Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Desk!

I (finally) purchased this desk after months of admiring it. I opted for the "Click & Pick Up" option where you essentially purchase the item online and then just pick it up at the store to save on shipping. Or in my case, purchase it online and then have Ron pick it up at the store.

Note to self: next time, find out how much item weighs before making husband pick it up solo.

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Monday, February 23, 2009


"And how are you doing?" he asked, to which I answered "fine" too quickly. I'm always suspicious when Rolo's doctors ask me how I am. As if my answer offers them a clue of some sort.

"Well, you seem better than fine. Motherhood really suits you."

I drop the tough-guy act. "Really?" I ask.

"Yeah, you're doing fine. Better than most. You make it seem effortless."

I've heard that, that I make it seem effortless, from enough people now that I'm starting to doubt it's just something polite to say. I don't know why people think this. It takes so much effort that the thought alone of ever having another one is still enough to send me into a panic attack.

I read a book recently with my girlfriends for a book club they started. "Veronika Decides to Die". And the theme that stuck in my head was the (oversimplified) idea that people can chose to "check out" of life and just be crazy. The question is who decides what's crazy, who's insane?

Similarly, who decides what is genuine and what is acted? If so many people think mothering is effortless to me, am I doing a good job of faking it? Or is my view of my own reality distorted? I love, love, love my kid, and I think I'm a good mother. But if you were to ask me my honest view on how my days are, I'd have to say that most days I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water.

I've spoken about this here before: the idea of having to be all things. Oh, I mean I know I'm not superwoman. The working and the parenting, it's a bizarre balancing act.

So the doctor asks, as a favor, if I would consider bringing Rolo in later this week to allow him to teach medical students to perform pediatric exams. It's a tough week. A budget deadline is looming and I already took this afternoon off for Rolo's actual appointment, so taking more time off to bring him in for a fake appointment is sort of pushing it. However, I do have this doctor's personal pager number. Something pediatricans don't normally just give out to parents. I have used it liberally.

"Yeah. Yeah, of course" I say.

"Are you sure it's not a problem?" he asks.

"It's not a problem. Besides, you've always been so nice to me," I say as tears start to sting my eyes.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Other Version of Reality

Lest you think, based on my previous post, that he poops rainbows and tiny, fuzzy kittens, living with a 1.5 year old isn't always a walk in the park. Sorry if I gave you the impression that it was. In fact, it's sort of like, I imagine, living with someone who has untreated bipolar disease, or perhaps a multiple personality disorder. Most of the time, Rolo is quite sweet and charming. But a switch gets flipped sometimes and a little devil takes over his body.

He has his own ideas now on how things should be done and it's charming and MADDENING at the same time. Since he can't yet use words totally effectively, it means a lot of guessing. What, do you want this? How about this? Or you want to do this? No? Why are you screaming? I don't understand what you want. Okay, eating the carpet isn't helping. And the screaming still isn't helping. How about this toy? Or how about a banana?

Generally speaking, Rolo is a good eater. He also has an amazing arm. Like, seriously, I need to make sure I start this kid in little league as soon as it's possible. Unfortunately, in the meantime, he likes to throw his food. It's not because he's no longer hungry. It's just something to do. So if you come over to my place, there's a good chance you'll wind up ducking a flying carrot or that a meatball might go whizzing past your head. Good times. You should see my carpet. It greatly resembles a Jackson Pollack masterpiece (as an aside, yes I am aware of those lovely little drop cloth thingies you can put under a high chair, but 1) they look ugly and 2) more importantly, I'd have to drop cloth the entire apartment as Rolo is capable of launching food from his high chair well into the living room, about 20 feet away).

But the worse thing that 1.5 has brought is hitting. Me, specifically. And by that I mean Rolo hitting me and not the other way around. Sometimes he goes after other kids too. You can read TONS of literature on toddler hitting, why they do it and what to do about it. Believe me, I've read about it. I think Rolo hits for a couple of reasons. About 10% is probably out of frustration. But the majority is to get attention. Obviously, negative attention and specifically from me. When I pick him up from school, I watch him for a minute or two before he sees me. He's always playing with the other kids just fine. For the last week, without fail, as soon as he sees me, he either slaps one of the other kids or pulls their hair. And then he looks at me and laughs.

His teachers all swear that he's not aggressive at all throughout the day and I believe them. When we've left Rolo with either set of grandparents for the day or overnight, they all say he's fine the whole time he's there. But when we arrive to pick him up, he'll start hitting. I'm sure there is a sociology experiment in here somewhere about how a child who is abandoned by his mother from 9-5 every day is punishing her and seeking attention any way he can find it.

In reality though, you never know when the hitting stuff is going to start. He and I could be home together all day on a Saturday, reading and playing games and all of a sudden he'll get this gleam in his eye and I know he's about to hit. I read somewhere that kids who hit for attention should be ignored and when they no longer receive the reaction, they'll stop. At the time, I was like "Are they crazy? How can you just ignore it when your kid hits you? You've got to discipline them." Honestly, though, I think Rolo would probably stop if I ignored the behavior. The problem is that only works if we're at home. If he hits another kid, you kind of don't have much of a choice but to react, lest you look like you're breeding a monster.

