Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Short List...

A short list of my very favorite sounds in the whole, wide world:

5. The grinding of my coffeemaker in the morning.

4. A tennis ball being thwacked by a racket.

3. The crickets chirping late at night on a calm, summer evening.  (one of the things I miss most about growing up in a small town)

2. My cat's soft purring.

1. My son's newest kick: an imitation of a fire truck siren ("WEE-lo, WEE-lo, WEE-lo, WEE-lo"... ), which he says over and over again, slowly and under his breath, as he is falling asleep in his crib.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thank you, L Word!

During the cold and lonely TV "off season" (ie, when my favorite shows like Lost and Gossip Girl and Curb Your Enthusiasm are in hiatus) I've been searching for a fix, and I've finally found one. The L Word!  

It's basically Sex and the City starring lesbians ... with great hair.  I've got it loaded up in my Netflix queue and have plowed through Seasons 1-3 in only a few weeks.  

I guess, then, that it should come as no surprise that this pastime has provided me with the inspiration for a new haircut.  I went and got my hair chopped off yesterday, in hopes of imitating Alice in Season 1:

I like it.  It's easy and feels good in the hot weather.  And... it's remarkably similar to the 'do of another esteemed lesbian, Ellen Degeneres:

When I announced my new 'do to my husband, he was not surprised.  He knows I'm obsessed with that show now.  His only comment: "The L Word?" My reply: "Yup."


Monday, July 28, 2008

Reunited (and It Feels So Good)

K. is definitely going through a Daddy phase.  Whenever his dad walks out of a room, he cries until he comes back.  And when K. sees a picture of him, no matter how many other people may be in the photo, he hones right in on his dad and says, "Da, Da, Da!"

I guess you can't blame the kid when his dad travels as much as he does.  My husband started a new job last August and, although thankfully the travel schedule has mellowed out quite a bit, he is still out of town more frequently than any of us would like.  This last trip was particularly hard, because he was away from us for a week and a half - longer than he's ever been.  

He got back late on Friday and on Saturday we had a delightful day catching up. This photo pretty much sums it up.  

We love you, Daddy!

Friday, July 25, 2008

15 Month Check Up

Not a lot of time to post today, so I'll just give a quick rundown of the results of K's 15 month check up, which was yesterday.  

He weighs 22 lbs, 3.5 oz (20th percentile for weight);

He is 31.5 inches tall (70th percentile for height);

His head is 18.5 inches around (40th percentile for head circumference) - fortunately for K, he has not yet fallen victim to the "Big Head Curse" that plagues my husband and me;

The doc thinks he has a molar coming in on the right side of his mouth (which explains the SHEETS of drool coming out of his mouth for the past few days);


He got his measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. Speaking of which, I gave the approval for that one without a second thought, despite all the hullabaloo about vaccines in the news these days.  I used to work at the IOM, which extensively studied the issue, weighing all available evidence and ultimately finding no link between autism and the MMR vaccine or the vaccine preservative thimerosal. (With all due respect to families who have had their hearts broken by autism, don't even get me started on all of the lovelies who refuse to vaccinate their kids ...) 

And best of all, he flirted with the doctor, which made me laugh.  He said all his best words, and smiled as if on cue.  This was all before the S-H-O-T came into play of course, but, while it lasted, our doc got a huge kick out of it. Ever since he was born (when he had this coiff of fluffy blonde hair), she has raved about his 'do and his smile, calling him the "Flock of Seagulls baby" so I think he holds a special place in her heart.  

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Poo in the News

Seems I can't get away from the issue of, for lack of a more polite term, poo.  I just read this WaPo article about the germs invading your home.    

Some highlights:

A cutting board was found to have 200 times more fecal bacteria than a toilet seat.

Laundry can be crappy - literally.  An average piece of underwear contains 0.1 grams of feces.   According to a microbiologist at the University of Arizona who has studied germiness for a number of years, virtually anyone who transfers a load of underwear when doing laundry can get E. Coli on their hands as a result.  

Because only 5 percent of Americans choose to use the hottest wash cycle when doing laundry and due to the decreasing length of wash cycles, we're exposing ourselves to viruses via the clothes we wash.  (The solution - wash underwear loads separately, and make sure the water temperature is at least 140 degrees to kill microbes.)

Thirteen percent of the shoes tested by the above microbiologist tested positive for E. Coli after three months of wear.  And 90 percent of the shoes he tested had "other fecal matter".  

