Friday, September 29, 2006

Toddler In 'Da House

Some days I sit and stare at the computer waiting for words to spring on to the screen like spit from a sneeze. Some days my thoughts are as dormant as a tulip bulb in the winter and try as I might, nada. This is when I realize that things are pretty good in my world so what’s to write? It’s easier to rant and rave and fuss about this or that, cathartic even, but writing about the good stuff is, umm, boring. (This is the part where I say “thank you” and count my blessings and knock on lots of wood. )

So what’s happening in the household lately? W is a little sick. Crusty nose, snot marks on the knees of my pants. First the sneezing then the coughing and now the runny nose and serious napping. Wednesday he took a 30-minute nap and then a 3 hour nap and this was all during the six hours the sitter was caring for him. Makes me feel like she should only get paid half the hourly rate when he snoozes. I imagine her curled up on the couch checking off her “to do” list for her upcoming Costa Rica trip. Tough gig, huh babe?

He’s also increasing his vocabulary with honest efforts and interesting results. The “E-I-E-I-O” part of Old MacDonald is more like “blabble, blabble, dee dee, bah” but he knows when to say it (after me like a parrot). “Nnnnnnnaked” is still his most popular word. Parents quickly pull their children out of his orbit and run away with them, fearful that W has some litigious intentions. I’ll be damned if he isn’t whistling, too. He puckers and blows and a little high-pitched tweet comes out of his rosebuds. He does it when he’s concentrating on something like getting his shopping cart over his baby doll’s head.

Yesterday was a full day of “mom’s leaving me and I’m not going to cry.” Dropped him at school, no tears, Miss Jo showed up to sit with him for date night and, again, no tears. He was practically waving me out the door and a part of me went limp with sadness. I don’t want the little cowboy to always be crying when I go out to pretend I’m Daddy’s girlfriend again, but is he really growing up THAT quickly? Dammit.

He starts school full-time next week. That’s an 8:30 to 5 p.m. sentence for the kiddo. He seems to like it there though so I’m not going to worry about the long hours day in and day out. Yesterday, when I went to pick him up, I watched him play for a spell on the infant/toddler playgound without him knowing I was there. He disappeared behind a toadstool size tent for the longest and was soon joined by his buddy, Prine. Neither of them surfaced until I called his name. I picked him up and asked loudly, “Are you back there smoking cigarettes again?” Needless to say, we don’t have many mommy/daddy friends at daycare yet.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

He's All Grows Up

This morning I scooped up baby from his crib and stuffed him in a blanket before heading to the living room for our breakfast of Cheerios and Sesame Street. The blanket part is what I’m emphasizing here. It’s gotten chilly enough at night that we wake with cold hands and feet. Papa leaves a pile of Pjs on the floor next to the bed for middle of the night layering. We bundle up in blankets before curling up on the sofa. Autumn is upon us. All I can say is halle-freakin’-lujah! It was a hot as hell summer around here and I don’t think our little family will be able to endure another one. Anyone interested in a June-August house swap next year?

I took W to school this morning and this was the second time in the history of his daycare days that he didn’t cry when I scurried out the door. I know this fact is really only important to me but it’s a big deal. I go through a wave of mental anguish when I drop his tiny buns off and don’t breathe from the door to my car. I know because I exhale like a breeching whale when procuring my keys to get the heck out of there.

Here’s the growing weed now…

Monday, September 25, 2006

Absent Minded

Hello! Sorry I haven’t written but I’ve been burnin’ it at both ends. That also includes searching for harmony w/ hubby and catching up on some sleep. Last week was a week of “Did that really happen?” and I’m still filtering through the details.

