the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Is It 2010 Yet?

Mmmkay, here goes my end of the year post. It probably won't be pretty, and the month of December has probably unfairly biased by view of 2009, but I'm going with "2009 sucks" anyway.

How did 2009 start? With an infant covered in vomit. Oh yeah. I woke up New Year's Day 2009 with a Max who had vomited in his bed and rolled around in it. It took two baths and the forbidden scented shampoo to rid his hair of the smell. Not an auspicious start to the year.

That stomach bug was followed by illness after illness for the Max, including four ear infections, a bunch of colds, and three more stomach viruses. I also had two stomach viruses in 2009, so there went my 5 year record of no vomiting.

2009 was also The Year of the Rat (well, mice, actually but rat sounds more vile). First, they invaded the attic, which I can live with. Then one died under the back porch, but we thought it was in the wall. So Chad cut a hole in the wall in the laundry room to try and find it. What he found instead a was a big hole leading from inside the wall to outside on the porch. He sealed the hole. A few days later, a mouse chewed through the putty that Chad used to patch the hole and got into our aluminum cans. And so began the vermin invasion into the house. Actually, I think there was only one in the house. We bought some electronic mouse traps, and caught exactly nada. So we resorted to poison. Oddly enough, that was a bad idea. Because, by sealing the hole in the wall that went outside, Chad sealed off the mice's escape route. So instead of going outside in search of water after ingesting the poison like they were supposed to, a couple died in our walls. And decomposing rodent? STINKS.

THEN there was the mouse in the kitchen. Turns out, it was living underneath the cabinet under the sink. And one day (the day our new refrigerator was delivered) it came out in the early evening instead of invading the kitchen and dining room at night as usual. The good news about that incident is that Chad and I successfully trapped the mouse under a big plastic bowl and scooted it out into the back yard. So no more mouse in the kitchen. Yay. But now there are more mice in the attic. I vote we call an exterminator.

And now, the new refrigerator. The week before Christmas, we had a big storm system come through, and our house was hit by lightning. It killed the refrigerator, DSL modem, wireless router (Chad fixed that, though), CD player from Max's room, wipe warmer, space heater from Max's room, emergency window air conditioner in our bedroom, and blew a bunch of light bulbs. Oh, and it took out a hella-expensive surge protector (but everything that was plugged into it was ok). We had a repairman come look at the fridge, and he said that both fans that blow the cold air into the fridge and freezer compartments were out. He did not have the replacement fans in stock, and it would have taken a week to get them in and would have cost $300. Instead, we went to Lowe's and had a new fridge delivered the next day.

I spent the week before Christmas hating life because I felt like complete crap (sinus issues, sore throat, chest cold). Chad then caught it, and now I think I'm getting it again. Yay.

Oh, and it doesn't end there. Krull the Warrior King poked a stick in his eye Saturday night, prompting an emergency trip to the vet. They can't tell us how much damage was done to his eye until next week, after it heals a bit. Vision loss is a possibility. So we've been keeping Krull in the house, which means we've had the baby gate that blocks the hall down since Krull likes to sleep in our bedroom, but we want him to be able to come into the living room with us if he wants to. Plus he needs to be able to let us know when he needs to go out. The baby gate being down means that Max has been making me crazy, going into all the bedrooms, office, and bathrooms. Too bad he can open doors.

So yeah, 2009 sucked. There were some good points (nothing went wrong on Christmas, for instance). It just seems like the bad outweighed the good.

Monday, November 23, 2009

No, Walmart, Your Prices Are NOT Unbeatable

For some reason, Walmart's commercials are starting to annoy me, with their "we check other store's prices so you don't have to." Yes, they price match (if you have another store's ad in hand at the register, which is hella annoying to the person behind you in the checkout line). But some things just cost less at other stores, and since there is no print ad for regular prices, Walmart can't give you the lower price on those things.

In an effort to save money, I've been splitting my grocery shopping among three stores as of late: Walmart, Target, and Winn Dixie. Let me also note that I often buy store brands (but some name brands are just better, so I don't always buy generic). And sometimes there are big differences in the price of generics between stores. Often, Walmart *does* have the best price. But definitely not always.

Some items that I've found cheaper at Target:
  • Purina Healthy Morsels dog food (17 lb. bag $11.42 at Walmart, $10.99 at Target)
  • Del Monte sloppy joe sauce (only a penny difference, but still)
  • Hunt's canned spaghetti sauce ($0.84 at Target; Walmart now only carries Del Monte canned spaghetti sauce, which is $0.94)
  • Store brand french vanilla coffee creamer ($1.62 for 8 oz. at Walmart; $2.76 for 15 oz. at Target)
  • Barilla whole grain pasta ($1.23 at Walmart, regularly $1.19 at Target, I recently bought some on sale at Target for $1.03 - less than Target's Market Pantry brand)
  • Huggies Overnite diapers
There are also many items that are exactly the same price at both Target and Walmart, including a lot of Aveeno baby products, and a lot of things are only 1 or 2 cents cheaper at Walmart.

Things I usually buy at Winn Dixie:
  • Anything I normally buy elsewhere that goes on sale buy one get one free. I've saved a lot of money on things like snack foods by checking out the buy one get one free sales at Winn Dixie.
  • Chicken breasts or thighs - there is almost always some kind of sale on these, often buy one get one free; Winn Dixie also does a lot of Manager's Special coupons on their meats.
  • Cheese - again, it often goes on sale buy one get one free
  • Milk - the price of milk fluctuates a lot, but Winn Dixie's store brand gallons of milk usually cost about $0.50 less that Walmart or Target (1/2 gallons are usually cheapest at Walmart, but not always)
  • Produce - sometimes Walmart's produce is quite inexpensive, but it often doesn't look very fresh, so I look for sale prices on Winn Dixie's produce (exception - bell peppers; Walmart has 3 packs of multi-colored peppers for $3.50, which is much cheaper than anywhere else)
Sometimes the convenience of one stop shopping outweighs the small savings, but I don't mind shopping around a bit. Plus, my Walmart and SuperTarget are right across the road from each other, and Winn Dixie is on my way home from Max's daycare, so it's easy for me to hit all three stores on a regular basis.

I just wanted to put the fact that Walmart does not always have the best prices out there. Shop around, folks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today's To-Do List Progress

  • Bleach toys - check
  • Do three loads of laundry - two down, one needs to go in the dryer
  • Clean bathrooms - check
  • Refill Max's allergy/cold medicine - uh, guess I need to run to the pharmacy
  • Vacuum bedrooms - I'll get right on that
  • Bake oatmeal chocolate chip cookies - I hope I have time
  • Finish discussion for this stupid chapter - I might get around to it
  • Take a nap ('cause I only got 4 hours of sleep last night, thanks to a husband and a Max who couldn't stop coughing) - Not gonna happen :(
  • Eat lunch - I might have a spare second to shove some food in my mouth
  • Finish scarf for sister's birthday (which is Friday) - Probably won't have time, maybe after Max goes to sleep
  • Figure out dinner - ugh, haven't a clue
I am SO TIRED.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Things I'm Doing Today

Sorry to bore you with my drivel, but it's better than the nothing you've been getting, right? Been kinda busy lately, you know, living my life and all. That's why I <3 twitter. It's so easy to spout my randomness in 140 characters or less.

Anyway, here's what's on tap today:
  • Baking bread
  • Finishing a chapter
  • Catching up on blog reading
  • Steam cleaning the living room furniture
  • Mopping the hell out of the living room and kitchen
  • Freaking out about the Vermin Invasion that may or may not actually be happening in my house (uh, last night we had an incident with a rat in the aluminum cans in the laundry room - Not Cool)
  • Figuring out what to make for dinner (Quiche? Sweet & sour chicken? Pasta with marinara sauce?)
  • Cooking whatever I decide to make
  • I think I'm leaning toward the quiche. With ham and spinach and Swiss cheese.
  • And we'll have fresh bread, so I can make Max a grilled cheese sandwich if he turns his nose up at the quiche.
  • Mailing off a book I sold on Amazon
  • Probably some other stuff, too.
That is all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Morning Conversation with Max

Max: (sits up) Hi!

Me: Are you ready to get up?

Max: No. (rubs eyes)

Me: You don't want to get changed?

Max: No.

Me: Do you want to go back to sleep?

Max: (still sitting up, closes eyes, giggles)

*Chad is moving around, getting dressed, Max hears*

Me: Do you want to get up now?

Max: (nods) Yeah.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Screw Friday, Is It Saturday Yet?