Fortunately the article provides solutions to these anxiety-inducing issues (like washing your hands for at least 15 seconds at a time to get rid of germs).  

Poo.  The invisible enemy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


He goes in for the first scoop ...

Takes a successful bite...

And gives a repeat performance!

Yet another aspect of our beach vacation that I enjoyed was observing my cousin K.'s kids (boys aged 6 and 3, and girl twins who will be 2 in a few weeks) and how my own K. interacted with them.  

One thing I noticed was how grown up they all seem at meal times - especially the little girls. They sit up in chairs like normal little adults and use regular utensils with no problem!  

This got me thinking that I should really get K. practicing his spoon usage.  He has indicated interest often enough, usually grabbing the spoon out of my hand when I am feeding him, but I confess that the neat freak in me hasn't wanted to let him experiment because of the inevitable mess it would cause.

Well, the past few days that we've been back home I've loosened up a little, and yesterday I let him have at it with the spoon.  To my delight, he took to it pretty well, as the pictures above will attest!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Catching Fleas ... No Joke!

Now that I got the Story to Top All Stories out of the way, I can focus on some of the other momentous activities of our NC beach week.  

Let's start with my dad's fishing fetish. Now, I am not exaggerating when I say that my dad can FISH.  ALL.  DAY. I mean, wake up at 6 am and stay out there, casting in the surf, until 10 pm - something he actually did one day. He gets so hung up on fishing that he forgets to EAT, for pete's sake. And don't even get him started on his fishing stories! 

Anyway, since I won't let Kibi near a fishing hook until he is at least old enough to know how to hold a pole, to his credit, Grandpa still found a way to involve him in the fishing fun.  

Here they are, (along with my mom), hunting for sand fleas, which are these big, brown beetle-like things that burrow under the sand after the waves wash away.  

By the way, although at first I thought, "Sand FLEAS! Gross!" I actually came to like the little guys after realizing they were pretty harmless.  And to see Kibi observing them intently as they wriggled away made it all worthwhile.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Story to Top All Stories

We just got back from a wonderful week in North Topsail Island, NC.  Our beach house was fantastic, and everyone had a rip roaring good time.  In the next few days, I imagine I'll post some heartwarming stories  from the past week, but before I do, I have to tell you what may go down in family history as The Ultimate Kibi Story.

So, last Saturday, Spouse, K., and I hopped in the car and headed south for the beach.  K. was a champ most of the way there, with only sporadic episodes of crankiness.  During one particularly antsy stretch we decided we simply needed to find a place where we could stop, get him out of the car, and give him the opportunity to stretch his legs.  Shortly after crossing into North Carolina we came to a lovely rest stop.  (I'm sure you don't equate the words "lovely" with "rest stop" but I must say that this one was indeed scenic, with a newly renovated visitors center and surrounded by beautiful, tall pine trees ... then again, when you are sick of being in the car, I suppose any opportunity for respite looks good.)

Anyway, we unloaded K. and some food for his lunch.  My husband fed him while I took a bathroom break, and by the time I came back they were nearly finished with his lunch.  We traded, and I did lunch cleanup duty while DH went to the mens' room.  

I sat there on the grass and let Kibi run around and play under the pine trees.  The needles from the trees weren't sharp; they were actually quite soft, and made for a sort of natural gym mat for him to run on.  So, I stretched out my legs, took a few deep breaths and observed just how relaxing it was to sit in the shade of these pretty pine trees while K. played and explored.

The day was looking to be perfect.  In a few hours we'd be at the beach house for a week of fun and relaxation, and we had had no major meltdowns so far.  I glanced over at K., who was about 10 feet away from me, examining a pine cone at the base of one of the trees.  So far, so good.  

I daydreamed a bit, and then looked over at him again.  Still playing with the pine cone.  It occurred to me that we were bumping up against the maximum amount of time for him to be playing with a singular item (about 5 minutes), and I suddenly got the urge to walk over there and see just what about that pine cone was captivating his interest.  

I walked over and, to my horror, discovered that what he was squeezing in his right hand was not, in fact, a pine cone.

It was.....


That's right.  My son was squeezing a PINE CONE-SIZED PIECE OF CANINE FECES.  

