated discussion of people who have not seen each other for years. There is a lull in the conversation.)

Someone from the crowd: So. Are we down for charades?

(They proceed into a rousing game of charades in which the boys beat the girls by a sliver. Much celebration and hand-wringing ensues. People hug goodnight and wander off into the chill night air.)

End of Play

Note from the author: We are just as cool today as we were back then; which is to say, not at all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

bathroom humor

A tell-tale stream of bubbles floated to the surface of the water as River sat in his bathtub tonight. Blip, blip, blip...POP! He looked down between his legs and saw a couple more bubbles - products of his little toots - float up and pop. I giggled adolescently and looked at Thom. I guess River thought it was hilarious too, because he looked at me with expectation and asked for more.

I don't know what tricks his uncle Kevin is teaching him, but this is comedy gold!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

seriously, what do I do all day long?

I... you... just.. what? There are no words to describe my feelings about this woman's question. If any of my friends feel this way, see Carolyn's response for a pretty accurate description of my day.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

where's the dado?

Ever since Thanksgiving River has been thinking about his grandparents a lot. At least once a day he says "Dado" unprompted, and it is usually followed by the signs for "airplane" and "grandma." This prompts a conversation about how Dado (my dad) flew home on a plane with grandma, and yes we had so much fun when they were here. Then we talk about how River and mommy and daddy are going to fly on a plane to see them and Oma and Opa (Thom's folks) for Christmas.

These aren't one sided conversations by any means. He initiates ideas, fills in thoughts for me, and seems to understand that we'll get to see his grandparents soon. It's so exciting for me to see him developing a relationship with them, to see that he thinks about them, that he misses them. I miss them too.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

"I want to do it!"

Examples of the "big boy" syndrome we're currently experiencing.
  • will only brush his teeth with Daddy's huge, Sonicare toothbrush
  • wants to scrub his feet with mommy's loofah every night
  • determined to eat with his fork, even if he has to pick food up with his hands to get it on there
  • likes to practice sitting on the potty (like mommy and daddy), though he has not yet gone pee or poo
  • wants to climb stairs unaided (he will swat me away if I try to put a hand on him)
  • likes to tell the kitties when they're doing something wrong
  • is refusing to sit in his high chair for dinner because he wants to be in a regular chair

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

River News: Month Twenty

Oh my sweet boy,

You have had quite a full month. It seems that you are firmly in the throws of TODDLERHOOD, and by that I mean you are still mostly your sweet, considerate, funny self... except when you're not. And when you're not, you are an out of control caveman. ME WANT seems to be theme of the moment.

For the past few days we've seen the most primitive behavior emerge during bedtime. Me want splash! Me want story! Me no want sleep! Last night we followed our usual routine: bath, jammas, stories, and - nope - nothing after that, because instead of moving onto songs and bed, you cried and cried for your favorite book. We'd already done quite a thorough job of reading Katy Caboose and when we went to turn off the lights and snuggle in for song time, you cried and cried, "Boose! Boose! Boose!" It was pretty much the toddler equivalent of "Read it again, dad." You screamed "Boose!" for a good twenty minutes before you finally wore yourself out in daddy's arms. More and more you find any excuse you can to extend bedtime and avoid that torturous moment of laying down to sleep. You make the hungry sign, you ask for juice, you ask for mommy, nope, what you really meant was daddy. If you thought it would get you out of bed I'm sure you'd ask for a glass of pickle juice and a heaping plate of haggis.

It's made for frustrating moments and hilarious ones (the night you hopped out of the bath dripping wet and ran around holding your tush comes to mind), and I know you're just testing us and asserting your independence. But my boy, you need sleep, and momma and dadda need a sliver of time alone at the end of the day, and neither of those things are coming easy lately.

None of this is helped by the fact that you've been sick almost every day this month. I suspect it's because your system is adjusting to the lack of antibodies since weening but the informed doctor we saw this week assured me in her most condescending voice that, no, it's just winter and kids get sick. Either way, illness brings out the primitive beastie in you, which means we all get to look forward to the very long winter ahead of us.

When not acting like the missing link, you have been a lovely, adorable little man. We hosted Thanksgiving this year and you got to spend lots of time with your grandparents and great-grandparents. Grandma Frankey was beyond delighted that you warmed up to her this trip. She's been waiting for a great-grandchild to show her a little affection, and the hugs, kisses, and smiles you showered on her have made her a happy lady. You were particularly thrilled with grandpa Terry this time around, and though he's a great guy, I'm sure the M&M's he kept sneaking you didn't hurt.

