Saturday, June 30, 2007

Someone has to get this mulch moved!

A few weeks ago, inspiration struck. Ed and I decided we needed to mulch all of our garden beds, which means we needed to weed all of our garden beds, and remove any dead plants, and generally get the yard cleaned up.

Since then, Connor has learned to identify most weeds found in the garden - and while he might not pull the root out when he gives the weed a tug, he at least doesn't pull plants out that will at some point produce flowers.

Last Friday, the dumptruck of mulch arrived. It was cool, but not nearly as cool as I thought Connor would think it was. But once I told him we would be moving that mulch with our wheelbarrow "weebawo", then it was very cool.

Saturday morning we got to work. I continued pulling weeds while Ed filled his giant wheelbarrow, and Connor filled his smaller wheelbarrow.

Then the two of them would find places needing mulch and drop off their loads - preparing to return for more. Connor would often stay behind and spread mulch between the plants, which is actually an excellent job for him - aided by the hoe he got last week at the grocery store. (Did I mention that Connor now realizes he can get just about everything he wants at the grocery store - including gummy vitamins and candy? That's what he told me a few nights ago, anyway.)

Once it got unbearably hot, we threw on our swimsuits, slathered the sunscreen on, and splashed around in the pool.

On Sunday, Ed actually spent about 6 consecutive hours spreading mulch, while Connor and I played at the park, had a snack, and took a nap.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Take me out to the ball game!

Pre-game activity: Go to the playplace - a large indoor play area that has a bunch of toys geared toward the 1-4 year old crowd. Connor actually knows this is near the stadium so if I mention to him that we're going to go to a baseball game, he instantly tells me "Connor goin' to go to the playplace to vacuum!" (his favorite toy there) and by the time he gets to the end of the sentence, he's practically squealing with delight.

First inning: Arrive at ballgame. Pick up veggie hotdog for me (yes, they actually sell these, which Ed firmly believes signals the decline of baseball), slice of cheese pizza for Ed, and bag of popcorn for Connor. This is actually the smallest size they sell at the stadium! Look over to see Connor actually watching the game.

Second inning: Continue eating popcorn and realize how much Ed and Connor have in common.

Third inning: Start to squirm. Be thankful our seats are in a very uncrowded section. Begin to make friends with anyone sitting nearby as they watch Connor enjoy the games of "seat up, seat down", "climb over the back of the seat", "smile at anyone who notices", etc. Hope all these new friends realize they should pick their beers up...soon.

Fourth inning: Time for the racing Presidents. Watch Teddy lose again.

Fifth inning: Look for the big chicken. (The mascot is actually an eagle, but it it certainly looks as much like a giant chicken as an eagle.)

Sixth inning: Take a lap around the stadium with daddy.

Seventh inning: Decide it's time for bed. Scrounge around mom's bag looking for anything soft to lay down on. Come up with a diaper. Decide it will do just fine.

Eighth inning: Renewed energy! Take a lap with mom, then watch the rest of the inning explaining to mom "dat guy throw da ball", "dat guy try to hit da ball", and when the batter meets with failure "one more time", until Mom declares the inning is over.

Ninth inning: Exit the ballpark, watch fireworks signaling a win from the parking lot. Fall asleep about two blocks from home.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It might not be Harvard, but…

Yesterday, I finally got in touch with the local Waldorf school. Morning pre-school every day seemed a bit excessive at age 2, but I think Connor would enjoy something we could do together, particularly after the baby arrives. What I really want is a program that fosters creative play and imagination. The Waldorf parent-child program seemed to fit the bill. The catch? The class is for children who are at least 2.5 at the start of the school year. Since my little man will turn 2 in August, he clearly doesn’t fit the bill. I initially called the school to see if perhaps he could begin the program during second semester when he’d be closer to 2.5, and the administrator suggested I talk to the teacher of the class – but no, the age limit applies to children at the start of first semester, so it wouldn’t be different if we started later.

