Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Scene from Dinner

I don't know about you, but sometimes I have those moments of "I can't believe this is my family". I guess that could be a good thing if your family member has just done something like won a Penn-Faulkner award, or a Nobel peace prize or built an airplane out of recycled tinfoil.

Alas, none of the above happened. This happened instead: we were gathered around the dinner table and Aiden was refusing to eat anything. This happens occasionally and I usually say "well you're sure going to be hungry by breakfast!" and let him continue on his hunger strike. Sean really doesn't like to see Aiden refusing to eat. I got up to get something to drink and return to the table to see Aiden eating cut up meat out of Sean's hand. It was exactly like that scene out of A Christmas Story when the mom let's Ralphie eat his mashed potatoes like a dog, just so he'll eat. Sean's going on and on about what a good puppy Aiden is, and Aiden thinks it's hilarious and keeps eating food out his palm. I could not believe what I was seeing.

To make it even better, Aiden reached out to grab something and Sean said "Wow, this puppy even has extendable arms!".
I looked at him blankly. What are 'extendable arms'? Sensing my confusion, he clarified his statement by saying: "I meant disposable thumbs!".

I can't believe this is my family.

(To reference another movie, sometimes I feel like Goldie Hawn in "Overboard", especially on days like this. I'm certain I was meant to be lounging on my yacht, not scraping barbequed sausage out of a child's hair.)

A portrait of my nearly feral child and his master

If I didn't love them so darn much I'd say God sent me the wrong ones.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Technology Public Service Announcement

So, I'm not great with technology, I'm okay since I know enough to keep up this blog, but compared to many people my age I have average to low tech savvy. Sean and I don't even text message on our cell phones, we simply use them as phones. Barbaric right?

Anyway, I kept hearing all about these 'podcasts' on Itunes and I ignored them because what is a podcast anyway? Apparently it's a show that anyone can record on their own and upload for others to listen to. How do yo do that? I don't know.

I downloaded one last summer because it was free, which is the right price to get me interested in something, and it was so cool. I started out downloading episodes of A Prairie Home Companion (because I'm an old lady who love Garrison Keillor) , but I found a bunch of different shows that are also down-loadable for free.

So far, I've found a really funny show written by two moms about parenting, but I've also listened to Norman History, The Life of George III, Mandarin Chinese Lessons, Cafe French Lessons, and a bunch of short stories for Aiden (yes, I realize I have eclectic taste). The cool thing is that they're all free! Why spend hundreds of dollars on Rosetta Stone, when you can download free language lessons from Itunes?

I tried to get Sean into it by showing him the podcasts from the Wharton School of Business. They also have radio shows from the 30's and 40's, and even a podcast of Lance Armstrong coaching you through an hour long bike ride! How cool is that?

Anyway, I'm going nuts for them. Sean still isn't interested, but if you have Itunes you should check it out.

He Got to Lick the Spoon

Here's a picture of Aiden after we made chocolate pudding together. I've discovered that he'll sit very quietly on the counter top and watch me bake, so we've started baking in the afternoons. The only problem is that now we have tons of cookies, breads, puddings and pie. And someone is going to have to eat it all.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Trying to Beat the Heat

I try to bring Aiden out to one of the million parks here at least three days a week. Otherwise, he has so much pent up energy that he starts acting like a cave man. However, I don't know if I've mentioned it before but: IT'S REALLY HOT HERE. I can only stand on a sunny, sweltering playground for so long before I start going crazy myself.

One option would be to start bringing him to the beach, but taking Aiden to the beach is a very long, dirty process that involves multiple changes of clothes, about four towels per person, a gallon of sunblock and several chaperons just to make sure he doesn't get lost/sunburned/sand in his eyes. I can't do that without Sean.

Aha, our apartment complex has a pool! Easy solution, except it's been closed for over a week (I have no idea why).

So, that left us with the sprinkler area at the park. The park here has a whole rubber floored section where they've installed about twelve fountains and geysers of various sizes. We'd noticed that once June started the playground was deserted and everyone was over there. So, we decided to check it out today.