I immediately dry heaved (those of you who know me well know what a weak stomach I have when it comes to bowel movements, clogged toilets, and tub hair) and, while doing so, swept K. up (while making it my ultimate goal not to let the "soiled hand" touch a) his other hand, b) his face, c) his clothes, or d) any part of me) and back over to my picnicking station.  

Fortunately I had my diaper bag with antibacterial soap and wipes, which I immediately put to use, scrubbing his little fingers furiously.  At this point DH came back and asked me what was going on.  Upon my explanation, I think I saw him give me a "I'm so glad this happened on YOUR watch" look, although if he did, it was quickly gone.  I felt the need to cleanse myself to the point of rawness, so I asked DH to continue the scrubbing with special instructions to clean the poo out from under K.'s fingernails (the image of the stuff under his nails still haunts me to this day).  Meanwhile, I ran off to the restroom and proceeded to have a panic attack.

When I came back out, K. was once again playing happily and DH was throwing away the used wipes -- our only evidence of the episode.  I couldn't get over my repeated urges to dry heave, and wondered aloud whether our son was going to die of e. Coli or something else horrible like that.  To ease my concerns, my husband proceeded to tell me the story of something he learned in his high school biology class, in which his teacher proceeded to tell the class that, especially considering those people who bite their nails, "We're all fecal eaters." He demonstrated by singling out one of the nailbiters in the class - my husband -- and scraping out some of the substance from under his fingernails and putting it under the microscope.  

What did they find?  The same bacteria that is found in.... (wait for it) .... 

Ah, so, knowing that my husband and I both (regrettably) bite our nails, and considering Kibi's starring role in the NC Rest Stop Scandal of 2008, now I can rest easy knowing that my family is a bunch of Fecal Eaters.  

Now THAT's something to be proud of!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gone Fishin'

One of the nice things about having a large extended family is it gives you an excuse to do a lot of traveling.  (Which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it.)  In our case, it has made this summer lots of fun, because, counting our Florida trip back in June, we've got not one but FOUR family trips scheduled before the end of August!  

We're heading out on Trip #2 tomorrow.  We are caravaning along with my parents down to Topsail Island, NC, where we have rented a beach house for the week with two of my aunts, their husbands, kids, and grandkids.  It should be a blast and I'm especially looking forward to seeing how K does with his second cousins.  There are two little girls (twins) who are going to turn 2 next month, so I'm curious to see how they all get along. Should be a riot!

I don't think I'll have time to blog next week, so I'll sign off until July 21 or so..

OH!  One more thing.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dear friend Sweet Pea Chef, who turns 34 on Sunday.  Enjoy your day!  I will give you a call when we are back from the beach!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

But Then Again, We Already Knew That...

You may have seen this USA Today article about a new study showing that seeing their babies smile triggered a positive chemical reaction in first-time moms, one equivalent to the high from cocaine or nicotine.  (I knew those hormones felt good, but I didn't realize they felt THAT good!)

One of the study directors is quoted: "All good mothers are addicted to their newborn babies. They will do things that are above and beyond the call of duty."

Ah, yes, to that point, I'm sure we all have stories to relate.  Ours ranged from my husband checking on the baby LITERALLY every 15 minutes when we first moved him to his crib (His defense: "If I don't keep staring at the baby, he will stop breathing") to one of us always riding in the back seat with him in the car while the other drove, chauffeur-style, to make sure we had no mid-trip meltdowns.  

Now that K is older, I'm glad we don't do these exhausting things anymore, but ... if I am honest with myself, I will admit that the previous set of overly-protective tasks has been traded in for a new set of age-appropriate ones.  I guess that will be the case until he's 18 - or older.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Polly Want a Cracker?

We all know language explodes during the toddler stage.  Well, our little one is no exception. (apologies for being a braggart here)  My husband and I have agreed that he is trying desperately to converse with us just like an adult.  He'll imitate the way we talk in his own made-up language, and he repeats all kinds of different sounds like crazy.  

To wit: he's on a "woah" kick.  I never realized how much I say "Woah!" in everyday conversation, or when I am talking just with him.  Every single time I do, K echoes, pronouncing it perfectly: "WOAH!"  

Well, the funniest example of his "parroting" came a few days ago.

The background: Ever since he was tiny, I've been pointing out our cat to K. and saying "Meow!" Well, he has indeed caught on to the sound, except for some reason it always comes out with an L: "Leow Leow Leow!"  

And he's bypassed saying "cat" altogether.  Now, he says "dog" for a canine but "leow" for a cat. Or, when our own cat meows, he'll repeat it: "Leow, Leow, Leow."

