Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Anticipating Christmas!

My blogging will likely be sporadic over the next several days, with family visiting and all of the holiday revelry.  For now, I'll leave you with one of my very favorite photos of a little boy getting excited about Santa's visit tonight.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Santa at the Firehouse!

Sorry I've been MIA... we've been caught up in holiday preparations.  Exciting!

The crummy part of this holiday week is that today K. was diagnosed with the early signs of an ear infection (his first).  Not fun.  I was wondering why he was up twice last night, uncontrollably sobbing (with a mild temp).  We are all exhausted, but at least now we have antibiotics so hopefully they will knock this thing out of his little system.

For now, I'll leave you with pics of our visit to see Santa at the firehouse on Sunday. We went there with our friends Sophie and Charlie and their parents, but K. and his mom and dad had to leave early because K. was VERY tired and cranky (and as we now know, he was also coming down with this gol-durned ear infection).  But he was a trooper, and at least we were there for what in my humble opinion was the best part: 

Santa coming down the street in a fire truck, sirens a-blarin'!

Ho, ho, ho!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ol' Spaghetti Arms

(Thanks to those of you who've offered advice re: shampooing.  I'm going to try again tonight.  Wish us luck!)

Speaking of Tricky Things Associated With Toddlerhood, here's TTAWT #2:

K. has mastered a trick to assist him when he's feeling obstinate.  He knows that the way his mom picks him up is by hooking her hands under his armpits (you moms out there know how this is done, even if I am describing it awkwardly).  Well, somewhere along the way he figured out that if he lets his arms go COMPLETELY LIMP, he can cause a lot of trouble and frustration for Dear Old Mom.  

(For those of you who are visual learners: raise your arms above your head and, instead of holding them firmly away from your body at 90 degree angles, give yourself Spaghetti Arms.)

It both annoys and amuses me that he has caught on about how to do this.  And now that he can, he lays it on me at, of course, the MOST inopportune times.  Like when I'm trying to get him into the car when we are, of course, already running 5 minutes late.  Or when he insists on pulling all of the items off the bottom shelf at CVS and I've realized we need to skee-daddle.

I wish I could do that, applying it to my own life.  Horrendously messy kitchen, with dishes piled to the ceiling?  Not gonna deal with it!  Give it the ol' Spaghetti Arm trick!   Stuck in traffic, with no escape route to be seen?  Buh-bye!  Time for Spaghetti Arms!  Time to balance the checkbook?  Nope, sorry, I've got these Spaghetti Arms.

Oh, if it were only that easy...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shampoo Strike

This is a picture of K. enjoying his bath.  (Giving his car a "shower" under the running faucet.)  

Before it all went south.

We have officially entered the era of I Will Scream Bloody Murder In Order to Prevent You From Rinsing My Soapy Hair.  

It's strange, because when he was a little baby, he didn't mind a good warm rinse of the head.  But now, Lord have mercy!  

The last time I attempted to wash his hair was about four days ago.  It ended with him having a hysterical crying fit (the kind where the kid ends up doing that hiccup-like shuddering) and me feeling like a child abuser.  I have no earthly idea what changed to make him so scared of having the shampoo rinsed out of his hair.  

I have tried many things: showing him how his cars like to be rinsed after a good shampoo, using one of those half-bucket things that I found in the One Step Ahead catalog that is supposed to keep the water out of the child's eyes while you pour it down their head (something I only have success with about 50% of the time, by the way), etc.  

It all produces the same result - sheer torture.

Once again, I'm sending out a request for suggestions from you experienced parents in the bunch.  My kid has quite a mop of hair and I can't foresee forgoing shampooing altogether!  

Thoughts, comments, etc. are welcome....

Monday, December 15, 2008

How to Sneak Santa into a Toddler's Holiday Experience

I'll be honest.  The thought of dragging K. to the mall to wait in line and force him onto Santa's lap, at which point he'll probably bawl while I try to snap a photograph, makes me get a headache. Maybe it's also because I was deathly afraid of Mall Santas when I was a child.  (I still am, sort of.) Still, my desire to follow "tradition" put me in a quandary... the idea of a photo of Toddler K. with Santa, despite the odds it will take to achieve a decent, non-frowny picture ... is still nagging at me.  

I hadn't quite resolved the issue when, a few days ago, I was driving around in our neighborhood and I saw it: a sign advertising what promises to be The Most Exciting Event of This Holiday Season.

Above our local fire station, in big letters, appeared the words:


That's it!  Meeting Santa amidst huge, shiny, red fire trucks - that's the ticket!  How could K. NOT enjoy every single minute?  (I realize I'm setting myself up for a big jinx.)  

In any case, I've added it to our social calendar and we are counting down the days.  K.'s friends Sophie and Charlie are going to join us.  Pictures to follow... wish us luck!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Letter of Apology

Dear Fellow Mother Who Brought Her Little Boy to Monkey Business Today:

I am so sorry about K's inexplicable behavior in our class this morning.  He seemed to be doing fine, playing, laughing, singing along with the songs (albeit not agreeing to full participation and standing outside of the circle as he is wont to do) but all of a sudden he became Devil Boy. 