When we first arrived it was pretty empty, with lots of little guys and gals toddling around through the water. Aiden was a little nervous and clung to me while carefully exploring. Then, naturally, three whole buses of school kids unloaded and the place turned into a jungle of screaming children. Aiden loved running around and splashing with all of the other kids, but it turned me into a nervous wreck (I forgot how gross it can be to stand in ankle deep water with a bunch of strangers. Where have their feet been?! This is why I hate water parks.).

Checking out the scene

It started out calm and refreshing, with everyone sharing the fountains nicely, but as it happens with most parties, everything kind of got out of control. It ended up with Aiden getting trampled twice by seven year old girls, me getting splashed by a group of boys trying to karate chop the water, and somebody nearly stepping on a little guy who couldn't even walk yet. Yes, I snapped up Aiden, marched to our stuff, and headed back to the car.

Why, hello every summer camp in the Charleston area, nice to meet you!

Somehow, despite getting stepped on and splashed, Aiden LOVED it. He was so sad to leave, and I almost felt bad, but I was getting really annoyed with the screaming and splashing and knocking into each other. Yeah, I really feel like a grumpy old lady after today. I remember when all of that was so much fun: when you're a kid it never occurs to you that shouting at the tops of your lungs might bother someone, or that grown-ups get nervous when you start roughhousing with your friends on a hard, slippery surface.

It's okay mom, I've got this

Despite my own feeling about it, I know we'll be back because he was so comfortable with the other kids and had such a blast. Hopefully it won't be quite so crowded next time, but I guess I'm going to have to get over it: we've got a lot of this coming in the next sixteen years.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nai Nai???

That's what Aiden calls Sean's mom: Nai Nai (I think I spelled it right), because that means father's mother in Chinese. Anyway, she came to visit this weekend but didn't get in until late Friday night. So early Saturday morning Aiden stumbles out of his room, sees her sleeping on the couch, and tiptoes into our room and asks "Nai Nai? There?" just to make sure this person was in fact his grandma and not some other person asleep on the couch. We assured him that , yes, it is she, and the non-stop weekend of fun began.

We took him to see Toy Story 3 that morning. I am the mother of a two year old, who's favorite words are "Buzz movie!", so I was convinced that it would be sold out and we'd have to find some other activity for that morning. I made sure we got to the theater extra early, to avoid the inevitable Toy Story frenzy. Of course when we got there the parking lot was empty and we were the only people in the theater. I really feel like I need my friends to come visit because if I've seriously started thinking the biggest thing happening in Hollywood right now is an animated cowboy doll, then I think I need some grown up time.

It was Aiden's first move theater experience and he loved it. It was in 3D so I sort of had to hold his glasses onto his face the whole time, while covering his ears because it was so loud. There was one scary scene where he leaped into my arms, but other than that he loved it. Sean and I, on the other hand, found it to be pretty sad. The first movie was released when we were kids, so now that this last one has the main character all grown up and leaving for college really struck a chord with us. The last ten minutes are SO SAD. They're supposed to be uplifting and hopeful but for me it was just so so sad.

After that adventure we went to the Charleston Crab Shack for dinner and it was delicious. We ordered way more food than we could eat, including a crab pot which is a whole pot of crab legs and mussels and sausage and corn and potatoes. It was so wonderful and a perfect end to Sean's mom's visit.

However, all of the pictures of it are on her camera, so instead I'll leave you with some pictures of Aiden decorating himself.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Last Week

The temperature has been hovering around100, with plenty of humidity, so that the heat index sits at a blistering 110-115. The heat broke today, and 95 has never felt so cool and refreshing. Also, this past week we've been continuing the potty training adventure. Those two factors have kept us inside most of the time.

I scream: the only appropriate food for this kind of weather

The potty training is finally starting to work. After two grueling days of constant supervision and ridiculous amounts of patience on my part, he's getting it!!! I feel like I've just won the Nobel prize or cured some terrible disease by the amount of pride I have in myself. I realize it's probably all him, but the fact that I've been able to bit my tongue every time I've wanted to scream in frustration seems like a huge accomplishment for me. We're both learning new tricks!

He's not 100% done with the whole process. He'll have four or five straight days with no accidents and then two days of apathy towards it that usually results in an accident or two and then back to loving it. However, I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Also, he's okay with public restrooms which means we can actually venture out into the world (although we had a near tragic incident with an automatic flush toilet that I thought was going to scar him for life, but he's over it now).