Things that happened today:
  • I found out that someone I thought was a friend threw me under the metaphorical bus. You don't get details. Just that I said something to someone in a moment of frustration and that something was repeated to a Very Important Person, who took it entirely the wrong way and some very bad things could have happened as a result. These bad things were considered by the Very Important Person. But they didn't happen. Apparently, I can take getting run over by a bus (a metaphorical one, anyway). And apparently, all this went down, like, two weeks ago, and I had no idea.
  • Some kid bit Max at daycare, and it was handled in an... unsatisfactory way. To say the least. But I can't say the least. Now you get details. I picked Max up from daycare a little later than usual today, so one of his teachers (and most of the kids) had already gone home. The remaining teacher was changing the diapers of the remaining four kids. She changed Max, and I got his bag and took Max home. I briefly glanced in the bag to see if his daily information sheet was in there. There was a piece of paper in the bag, so I figured we were good to go. Later, almost an hour after we got home, I fished the paper out of Max's bag to see what he'd had for lunch. To my great surprise and anger, it was not his daily information sheet but an accident report. On this accident report, there was a check mark beside "Child was bitten today." Written in the description section, "While playing, he was bitten on the right arm. Ice was applied. Hugs & kisses were given." That's it. That's all the information I have. I think back. Yeah, I *did* notice a red mark on Max's wrist, but I didn't think much of it at the time. He is a very rashy child, and he currently has about 4 mosquito bites on various parts of his body (despite the liberal application of Off! insect repellent whenever he goes outside). I look at Max's wrist more closely. A perfect red bite mark. OMFG, WHY DID HIS TEACHER NOT THINK TO MAYBE MENTION THIS?!? And also, when we went to the reception desk/director's office to get Max's medicine, they couldn't have maybe said something? Who bit him? Was it Giant Baby? Because if so, that's the second time in two weeks that he's bitten another child hard enough to leave a mark. And Giant Baby has also been hitting, pushing, and sitting on kids like a maniac over the past month. What are they doing about that situation? If it wasn't Giant Baby, what happened to the biter? Time out? Did they talk to his parents? The toddler teachers talked to me when Max hit a little girl that one time (and he didn't even hurt her, and she sort of had it coming since Max was already upset, and she was all up in his grill, as they say). The toddler teachers also talked to me about the one other accident report-worthy incident Max has been involved in at daycare (he tripped over a toy and bumped his head on another toy, something that happens to him all the time at home, and for which I do not blame daycare). So why didn't the 1 1/2 year old teachers talk to me about this biting thing? Which is much worse than anything else that's happened to Max. I am completely livid over here. And I can't even rant about it to anyone who matters until Monday. I am Not Happy with the situation in this daycare class. I understand that 1.5 year olds will occasionally push or lightly slap each other in squabbles over toys. But the teachers have to be prepared to deal with that, and when one child is particularly aggressive and is repeatedly hurting other children, something needs to be done about that posthaste. I have reached the point at which they either do something about Giant Baby and his aggressiveness or I find a new daycare for Max.
  • Also, I ruined dinner. Or the bad ground beef ruined dinner. Either way, dinner was ruined.
Ok, so that's only three things, but they sucked, and now I am officially Done With Friday. Oh, and it's after 8 p.m., and Chad is still at work. That sucks, too.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Daycares as Babysitting Facilities: Is This a Bad Thing?

So the other day I was talking to another parent, and he was complaining that daycare centers are just big babysitting facilities and that they usually don't do enough educational activities. In his opinion, even our local Montessori school isn't school-y enough. Evidently, he doesn't think that coloring, music, and other structured activities offered in most daycare centers teach kids anything.

My reaction: so what? My kid is 19 months old. All he really needs is a babysitter. I don't think he would benefit from formal educational instruction. Babies and toddlers learn through playing. They don't need to be stuck in a formal classroom, a la that crazy preschool in Daddy Daycare. As long as Max's teachers spend a little one-on-one time with each kid, make an effort to name things for them to help them pick up new words, and mediate interactions between the kids, I'm happy. Well, and you know, as long the teachers change their diapers and feed them and stuff.

The daycare class that Max started last month introduced him to his first real structured, classroom-y activities (each lasting 15 minutes or less). Meaning that in the mornings they have "lessons" (i.e., the teachers do a little puppet show demonstrating basic morals like sharing, etc.or they sing songs), and in the afternoon they have art (i.e., they color pictures, using one color each day). They also have reading time before lunch, where the teachers read books to the kids. Call me crazy, but I don't think my 1 1/2 year old needs more formal instruction than that.

In the classes for older kids, they gradually add a few more structured, educational activities. For example, the 2 year olds (or maybe the 2 1/2 year olds) get to use glue! And you know, they talk about a new letter every week in addition to a color. Their art projects focus on a new letter each week. In the preschool classes (3 year olds and 4 year olds), they even go so far as to teach the kids what starts with those letters and what sounds the letters make! Actually, they might try to do that in the 2 an 2 1/2 year old classes, too. I'm sure that somewhere in there they do shapes and numbers, too. I've only been on this side of the building for a month (Max's previous three rooms were on the other side of the building).

Also, the 2 year olds start potty training. If that's not quality toddler education, I don't know what is.

The point: people expect a lot out of kids these days. But let's not forget they're kids, for crying out loud. Five years old is young enough for formal classroom schooling. So let's let toddlers be toddlers. And preschoolers be preschoolers.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Jerks and their Dogs, or Playground Etiquette Part 2

Took The Max to the park this morning. We did our usual walking/riding in the stroller thing (me walking, Max riding in the stroller, duh). But when we got to the playground part of our usual park routine, we were thwarted. By some jerks and their dogs. Not that I have anything against people who walk their dogs in the park. People walk their dogs in this park all the time, and we see some dogs every time we go there. But most of the dogs are on leashes. And the ones that aren't usually stay on the open grassy area with their owners, chasing balls and frisbees and whatnot. Their owners don't just let them run around willy nilly, terrorizing toddlers.

But not these dogs. These dogs (which looked like labs, one black and one yellow) were running around inside the fenced playground. There was an older couple with two children (3-4 years old, from the looks of them) who seemed to be the dogs' owners, since the woman went to catch the black dog when it left the playground. She was then followed by the man, leaving the children and the other dog completely unattended on the playground. Not cool, people.

Anyway, so the yellow dog kept badgering another woman who was there with a toddler around Max's age and a small baby. Her toddler kept trying to climb back into their stroller when the dog came around. One time he tried to climb up his mother's leg.

Not that the dog seemed mean or anything. It was actually very friendly. But toddlers and strange dogs are usually not a good combination. Max is totally fine around Krull, and he tolerates most large-breed dogs, as long as someone is holding him while they get to know each other. Small dogs terrify him. He doesn't want a small dog anywhere near him. Or a cat. Or any other small, furry critter.

Max had been happily climbing on the big wooden climbing thingy for the little kids, but when the dog came near him, he immediately wanted to be picked up. And the dog continued to follow us around. So Max didn't want to get down and play anymore. Because he didn't know that dog. Why was that dog pestering him? And why weren't its people doing anything about it? I actually walked around trying to find the dog's people, but I didn't see them and assumed they were still off chasing the black dog.

My point is, you have to be careful with small children and animals. So when you take your dog to the park, put it on a leash, and don't let it run around in an area full of kids under 3. Because while some little kids are fearless, others need time to get know new animals before they're comfortable around them. Playgrounds should be a safe space for kids to run around and play. And you know, there's a sign at the entrance forbidding dogs within the playground area. But some people are jerks.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Most Perfect Cornbread Recipe

Seriously. I've tried a bunch, and mostly they were good. But not, you know, The Best Cornbread I Ever Ate. So I took a couple of ok cornbread recipes and modified them until I came up with this:

The Most Perfect Cornbread Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk (I use skim, but pretty much any milk will work I think)
  • 5 tbsp. melted butter (~1/3 cup)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl with a whisk. Add the milk, melted butter, and beaten egg. Stir with a spoon just until moistened (there will be some lumps, and that's ok). Pour batter into a greased baking dish (I use a glass 2 quart 8x11 casserole dish), and bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your pan and your oven (23 minutes is perfect for me). You could also make corn muffins with this recipe (makes 12 muffins), just bake the muffins for ~15 minutes.

Go ahead, try it. You won't be sorry.

Hello, Sunday

Whatever shall I do with you? Chad is taking the Max to visit the grandparents today, which means that I will be spending my day like this:
  • Steam cleaning the furniture and carpets
  • Cleaning bathrooms
  • Washing a buttload of sheets and towels
  • Maybe making hamburger buns for dinner. Or not. I haven't decided yet.
  • Spending some quality time with my pilates dvd ('cause Thursday was my birthday, and I've eaten more cake and ice cream than I should admit to eating over the last three days)
  • Then eating even more cake, because HELLO, I worked out! (well, not yet, but I will have when the eating of more cake commences)
  • Catching up on my blog reading
  • And maybe, if there is any time left before the men in my life return home, I'll do some actual, you know, work. As in writing that does not involve blogging or Twitter or Facebook.
So let's get to it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Productive is My Middle Name

Things I've done today:
  • Dropped Max off at daycare for his 1st day in the 1 1/2 year old class (more on that later).
  • Set up sample extractions with Marissa and Lacy.
  • Went to Babies R Us and only spent $30 on new pacifiers (his old ones are getting funky; I ordered some new personalized ones on Friday to send to daycare; today I bought some extras for home), a couple of size 2T and 3T outfits (clearance, yay!), and a pair of shoes (also on clearance; size 7 - my baby has giant feet) for Max.
  • Finished editing a chapter and emailed it to Dr. V.
  • Vacuumed the bedrooms.
  • Baked a batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.
As you can see, I managed to be both a domestic goddess and a responsible grad student today. *pats self on back*

Now, for the part about Max's new daycare class. I'm wigging out about it, just like I did when he went from Infant 1 to Infant 2. Because this is a big change for him. Max's daycare splits the kids up into roughly 6 month age blocks, so the toddler class is full of kids who are 13-19 months old. Then they move up to the 1 1/2 year old class, then the 2 year old class, then the 2 1/2 year old class, and so on.

So today Max started the 1 1/2 year old class. In this class, there are no cribs. There are little cots for the babies to nap on, and I sent a blanket for Max (daycare provides sheets). They only get one nap after lunch instead of a morning nap and an afternoon nap (I'm actually not worried about that part, because Max has been skipping his morning nap most of the time lately). They've ditched the big 6-kid strollers for outdoor walks and transportation to the little playground outside. Only the big babies and toddlers (well, technically, most of the kids at daycare are still toddlers) get to use those. All the kids over 18 months hold onto this long rope with rings in it (a la Jon & Kate Plus 8, if you've seen the episodes where the sextuplets hold onto the rings on outings) when they go outside. Not sure that's gonna go over well. The Max is a wanderer. He tried to go in the neighbor's yard this morning while I was locking up instead of going to the car in our driveway.

This will also be the first time Max has had structured activities. They do puppets and songs in the morning and art in the afternoon. They also have outdoor play in the little toddler playground (they have a separate one for the preschool-age kids) in the morning and afternoon (if it isn't raining). I'm not necessarily worried about that, it's just that Max is used to free play. I do think he'll really like the art/coloring time, though... when he's not trying to eat the crayons.