So, I continue to plod through this parent/child relationship journey, working on solutions to problems I never thought my kid would have (yes, I do believe at one point I said out loud, "well, I just wouldn't tolerate my child hitting anyone", as though my desire to tolerate or not had anything to do with it). Despite the tantrums and throwing and the hitting, he's still a pretty cool kid though and so, I guess I'll keep him.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

1.5 Years

Rolo officially turned 18 months old and I'm pretty sure this means the end of counting his age in months. He's a year and half. In a couple of months, he'll be "almost two".

This last month or so has been a total whirlwind. Rolo's obsessed with the kitchen, specifically looking for things in the cabinets. He always seems to be searching for something specific and just can't identify what it is. He's also gotten into some bad habits. Rolo was sick about a month ago. A double ear infection with a virus on top. He's actually had that combination before but he had never been so sick. He's fever varied from 102 to 104.1 for 4 days. As often as he's been sick in the past, he never really acted all that sick, but this time was different. All he wanted to do was literally lay on top of me and sleep. Although occasionally, he'd pass out on the sofa. See?

He wasn't drinking much, and barely eating at all, so I was letting him eat whatever he wanted, wherever he wanted. Crackers for breakfast? Sure. How about eating them on the couch? Sure, no problem. Oh and can I watch a lot of TV? Of course, my little sick puppy. The problem was, not surprisingly, that once he started to feel better he still wanted to do nothing but eat dinner on the couch and watch TV. So that took some...readjusting.

One lingering symptom, however, is his love of TV. Specifically, "Little Einsteins" and "Mickey's Clubhouse". As much as I want to punch The Disney Channel in the face, it is funny to see Rolo's reactions to the shows. He lifts his arms in the air and shouts "Blast off!" when Rocket from "Little Einstein" well, blasts off. And he calls Mickey Mouse "O'Tootle", which is some gadget on that show. So, you know there is a certain level of cuteness in him mimicking these shows and I have to remind myself that really, these shows are the beginning of the brainwashing movement. Now that he's better I limit him to one show a day, despite how many times he yells "O'Tootles!" and does the sign for "more".

Let's see, what else? We had our first snowfall that actually resulted accumulation and I was able to take Rolo out in that. He was pretty floored by the whole thing.

Rolo's language has picked up, although Ron and I may be the only ones who understand most of it. Although, the other day, I brought Rolo to the allergist and we were walking the hall, when Rolo started flirting with the women at the nurses' station. Typical. Anyway, there was this weird Fourth of July-looking decoration with red, silver and blue stars and streamers hanging from the ceiling. I pointed to it and asked (what I thought was just rhetorically), "What is that?" and Rolo answered, clear as day, "Stars". The nurse looked a little surprised and said "Wow, he speaks very well." "Yes, he does" I responded, even though it was the first time he's really correctly pronounced anything. I've been working on "I love you" with him, but he doesn't really get sentences. He'll say "I luff" but for some reason he can't seem to tack "you" on the end. He usually needs prompts to really say words; I have to actually say "Say (whatever word I want him to say" and then he'll try to repeat it.
Rolo still loves reading books and if you ask him, he can correctly point to the following items in just about any book: ducks, balloons, stars, the moon, llamas, monkeys, rhinos, sheep (BAA!), loins, babies, dogs, cats, fire, chair, boy, bananas, apples and bees. He seems to have a pretty good memory these days and for the most part we only have to tell him what something is once before he can point it out in book over and over again.

He's also making somewhat more complicated connections. The other day, he pointed to a boat in a book, and looked at me. I knew he didn't know how to say boat, but before I could actually say that word, he started singing "Row, row, row." The night before I had been singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" while giving him a bath and the only part Rolo could get out was "Row, Row, Row". So boats now, are temporarily renamed "row, row, row."

We switched Rolo to that other preschool this week, but that's a post for another day. So far it's going well, and I've already noticed his language has picked up. Whether that's a result of the new school or just a timing thing, I don't know.

Months ago, Rolo started humming. And the tune sounded like Barney's "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family". Now I'm positive that's what it is because he hums it for longer periods of time. Rolo's only seen Barney a few times and I don't think he learned it from the show. Maybe his teachers sing it. Likely. Although, that was Matthew's song, the one Ron's sister used to sing to him before he died. So sometimes I like to think that maybe Matthew taught it to Rolo somehow. If you believe in such things.

A couple of weeks ago, I put Rolo bed and I tossed a "Love you" over my shoulder as I headed out of his room. And as I closed the door, I heard him say "I luff." There it was. One of those moments they tell you about. Where your child tells you he loves you, when you least expect it, and more or less, without any prompts. And for the millionth moment, I was so glad I took that leap of faith.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Home Alone

Seriously, what is up with this?


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