Another factor that's improving the mood around here: SKYPE! We got our Skype (video chat) set up last month and we've been able to talk to Laura and my mother face to face (or screen to screen) which both Aiden and I love. He gets to see Grandma and Papa and Laura every few days now, which he looks forward to a lot.

Hi Grandma!

We'll be out and about again this week now that the potty is less of an issue and the heat is more bearable. Viva la potty!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Please, Thank You, and Most Importantly: I'm Sorry

Aiden has been learning to say 'please' and 'thank you' after hearing Sean and I repeat them over and over. No matter what he does, whether it's pick up his toys when I ask or just handing me a book to read, I always say 'thank you'. At first he started saying them but he got them all mixed up. I'd hand him a full cup of milk and he'd say 'please!'. He'd carefully put away all of his toys and say 'thank you mommy'. It was sort of funny, like he was thanking us for instilling a little discipline, even though we'd repeat 'thank you' right after him. We knew he was understanding when to say the magic words, but he didn't quite understand them yet.

The other day I was cooking dinner and he was doing something annoying and potentially unsafe like slamming cabinet doors. I was distracted with the hot stove and instead of calmly asking him to stop I turned around and snapped at him to STOP RIGHT NOW!!!

He looked up at me with those big toddler eyes and very quietly said "Sorry Mommy".

I almost cried! I felt so bad for yelling at him, but he was so sweet and seemed to genuinely understand that one important concept of "I'm sorry". I made sure to say it myself that time.

Sorry Mommy!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Broadway Baby

Aiden has a new-found love of singing. Any kind of song, preferably one that repeats or has hand motions, and he's all set. He can't pronounce the words too clearly yet but he sings with his heart. Recently he's learned the Do-Re-Mi song from "The Sound of Music".

Apparently, I'm doing a good job of teaching him the house rules: when he gets to "Fa: a long, long way to run" he starts chanting "NO RUNNING! NO RUNNING!"

Here he is getting through a little more of the song:

Yep, look for him on Broadway in about 20 years.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Like Training for a Marathon, Only Harder

Aiden graciously shared his new underwear with the dog.

Since we are all settled and comfortable and well into our South Carolina six month vacation of fun, and I no longer have to worry about graduating from college, I've found new things to worry about. This always happens, I'm convinced that if I could just take care of one big issue then I would be stress free. Except then I find something new to worry over.

Right now it's potty training. We were considering sending Aiden to preschool when we come home in November, in which case I wanted him to be potty trained. However, now we're thinking we may just enroll him in a music or tumbling class in addition to library time instead. Nevertheless, I'm all gung-ho about potty training whatever we end up doing this fall.

I read all of the material I could find, half of which says kids are physically ready by 18 months, while the other half says they'll tell you when they're ready. Well, Aiden has taken to telling us exactly when he needs to go and occasionally getting out of his diaper so that he could go sit on the potty and go. Pretty clear signs he's more than ready right? Seems that way to me.

So Sean went out and bought him a super sized package of Cars themed underwear (which is SO CUTE. ) and one morning I put them on him and explained that he could wear them since he kept pulling off his diaper to go potty. This didn't work. No matter how much I monitored him he would just go in the underwear. He didn't want to sit on the potty, he didn't even want to go near the potty.

So three days later he went back to diapers (which I've now read is the ultimate no-no, but whatever). Well, as of yesterday he's started yanking off the diaper to get to the potty. Not consistently, but pretty often. What the heck?! What am I supposed to do now? I want to keep encouraging him doing so while he's still in a diaper seems silly. Pull-Ups do nothing either, they're just another diaper to him. I am so lost!!!

I asked my mother what she did and she says she can't really remember but that it wasn't fun and it took a long time (another reason for starting now, so it doesn't drag on for a year). I don't really like the whole 'timer' method because it doesn't work for him, he'll just kick and scream, and because I want him to know to go when he feels it, not just every half hour. Skittles didn't work because he just ended up begging for skittles all day. The underwear, although he LOVED them, didn't work either.

Seriously, I'd like to hire a potty training coach. Maybe THEY could figure it out.