When they arrived on Tuesday, we put my dad and grandpa to work right away, assembling cabinets, hanging them, and fixing a bunch of stuff around the house. You saw the men at work and went right in to help with a hammer and a screwdriver. It was the sweetest thing to see all those generations working together. A few days before he had to go home, you spontaneously started calling grandpa Terry "Dado." I tell you kid, you know how to make a heart melt.

All the grandparents got some great moments with you - coloring with grandma Julie, getting tickled by grandpa Jack, making playdough shapes with grandma Janie, and eating turkey sandwiches with grandpa Terry. You have also thoroughly charmed your little cousin Finn. The moment he sees you, he wants to do what you're doing and eat what you're eating. He crawls after you, watching with wide open eyes to see what you'll come up with. In return you treat him like a little brother: a little antagonizing, a little helping, and a lot of giggles.

Thanksgiving itself was a great day - we cooked and cooked and ate and ate. But my favorite moment came after the dinner when we hauled ourselves up and went for a walk to take some of the pressure off our belts. It was a short trek - just a few blocks in the direction of Harvard Square - and about halfway down we saw two fire engines pass with sirens blaring. You were thrilled and, as usual, asked for more.

You had forgotten about the trucks by the time we walked a few more blocks and ran into the fire station. One of the garage doors was open, so we decided to have a look around, and just about the moment you peeked inside, the two fire trucks returned to the station. There we were - eleven of us scattering like mice to make room for the trucks - and I kept thinking how put out the firemen would be we were in their way. After the trucks were in, we gathered to quietly make our way home, but oh no, the fire chief came out of his truck and did the most amazing thing. With a huge smile on his face, he made a bee-line for you and said, "Does he want to see the trucks?! Come on in! Hey guys, leave the lights on."

It was as if God had swooped down and asked if you wanted a peek at Heaven. You were dumbstruck - mouth open, eyes like saucers, paralyzed with joy. I think you were a bit overwhelmed, because you clawed onto me and couldn't get the nerve to climb on the truck or get too close to the firemen. I understand. It's a bit like meeting your greatest idol and losing the ability to speak. I was so touched by the generosity and enthusiasm of the firemen. Even though you were stone still and silent, and even though it was Thanksgiving night and they were at work and not home with their families, they poured smiles on you and welcomed us all. They made sure we stuck around while one of the men got you and Finn fire hats and stickers and coloring books and they sent us off into the night feeling very warm in spite of the icy air.

Of course as soon as we turned the corner, your stunned silence was broken and you asked for more.

You are so heart-breakingly lovely, my darling boy. And I love you more than you could ever imagine.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving has been full of ups and downs (mostly ups). I've spent hours in traffic, been pulled over and ticketed, enjoyed the company of grandparents and great-grandparents, had an abundance of wonderful food, delighted in my son's squeals of laughter, watched River and his grandfather build together and share turkey sandwiches, been woken by a sick toddler for hours and hours, and shared a warm snuggle with the love of my life. I couldn't be more thankful.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

happy thoughts

Thom's home and all is right with the world.

On a completely different note, I bought my first real pair of winter boots today and they rock! What have I been doing all these years with stupid Payless knock-offs? No more! The foot rebellion has begun!

(As you can see, I'm still a little tired from this past week....)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

day... what the hell day is this? my brain is dead

I guess we're on day 3 of 4. Doing okay, but... no I can't finish that sentence. Tried to come up with something witty, but all I'm hearing is a giant WRRRR WRRRR WRRRR sound in my brain. Baby still alive. Patience nearly gone. Where's the beer?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

day one: so far... okay

River had a good day yesterday - we played at the park, both had good naps, and went to the toddler group at Stellabella in the afternoon. River seems to have an aversion to the group sing along, though, because as soon as the free play part is over and we get in a circle to sing, he starts a litany of "go, go, go." Poor guy bangs on the door like an inmate. This is torture. Don't make me siiiiiinnngg!

Last night Kevin and Crystal were kind enough to let us over and cook dinner so I didn't have that extra task on my plate. Plus it filled up the roughest last couple hours of the day. He went to sleep pretty easy - not a surprise considering how much activity we'd had during the day.

One short wake up in the middle of the night, and up at 6:2oam. A pretty good start.

