How I Know It Might Have Gone Too Far

I’ve mentioned our tiny, little interest in Tar Heel basketball before.

Peanut being able to recognize the Carolina mascot and call him “Ramie” (for Rameses) was okay.

Peanut being able to say Roy for Coach Williams was okay.

The video we got of peanut echoing the Tar Heels chant (that we practically sent to every Tar Heel we know) was okay.

Tonight, we just rushed him through bath and bedtime stories so we could watch the game at 7:30, which would have been almost okay…except I just caught the hubby singing “I’m a Tar Heel born, I’m a Tar Heel bred and when I die I’ll be Tar Heel dead, so rah, rah, Carolina-lina, rah, rah, Carolina-lina, rah, rah, Carolina-lina, we don’t like Duke*” as a lullaby to peanut.

We might have crossed a line.

*Our cleaned up version of the lyrics for peanut.

**I also promise that this will not become a Carolina sports blog…we’re just a little distracted these days. Go Heels!


Just Another (Guilt) Trip Home

We just returned yesterday from a trip home to NC. The reason for this month’s jaunt up 85? Do you even need to ask? The NCAA Tourney, of course. (And not to brag, but I did have Davidson over Georgetown in my bracket, and what a game that was to witness!).

The visit home was typical – typical stress packing everyone and the car up for a six hour car ride, typical angst making sure that everyone peanut’s related to gets some time with him while we’re in town, typical running around while we’re there, typical lack of napping for the peanut, typical feelings of guilt that there is never enough time to do everything and see everyone.

And this visit was complicated by a horrible allergic reaction to some evil plant growing in the NC clay. I wasn’t in the state an hour before I was sneezing, blowing my nose and feeling like overall ick that just seemed to get worse with every breath.

What I struggle with most when we go home is the fear that our families don’t get the opportunity to really know our little guy. We do our very best to try and include everyone in some sort of activity, but with a variety of schedules to juggle not to mention peanut’s meal and nap times and those of his days-away-from-three-year-old cousin, it seems someone always misses out a little bit. And the little green monster in me starts to rear her ugly head when I start to daydream how great it would be to have family nearby to babysit whenever we need (and for free!) not to mention just to see everyone more often.

Man, the mommy guilt just doesn’t end, does it? I find things to feel guilty about that I can’t even control!

Then, I remember why we’re here. How life works out for a reason. That I am doing all that I can by telling peanut stories about his family, showing him pictures, sharing updates with all our family through phone calls, emails, photos, videos. And I think it’s working – peanut actually recognized and correctly named most of his family members. He was so proud of himself and happy to repeat their names over and over. He gave out plenty of hugs and kisses and smiles.

So we’ll continue to build up peanut’s bank of memories with photos and stories from this trip (how he played in the sand box for the first time, covered himself in dirt in Grandpa’s mulch pile, spontaneously hugged his cousin J. in the butterfly house, held so tightly onto Nana’s hand, wanted Uncle “Nohnny” to blow him more bubbles, snuggled with Aunt M. before bed, worked on his colors with Grandma, giggled at Opa’s Donald Duck impression, identified all of P.’s pottery animals, kissed Uncle B., flirted with Aunt M (the other one) during lunch, and perfected phrases like “see ya,” “I did it,” and “Heels!”) and I’ll work on letting my guilt go. One pollen filled breath at a time.

Of Toddlers and Tornadoes

Thank goodness we were three miles from where the tornado initially touched down on Friday night. Those that we know who live close by only lost power and a few other friends and acquaintances were witnesses who thankfully came away with only interesting stories. Driving downtown today, it was a bit creepy to see glass windows blown out of high rise office buildings and hotels. But the city seems to have an air of relief, knowing it could have been a lot worse.

But all this storm watching and tornado talk seems very similar to day-to-day life with a toddler. Or at least my toddler. One minute, we’re happy-go-lucky, the next moment, we’re screaming, going limp and making a scene. Typically, this is when we’re in public because I’m trying to redirect him from a dangerous activity or back towards the planned activity at hand. I’m starting to take it personally – that maybe I am “that” mom who can’t handle their kid. The mom who needs to call in Supernanny, stat. Today at the zoo with several other moms and their boys, mine seemed to be the only one running off and then screaming when I collected him.

