Wednesday, December 20, 2006


We've entered day seven of the Clifford marathon here. Interrupted (thankfully) by a Christmas present delivery from Uncle Mike. Connor is now the proud owner of the Little People A to Z Learning Zoo and it is everything I dreamed it would be. You should see Connor trying to balance as many of the 26 different animals as he can at once. This morning's favorites were the walrus, lion, elephant, and seal. The seal scores points because he has a red ball. Woohoo!

Connor has probably heard the story "Clifford's Opposites" no less than 23 million times in the past week. And yet, Connor keep requesting it. Feel free to drop by if you feel like reading a book!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy 16 month birthday!

Last weekend, I heard a song on NPR that really hit home. The words of the chorus are “you ruined everything, in the nicest way”. And Connor, that is so true. During the interview, the artist talked about how after a child is born – particularly in the first three months – a parent’s old self dies, and like a phoenix, the new self must rise from the ashes. And while this initially struck me as a bit dramatic, I’m not really sure it is. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the whole process in my case – and I think this is typical – is that I can hardly remember what my life was like before you were born. This might be a product of sleep deprivation, but I think that explanation would be a bit shallow at this point – particularly since in the past month I think we’ve only had really one brutally rough night and early morning. I think it’s because my life is so full with you, that it’s hard to remember what I’m missing. Staying out late and sleeping in late the next day are wonderful things, I assure you (and someday I hope to experience them again), but watching someone go from doing seemingly nothing besides eating and sleeping to running, climbing, talking, and laughing is totally worth the trade-off. But, if you wanted to throw your dad and I a bone on occasion and sleep until 9:00 AM some weekend, we would be totally cool with that.

Today was a real treat. Because your nanny was sick, we were able to spend the whole day together, which isn’t something we get to do too often – usually we have your dad around as well. We visited a wonderful children’s bookstore for story hour, which came complete with a dog I had forgotten about. Although you didn’t seem to be totally into the whole group interaction thing, you surprised me when the storyteller stopped and you signed “more” and also kept signing “book”. I think you could’ve done without the songs in between books, but those restless children next to us needed a break. They just don’t grasp how cool it is for someone to be reading – particularly a new book. When the dog showed up, that was even cooler, which prompted you to walk right up to the front of the group, where you hung out for the remainder of the story.

You are really growing up now, because not only have you mastered the concept of more, you have taken it the direction most people take it which is “more is better”. So, where we used to be able to stick one toy in your left hand and another in your right, you now think this is not nearly enough stuff to carry around. I’ve seen the Little People in your hands number five. I fear it is as much because you want to carry a bunch of things somewhere as it is a desire to keep your things to yourself and not let anyone else mess them up. I suppose it was bound to happen.

You have also shown that we should do our best as parents to keep you away from drugs and other addictive substances. I’m hopeful that Frosted Mini-Wheats are not the gateway drug that they appear to be. Oh, how you love your precious shredded wheat. Prior to you, your dad and I never had this marvelous substance in our home. But, Isabella brought some one day, and like all good drugs – the first one’s free. And from the moment you got your paw on one, you were hooked. So much so that when you see the box of shredded wheat, you get very excited (even if you’ve just eaten), begging for more. And you need three. One for your mouth plus one for each of your hands. You love your shredded wheat so much that I have taken to calling it crack. While you are more than happy to hurl just about anything – oh the agony you go through when your precious cereal is in your hand. You want to throw it, but you don’t want to hurt it. So, you don’t. You cling to them until the first piece has dissolved in your mouth and you can reload. Sometimes when I’m not done with dinner and you’re ready for me to be, I lure you back to your chair with a couple of shredded wheats. I want to be supportive of your habit, after all.

You are also obsessed with balls - or bawas. Kicking them, throwing them, pointing to them, carrying them. Anything...

You’ve become expert at heading down the slide on your tummy and your shoes cause you absolutely no pause at all. You can open and close the doors and windows on your house, playing peek-a-boo. You hide under sheets, know just what to do when I say “dogpile Daddy” and you’ve even started calling him “Ed” on occasion – which would torture some other daddies, but yours seems to be fine with it.

