Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Six Minutes

Connor and Helen - if you ever find yourself with 6 minutes in front of a huge audience, I hope you use it like Dennis did at the Democratic convention in 2008.

Wake up? You better believe it.


Monday, August 25, 2008


After I met Ed, I phoned my sister and told her about him. When I got to the part about him being a Yankees fan, she replied something like "I guess he could be a nice guy".

Like all good Yankee fans, eventually Ed got tired of Steinbrenner (I think it was the ARod deal that did it, but it might have been Giambi) and decided to leave the Yankees in the hands of their other three trillion fans. Since that time, Ed has dabbled in being a Royals' fan (he didn't have the stomach for it) and then become a Nationals' fan, hard as that can be.

I thought I had cleansed my home of the Yankee fan influence before I brought children into it, but obviously I have done something terribly wrong as a parent.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The reason Connor can't go to Thailand with our au pair

"Mod, I built this for you to take to Thailand."

"Maybe I'll just take you to Thailand instead."

"I can't go to Thailand. I have a sister, Baby Helen. If I went to Thailand, I would miss her so much. I want to be with her forever."

"OK, maybe I could take you and Helen to Thailand."

"Nah, then my house won't have a Connor or a Helen any more and that would make Mommy sad."

We're in!

Ever since Ed and I decided to renovate our house, I've been trying to figure out what the kids will do during the day. A while back, I registered Connor and Helen for a cooperative playgroup and praise be to the coop gods, Connor got in a group for 2-4 year olds and he got a coveted "sibling spot", which means Helen can go with him. This means two days each week, the kids have a place to play for a couple of hours before naptime. But the real beauty? The coop is in the same building as my pottery studio. Yippee on all fronts!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The three of us

For Connor's 3rd Birthday, we tried something new. Rather than going into the studio, we brought a photographer to him.

Just as we have on lots of other mornings since I've been working part-time, we headed out to Connor's favorite park so we could take a walk in the woods. We didn't spot any foxes (as he and Ed did about a year ago!), but we did get very wet, threw lots of stones, and generally had a fun (and messy) morning. Jennifer (the photographer) was a total sport. I can't even BELIEVE she agreed to follow Connor everywhere he went.

When the session started, I wasn't sure how it was going to go. Connor announced to me that as soon as he got to the park he was "goin' to run and run and run and run" and indeed, he ran, and ran, and ran, and ran. But after that was out of him, he managed to stay at least a little still to get some photos taken. I'll post more when they arrive.

But can you believe it? Both of my children smiling in the same photo taken by a pro? I love it. I was very grateful that I dressed Helen in a completely reversible outfit (remember this from China, Kellee?). She unloaded a whole lot of goo all over the front of her shirt, so I just turned it around and made the back the front and voila - she looked clean again.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Month 10, Helen

Dear Helen,

This month, you turned 10 months old. Frankly, the occasion was overshadowed by your brother turning three, even though you did some pretty spectacular things. For starters, you move. I have to admit, I really did enjoy those first 9 plus months of your life where I could set you in front of a toy and know that you would still be in that same position when I returned. I didn't have to worry about you putting things that didn't belong in your mouth there, because I could easily clear the small radius of the floor you had access to. But, I suppose all good things come to an end, and so too did sitting in one place unless someone moved you.

You have become expert at finding anything and everything clearly not intended for your consumption. You love to crawl to the magazine rack, pull up on it, and then pull at magazines until you get one, at which point you will drop to the floor and start tearing it. If I didn't have your brother the spy around, you could probably do a lot more damage. You can get wherever you want to go, but you are not a terribly inspired person. Unless, that is, Connor seems to be coveting some toy and then you are all about trying to get into his business and take it. This is only fair, as every toy I bring out of storage for you your brother instantly falls in love with, which means you have to wait your turn to use it. Even your exer-saucer, which he is clearly too big for is occupied by him a fair amount of time. (This, by the way, is a very good thing because it means he is contained in one space - a rarity, I assure you.) I used to see used baby toys and wonder how on earth they got broken. I now know. It's not the baby who breaks them, it's the toddler sibling! You're getting much better at holding onto things, and at times, you put up a pretty good fight.

You love to stand and beat on things and it really takes you no time at all to go from sitting to standing so long as there is something to pull up on. You are trying to figure out how to stand without an assist from a piece of furniture, but you haven't figured it out just yet.