Tuesday, the Mr. and I celebrated our 3-year anniversary of wedded hit and miss a day early. We did the usual and gorged ourselves on a tasting menu at Wink. This included a wine pairing, i.e. 5 glasses of vino. Ugh. We got a late start to the night so painfully empty stomach’s combined with that much rich food and hooch equals a gluttonous coma. Had to be up and at ‘em early Wednesday in preparation for a corporate event the following Thursday for 700 people. Banged out a full day and arrived home to find four generations of family taking over our nest in the best way. There’s nothing more heart warming that to come in the front door and see your child splayed across the lap of his great-granny. I took a step into the living room and saw my beloved and pro-active auntie, her daughter and her daughter’s daughter making themselves at home. Corks were popped, halibut was served and stories swapped. We went late into the night (because midnight is late in my world) and then they raced out of the driveway at 8 a.m. ready to make the 4-hour drive back to my hometown. It was a surreal and wonderful visit and I’m sad it went by so quickly. Thursday was all about the corp. event that had us home at 1 a.m. I hired Papa’s band to play for the inebriated masses so it was nice to have him around. He kept forgetting that PDA’s were not part of the job description and was trying to kiss me while I was working. Not allowed, mister. Swollen, sore and tired, I drug my buns in to work to finish off the week in a half-hearted state of being. Over the weekend I napped when baby did, hung out with the boys, and bought some foxy brown boots at a shoe warehouse (where everyone in the world that is a size nine shops and so there are never any size nines).

It’s Monday already and another week moves forward.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Complete Harmony

Hunger Strike

We dodged the ACL bullet this weekend and became ever more thankful that we don’t live anywhere near the river. We went to a lovely wedding at the One World Theater Sunday night and as much as I wanted to hit the boutiques south of the river for something fabulous to wear, I made do with what my ‘hood had to offer which was nada. I threw fits and tired ol’ dresses on the floor as I fought with clothes that no longer fit. I settled on a neglected top and skirt and pretended not to notice myself. We had great fun and the wedding couple had, by far, the most incredible cake IN THE WORLD. The husband, being a drummer, had a cake that was an entire, made to scale, drum kit. I’m talking every drum but the bass was cake. It had to be roped off so people wouldn’t mistakenly play a solo. It was amazing. Papa and I acted like teens on a date, made new friends, and smooched in the rain.

Baby went on a hunger strike this weekend and the whole damn thing began with a fever of 102.7 Friday night. I never panicked and in fact as baby faded in and out of the evening, we went about our business of making dinner and sipping vino and every so often I’d go poke him in the butt with the thermometer. Saturday the fever was gone and so was his appetite. Thankfully, he acted pretty normal and drank plenty of fluids and after the wedding Sunday night, had his first snack at midnight. The whole time though he was shrinking into a wafer thin version of himself. His ribs showed and I could almost carry him in my pocket like a lucky rabbit’s foot. Pitiful.

Days prior to Willem’s first birthday, we installed his front facing car seats in our cars. I was excited to have him right there behind me. His needs wouldn’t be such a mystery anymore and I could console him easier when the demon part of his personality took over. What I didn’t realize was he would now have direct contact with me at the wheel and could therefore torment me with better efficiency. His screaming voice projects at the windshield, bounces off and smacks me in the face. It’s awesome.

Sunday night, on the way to the in-law-sitters, I turned to see a giant mosquito hungrily sucking away at W’s cheek. It was huge and practically needed its own carseat. I swatted at it (i.e. his face) and W just looked at me like I had lost my mind. Immediately the damn thing landed on his forehead and started hammering away and again with the swat. At this point W was taking it personally and I was starting to get really frustrated and cramped in the belted passenger seat (Papa was driving). It landed on his left foot and whack, whack. It landed on his right foot and whack, whack, whack. I finally killed it but by this time crocodile tears were streaming down his cheeks as he looked at me confused and hurt. I felt horrible about it but what was I to do? The next morning he woke up with half grown skeeter bites on his face, a visual reminder of the first time I smacked my kid.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I'm Big In Japan

I pitched my tent at the coffee shop this morning. Bliss! Leroy, the newest counter dude with a rooster’s comb of hair and jovial personality, plies me with smiles and warmth. He laughs at my one-liners and says “Cheers!” a lot but he does that with everyone. I get my taco and head to my favorite table for a relaxing start to the day. Very rarely do I get to eat so slow that my food gets cold. Most meals, it’s a scalding swallow or obnoxious mouthful before baby needs something or the phone rings at the office.