Today has been a bit rougher, so far. River is already missing his dad and acting out in silly ways. More clingy, needing to be carried more, fussier at meals. But he's down for his nap now, and I hope the rest of the afternoon goes a little bit better.

I've taken a new zen approach to meltdowns. This morning we went to Darwin's for breakfast before heading to the Natural History Museum for a playdate with my moms' group. After a short time in Darwin's he was begging to, "Go, go, go." It was too early to go to the museum and too cold to just hang out outside, so I held off as long as possible. Finally, when it seemed like we'd killed enough time, I tried to get his snow suit on so we could get out the door, but he went limp and wouldn't cooperate. Instead of fighting him and manhandling the suit on, I called his bluff.

"Fine, you don't want to go? I'm okay sitting here and finishing my coffee." He looked totally confused that I wasn't playing into his hand, and just sat there for a minute. After a little while he was ready and put on the suit with no complaints. Chalk one up for the mommy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

single mom for a week

This should be an interesting week - and by interesting I mean it could be like that visit to the dentist office where you unexpectedly run into an old friend or you end up needing a three hour root canal. A grab bag of fun!

Thom left for work this morning and, because of some intense out of town meetings he's running, he won't be back until Friday evening. That means it's just me and River with no buffer for four days and three nights.

River's been doing a great job of sleeping through the night lately (knock on wood), but even when he is his most cooperative and cute, I still feel pretty wiped out by 6pm. Getting through those last few hours without Thom is hard, and getting through them three nights in a row is almost unthinkable.

Still, I've prepared myself as best as possible. I'm putting low expectations on myself in terms of housework and projects, I'm vowing to nap, and I've planned playdates/outings for every day this week. That should keep us from going stir crazy with boredom, and having other moms and babies around always takes some of the pressure off.

If I don't post much this week don't assume the worst. River and I could be having a grand time - too much fun to sit down on the boring computer. Or I could be crying in the corner hugging a bottle of vodka. You never know.

Friday, November 14, 2008

a conversation

This morning I was laying in bed awake (as I had been since 4:30am), and after finding out I was feeling restless and a little stressed, Thom asked what was on my mind. "The usual stuff," I said, "finding a sitter and getting the house ready for company at Thanksgiving."

Thom: Well, what needs to be done on the house?

Me: I don't know. I just wish things were a little more organized.

Thom: Like what?

Me: Our bedroom closets, the linen closet.

Thom: Oh yeah, 'cause the family is going to be so disappointed in your messy linen closet.

Me: It's just that I can't even put out nice towels because it's so messy I can't find matching ones.

Thom: ...

Me: ...

Thom: ...

Me: Yes. I know I'm crazy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

do unto others...

On the same night there was so much to celebrate, the state of California found itself with so much to mourn. Proposition 8, which took away the constitutional right for gay people to marry, is such a horrible injustice. Keith Olbermann has expressed so eloquently what I am feeling about this vote:

If you feel the way I do and would like to take action, go to The Courage Campaign and find out what you can do to help.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Adventures in language pt 2: Friends

Our old neighbors, The J's, have been such great friends to all of us over the past year. Dinners, playdates, and swim outings have been just a few of the events our families have shared together. This Halloween we got together to watch the boys squirm in their seats, run around, and generally create havoc at a showing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It was the first movie either wild child had been to, so we weren't too surprised when they only lasted a half an hour. All in all a fun trip.

The most exciting thing to come from that evening was when River called his friend by name. "Jackson" has been "Jack-Jack" since then, and every time we pass their house or mention them, River starts a chorus of "Jack-Jack." Yesterday I told River he would get to have a playdate with his friend this morning and we've heard his name chanted and praised intermittently since then.

I dropped River off at the J's house in the morning and he ran into the living room searching for his buddy. (I took the opportunity to sit down and read a newspaper for the first time in over a year and get some speed winter clothes shopping done.) When I came back to pick him up a few hours later, River looked liked he'd had the time of his life.

"Time to say goodbye, honey."

"Bye-bye," was the refrain, followed by the cutest hugs and kisses I could imagine.

I love that River has a friend, that he is so familiar with another little person just his age, and that they will be able to form lasting memories long into the future. It's such a gift for all of us.

There will be more friends, more names for him to learn, more adventures to be had, but there is something so special about the first.