Well, two nights ago Spouse went in to check on K, fast asleep in his crib.  As he was pulling up K's blanket, our cat walked into the room.  The cat pesters my husband like nobody's business, and this night he was meowing up a storm.  

So, after the first loud "Meow," little K repeated: "Leowwwwwwww..." and then rolled over and drifted back to sleep.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Airplanes Zooming (Quite Literally) Overhead

Those of you who live inside the beltway know that one of DC's most exciting attractions is Gravelly Point, this huge expanse of land where you can stand and watch the planes landing and taking off from Reagan National Airport.  And I don't mean just "Oh, this is lovely, look at that plane over there." I mean "OH MY GOD THAT ONCOMING PLANE IS GOING TO FLATTEN ME LIKE YESTERDAY'S PAPER!!!!"  

It's very similar to that scene in Wayne's World.

Anyway, against my better judgment, DH convinced me to join him in taking K. there the other day, since he loooooves planes and helicopters and All Things That Fly.  Well, needless to say he was not disappointed.  

Whenever a plane charged in for a landing, we held him up high and made sure to cover his little ears by applying heavy pressure with our hands.  His eyes grew big as saucers, and I think I felt him trembling a little bit, but every single time, he pointed to the plane after it had passed and said "Up!" .... which I took as a positive endorsement.

Incidentally, I asked an audiologist friend whether we did any permanent damage to our young child's ears by taking him to a place were jet engines were, um, literally flying within a couple hundred feet from his head.  She said "Nah, just don't take him there every day for hours at a time or anything like that."  Phew!  So now you know.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Our Fourth of July started with errands. Spouse, Kibi and I went to our neighborhood watering hole (Starbucks) and then the grocery store in the morning to get supplies for our afternoon picnic.

After the grocery store, we spied a roadside stand proclaiming FIREWORKS in huge letters. My husband practically skidded to a halt. "We have to get some fireworks for tonight!"

Now, I don't make a practice of being a party pooper, but buying fireworks was not on my list of priorities for the day, especially because the person I thought would get the biggest kick out of them - my son - would be in bed by 7:30, God willing. Way before it got dark.

Anyway, I acquiesced and we stopped at the fireworks stand. As we pulled in and walked up to the stand, Spouse told me about how he had longed for the permission to let off his own firecrackers as a kid, and I realized we were into Childhood Fantasy Fulfillment. So, no biggie. Kibi and I entertained ourselves looking at all the traffic along Lee Highway while my husband made his purchases. I imagined he'd be back with a couple little sparklers (even I could enjoy those!) and we'd be on our way.

Weeeeellll.... imagine my surprise when he walked back toward us with a 2' by 5' (yes, that's 2X5 FEET, people) PACKAGE OF FIREWORKS. I'm not talking a coupla boxes of caps or sparklers, I'm talking a SUPER DELUXE GIFT BOX OF EVERY SORT OF EXPLOSIVE you could imagine. The package barely fit in the back of our station wagon.

I asked him how much this crate of firecrackers cost us and he quoted me a figure that I can't repeat for fear of the scorn and ridicule that would undoubtedly result, especially in these dismal economic times.

I kept my head down as we pulled into our driveway lest the neighbors see what I allowed my husband to purchase. I imagined typical conversations whispered behind doors: "What in the world are they doing with all those explosives? Talk about dangerous! And to think that they have a 1 year old! What do they think this is, Waco?"

Well, as it turned out, it rained most of the day on Friday so all my husband was able to do was let off a couple of bottle rockets (I don't think this is the actual term; I'm no explosives expert and am therefore winging it) before dark, which of course made Kibi cry because they were way too loud.

So now we have a huge arsenal of explosives in our garage. I'm just waiting for the junk pile in there to ignite them all on one of those horrendously hot D.C. summer days... and blow up the entire house.

Friday, July 4, 2008

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming ...

Don't ask me how I came across this (OK, OK, I was doing a search on "Kibi" to see where this blog turned up) but check out this video of a beatboxing genius on YouTube.  


He's not our little Kibi, but he does the name proud. 

Happy Fourth!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

End of an Era?

OK, we've officially come to the Time When K Will Not Sit Still for a Stroller Ride.  I have dreaded this day, because taking him in the jogging stroller is my only opportunity for my lame attempts at exercise.  I suppose I could ask DH if he would watch K early-early in the morning while I do a quick run, but my spouse is, um, NOT a morning person.

