Focusing on the Positives

Ah, the glimmer of the terrible twos and the joy of cutting molars. Needless to say, it’s been a cranky time here at casa de High Heeled Mama. Peanut spends moment to moment going from the sweetest, happiest, giggling angel to a fire-breathing, limp-limbed, screeching dragon.

The good news is that although there are a lot of them, the tantrum/cranky moments are fairly short lived in duration (for now) and these moments are shining the spotlight on the truly joyful and bright moments we’ve had in the past few days. So in the interest of seeing the sippy cup half-full, here are a few of our truly stellar moments in the last few days:

* It’s 7:15PM, dinner’s done, dishes are done (and I mean done: dishes in the dishwasher; pots washed, dried and put away; counters wiped down, floors swept (thanks to peanut)) and the hubby’s handling bath time while I’m sipping a lovely red and trolling the blogosphere. Ahhhhh. This is indeed a rare, rare moment.

* Yesterday we managed a zoo outing (thanks again High Heeled Grandma for the membership. Might be the best gift ever) and trip to the grocery store in the same day! And because peanut insisted on walking the entire time we were at the zoo (no stroller for this kid) he took a luxurious 3+ hour nap. Mama almost didn’t know what to do with her free time. Almost.

* Spinning with the peanut in the park until we were both dizzy, laying on the grass staring at the sky giggling with joy.

* Two goodnight kisses from the peanut tonight.

* And the moment that keeps me laughing:

(Because sometimes cleaning can’t wait for clothes)

The Light at the End of the Diaper Champ

Cue the alleluia chorus!

Scatter rose petals in the bathroom!

Picture High Heeled Mama spinning through fields of wild flowers, arms wide, smiling like a lunatic in sheer happiness! You can even picture her doing this in very high, very hot high heels, say in baby blue!

Okay, I admit that I MAY be overreacting, but peanut has shown signs that one day (oh the blessed day) we will be out of diapers! (I can almost hear the angels singing and beams of light streaming from the toilet).

Recently, peanut has learned the vocabulary associated with his bodily functions. He’ll even occasionally put two and two together – saying poo-poo after an actual poo-poo. Although most of the time he says poo-poo when he’s gassy, but it’s a first step, right? Today, he actually came into the bathroom while I was blow drying my hair, grabbed some toilet paper and proceeded to “wipe” himself. I was so excited we had to tell the hubby right away, well, after I stopped laughing hysterically at the image of peanut wiping his sweatpants clean with TP.

I know 17 months is a bit early for potty training, especially for those stubborn boys who don’t seem bothered by sitting in wet and stinky diapers (or maybe that’s just mine), but it created a spark of hope that one of these days he might be ready to tackle the big bad challenge of his toddler hood.

Until he’s ready, I’m going to start day dreaming about what I can buy with the money I’ll be saving when I don’t have to buy diapers. Who am I kidding…it will probably be a pair of shoes. A nice pair of celebratory party potty shoes!

Name that Peanut

Goddess in Progress recently detailed her challenge in finding not one but two names for her precious twins and threw down the gauntlet to the Internets to detail their naming journey. Ah, the memories!

The hubby and I had agreed early on that we wouldn’t share our name choices before the baby were born. So many times I had witnessed folks express their all too honest feelings about a person’s baby name causing angst for the mommy-to-be. Since I insisted on a stress-free pregnancy, this was added pressure I felt I could easily avoid. Plus, no matter how crazy a name I picked, I figured as long as people hear it while looking at a wrinkly, adorable little newborn, they would be too distracted to comment. I think some of our friends and family were a bit irritated that we were keeping our selections close to the vest. I understand the curiosity factor, but the fact that some were so bothered that we weren’t sharing was a little surprising.

We struggled during the naming process with the fact that our last name poses some, shall we say, challenges. We had a hard and fast rule: say it out loud and say it together. Some names were easy to spot as bad associations (no Harrisons, Peters or Michaels (shortening to Mike was NOT good)), while others were more subtle (Preston was on my list for awhile until the hubby reminded me to say it out loud and say it together, not a pleasant image).

