Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's done!

Dave worked all weekend to build and finish our swing set; I helped for a total of about five or six hours, I’ll have you know. It has two slides, three swings and a climbing wall. The boys love it but we’ve identified some things we need to do safety-wise, not mentioned by the company that designed the plans, to compensate for my boys (Kyle) thinking everything is an opportunity for acrobatics.

The race car toddler swing is the primary cause of the screaming, crying and whining, “My turn!” So Monday morning I dashed out to Home Depot to get a second one. Yes, there’s the lofty goal of, “The boys have to learn to share and we can’t have two of everything.” I believe that for many things, but for heaven’s sake, if they both want to swing in a magical race car we’re going to let them. We (okay Dave) worked too hard on this to have it turn into something unpleasant every time we go outside.

Grant goes for his two-year-old checkup this morning and of course all the things that I’ve thought oh I need to ask the pediatrician about that have disappeared from my brain. Maybe someday I’ll learn the beauty of making lists. I’ve just recently gotten consistent about putting appointments on a calendar. Small steps. He’s going to get vaccinations this visit. My neighbor asked me if I was going to get him vaccinated because of all the negative press about especially the 2 year shots and their potential relation to autism.

I’ll talk to the pediatrician, but unless she recommends not doing them, we’ll get them done. Initially the finger was pointed at a chemical in one of the vax, but they stopped putting that preservative in the vaccine awhile ago. But now there’s other speculation. I guess it’s just a risk management thing and a choice that everyone has to make.

And now for a dog picture - Katie and Molly. I'm hoping to figure out watermarking one of these days so I can post pictures of Kyle and Grant. Until then, this will have to do!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Racist, insulting, stupid, all or none of the above?

As a parent to two Latino children, I realize my family is going to have to deal with a variety of challenges involving race, ethnicity, skin color, nationality, language, adoption, etc. When we run into things related to race and ethnicity now it’s pretty abstract, but Dave and I regularly ask ourselves, “Okay how will we handle that in 6 months when Kyle can understand more?” or “What happens when Grant and Kyle are 5 or 12 or 16?”

Well, an odd episode occurred yesterday morning. Once every week or so my friend Julie and I meet with our boys to walk at the mall and let the boys run around in the play area. My two sons are adopted from Guatemala as is her son. We were sitting down at one point chatting while the boys were in their strollers eating their snack. An older Caucasian man pops out of nowhere, comes to within a foot of the boys, looks at them and starts speaking in “Spanish”. He only spoke about twenty words but it turns out that he wasn’t speaking Spanish – he was just pretending to by making up gobbledygook and saying it with Spanish intonations.

Before I realized he was faking the Spanish, I said, “They don’t understand you.” He said, “That’s okay, neither did I.” And he walked off.

I’ve had Latino people speak to the boys in Spanish before – from what I can tell they are saying hello and just ‘chatting’ with the boys, just like I say googly things to babies and toddlers. I’ve taken it as very sweet. But having an elderly white guy come up and pretend to speak Spanish is a whole other issue. I’m not sure how I’d explain that to the boys if they were older. Was it racist? At first I would have said that’s a bit strong, but after relaying the situation here, it kind of seems like it. But the line between ‘racist’ and ‘ignorant’ is fuzzy sometimes. Without knowing what the man’s intention was, I can’t confidently say. I think he was insensitive and stupid, but I don’t think he had malicious intent. Yet I’ve thought about this for the last day and I don’t have a theory of what his purpose was.

If he was actually speaking Spanish I would say he was well-intentioned even though I wouldn’t necessarily love that he did it. But that he came up deliberately to speak fake Spanish changes it considerably. When I think of an Asian equivalent… let’s say my children were from China and he came up and said, “Ching chang chung” four times I would be enraged. What this man did yesterday using ‘Spanish’ didn’t enrage me but it was perplexing.

This has definitely been a rambling blog entry. I usually assess a situation and form an opinion but this one is a head-scratcher.

