Come, Mommy

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

That Funny Noise You Hear is My Jaw Hitting the Ground

I suspect that being on the receiving end of unsolicited parenting advice is one of the occupational hazards of being, well, a parent. But a couple of incidents recently have left me wondering, "What is up with people?"

On Sunday Kevin was with Liam at the mall. Liam was sitting on one of the coin-operated toddler rides. He loves to climb on them, but he freaks if we turn them on. At any rate, Kevin turned his back for moment, and a woman who had been watching walked up to the ride, inserted three quarters, and turned the ride on. Liam, of course, became all kinds of unhappy and demanded to be removed from the ride. Kevin was left wondering what possessed this woman to do this without even asking him for permission. As he pondered this, the woman got angry herself because Liam didn't want to stay on the ride.

I'm assuming the woman was just trying to do something nice for a small child, but to then become upset when the child doesn't appreciate the gesture? What?

And then, this morning, Liam and I were doing the grocery shopping. I was putting some jars of turkey baby food in the cart when I was stopped by another woman. (For the record, the turkey was for Bobo, our ailing ferret. I mix it in with a prescription pet food to make a high-calorie supplement for him called "duck soup".) She inquired as to Liam's age, and when I told her he is 28 months, she gave me quite the earful about him being much too old for baby food and no wonder he's so thin and has a runny nose. I didn't even bother to explain the baby food. She wasn't listening to anybody else, since clearly she is The World Authority on feeding toddlers.

I can't think of any reason for this lecture. All I want to know is what's with these people?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Things I Swore I'd Never Blog About, Part Two

After an initial burst of enthusiasm, Liam's interest in learning to use the toilet has faded. He hasn't used it himself in several days.

Other characters, however, seem to think the bathroom is the happening place:

Yup, son, I agree, that line is awfully long.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What's for Dinner?

I have Liam's bug, the one that caused our croupy weekend. As he wrote out an antibiotic prescription, my internist told Liam to "take care of Mommy." Apparently Liam took the mission to heart. As I was concocting yet another variation of Mac & Cheese & ??? for dinner tonight, Liam brought out a piece of cardboard. But wait! The cardboard is really an oven. And Liam's cooking dinner...YUM!

The chef tastes his work and declares it done.

It appears we are having Rabbit for dinner!

Aw, Liam's heart is in the right place. I'll wait until he's older to define the word "vegetarian" for him.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Croup and Other Traumas, Revisited

Liam's feeling better, and has now moved on to processing the events of this weekend. The animals you see are "coughing, lots" and "Bobo ferret pushes ambeelance to take dem to 'steamy room". Later on, the whole crew was on their way to "clean up 'trawberries and waffles."

We are preparing to visit the toy store this morning. I'm hoping Mr. Murphy doesn't notice us.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Vernal Equinox

Liam and I cut the first flower bouquet of the year this morning. Thank goodness Spring is finally here.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I Hear Ya, Mr. Murphy

Warning/disclaimer! More whiney-whines ahead! Proceed at your own risk...

Things are much better on the croupy kid front. Liam only needed a steamy bathroom twice during the night, and when he was sleeping, he was sleeping sounder than he has in several nights. Perhaps the end of this is in sight. Or maybe I shouldn't even think that, let alone broadcast it. Hhhhmmmmm. In retrospect, I think I jinxed our morning with that thought.

Allow me to tell you a story. A story that exemplifies Murphy's Law...

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Liam. He was sick with the croupy crud, but he felt a bit better, and desperately wanted to play outside.

There was a park near Liam's town that had a small zoo for the children. One could bring fruit and bread and feed deer, ducks, swans, and exotic geese. Liam called it the "Deer Park."

Liam's Mommy knew how much he wanted to go outside that morning, so she asked him if he would like to go to the Deer Park. His face lit up with a beaming smile as he ran to the fridge to get carrots for the deer. He also picked out some bread and apples and the two of them went on their merry way.

Oh, the joy! As they arrived at the park, Liam called out, "Mommy! Baby does see Deer Park! Hey, Deers! Deers! Liam has something for you!" He clambered down from the car yelling for the deer. But then, when he walked to the gate, there were no deer in sight. Oh, how sad Liam felt. His Mommy felt so bad for Liam that she tried to find some other activity that he would enjoy.

Thinking she could resurrect the morning fun in some way, she suggested feeding the ducks. That idea helped Liam feel better, so he fed the ducks for a bit. But then, all of a sudden, came an awful sound. It was the dreaded "HISS" of the Mean Scary Goose. Now, some people call the Mean Scary Goose by another name. They call it a Canada Goose. But since this particular kind of goose is as tall as a small child, and hisses when angry, and will take bread right out of the hands of children, Liam called it the Mean Scary Goose.