I just don’t understand how we can go from zero to sixty on the cranky meter in .05 seconds. It’s like we constantly have a tantrum watch in effect – conditions favorable for a meltdown. The frustrating part is that sometimes he is easily diffused by a soothing word, a silly stomping dance or a tickle. Other times, those things don’t work at all.

I am hoping that it’s “just” the terrible twos and as long as we keep working on it we’ll come out relatively unscathed on the other side.

Until then, I’m hoping that the Weather Channel can start issuing toddler tantrum warnings so I have time to take cover.

My Son the Comedian

The peanut has a wicked sense of humor and is easily amused by the hubby’s slapstick routines, messes he makes at the dinner table, silly faces from mama and running around the house in his birthday suit. But today, he proved his comedic chops (even if he didn’t realize it).

Peanut was busy emptying the contents of our coffee table drawers. I was happy to let him occupy himself this way since I was busy tracking down our shoes/sippy cups/books for distraction/keys/cell phone for a trip to the pediatrician (peanut’s got an in-grown toenail) and most of the drawers were baby-proofed months ago and contain mostly magazines, paper and coloring books.

Apparently, shoved in the back was an errant part of my pumping kit (that piece of plastic you stick the bottle in to keep it standing up straight that I never really figured out why it was necessary, hence why it was crammed in the back of a drawer). He pulled it out, examined it, looked at me and for some inexplicable reason said:

“Moo Moo”

Ba-dum-ching. He’ll be here all week, folks!

March Madness (aka the post with lots of links!)

It’s that time of year again…time to hunker down in front of the TV and watch non-stop basketball, fill out those brackets, and see High Heeled Mama in nothing but Carolina blue until we win it all (this is our year, I can feel it!).

Growing up in the Triangle meant you couldn’t get away from college basketball. I grew up on tobacco road. ACC and NCAA tournament time meant teachers wheeled in televisions to the classroom so we could all cheer on our favorite teams. And everyone had a team. Classes were usually evenly divided between Carolina or Duke with a few NC State fans thrown into the mix. The State fans were usually children of graduates, but those of us who grew up without parents who attended one of the three local institutions of higher learning had to pick.

My very best friend growing up was the daughter of a Duke professor. She took me to a few games. She was a ball girl. I baby sat for her younger brother sometimes – a few times when her parents were giving dinner parties and the Duke Athletic Director was a guest (yes, as a teenager I was forced to dance to Raffi songs in the presence of this much revered (in Durham) man while trying to corral a two year old into the bathtub – I was mortified). Needless to say, I was awed and became a Duke fan (oh, this is so hard to admit publicly!). And it wasn’t a bad thing to be at the time.

Until I was accepted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All previous allegiances went out the window. Some folks I know never understood how I could abandon my childhood team. Easily. For one, in that area of the country, you don’t get to root for both – you have to pick. And secondly, the moment I decided to attend UNC, I had officially drank the Kool-Aid, so to speak, and it bubbled up from the Old Well.

If any of you know UNC alumni (and several of you are – thanks for reading!), you will know that we have a very strong, impenetrable bond to Chapel Hill. It is a true family feel. We get a little fanatical about it, perhaps, but it’s more than the basketball. It’s the history, the people who have come before us boasting UNC degrees, the sweet spring blossoms in the Arboretum, the chimes of the Bell Tower, the brick paths, the humid classrooms, the pine trees surrounding Kenan Stadium, the state outline on the floor of the Smith Center, the stillness of the old cemetery, the legend of the Gimghouls, studying in the stacks at Davis, not studying in the stacks at the Undergrad, a blue cup (or two), the sticky floors of the Varsity, late night snacks at Time Out andHector’s, friends performing at the Skylight Exchange, Mama Dip, the Flower Lady outside Bank of America, the milk shakes at the counter and the pictures hanging up in Sutton’s Drug Store (and yessiree, I am still in there! Looking very young and VERY 1994!!) and the fact that anyone who went there experienced all these things, too (well, except maybe getting their picture up at Sutton’s!).