I’d love anyone else’s thoughts or opinions.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The mom who cried "Ouch"

I abuse the exclamations “Ow!” or “Ouch” excessively and I know it. Did the little boy who cried “wolf” have as hard a time breaking the habit? And do I actually wonder why my boys both say “Ow” 400 times a day, along with dramatic hand gestures? No.

To give you an idea, I’ll share examples that just happened yesterday. I seem to think these are okay reasons to exclaim “Ow!”:

* I step up two inches onto our patio and in anticipation of my knee hurting, I say it. I refer to this as the Prophylactic Ow. It’s my just-in-case-this-hurts-I’m-going-to-let-everyone-know-ahead-of-time.

* I have to bend down and pick something up off the floor.

* A fly buzzes by my head going 90 mph.

* I have to expend a lot of effort taking off a sippy cup lid. This doesn’t hurt unless I can’t get the lid off and have to put every bit of strength I have into removing it. The only time I should have to expend that kind of effort is if I’m digging out of a pile of rubble.

I realize that I need to stop this ridiculous habit but it’s quite hard. Pretend that for all the examples above I don’t “Ow” but I inhale or exhale. Can I stop that? No. Stopping my “Ow” and “Ouch” habit might be just as hard.

Dave still asks “Are you okay?” or “What’s wrong?” in a very concerned manner. I wonder when he’ll get to the shut-the-hell-up stage. I'd say 'round about any day now.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Baby on Board

Oh, don't get excited or freaked out - Kyle and Grant are enough for Dave and me! Nope, I'm talking about signs...

I’ve always wondered about those yellow Baby On Board signs people put in their car windows and what the purpose is. My only theory was that the person was so giddy to be a parent that they just had to shout to the world “Yay me! I have a baby!” They’ve always seemed odd to me.

But apparently the original purpose of the sign is to alert other drivers of the precious young life in the car so they will take additional care when traveling near the blessed vehicle. Seriously? People who drive with little or no regard for other vehicles on the road are pretty much jerks no matter what you might be transporting. They feel like they own the road and you are just an inconvenient guest. I’m thinking a Baby on Board sign isn’t going to change a thing.

Maybe the sign actually puts you at more risk. For years it was a hard plastic sign stuck to the window with suction cups; now you can get a somewhat opaque sticker but it’s just as big. Maybe the people with the signs are just better drivers than I am, but I find that obscuring my view in any of my windows is just a bad idea. And maybe the jerks on the road don’t like babies (what can I say - they’re jerks, after all) and the sign gives them extra incentive to drive without regard for you.

There is an urban legend that the purpose of the sign is to alert emergency personnel to search for a baby. Kind of like the stickers you put on the front door of your house to alert firefighters what kind of pets and how many you have. According to this is an urban legend.

Now don't you feel enlightened?

Question… if you see a Baby on Board sign in a window, what do you think? Or at least what did you think before you read this fascinating and insightful blog entry?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

You're kidding me, right?

One of the most fun aspects of the boys’ ages (almost 2 and almost 3) is how they are discovering their imaginations. With some kids I think this manifests as pretending one object is really something else – maybe that their toothbrush is a screwdriver. With my kids, at least for now, they’re really into invisible things.

They clean up invisible GeoTrax and pretend to fix their trucks with invisible tools they pull out of their pockets. At meals they reach their hands out to some invisible plate in the sky and snatch the mystery food off of it and jam it in their mouths.

This is cute and all, until they start bickering over the food that doesn’t even exist. Kyle starts whining because Grant took his whatever-it-is. I try to explain that there is plenty for everyone but despite my efforts, the “No! Mine!” back and forth ensues and screaming and crying break out.

I look at Dave and ask, “Are our kids fighting over invisible food?”

Dave’s response, “Why, yes. Yes, they are.”


Just checkin'.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bunnies, balloons and rainbows

I can’t believe it’s been four months since my last blog entry. The boys have grown and changed so much in that time – there aren’t enough hours in the day to share how they’ve turned into these little people. Kyle will be three this summer and has moved from being a toddler to being a little boy. Grant will be two next month so we can still pretend he’s a toddler.