They’ve been working on improving the look of the place. Today artwork covers the walls. There’s a unique series on the life of a pet rabbit and the same artist hung a pregnant belly cast on the wall where you can peek into the belly button and see a picture of her son peering back at you. It’s quite lovely. They’ve applied for a liquor license here but I don’t think it’s going to change the dynamic of the place too much. Bloody Mary, anyone?

And now for a total change of direction…

Sometimes I go back and read some of my posts and think, “My life is really good and it’s boring reading about it and I wouldn’t want to read my blog because nothing really happens.” I’m not on anti-depressants and I’m not having an affair and I don’t sit in the closet and drink after everyone’s asleep and I don’t beat my child or hear voices or communicate with the dead. I know, I need to be careful what I say but it’s true. I have a beautiful child that, just days after turning one, can tell me what a dog and cat sound like. I have a husband that busts his tail to live his dreams while sewing his family into that plan at the same time. I have an eventful (haa, haa…a play on words…I’m so funny…No, I’m not) job that I love. I have a great home, food in the fridge and my bills are current. Booooorrrrrinnnng. I think it’s time to shake things up a bit, pay some serious attention to my goals and not make my To Do lists the bible pages of my life. I want to cross off “Finish manuscript” and “Buy land in Marfa” instead of “Diapers at HEB” and “New tires for truck”. Ugh. It’s time for some action, people!

I found this on the bar the morning after papa's b-day dinner. Alcohol induced creativity...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's A Jungle In There

While we were away on vaca, Holly, the designer that pieced our house together and made it the silly, wonderful, inviting space that it is, came in and did this to W’s room…

She got the aminals from the valance pictured above that I bought at a thrift store. The morning after we got home, I just knew that W was standing in his crib taking it all in. I probably could’ve stolen another hour of sleep as he examined his new digs but I was excited to talk with him about it. On a daily basis, and sometimes many times a day, he affectionately pets his walls and makes high-pitched breathy sounds (jungle speak?). The parrot is above his changing table and has been a perfect distraction while wrangling his tantrums when we do the diaper tango. I ask him where the bird is and he points. We search for the tiger and fish and it all keeps him still enough to change his britches. When I take him out of the crib, he religiously has to pet the ladybug and the tiger before we can move in to our day. I never had something like this as a child save for the chalk art scribbled on sidewalks but it’s nice to sit in there with him and watch his imagination roam in his private, little jungle.

Holly is for hire, by the way.

Monday, September 11, 2006

One Whole Year

My dear child,

This past Sunday, you turned one (and your papa went kicking and screaming into his 40’s). Happy Birthday! I honestly can’t believe that you made it this far without one of us maiming you or leaving you behind somewhere. When you were a wee one, I often dreamed that I forgot where I put you last. The first night back home from our Mexico vacation, I woke up to the sound of you crying in the distance (downstairs in your crib) and I jumped out of bed and raced off to look for you on the beach because your silly mama thought she was still on vacation. Your super duper attachment to me (i.e. future topic for teen therapy) will not allow for such an event but lately, as I expected, you have become a little more adventurous. The other day you charged across the neighbor’s lawn and would’ve trudged further, if I’d let you. Instead, you gave me a peek into your “Terrible Twos” and fought me like a pissed off cat about to be bathed. I fear you will be my little tantrum tyrant in just a couple of months since you have managed to surpass many milestones reserved for kiddos older than you.

You will chat with anyone that listens after the initial shyness wears off. You seem to speak in tongues and try to turn them to the Lord or Lord knows what. You gesture like a used car dealer and almost convince many that you have something to sell. Sometimes I think you are actually speaking of something credible as you raise your eyebrows, show me the palm of your hands and then raise them to the sky. Weird.

