Lost in Translation

Our cat’s name is Scooter, but she is otherwise known as Poots.  O has taken to customizing everyone’s names these days and has a variety of nicknames for kitty, in particular.

We received this family portrait from O’s daycare classroom last week…and bless the teacher’s heart for trying to transcribe O’s tags.  Thankfully, they don’t teach this kind of Spanish on Dora the Explorer…



History Lesson

I think it might be time to break out the place mat of American history, as evident by this exchange at the public library:

O:  I want to read the book with the Granny!

B:  Who? What Granny? (looking around, confused and finally seeing what he’s pointing at)

B:  Ah…that’s George Washington.

In O’s defense…that wig is kinda tricky.

First Granny of the United States

First Granny of the United States

Pride, Part II

Last night, I’m putting O to bed and he’s dragging it out as usual.  As I’m tucking him in for the 6th time, he starts to tell a rather involved story about school that day. His little brow furrowed, he was clearly upset.

B: What happened?
O:  (Kid at School) pushed me off my bike…
B:  Good for standing up for yourself! Why did he do that?
O:  He wanted to be Baba and I said NO I want to be BABA!
B: (Surprised) Oh! Well maybe there’s room for TWO Babas? Next time maybe you can BOTH be a Baba?
O: Yes! Then we not fight! We can both be Babas!

O: (Grinning) and then I push HIM off his bike!
B: Ah….No.


To all the Babas big and small...Cheers!

To all the Babas big and small…Cheers!



Shore Is Fun

This weekend, O got his first taste of beach life and all was grand in the sand.

We made the 4+ hour drive to Uncle D and Auntie R’s for the baby shower of the soon-to-arrive new cousin, aka “lady baby”, a little girl who O will most certainly delight in and invite to join his current wolf pack of one.

Mama, Baba and O arrived on the shores of Connecticut with just one small(yet pervasive) bout of toddler car sickness and a lot of pent up energy which was immediately addressed via jumping on the Hyatt Place couches.   Thankfully, all the C-Unit aunts and uncles were in town and Operation Play With Nephew quickly commenced.

Each day of the three-day stay was a compilation of: Play frisbee/chase Uncle D’s cats/get chased by Uncle D’s dog/play piano for one second/strum guitar for one second/attempt to touch items secured in display case/attempt to wriggle out of sun screen application/ask to drink out of the “big boy cup” (aka, a Red Solo cup, which coupled with his crumpled shirt, board shorts and tousled mane, give me a glimpse into his collegiate future) and finally, zone out on couch in hopes of watching some PBS Kids on the iPad.

He did pretty darn well for his second (back-to-back) weekend trip and so did G and I.  We’re getting better at being flexible and rolling with the punches, even when we’re sleep-deprived, existing on apples and M&Ms and in desperate need of decent coffee.

Some Vacation Highlights, Lowlights and LetsNotDoThisAgainlights:

– O spreading wet sand all over his mouth and declaring “I have a beard too!” (like Uncle D).

– Making friends wherever he goes by announcing his age as “two and a little half”.

– Quite a few firsts: First time to a beach, first swim in the ocean, first Mister Softee ice cream and first time at the ice cream truck! (this kid surely has lived a deprived life until now…)

– First roller coaster ride with Mama…much more than Baba would have done!

– Taking a bath at D & R’s house and after, wrapped in a towel, announcing he’s a “snugbug in a rug” before disrobing into his “I’mma Nudie” dance – high-kicks, Magic Mike shimmies and all.

– Tip: If building a sand castle and flies suddenly divulge on your unearthed pile, best to move to a new location.

– Stretching out what’s likely the last days of sleeping in a pack-n’-play now that he’s getting taller and more acrobatic.

– Finding out the hard way that eating a fruit pouch in a moving car while scrunched up doing puzzles on the iPad might not be best for the tummy.