Max was very unhappy this morning when I dropped him off. He was fine when we went in, and they were about to have snack, so I thought maybe he'd be ok. But as soon as I put him down, he had a huge meltdown and turned into Super Cling Baby. So one of the teachers took him, and I got his paci, and he calmed down. One of the other kids from the toddler class was wigging out, too (with a pacifier in his mouth). And they had a new baby who was just starting daycare, and he was not happy At All. I guess the teachers are used to it, since their class is a huge adjustment from what every kid who comes in there is used to. But I'm hoping Max had an ok day. He was all right when I left, but Ms. Marija was holding him (plus, he had his trusty paci, which he usually only gets at naptime at daycare. Unless he's having a meltdown).

Hopefully tomorrow morning will go better.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm Supposedly De-Germifying My House...

Among other things. Instead I'm taking a break from the Lysol 4-in-1 cleaner and Clorox fumes and blogging at you about the reasons for the de-germifying. For the record, I *have* cleaned both bathrooms (which were really gross, btw, even though I swear I just cleaned them on Monday. How do bathrooms get so gross so fast? Hmm, on second thought, maybe I cleaned them *last* Monday). I've also put a load of sheets in the washing machine. So I'm not being a total bum.

So, anyway... oh yeah. Reasons for de-germifying. Because the Max has been very, very sick for most of this week. You already know (scroll down to my last post) that Max hasn't really eaten much of anything for over a week. That trend continues. But there's a reason for it, and that reason is because he's sick. Max never eats when he's sick.

Remember that checkup Max was supposed to have? Well, it turned into a sick baby appointment instead (but the doctor assured me that, at his age, as long as Max is making some attempt to communicate verbally, he is fine. No need to obsess over how many words are in his vocabulary). Monday evening, the Max started running a fever. Nothing crazy, but a fever nonetheless. Then Tuesday morning, I was awakened by a screaming baby with a 103.5 degree fever at 5 a.m. Gah. So, I called and changed his appointment from a well-baby checkup to a sick appointment, and proceeded to alternate doses of Tylenol and ibuprofen every three hours. Went to doc, Max had an upper respiratory infection (aka a cold) and an ear infection (because that's what happens to Max when he gets a bad cold). Got some antibiotics (not penicillin, though, 'cause he's allergic) and a steroid cream for this pesky rash he's had for a while.

Came home from doctor's appointment, Max took a long nap, and when he woke up his fever was back, even though he had been taking one fever-reducing medication or another every 3 hours all day. I freaked out a little bit, and I wouldn't let him go to bed until I established that his temperature was going down again. After sleeping for ~4 hours, Max woke up. With a temperature of 104.2 degrees. Ahhh! So I stayed up with him for about two hours or so, trying to get the fever down, which pretty much consisted of giving him Tylenol and sponging him with lukewarm water (which he HATED). I'd put him to bed in nothing but a diaper, so I couldn't really remove any more clothing. When his temperature dropped 2 degrees, I finally laid down on the couch with him. An hour after that, Max's fever finally broke. And two hours later, his temperature was back up over 103. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I called the pediatrician's office again and expressed my concerns over the crazy fever business. I was told that the trend would likely continue for at least another day, possibly two. They told me to keep doing what I was doing and not to worry excessively as long as Max was moving around and alert when he was awake and his temperature dropped at least a degree or so after giving him medicine (even if that meant his temperature was still over 102 degrees). So we continued with the alternate doses of Tylenol and ibuprofen every 3 hours and the nakedness. I put clothes on Max for about an hour on Wednesday, but his temperature started going up when I did, so he pretty much went naked for two days (well, naked except for a diaper).

Wednesday night: more of the same. Max woke up at 1 a.m. with a temperature of 104.4 degrees, and we went through our fever-reducing dance again, followed by crashing on the couch for a while. But this time, it was heavy rain that woke me up at 5:30 Thursday morning, and Max did not have a fever anymore. He did start running a low-grade fever later in the day, but it didn't concern me much, and he only had two doses of Tylenol all day. He didn't have a fever at bedtime last night, and his temperature was normal this morning. He was also very spunky this morning, heading for the blinds, followed by the dishwasher, first thing. He still didn't eat anything, but he did drink some milk.

I've accomplished absolutely nothing this week, what with the sick baby and all, so I sent Max to daycare today (with instructions for the teachers to call me immediately if he showed any signs that the fever was coming back) so I can rid the house of sick baby germs and possibly get a little work done. But sanitizing is the priority today.

Now, I must be off. Household surfaces are waiting for me to bleach the hell out of them.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Things Max Did NOT Eat Today

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Bacon
  • Blueberry muffin
  • Nutri-Grain bar
  • Banana
  • Gerber spaghetti rings w/ meat sauce (they were leftovers from the bowl he didn't eat yesterday)
  • Yogurt (hell must have frozen over because this kid LOVES yogurt)
  • Pizza (from Little Caesar's)
  • Italian cheese bread (also from Little Caesar's)
  • Turkey
Know what he did eat? A handful of dry Cheerios, one of those tiny boxes of raisins, a handful of Cheez-Its. Maybe two bites of turkey. He's also had two half-full sippy cups of milk. Could be worse, I guess. Hopefully he'll eat dinner. He ate half of his chili last night.

Also, he has only napped for 30 minutes ALL DAY. And I am feeling particularly bitchy today. Not sleeping might have something to with that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obsess Much?

This post is all about me obsessing over Max's verbal skills, so if you want to stop reading now, I won't take it personally (plus, I won't even know). I mentioned yesterday (seems like it was a long time ago) that I made an appointment for Max's 18 month checkup. His pediatrician told us that this was an "optional" checkup, as no vaccines are required, just a developmental checkup. Specifically, she said that if we were concerned about his vocabulary we should bring him in at 18 months, otherwise wait until 24 months. I have had some concerns about Max's verbal skills because he really has not been much of a talker. I find myself continuing to question whether it's possible that he has a speech delay because there are so many sources of guidance on these things with so much conflicting information (um, I've read everything from "an 18 month old should be able to say 3-10 words" to "an 18 month old should be able to say at least 10 recognizable words" to "an 18 month old should have a few dozen words in his/her vocabulary").

So I started thinking about the words that Max actually says and the sounds he makes that should count as words but that most people wouldn't understand (not that everyone we meet has any reason to know that when he says "pah" he means paci or that when he says "bah" and points at something that means he wants it). Then there are all the words that he's said repeatedly for only a few days, never to be uttered again (outside, duck, book). And the ones he's said a couple of times but doesn't use regularly (no, bear, eyes, pot, "dah" for dog). And the ones he said very clearly one time only (cookie, ostrich, paper). If I count all the sounds that mean the same thing as words (usually, it's making the first sound of the word but not saying the whole word) then Max says about 12 words on a regular basis. We are only guaranteed to hear four of them several times a day (yeah/yes, bye, pah, bah). He only says a few words clearly enough that the average person who doesn't see him super often would probably understand (bye, yeah/yes, key, hot, oh, mama, daddy; no, bear, whoa, pot, and eyes are pretty clear when he chooses to say them). Most of the time, Max prefers the point and grunt method of communication anyway.

So maybe I really don't have anything to worry about. But when all the other moms you meet are bragging about how their kid is combining words and has over a 50 word vocabulary, and other kids at daycare tell you bye bye more clearly and more enthusiastically than your own does (and when they call you "mommy" when your kid has not yet gotten beyond "mama"), you can't help but worry about it.

I'm sort of looking forward to this checkup, if for nothing more than to allay my fears. And to get more pesky, persistent rashes looked at.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Really? It's Only Lunchtime?

Things I did before noon today:
  • Woke up, took a shower, got dressed. Did not blow dry my hair.
  • Unloaded the dishwasher.
  • Got Max up, in a fresh diaper, dressed, fed (Cheerios and 1/2 a banana), changed again, and packed off to daycare.
  • Met Dr. V. at Starbucks to go over the very few and very minor revisions still to do on Chapter 2 (formerly known as Chapter 1) of my dissertation. Then he told me to send it out to all but one of my committee members. Yay, progress!
  • Did two loads of laundry (ok, the second load is still in the dryer).
  • Baked a loaf of bread (from frozen dough that I thawed in the fridge).
  • Shaped hamburger buns for dinner tonight and left them on the counter to rise (I just took them out of the oven, so they weren't finished before noon).
  • Got some exercise in the park ("exercise" was intended to be jogging but ended up as mostly brisk walking).
  • Took a shower. Because exercise is sweaty business. Especially in 90 degree heat.
  • Made an appointment for Max's 18 month checkup (Eeek! He'll be 1 1/2 next week! Then I'll feel stupid telling people his age in months and just have to say he's 1 1/2!).
  • Finished revising the Methods section of Chapter 3 (formerly known as Chapter 2) of my dissertation.
  • Wallowed just a little in the fact that my baby has been in the world for almost a year and a half and is entirely too giant.
I had lunch (a boring turkey sandwich, but it was on yummy fresh baked bread) after noon, so that doesn't make the list. Also, in case you were wondering, I did not get up at 3 a.m. to accomplish all that. I got up at 6:15 as usual. It seems that either I am doing AWESOME in the time management department today or Thursday Next's dad paid me a visit and stopped time for a while (see The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde if you don't get the reference; then read the rest of the series 'cause it's really amusing if you're into funny, satirical, sci-fi-ish books full of literary references).

Now, is it naptime yet?

Friday, July 10, 2009

I Know I'm a Psycho Bee-otch Sometimes...

But I'd like to think that I'm not a completely ungrateful one (more on that in a bit). And also? I REALLY need a break from my in-laws for a while. We have seen them so many times lately (EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND for at least 5 weeks plus a few times during the week) that I am quickly reaching my breaking point. And guess what? They want to come over again TODAY. Do they not know that it's Friday and NOT a holiday? Actually, they wanted to come over and get Max and take him to the Bass Pro Shop (which, incidentally, is BETWEEN their house and ours and probably about 30-40 minutes from our house). Shall I say "WTF?" Um, yeah. I shall. WTF?

