Friday, September 23, 2011

Young at Heart, And In the Face Too, Apparently.

Yesterday I was walking through the grocery store, pushing Aiden in a cart and just wandering through the produce aisle looking for garlic when a woman threw out her arm and stopped me.
"I just HAVE to ask: is he your son or your brother?". When I told her that yes, in fact, this was my child, she stared at me and said "But you look so young! I mean, you look really young, like you could be fourteen!".
I wasn't exactly sure how to respond to this so I kind of laughed and she hurriedly assured me that this was a good thing and blah blah blah. I'm sorry, someone assuming you're a 14 year old mother is not a compliment. I realize I look young, uh, because I am young, but fourteen is pushing it.
My friend Tierney has the same problem of being mistaken for younger than she is and I'll chalk some of it up to the fact that we're both short. Real short. It's just made even more awkward when you're with your child and people are giving you the sideways glance and trying to calculate in their heads.

Another time I was at a store and the cashier said "You look way too young to be a mom!" and I smiled and said "Yeah, I am too young" and just left it at that. I think the whole "you look so young!" business would be more flattering if I were 30 or 35 and looked especially young but being 23 and looking 23 (or 16 depending on the day) just feels uncomfortable.

I get this sentiment pretty frequently. No one has any qualms about commenting on my perceived age which seems so odd to me. Again, I assume it's supposed to be a compliment but it's still awkward to comment on a stranger's age or looks right? Am I being too sensitive?

The funny thing is that this has only ever happened to me here in the Northeast. When we lived in Charleston, South Caroline (a city with a lot of military families), a lot of the other moms were in their early to mid-twenties so I was completely normal. I never felt out of place or like I was considerably younger than anyone. It's a definitely a cultural thing since the average age of first time moms is still 25, not crazy far off from where I was.

Anyway, I guess I should learn to just smile and say 'thanks' but I do hope people will stop acting so flabbergasted that I have a child if we have another one!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Bushel and A Peck

On Saturday we went apple picking which is a fall tradition we missed out on last year since we were still in South Carolina where fall doesn't exist. My mom and I like to go early in the season because that's when her favorite, Macintosh, are ripe. Sean is on night shift this week so we'll have to go again with him although he could care less about the apples and only wants to know what kind of apple cider donut crop we'll be having this year.

It was unusually cold last weekend which made it feel even more like Autumn and we all had to bundle up. While we were waiting for the day ti warm up a bit I told Aiden about going apple picking and I think he thought we were going to the grocery store. When I explained we were going to pick them off trees he kept telling me how he hoped there would also be some orange trees too.
Well, we got there and he went bonkers for the hay wagon that takes you out into the orchard. Then he went bonkers for the animal pen with goats and sheep and tiny little pigs. Then he went bonkers for the glass bee hive that lets you watch the bees come and go. Same with the donut machine, the aquarium and the farm machinery.

I thought he would have fun but I had forgotten about all of the extras besides apples that he'd be interested in. It was a fantastic day and he passed out in the car just about when we pulled out of the parking lot.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Dream Guy

I had a dream the other night that I had gone to my bank and opened a new Roth IRA account (and yes, I realize this is the most boring dream ever). In my dream I went home and told Sean about it and he started panicking and yelling about how I had thrown off his projections for our annual contributions and that he was trying to keep track of our accounts. The dream continued with him in a royal conniption before I finally woke up.

Later that morning I remembered my dream and started telling Sean about it simply because it seemed so funny that he would have such a freak out over retirement investing. He apparently wasn't listening too closely and didn't realize that I had said it was a dream because right after I said the words "Roth IRA" he whipped around and said "YOU OPENED A NEW IRA ACCOUNT? You should have told me! How much did you put in? WE'VE GOT TO KEEP TRACK!".

Yep. I know him so well. Too well.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Preschool: His Verdict


I can't seem to get a decent picture of Aiden these days as I'm always aiming at a moving target in really poor lighting. He is totally over having his picture taken unless you catch him in a really good mood and then he decides it's the Aiden Show and will vogue like it's his job.