(River, Jackson, and Finn, from this past summer)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Adventures in language

Yesterday as we walked toward one of our favorite coffee shops, River started chanting the name of the owner. He said, "Paul, Paul, Paul," as we walked through the door, "Paul, Paul, Paul," as Not-Paul took our order, and "Paul, Paul, Paul," as I explained that Paul was off for the day and we could see him tomorrow. We don't get over to this coffee shop as much as we used to because it's a little further from our new house, but still, every Saturday morning we have a date with Paul's Petsi Pies. Thom loves the "Charlie Sandwich" (eggs, cheddar, chorizo, and tobasco), River loves the blueberry muffins and fruit, and I love the atmosphere (and iced mochas).

As we were enjoying our muffin and mocha yesterday afternoon, Thom called to let us know his schedule for the evening (late flight and probably not home until after nine). Since River wouldn't get to see his dad that day, I put him on the phone so daddy could say hi. Once he heard his dad's voice, however, it was River who did all the talking, saying, "Hi, hi, hi," and then, "Hi, hi, hi," and then again, "Hi, hi, hi."

I often forget that I get to hear all of River's booming language before anyone else, and he repeats new words so often that it only takes 10 minutes for a new word to become old to me.

So when Thom came home last night and asked, "Was that River talking on the phone?" I was a little surprised.

"Yeah, didn't you hear him say 'hi'?"

"I didn't know he could say 'hi'."

"Yeah, 'hi' and 'bye bye'."

"But he talked on the phone. He used the phone just like you're supposed to."

"Oh, yeah. That's pretty cool, huh?"

Pretty soon he'll be putting words together to make little sentences. Then his lisp will disappear and he'll be able to say all the consonants. Like his tentative first steps, which have now turned into confidant strides, his language will get more and more clear until we don't even notice what an accomplishment it is for him to say "garbage truck" or "cognitive dissonance."

Over the past few months I've been keeping a list of all the words River says, but since he's learning up to 5 or 10 new words a day, it's getting harder and harder to keep track. So for posterity's sake, here is the list of 50 or so of River's first words. It'll give you a pretty good idea of where his interests lie. (I've highlighted my favorites.)

choo choo
Poe Poe
tow truck
Bob Bob (bob the builder)
uh oh
bye bye

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hail to the Chief!

When I hear the news a few minutes after 11pm, I break out in tears. Thom raises his glass to cheer the new president, but I can't get my arms to work in response. I'm afraid if I move, or even breathe too deeply, this beautiful moment will wash away like a dream, so unbelievable does it seem. Months of campaigning, hundreds of polls, and even John Stewart's jubilant voice can't quite convince me the moment is actually happening.

Finally, after what seems like eternity, I raise my glass to Thom's and we help ring in a new era.

These are two of my favorite moments from what was truly a remarkable victory speech:

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who wont agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way its been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, its that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.


...to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day, or, Sorry to piss you off Dad

Today is the day people. Thom and I took River out early and stood in line at the polls with all those other elitist New England liberals (har har). After eight years of living with a government that has pummeled our civil liberties, engaged in and botched two horrible wars, and allowed companies like Haliburton to profit from these tragedies I am so ready for a change. I was aghast in 2000, utterly confused and horrified in 2004, and, my god, I am not ready for that kind of disappointment in 2008.

We are on the precipice of a great moment in history. Please, America, don't fuck this up.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

River News: Month Nineteen

Dear River,

Today you are 19 months old. Did I just say that? NINETEEN MONTHS?! That's just a hop skip and a jump away from TWO. And while I can't say it feels like just yesterday I was holding you in my arms on your first day of life, I still can't believe the monumental leaps you've taken in this past year and a half.

Thinking about your age makes me wonder how long I'll be writing these monthly letters. I'm not sure; I haven't really planned it out. Maybe it'll start to make more sense to do quarterly updates, or maybe you'll be thirty-six and still get a newsletter from me at the end of every month. "This month, River, you turned 432 months old and you didn't call me. Love, Mom." I think that would be pretty hilarious.

We have had a really good week, you and I. After months and months of being wound more tight than Nicole Kidman's face, I finally feel myself easing back into the joyful, playful mommy I once was. This move has been both amazingly wonderful and unbelievably grueling. And I know having a mommy who is distracted, stressed-out, and short-tempered has not been fun, so I'm sorry. I'm sorry for the times I snapped at you, sorry for the books we didn't get to read together, sorry for the many trips to Home Depot that bored you to death, and sorry for not being what every mother endeavors: Supermom. Sometimes I can't be it all and do it all. I want you to know that more than anything in the world, I try. I try to make you laugh, to help you learn and grow, to make our home a safe, happy place. Then I fail, and I try again.