– Finding out the hard way not to run with what the dog thinks is a toy (or maybe she thought O was the toy)…

– “Let’s Not and Say We Did” – A Bad Decision Tie:

Award goes to:  Deciding we could push through and not make a rest stop on the morning drive up AND Deciding to drive home at night in the rain with a restless toddler and getting home almost midnight then having to go to work/school Monday a.m.  (Honorable Mention to: Letting O watch the “Potty” episode of “Daniel Tiger” on the ride home and when he, inspired by the potty-going, asked if he could please go to the bathroom, we then had to be like, “uh – yeah…there is no potty here and we can’t stop”.  So much for positive reinforcement…

Overall, our first beach adventure was pretty fun…I got to spend time with my family and get back in touch with my seaside roots, we got to celebrate the impending arrival of the first niece into the clan, G and I got to steal some time away together at a  REAL MALL! (thank you thank you, Aunt C) and O had an amazing time laughing and playing with a whole lot of people who love him very much.

Sounds like the “Perfect Beach Day” to me :)

What could be better than chocolate Mister Softee...?

What could be better than chocolate Mister Softee…?

Chocolate AND Vanilla!

Chocolate AND Vanilla!

"Beach Baby, Beach Baby, there on the sand..."

“Beach Baby, Beach Baby, there on the sand…”

On the Boardwalk

On the Boardwalk

When Baba’s away

Brianne was in NYC for work and this is the first overnight travel since we’ve moved into the new house.  Just me and O.  It’s funny because he actually is a better ‘listening boy’ when he’s one-on-one rather than with/in a group. Maybe that’s the way it is with most kids.

We had a fun night of blowing bubbles and taking a nice, long bike ride (me pushing O on his tricycle) around the neighborhood.  This is only the second time we’ve been able to get O out and about in the new ‘hood.  I was hoping we’d run into more people, but maybe we were out during everyone’s dinnertime?  It was just a little after 5pm, though.  We did run into a nice lady (who lives 2 doors down) with a white poodle who was very friendly, especially with O.  In fact, she offered us the full-sized basketball hoop in her driveway that’s received no use since her grown son moved to California.  She told me to go home and “talk to my husband about it.”  I took no offense, but did think it was funny and in a few years that kind of statement would bewilder O, no doubt.  Also, why would I have to talk to my spouse about taking the hoop?  It’s not THAT big of a decision that I couldn’t make it myself, is it?  I didn’t know if I should correct her on the ‘husband’ statement just then so I’ll leave that to our second encounter.


A Change Will Do You Good

This weekend the fam hit the road to Philadelphia for a quick getaway in honor of G’s birthday.  The anticipation of getting away from it all, hanging in the hotel, walking around the city and enjoying new food, new sites and actual shopping had us buzzed with excitement as we pulled onto the highway in the early Friday evening. O was snuggled in his seat, enjoying Curious George on the iPad while dressed in his “vacation adventure Jams” (aka, his pajamas).  We had the entire weekend ahead of us…whoooo!

Fast forward 12 hours and we realized, oh yes, we are traveling with Mr. Independent, Mr. I Can Do It, Mr. I’m Not Gonna Listen and Mr. I Think I’ll Take My Diaper Off and Run Around The Room You Can’t Catch Me HA HA HA HA.

The weekend can best be described as an Exhaustion muffin with sprinkles of Fun. You savor those sweet moments of swimming together in the hotel pool, dancing at the flea market and happily playing bean bag toss by the harbor but all too soon the mood flips, the fun sprinkles are gone and it’s nothing but a mouthful of tired and drained. It’s not that it was BAD, it’s just relentless.  Lots of walking to the nearest playground, restraining O from running through thick city crowds, repeatedly explaining that this is a No Whining family and he needs to cut it out (in the nicest way possible).  Lots of asking, cajoling and finally demanding he not soak the bathroom/throw his blankets on the not-so-clean hotel floor/scream in the communal dining area/destroy any and all around him. Lots of the sound of our own voice and not a whole lot of relaxing, but then again, what did we really expect?

By late Sunday morning, we were back in the car and headed home. A faulty GPS, Philly traffic and no nap for an overtired boy had us barely hanging on as we continued in to the three-hour trip.  We were 45 minutes from home when we realized we all needed a pit stop.  We got off at a nearby town and headed to this park I had heard of and it was just what we needed.  Lots of play space, open fields and a river to run by, we got to stretch our legs and lift our spirits.

At one point, O was over on a small playspace with another little girl about his age.  The two of them were having a great time running, jumping and climbing and they smiled and laughed without a care in the world.  The girl’s parents looked at G and I and said “we remember you…”.  Turns out, they were the family next to us in the NICU.  For weeks and weeks, their baby girl and our baby boy laid next to each other in matching incubators, hooked up to machines while we parents sat diligently by their bedsides, day after day after day.