Poor you were sitting on the floor, playing with your son and minding your own business when it happened. 

When he came up to you, shoved himself into you, and grabbed a handful of your shirt and pulled it as hard as he could, I was about ready to melt into the floor.  You gave me a look of concern, although you remained polite, while I apologized profusely.  

Then when, as I was dragging him away, K gave an extra slap to your son (for good measure?) I became even more mortified and apologized again, but I have a feeling it didn't do anything to alleviate your concern.  And I don't blame you.  

I am one of those people who, and I hate to admit it, subconsciously judges Parents Who Can't Control Their Kids.  And look, today I was one of them!  Curses!  

Sign me,
Apologetic in Arlington

I have no idea what it is with K -- he does seem to be going through a hitting phase lately, but it's a) not consistent and b) not always associated with anger (many times he hits in response to being mildly injured, like bumping his head on a table or the sofa) and c) he's really a loving, kind, and sensitive little boy - honest!  Until today, I was only mildly concerned about it, because as everyone says, ALL toddlers go through this sort of phase as a way of exerting control when they feel they can't do anything to control a situation otherwise.  But randomly walking up to a stranger who didn't do anything to him and attacking her!?!  What the heck!?

I'm sending out a plea for advice to all of you moms and dads out there who may understand this predicament better than I do.  It's SO EMBARRASSING; I need to get a handle on it before he does something like this again.  


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fighting the Power Already

As I have mentioned before, I've enrolled K. in some toddler activities such as JWTumbles and Monkey Business to give him the opportunity to run around and play in a huge, safe room.  It's especially worthwhile during these cold, unpredictable weather months.

We're currently doing one class on Monday mornings and the other on Friday mornings.  Both classes start with "circle time," where all the kids and their parents sit around in a circle and sing a hello song, do some activities, and whatnot.

Well, K. has had enough of circle time - and any other organized activity rolled into these classes for that matter.  

Every time we're asked to come together, it's almost as if it's his cue to scoot as fast as he can in the OTHER direction.  It was so humorous that the other day, there were about 20 kids in a circle, and he was THE ONLY ONE not following directions.  

I always let it slide because, really, is it a crime not to participate in circle time?  But it still strikes me as funny that he has been the only one to do this (at our JWT class, at least).  Last time he did it, I had to snap a photo.

He looks rather pleased with himself, don't you think?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'Tis the Season... Thanks to YouTube

K. is a child of the 21st century, that's for sure.  Many times he'll take a plain old toy (ie, not electronic) and demand, "On!"  I have to tell him that sadly, Toy X does not turn on, but can't he just enjoy it for its plain old toy-ness?  (In response, he usually gives me a look.)  

Anyway, when it comes to keeping K. entertained, one of the classics in my bag of tricks is to sit with him and watch YouTube videos.  Some of you may be gasping in shock at this, but here's my logic: a) I'm monitoring everything we see, b) it's NOT television (and it's a far, far cry from plopping him in front of the boob tube by himself, and c) you can search for virtually ANYTHING. And YOU WILL FIND IT.

For example, K. has never watched Sesame Street on television; rather, he has witnessed some of the best Sesame Street skits, thanks to his mother, who has developed her own personal file of SS "favorites" (Remember the "onetwothree FOUR FIVE, sixseveneight NINE TEN, eleven twelve!" one with the pinball machine?  It's in there!) that we pull out whenever K. is at his wit's end.

As of late, we've switched to seasonal favorites, and this morning we found ourselves mixing two topics of interest: 1) fire trucks and 2) Santa.  Although K. seemed somewhat reticent about Santa in the beginning (I got him a little Santa board book and he used to push it away, saying "No!") I'll admit I have been laying on the Santa talk REALLY thick, because I am just so gol-durned excited about Christmas coming up.  The result?  The marketing campaign appears to be working.   All of which is a long winded way of telling you what we spent the morning watching: Santa Claus on fire trucks in various geographic locales!

For your enjoyment, here are some faves.  

And my personal favorite, the endearingly-titled "Santa Came to Wisconsin"

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 8, 2008

18 Month Old Photos

Since I work on Tuesdays and never have much time to post, I'm doing it tonight.  

I wanted to have Kibi's photos taken every 3-6 months in his first couple of years of life, since we all know how fast babies grow.  Well, we just got the photo disk back from his 18 month photo session (with my favorite photographer, Jennifer Burns - be sure to check out her website and blog!) and I love the results.  

Technically it's a 19 month photo since this was taken in late November, a few days shy of his 19 month birthday.  

I've already picked out this year's Christmas card photo, so I won't post that one ... but here are some of my other favorites.  Enjoy!


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like ...

My mother in law and I took Kibi to see the U.S. Botanic Garden's annual Christmas display this morning.  I had heard it was spectacular, and boy were they right!  The best part of all is a massive display of trains and plants in a winter wonderland-type setting. 

We judged correctly that K. would absolutely love it.  Surprisingly, he was almost more interested in the little houses and flowers set up as part of the "landscape" than he was the trains. But yes, the trains were extremely cool too.  

