Thursday, January 31, 2008

Aunt Agatha, The Nephew Crusher

My Precious One is officially a year-and-a-half as of yesterday. This seems extraordinarily old and milestoneish to me for some reason. I even toyed around with the idea of being quite clever and adorable and baking him half a birthday cake, putting him in a fun hat, singing to him and generally making a big to-do. But alas, as it turns out I am not Rhianna Mills (much to my dismay) and the most exciting thing that happened all day was me scooping 12 gallons of rain water out of his sandbox because I forgot to cover it.

Here's my boy proudly displaying the sticker he earned at his 18-month doctor's appointment this morning. (He's wearing the sticker in a more conventional manor in the top photo.)

The appointment went well - only one shot this time! He's weighing in at 22 pounds 6 ounces (10th percentile) and is 32.75 inches tall (50th percentile). His scrawn didn't seem to worry the doctor as much this time, although he did inquire after Andrew's Pediasure intake. I had to reply in the negatory, since although Andrew has no objection to guzzling soapy tub water or eating an entire tube of chap stick, he will have nothing to do with Pediasure. (Trying to get rid of the stuff, I pawned a bottle off on Uncle Bradley during his visit, touting its weight-gaining properties. The man who lived for months on MREs and ate baby octopus pasta in Germany had to hold his breath in order to get the one bottle down, then shook his head decidedly when another was offered.) The doctor then had the gall to tell me, after my selling several rather important body organs to buy this stuff, that Carnation Instant Breakfast ($1.99 a box) would do the same thing and suggested I give it a try. Nice.

The pediatrician's office has 2 doctors, and really, they're both great. That said, I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get Dr. Rich today. I love Dr. Rich. I want Dr. Rich to be my friend and come hang out and give me free doctorly advice. When I ask Dr. Rich a question, she looks at me as though I'm not a complete idiot for asking, thoughtfully considers her reply, then shares it with me in a manner that indicates that she really cares. Today I had a question for the other guy. This is how our conversation went down:

Me: "Dr. Man, I was wondering what advice you might give me about blah."

Dr: (sprinting for the door as though he would win a large car for completing our visit in 12 seconds) "Blah? Just do blah. He'll scream bloody murder for about 3 days or so and then he'll be fine."

He did, however, find the time to squeeze in some very helpful advice such as "always hold his hand when he's playing in the street" and "don't leave him alone when he's teetering on a precipice."

In other news, His Preciousness seems to really enjoy wearing things on his hands, and since his mittens weren't close by he decided to accessorize his new outfit (thank you Auntie!) with a pair of my socks. They're no ear monkeys to be sure, but fun in their own special way.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

For $50 I'd Put My Face In Their Soup And Blow

We're home once again, this time from a glorious trip to Fountain Place to visit my Aunt Amy, Uncle Mark, and cousins Brent and Ashton. I have the best family. They are beautiful, loving, kind ... and most importantly, gosh darned hilarious!

It took the Precious about 2.8 seconds to decide that Mommy was a completely optional accessory as long as His Ash was close at hand. Isn't she gorgeous?

And First-Cousin-Once-Removed Brent received a huge grin each time he entered the room. Andrew was soon reaching out for him as well. When Brent would sit on the floor, Andrew would circle him, wide-eyed, trying to figure out the hair. Actually, I'm convinced Brent is actually bald, and the brown curls are just his brains seeping out. (Do not, and I repeat, do NOT sit in a room with him while he's watching Jeopardy unless you want to be freaked out - kinda like that scene in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray can answer the question before it makes it out of Trebek's pie hole.)

Here Brent taught him how to link together monkeys (from the Barrel of Monkeys).

This must have made quite an impression, because the next day Andrew decided wearing the monkeys around his ears was really cool. If one fell off, he'd immediately request that it be put back and then sit incredibly still while I acquiesced.

He fell in love with Ashton's toy cash register from back in the day. He actually went into my bag, found my wallet, unzipped the change pocket (I had not idea he knew where the change was or how to open it), then put all my change in the cash register. See the little red monkey hand peeking out there?

Here's my boy munching on a ginger-lemon cream at tea time.

And Ashton gave him his first Oreo, which was quite a hit.