Here they were today, two and half years later, serendipitously playing side-by-side, two healthy, active and very happy kids.  They had no idea what they went through, no idea what WE went through or how that early experience shaped us and will never leave us.  They didn’t know and they didn’t care.  They were just two toddlers loving life and having a ball one hot summer afternoon.

Well, damn.

That one moment was enough to shift our attitudes into a new gear and see the moment in a new light.  Yes, we were still tired and yes, he was still pushing our buttons and that didn’t change – but in that instance, our perspective changed.  Talk about an “attitude of gratitude” – even though we didn’t say it, I know G and I were thinking the same thing: No matter how frustrated we get, how many times we lose our patience or get angry at O’s ability to be a tiny, human wrecking ball, there is no measure to how incredibly thankful we are.

Baba and O, Philly Style

Baba and O, Philly Style

Mama and her River Boy

Mama and her River Boy

Little Things

Yesterday, O’s awesome teacher discussed with us some methods that might work at a.m. drop-off.  This morning, I talked O through the plan several times at home (when we get to school we wash hands, get our chair, two kisses, and a hug) and on the way to school and we had a wonderful drop-off, complete with O telling his teachers and classmates about an upcoming trip we’re taking as B and I left for work.  I’m thinking I should have put more hugs and kisses in the plan…

If you haven’t figured it out, I’m the other mother.  Mom, Mommy and Mama.  The just-had-a-big-birthday lady.  I’ll be chiming in here from time to time, adding my perspective, venting, seeking advice, and just sharing stories.

Happy Friday!


Vacation Nation

‘Tis the season to leave it all behind…or at least, that’s what I’m told.  According to colleagues, friends, family and just about everyone on Facebook, now’s the time to pack up the kids, hit the road and spend a long, lazy week kicking back at the beach or lake or any other place synonymous with relaxation.

So what the heck am I doing here?

I don’t know why I don’t take real vacations. Every year I swear I’m going to and then the summer rolls around and I’m at my desk, feeling bent at all the folks having real live fun and kvetching about the “surf soap” in my office bathroom.  Ain’t no one to blame for that but me.

Maybe it’s because I never took vacations as a kid…we didn’t really need to.  Early on about once a year, we’d drive to the Poconos to go to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, but that was usually a one-and-done kinda thing in conjunction with a visit to the grandparents.  Growing up, my friends all headed to Lake George or to the Hamptons with their families and later, post-college friends would trip down to Rehoboth, P’town or any one of “The Shores”.

I grew up on Long Island, with the beach a moment’s notice away.  Our backyard was our vacation home – tall, willowy trees, crystal clear pool, lawn chairs next to the authentically crafted Tiki Bar…friends and family would come to us and every free moment was spent out by the pool so why would we head to someplace more expensive and less relaxing?   Similarly, G grew up in the mountains, with creeks (cricks?), lakes and forests abound and more wildlife than people around.  Obviously, we both missed the memo on what it means to “take a vacation” and as such, here we sit watching the July calendar turn and feeling way overdue for a break.

We do get away…in fact, we have two weekend trips lined up. But that’s just it – weekends away, with a bookend of road travel.  We usually head to a city (against the typical vacay-grain) and by the time we get the pack-and-play set up, slather on the sunscreen and attempt to stop O from licking the handrails outside of the hotel, we’re already ready for a siesta.

Any maybe that’s it too…maybe the terms “relaxing vacation” and “two-year old boy” are mutually exclusive.

What do you guys think…anyone got some good ideas or tricks we haven’t figured out yet? We’re open to suggestions, and even though our trips are carefully researched and mapped for maximum fun — I’ll take any tips on getting the most fun out of a summer holiday.

We have fun on our little jaunts. In fact, O still tells you he’s from “Balt-ee-moor” if you ask, his first real toddler trip making quite an impression.  We took him there a few months ago and packed the itinerary:  He met Thomas the Train, posed with Sir Topham Hatt, rode a city bus WHILE singing “the wheels on the bus” (mind blown!), had a late-night playdate with a “big boy” (my friend’s elementary-school son) and more.  The following Monday when he returned to school and his teachers asked “What was your favorite part of your vacation?!”, he replied “eating a banana”.

“V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N, gonna have a ball…”