We've already been through all of this. So suffice it to say that I'm a possessive psycho bitch who flat out refuses to let ANYONE take her toddler away from her. Even if it's his grandparents and only for a couple of hours. I'm sure it's crossed your mind that perhaps I wouldn't react so defensively to the idea of my own mother taking Max shopping without me (or Chad). That perhaps it's only my MIL who brings out the crazy bitch in me. The answer is I don't know. Because my mom? Has not foisted her presence upon us with mind-blowing frequency or ever taken it upon herself to walk off with Max without a word to at least one of his parents in a public place, and I really don't think it has ever crossed her mind to come over and take Max off somewhere without us. She has invited us (all of us) to go somewhere when she wanted to take Max somewhere. So excuse me if I think that's the way things SHOULD be (add a healthy dose of snark to that statement).

Now for the "I'm not ungrateful" bit. We went to the zoo with Chad's parents last weekend. And they kindly paid for our admission as well as theirs. They also bought us lunch. I acknowledged these generous acts and thanked them sincerely for it. But if they think that paying for zoo admission and lunch makes it all right for them to hog my child on his first trip to the zoo (not to mention carry him off to see the tigers for the first time and leave our diaper-bag-lugging, stroller-navigating asses in the dust OMG WTF) then I'd rather pay for everything myself. And yes, they DID take Max to get his first glimpse of a real live tiger without me. When we've been reading animal picture books in preparation for his first trip to the zoo to see them in real life. Hello, steam coming from my ears.

You might wonder how it is that my in-laws manage to sneak off with my kid in public places with such alarming regularity. You see, they're tricky about it. At Frank's wedding, for instance, Chad and I were sitting down to eat, and his dad was standing up with Max behind us while we ate (because the Max, he likes for you to stand up when you hold him. Otherwise he wants down). Then we turn around and they're GONE. We scan the room, and they're NOWHERE. OMG, WHO DOES THAT? He couldn't have said, "Oh hey, I see a co-worker, I'm going to take Max over and say hi." Nope. He just walks away like it's not a big deal at all that we're at a crowded wedding reception and he just walks out to the parking lot with my baby without telling anyone. So I'm freaking out a little bit, searching the whole room then the bathrooms then outside behind the reception hall where some people were mingling before seeing them walking back from the parking lot. So I tell him that is NOT OKAY, I require a bit of common courtesy when it comes to this sort of thing (if not asking permission to take my kid out of my sightline, then at least a heads-up that it is happening). Otherwise, I FREAK THE HELL OUT. Because I don't know where my kid is. Gah. I get a smile and nod and half-hearted apology. Problem solved.

Or not. Because when we went out to lunch for Mothers Day, he did it again! GAHHH! He's all, "Let Grandpa tote you to the car for Mommy" to Max. And I'm all, "Fine, whatever." So he gets Max out of the highchair while I'm putting his crayons and sippy cup back in the diaper bag, and I turn around and once again, they're gone. And when we get to the front of the restaurant, where we can see Chad's truck, they're not there either. Because once again he saw someone he knew and followed them to their car (in the lot on the side of the restaurant) and didn't bother to tell anyone. Gah. See, the way it usually happens when we go out to the eat with them is that Chad's dad will take Max out of the highchair and wait for us to gather our things, and we all walk outside together. I really hate this new 'taking Max and disappearing' act they have going. Because Chad's mom always manages to disappear with them, but they never bother to say a word about it to Chad or me.

Then there's the whole zoo fiasco. Not to mention the "we really want to take your baby and raise it ourselves" seeds that were planted years ago when Chad's mom was pressuring us to have a baby (like, a week after our wedding). When I told her I most definitely was not ready for a baby at that point in my life she said, "You can just have the baby, and I'll raise it." I am not joking. Those were her exact words. I don't actually know if she was joking or not. My gut says not. So I am obviously not the only crazy person in this family.

So maybe all that has something to do with my gut reaction to their incessant desire to take Max off without me (or Chad). You know, that instinctual response that says "NO!" Well, all those incidents plus the little seeds they're planting in Max's mind that say "Grandma and Grandpa are better than Mommy and Daddy. If Mommy and Daddy do something you don't like, even if it's for your own good, you can call us and we'll take you away" probably contribute to my wanting to keep Max with me, or at least in one place when he's being baby-sat.

After all that negativity, now I'll leave you with a picture of Max seeing sheep for the first time.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oh, the HEAT

Been a while since I posted, so here's what's been going on here since the Max busted his head open.
  • It hasn't rained for THREE WEEKS, and it is HOT. As in record-breaking heat. Hottest my backyard has been in the past week: 107 degrees. It's been over 102 every single day for a week and a half. Officially, temps in Mobile have been 100-101. Holy crap, that's hot for June.
  • Yesterday our air conditioner up and died. While we are experiencing record-breaking heat.
  • Seeing my in-laws 4 days in three weeks is TOO MUCH. I need a break.
  • I shouldn't complain, though, since one of those times was helping move our new (to us) dining room furniture. And another time was them bringing a second little window air conditioner for our bedroom when our central air died yesterday. We have one window unit in the kitchen in case of hurricanes.
  • But I can't help it. I cannot stand the constant negative comments pertaining to Max not talking or still wanting a pacifier or the implications that Chad and I are getting this parenting thing all wrong. You don't go to someone's house and make snide remarks to their child or ask him questions like, "Mommy made you mad?" or "Daddy didn't do that right?" followed by something that may as well be, "I can do it better." Just thinking about it gets me all worked up.
  • So what if I piss my toddler off when I take away his riding toy because he refuses to sit down on it? What is the alternative? Let him have his way and stand up on it so he can bust his head open again? What's better? A couple of minutes of full on, pissed off, red faced screaming? Or the consequences of him falling off and getting hurt? I'm the parent for a reason. I know better than Max does when it comes to that sort of thing.
  • I can't stop baking. Apparently, it's my new favorite hobby. A couple of days ago I made oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies, and they are awesome. Max gets mad at me when I only let him eat one. Today I made some banana muffins, and they are pretty much the best muffins ever. We'll see if Max, who has never liked muffins, will eat one.
  • I'm almost finished with my cardigan! I'm working on the last piece, and hopefully it won't be long before I have a finished product to show you.
  • I really need to stop reading blogs by crafty people. They always make me want to take on new and exciting hobbies that I have no time for. Like sewing. I have never used a sewing machine, ever. But suddenly I find myself wanting to give it a try. I mean, it doesn't *seem* like it would be that difficult. But I'm sure it's more involved than I am envisioning.
I'm sure there's more, but you probably don't want all the details. So now I'll go back to editing my graphs and waiting for the AC repairman.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Panic! At the Homestead

Whew. Is anyone else out there actually *glad* it's Monday? No? Just me? Oh well. It was a terrible weekend here in LaTinaLand, and I'm sort of looking forward to a mundane week. See, to start things off, Max had to go and bust his head open Saturday morning, so that pretty much ruined the whole weekend right there. I made yummy lemon muffins and scrambled eggs for breakfast on Saturday, so that was good. But Max ate one bite of eggs and refused to try the muffin, which is to be expected with Max. His breakfast of champions? A bowl of Cheerios and some fruit.

Anyway, after breakfast I took a shower and had just finished drying my hair when I heard Max start crying, and Chad yelled from the living room, "Where's the first aid kit?" So I dropped my hair brush and ran into the hall (Max wasn't crying anymore), where Chad was holding Max, who was bleeding all over Chad's shirt. From a gaping wound on his forehead. So we went into the hall bathroom and got a damp rag to wipe the blood away so I could see what we were dealing with. Then I whipped out the giant variety box of Band-Aids and the antibiotic cream, along with gauze and medical tape. When I tried to clean the wound a little, Max wiggled and screamed, and we had to lay him down on the couch so I could get a giant-sized Band-Aid on him. Meanwhile, Chad explained that Max had been playing in the kitchen, tripped over the wheel of the high chair and fell face first right into the corner of the cabinet. Ahhh!

It was decided that the cut would need stitches, so I called Max's pediatrician's office (they have a little emergency room there, and we thought that would be faster and better for Max than taking him to the big emergency room at the hospital). The branch of the medical group where Max's pediatrician is based was CLOSED. The one time we *really* need them on a Saturday. Ahhh!!! But they have another office about 10 minutes away, so I called there and found out exactly where it was (behind IHOP on Airport, FYI), and we were off. Actually, I called while we were in already in the car. Because once we decided this was an EMERGENCY, I grabbed Max's (conveniently pre-packed) diaper bag, threw in a juice box, a paci, and his shoes, snatched up my purse, and we ran out the door. Chad drove. I was a little shaky.

Max totally kept his cool while Chad and I were busy panicking. As long as we weren't trying to fix his head wound, he was fine. There was a giant Band-Aid over it, and it was still bleeding (duh, it was a big gaping gash that wouldn't stay closed on its own). Max didn't even have his paci, and he was cool. I strapped him in the car seat, and he was fine. A real trooper. He just kept looking up to try to see the enormous Band-Aid on his head.

Anyway, so we were ushered right into the ER when we got to the doctor's office, and Max just sat on Chad's lap and looked around. No tears. His forehead was busted open, and he was bleeding, but he was fine with it. Then the doctor came in with a nurse, who took the Band-Aid off Max's forehead. Then we laid him down on the exam table, and all hell broke loose. Max was screaming and flailing, despite the paci I retrieved from the diaper bag (not that I blame him, poor baby). Chad held Max's legs, I held his arms, and the nurse held his head while the doctor cleaned and examined the wound. He decided that stitches wouldn't be necessary. The cut was a perfectly vertical line (when the nurse held the edges of the wound together; it was a big gaping marquis shape otherwise) almost an inch long right above Max's left eye, so they decided they could glue it closed instead of stitching it. So we held Max down for a couple more minutes while the doctor produced a vial of purple Derma-bond and glued the wound shut.