It is in that vein that we become fanatical followers of our boys on the basketball court. But I just as strongly cheer for the women’s team, the national champion field hockey team, the baseball team and their two almost College World Series championships two years running, THE soccer team… It is also this sense of family that has the hubby and I still reeling from the recent murder of Student Body President Eve Carson. A senseless tragedy and a deeply scarring event infiltrating the sanctuary of a college campus, which seem to be happening all too often lately.

But I wonder how this crazy love of place will show itself in the peanut. Sure, I want him to know and love this place that the hubby and I know and love so well. Of course it would be WONDERFUL if he wanted to go there. But how do you make sure he doesn’t feel like he would be disappointing us if he doesn’t? And seriously, why am I worried about his college decisions now when he can’t even count yet? Ah, because my greatest fear would be that he comes home one day and announces that he wants to go to *gulp* Duke. I shudder to think!

Good thing we’re on the offensive! Is it wrong that in front of peanut we call Coach Williams and former Coach Smith “Papa Roy” and “Papa Dean” respectively? Is it wrong that he can’t really say my sister’s name but can say “Ramie” (his version of Rameses, the Tar Heel mascot)? Is it wrong that he’s got three Carolina sweatshirts in his current wardrobe rotation?

But no worries family (i.e., in-laws who are Duke alumni and fans), we will continue to only cheer positively for our Heels and will not teach peanut anything negative about Carolina’s opponents. And we will let him know that he is welcome to apply to any college he wants to.

And I promise to spend the next 17 years working on actually meaning that.

Go Heels!

Before & After: Chatting with Girlfriends

Conversation before kids:

“I have big news…I got engaged/the job/the promotion/the house/pregnant!”

Conversation after kids:

“I have big news…D. uses the potty before his bath!”

And I was genuinely gushy over this little 21 month old who has decided to pee pee in the potty once a day.

It’s kind of like a promotion to not have to change as many diapers, right?

How Almost Getting Stood Up Made for a Great Evening

Last night was the monthly mommy happy hour I’ve been trying to organize. February got away from me, so the reminder went out only a few days before and response didn’t seem very enthused this time around. We’re only in our fourth month of doing this, so it’s to be expected that some months are lots of mamas and others are a handful. By Thursday afternoon, only one mama had emailed to say she was hoping to make it, but would be late.

When the hubby got home, I actually made an attempt at fixing up my hair, put on some make-up, threw on the heels and headed out.

The bar was dark and nearly empty. Folks were dining in the restaurant, but I pretty much had the bar to myself. I ordered a glass of wine and settled in. A people watcher by nature, I took the opportunity to observe the world around me – a novel concept considering most of the time when I’m in public I’m focused on everything three feet and below that peanut can pull over, spill or otherwise deface.

I watched an interesting table of three women and one man. It looked like a business meeting. Boring. Until they rose at some point to take a photo. The man took a picture of the three ladies and instead of “Cheese” shouted “Cleavage!” Still trying to figure this one out.

There was also a boomer-type couple who came in and sat on the sofas in the bar area, but weren’t ordering anything. It became obvious they were waiting on someone. They giggled about the trendy decor, including some interesting fake fireplaces, and commented that “she” had recommended it. Soon enough, a young couple arrived and it was apparently their son and his girlfriend/fiancee. Definitely not a daughter-in-law yet…and despite the fact that restaurant was probably not my first choice for dinner with the ‘rents…I think she’ll be part of that family fold soon enough.

Halfway through my glass of wine, I grabbed my small notebook (I don’t travel unprepared) and jotted down ideas for a bridal shower and other party I’m working on. It was amazing how many ideas were coming to me when I had the time to think.

Eventually one mommy showed up – a friend of a friend. And we had a lovely time learning about each other’s families and swapping stories and advice. She has a twenty month old and a two month old, so I’m glad she made it out for a cocktail (okay, two!). She most certainly deserved it. And it gave me an excuse for a second glass.