Among the many delights of staying with the Sandersons is my Auntie's cooking. Everything she makes is superb. The list of delicacies I enjoyed over the weekend includes, but is not limited to, the following:

- unbelievable lasagna, whose construction involved a 2-hour sauce simmering episode and a bechamel sauce (and I might mention that the first ingredient in the recipe is bacon)

- creamy potato soup made from actual potatoes (and garnished with a smattering of bacon)

- pressed chicken sandwiches with cheese, homemade pesto sauce, and, oh yes, bacon

Andrew helped out in the kitchen by stacking soup cans. He actually made some pretty impressive towers!

With all the fun to be had, it's not surprising that Mr. Scooter Bicks decided to wake up every night around midnight, just to make sure cool things weren't happening without him. In an effort to keep him asleep our last evening there, Phil and I made beds for ourselves in the den while the Precious had the entire guest room to himself.

(It didn't work ....)

My Great-Aunt Nancy, Great Uncle Foster, and my cousin (once removed?) Laurie and her daughter Ashley (second cousin? Help me Brent...) were in the area and stopped in for supper on Friday night. I haven't seen them since my wedding 8 years ago, but since I have figs for brains, I don't have a single picture from that evening.

It was really difficult to leave all the family fun. I miss them all and wish they lived down the street (or perhaps I wish I lived down the street from them since their neighborhood is WAY cooler.) We stopped at a Steak-N-Shake on the way home to drown our sorrows. Andrew decided to put in his application for milk shake tester.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tell Me What You Need, Senior Pride, Senior Pride

And we're back! Andrew and I had a wonderful time with Rachel and Weatherson. They live in the most adorable home, and I'm frustrated with myself now that I didn't take more pictures so you could all take in the coziness with me. The warm cottage was especially appreciated since the temperature actually dipped to -13 our last day there (wind chill factor bringing it to -27). Rachel did her best to sell me on the glories of living in Minneapolis, but I told her I really couldn't bring myself to move to a place that required the ownership of "ice tools." One morning she told me to stand outside after my shower while my hair was still wet, promising that it would freeze in no more than 10 seconds. I took her word for it.

The flights. Well, let me just say that I'm really excited that Phil will be traveling with us on our next airplane adventure. I had put all my hope into the idea that Andrew would be transfixed with Baby Einstein on the portable DVD player, but there was a problem with the battery and it wouldn't come on. Not even a flicker. I'm am grateful beyond words that there was an empty seat on the way there, or some poor soul would most likely have strapped himself to the wing in order to escape the madness. My attempt at photographing Andrew's first flight will speak for itself:

We got the DVD player fixed for the trip home, but with only one seat, no nap and an outrageous amount of time sitting on the tarmac, it was still an adventure. All things considered, Andrew handled it all amazingly well. He was just ... busy. :-)

One day, the temperature hit, like, 10, so we decided to venture outside. Andrew wasn't quite sure what to think of the snow suit. Weatherson, however, thought the whole thing was splendid.

A kind soul lent us the snow suit and boots. Unfortunately, the boots were a little big and wouldn't stay on when Andrew tried to walk, and sitting in a pile of snow didn't impress him as much as I'd hoped. But at 10 degrees, Rachel and I decided a short time in the snow was enough.

The one kink in the whole visit was that I decided to come down with a bad case of the bubonic plague on Thursday night. This was terribly unlucky since Rachel had fixed BLT's (one of my favorite things), and we had plans to watch Mean Girls together. Instead Rachel spent the evening on the phone with Ask-A-Nurse trying to figure out if I needed to go to the ER while I lay in the fetal position on the pull out couch she made up for me so I could be near the bathroom/not wake up The Precious. Up until this point Rachel's hospitality had been impeccable. But now, in my time of need, she denied me the one solitary thing I asked her to do: Smother me with a pillow. I think I even said "please."

Here's a picture of my death bed and the bucket kept close at hand. I knew you'd want to see.

In the end, I did not need to go to the ER, was better by morning and eventually forgave Rachel her selfishness. The following evening consisted of a fabulous beef stew, warm chocolate chip cookies and High School Musical II.

Thank you Rachel and Weatherson for such a wonderful visit! We miss you loads already and can't wait to see you again!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gentlemen, I Wash My Hands Of This Weirdness

My Precious had his first professional hair cut this morning! I had planned to take him to the spot where his friend Skeezix goes - a place that actually has the word "Salon" in the title and where we might have chosen to have a wee baby pedicure done while we were at it. But alas, they were closed this morning when I called. In need of a change of scenery and an escalator ride, we headed to our local mall were I made the spontaneous decision to take him to ... wait for it ... Badd Boyz Barber Shop.