He started his second week of school today. Both days last week involved prying him off of us in tears each morning. Even though he raved about school and all the fun he had, he was still a little freaked out by the whole concept. This morning Sean and I walked him to his class where he insisted on hugging us both goodbye about 14 times before putting his backpack away by himself, taking a deep breath and charging into the classroom. This was unexpected as Sean and I were both pretty certain that it'd be a couple of weeks before drop-off would happen without tears. The teacher just stared at us, we stared at each other and then the teacher gave us a silent but very enthusiastic thumbs up. After the classroom door closed Sean and I both leaped into the air and high-fived. Yes! Score one for Aiden! GO PRESCHOOL!

Preschool seems to have opened up a whole new dimension of Aiden's personality which is just endlessly entertaining to witness. A new phrase he's adopted is "What was I saying again?". He likes to stop mid-sentence, cock his head to the side, and use that one before going on. Another is "You know." I always have to explain you him that no, I don't know, because I don't go to preschool.

He's got a buddy that he likes to play trains with. Apparently he and this other kid are both obsessed with trains and play with the train table to the exclusion of every other toy during free play.

Also, I found out tonight, he has a crush. He told me she brought a cat for show-and-tell and wore a pink shirt with sparkles and that he'd like to "hug her and kiss her and then say hi to her". We're obviously going to have to have a conversation about the order in which these things should happen and the fact that perhaps asking her to play at the macaroni table with him would be a more appropriate gesture.

He's also started singing. All.the.time. As in "Mommy, don't turn on the radio, I'm gonna sing" and he proceeds to serenade me with a song he's made up about school buses to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" all the way to the grocery store. I know they sing a lot of songs at school so that explains some of it, but I also think that a part of this comes from Sean. Neither Sean nor I can sing but Sean will make up the weirdest songs with the most complicated melodies about anything. He did it all the time when Aiden was a baby, epic ballads about whatever wandered through his mind at the time. I think maybe Aiden was paying attention.

It's so interesting to hear directly from Aiden about what goes on at school because he will give us a really monotone rundown of their activities that's occasionally punctuated with "AND THEN WE PLAYED WITH A PARACHUTE!" or "AND THEN I PAINTED WITH MARBLES!".

I'm just so appreciative that he's having a really positive experience and making new friends. I can't wait to hear about his day because suddenly he has so much to talk about and it's like meeting him for the first time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Our First's First

He went to school today! We've been talking about it for weeks and his teachers even sent him a postcard with their picture and a note last week so that he'd feel more comfortable on the first day. He hadn't wanted to talk much about preschool until last night.

We stayed up for a half hour past bedtime talking about what his first day would be like. We lay there, side by side in his car bed, talking about snack time, his teacher's names, where the potties are and what activities they might do. He learned a new word, the one to describe that funny feeling in your tummy before you try something you've never done before: nervous.

He went to bed excited about the next day but this morning was a different story. It was pouring rain and he was groggy and cold and did not want to get dressed for school. He dragged his feet through breakfast and put up a fight at every turn but finally we made it out the door.

Sean and I were just as nervous as he was and we were trying to make sure we found the right entrance, that we arrived not too early and not too late, that we played our part in making this a smooth transition. He was nervous from the moment we stepped inside. He cried and clung to Sean's shirt before it was even time for us to leave. There are about eight children in his class and some cried while others wandered away from their parents warily but without tears. One thing we noticed is that Aiden towered over most of the kids. His birthday is four days after the cutoff for the older class (it's the same for kindergarten) so he'll likely always be older than most of the others.

He has two teachers and two helpers in his class and each of them are so unbelievably nice. They immediately swooped in to help the kids find a toy or book and get comfortable. His head teacher came over helped us disentangle ourselves from Aiden. We left feeling a little drained by how distraught he seemed but I knew (or hoped at least) that he'd be fine once we were gone.

Sean and I had been musing about everything we could accomplish while he's at school but instead we sat and had breakfast and wondered what they were doing at school.

When we went to pick him up it was a complete turnaround. He marched out of the classroom with his teacher and immediately told us about how he played trains with the other children and painted a picture of a car and sang with his teachers and can we please invite everyone over to our house to play?

In the car ride home he announced that "This morning I was just nervous. Then I played with the kids and my teachers and had fun". Well, sounds good to me.

First day, all rumpled after a morning of fun.

...and a fish face for good measure.