Liam shrieked, "Mommy, pick Baby up right now!" His Mommy scooped Liam up and set him on a bench, safely out of the reach of the Mean Scary Goose.

Then, Liam tried to call the deer again, and as he did so, he threw some bread up in the air. Five Scary Seagulls descended onto the bench, crying "Scree! Scree!" They ate all of Liam's bread. Liam was so sad that he lept into his Mommy's arms again. This time he asked to go home.

During the ride home, Liam became hungry. His Mommy was still hoping he would feel happy, so she asked him if he would like to stop for waffles. He yelled, "Go lunch!"

They stopped at a diner for waffles. All was well. There was a friendly family seated next to them who didn't even mind that Liam might share the croupy crud with their children. Mommy ate a hot meal. Liam even ate part of a waffle and some strawberries. It seemed that the day was indeed getting better.

But then, as the waiter refilled Liam's drink, the table tumbled over. Right onto the floor. There were waffles everywhere. And strawberries everywhere. And drinks everywhere. Waiters came running to clean up the great big mess. The waiters fixed the wobbly table leg. They offered to bring more food out to Liam and his Mommy. But by that point, Liam had had more than enough. Once again he lept into his Mommy's arms and asked to go home.

This time, she listened. They came home. Liam fell sound asleep tucked up against his dog, Casey. The two of them took a good long nap. And Liam's Mommy wisely decided not to venture outside again that day, for clearly, the world was still too overwhelming for little Liam.

The moral of the story, dear reader, is this. When Baby's afraid something bad will happen, Mommy should listen to him.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


I have been placed in the unfortunate situation of being stuck at home with a sick child and no spousal backup. And Liam's grandparents hit the road for Texas today. What does one do in such a situation, when one can't go anywhere fun since Liam too sick to go, but still well enough to require entertainment? I was pondering this question yesterday, and as if in answer, a mysterious and very loud sound came from the street in front of our house.

I peeked out the window, and lo and behold, a semi had clipped off a large branch from our next door neighbors' tree. The branch had been hurled through some utility lines and then the lines and branch had become tangled around the truck. I am such an evil person, for after no ambulances came and it seemed no one was hurt, I realized that a morning of watching police cars, utility trucks, and the general chaos might provide Liam with some entertainment. And it did! We counted one "stuck truck," six police cars, two "scoopy trucks" (aka cherry pickers), four cable trucks, and a backhoe. After the action slowed down, one of our local policemen even gave Liam a guided tour of his cruiser, bless his heart. And we were one of the few houses that actually had electrical power yesterday. Everyone else was out for most of the day.

I wish to thank all the inconvenienced souls from the bottom of my heart. My son had the best time watching all of this stuff, so what was surely a really crappy day for all of you turned out to be a sanity saver for me. Even today was not a lost cause, since the township sent out chipper trucks to clean up all the branches. Those trucks were also "really cool!" Even the moving truck at Gran-Gran's house didn't merit the "very cool" rating.

To the rest of you, I apologize for the lack of structure in this post. Last night was veeerrry long. But Liam seems to be sleeping better tonight, so I'm choosing to be optimistic about sleep quality tonight. And thank you all for your comments and e-mails. Knowing I'm not the first mom to survive a croup night helped. A lot.


Apparently that's what they call a combination of a barking cough and breathing that sounds like a broken train whistle. Apparently it most often strikes at night. That's what I learned during a late-night pediatric consult last night.

I've never heard Liam struggling to breathe like that, and with Rebecca's recent scare fresh in my mind, I phoned Liam's doctor at 10:00 last night. She could hear him struggling from her end of phone, suggested I take him into a steamy bathroom for 10 minutes, and if he was no better, to drive him to the ER. Fortunately, the steam did the trick. We had to repeat the treatment several times last night, but he does seem at least a bit better today. Thank goodness, because I don't think my heart can take too many more nights like that.

So, yes, we're both exhausted today. And yes, we're both a touch on the cranky side. But I've learned how lucky I am to have a healthy child. That's a big lesson that is more important than a good night's sleep.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Uh Oh!

Note the timestamp on this post. Yup, it's 2:30 AM, and I'm up blogging. Why, you ask? Um, partly because Liam wore me out so much yesterday that I fell asleep at 7:30 when he went down, but mostly, yeah, it's because I woke up an hour ago feeling all shivery and headachey..

I'm really hoping Gran-Gran's movers won't be getting to San Antonio until Tuesday or Wednesday. You see, if that turns out to be the case, then Liam and I will have grandparents around this weekend to keep us company. Because, did I mention the fact that Kevin will be out of town from Friday morning through Monday night?

If all else fails, I'm fully prepared to enter Mommy Survival Mode, which around here means disregarding the ban on media and junk food that Liam's school recommends. Sesame Street on demand, and animal crackers in unlimited quantities. With those two things, we might make it through to Monday night.