The hubby also had rules about no one-syllable names with a one-syllable last name. I had rules about proximity to family names (no J names because of our little niece, other names were too similar to cousins’ children’s names). We also didn’t want anything too popular, nothing too old fashioned, nothing too outrageous. The Baby Name Wizard (hard copy and online) was definitely our best friend!

In the end, we walked into the hospital with two top choices. One was slightly higher than another, but not by a lot. We had agreed very easily and early what the middle name would be (a family name on the hubby’s side) and it worked with either first name. In a pinch, we figured we could use it as a first name. When the little guy finally popped out and we saw his little pout, it was pretty obvious which name was a better fit.

We have no regrets about our name or how we went about it. Occasionally, people ask what our back-up choices were…but in the event that we have any others, we may still need those choices! And to be honest, it was fun to hold that kind of power, if only for a few months.

The Best Laid Plans…

Why is it that once you have a kid as soon as you make a plan, it all goes to poo-poo (as peanut would say)?

I’ve been having the itch to do some home fixer-upper projects. This is not unusual for me. What is unusual is that since I found out I was pregnant, I haven’t really done anything (beyond picking out furniture for the nursery and showing the hubby where he should put it). That’s 26 months without a project! Horrors.

To top it off, when we moved into this house, it was like Rainbow Brite went to the dark side. The den was such a dark shade, to this day we can’t agree what color it was — sometimes it looked blue, sometimes black, when we sanded it down we saw chocolate brown and mauve. Needless to say, it was B-A-D bad. So we painted it a lovely sand color (that of course now I’m ready to change, but that’s another day). The bathrooms were a burnt orange (painted over wallpaper, mind you). The bedrooms were wet cement gray (not a good look) and the living/dining room had been painted a color we liked, but they had painted around the furniture to cover up the really horrible green/gray that had once graced those walls. We had leftover paint from the den and after stripping the wallpaper in the bathroom had no energy to pick a new color so up went the sand paint.

I never really liked it, but it was okay enough. Well, we apparently didn’t prep it appropriately for our postage sized bathroom and the paint has been cracking. So, time for a fix. But how is a girl to get a bathroom scraped, sanded, primed and painted when I only get the amount of time available to me during peanut’s nap time?

And, apparently scraping paint off bathroom walls near peanut’s bedroom wakes him from said nap and you end up not finishing what you had hoped to accomplish. As a bonus, you also end up with an extra hour of time to entertain a 17 month old (and did I mention it’s actually freezing out and it actually rained so the playground was totally a no-go? Ugh) since he woke up so early.

Side note: Sorry to the hubby’s little sis who is coming this weekend and will have to suffer through a semi-construction zone in the shower.

In other foiled plans news, the hubby and I had decided back in the fall that we’d plan a little vacation getaway sans peanut to New Orleans for the Jazz Festival this coming spring. Then, the hubby’s little sis got engaged over Thanksgiving and is planning a June wedding at the beach, we’re trying to replace our bedroom furniture like we’ve been talking about for 9 years, we have a list of home improvements to make and, oh yeah, we only have one salary. So, we have decided to be responsible parents and not go on the fun, expensive trip.

Boo. Hiss. Responsibility sucks.

We will still go away for a weekend, but somewhere we can drive to and not be gone so long. Thinking while considering the bottom line isn’t new to us, but a trip or big purchase here or there wasn’t always such a hard decision. I suppose it still isn’t, but we haven’t had a night away from our little guy and we were really looking forward to some alone time. I guess we’ll just use our cost-savings to pay for a few extra babysitters, I suppose, to get a little alone time.

So NOLA will have to wait. Too bad my half-done bathroom can’t.

The Day I Realized I Have More in Common with a Fictionalized World War II Era Former Nun than a Contemporary Rock Star Wife

While reading February’s issue of Parents magazine, I came across the “It” Mom Q&A column featuring Skye Hoppus. First of all, I spent a better part of the first weeks at a new job at a PR firm many moons ago transcribing and editing video of her hubby, Mark Hoppus of Blink 182. So thinking about him having kids after trying to make sense out of some of his analogies makes me giggle in general.