Thanks to daddy’s genetics you have one of the biggest heads I’ve ever seen but unless you’re at the right angle it’s hard to notice. I’m amazed that your tiny frame can support such a noggin but mommy’s genetics gave you a giant toe on each foot so you can avoid listing too far to the left or right. When you were en utero, we used to imagine that you would inherit the worst of our body parts…beady eyes, double chin, mismatched lips, pear shaped body, etc. but to our surprise you got the best pieces and then some! Like where in the hell did you get those deadly dimples?

We are so blessed to have such a good baby. We are also so blessed your conception worked like clockwork. I picked the weekend and held your father hostage. I really don’t think he minded too much. Many weeks later, I purchased a pregnancy test from the drug store and hurried home. Your papa was rehearsing with his band and wasn’t around when the results came in but a part of me didn’t believe I was pregnant anyway. The test came back inconclusive meaning it wasn’t a plus or a minus but a line going up and down. I thought I had failed the test and threw it away but something (your tiny voice perhaps) made me take it again and, wow, the same confusing result but way down in the corner of the instruction sheet inside the box was a picture of exactly what I saw on the stick and it said, “Go get diapers now.” I was thrilled, shocked, and terrified. Here began the start of your mommy’s sobriety, and child-o-mine, I missed my Prosecco so much I considered making that your name.

Since day one you have made me look like I knew what the hell I was doing as a parent when, in reality, I was petrified and hoped the medication in the delivery room never wore off. You have grown so fast and that’s the hardest part. You listen and learn from our direction and have mastered mounting and dismounting any stairs, our tall bed and things that double as steps to things you want to reach way up high. You shake your head no a lot but I think your just experimenting with a theory of momentum, balance and velocity. Very likely with a head that size. You’re favorite word is “Nnnnnnnaked” and you are still buddies with Jelly Cat. You push anything if you discover it has wheels and you inspect them like a mechanic. You officially have three teeth; two bottom and one upper which makes you look, um, silly. There’s no denying that you are beautiful and many people, especially strangers, agree. We have been to other countries and women swoop out of nowhere to hug you and kiss you. I have learned to live with this but I’m considering charging a fee on future trips.

You are innately good-hearted, kind and affectionate. You have brought joy and hilarity into our world and just about stolen the show from your proud papa. You have brightened everything about our lives and have given each day such value. We love you with every ounce of who we are and we can’t wait to see just who you will turn out to be. You are lucky to have parents like us who could care less if you decided to be a cabaret singing drag queen or a greedy Wall Street broker. Just work hard on your dreams and be the best. Thank you for being our little W.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Family Tree Branch