But my 45 minutes sitting in the bar alone was quite honestly a lovely evening. I would have been content if no one had showed up. It was a revelation to sit there thinking I may have “prettied” myself up and gone out just for me. In a past life, I may have been annoyed or put out or taken it personally that no one showed. But now, it was refreshing.

I might need to consider adding another date night to the schedule – without the hubby (no offense, sweetie).

He’s Definitely a Southerner at Stomach

I grew up in the South, but have Yankee blood running through me. Yes, that makes me a damn Yankee (one who came South and won’t leave). Growing up in the South gave me a certain appreciation for most things southern, particularly cuisine. I love me some biscuits, homemade chicken and dumplings, barbecue (Eastern NC style, specifically – is there really any other acceptable kind?!) and sweet tea. The hubby was born in Atlanta, grew up in NC and has family roots in Tennessee, so there is no escaping the southerness in his blood line.

Well, apparently I did not pass much New England to the peanut. He recently ate his weight in biscuits while we were in NC. He chowed down on the barbecue I made this week two nights in a row (and this kid has a thing about eating “leftovers” – I don’t know how he knows they are leftovers, but he tends to shun whatever it was that he gobbled up the night before, particularly in the meat category). And just now, while trying to catch Kim Raver on Rachel Ray while peanut was playing with every toy he owns, he stopped, looked at the TV (please don’t call the AAP on me) and said “YUMMY” with great enthusiasm to the Piccadilly commercial.

Looks like I better get to work on some New England treats for this kid – clam chowder, Boston cream pie, Gray’s coffee ice cream, Boston baked beans…

Well, knowing this kid, I better hold off on the beans.

Project Motherhood

Don’t you all just wish that this reality we’re in called Project Motherhood had a fantabulous host like Tim Gunn? It is inexplicable the crush I have on this man!

This week has been the week of the project. We FINALLY finished our bathroom painting “remodel.” Talk about another wake-up call to how life is different with a child. Our bathroom is tiny weeny (no exaggeration) and it literally took a month to finish this project. Between the scraping of the bad paint, the wall patching, the sanding, the priming and the four coats of paint that all had to be done during a two-hour nap time window or on the weekend when there are about 10,000 other things we’d like to do as a family. I’m happy to report that new paint, a new light, a new shower curtain and a spray painted mirror frame have breathed some serious new life into that little room. It almost makes cleaning the bathroom an enjoyable…oh, who am I kidding? Cleaning it still stinks.

On top of all that, I’ve been filling my plate with a little PR work for this blogger’s pop. Somehow, the peanut knows just when I’ve finished polishing a press release or researching party locations/photographers/invitations for his biz’s 20th anniversary celebration and wakes from his nap leaving me no time for anything else. Even now I have a side-line craft project beckoning from the other room (and because this one pays, it seems more urgent). By the time evening rolls around, I’m so pooped from dealing with our burgeoning mountain climber/major league pitcher/comedian/professional wrestler that I just collapse on the couch with the hubby and American Idol (thank goodness tonight’s happy hour night).

Why is it that since I’ve become a stay at home mama I feel the need to constantly volunteer for things? It’s like I have this compulsion to be busy or be “more” or constantly combat the stereotype that SAHMs sit around eating bon bons and watching daytime TV singlehandedly. And really, I am so not qualified to defeat stereotypes since I’m typing this while eating Girl Scout cookies and watching All My Children (but my AMC obsession is probably fodder for another post on another day – like the day we find out who faked Jesse Hubbard’s death 20 years ago!).

I think part of it is the constant struggle to prove I’m not “just” a mom; to have something to talk about with my awesome, driven, professional, moving and shaking High Heeled Sis; to find the right creative outlet for keeping my sanity; maybe to find something to write about here. I don’t know. The thing is, I like all my little projects. Sometimes I wish I had more than two hours to do them in, but each little “challenge” is part of my new life as mommy (which, by the way, is peanut’s favorite new word. And even though I’ve heard it a thousand times an hour, I still can’t get enough!).

Sorry for the rant. Maybe one of these days I’ll figure it out or have the confidence to not care if I haven’t. Until then, I’ll take a bit of Tim’s advice and “make it work.”

Plus, I’ve got a picture frame to decoupage.