I was certain the flat screen TVs, view of the mall fountain and neon blue, well, everything, would serve to distract him and keep him still. I was as wrong as wrong could be. He completely freaked out. Our barber, Mr. Richard, was so kind and gentle and did his best to quell his fears (offering to let him hold his comb, showing him the clippers, attempting to turn the television to cartoons ...), but ultimately I had to sit in the chair with him and press his head into my chest. He was a pitiful, sodden mess by the end, but he looked so handsome. A few minutes sitting by the fountain were enough to bring back the smile.

Mr. Richard gave him his first lolly pop as a peace offering, and for quite a while, he just carried it around with him. When he finally decided to give it a taste, however, it did not come back out of his mouth ...

... until it was down to a nub.

We leave for Minneapolis on Wednesday and get to visit with our dear friends (Rachel and sweet baby Weatherson) until Saturday. I checked the weather report, and the high on Friday is 1. ONE. As in almost no degrees at all. I think the low is something absurd like -11, which I cannot even bring myself to discuss. Phil will be in Boca Raton.

In order to toughen us up for these inhuman temperatures, I decided we would take a walk this afternoon even though the temperature had actually dipped below 50. We bundled up. We survived. We are mighty, mighty warriors.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Don't Say "Blast" and "Wretch"

Andrew taking a rest in Shiloh's bed

We've been discovering recently how closely Our Precious is watching us, and his imitations are really fun (and sometimes scary). As you may have gathered, I very much enjoy a cup of hot tea and indulge at least twice a day. To my wonder and delight, Andrew is also a fan and has added "tea" to his short list of words. He'll point to my cup, occasionally actually say "tea," then pat his chest when I ask if he's like some. If it's only lukewarm, I let him drink from the cup, but most often I give him cooled sips from a teaspoon. Below is a video and a picture (for mom and Great Nanabai, who can't see the videos).

While my family was visiting, I got all fancy and put a candle in the middle of the kitchen table to light during our meals together. Well, TCBITW took quite a fancy to the candle and the whole lighting process, so now we have to light the candle for every meal, tea time, snack and sometimes just because we feel like it.

He was desperate to hold the matches himself, so I gave him a box to play with while I fixed his lunch. I mean, he's not going to know what to do with them, right?

So I give my 1-year-old hot, caffeinated beverages and let him play with matches. Oh, and did I mention that he also loves eating food off the tip of a knife? (A butter knife, but it still has a pleasing pirateyness to it.) But I'm not the only bad influence around here ... take a look at Phil taking a drag from the candy cigarettes he got in his Christmas stocking. Erin, do you feel this should go on the custody report, or the supervised visitation report?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Guy Lombardo Didn't Play The Clarinet

We have been having the most lovely warm weather here the past couple of days - mid 70's! The Precious has been soaking up some wonderful outdoor time since his mom is a big old weenie who sits huddled in front of the stove wearing a parka when it gets below 60. (Side note: Precious and I are taking a trip to visit Rachel and Weatherson next week in MINNEAPOLIS ... there just aren't enough clothes in the world.)

One of Andrew's favorite activities of late is to water the flowers. He can spend at least 30 minutes just going to the faucet where I let a few dribbles go into the can (don't turn me in, Erin!), then running back to the potted flowers to delicately smash them with the spout.

A very conscientious and detailed gardener, he also enjoys looking through the bushes in search of stray leaves. Here you see his triumph at having saved the bush from a tiny shred of dried foliage.

And puddles are so much fun!!!

Question: Why do dogs enjoy rolling in disgusting filth? I mean, other than the fact that they have brains the size of chickpeas, is there something in doggy nature that compels them to do this? It took me the longest time to figure out where the vile stench was coming from yesterday. The bottom of my shoe? The trash bin? Did something die in the sand box? Then I look into the sweet, brown eyes of the dog trying to crawl into my lap. He's so proud. It's as if he's saying, "Mom, I know you're not going to believe this, but I think I just found the stinkiest pile of poo in the whole worl-, no, the whole solar system! Here, I rubbed a big glob into my neck fur just for you. Take a whiff. Isn't it magnificent?!"

Shiloh and Andrew both got long baths last night. I feel like a good mom when TCBITW has a day filled with dirt and sand and puddles. (I do not feel like a good mom, however, when I spray his bath mat with bleach, forget to rinse it before his bath, then wonder for days why his bottom is dry, red and itchy.)

Please continue to pray for our friends Allen and Gillian and their children Joseph and Holly. They are currently in Memphis where 3-year-old Joseph begins treatment for an aggressive brain tumor today. We miss you guys!