I talked to the class teacher yesterday, and she has provisionally admitted Connor to the parent-child class starting in September. We will attend one morning a week. It will be an excellent opportunity for me to hone my bread-making and other domestic skills and Connor can choose to participate in these activities with me and the other parents, or play with his peers and his teacher. We’re on a month-to-month basis. If the teacher or I don’t think it’s working out, we’ll simply drop out. The big thing the teacher will be observing is whether when the other children in the class start to move to interactive as opposed to parallel play, Connor joins in. Only downside I can see so far is that Waldorf children do not watch television, and I was definitely considering introducing TV to Connor when he turned 2 so that I could possibly sleep in a bit on the weekends while he was babysat by those magical moving pictures.

For those who don’t know, Waldorf education is the crunchiest of the crunchy, and I’m very excited for the indoctrination to begin. Should Connor continue with the Waldorf school, he will eventually learn to knit, play a pentatonic flute, and likely never be exposed to a standardized test as a regular part of his education (though Waldorf students tend to score quite high on standardized tests such as the SAT, relative to their peers). For now, we’re only considering it for pre-school, but I’m often reminded in this world of child-raising to never say never. Plus, when my sister reads this, I want her to be able to roll her eyes as much as possible at the thought of my kid going to a school like this, and if I totally disavow the notion that I could send Connor there through high school, it won’t have nearly as big an effect. And, another side bonus is that it’ll give my dad – the retired engineer who appreciates a little structure in life - an opportunity to perform an internet search to figure out what the heck I’m planning for his only grandson. I presume my dad wants this task as he told me a couple of days ago that he planned to wake-up at 5:15 to go golfing with some friends. 5:15! That’s earlier than even Connor manages most days. Dude must need something to do. (Of course, I’m very much looking forward to my parent’s upcoming visit because they always volunteer for morning baby duty, so I’m in no way suggesting my dad should start sleeping later, just that he likely needs tasks to fill all those awake hours!)


Friday, June 22, 2007

Crowded out!

When I became a mom, I often felt like a was getting crowded from all sides. Connor needed my attention constantly, Ed and I had the balance or our lives completed disrupted, and overall - it felt like we had much more to do and much less time to do it in. We still feel this way sometimes - but it's getting a lot easier. Connor will often hang out in the backyard while I start cooking dinner (and by cooking, I mean heating up whatever Ed cooked the night before while I was putting Connor to bed, catching up on work, or picking up toys, mail, etc that seems to accumulate around the house). I still feel crowded out sometimes - like when Connor spends the whole day repeating whatever I say, but I know there are traits that I possess that Ed and Connor will never possess.

One dynamic in our relationship that hasn't changed up until now is that I am the spacey one, and Ed is the organized one. Before we were married, I told Ed I wanted a nice engagement ring, and Ed pointed out that this was like throwing thousands of dollars down a drain because I would no doubt lose it within a month or two. At dinner that night, I tried to persuade him how responsible I could be - and he almost bought it, until the waiter chased me down as I was leaving the restaurant letting me know I had left my wallet behind, we walked out to the car and realized all the CDs had been stolen (INCLUDING ABBA GOLD!) because I had left the doors unlocked (oh - and because some jerk who Ed claims has no taste, witnessed by the fact that the jerk took my ABBA GOLD CD, opened the unlocked doors and swiped our CDs - did I mention, it included my ABBA GOLD CD?). And, to top it off, we went to a bar later that night and I left my wallet in the bathroom, which I realized about 1 minute after I got back to the barstool I was occupying before the bathroom break and I had to tell Ed that I needed to go to the bathroom again...right this minute. Thank you, kind ladies at the bar who left my wallet alone. When we went biking in the Loire Valley a few years ago, I told Ed that I was trying very hard to be a responsible person and somehow I convinced him that I could carry the tickets for the audio guide of some castle all the way from the place we purchased the tickets to the place headphones were handed out - about 100 yards away. Well, guess what? I was wrong. Somehow I lost the tickets - but it didn't really matter because I used my very bad French and pathetic sounding English speaking to explain the situation to the person with the headphones who happily handed them over, probably to make me go away.

