Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Empty Nest*

Last week a robin built a beautiful nest in our backyard. She was very expedient and very determined. One day, the nest wasn't there and the next - there it was. Unfortunately, she built it at the top of Ben's play set where his telescope sits.

I felt guilty about it but the husband insisted that we needed to move it before she filled it with eggs. He was concerned that once she had eggs to sit on, she would not feel very warm and fuzzy about sharing her space with my rambunctious toddler. So, I climbed up in to the playhouse and very, very carefully removed the nest out of it's resting spot (she had it wedged in VERY securely). The whole time she was watching me from the fence. I felt so awful for her and I kept trying to explain it to her. "You see, my son plays up here, Mrs. Robin. You don't want to lay your eggs here. It's not safe." I don't think she understood me. The nest was so cute and perfect and so obviously very lovingly constructed, I couldn't stand to throw it away. So, I persuaded my husband to move the nest to the wooden bird feeder at the other side of the yard. "See, we are just going to move it to a safer place. It's still in one piece, you can still sit on it!"

Unfortunately, I don't think she believed me because the nest is still sitting unused in our bird house. I think we must have contaminated it with our dirty human scent. She still hops around the yard and sits on our fence but has yet to build another nest or use the relocated version. I am still hopeful that the more time that passes with no one touching it, the sooner she will see that it is a safe place to reside. (I am also a tiny bit paranoid that she and her bird friends are plotting against us and we are going to get "bombed" when we try to play in the yard).

* I bet you thought this was some clever title referring to my baby(ies) growing up or my pregnant need to clean the house, didn't you? Nope, just a bird story.

Friday, April 22, 2011


On Saturday, after our city trip, Ben woke up with a swollen gland in his neck. He had no other symptoms so the husband hypothesized that it was a result of teething and we didn't dwell on it. Later in the week, he had a couple of night wake ups, but still no fever or other symptoms so we continued on with our plans in blissful denial. Then Wednesday, after he kept coming to me and telling me that his ear hurt and he needed me to kiss it, we ended up in the doctor's office. He had a double ear infection and she gave us some antibiotics.

By the end of the day, I had a scratchy throat and stuffy nose (and no antibiotics). So we decided to have a couple of "pajama days" and have been quarantined inside watching movies, reading books, and playing games. It's been nice not to have to rush out anywhere and just to enjoy our time together. Of course, his naps have been crazy and I have snuck some snoozing in as well, which has completely cut in to my time to blog. Or read blogs. Or comment on blogs.

But, now we are back in action and just in time for the Easter Bunny. Benjamin had a very unpleasant experience getting his picture taken with the bunny last weekend and is not excited about this visit. In fact, I have mentioned to him several times "The Easter Bunny is coming on Sunday" and he says "No. I don't like him." I think he's fine getting candy and gifts - as long as they aren't presented by a man in a large rabbit suit. We have another egg hunt tomorrow and I am excited for him to be able to hunt for eggs. By the time he figured out what he was supposed to do at the last one, all the bigger kids had snagged the eggs (I had a struggle not snatching eggs out of the little stinkers hands!)

We have planned an Easter meal for Sunday (as well as hiding our own eggs and basket). Two weeks ago, a random miracle occurred at our Wednesday night dinner at the church. We were having ham and scalloped potatoes and Ben was eating his typical nuggets, fruit and carrot sticks. All of the sudden he started pointing at my plate. I said "Do you want a bite of ham?" and he said "Yes" and ate it! Then he ate several more bites! With no prompting from us at all! Needless to say - we are serving ham for Easter and relishing the fact that we will not be fighting and pleading over each tiny bite.

I hope all of my blogging friends have a lovely Easter and that the bunny brings good things for all of you!

Monday, April 18, 2011


We decided to go to the aquarium this weekend with the tot because he had so much fun at the one we stopped at in Georgia last Fall. Unfortunately, he was only really interested in "Nemo" and one other exhibit:
"Ummmm - No, I don't want to touch him."

"Well, if you think it's safe..."

"This little one looks safer"

"Ooooh! Nice penguin! Okay, I like him."

Funnily enough, he just ran around every other exhibit but we had to actually pull him away from petting the penguin statue. Once he figured out that it wasn't going to jump up and bite him, of course.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bigger Picture Moment: The Whole Story

It had been an exhausting weekend filled with running in all directions trying to get a multitude of tasks accomplished. Somehow, because of my work schedule and things that needed to get done, there ended up not being a lot of time to spend with Ben. Sunday night rolled around and it was my turn to put Ben to bed. I found myself focused on getting dinner served, getting the dishes cleaned up and the toys put away so that we could get the bedtime routine moving.