Anyway, yesterday I met my friend T for a walk with our little ones and mid-way through K started crying.  He then started WAILING and trying to climb out of the stroller mid-stride.  I tried to ignore this and hide from his line of sight, and all the while pushing the stroller (if he sees me, it only gets worse).  However, he was having none of it.  

He finally had a full blown temper tantrum and so out of sheer embarrassment I picked him up and proceeded to walk while carrying all 22 lbs of him.  Of course the crying stopped INSTANTLY.  And of course within about 4 minutes my arm felt like it was going to fall off onto the sidewalk.  My friend kindly offered me her Baby Bjorn (we haven't used ours in months since K is almost entirely too big for it).  

I was desperate, so I belted up (after several embarrassing pauses to loosen the slack - I am an elephant compared to tiny T) and put K in the Bjorn.  He was actually satisfied for the rest of the walk home (about 30 minutes), but I was a sweating mess.  Fun.  

This morning, I tried again on my own, with a different stroller.  He lasted even less time today - roughly 15 minutes into the trip he was climbing out, standing up as I pushed, wailing as if being tortured, and reaching for me to pick him up.  I'm sure the people driving by thought it was hilarious.  I ditched what I had hoped would be at least a good half hour trek and headed to the local Starbucks, where he sits and watches the trucks go by while I gulp down my morning coffee.

I always took for granted that K would be fine in a stroller while I got much-needed physical activity for the day.  Sigh.  I hope this is just a phase... and not the end of an era.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

10 Minutes in the Life of...

So we had a lingering gift certificate from K's birthday in April, and this week we trekked out to Toys R Us to pick out our loot.  We bought this great water table, which I had first seen at a friend's daughter's birthday party.  K was attracted to it like moth to flame, so I figured it would be a good investment for the sticky DC summer.

I was surprised by how right I was!  The first day we tried it out (another almost 90 degree day), I hauled out some lawn chairs and plopped the table in our front yard under the shade of a tree. We spent 45 WHOLE MINUTES outside with no major accidents, meltdowns, or corralling.  It was nearly perfect.  (Of course, you as the parent have to accept the fact that your child will become mercilessly, sopping wet.)  

At one point I marveled that I could've actually gotten through an entire US Weekly (which, conveniently, only requires about 50% concentration so you can devote the remaining 50% to keeping an eye on your kid).

Minus a junky magazine, alas, I sat and observed exactly how he amused himself for that 45 minute stretch.  

Here's a (roughly) 10-minute excerpt:

Picking up the plastic sailboat and running it along the ledge of the table ("ca, ca, ca"!) - 1 minute

Dropping plastic sailboat after overzealous efforts to run it along ledge; toppling over onto his belly on the ground (cranial knockout-near miss with table leg) - 3 seconds

Shimmying under the table to pick up the plastic sailboat - 30 seconds

Trying to backwards-shimmy out from under the table with sailboat in hand - 30 seconds

Discovering grass stuck to his legs after all that shimmying - 30 seconds

Taking the blades of grass off, one by one, and throwing them into the water - 1 minute

Noticing our car parked in the driveway, 15 feet away - 5 seconds

Setting off toward the car ("ca, ca, ca!") and aiming straight for the tires, which he loves to touch (resulting in greasy black hands) - 25 seconds

Swooped up by Mom 2 seconds before touching the greasiest part of a tire - 5 seconds

Fake protest crying, followed by repeat effort to head for the car - 20 seconds

Second swoop by Mom, who distracts him by pointing to the airplane up in the sky (Thank you, Reagan National!) - 5 seconds

Standing on the lawn looking up at the plane - 3 seconds

Noticing a piece of litter in our yard - 2 seconds

Walking over to examine it - 10 seconds

Picking it up and putting in mouth (Mom caught daydreaming) - 3 seconds

Third intervention from Mom, with minimal protest crying (yay!) - 5 seconds

Another distracting effort by Mom ("Let's see if we can scoop the water out of the pool and pour it on the grass!") - 30 seconds (for full demonstration)

Repeated scooping and pouring onto the lawn - 3 whole minutes!!!

Noticing the car in the driveway again - 5 seconds

Repeat steps 7 thru 10, above.

About Me

Arlington, VA, United States
Maestro and mom to a wee virtuoso

I'm #1804