Then the doctor peeled off a little wound care instruction sheet and told us how to care for Max's injury: don't do ANYTHING. Don't wet it (though a little blot in the bath would be fine), don't put any ointment on it, don't clean it, don't put a bandange on it. Just leave it alone and let the glue start coming off on its own (which would start to happen in a week or so). But we'd have to be careful not to let Max rub his head vigorously against anything or pick at the glue. Which as it turns out, is easier said than done with a toddler who has completely forgotten that he busted his forehead open two days ago.

Chad and I were really jumpy all weekend, freaking out every time Max stumbled. Which happens a lot, especially considering Max's propensity to spin around in circles until he can't walk straight. We jumped every time Max fell down and were constantly telling him to be careful. Yesterday Max started wanting to rub his face on the furniture and do this head-butting thing that he does, and he's making us crazy. Because he does not respect his head wound. He doesn't really try to touch it with his hands, though. I'm guessing it still hurts like hell.

Dressing and undressing the Max is also a little more difficult than usual. Because I try to get his shirt on and off without rubbing it against his forehead. Easier said than done. Yesterday morning Max got impatient with me and whipped his pajama shirt over his head while I was positioning the neck hole so it wouldn't touch the cut. I freaked a bit, but he was fine.

Anyway, so this morning I had to explain the head wound to the director of Max's daycare center (we saw her on the way in) and then to his teachers. They told me that another little boy in Max's class had to get stitches under his chin over the weekend when he fell off the bed. So it was a bad weekend for the toddlers at Max's daycare.

So now I'm ready for a week without drama. You hear that, Powers That Be? NO DRAMA.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Playground Etiquette

So, Max and I braved the 90-degree heat this morning (but at 9 a.m. it was only 93 degrees, now it's 97 degrees) and went to the park. Big deal, right? I don't usually bother to tell you about our trips to the park. I push Max around in the stroller for 30 minutes or so (depending on how tolerant he is of being strapped down and how tired I am) then we hit the playground. Boring, boring. Although a couple of weeks ago, Max did find an empty beer bottle in the jungle gym. I freaked out a little about my 16 month old carrying around a glass bottle (and then I was all "who the hell leaves beer bottles in jungle gyms on the freaking BABY PLAYGROUND?!"), but I got over it. He climbed out of the jungle gym and immediately handed the bottle to me. Good boy, Max.

Anyway, the Max and I were chilling at the playground, blowing bubbles, sliding down the slide, climbing in the jungle gym, the usual. Then we went over to the swings, which Max doesn't particularly like, but I always put him in a swing for a little while despite that (surely he will LEARN to like the swings).

ANYway, Max was busy enjoying his first 10 seconds of swinging then begging to get out when this little boy comes over to me, wanting me to push him in a swing. This kid is maybe 2 years old, and his verbal skills aren't so good. Because most small children can only *really* be understood by their parents.

I'm not really sure what the proper etiquette is for this particular situation. Is it ok to put some other person's kid (whom you have never so much as seen before) in a baby swing? Are you allowed to play with a stranger's kid at the park? I mean, I wouldn't want some random stranger playing with my kid without permission.

Anyway, so I asked the little boy where his mommy was. Response: *stare* *point to swing* *hold arms up* I looked around, saw one guy with a little girl playing nearby. No resemblance AT ALL to the little boy and paying no attention to us. Not the kid's dad. I looked around some more. And saw NO ONE on the baby playground. There were a few parents and children on the adjacent big kid playground, but none of them were paying attention to the kid or seemed to be looking for a missing 2 year old.

So I rescued Max from his swing and put the stranger kid in a swing and pushed him for a little while. Max seemed to enjoy watching the other little boy having fun in the swing. As I mentioned before, it was 90+ degrees outside, and we'd been out in it for about an hour and a half at this point (but slathered with suncreen, wearing sunglasses, and with plenty of water on hand). Max was getting sweaty and irritable and wanted to be held. The stranger kid wanted to be pushed in the swing and did not want to get out. But it was *really* time for me to take Max home. By that time the guy with the little girl had come over to the swings, and I was trying to persuade the little boy to let me get him out and go find his mommy. Max was squirming and whining, and the guy was like, "I'll get him out." So I shrugged, and said ok. So that guy took the stranger kid out of the swing, and an older little girl (meaning she was about 6), perhaps the kid's sister, came over and led the stranger kid over to the big kid playground, and I assume, their mom/nanny/grandparent/other guardian.

That whole situation was weird. Who takes a toddler to the park and lets him wander off completely by himself? Not at all within sight? And lets him talk to random strangers without supervision? Well, try to talk, anyway. I mean, I've interacted with plenty of kids at the park, but until now the parent or grandparent of the kid in question has been right there, ready to pounce should the interaction between our kids turn nasty (e.g., should Max try to hold their kid's hand or should their kid poke Max in the tummy, both of which have happened before). It's weird when some random kid comes over and wants you to push him on the swings. And weirder when you can't figure out who he belongs to.

Monday, June 08, 2009

If Only I Were Independently Wealthy

Here is what I want to do today:
  • Read The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde.
  • Nap to my heart's content ('cause I've been sick since Friday, and I'm super tired).
  • Finish the second sleeve of the cardigan I'm knitting (see a few posts ago, I'm too lazy to link it). And possibly start on the front pieces.
  • Frolic with The Max, possibly at the beach.
Here is what I'll do instead:
  • Read the paper we'll be discussing at tomorrow's lab meeting.
  • Hit the post office to mail off a book I sold on Amazon.
  • Read the manuscript I'm reviewing and make some notes on it.
  • Work on editing the two chapters of my dissertation that are finished. And then edit them some more.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Thursday, June 04, 2009

You Are Getting Sleepy....

I may have mentioned this at some time in the past, but the Max has some sleep issues. We had four or five blissful months between the ages of three and eight months when Max slept through the night faithfully. We decided on Max's bedtime based on his last feeding before bed. When he was teeny tiny (i.e., younger than three months), we went to bed around 11:00, and Max would wake up around 2:00-ish then again around 4:00-4:30 to eat. Eventually, he started only waking up once around 3:00 to eat, then at the magical age of 3 months he stopped waking up before 6:00 a.m., and I was in heaven. I got sleep from 11:00 to 6:00, uninterrupted. As he got older, we gradually stretched the time between feedings and started putting Max to bed a little earlier every week. By the time he was 5 months old, Max's last feeding before bed was around 7:30-8:00, after which he went directly to sleep. Thus, his 8:00 bedtime. And he'd sleep until 6:30-7:00 in the morning. He slept well through his first two teeth (I think we had a couple of nights when he woke up once but went right back to sleep), and Chad and I thought we were out of the night-waking woods. Well, we did have a few nights when Max was 6 or 7 months old when he'd wake up with his pajamas and his sheets covered in pee. So I'd have to get up and change the Max's jammies and his bedsheets. Then I'd put Max back in the crib, he'd talk to himself for a few minutes and go back to sleep all by his lonesome. After this started happening a few times a week, I discovered Huggies Overnites. They didn't have them in Max's size, but I bought the bigger ones anyway, and they did the trick. He still wears the same size Huggies Overnites now, more than 9 months later (but he is close to moving up a size). And I no longer have to change wet sheets at 3 a.m.

Anyway, then something crazy happened when Max was about 8 months old, and suddenly he was waking up several times a night and refusing to go back to sleep in the crib. I thought maybe teething was to blame, but his next tooth didn't appear until Max was 10 months old (after getting his first two at 5 1/2 months). So, Max spent a month making me crazy by waking up three times a night and spending most nights in our bed when I was so tired I couldn't take it anymore. I eventually got him straightened out again. Well, sleeping in his bed, anyway. He was still waking up a couple of times a night.

Then we went on vacation for 9 days. The first night, Max slept like a baby is supposed to sleep - all night without a peep. And that was the end of good sleeping habits for three months. The rest of the trip, Max woke up every 1-2 hours at night and wouldn't even sleep well in the bed with Chad and me. When we got home, he wasn't waking up as often, but he still slept with Chad and me. Because I can only take so much incessant screaming. I eventually convinced Max to sleep in his bed again around his birthday (though he still woke up once or twice at night).

Then he got bronchitis. And an ear infection. At the same time. Two weeks after his birthday. And then? The amoxicillin he was on for the infections gave Max hives. For a month. Good-bye sleeping in the crib. I felt guilty about letting my sick and itchy baby scream in his bed at night, so once again he started sleeping with us. Every night. Because after 30 minutes of screaming I give up. That 'let them cry it out' business is for tougher mothers than I. I tried. I'd let Max cry for two or three minutes, go check on him and calm him down, then leave. Repeat. If after 30 minutes, Max was still crying, he won. Sue me.

Anyway, after the hives finally cleared up, Max wasn't crying so much and stayed in his bed longer every night before he woke up demanding to come back to bed with me. A couple of months ago, he finally started sleeping in his bed again. But now he's waking up obscenely early. Meaning before 6 a.m. If I take him back to bed when he wakes up at 5-something he'll usually sleep for another hour to an hour and a half. But really I wish he'd sleep in his bed until after 6:00. Like he used to.

I've started trying to make Max's bedtime earlier. Supposedly, that helps. So the Max has been going to bed around 7:30-ish for the past few nights. No luck. He's still waking up between 5:00 and 5:30. Next up: a blackout curtain. I'm hoping that will at least convince him it isn't morning yet so he'll go back to sleep in his bed when he wakes up at 5:00.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Talking Troubles?

