Thursday, May 28, 2009

A moment's panic

A seasoned parent would recognize the different emotions you feel when you lose sight of your child even for only a couple of minutes, in my case, in an unfamiliar city, outside my country, without the Good Man by my side, on the 3rd floor of a mall at a kids play zone enclosed by a short wall. Mostly you remember your heart skipping a beat when you look up after strapping your younger child in the stroller and realizing that his brother is not where you expect him to be. You quickly scan the area where you last saw him. Not there. And then your eyes dart from play structure to play structure trying to penetrate them, hoping to see his laughing face pop out from behind them suddenly. Then you feel your heart rise up to your throat as you find yourself running madly through the play area, this time only looking for a blue and yellow striped shirt knowing that it is the most identifiable thing about him in a place full of smiling, giggling boys his age. You hear yourself calling his name, his first and last, like you often do when you're displeased with his behaviour. And your eyes begin to well up with tears because there is no sign of him but you fight back the urge to cry because you think it would only cloud your vision. Thoughts of abduction, pedophiles and other crazy scenarios race through your head. Then you remember your other child, the one that's securely fastened to the double stroller inside the play area, a no-stroller zone, in front of a group of moms that you deemed safe, a decision made in half a second in your moment of panic. Your eyes travel from the elevator to the tables surrounding the play area and back to the elevator but there is still no sign of him. Finally you begin to feel that your child is truly lost, out of reach, when you see his face appear among a crowd of bodies. He's walking towards you from outside the playzone and you hear a panicked voice, another mom, scolding her daughter for walking out of the playzone by herself. Your arms encircle your child. You feel relief and anger all at once. You hold back the tears and reach deep to find calmness so as not to frighten him and talk to him about never ever, ever leaving without you ever again. All the while you feel your bottom lip quivering and know that you failed to hide the terror that is still evident in your eyes because now your child is crying a little and he tells you that he only wanted to "go down the steps". So you pick him up and hug him tightly and you feel your shoulders beginning to relax. You tell him how scared you were when you couldn't find him and make him promise to never disappear like that again. Ever.

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Sunday, May 17, 2009

priceless moment #1: beach in a box

Plastic box with lid ... $12.96

Two bags of sand ... $ 5.94

Mini steel dump truck & front-end loader ... $17.98

Beach in a box to keep two brothers occupied and happy while mommy (the non-gardener) does some much needed weeding and pruning in the garden for a few days ... PRICELESS

The first day I tried to garden the boys followed me around with their shovels. I thought they were playing very well until I realized that they had dug up a couple of pail loads of decorative stones/rocks (ground cover) from the garden and dumped them on our patio.

Time to get a sandbox to keep my shovel-happy boys occupied.

I went online and was mortified to find that I had to part with at least $50 to score a plastic animal-shaped sandbox with a lid. I also found a monster plastic construction sandbox that came complete with a plastic excavator arm, a plastic dump bucket and a plastic lid that doubled as a rugged play surface for plastic construction vehicles (shown online but not included with the monster price tag).

A small cheap box with a lid, some sand and a couple of well-made construction vehicles. Now that's more like it. Ahhhh. Weeds begone!

Friday, May 15, 2009

confessions of a potty pimp

"Just two squirts and plop and you can have Annie & Clarabel."

It's hard to believe it has come to this. I have truly reached a mommy low as I find myself pimping Thomas the tank engine & his friends in an attempt to get Little Dude to poop on the potty. Every night after bath, his potty chair gets filled with pee but it has yet to feel the warmth of his poo. During the day, his diaper would have to be hanging below his knees from the weight of his pee before he admits to needing his diaper changed. As for doing number 2, he prefers to squat under the breakfast table with his head down and both hands gripping his highchair.

The potty chart with its cute magnetic tokens that came with a book I bought months ago didn't so much as get an interested glance from Little Dude. Phhht. I get stickers when I grace Starbucks with my mere presence. Why go potty for silly magnets? his eyes seemed to challenge the chart.

So I modified the potty chart. Got Little Dude to pick out his favourite trains from a free catalogue. Cut the pictures out and glued them onto yellow paper. Drew circles for poops and squares for pee. Defined the terms for getting each train. Threw in a pee-only prize for encouragement. Got Little Dude to repeat the terms. And with an exuberant "Let's go potty!" from Little Dude, he was off to the washroom to make a rare daytime potty chair visit.

His pee hit the plastic with gusto, making a noise similar to that of a very localized torrential downpour. He even grunted a few times in an attempt to add poop to the slightly yellow pool already collected in the bowl. But no luck. He had already released his morning gift earlier.

We celebrated his daytime potty squirt. Little Dude took a moment to decide where he wanted to put the magnet which eventually found a home on one of the Annie & Clarabel squares. Then off he went to play with his train set, day-dreaming of the coming of new train friends.

That was about a week ago. Little Dude now (and not unlike pre-revised-potty-chart days) greets the suggestion of potty time with a firm "no". When I remind him about the potty chart, he may or may not be convinced to go. When he does sit on the P chair, it is only to pee. He also moved the first pee magnet out of the Annie & Clarabel section in order to reach the piddle quota for Henry (the pee-only prize). Little Dude is clearly disgruntled with each day's absence of his beloved Annie & Clarabel and, perhaps, the realization that he now has to poop at least once on the potty to be rewarded with more trains.

Last night after the Good Man put Little Dude to bed, I heard repeated screams of "I have to poop on the potty!" He sat. He grunted. He peed. And, I tucked him back into bed praising him for telling me that he had to go. I'm still undecided whether that was a bedtime stall tactic or a genuine attempt in letting lose that elusive plop on the potty.