But Wednesday night, even this role was finally swiped from me. Building on Monday's locking the keys in the car performance, Ed showed up at a baseball game WITHOUT his ticket. As in, he had it in the morning, had it when he left his office, but couldn't manage to keep it for two subway stops and a short walk to the entrance of the park. Luckily, new tix can be picked up for $5, so it wasn't that costly. Unless you count the cost of me losing the last piece of my personality that belonged to me, and only me. I think I will try and perform an exorcism on Ed this weekend to get my spirit to leave his body. It's just too weird.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Yesterday, I went to a baseball game with a friend while Ed took Connor to swim lessons. Apparently the lessons went pretty well. Afterwards, Ed took Connor out to the car, put Connor's dry clothes on him, and then promptly shut the trunk of the car - with all of his stuff (keys, wallet, Connor's shoes, etc.) now safely locked inside. This meant Ed had to carry Connor quite a distance home. As they left the parking lot, Connor gave one last glance toward the car and said "bye-bye, maroon car". It's as if was saying. Hey, it's been nice knowing you, but if Dad can only take one of us home, I'm glad it's me. Maybe sometime we'll cross paths again and we can reminisce about the good ol’ days, me honking your horn, you sitting in the driveway.

After they got a bit away from the car, Connor looked at Ed and said “Connor want de bottle” at which point, Ed had to relay the potentially heartbreaking news that the promised bottle was in the trunk of the maroon car with all the other stuff. This is when Connor realized they had a serious situation on their hands. He looked Ed right in the eyes so that Ed could grasp the enormity of the situation. In a very serious tone Connor commanded “get the bottle”. He was perfectly willing to give up the car, but the bottle, now Ed had gone too far.

I told Ed when I got home, "well, at least you didn't lock the baby in the car" - something I had managed to accomplish in the city when Connor was only a few weeks old. For those who are curious, if a frantic mom flags down an innocent pedestrian on a smoke break and babbles something about her very small baby being locked in the car, that very kind pedestrian will pull out his cell phone, call 911, and within minutes, a giant hook-and-ladder truck and a back-up fire department van will show up to rescue the baby, who slept through it all.


Sunday, June 17, 2007


Connor knows a lot of words. He can express himself in most situations. The one word that he refuses to use is "yes". Almost always, if he agrees with something, he'll simply repeat what he wants, as in..."Would you like some apple juice" "Connor want some apple juice". Of, if he doesn't feel like talking, he'll just flap his right hand which is his sign for "yes". The only time he regularly uses "yes" is when I ask him if he wants toothpaste on this toothbrush and I tell him "say yes please if you want toothpaste" and then, because I guess toothpaste is just that cool, he'll comply.

Last night, Connor slept in his "big bed", which is just a single mattress on the floor with a rail. After Ed put him to bed, I went upstairs to check on him and he looked so tiny on that big mattress, as opposed to how crowded he usually looks in his crib with his 10+ stuffed animals. Ed wondered when Connor would come visit me in the morning. The answer? 5:45. Not terrible, but a bit early for my taste. He didn't even hesitate. As soon as I heard him stir, I heard him hop off his bed, open his door, walk through my door, and then he was looking at me. Yikes!

He needed more sleep (as did everyone else in the house), so he was pretty grumpy. Ed went and got him a bottle "no...not de bottle" Connor whined, but pretty soon, he got the bottle and climbed up into my bed. After a while, I guess he was bored, and he decided to start hitting me in the face, at which point I asked "Are you supposed to hit Mommy in the face" and I almost rolled out of bed laughing when Connor replied "yes, yes, yes!". It was at that point that I knew Ed had fallen back to sleep because he didn't even move.


Photo note: The diligent ride operator at the amusement park we went to last week noticed I was pregnant AFTER I had already ridden this wild and exciting ride in "Camp Snoopy". When she came to let us out of the ride, Connor told her "Connor want to ride again" and she said "sure" and then she paused and looked at me with great concern as she told me I really shouldn't be riding this ride since I was pregnant and all. I told her I thought it would be all right. It is, after all, made for people smaller than 48 inches. Of course, I was thankful to have the whole pregnancy excuse to avoid one of the rides my nieces convinced Ed to take them on!


