Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sweetest Little Devil

When Aiden was born, the first weeks that followed left me wondering what we were in for, because it certainly seemed like I was unqualified. He was a bewildering creature that I was desperate to figure out. Then we got to know him, and life got easier. He could communicate a little, we developed a schedule, and he has been generally an easy going guy.

Then there are days like Tuesday, where I feel like I've been thrust back into those first weeks, feeling totally clueless as a parent. His last three teeth are all coming in at once, and it's been really hard for him, and in turn hard for me.

The day started out with him biting me so hard it nearly drew blood. This is a side effect of the teething, but still totally unacceptable, and it was one of those moments where I had to keep reminding myself that I'm the adult. I can deal with crying, messy diapers, and having someone cling to my leg, but being bit? Bit really hard? That's awful. Needless to say, it was a bad start to a bad day.

Then there was the awful scene of Aiden having an accident on the rug while I was trying to get his diaper on him. And, of course, mid accident he takes off running into the other room, leaving a horribly unsanitary trail behind him.

And then, while I was wrestling the chicken into the roasting pan before dinner, I turn to find him ripping up three packages of flash cards all over the rug. When he sees me coming to clean it up he starts ripping faster, and tossing the pieces with more vigor, as if he needed to get as much mess making in before I ruined it.

These incidents were just the creme filling in a day of screaming, tears and absolutely no nap taking.

When he was finally in bed I sat down, completely dazed by how strange and unpleasant the day had been. I was thinking back over everything that had happened, starting to wonder if this was a new phase, and what if tomorrow was like this again? The idea totally exhausted me.

Then I found this picture and it made me smile. It was taken over the weekend, when Sean was home, and everything seems much funnier and lighthearted when Sean's here. When I called him to tell him about the day it already started to feel like something I'd look back on and laugh. And luckily, he was an angel the next day.

Even though I know toddlers have bad days, they just seem much worse than everyone else's because, y'know, toddlers bite. So, next time you have a bad day at work be glad your boss and coworkers aren't teething.

Monday, July 20, 2009

To Grandmother's House We Go

Yesterday afternoon we visited with my mom while she was working in her garden. It was a nice changed to be able to sit and read the paper on the lawn, while Aiden entertained himself with scooping up armfuls of pulled weeds and depositing them carefully in the back of the cart. Occasionally he'd get a little carried away and a stray tool would get tossed in along with the weeds.

Then grandpa came out to mow the lawn and gosh what a loud noise that made....

It's amazing how quickly his fear can turn into curiosity. He suddenly wants to know all about the very thing that scared him. See it, touch it, conquer it. That's something I think I can learn from him.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer Time, and the Livin' Is Easy

Usually, the summer weather is so hot and sweltering that by late July I'm more comfortable in the air conditioning than out in the heat. Not this summer. It started off rainy, raining at least once nearly every day. Then the rain stopped but it stayed cool and breezy. This was nice for a while, it makes being outside with Aiden much more enjoyable, but I've been missing those hot hot days lately. Today, for the first time in what has seemed like ages, it's hot and sunny.

The picture of summer.
(Of course, Aiden wouldn't have such a squinched up face if he'd wear the sunglasses I bought him)

So, we met my mom for lunch at the club, and Aiden ran and splashed and tripped and fell all over the pool while we talked and ate. It felt like a little piece of summer finally fell into place. Yes, we were definitely missing the smell of sunblock, the way a wet swimsuit sticks to the concrete, and the prickly feel of noontime sun on your neck. Those little things that usually bug me about summer have been noticably absent, and it was nice to have a little reminder that yes, it is mid July and not late September.

Little surfer...

...Little one....

...Make my heart come all undone...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Trash Man

All kids have odd habits and quirks, the things you'll love to tell their future girlfriends about, and Aiden is no different. He's obsessed with dirt. I don't mean that he wants to go out in the garden and dig, I mean that any time he sees a little piece of dirt or lint or paper that I missed with the broom he's standing over it pointing and saying "Uh oh!" generally freaking out until someone picks it up.

In our own home it's kind of funny and cute, when we're at someone else's home it's a little embarrassing to have your kid pointing out any little piece of lint on their floor, and when we're in public he's always trying to get me to pick up God-knows-what that he stumbles across.