I know I should be happy ... count my blessings, that sort of thing. Little Dude has made some progress. Total success doesn't happen overnight. Yada yada yada. But I can't seem to shake the thought of having turned my son into a potty whore. And if he is that, then I am his pimp driving him to exchange his bodily excretions for little wooden trains with hideous faces.

I still believe that he will get there when he is ready. I'm just cursing myself for starting something that I don't want to finish. Presenting Little Dude with Annie & Clarabel in the absence of a poop-filled potty seems like a step backwards. So I plod forward.

What compelled me to engage in potty bribery in the first place? I did it because changing messy poopy diapers is tedious, boring, stinky, disgusting, nauseating and, after 3 years, I've simply had enough of it. And, because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

a mom's morning

At around 5:30 this morning, I heard the Good Man get up to settle LittleR Dude back to sleep. Ahhh. Thank you, I thought. I had already been up an hour earlier. I closed my eyes again only to be startled by shrieks of protest and the sound of soothers (his most precious possessions) being thrown out of the crib, hitting the wall and hardwood floor, the moment the Good Man walked in his room. Hmmm ... LittleR Dude is still not himself. I fumbled for my eyeglasses and pulled myself out of bed.

LittleR Dude and I spent the next couple of hours in the guest bedroom. I laid down with him in my arms hoping that he would grace me with another hour of sleep before fully waking up.

I dozed in and out of slumber. I don't sleep well with a child next to me. I was always afraid of crushing both my boys when they were infants. And the sputtering, squeaking and other baby noises they made kept me awake and annoyed. Now, it's the snoring and little elbows in the face that drive me crazy. And I'm still scared to death of crushing them.

Later, I was awakened by a semi-hard object hitting my head. LittleR Dude was handing me the remote. We don't have cable in the guest room. I hit "play" hoping that the train video was in the all-in-one tv/vcr so I didn't have to get up. It was. I hoped for a few more minutes of sleep. But by this time LittleR Dude was making running commentaries of what he was seeing on the video.

"Train, mommy, train. Choo, choo. Red train. Red train. Light, mommy, light"


From outside the room, I heard the plodding of little feet. The door burst open. Little Dude climbed up on the bed beside me.

"Happy Mother's Day," the Good Man grinned.

Little Dude also wished me, "Happy Mother's Day!" Then he handed me his blue car, smiled and repeated, "Happy Mother's Day, mommy."

I accepted his gift, thanked and kissed him. Life is sweet.

Seconds later, the blue car was back in Little Dude's hands. It was a temporary gift. The Good Man and I smiled at each other and we all piled out of the room.

And that was the beginning and end of Mother's Day for me this year. Not Hallmark material but sweet, nonetheless.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Dear Blog: It's been 6 days since my last entry. I'm typing quickly as my moments of lucidity have been coming in 5 min waves lately. My babes haven't been sleeping well and neither have I. This is normal for Little Dude but for LittleR Dude it is far from it.

LittleR Dude seems to be going through a shift. The nights where I can plop him in his crib awake and not hear from him until the next morning feel long gone. Replacing my awesome sleeper is a toddler who morphs into cling-wrap the moment I take him near his crib. When I've finally coaxed him into releasing his vise-like grip around my neck and have laid him down, he allows me to sit on the rocking chair while he relaxes himself into deep sleep. Any attempts to sneak out of the room before he is fully asleep will be met with ear-splitting, heart-wrenching cries. We repeat this process 2-3 times a night and by 6:30 he is ready to start his day.

It feels like all the makings of separation anxiety but why now after months of being the most perfect sleeper imaginable?

Yesterday, he woke up from his nap in full tantrum mode. He was utterly inconsolable. He did not want to be picked up nor did he seem to want to be in his crib. I held him in my arms because it made me feel better. Because I didn't know what else to do. It felt like an eternity before he finally stopped screaming and was hiccupping and sobbing more quietly in my lap.

It wasn't that long ago when the sight of me would make him stop crying. I don't understand this shift. I feel helpless.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

photos for grandma & grandpa

A Facebook friend slammed my last post and made this wall comment, "Loved the pics, but the text was too damn sappy. Keep it real baby." To which, I laughed and hope that he finds the text attached to this second (and final) series of photos oozing with sappiness.

* * * * * *
Dear Grandma & Grandpa,

Yesterday, we played outside with water and this plastic tube thing that you fill up and then drops of water come out of the bottom. LittleR Dude played with it for like forever.

Then he heard a plane go by and started looking around for it and got all wet. Good thing mommy put him in a splashsuit today.

I wanted to play with the awning but my mommy kept nagging me not to touch the twirly thing coz it could come off the hinge and land on my head. Whatever. I did this for like forever.
LittleR Dude finally dropped the plastic tube thing and started drawing stuff on the ground with wet chalk and kept complaining that his fingers were "ditty". He did this over and over again for like forever.

I played with the boats in my brand new super huge waterway system that took mommy and daddy like forever to build. LittleR Dude and I learned some new words that night but we're not allowed to say them.

Then it was time to go in to have lunch and LittleR Dude started putting all the stuff away in the bucket, singing "clean up, clean up". He's such a neat freak.

Today, I got to twirl LittleR Dude around and around on daddy's office chair.

Then LittleR Dude got hurt somehow. I didn't do it. Anyway, I kissed him better.

Then, I got to sit on the chair too while mommy spun us around and around for like forever.

We love you & miss you,

Little Dude & LittleR Dude

P.S. I can't wait to play with your trains when we come to visit this summer Grandpa.

P.S.S. Mommy says to tell you that, "Yup. That's me standing under the awning next to a very dead Christmas tree shaped rosemary plant." She has all kinds of Christmas stuff all over the house still and it hasn't been Christmas for like forever.