Your laugh, Connor, is contagious. And you always keep us guessing about what will be funny. For example, I wouldn’t have guessed that seeing lots of monkeys in a book or a little caterpillar go from small to big would be so funny – but you know it’s coming and you can hardly slow down enough for your dad or I to read the words – and then when the right page arrives, you laugh. You also think it’s funny whenever you see a dog where you’re not expecting one. When we were launching Little People into the bath to go swimming yesterday that was also terribly funny.

You’re an ace at identifying body parts – from toes to nose – on yourself, in pictures, and on others. You seem to understand almost everything your dad or I says, which may mean we need to change what we say – and in some cases I’ve started the age-old trick of spelling something if I want to make sure you don’t overhear something. I figure I have at least a couple of weeks before you can spell.

I’m glad you ruined my life. It’s been an amazing 16 months.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

He's so much fun now!

Those are the words Ed just said to me. And he’s so right. Last weekend, we headed out to a park that has actual farm animals – complete with a big red barn. This is very cool to us City Slickers. The park also has equestrian competitions taking place that visitors can watch. One person let us give her horse a pat-pat, which was quite exciting. The park also has bleachers to walk across – and though I doubt Connor thought he needed support from Dad, I’m glad Dad was there to give it.

Today, Connor showed that he may be endowed with my musical talent rather than Ed’s – which is a good thing because Ed was so bad at playing trumpet that his band director in grade school told him that if he just pushed the buttons and pretended to play during the concert, nobody would know he hadn’t played. And while I think it’s very sad that a teacher would say this to a student, I also think it’s very funny that it was said to Ed – who is really good at nearly everything he does. I can assure all who are worried about Ed’s ego that he did not suffer irreparable damage from the incident. Though Connor hasn’t shown Ed up on the trumpet (yet), Connor schooled Ed on the kazoo – a kazoo that was a gift from Santa. Connor seems to enjoy his kazoo, but I do not think he would think the visit to Santa was worth the prize. But I do. It’s been great watching Ed’s failed kazoo attempts.

Also the budding artist, Connor enjoys coloring at his little table – and has recently grasped the concept of PAPER being an important component of his artistic endeavors. Grandparents…clear your refrigerators!

But what is it that makes Connor so fun? It’s the way he runs to the door to greet Ed and me with this huge grin. And the way he chases Ed around the house, screaming right before he pounces. There are balls everywhere in our house – and Connor can kick them down the hallway – until he sees his dog on a string, which is nearly always a distraction. Connor has probably put a couple of miles on his shoes with that dog yapping at his heels. We also love his giggle that flows so freely when he lays on a sheet and Ed and I swing him above the bed. Fun times…fun times.


Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Harnessing the Power of the Internet

Last night, I went to the emergency room. Thankfully, it was for a few small second degree burns that I gave myself (I should really stop cooking!) rather than something related to Connor. While I was sitting in the waiting room, I saw parents of 3 babies come into the ER. In each case, the babies were either crying or slumped over the shoulder of a parent, the parent's eyes were filled with fear, and I took a moment to be thankful for Connor's very good health. But I am keenly aware that there are many parents who have to close their eyes each night, terrified of the health issues their children face.

So here it is folks...the grandest experiment of all. Can a bunch of loosely related people give Jack a shot at life?

My friend Vickie knows Jack's parents. In fact, she and her husband Benjie attended their wedding. This holiday season, they're asking us all to dip into our pocketbooks and try and raise money to fund a bone marrow transplant for Jack. The bright side of the story (if there is one), is that there are three potential matches here in the United States. But it's going to take $350,000 to bridge the gap between Manilla (where Jack is) and the potential bone marrow donors. So this Christmas, Vickie and Benjie want to send Jack's parents a check for $5,000 - which will be used for Jack's medical expenses.