The Good, the Bad, and the Runny Nose

Ah, best laid plans. You'd think that now that I've been doing this Mommy Gig for a tad over two years, I'd know not to make firm plans. And I'd definitely have learned not to let Liam in on them, since he's of an age now where he can anticipate playdates and other such fun events.

We had a playdate scheduled for Thursday morning with Liam's friend,
Z. The plans changed at 4:00 AM when Liam woke up with a fever. By 8:00 AM, he had a runny nose and cough, and the only words I heard from him today involved variations on the theme, "Mommy, hold Baby." Poor kid. I was concerned enough to call the pediatrician. Fortunately, by the noon hour, when the doctor called back, Gran-Gran had arrived, and Liam's sunny personality was trying hard to make a comeback. Still it was a long day which involved finding a new activity for Liam every 5-10 minutes to keep his mind off the issue of the cancelled playdate. Also, to keep his mind off of the fact that he quite obviously feels like crud.

And tomorrow poses another dilemna of the same sort. We were planning on having a blog playdate with the lovely Suzanne of Mimilou fame and her kiddos. Note use of the word "were." It ain't happening tomorrow, obviously. Sorry, Suzanne, perhaps we'll be able to pull off one of these playdates sometime before the kids enter college...

But the is hope on the sick-toddler activity front. Gran-Gran and Pop-Pop are in the process of moving to their gorgeous new home outside San Antonio, and tomorrow is the day the movers come to load all their stuff. So, my current thought is Liam and I will hang out there and watch the trucks and moving guys. Also, Gran-Gran's neighbor has a bunch of cats, and Liam is even more obsessed with cats than he is with trucks, if you can imagine such a thing. So Liam will get some extra grandparent time before they go away again, and the kitties will be a surprise bonus.

And there I go again making plans. Didn't I start this post swearing that plans are not necessarily a good idea?

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Guy's Gotta Have Wheels!

In honor of our first burst of warm weather this weekend, we bought Liam his first tricycle. He loves it, even if pedaling is a bit beyond him at this juncture. And to think that before I became a parent, I used to laugh at those push bars on trikes...

"Mommy! Baby's bike is very cool! Come, Mommy, push Baby's bike!"

Oh, and by the way, don't try to tell the kid this is technically not a bike. He might throw a tantrum or something.

I can't believe my "baby" is big enough to have a trike of his own. I swear he was six months old only a couple of weeks ago. Sigh.

Updated 3/15/06: I just realized the stretch of sidewalk you see in these photos is the same place Liam took his first steps last spring. Oh, please, Little Guy, don't grow so fast. Please?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

There Must be Something in the Air

It's been a couple of weeks since I've managed to post anything of substance. I don't know if it's family-crisis-stress, or a vicious late winter onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or a potentially good post that was kidnapped by Blogger, or some combination of the above, but I am convinced my brain has turned to mush. All it seems capable of producing these days is run-on sentences. Also, any ambition on my part to engage the aforementioned mushy brain has just plain up and disappeared. I've read writings from various bloggers with similar complaints. Perhaps these symptoms could turn out to be the first signs of a new infectious disease? I'd alert the CDC, but I suspect those kind folks are up to their elbows in bird flu issues. Besides, I'm plumb out of ambition, remember?

Hmph. I think I'll say a few prayers to the Blog Content Gods tonight. Hopefully they will smile upon me, and in the near future all four or so of you lovely readers will have something vaguely interesting to read.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Things I Swore I'd Never Blog About

Toilet training. Poop. Pee. I was naive enough to think I'd never discuss those subjects here. Silly me! Since this week began it seems Liam can't get enough of these topics. A few nights ago he awoke from a sound sleep and announced he had to pee "in Mommy's potty." And he was serious. I got him up, got the jammies off of him, and he peed in the toilet. Since then he's shown absolutely no interest in using either a toddler potty or the grown-up version, instead maintaining that "Baby no use potty. Baby use diapers." Nonetheless, I have the distinct feeling that toilet training, or the AP-approved term "toilet learning," will soon be upon us.

Aside from the very cool tools and ladders the furnace guys brought the other day, the two days they spent in our house were interesting for Liam on another front. They used our bathroom! Bonus! Every time one of the men went in, I'm pretty sure the poor guy could hear Liam yelling, "Furnace guy PEES! He PEES!" Um, yes, sweetie, everyone pees...

Liam's been hanging out over the ferret gate announcing with gusto seemingly each and every visit to the litter box. "Bobo PEED! Mommy, come here! JJ pooping!" Then today, Liam kept asking Casey to go outside and pee. "Casey does need to pee! Casey pees outside!"