Here are some pictures for your enjoyment.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Airplane Obsession Evolves

K. is all little boy, through and through.  We always tell people that although we never deliberately steered him to cars, trucks, and other stereotypically "boy things," K. was from a very early age very interested with all of those "things that go."  He can entertain himself for long stretches of time with any of his little cars, running them along the sofa, the edge of the Oriental rug, the bathtub, etc.  It's pretty amusing.  My mother in law tells me that my husband was exactly the same way, playing with cars, trucks, airplanes, you name it - usually all by himself in his own little world.  I do see a similar pattern with K.

Well, his latest obsession is airplanes.  He's been on quite a few in his short lifespan (more than I'd ever been on by far, considering the first time I ever flew was in college!) and they seem to have made an impression on him.

Which leads me to this morning.  My husband had left for work early and I was still in bed, listening to K. wake up in the room next to mine.  It was absolutely precious: I heard an entire narrative of an airplane going on a flight.  

It went like this:

[Rustling of blankets]
"Turn ... on... engine" (Yes, that's right!  a 3-word phrase!  That is goin' in the baby book pronto)
"Take off!"
[More shuffling around]
"Wake up!"

That was my cue to enter, so I did, with a big smile on my face.  I congratulated him for using so many good words and entertaining his mama.  He looked surprised, but then a smile crept onto his face and he beamed with pride.  

My little air traffic controller!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Don't They Grow on Trees?

Very cute story from dinnertime today: K. finished with his "main course" and I was trying to think of something sweet and healthy to serve as dessert.  I thought, Voila!  Grapes.  We had just purchased some at the store the day before, so I got 'em out, plucked a bunch from the bag, washed them, and took them off, one by one, from their stems, proceeding to quarter them (lest they serve as yet another choking hazard!) and place them on K.'s high chair tray.

He gobbled them up, and I silently rejoiced at the fact that he was eating something so good for him with such gusto.  (Lately we've been having some, um, struggles with eating, but that's another story).   He finished the pile, and exclaimed, "More!" 

I had no more to give him from my little cluster.  So, I left the grapeless branches (not sure what else to call them but I'm sure you know what I mean: the stems from the bunch) on my plate and went into the kitchen to go get him some more.  He said, "No, no!" and then proceeded to say something that sounded like "On tees!" over and over again, pointing to my plate.

What did he want?  The grapes that I had been pulling from the "trees" - the little stems that looked like tree branches!  I had to smile to myself at the cuteness of it all.  

I told him I'd be happy to pluck him some more grapes from some "new trees" that I could pull, amazingly enough, out of my plastic bag in the refrigerator.  He was stunned.  

Sometimes, yes, it is that easy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We Interrupt This Blog for a Public Service Announcement...

Today's WaPo offers a new website dedicated to food safety issues.  

If you, like me, are not exactly sure just how long you can keep those turkey leftovers in the refrigerator, this site is for you!  You can also sign up on the site to receive recall alerts and other safety tips.  

A smart idea, in my book.

By the way, this morning we finished the last of our wonderful Thanksgiving pies (prepared by K.'s Aunt E.). Our favorite?  Sweet potato!  So good, and good for you, too.  Thanks, Auntie!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Chalk This Up as Another One of Those 'Simple Pleasures'

K. has really gotten into CD's.  The funny thing is, the music associated with them seems to be the last thing he's interested in -- it's really the mechanics of the disks themselves: how you can put them in a CD player, keep the lid up, and watch them spin around and around.  

I have weighed the benefits and risks of letting him play around with our CD player (benefit = at least several minutes of quiet play; risk = destruction of equipment) and for now have chosen to let him play around, being watched by either me or his dad, in the interest of building his engineering and observation skills.  

I recently observed him in action and will replay the scene, action by action, for you here.  We now embark on some variation of this adventure at least once a day:

2-3 CD's of kids' music
1 small CD boombox

1) K. picks up CD #1.
2) Opens the lid of the boombox.
3) Spins the CD around with his hands in the boombox (keeping the lid up so he can watch it spin).
4) Picks up CD #2, removes CD #1 from boombox.
5) Repeats steps 2-4, now picking up CD #3.
6) Opens up the case for CD #1.
7) Places one of the CDs (take your pick) into CD #1's case.
8) Before closing the case, takes a second CD and tries to squoosh it also inside the case.
9) I point out to him that he might scratch the CDs this way.
10) I show him the little raised bubble that helps anchor the CD in place inside the case.
11) He picks at the bubble, saying "Off, off!" and trying to get it off.  I tell him it can't come off.
12) He takes both CDs and attempts to put them in the CD boombox at the same time.
13) I tell him we can't do this lest we scratch the CD (see step 9).
14) He removes one of the CDs, keeps the other in the CD boombox, and spins the CD with his hand, like an old fashioned vinyl record, repetitively.
15) Repeat any of the above steps in random order, depending on K.'s mood.

I'm either grooming a future DJ, or a repairman!  Or both.

About Me

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

I'm #1804