Should I be worried that my 16 month old only consistently says two words ("bye" and "yeah")? I mean, he understands EVERYTHING. And he lets us know in his pointing, grunting, gesturing, excited way. He communicates, just not verbally. When we ask Max where something is (his cup, for instance), he'll run and find it. When I ask if he needs a new diaper, he runs over to the baby gate blocking the hall because he knows that means we're going in his room. He can point to body parts when you ask him to (he knows head, eyes, nose, tongue, ear, and foot) When I ask if he's ready for a bath, he gets really excited, climbs in my lap, and waves bye-bye to Chad. If I ask if he wants juice or milk, Max will run to the refrigerator and try to open it. And when he wants something, he points to it. When he wants to read, he brings me a book and climbs in my lap. When he wants to go outside, he runs to the back door and tries to open it. When we're at the park and he's ready to go home, he holds his arms up at me and starts saying "bye".

Also, the Max has this habit of saying a word for a few days and then never saying it again. He has done that with "outside", "duck", and "book." His first word was "dada." It meant "daddy" and "doggie." He eventually got around to saying "mama." He rarely says either of those now (although I do hear "mama" a lot when he's upset). There have also been several one-time-only words, including "ostrich", "cookie", and "paper."

I guess there's a wide range of "normal" when it comes to toddler behavior, but it just seems like the Max should be saying more actual words than he is (because he understands almost everything we say, yo). According to What to Expect: The Toddler Years I shouldn't be worried. It says that by 17 months a toddler should be able to use two words and may use as many as six. By 18 months toddlers will be using anywhere from 3 to 50 words. Holy crap! That's quite a range. Also, Max has already achieved most of the milestones listed in the 18 month chapter (point to a desired object, run, use a spoon/fork, point to 1 body part when asked - Max can already do 6, kick a ball forward, stack two blocks). He's barely 16 months old, and he's been doing most of those things for a couple of months now. I was just flipping through the book, looking at the milestones listed at the beginning of each chapter, and jumping isn't even listed until the 22nd month. I mean, Max (usually) holds onto something when he jumps, but jumping in the crib is one of his most favorite activities. I guess he's just focused on things other than talking right now.

But I can't help but worry sometimes. It's in my genes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sweater! In Summer!

I may or may not have told you about my decision to knit a cropped cardigan. Well, I am. Also, I am aware that it is May and, therefore, hot. So knitting a cardigan right now is kind of insane. But I'm assuming it will take me forever, so maybe it will be finished by the time it is actually cold enough to wear it. Plus, I'm just really into cardigans these days.

I've made a surprising amount of progress on my cardigan, and I hope it turns out well. Only it's not so cropped. In the picture on the pattern, the sweater hits above the model's belly button (no, she is not wearing anything underneath the cardigan), so I assumed it was a cropped sweater. Only when I finished the back of it, I decided it wasn't meant to be cropped after all. Because the back (holding it at my neck) hits right at the top of my pants. Which aren't super low rise or anything, but they are below my belly button. So either I'm super short (which I don't think I am at 5' 3.5"; all right, that's a little short) or the model is really super tall. I vote for the latter.

Check out my work in progress:













So far I've finished the border/tie (it's a wrap sweater, and the tie is also the border around the neck and front edges), at the top of the picture. On the bottom right is the back of the sweater (it isn't blocked yet, and I obviously haven't weaved in any of the yarn tails yet). I'll sew the tie band onto the neck edge, so it will look prettier than it does now. On the bottom left is about 2/3 of a sleeve. So I just have to finish that sleeve, knit another sleeve, knit the two front pieces, weave in all the loose ends, block everything, sew everything together, and I'm done! Ok, I've still got a ways to go. But *maybe* it will be finished by fall. Which means late October or November around here. September is still summer. So is most of October.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pilates, You Might Be The Death of Me

Maybe it was because I spent an hour and half grocery shopping and another half hour unloading the car and putting groceries away this morning (i.e., I'd already had a pretty good workout). Maybe it's just because I am woefully out of shape (note that I did not say fat. I do not think I am fat). Either way, if I keep doing pilates I might die. Or get in shape. One or the other.

I told you yesterday that I bought a pilates dvd. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Way back when, in the Year I Was Blonde (i.e., sophomore year of college), I took aerobics to fulfill one of my P.E. requirements. Tennis was the other one. Bowling was an option, as was ballroom dancing, among others. But anyway, I took aerobics more years ago than I care to count (crap, I counted. It was 7, almost 8 actually. My how time flies), and in these aerobics classes we occasionally did some pilates. At the time, I was living in the dorms and walked all over campus (usually while lugging a backpack full of books) because parking was hell. So I was considerably more fit than I am now. Back then, those pilates sessions seemed easy. Or maybe my memory is a little foggy. But I definitely remember enjoying my aerobics class. It led to my job with Mobile's ill-fated arena football team. But I won't talk about that now.

Today I decided that instead of going for a walk or jog I would try out my new pilates dvd. The one I bought consists of five separate 10 minute workouts, and I did four of them. The idea behind the 10 minute workout is that you can get a better body in just 10 minutes a day. Personally, I think that's crap, but that's just me. Maybe I *could* do one 10 minute workout five days a week and see results.

But anyway, I started with the total body workout. At the end of it, I barely felt a thing. So I moved on to the upper body workout. That one I felt. Actually, I *still* feel it. Out of shape, remember? Woefully so. Then, arms burning, I decided to press on and do the lower body workout. Which actually wasn't so bad. I guess my legs are pretty strong. Finally, I decided to give the ab workout a try. Oh. My. God. SO HARD. Actually, for the first half of it, I really didn't think it was doing anything. So maybe I was doing it wrong. But by the end I couldn't finish all the reps of all the exercises.

I did lots of additional stretching after the workout, so maybe I won't hurt *too* much tomorrow. I'm saving the 'Pilates for Flexibility' workout for next week. In retrospect, maybe I should have started with that one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hurricane Preparedness

I spent $200 this morning. And I wasn't grocery shopping. What did I spend this money on? Lots of things! First, a new pair of Nike running shoes for myself. Also, a new pair of shoes for the Max. Because he has gigantic feet and is about to outgrow his size 5 toddler shoes. I bought him a pair of Garanimals sandals a few weeks ago that I hope will last him the summer. They are size M (5/6), so we'll see how that goes. They only cost me $3.50 at WalMart, so if he outgrows them sooner, no biggie. I'll just buy another $3.50 pair in size L (7/8). Or I could splurge and spend $10 on sandals for him. Yeah, I'm cheap. But I refuse to spend any significant amount of money on shoes that my kid will only wear for a few months. His most expensive shoes cost me $12.

Also, I bought a pilates dvd! Crazy, I know. A total impulse buy. But I felt like I needed something for rainy days when I can't go to the park. I also picked up a pedometer that tracks distance, steps, and calories burned. I'm most interested in distance.

Most importantly, I re-stocked my hurricane kit. You know, to make sure we don't actually get hit by one this year. They always happen when I'm not prepared. And hurricane season officially starts in a couple of weeks. Here's what I bought. Let me know if you think I forgot something.
  • Batteries for flashlights, touch lights, radio, etc.
  • Bottled water
  • Apple juice
  • Various non-perishable food items (including a lot of Max-friendly foods)
  • Toilet paper (I've never bought this specifically for the hurricane kit before, but it occurred to me that if we did have a hurricane, it would happen when we were down to our last roll; that's just my luck.)
  • Paper towels
  • Antibacterial hand wipes
  • Paper plates & bowls, plastic utensils and cups
Chad keeps a stock of ~20 gallons of gas in our shed for the generator. Actually, I'm not sure how much gas is out there now. We used what he had in our cars over the winter, and I'm not sure if he's refilled the gas cans yet. We also have lots of flashlights, candles, matches, etc. And 2 battery operated radios. Hmm, I should probably pick up an extra pack of diapers (and baby wipes) to throw in there too.

So, bring on the summer. I think I'm ready.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Anniversary Adventures

Yesterday Chad and I celebrated 5 years of wedded bliss. Nothing major, just going out to a baby-free dinner, which is kind of a big deal for us. Chad had the bright idea that we should go eat at the beach at this place he went to three years ago. Only he wasn't sure where it was, what it looked like, or what the name of the restaurant was. He was working in Gulf Shores at the time, but he thought the restaurant might be in Florida. Which, as it turned out, it was.

So, we spent two hours avoiding accidents on I-10, then driving all over Baldwin County. Once we got to the beach we just kept driving until we found a suitable restaurant that offered outdoor dining on the beach side of the road. We saw exactly two - Bahama Bob's in Gulf Shores and The Crab Trap in Perdido Key. The Crab Trap was the restaurant Chad remembered, and that was where we ate. It was pretty tasty, although the menu is a bit pricey for everyday dining. Being a special occasion, we didn't complain. Much.

Chad's parent came over and stayed with Max so that Chad and I could enjoy a baby free dinner. But when we were seated at the restaurant, we discovered that they have a playground in the sand with several tables nearby. We both said, "Aww, we could have brought Max!" But anyway, we had a lovely dinner looking out at the gulf.

Being old and crotchety for people in their mid-twenties, we were home pretty early, around 9:30. And when we got home, we discovered that the Max had just gone to sleep. Gah. He is usually asleep by 8:00. And instead of putting him to bed awake after "goodnights" and a cup of milk, the grandparents held Max until he fell asleep. Which didn't happen until around 9:00. Well, to their credit, we were told that they did put Max in his bed awake at first, but he cried so they went and got him. When he cries when we put him to bed, we go check on him every couple of minutes and if necessary stay and pat his back until he falls asleep. I hope this doesn't screw up Max's sleeping patterns.

Oh, and apparently Max also went to bed without a pacifier, which probably explains why he screamed when they first put him down. One day, the Max will be a paci-free baby, but right now, it helps him fall asleep, and I am happy to let him have it.

The Max woke up an obscene number of times last night, and he hasn't been terribly happy today. Here's hoping tonight goes better.