You and Connor have developed your own games, and this tickles me to no end. When one of you tires of dinner, you can usually get the other one's attention and you start making each other laugh, toss things, and generally create chaos. I couldn't be happier that the two of you will be spending all your days together next year. I'm very hopeful that it will go a long way toward the two of you learning how to share space. I am equally hopeful that you don't use the time to plot against me and your dad while we are toiling away at our respective offices.

You generally enjoy whatever table foods you can get your hands on. We have to take it slowly occasionally because your system is still prone to not processing new things too well. But, you will eventually get used to all these new foods and that will most definitely be a good thing. For a while, your very favorite food was peaches, and this was a very good thing because we went to our CSA farm twice to pick a fairly large quantity of peaches, plus we get peaches in our box each week. Your dad has been known to eat four in one day - and you have been known to eat an entire peach by yourself. This somehow seems remarkable to me.

You remain a very happy baby, smiling often. These days, when I come home from work, you not only wave hello to me, but you look at your au pair and wave and say "bye bye". Sometimes, when she comes upstairs in the morning and I'm getting ready to leave you look at her and wave "bye bye", but so far it hasn't worked. You do, however, get along with her quite well when I'm not present, or when we're all together on my "at-home" days.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday, Connor

Last night, after moving the wagon that Ed's parents got Connor for his birthday to the main floor of the house, and sticking 3 candles in a big blueberry muffin that I set on a plate with 5 gummi bears (one of each color), I brushed my teeth and prepared to go to sleep. I looked over at Ed and said "we made it". It was almost exactly the time - three years earlier - I had gone into labor with Connor. Before noon, on August 12, 2005, I was holding my baby boy in my arms.

Here's to the last year!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Closing in on the goal...

Connor must sense that summer is fading, and if he wants to reach his goal of jumping off the diving board, he's going to have to work at it. He's now going to the pool sometimes twice daily (at his request). For my part, I decided to get him a private swim instructor. As it turns out, our neighborhood pool has lots of these, and a half hour lesson with one of the younger ones, costs about the same as a group lesson. Connor is too young to participate in the group lesson that he needs, so this seemed like a good option.

Yesterday was Connor's first lesson with Lizzie. Prior to our arrival, Connor announced that he did not need a swim lesson because he already knew how to swim - he had taught himself. "Yes, Connor", I replied, "you are just like your Dad. You never need anyone to teach you anything because anything worth doing you have figured out on your own. But just this once, Connor, since I have already called a nice girl who is a great swimmer, you will have a lesson." When we arrived, she asked me what Connor could do. I told her he could jump in and swim as far as a breath would carry him, but he couldn't take a breath yet. And do you know what the little turd did? As I was telling Lizzie this, he jumped into me, started his self-styled swim stroke, and TOOK A BREATH RIGHT THERE AND KEPT ON SWIMMING! So she was all "that looked like a breath to me" and I said "that was a figment of everyone's imagination because he does not do that". From there, she said she was totally impressed and is confident she can help Connor jump off the board before the end of the year. Naturally, trying to corral Connor into doing what she had planned was a bit like herding squirrels, but they did manage to spend a half hour together, and Connor had so much fun he announced he would like to swim with Lizzie again.

So, even though he proved me wrong once again, he did captitulate a bit and is willing to accept 'professional' help.

Go, Connor, go! I can't wait to bring the video camera in and see what happens when you are diving board approved!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I think I get it...

Lacking a good idea for a post, this mom decides to follow Connor around a bit.

"Mommy, I'm doing the laundry!"

"That's a relief. But be careful, Connor. I don't think you can put sunglasses in a washing machine."

"It's OK, Mommy." Pausing to ponder how he will explain this next bit to me. "This isn't a real washing machine." Pausing again, trying to come up with just the right words to break this next bit of news to me. "See, it doesn't have buttons that push in like yours does."

"Oh, I see. Is that the only difference between Helen's exer-saucer and my washing machine?"

Friday, August 1, 2008

Last Wishes

"I think we should trade you for a King Penguin. It's about the same size as you."
"Nah, why don't you keep me...and get a King Penguin too?"
"OK. I guess we'll keep you forever."
"What will you do with me when I die?"
"I don't know."
"Why don't you take me to the zoo?"