Recently Ben has become an adversary of sleeping. He protests bedtimes and nap times. He tells me "I gonna cry" whenever I say it's time for bed. He climbs the twelve stairs in our house as if he is an ant and they are each a mile high. He stops to inspect things on the carpet and he dawdles when picking pajamas, brushing his teeth and choosing a book. His most recent trick is to go "noodle-y" and lay in the middle of the floor like a limp rag, refusing to move or do any of the things I ask of him.

Needless to say, I was already tired and not looking forward to our bedtime battle. I managed to get him in the tub without too much hassle but ending the bath was still a fight. We got to his room and managed to agree on some jammies. Then came the dreaded book choosing. His recent favorite is what he calls "The Cars Book" which is really a Disney storybook collection that has a story about the Cars characters. It is a l-o-n-g story (Really, Disney?! 20 some odd pages for a CHILDREN'S bedtime story? What were you thinking?!). So, I try to talk him out of it on many occasions, but at the times he is adamant or I am too tired to argue, we read the "abridged" version. This entails me skipping multiple paragraphs and delivering a cliff's notes version of Mater and McQueen's adventures.

So we grabbed the book and he snuggled up on my lap. I could smell the fresh baby shampoo scent in his damp hair and felt the warm weight of him on my chest. He laid his head on my shoulder, stuck his fingers in his mouth and began to relax. It was a wonderful feeling - one that I had missed the whole weekend. One that I knew I wouldn't get to have for very much longer. He is growing fast - as little boys do. That night, I read him the whole story. I didn't skip a word. I did the funny voices and took my time. I soaked in that moment of motherhood - glad for every second I had.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer

I feel terrible that I haven't been more productive lately. I want to blame my lack of blogging on pregnancy but I know plenty of other expectant bloggers (Hi Sarah!) who seem to have no trouble at all posting on a regular basis. Even with no or very little sleep. So, I am a wimp. It doesn't help when I am very sleepy to have my toddler crawl in to my lap, snuggle under the blanket and say "show!". I am not a fan of television for little ones but the temptation to snooze with a cuddly little boy in my arms is just too much to resist!

Also possibly lending to my fatigue - our weeks have become very active. Between his Kindermusik, swim lessons and play dates, and my work and bible study, I find myself without much downtime. Which is actually fine because it lends structure to our week and helps me keep a routine. The bad part about all of this is that all of the aforementioned activities (with the possible exception of play dates and obviously, work) will be winding up for the year in the next few weeks. At which point we will go from having very little free time to gobs and gobs of time with nothing much to do. Ironically, I will also be in the 2nd trimester at that point which means (I hope) that my energy will be back and I will be much more interested in being active right when the activity stops.

Thankfully, my toddler is not one to sit quietly and wait for something to do. I am hopeful that because of the warm, sunny weather and the active tot, we will naturally be very busy. I already have my eye on the zoo, baseball games, the park down the street, the local pool, and the swing set in the backyard. He already has his eye on the bike, the power wheels, the bubbles, finger paint, side walk chalk and every ball in our house. Odds are - we will both be plenty active and have lots to blog about!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lots of Two

Two has been showing it's ugly side lately. On Friday, there was a meltdown at Chuck E Cheese during a play date because we were out of tokens and Ben needed to play more. Darn it, woman! Why are you always trying to keep me from having fun?!  Therefore, we had to leave quickly and under duress.

There has also recently been some strong opinions about wardrobe. Any shirt with a superhero on it is approved and everything else is horribly awful and an insult to his delicate personhood. Unfortunately we only own two superhero t-shirts and neither are acceptable church apparel. Thankfully for me - I work on Sundays so it wasn't my job to wrestle him into an outfit that was not representative of anything DC or Marvel, but my husband was happy to give me a play by play when he saw me later. 