All you have to do is pledge at least $25 to Jack's fundable account (click on the link). If enough people pledge enough money, Jack will receive a Christmas gift of at least $5,000 that will be used for his medical expenses. The account expires on Christmas - so time is of the essence here.


Sunday, December 3, 2006

Belated photos from Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving with Ed's family. Connor got to hang out with three of his cousins - including Samantha, who is only 8 weeks old. And, as my sister-in-law noted - that makes Sam about 1 year different than Connor and Katie (who are exactly 3 weeks apart in age) and it is AMAZING to look at Sam and think about how much Connor and Katie have changed.

We began our adventure on a shuttle bus, and this was very exciting because it was a moving vehicle without a carseat. Nothing like a little danger to get the adrenaline pumping before a plane ride. The rain outside made the trip all the better. Connor was his usual champ on the airplane, after playing a few rounds of seat tray up, seat tray down, playing peek-a-boo with the willing folks behind us, and then settling in for a nap on my lap. We were spared the repeated trips up and down the aisle since Connor's slumber was sufficient to take up most of the trip.

Connor is the only boy in his generation, so visiting cousins always provides the opportunity to experience a whole new set of toys. Connor fit right in, putting his lipstick on one morning in front of Sleeping Beauty's mirror. It's important to look your best, you know. And, it's hard to get a little mirror time when competing with two cousins who spend their days wrestling toys from other kids. But, never fear, after a few days of getting toys swiped left and right, Connor had decided enough was enough and on the last day of our visit, Ed saw him walk up to Katie and snag a toy.

On the way back home, we waited in the airport a bit, where Connor got to enjoy a blueberry scone. As he walked around checking out everyone's computers, books, and other oddities - he kept jamming huge pieces of scone in his mouth so he could barely keep it closed when chewing. It made it all the better as he stared uncomfortably at a few people in the airport with a look that clearly let them know they were weird. And of course, the implication that he was normal.


Friday, December 1, 2006

Can he read, too?

I think Connor is reading this blog. I think this because twice, in the past few weeks, I have written something about Connor that was true at the time, only to have it not be true a few weeks later. First, I pointed out that Connor didn’t pull his toy dog around like the manufacturers intended only to watch him start pulling that toy around nearly nonstop. And in the 15 month post, I pointed out that Connor was getting “it”, but not including sleep as part of “it”. But then, miracle of all miracles, Connor not only went to bed on time while visiting his grandparents for Thanksgiving (a feat he has accomplished in several cities), he STAYED in bed and SLEPT – for 11 consecutive hours, for four consecutive nights. And when he woke up, he didn’t scream, he just called out “Mama? Mama?” seemingly asking if I was there and did I want to play yet? And I was there and “yes”, I was ready to get up and play – and not just because Ed was a total bed hog while we were on vacation making me want to leap from bed, but because I, too, had slept.

Though Connor did not knock Dr. G's socks off with his weight gain over the past three months, he - shall we say - cruised through all the cognitive development stuff. Connor started the visit out by showing he knew what each of the animals on the office walls were, complete with a "roar" for the lion and a hand up in the air for the elephant going "snore" as he does in Sandra Boynton's Going To Bed Book. Next, he showed Dr. G. that he can say at least five words - mama, dada, Emma (his nanny), Bella (the girl he shares the nanny with - which sounds more like Bubba), and ball (which sounds like "bawa" and I assure you I will miss that "bawa" when it turns into a true "ball"). He also has hippo and pappy - which is still whispered, because apparently it's a very secret thing to have a pappy. And naturally, he responded "nah" to some questions I asked him during the visit but also waived his hand and said "da" which has become a consistent form of the word "yes" as well. He showed Dr. G he could walk, run, and climb as he moved about the office. Perhaps most impressive to Dr. G was that Connor can stack 5 blocks. He can sign and understands "more" and "book" and these are very useful to Connor since if he could do one thing in life, it would be to sit and read books all day.

And, just in case Connor is reading this, I want him to know that if he has time, he can feel free to fill-in other cool things he did for the Dr. that I can't think of right now.