Today was the first warm day we've had in ages, and we were outside most of the afternoon. At one point Liam had a poopy diaper, and I couldn't convince him to come in so I could change it. Ever the problem solver, he suggested we change it outside. I brought a blanket and a diaper outside, got his diaper off, and the kid took off across the yard. Now, I really should have seen the next move coming given that Liam loves to pretend to be Casey by sniffing bushes and eating dry cereal from a bowl on the floor, but I didn't. Liam ran over to the azalea bushes and peed in them. I'm not sure if I should be horrified that he has identified the greenery as an appropriate toilet site, or if I should be glad that he is at least interested in peeing somewhere other than a diaper.

I guess the next step is to make sure I know where all the restrooms are located in the places we frequent. Just in case Liam pretends to be a little boy and not a dog.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How To Entertain a Toddler for Only $10,000

Because I know how hard it can be to keep little ones amused when the weather has been too cold for too long, I'm telling you our latest toddler amusement plan. Feel free to use it yourself if you get desperate enough.

A few days back our furnace starting sounding like a washing machine on the spin cycle, and it turns out the beastie is almost 20 years old. On further inspection, the central air turns out to be even more ancient. So we got to choose between sinking a few thousand dollars into a repair that might hold for another two years, or simply biting the bullet and replacing both systems for a mere $10,000. Yup. $10,000!

I can think of much better things to do with the money. An offer for this cruise showed up in our mailbox over the weekend. 15 days of good food cooked by someone else while visiting Cozumel, Panama, and Grand Cayman. Oh, boy, does that look good in this never-ending cold season.

However, there is good news in all of this. The workers that do the replacement have a bright yellow truck. And lots and lots of tools. Liam is especially taken with their pliers. They should be here most of the day, so we have built-in entertainment that is so exciting we even invited Liam's friend, I, and his mom, L, to come over for lunch and partake in the general excitement. Liam's getting over yet another cold, I'm coming down with said cold, and since I am so desperate for something that could amuse him while requiring minimal movement from me, I'm actually reasonably happy about this turn of events. Clearly I have taken too much Sudafed and have long since passed the point of even mild delirium.

Let's all chant, together now, 13 days until Spring!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Life As Told By Trains

There has been some turmoil in our life recently. And it's obviously bothering Liam. First, Gran-Gran disappeared abruptly. She came back for a visit last week, and although Liam is thrilled to see her, he's been acting jumpy whenever she leaves to go home. I do some tutoring in the evenings. It's been a bit slow lately, but picked up last week. Then, to further fuel the fire, Kevin left for Florida on Friday. Liam's been extra-clingy the last couple of weeks, and it all came to life for me yesterday.

Liam had a collection of train cars on the table. One by one, he pushed them off the edge of the table, mumbling something as each one fell. I asked him what was going on with the trains. "That green guy must go teach. That blue guy went home to Pop-Pop. That red guy got on a flying plane to Florida. Everybody's gone now."

At that point he crumbled into my lap, saying, "Come, Mommy. 'Tay wif Baby. Baby no like alone by self."

I feel so bad for him, and I knew all this was bothering him, but seeing it played out with the trains just broke my heart. Fortunately, this week looks relatively stable. It's spring break, so no teaching for Mommy, and Daddy's coming home tomorrow. I'm hoping for a return to regular life. My heart can't take any more lonely trains. I doubt Liam can, either.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Shoo, Fly!

Liam learned the words to the song "Shoo Fly" in the last session of music class. At the time I had lots of fun with it, since it was one of my favorite songs from Mr. Shepherd's 2nd grade music class. When I was in 2nd grade, my school was in Bettendorf, Iowa, while my parents and I lived across the Mississippi River in Moline, Illinois. Every day my mom and I crossed a looong bridge from Moline to Bettendorf in the morning, and returned via the same looong bridge in the afternoon. During that school year I made up many extra "Shoo, Fly" verses to entertain myself during the long trips to and from school. I was pleased to discover "Shoo Fly" on the agenda for this session's music classes for Liam. As it turns out, he thinks the song is a winner, himself, but for entirely different reasons.

The Scene: Liam playing by himself in our front hallway. What concerned me? The strange thumps described below, as heard from the kitchen.

Liam: "Shoo, Fly, no boder me! (THUMP!)
"Shoo, Fly, no boder me! (THUMP!)
"Shoo, Fly, no boder me, 'cause Baby bewongs to somebody (THUMP!!)

Me, thinking to self: "What is that THUMP sound?"

After peering around the corner, the answer was obvious. Liam was tossing shoes across the hall after every line of the song. I asked what he was doing...

Liam: "Mommy, look! Shoes must FLY! FLY! SHOE FLY!!" (THUMP!)

I guess the good news is that Liam and I can agree on one song to be sung, even if each of us likes it for different reasons.