Now I’m not sure what playgrounds are like in L.A. or wherever she lives, but she admits to liking to “glam it up and wear fake eyelashes, and I always wear heels — even at the playground.” Okay, I’m all about taking a moment to make sure I match and occasionally breaking out those heeled boots or my fun green tweed open toed pumps to dress up a pair of jeans for a trip to the mall or maybe a lunch date with the peanut and the hubby. But heels on the playground? Honey, that just isn’t practical.

I grew up with the concept of play clothes (cue the Julie Andrews curtain smocks memories) and afternoons outside getting dirty, running around, exploring, playing make believe, riding bikes and coming in when I was hungry or it was dark. These are the same things I want for peanut. To that end, we spend time outside every day (well, except when we’re in fever town or it’s raining, which hasn’t happened much in the parched and thirsty state of Georgia recently). And when we’re outside, I like that I’m a mom willing to get dirty with my kid, chase him around the playground and head down the slide. And pulling his wagon in heels would be darned near impossible.

So, sorry Skye Hoppus. Looks like I’m not much of a hot mama after all. And you know what? I’m okay with that. Even Captain Von Trapp picked the more practical-minded, play clothes-making Maria over the ever-glamorous Baroness.

Fever Free! For Now…

Peanut woke up this morning FINALLY fever free. I’m not sure we’re totally out of the woods, but at least my lips don’t steam when I put them to his forehead. According to the nurse at the pediatrician’s office I spoke to yesterday, there is a “fever virus” going around. Although I’m not entirely convinced she just wasn’t saying that to get me to stop calling.

Either way, we appear to be on our road to recovery. I’m off to go disinfect all the toys to ensure we don’t continue to pass this around.

A Spoonful of Sugar

Oh, Mary Poppins, where are you when I need you?!

Poor peanut has had a fever since Tuesday. We’ve been to the doctor and it’s nothing serious, but it’s also nothing with a name. So I spend the day taking temps, giving Motrin, kissing foreheads and looking up possible explanations that only stoke the fires of my tendency towards hypochondria projected on my precious peanut.

And through it all, he’s acting like a totally normal kid. Further frustrating me! I keep trying to get him to sit on the couch and cuddle. I’ve tried books, I’ve tried stuffed animals. I even broke my rules of no TV and tried The Jungle Book and Sesame Street. Nothing keeps this kid still longer than 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, every little illness throws me for a loop. Oh, I’m good in the mommy moment – taking temps, soothing, sucking out the snot with that horrible little bulb thing, even the time I had to scoop out the cracker that was choking him – but when he’s sleeping, like now, I have time to think about all I must be doing wrong or am missing about his symptoms. I suppose it doesn’t help that we’ve been battling a cold and teething for the last month and I’ve had my own long-lasting cold that it just seems like we’re never all going to be feeling good.

Maybe I just need to get out. All this illness has had us feeling trapped within our four walls when we’re usually out and about, playing on the playground and going for walks. Or I just need to suck it up. After all, my mom’s words of comfort (?) were that even though I’m only a couple of weeks away from 32 (really?! When did that happen?) she still worries (great, so it doesn’t go away?). Or, maybe I just need to indulge my little pity party during his nap time so that when he wakes up in a bit, I’ll be armed and ready for the next few hours of fever onslaught and distraction measures.

But if you see Mary Poppins floating through the neighborhood, send her over to my house. Even if peanut doesn’t want it, I could use that spoonful of sugar. A sugar high never hurt.

To the lady at the Piedmont Park playground yesterday

Yesterday, while on a play date with a few gal pals and their boys, my little peanut was happily enjoying his favorite activity – poking at the ground and piles of leaves with a stick – just off the playground proper. Again, he was not on the actual play space, I was a mere 10 feet away and he was not swinging this stick at anyone or in anyone’s general direction.

Along came a little boy about peanut’s age who paused on the edge of the playground in front of my guy. After a few moments of staring at each other, peanut offered the stick to this new boy with a smile. The new boy took it. At which point an older woman with the little boy took the stick, knelt down and started giving what looked like a lecture to my son, broke the stick in two and tossed it (without looking), dragging her little one away.