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Numbered List for Your Monday

  1. It's storming over here like nobody's business. I am almost afraid that lightning will find a way to zap me through my laptop. That's a good excuse for procrastinating, right? "It was lightning like whoa, and I feared electrocution by laptop."
  2. I just baked the hell out of some chocolate chip cookies. They are super tasty. Supposedly, I baked them to take to Max's daycare teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week. And I will, but I also saved a dozen or so for us.
  3. I'm kind of looking forward to the time when Max only has one teacher to appreciate. Right now he has 3 teachers (there are 10 toddlers in Max's room at daycare, but they are rarely if ever all there on the same day). It takes a lot of adults to keep up with a room full of toddlers. I am also taking cookies to Max's three teachers from Infant 2 since he spent so much time in that room. Actually, there's a new teacher in Infant 2 who started, like, a week before Max moved up to the Toddler room, and one of his old teachers moved to the 2 year olds room. So I'm also taking cookies for the new Infant 2 teacher whose name I don't know because she always says hi to Max when she sees him.
  4. I was planning on graduating this spring, but that is not going to happen. Because my dissertation? It is not finished yet. And that is not entirely my fault. I also might not meet summer deadlines. Boo. Which means that I may not officially be Dr. LaTina until the fall. Bah. I need to send a letter to the registrar's office requesting that they move my graduation date. Soon.
  5. The temperature outside has dropped almost 10 degrees since this morning. I'm glad I sent Max to daycare in jeans today. Not that 68 is cold.
  6. I think I might have swine flu. Not really, but I've been fighting one hell of a sinus headache all weekend. And, damn. I forgot to buy more (fake) DayQuil when I was at WalMart this morning. But I did by sports bras. Because I've taken up "jogging" a few times a week. Meaning I walk about 2 miles and jog maybe 1/2 a mile or so. I'm out of shape, people. Plus, when I take Max I don't jog at all. I just push Max around in the stroller for 2.5 miles then we hit the playground. Jogging strollers are hella expensive, and I'm not that serious about it.
  7. The probablility that I actually have swine flu is not that close to zero. Chad had to go out of town last week (to Greenville, MS - where they have a Kermit museum! Like Kermit the Frog!) for some training thing, and one of the guys there was from South Carolina, and his wife was sick. He didn't know then if it was swine flu because she didn't have the test results yet. Guess what? That guy's wife DID have swine flu. It was the first case in South Carolina. But whatever. It's just the flu. You feel like crap for a week and then it's over. But I don't really think I have swine flu. I think I have seasonal allergies.
  8. Is anyone else really sick of hearing about swine flu? Even after the authorities have informed us that it really isn't that bad?
  9. I really have to get some actual work done now.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bread

My twitter followers will already know that I have recently ventured into the wonderful world of bread making. So far, I have baked two loaves of homemade bread. The first was a basic white loaf, and it was awesome.

Here's what that first loaf of bread looked like:













The basic white bread recipe (for those who might want to try making their own bread):
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups all purpose flour
  • Butter or non-stick cooking spray for bowl and loaf pan
What to do:
  • Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl.
  • Melt butter and add it, milk, sugar, and salt to the yeast mixture and stir.
  • Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups flour to the mixture and stir with a spoon (do not add the rest of the flour yet).
  • Keep mixing in ~1/4 cup of flour at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and loses some of its stickiness.
  • Kneading (can be done in the bowl or on a floured counter or tabletop) - rub a little flour between your hands and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, adding a little bit more flour as needed when the dough sticks to your hands. Just work the dough around really well with your hands, squishing it and forming it into a ball then squishing it around some more, adding small amounts flour all the while. You've kneaded it enough when the dough becomes springy (it bounces back when you poke it).
  • Coat another large bowl with butter or non-stick cooking spray, then form the dough into a ball and roll it around in the bowl so it's covered in butter or spray. Leave the dough in the sprayed or buttered bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for ~ 1 hour.
  • Punch down the risen dough (yes, punch it with your fist) and lay it out on a floured surface. Spread the dough into a rectangle (the short side should be about the length of your loaf pan). Roll the dough up, pinching the seams as you go. Pinch the ends closed and fold them under to form a loaf shape. Place the dough into a greased loaf pan, and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise again for 45 minutes to 1 hour in a warm place.
  • Bake at 375 degrees (preheat the oven before baking) for ~30 minutes.
  • Remove from pan and place on cooling rack as soon as it comes of the oven. Let cool before slicing.
Today I made my first loaf of whole wheat bread. Actually, it is about 2/3 whole wheat flour with some all purpose flour in there, too.

Here's my whole wheat loaf after rising in the pan:














Now, here it is after coming out of the oven:














And here is the final sliced product:














The wheat loaf is every bit as good as the white one. Here's the recipe I used for the wheat bread:

Ingredients:
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups very warm water (hot tap water microwaved for 30-45 seconds)
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • ~1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Here's what you do:
  • Dissolve yeast in warm water.
  • Mix honey, butter, salt, and very warm water in a large bowl and cool for 5 minutes.
  • Beat in 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour with electric mixer; beat for 2-3 minutes. Beat in remaining whole wheat flour and dissolved yeast.
  • Stir in ~1 cup of all purpose flour with a spoon. Stir in ~1/4 cup more all purpose flour if the dough is still very sticky and does not pull away from the side of the bowl.
  • Knead in remaining all purpose flour as needed. Knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is springy. Place dough in a greased bowl (roll dough around in the bowl to cover in butter or cooking spray), cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let the dough rise for ~45 minutes.
  • Grease a loaf pan and punch down the dough in the bowl. Spread dough out on a floured surface to form a rectangle. Roll the dough up tightly, pinching the seams as you go. Pinch the ends of the roll to seal then fold them under to form a loaf shape. Place the dough in the loaf pan, cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 30-45 minutes.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bread from the pan to a cooling rack as soon as it comes out of the oven and let it cool before slicing it.
Enjoy!

Loot

The Friends of the Mobile Public Library book sale was this past weekend, and Chad and I took Max to the Civic Center to take advantage of tons of books for super cheap prices. We came away with a ton of loot for the low, low price of $19.

Here's what I got (this does not include the books Chad picked out for himself):
  • Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
  • The Chocolate Jewel Case by Joanna Carl
  • Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
  • Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen
  • Brother Odd by Dean Koontz
  • Demon Seed by Dean Koontz
  • Cold Fire by Dean Koontz
  • One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Koontz
  • The Prodigal Son (Frankenstein Book 1) by Dean Koontz
  • 'E' is for Evidence by Sue Grafton
  • 'F' is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton
  • Three Complete Novels ('G' is for Gumshoe, 'H' is for Homicide, 'I' is for Innocent) by Sue Grafton
  • 'J' is for Judgment by Sue Grafton
  • 'K' is for Killer by Sue Grafton
  • 'L' is for Lawless by Sue Grafton
  • 'M' is for Murder by Sue Grafton
  • 'N' is for Noose by Sue Grafton
  • 'P' is for Peril by Sue Grafton
  • 'S' is for Silence by Sue Grafton
  • Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
A pretty good take, I think. I've had to clean off another bookshelf (i.e., move books to the shelves in the dining room) to make room for all of them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Cooking Bug

I have caught it again, guys. Well, actually I didn't feel like cooking At All yesterday, so we ate leftovers all day, but today the urge to exercise my culinary muscles has returned. Does anyone else out there in InternetLand find recipes for things they have no idea how to make and then totally change them on a whim? Because I do that all the time. I almost never make a recipe exactly as written. I'm always adding something or leaving something out (on purpose). Tonight I am going to make chicken & rice for dinner (no, I have never made chicken & rice before, now kindly pick yourselves up off the floor), and I am totally not using the exact recipe I printed out. I wanted a recipe that did not invlove canned soup or heavy cream. Not because I have anything against canned soup or heavy cream, but because I have none of either in the house, and I've already been to the grocery store once today, thank you (I was buying ingredients for blackberry tarts. Actually, the recipe was for raspberry tarts, but I made blackberry instead. See? I can't help myself). I also wanted one that didn't call for instant rice. I have instant rice, but I just prefer the non-instant kind.

So, I found myself a recipe for chicken and rice using uncooked, regular, long-grain rice (I am using brown rice) and evaporated milk. But it also calls for celery, which I don't have. But I am totally going to add onions and bell pepper, which the recipe does not call for. But I have onions and a yellow bell pepper, and I am going to use them. Don't judge me. Anyway, I hope it doesn't suck. But there is still some leftover spaghetti in case Max won't eat it.

I hope I don't cut myself tonight. I already have three cuts on my hands, and I don't need anymore right now, thank you. I am such a klutz. The other day when I was chopping vegetables and herbs for chicken and risotto, I got a little careless with my knife, and cut my middle finger. Thankfully, the knife also hit my fingernail or that situation would have been really bad. In retrospect, that cut probably could have used a stitch or two anyway. It was pretty small (maybe 1/4" long) but kind of deep for a cut on a finger. Later on, I cut my other hand opening a can of parmesan cheese. That's what I get for not grating it fresh, right? I have another cut on my other middle finger, but I don't know where that one came from.

So yeah, no more cuts today. I just sharpened my knives, too, so wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Uninspired

As you can probably tell, I have been feeling rather uninspired lately. On all fronts. I am having a really hard time motivating myself to finish the dissertation and finally get the hell out of grad school. I find myself wasting an obscene amount of time doing absolutely nothing. I haven't even had anything good to blog about.