I just went out to my car to get a sweater. A sweater! Hallelujah, the furnace of a summer is finally winding down. That’s not to say that the Heat Miser couldn’t make a return engagement but, dang, the break is sweet. Reminds me of days as a little girl in Denver hanging with my Granny in the dewy dampness of her front yard barefoot and shivering from the dawn’s chill. This is the same yard where we’d sit in the grass and actually find 4 leaf clovers for good luck. I haven’t seen my Granny in years but, unbelievably, she is coming to Texas to visit us in two weeks (I don’t think she’s ever flown in her life) and I am beside myself with excitement. She is my mother’s mom and is legendary for her legs. I remember fondly men complimenting her on her shapely stilts almost every time we were out in public. She’s a West Virginia native, the Cherokee descendant of the family, and married Papaw when she was 14, a coal miner’s daughter. Papaw passed away a few years back and it was such a sad day. I had a special place in my heart for him. We’d rake leaves into piles in the yard and then sit in them and pose for pictures. He loved his riding lawn mower and wore his black leather vest while he cruised the yard. He had a comb-over that would blow out of place and become a cranial airplane wing or awning. When my youngest brother asked Papaw about the follicle displacement, he replied that is was his stinger and he would sting Granny with it. I remember once when we were visiting family in “the West Virginny Holler” I was sitting in the backyard drinking Mt. Dew for the first time and feeling bored. Pears trees surrounded the property and Papaw mentioned that if I had a wish and could say it before a pear hit the ground then it would come true. What a way to keep a kid out of your hair and occupied. I think I practiced saying the phrase “I wish for a horse” as fast as I could for hours. Similarly, he got my little brother to stand very still in the backyard for unbelievable lengths of time with his arms straight out waiting for birds to land on him. Papaw was clever like that. As my little boy grows (lately by leaps and bounds, it seems), I look forward to summoning the creative energy necessary to make his little world interesting and memorable. I wish Papaw was still around so I could ask him for some tips.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Feeling rejuvenated, revitalized and ready to get back to the salt mine. I know that I will be eating those words, by the way, but that’s what a week at an all-inclusive resort can do for one’s fatigued and depressed spirit. I did absolutely nothing except hang with the fam in a nicely contained, polished, and appealing environment that was so un-Mexico, it felt dirty. Papa explored the world beyond the compound but I was happy just to sit or lay on my duff and soak up the booze, sun and surf. Of course, to clarify, hanging with a walking child actually means keeping him out of the surf as he thinks he can just wade right in and take on the high seas. The beach to the water’s edge might has of well had been a runway to aquatic delights. Baby was fearless around the water. It was harrowing but we got the hang of his ambitious desires and kept a tight grip on his little hands. Although he strutted around in macho swim trunks, he was still constantly mistaken for a little girl. Huh? Okay, I admit there were times when he was donning the Dora diaper and he assumed a feminine edge but I don’t think that makes him look girlish, does it?

On many days than I care to count, my little boy/girl child awoke around the 5 a.m. hour on this trip. I guess I forgot to remind him that vaca means we all get to sleep in. Instead, we hiked the resort property in the dark and waited for the sun to come up. The first two mornings, it was nice to witness the ball of light swell over the oceanic horizon but it soon became a scene of under the breath cursing and reminding myself that once again, we have beaten the sun up. The staff barely stirs at that hour for Christ’s sake! Anyway, we were always the first ones to breakfast so the vittles weren’t too buffet baked yet and the crew was always happy to see us. We didn’t get in to any bad weather ‘cept for the one evening when we got a sitter for W. Thankfully, I had decided against the sunset sailing champagne cruise (vomit-a-rama) because cats and dogs fell from the sky just after dark. We had already landed in an alfresco, funky tiki-esque bar and dug into rockin’ ceviche and margaritas. Papa and I cozied up on the retro sofa and together watched the world get wet and shiny. It was wonderful.

After about a week though, the Ground Hog Day notion of repetition creeps in and things become a little too familiar and your spirit starts to get a little jaded. Despite the all access, all inclusive, all you can enjoy prefab world of resort living, we were ready to come home to the familiar roots that we have personally shoved into the earth. Home, sweet home is all too true.

So this weekend, Papa turns 40 and W turns 1. Big deals up in here, people. Landmark stuff. I’ll be posting one of those sentimental “I heart my boys” entries soon so fair warning. If you live in my city and you personally know me and you, for some crazy reason, read this blog, you are invited to come to our house this Saturday night for some libations. We are doing a family dinner and then it’s open to the public. Bring your mugs.

Here are some shots from the trip. Missed y’all.

P.S. W's newest word is "Nnnnnnnaked" and he says it with about 3 seconds of the letter N. It must come from the bathtime part of the day when I say "Let's get naked" before sticking him in the tub. It's totally cute.

Just what the baby ordered.

Papa waiting on miniature cabana baby to bring him a Pina Colada.

Mr. Nappers in tha' house.

We will be investing in a hammock. This thing works on sleepy babies.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Home, Sweet Home

We're home. We're tired. We had fun. More tomorrow.