So, the other day after he finished eating dinner, I got him down from his highchair when he saw a noodle that had landed on the ground. He beelined for it and I, still being used to the baby days when anything picked up off the ground went straight into the mouth, lunged to grab it first. Well, he got a hold of it and took off with me chasing after.

To my surprised he practically slam dunked it into the garbage.

He looked up at me, shaking his head very seriously, and said "No no no".

It's like having a very small health inspector following behind me all day. He will never hesitate to let you know you've missed a spot.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Children's Museum

Encased in a giant bubble!

His Uncles will be so proud

So, making good on the promise to involve Aiden in enriching activities this summer, Laura and I took him to the Children's Museum. Basically, it's like a educational funhouse filled with exhibits about how everyday things, like a post office or bank, work. The kids can touch everything and climb on things and it seemed like a great idea.

And then we got there, arriving to a museum packed with two preschool summer camp groups filled with screeching five year olds rocketing around and totally blind to poor Aiden. Then I rethought the trip. Eventually they exited and Aiden really got to play with everything. He loved being able to climb on things and I loved that he was meeting some other kids.

He really must have had fun because when we left and were about to load him into the car he made a break for it and sprinted down the sidewalk and nearly around the corner heading straight for the museum before I caught him.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Son of a Gun!

Mom, I totally heard that. God heard it too.

When Aiden was first born, and even when I was pregnant, I was hyper aware of the language I used and even what people around me were saying, as if his little brain were going to absorb any foul words and put them in a vault for use in kindergarten. I don't swear a lot, but I will occasionally if I'm in a particularly frustrated mood (this is something Sean likes to hold over me, as it would take a 747 dropping out of the sky and directly onto our kitchen for him to utter a swear word).

I think college is probably the culprit when it comes to my language indiscretions (I once had a professor who couldn't go two sentances without dropping an f-bomb). Being surrounded by it all day kind of makes you numb to it, which is not good when you're coming home to someone just learning words.

I have friends who have parents that always swore in front of them, but I did not. I vividly remember the only time I heard my mother swear when I was a child: she had driven my brother and I two hours to a water park only to realize she'd left her credit card at home. Only then did I catch a low whoosh of breathe that vaguely sounded like "sonofab-". I remember being in middle school the first time I ever said something you couldn't say on television and it actually made my mouth burn.

It's a sad commentary on our society that people have become so accustomed to swearing that they do it without thought, and expressing offense at it makes you look old fashioned. I'm always disappointed when I slip up, because I'm proud of having a varied and expansive vocabulary, and this type of language has become such crutch for Americans.

Needless to say, as Aiden enters into this highly impressionable period, I'm doing my best to reduce this language from 'occasionally' to 'never...except when that 747 drops out of the sky'. I'm trying to consciously replace the bad words with okay words, and I'm getting much better about it. It's still funny to hear my adult self saying things like "Cheese and rice!" "No good dirt bag!" and "Shut the front door!". (That last one is particularly satisfying to say, I don't know why, but Laura and I have fully embraced it). Other people definitly look sideways at you when you say them in public, but I'll take that any day if it means Aiden can embrace a decent vocabularly.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Going Fourth

For the 4th, since the house is starting to come together, I had some of my family and a couple friends over for a cookout. It turned into more of a cook-in as it was unseasonably cool and windy, but we eventually made it outdoors. Laura and I had a lot of fun coming up with a menu and decorating the house, although inevitably what was meant to be a long afternoon of food and drinks and enjoying the deck turned into everyone crowded around the kitchen table, inadequate seating and more food than we could've eaten in a week, which was actually pretty fun.

I had been really excited about having everyone over here, but about a half hour before everyone was supposed to get here I was wondering why on earth, after I've spent the last two weeks making sure everything is immaculate, I'd decided to have a party? But, I survived without having a coronary over spilled clam juice and smashed brownie crumbs, and everything is back to usual order.

I'm hoping that once more of the house is finished and Sean is finally home, we'll be able to have more holidays here. Right now my mother's house is typically where we all gather, and I know it'll be tough getting everyone on board and used to the idea, but I'll keep working on it. It's just a lot easier to have everyone here than packing up a carload of supplies for Aiden and trekking someplace else.

(you can click on these to enlarge them)

Baby stew: a delightful appetizer

Rice krispie treat beard

Ashley and Aiden

The infamous red wall

Talking about things with grandma

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Another perk about being home: always having someone to finish your dinner for you.