In spite of all of my doubts and self-criticism, I must be doing something right because you are just the most delightful little boy a mom could ask for. This month you have learned how to kiss. And you practice on everything. You kiss toys, pumpkins, the cats, people you know and people you don't. We're trying to get you to keep your lips puckered and closed, but often you will attack your prey with a full, open-mouthed, slobbery whopper. Your uncle Kevin is particularly concerned when you do this to Finn, directing you to his cheek while crying, "No kissing cousins! No kissing cousins!"

You not only love to kiss, you love to get kisses and take advantage of every opportunity--the smallest scrape or bump--to get a kiss from mommy and daddy. I have to say I love this show of affection. Your mommy, if you haven't figured out by now, is a cuddler and craves physical contact. I'm sure it's a large part of why I haven't felt the need to wean you any sooner.

But to everything (turn turn turn) there is a season. And this is ours. Last Saturday the three of us sat down to a celebratory dinner and said our goodbyes to nursing. We remembered good times we'd had nursing and talked about the great ways it's helped you grow. We shared funny stories and painful ones, and we talked about what a great big step toward independence weaning would be. Of course all of this was just a bunch of "blah, blah, blah, boobies" to you, but I think it helped me make a transition. That evening we had our last nurse, and while I miss it (a lot), I know that it was the right thing to do.

You are still struggling. This morning you woke up crying and asked to nurse. When I shook my head no you sobbed and sobbed. I held you as you grieved, wishing so much I could do more. It was so hard to not be able to comfort you in the way you wanted. So hard to let go of that intimate physical connection we've shared since the moment of your birth. My mom likens it to quitting drugs and I can see the truth in that analogy. We're both coming down from a high, having withdrawals, and feeling deprived and sad.

But we will see our way through this and--as sad as it makes me to say this--there will come a time when you don't crave it everyday, when you don't think about it that often, and finally, when you forget altogether that we ever nursed.

This was, of course, the month of Halloween and I figured you were still too young to have any say in what costume you wore. How silly of me. We went to the thrift store to see what we could find (since I didn't have enough time to make one from scratch and couldn't find a pre-made one I liked). Around and around we went, looking for something that could be turned into a fun costume for you. You spotted this green and yellow jumpsuit and immediately said, "Turtle!" Well, it looked like it had once been a turtle suit, the shell long gone, but I figured I could remedy that.

We got your turtle suit and you didn't take that thing off for four days. You wore it to the fabric store where you helped pick out fabric to make the shell. You wore it to the playground, grocery store, library, scary story hour, and the movies (It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!). The shell--which I lovingly sewed for you--you wore for all of thirty seconds. You loved to look at it, and made me carry it with us wherever we went, but as soon as it hit your back you started a litany of, "off, off, off," until it was indeed off. Oh well. Half a costume ain't so bad.

Since I wasn't up for making three whole turtle costumes, mom and dad decided to stick with the theme of "River's Favorite Things." Daddy was a fireman and mom was Bobbie the Builder. You loved to see dad in his yellow coat and shouted "Bob! Bob!" every time you saw my tool belt and hard hat. It was so much fun to see you get into Halloween this year - to enjoy the fantasy play, the pumpkins, and yes, even the candy.

Happy Nineteen Months, My Wonderful Little Man!

I love you,

Monday, October 27, 2008

at least it's not a tantrum

We're going on two full days of weening River from the boobs. Over the past month, I'd managed to cut all daytime nursing out, with the remaining sessions first thing in the morning and right before bedtime. This weekend Thom suggested we go whole hog and ween River completely. It's gone very well, with some complaints and extra neediness, but overall we're all managing.

When River woke up bright and early this morning, Thom got up and entertained him for an hour then brought him to our room once he had to get ready for work. As expected, River made the "nurse" sign and put up a mighty fuss when he was gently rejected. What followed was as heartbreaking as it was amusing - pouting as he got off the bed, he left our room and closed the door behind him. His dad followed him into the hall where River went into his room and closed the door behind him.

"Um, I think you need to go talk to him."