They’re both still mooching off us incessantly and have yet to contribute to the financial position of the family. One or both of them are regularly (every two minutes) trying to wrestle control of our household away from me and become the alpha-king-supreme-everything-ruler of my queendom. Dave and I are holding our ground with no help from the short people. Wish us continuing good luck. Seriously, we went to a Love and Logic seminar last week that was awesome and we’re trying some of the techniques to reasonable success.

C’mon. Were you really expecting a soft-fluffy-bunny-balloons-and-rainbows kind of update from me? You were? Then I’d better deliver…

How amazing is it to watch language development in a toddler? Kyle’s language has ballooned over the last four months (balloon reference: check). He still comes out with stuff that I don’t understand, but that’s only about 20% of the time. His recollection of random, obscure things is ridiculous, and his ability to throw our rules back in our faces when it’s convenient is uncanny.

Grant is saying new words every day and is putting together two word phrases. A new milestone on Sunday was that he started saying, “Mommy!!! Mommy!” to get my attention when he wanted to show me something. It was cool for a minute when I realized this was the first time he had done it, but then it dawned on me that we were embarking on the phase I wrote about in this post.

Dave and I built the boys a big new sandbox since getting dirty is their all time favorite thing. We're using a cleverly secured tarp (don't ask) as a cover to keep it dry and keep critters out. Apparently it's not cleverly secured enough to keep out bunnies, as every time we've removed the cover there are about 412 bunny footprints. Either way, the boys love it and we had fun doing it. (soft fluffy bunny reference: check)

This pic isn't of the boys in the new sandbox but it's illustrative of their love of dirt and sand. They decided they should manually move the sand from the old crabbie sandbox here, to the new one, but they had to take a break for a sand bath. Nice, huh?

Well I don't have a rainbow reference to fulfill my update requirements. Oh. I know. We got cut off in traffic yesterday by someone with one of those rainbow bumper stickers on their back window. (rainbow reference: check)

So that's the soft-fluffy-bunny-balloons-and-rainbows kind of update you expected!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Back to blogging!

Okay, so I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging. A thanks to readers who have contacted me to ask if I’d been hit by a bus, kidnapped by aliens or plagued by a mommy breakdown. I really enjoy writing my blog and there isn’t a sole reason for exactly why I stopped but I’ve been thinking about it. I could just say, “I’ve been busy” or something equally vague and aloof, but I’ll share a few of the contributing factors.

1) When I decided to stop posting pictures and accompanying commentary an element of fun disappeared. I stopped with the pictures as a trigger reaction to a scare another blogger had when she found her daughters’ pictures had been used on a site without her permission by a cyber-stranger. Very creepy.

2) Some of you remember NaBloPoMo which was national blog posting month; the goal was to post an entry a day for the entire month of November. Well, I started November quite gung-ho. As November wore on I lost momentum and probably ended up resentful and rebellious because I had turned something I enjoyed into a chore. It reminded me of my success (not) on diets. I start all fired up and do great for a few days (okay, hours) and then rebel against the restriction and proceed to swear off diets and gain 16 pounds.

3) I’ve had seasonal depression for many years and the period from mid-November to February is often a dark one for me. A few factors exacerbated this last season and I was very unmotivated and blue. To be honest, this was probably the biggest factor.

4) I wanted to spruce up my blog but when I got frustrated with blogger I kind of said oh to hell with it. Very mature, I know. It’s not as bad as the time I couldn’t get the lids off the boys’ sippy cups and I let loose a stream of profanity then hurled them into the sink like a maniac, but in its own way it was just as admirable. Not to worry, the boys were in bed and didn’t see my display. Dave did and probably thought, “I wonder how much the jeweler would give me if I got back the engagement ring.”

So I’m excited to be back, having reminded myself of the things I miss about blogging. I’m reading some different opinions in the blog world on whether or not to post pictures and I may end up posting again. What are your thoughts? Is there much of a risk and if so, how much? Is it risky if no one knows our last name and where we live? I’m very interested in input on this!