He’s a little BOY. His favorite words right now include poo-poo and snot, he plays with sticks and he gets dirty. It might not qualify me for mother of the year, but I think it disqualifies my kid from getting lectured by complete strangers when he didn’t actually inflict, or even threaten to inflict, any type of bodily harm. So unless this lady was actually complimenting my peanut on sharing and saying thank you, she can just keep walking her overprotected kid to the swing set.

Oh, and watch where you throw things, lady. It’s a playground. You wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt.

Just Another Manic Monday. Finally.

We did it. We survived the holidays.

As I look back on the last couple of weeks, I’m still not sure how I feel about our decision to stay home for Christmas Day before packing up the car and heading to NC for our family Christmases. Having gotten to the other side of the holidays, I think I can now look back on it without the day-of emotions clouding the picture. But there were so many pros and cons to this year’s arrangement that I’m not quite sure where we’ll shake out for next Christmas. Overall, being just the three of us on Christmas day was great when it came to our pancake breakfast, opening presents and enjoying a small dinner together. It was the post-present-opening time and peanut’s nap time where the hubby and I stared at each other like “what now?” Being able to spread out our family time while we were in the Old North State, however, was wonderful. We didn’t feel rushed. We could keep peanut on a relatively normal schedule. And we managed to avoid all the holiday rush traffic (total bonus!).

Highlights of our holiday (since it’s well past the time to be talking about them) include:

* Sitting near the shepherd and angel “staging” area during Christmas Eve Mass (note to future pageant “directors” – 1st grade boys and shepherd’s staffs (ie, sticks (ie, weapons)) and Santa anticipation are NOT a good mix).
* Peanut’s immediate LOVE, LOVE, LOVE of the wagon we gave him for Christmas (haha Santa! I win this year!).
* Peanut and his cousin actually playing a little bit more together than they did even a month ago.
* High Heeled sister-in-law introducing peanut to the piano.
* Spider man slippers! On a toddler!
* Xylophones, dump trucks, shopping carts, tractor books, frog books, poppers, and squirting fish bath toys, OH MY!
* Date night with the hubby at a Carolina basketball game (GO HEELS!).
* Realizing I’m old: New Year’s Eve playing Trivial Pursuit with my parents, watching the ball drop and going to bed by 12:10.
* Teaching peanut how to make elephant noises (thanks, High Heeled Sis).
* Two new teeth for peanut!
* A ton of new words.

And as I always do when we’ve been “home,” I struggled with our living far away (read: had my usual breakdown at the half-way point between my parents house and ours that we live SO far away, blah, blah, blah). Watching peanut with all his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousin is wonderful for us. It’s so hard to leave and know that he doesn’t have this constant contact with these important people. But I grew up far away from our extended family (a lot farther than we are from ours) and I know that these relationships are what you make of them. I’m just as determined as my parents were to ensure that peanut knows who is family is and vice-versa. And I think the fact that the hubby and I truly love our lives here and have built a life and a home that we an be proud of will only serve our peanut well in the future — all things that I remember as soon as we walk in the door, start the laundry and resume our “normal” lives.

So that’s where we are today – the first Monday of a full and regular week. Boy, I’m looking forward to “normal.”

And as for the new year…we have lots to celebrate. It’s a year of parties and weddings and vacations. A year to get serious about a few things and a lot less serious about others. Another year to watch peanut grow and support those closest to us as they embark on new journeys. A year for goals and not resolutions.

And a mere 352 days until next Christmas!

Is it 2008 already?

My, oh my! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…a little late.

We finally returned from our holiday travels yesterday afternoon. I have so much to say, but after a day of laundry, taking down the Christmas decorations, cleaning the house (how is it that no matter how “clean” you think you leave it, you always walk into chaos?), trying to make three meals out of the most random things I thought to buy at the grocery store last night, and, you know, taking care of a toddler, I’m just not in the right place. Instead, I’m in the drinking hot cocoa and taking my book to bed place.

Let’s just say, for now, that we had a great holiday with family, I’m officially old and I somehow managed to start the year with so many things to do between now and June that I’m already looking forward to July 4th as a break!