I pulled myself out of bed and went to see if we could snuggle and make up, but every attempt to talk was thwarted. I followed him out of his room, into the kitchen, around the counter, but River had no intention of looking at me. Not a word or a cry uttered, he just didn't want to be around me. He was giving me the silent treatment.

See how you like it when I remove affection, mom.

I guess it's his way of asserting control over a situation in which he feels so powerless. My poor, sweet, funny little boy. If it's his way of coping, I can take the silent treatment now and then.

Monday, October 20, 2008

River News: Month Eighteen

Happy Year and a Half, Mr. Biver Butt!

I'm finding myself a bit overwhelmed lately, my son. This month we moved into a new home and it is a lovely, large house which we will all be able to grow into. It has taken an unbelievable amount of effort to deal with packing, unpacking, and fixing all of those many new-house bugs (Um, washer and dryer? Still not working). We've also been without a consistent babysitter for about two months, so I've been managing all of this while in the half-sleepy fog of early morning and during your too-brief naps. As of this moment, I have decided to never move again. Hope you like this house, 'cause you'll be here for a long time!

So I'm sorry this letter is once again late; it brings me back to that old idea that I can live this life or write about it, but--at this rate--probably not both.

You have had an amazing month. I can't believe how much of a LITTLE BOY you are. You are infinitely fascinated with all things big and motorized. Trains! Trucks! Planes! Knowing how much you enjoyed watching construction vehicles, one particularly busy afternoon, I decided to break the ban on TV and see if you would enjoy watching Bob the Builder. Up until this point your only exposure to children's programming was the Saturday morning cartoons daddy or I would throw on in an attempt to zone out for a few more minutes of those precious weekend mornings (who gets up at 6am on a Saturday?!?!). Even that would get us a couple minutes of respite at most, and I was so proud of my son who had no interest in TV.

Then came Bob. After two minutes of watching Bob and his crew building you had learned to say "Bob-Bob!" and "House!" You were hooked. I can't tell you how often I have heard you ask for this show in the past month. It's a dangerous temptation, this TV thing; to know I could get ten minutes to check email or make dinner seems an undeniable luxury. We've resisted pretty well. I would like TV time to be a special treat for you, not something routine in your life, and so far that seems to be how it's working.

Away from that black box of temptation, you have seen so many things this month. One morning, after you had asked to read your train book for the billionth time, your dad and I decided take you to see one up close. Off we went to the T station and got on board for a trip to nowhere, just to fulfill your jones for trains. More times than I can count we have stopped at construction sights, waited while ambulances with sirens blaring passed by, paused by fire stations, and searched out playgrounds where planes and helicopters pass overhead, all so you could see some of your favorite steel behemoths.

You have words or signs for all of your favorite vehicles and our library of books about of trains, planes, and automobiles has grown exponentially. Perhaps as much as the words "choo choo" and "trash" (garbage truck - one of your favorites), I have heard the word "turtle" an unbelievable amount. You love animals. You love seeing them on the street, visiting them in museums, looking at them in books, and acting like them whenever the mood strikes. Turtles, monkeys, owls, mice, and bears; they all inspire your imagination. As an animal lover myself, I couldn't be more happy.

I think the biggest challenge this month (aside from figuring out how to get you your next train fix) has been sleep. Your dad and I just realized that it has been almost exactly a year from when we last dealt with incredible, horrible sleep problems with you, and I think maybe, like me, you are highly affected by the change of seasons. Without the evening or morning light to guide you, you wake up not knowing what time it is. Last night was the worst, with a half hour waking at 1am, then you were up for the day at 4am. Let me repeat that: You Were Up For the Day at 4AM. Your dad and I are starting to remember what your infancy was like, and we are not enjoying it one bit. For one thing, you don't have all of that glorious pudge, and for another you seem to be able to cry for a lot longer.

So I would describe myself this month as exhausted, overworked, and undernourished, and I would describe you as somewhat frustrating, but undeniably amazing.

I love you,

Monday, October 06, 2008

From Yesterday's Tomorrow, For a Better Today

Instead of reprinting Saturday's post (sorry, J-man, I'll retell some of the story in my next River news) I've decided to do something radical for this blog and talk about an important political issue. I'm proclaiming my support for the Shatner/Hasselhoff ticket!

I can think of no one better to lead us into a new tomorrow. Check out their radical message at ShatnerHasselhoff.com.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

is it that time of year (or month) already?

***I've taken this post down***

I read it again and it was just too painful and personal to give to the world. Suffice it to say it was about a bad morning and my blue fall days, and just writing it has helped me work some things out.