Here's the short version of what's been happening lately:
  • Max had pinkeye over the weekend, and I've been fighting him to let me put drops in his eyes.
  • I've been struggling to re-work the discussion section of the second chapter of my dissertation into something I can live with.
  • I've been eBay-ing way too much.
  • I painted a lot of faces (and the occasional arm and hand) at DISL's Discovery Day this past weekend.
  • I've been making an effort to exercise. Period. Because I realized that aside from housecleaning and hefting Max around, I don't.
  • The weather has been way too nice to be cooped up inside writing. I'm thinking I should take this party (meaning, me, my laptop, and a few papers) outside.
In other news, Max turned 15 months old today, which means another checkup soon. Also, he has finally started going to sleep on his own. I know, all the parenting books say you should lay babies down "drowsy but awake" from the time they're teeny tiny so they can learn to fall asleep on their own. But The Max? Has never been into that. Believe me, we tried. But he has always been the baby who screams bloody murder as soon as you move to lower him into the crib and continues to wail at the top of his lungs until he is picked up. It did not matter if I was right by his bed or if I was patting his back. Or if I was not in the room. He would just scream, and there's only so much non-stop screaming a person can stand. So we've been cuddling/rocking Max to sleep pretty much his whole life. Then he goes into his crib asleep.

But lately Max has been fighting the sleep thing. He's been squirming and struggling to get down and play after he has his bedtime cup of milk. So after a half hour of struggling and squirming and fussing the other night, I got frustrated and just put Max in his bed awake. Well, I told him goodnight and gave him a kiss, then put him in his bed and left the room. He didn't even cry, really. I could hear him moving around for a little while, and there was a little bit of whining that first night, but Max fell asleep maybe 10 minutes after I put him in his crib. So for the last few nights, we've been keeping his bedtime routine the same as it's always been, but instead of sitting down to cuddle/rock after his cup of milk, we do "goodnight"s and kisses, and Max goes in his crib. With no fuss whatsoever. We can hear him jumping in his bed for a few minutes, and then he's quiet. When I check on him before I go to bed, he's always snoozing away. So I'm loving that.

I am not loving that Max is waking up a zillion times a night (except last night, when he slept straight through from 8 p.m. to 6:10 a.m., which is still a bit too early). But at least he's staying in his bed instead of screaming bloody murder for as long as takes for me to take him to our bed.

Ah, well. It's time for me to get back to work. I'm also thinking about going for a jog at the park, so maybe I'll do that, too.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Grandparents

i guess the first thing i need to say today is that, when it comes to max, i am kind of a crazy control freak. i don't know if that's normal, and i don't care. i should also say that chad and i grew up in very different ways. his grandmother lived with them when he was little, and pretty much his whole family lived 5 minutes (or less) away. so maybe it was normal for his grandparents to treat him like their own child instead of their grandchild.

when i was little, my grandparents were about an hour away, which is close enough to see them often and have a fairly close relationship with them but not so close that they were around every single day. most of the time, we went to visit them instead of the other way around, and i can remember asking to go with them when they went into town for something while we were visiting. and my mom usually let me. but i don't remember my grandparents randomly coming over and asking my mom if they could take me and my brother somewhere without her. they just weren't like that. they did volunteer to babysit when mom needed it, though.

my in-laws have a bad habit of treating max like he is their child instead of their grandchild. everything with them is too much, which makes me crazy. and then i feel guilty for getting annoyed with them and wishing they would back off. if they lived closer to us, they would be here every day. chad warned me when we got married that his mom was going to be exactly like ray's mother on 'Everybody Loves Raymond.' and to a certain extent, she is. but i think she tries really hard not to be, which is probably why i feel guilty that she drives me crazy.

all of this was brought on by an unexpected visit from the in-laws on saturday. they called while i was in the shower that morning to say, "surprise, we're coming to mobile today, and we want to take max to the flea market with us." it really threw me for a loop. for several reasons.
  1. it was completely out of the blue.
  2. chad just took max to their house last saturday while i was at the graduate student symposium at the DISL. i guess they feel differently, but they don't need to see him every single weekend. we have other things to do.
  3. the following day was easter. so they were going to see him then. i understand that they like max and that they want to spend time with him. but they don't seem to understand that they are not his only relatives and that other people want to spend time with him, too.
  4. i am just not comfortable sending my toddler off anywhere without at least one of his parents. i am ok with leaving him at a friend or relative's house for a while, though. i don't care if that's rational or not.
  5. in my head, i already had a plan for the day, and apparently i don't deal well with unexpected changes to my schedule. especially annoying ones. i think if they'd given us at least a day's notice, i would have handled things better.
  6. i did not let max go with them, so they came over to our house for a while before they went to the flea market. hoping i would change my mind and let them take him. they kept making little comments about it the whole time they were here.
i can't seem to make myself not get annoyed at something every time we're around the in-laws. and it's always just little things that piss me off, so i guess that's my problem. but i can only deal with so many little things.

things they've done recently that totally hit me the wrong way:
  • constantly distracting max while he is eating. talking to him very animatedly and waving toys in front of him while he's having lunch doesn't make getting him fed easy.
  • little off-hand comments that don't really matter now but might when max gets older and really understands what they're saying. things to the effect of, "if you don't like what mommy does, you can come stay with us. call us anytime and we'll come get you." that is never going to happen.
  • they bought him a life jacket. because they assume that they will be taking my very small child fishing. on a boat. without his parents. maybe when he's older. as in, school age. not anytime soon.
  • grabbing max and taking him outside without a word. they have done this at our house and theirs. they did it yesterday. they just decided to take him outside to hunt easter eggs in their yard without waiting for chad and me. i was in the process of looking for max's sunglasses, and chad was fixing something on their computer. at their request.
  • letting their enormous dog (a bull mastiff) run around with max. they usually grab the dog and put him on a leash when we pull up so he won't jump on us. but it's fine if he's loose when max is running around outside? i don't think so. most of the time, he's pretty calm, but he has his moments, and the fear of the dog bowling max over and accidentaly hurting him is not irrational.
  • acting like they have to buy everything for max. they go completely overboard. all the time. not just holidays and birthdays. they sent 3 outfits home with max last weekend. they had just given him a whole box of clothes (in the same size) at his birthday. and they have no idea what they have already bought for max. they have bought multiples of the same outfit in the same size on more than one occassion. at a certain point, the amount of stuff they buy becomes incredibly wasteful. they have bought 6 pairs of shorts and 10 shirts for max in the same size over the last two months. we already buy clothes for max. and toys. gifts are fine, but it's always just too much. they never ask what max already has or what he needs. they just buy mass quantities of stuff. the couple of times i have told them something that he needs, they either don't get it or get it later when we don't need it anymore (i.e., when i said we needed 12 month size pajamas and they waited three months to buy them, when max was starting to outgrow them). they just buy whatever they want, wasting money and whatever they bought. i've returned what i can, and i'm sending other things to the goodwill.
  • stocking their house with the little veggie bowls and stuff that i sometimes get for max. they don't seem to understand that he's not going to be there often enough to justify special purchases unless they're planning on using them too. plus, max usually eats what we eat. and i always take back-up toddler food anyway.
chad says that sometimes his parents feel a little awkward hanging out with max at our house, and i can sort of understand that. but at the same time, i don't think that they should feel free to do whatever they please with him. maybe i'm weird, and other people think that grandparents have the right to do whatever they want to with their grandkids. but to tell the absolute truth, i don't want them to feel like they can come over anytime they want to and take max. and that is not the same as saying that i don't want them to see max. i want max to know his relatives and love them. but they should not have the same responsibilities and privileges with him that his parents do. there should be boundaries.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Toddler Room

so, max started in the toddler room at daycare this week, and before he actually moved up to the new class, i was afraid i would have the same issues that i had with the big baby room at first. but i didn't need to worry. i think i love the toddler room. it's funny how max has spent the majority of his daycare career in the big baby room (aka, infant 2 class) when i like the other classes so much more. except it isn't really funny. i mean, i got used to the big baby room, and once he was about 9 months old, the big baby room was good for max. but it still sucked for the two or three months before that.

max spent 7 1/2 months in the big baby room at daycare. he started that class when he was 6 1/2 months old and the youngest baby in the class, and now he's 14 months old and was the oldest baby in that class. now he is 3rd youngest in the toddler room. but he is smaller than both the kids who are younger than he is. the youngest kid in the toddler room isn't really a toddler yet. he is 13 1/2 months old, but he can't walk yet. so it seems silly that they moved him up just because he was next in line. the little girl who was behind that kid can walk, but she is still in the infant 2 class. i don't see why they couldn't have moved her up instead and left the kid who can't walk yet in infant 2 for a little while longer. there isn't much difference in their ages (maybe 2 weeks). oh well. at least it wasn't my kid that got stuck in the toddler room before he could walk.

anyway, i was pleased with max's first day in the toddler class. they sent home a schedule last week, and it really isn't much different from the infant 2 schedule. they have lunch at the same time. the only differences are that snack times are a half hour later, and afternoon nap starts an hour later than in infant 2. but max never went to sleep at the beginning of nap time, anyway, so he's still actually going to sleep around the same time in the afternoon (2-ish). also, they do a morning snack from 8:00-8:30 for the toddlers, which is only about an hour after max has breakfast. daycare provides that snack. this morning it was pop-tarts (which max doesn't really like), cheez-its (which max LOVES), or animal crackers (they're ok). max probably won't ever eat much at morning snack, and i guess it won't hurt it him. mostly, it's for the kids who don't eat breakfast before they get dropped off or wake up really early, and their parents usually bring breakfast for them.

the toddlers have their own little cafeteria where they eat lunch and their afternoon snack. it's really just a break room with two big tables that have baby seats built into them. each kid has a little cubby in there with their snacks.

the toddler room is much less chaotic than the big baby room, and the teachers seem much more organized. there is a hook below each kid's box (where we leave snacks, pacifiers, etc) to hang his bag on, instead of the jumbled shelf where the bags went in infant 2. one of the teachers showed me everything on max's first day (where to put max's juice and milk in the fridge, the toddler cafeteria & cubbies, etc.) and asked if i had any questions. i just felt like they had their shit together, you know?

so yeah, i think this toddler thing is gonna work out.