Friday, June 15, 2007


Recently, Connor has been into doing things backwards. Probably this is because he’s related to Ed who has a penchant for doing things backwards. For example, until I needled him about it, when Ed prepared for bed he flossed his teeth before he brushed them. Ridiculous, I know. Thank goodness he has me in his life to set him straight. I have also pointed out to him that the back of the toothpaste tube actually recommends rolling the tube up from the bottom, rather than squeezing from the middle, but I guess some things just can’t be learned once you reach Ed’s advanced age.

For Connor’s part, he likes to walk backwards, and when he does it, it’s as if he is walking on a tightrope above a pit full of lions waiting to strip his skinny body from his bones. He tries very hard to perform the feat in a straight line. He also tends to ride his toys backwards, rather than turn them around when he hits a dead end. Thankfully, he still turns around and sets his feet safely on the ground before he attempts to exit a tunnel, and most often, he still slides backwards rather than sitting up – probably because he has tumbled down the slide a couple of times when attempting to ride in a seated position. Of course, the one thing I would really like him to do backwards – maneuver down stairs – he refuses. Because, after all, he is a man and men just don’t walk down stairs that way.

But tonight on the subway, I learned his fondness for backwards things extended to counting. I was totally impressed when I told him we had 8 stops to go and at each successive stop, he reduced that number by one, until he was telling me that “Connor and Mommy get off at the next stop to ride the merry-go-round”. And indeed, we arrived in time to catch a whirl around the merry-go-round before heading out to the Sculpture Garden to catch a little jazz and enjoy a picnic.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Happy 22 month birthday!

Dear Connor,

Today, you turned 22 months old. A couple of days ago, your dad remarked that you would be lucky to make it to your second birthday, but that evening, he lamented the fact that someday you will totally ignore us when you have folks your age to play with, rather than thinking we’re really cool and entertaining. Just in case you’re curious, we are really cool and entertaining, so there’s no need for you to think about ditching us. Plus, we don’t take your toys and run off with them or refuse to share ours – unlike kids your own age.

You’ve taken over a few household tasks, and for that I am grateful. You’re happy to water the tomatoes each evening, give the outdoor birds fresh water in their bath, and just tonight you reminded me “Connor need to water Daddy’s hops”. How many almost two year olds know that hops grow on vines and are used to make beer I wonder? See, Connor, we’re cool – well, at least your dad is cool. You also watered the “hostas” and the “Dr. Seuss plant” – two of your favorites in my garden.

You’ve become more fascinated with my growing belly, often telling folks “Mommy has a BABY! in her tummy” followed by “Megan has TWO BABIES! in her tummy”. (Megan, who you have met exactly once in your life – but she is the proud owner of Pedro, the ball popping dog who has his own doggy door, which I guess is why she made such an impression on you.) You are still convinced that this baby will burst forth from my belly button, and Connor, I have to tell you, I’m very worried you’re predicting a c-section for me. That’s not good, my friend, because I plan to have this baby at home – same as you.

Your grandma on dad’s side doesn’t often offer up parenting comments, but when she does, she’s usually dead on. And something she said has me worried. A few weeks ago, your dad and she were talking and she wondered how he thought you would do with the arrival of a sibling. Your dad figured that you’d end up being pretty cool with it, just as Alisa (your cousin who had no less than 5 pairs of fawning eyes on her from the moment of her birth until her sister arrived) had been. But Grandma said something about how Alisa was never quite the center of her mom’s world that you are, and when your dad told me this, it really hit home. Connor – pretty soon there’s going to be another human trying to see how big my heart can stretch and this little world we’ve developed is going to be totally rocked. So now I’m constantly talking about the baby and things of yours that you can give to her, and trying really hard to get you ready – even though I’m not even sure your dad and I are ready. Please Connor, take it easy on us. I promise in the end it’s going to work out for everyone. After all, when your dad and I send down draconian punishments, you’ll need someone who really understands how horrible we are to commiserate with. Plus, eventually we won’t be around, and she’ll be the only person who holds both your past and your present, and will get to see your future. And you, of course, will have that role with her as well.

You and your sister have already started playing or fighting (depending on your perspective). You’ll come up and “push baby” and almost always, she’ll kick right back. If you lay your head on my belly, she starts thumping away in there. You don’t seem to mind, or notice, for that matter.