Monday, September 29, 2008

aren't we done yet?

It feels like months since I've had time to write a decent post. Work on the house is all-consuming, always one more project to complete, one more box to unpack, and spending even a few minutes to do yoga, write, or just sit on my ass feels like such a waste of time.

I know it's not. I know that I need to recharge my batteries. I know I deserve some down time. I also know that I can't fully relax in our new beautiful home until everything is in its place and our daily life can proceed without the frustration of not knowing where the soap is or having to sort through a billion boxes to find a light bulb.

We've accomplished an incredible amount over the last few weeks and every day we get closer to living in a functional space (I'm leaving decorating dreams aside - those projects will take months).

Thom has been the best about plunging ahead and attacking box after box even if the contents don't have a great home yet. He unpacked almost the entire kitchen, and while I'll have to go through and rearrange all his work, at least everything is out of boxes and reachable. My focus has been creating storage space and doing handyman projects. I've loved building shelves, organizing closets, hanging art, and making minor adjustments on cabinetry and appliances.

Even though we've been living in various states of disarray for the past two weeks, it is infinitely better than being in a hotel. We love this space. We love the way we can spend time together in it. We love the memories we're already creating here.

I'm tired and I could use a massage and a weekend off, but overall life is very good right now.

Friday, September 26, 2008

amazing cakes

A few samples from the brilliant blog my husband directed me to last night, Cake Wrecks:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Amazingly cute things River did yesterday:

  • Asked for "more" tickles "more" tickles!
  • Loved the Natural History Museum at Harvard: pointed to monkeys and mimicked them by scratching under his arms, pointed to owls and said, "Who! Who!," made the "key" sign to free the locked up animals
  • Held hands with his little friend Olive while they had their snacks
  • Watched the construction vehicles with rapt attention for five minutes
  • Snuggled up and read about 100 books with me
  • Pointed at everything from Thom's pillow, sink, and pajamas and said "Da-Da"
  • Climbed on his tricycle seat like Evil Knievel
  • Pointed at his diaper as he peed or pooped and asked to go to his potty
  • Practiced jumping, dancing, and shaking his booty
  • Tossed every bucket and shovel out of the playhouse at the park
  • Made the sign and said "house" (which is his way of asking to watch Bob the Builder)
  • Helped mommy feed the kitties by scooping their food
  • Ran from the bath in his birthday suit and made me chase him around before bedtime

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Virtual tour

Well, we've managed to unpack about half of the boxes, and since we're no longer wading through the wreckage of moving (merely stepping in a pile of it every now and then), I thought I'd share some pics of our new home.

Here's the view from our front door. This is the living room which opens to a little office nook on the left and the bar on the right.

Here's the office. It's a great space to land when we come in (drop mail, keys, and coats) and it's just big enough to house files and computer equipment.

Next is the crowning jewel of the house. I think the decision to nix the planned fireplace and put in a bar speaks to how truly compatible Thom and I are. Our personal ads could have read, "Wanted: Soul mate who loves beer."

Just beyond the bar is the dining room area, which looks into the kitchen. It's been great to have a space for our dinner table that doesn't make us feel like giants eating in a hobbit hole.

Then comes one of my favorite rooms: the kitchen. I love the choices we made in here - cabinets, countertops, floors, and backsplash. Once we install a pantry in the corner, we'll have enough space for everything, but right now the cabinets are a bit overflowing.

The stone and glass mosaic backsplash, which was the first thing I picked in designing the finishes.

Next is a view of the hallway from our front door. On the right are doors to River's room and the second bathroom. I'm not thrilled with the color choice here. It came out more baby blue and less dusty than I imagined.

River's room. In time, we'll move him downstairs and hope to turn this into a nursery. (I just realized how horrible that sounds. Images of Sloth shakled in his dark hole come to mind. Move over River! There's a new baby in town! Actually, the room downstairs is much more spacious and will be a nice change once he's ready for his big boy bed.)

The second bath. The color is actually more rust in person. You can see the cats have already taken over this space.

Here's our master bedroom. It's tighter than our last one, but the huge communal areas totally make up for lost bedroom space.

The master bath. Two sinks and a jacuzzi tub. I love the tile, but the paint and decor need some work.

So there's the first floor! The basement is still too cluttered for me to photograph. When we get some more unpacking done down there, I'll continue the tour.