Today we had a play date at a friends house who has a son the same age. They also have an older son so they have a lot of "boy toys" to entertain two toddlers. Everything was going wonderfully and both boys seemed to be having a good time. There were occasional upsets when there was mutual interest in the same toy, but for the most part things went very smoothly. Until the "Cars" toys were discovered. Then Ben decided to round them up and carry them around. Now, of course, he has his own "Cars" at home, but not the same ones. In fact, his friend had one that we did not own - "The King" race car. This became a very distressing fact when it was time for us to leave and the toy had to stay. So distressing, in fact, that Ben threw himself on the floor kicking and screaming. "No leave! No leave!" Needless to say, probably not endearing himself to our host and making a return trip less likely in the future. The whole way home he cried and screamed about wanting the car. When we got home, he looked at his bucket full of cars and said "No, I want The King!" and continued to cry about it until I distracted him with lunch and his nap. When he woke up, the first thing he said was "I want The King!"

Two is a tough age. It's a time for exciting changes. It's the age where we will eventually say "good bye" to diapers and "hello" to potties. It's the age when we will move from the crib to the bed and from the nursery to a big kid room. It's also the age where, due to increasing communication skills, there is very little trouble expressing opinions, thoughts, feelings, needs and, of course, wants. (Understanding why demands aren't satisfied the minute they are made known is a whole other story.) But, because of those same skills, it is becoming easier and easier to see my son developing in to a little person. 

He is no longer the chubby baby I carried around on one hip and entertained for (what felt like) hours with games of peek-a-boo and Itsy Bitsy Spider. He is a small person with interests and preferences just like any other. He loves Pixar and most computer-animated cartoons but doesn't care for the "hand drawn" classics. He likes animals. He loves all kinds of cars. He has no interest in dinosaurs or trains. He hates to get messy. He likes to read books. He is very organized and likes to have all of his toys arranged a certain way. He doesn't care for legos. He hates the sound of a dog barking. He tells "jokes" and laughs at them whether you do or not. His jokes really aren't that funny, but he is. The things he says and his sense of timing is hysterical. 

I hate the temper tantrums and I hate knowing that the next year is going to be full of as many challenges as it is victories. We will have to learn to share, to calm down, to express ourselves using words, to interact with friends, and to control our impulses. (Really - we will be working on these for a lot longer than a year, but this is the time when the learning begins.) I wish we could fast forward through some of the rougher parts or that kids were just born automatically having some of these skills. Like the way babies instinctively have a sucking reflex. But then I guess we'd miss the good parts too and I would hate to miss the fun.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mobile Naps

On Friday, we had an electrician here to do the wiring in the basement. Now that there is another baby on the horizon, my husband has flown into "productive mode" and is scurrying quickly to get the basement finished so that the guest room can be renovated to a big boy room. For some reason, in my head, wiring didn't sound very intense and it didn't occur to me that there might be a lot of ruckus involved. Needless to say, there was plenty of banging and drilling before Ben and I left for our play date.

I was concerned about his nap but thought I could work around it by getting him home early and putting him down while the contractors were still on their own lunch break. So we raced home only to find that the contractors had already left for lunch. I had no idea how long they had been gone so I gave him a quick lunch and rushed him upstairs for bed.

Ten minutes after I had put him down, they were back. They were really nice and one of them even explained that they had knocked on the door rather than ringing the bell in case my son was asleep. I confirmed that he was asleep and had just been put down. He assured me that they were through with most of the noisy stuff and just had a few screws to put in. It appears that we have different ideas about what is "noisy". Five minutes after they disappeared down the basement stairs, the walls were vibrating with the "quietness" of their work.

Of course, the baby monitor started squeaking in response. Initially, it was just a whimper but within minutes it became a full blown cry. I ran upstairs in an attempt to rock and comfort him, hoping that he would be able to relax and go to sleep. No such luck. I was feeling frustrated by the racket and fantasizing about stomping down the stairs shouting "Keep it down" when I decided we both needed a break.

I put Ben's shoes on and said "Let's go for a ride!" We went to the Starbucks and brought the husband a coffee at work. I had hoped that riding in the car would provide an opportunity for sleep and it didn't seem like that was going to happen for my tot. But, about halfway home, I saw the head start to droop and the eyes close. I didn't want to take him home, so I made a detour and we went for a drive in the country while he slept. During his snooze, I drove through neighborhoods I had never been to before and found new short cuts to different areas. It was a peaceful drive on a beautiful day, listening to the radio and the tiny snores in the backseat. Car naps are never as long as crib naps and he was awake after about forty-five minutes, but it was a blessed forty-five minutes. Next time contractors show up at the door, rather than getting frustrated, I will be grabbing the car keys.