Tonight, your dad thought it would be a good idea to pull the single bed down from the attic and wow – was that exciting. After a couple of days of rejecting just about any idea we’ve had, you tumbled and jumped and smiled about that bed for quite a while. You are not, however, sleeping in that bed – as it was just too darn exciting. After I had lain down with or near you for about an hour, I told you I was going to bed and you requested I put you in your crib. Then, you took what was perhaps the third dump of your life after hours, and you were so exhausted your dad and I changed your diaper without you waking.

You appeared to observe an entire inning of baseball this month, and this meant your dad and I were able to watch the same inning of a baseball game. Usually, we each watch about half the game while the other one makes sure you don’t plummet out of the upper deck. We hope this is a milestone we can build on in the future. We went into the lower deck to visit a friend, and you promptly took a bag of popcorn approximately half your size, walked several seats away so you could be on the aisle (or get away from us – not sure which one) and then sat contentedly staring at the field and shoving popcorn in your mouth – for a long time. Several people noticed you and looked around as if to say “does this kid have parents?” at which point I would wave and assure them I planned to purchase you a beer in the next inning or so to wash all that popcorn down.

We went on an incredibly long trip, and though other family members might not think so, you were a champ. First, we had to WAKE YOU UP to catch our plane. It was hard to decide just how the deed should be done. Should I scream at you from another room, jarring you from your sleep? Should I run into your room saying “say hi to Connor” and jump on you like your traditional weekend greeting to me when your dad turns his back? Or should I be mature and try and gently ease you into the car? It was quite a decision. When we touched down in MO, we promptly began our tri-state Midwest tour and headed up to Iowa.

We stopped at a playground following lunch, and you were loving that. Then we got back in the car and you put up with it. We attended my family reunion and then went over to my Aunt’s house. At the hotel that night, you went completely insane, and nearly got stuck in the car by yourself. Eventually you allowed me to catch a couple of consecutive hours of sleep. Sheer exhaustion will beat even the most strong-willed baby.


The next day, we drove to the Lake of the Ozarks where we spent time with my immediate family and you were kind enough to play a little drum solo one morning. Despite his claimed love for music, your uncle was clearly not impressed – though I did manage to move you and your cousins outside after not too long. You’d been having such a tough morning that I really felt like you should be allowed to explore your creative talents without being bothered. But then, I’d been awake for a couple of hours with you already.

You drove us around on a big boat – and except for the fact that folks your age were required to wear life jackets while on the deck, it was a pretty perfect cruise. You pretty much stayed indoors to avoid the oversized, orange monstrosity.

We went to the zoo, and I assure you it did not disappoint. I was worried they wouldn’t have cool animals like meerkats, but they did. Properly equipped with binoculars from your cousin, you took it all in.

You even got to feed birds!

Your vocabulary continues to increase, and you seem to have the hang of verb tenses. On occasion, your dad and I have no idea what you're talking about, but usually we can figure it out. You were truly a grump for a few days, but I'm cutting you some slack because as it turns out, four teeth popped in during this period. You have become a milk machine, consuming a gallon over the course of three days. But, I'm chalking this up to teeth as well.

I learned that you truly are a city kid because when we went to your Aunt Linda's house, you jumped with glee when you saw she had a "parking garage" at her house! It occurred to me that the only parking garage you know about is the one at the library - and it probably never crossed your mind that these could come in the small variety for only 1 or 2 cars. Speaking of that library parking garage, you have also decided it is a very dangerous place, and navigate it very delicately. I take you out of the car seat, you scramble down and immediately put your hand on the car square (gas tank) until I can take your hand and walk - or rather run - you to the elevator. If there is a moving car in sight, you freeze and tell me to wait for the car to pass. What a good little trooper you are!

As always, I look forward to whatever surprises you bring next month.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Time to cut back on expenses

Ed has apparently decided that having two children could get quite expensive (particularly when the next one is going to be a girl!), so he's decided to sacrifice having a professional trim his hair. Because, after all, he probably pays somone $10 at the mall to shear his locks every few months. Thankfully, Connor is happy to shave Ed's neck. After seeing the photos, Ed did look a little worried as he asked me "who exactly was watching the razor while you were taking photos?". To which I said "uh...Connor?".