Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the tiring kind of vacation

Okay, so who said it was a vacation for me? It's winter break around here, all the schools closed, Mitch not even close to on a break--in Chicago a few days ago including valentines day, and it's the pits spending Valentines without your honey, it turns out. And me: I'm doing a sort of double time, mornings and bedtimes and times in between on my own since Mitch is either out of town or crazy busy.

Funny thing: I'm liking it. I have both kids with me all the time and we've managed to entertain ourselves well. Saturday we went to the mall and rode the carousel and ate ice-cream (chocolate with gummy bears--blech); Sunday we did an art project that involved bubble wrap and lace doilies and glitter glue; Monday we went to Petco since the cat was completely without food and crying pitifully at me, and looked at the snakes and turtles and fish and birds and mice and hamsters and chinchillas. We also ran around shrieking quietly, since I insist on quiet shrieks unless we're at home where there are no strangers and I can put in earplugs. We had other big plans after Petco but instead took Clark back to the doctor (an adventure in itself!) since he was complaining his ear and stomach (still!) hurt. I was afraid the ear infection had muscled its way past the most recent antibiotics but it turns out there was not the first thing wrong with him. Yay! Not sick, and the doctor's visit not an entire waste of time because of the aquarium in the lobby and of course the stickers.

And there have been more outings, plus some very impressive snow-girl building. I've been surprised how much fun we're all having. It seems Frances and I are arguing less, and perhaps that's just this moment in time, the stage that is this very week, but it could also be due to fewer transitions... she's not having to constantly transition from school back to me. Who knows.

The result of all this parenting success is that I very briefly wondered if I should keep them both home with me next year; Mitch assured me I was just confused. In any case I AM tired. And though I love the snow and have been advocating for more of the stuff (now descending in sheets), the wind that comes with it is brutal and this weather is (okay, I will admit) painful. Perhaps in the morning the snow will let up and the sun will come out, and we can go play in it. That's my hope.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Clark talks a lot--in one word sentences. They are full sentences, though only one word, full thoughts, full statements with implication and inflection. We can have a whole conversation this way. Also, when not conversating, he narrates, which is pretty cute.

Outside he stops walking and listens, his eyes still and big. "Plane," he says.
"Yes, there is a plane in the sky," I say.
"Noise," he says. "Loud."

At the Library we play at the train table.
"Yes, that train is blue."
"Hold," with his hand outstretched.
"You can hold it."
Then, "Drop. Fall."
"It did fall when you dropped it. You going to pick it up?"
"Mommy," he says.
"You want Mommy to get it?"
"Yes." Of course he does.

There's another father at the train table with his daughter, same age as Clark. The man sits and plays with them both and Clark loves it. While Clark is engrossed with the trains the man and his daughter leave. Then Clark looks up and notices he's gone.
"Miss," he says.
"Did you miss his leaving?"
"Yes, the man went away."
"Go," Clark says again, this time with his hand upturned and I realize it's a question.
"He went into the other room."
"Get," he says as he starts to walk away.
"No honey, we can't go get him."
"Yesss." He pronounces his Ss very distinctly.
I laugh. "We don't even know his name. We can't go get him. He's looking at books."
"Try," he says.

This is my favorite of his new expressions. He looks at me so earnestly.
He says this a lot when I tell him no. Perhaps he's an optimist.

He holds a book open to a torn page and says, "Fix".
"I can't fix it, Baby. We don't know where the other piece is."
"Try," he says.
"It can't be fixed Clark."
"Try," he repeats, nodding.
Finally I say, "We'll try," and he's satisfied.

As we climb into the car after the library I mention the train at the toy store from other day, one that runs overhead around and around.
"Stop," he says.
"What stopped?"
"Oh, right. When we were there the train stopped, didn't it?"
"What girls?"
"Girls. Talk."
"Right! The sales girls talked and then they got the train to start up again, didn't they?"
We have this conversation three times in a row.

His speech is so fascinating to me. I'd expected the word explosion to happen by now, for him to turn his single words into 3 word phrases. Looking back, Frances was 19 or 20 months when it happened. Clark is 23 months today and I know these things happen later with boys, but it's more than that. Because he hasn't moved into full sentences and yet has still developed cognitively he has to be more creative in how to get his point across. It's fascinating to watch, and he's gotten pretty good at it.

Here's another we have at least once a day:
"What's scary?"
"Car wash."
"Right. You don't like the car wash, do you?"
"It is loud, that's true."
"Right, I held your hand. Did that help?"
What does one do when the car is already in the carwash, in neutral, propelling slowly through, when the panic strikes? Hold hands, that's what. 

Just now Mitch came downstairs from putting Clark to bed and told me that Clark has requested I come up and sing him Hush Little Baby. Mitch told Clark he would tell me, but that I might not come up. "Try," Clark said. "Try." 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

these days in the shell of a nut

1)  My computer has been in the shop all week which has made me feel completely adrift, but I sure got a lot of things done around the house. But here I am, back in front of the screen.

2)  It's kind of astonishing how many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches my daughter can eat in a 24 hour period. Can there be such a thing as too many?

3)  Something interesting happened this week relating to the blog.... Someone sent the director of Frances's preschool a link to my previous post where I list my complaints about the school. I have to admit that the post was kind of snarky and I was a leeetle embarrassed when I realized she had read it, especially as overall I like the school very much. The whole thing made me think about blogs in general, what their purpose is, what role they fill, how much must be personal expression versus personal restraint. When I write I know that I am doing so in a public forum; I know that some of my far away good friends read it (and of course my mom), and I also know strangers read it. But I forget about the peripheral people in my life who might read it when I'm not even aware they know I write a blog. Interesting.

(A short sidebar: I recently ran across someone from middle school on facebook and through a series of lazy links that literally took me all of 8 bored seconds I found a column his new wife wrote that described the details of his proposal as well as his wedding down to the flower arrangements and his carrying her over the threshold. It was bizarre to have this kind of intimate information on someone I hadn't seen or heard anything at all about since I was eleven. The internet is a strange place.)

4)  Last weekend we took our first trip to the emergency room. I've been wondering when that was going to happen. It wasn't so bad, though it took freaking forever. Unless you come in spurting blood you're going to be there for  h o u r s. I'd taken Clark to the doc on Friday because he'd been complaining for days that his stomach hurt. He'd stand up in his crib in the morning or after his nap and say "tummy. hurt." and rub his little dimpled hands over his belly. Then Friday morning he woke with a fever of 101 which I assumed was just a flu but decided it was a good time to take him in anyway because I was starting to worry about this pain in his stomach. Turns out he had an ear infection which the doc thought was oddly causing the stomach ache. 

So Clark started antibiotics on Friday, had been on them for 2 days when he woke in the middle of the night Saturday all red and shaking and burning up, with a fever of 105.2. I took off one of his many pj layers (his room is the coldest in the house and we dress him in literally no less than 3 layers of pjs) and gave him some motrin which he immediately threw up. That's when I started to get nervous. The doc on call wanted me to go to the ER since he'd been on the antibiotics already; he was worried the ear infection bacteria was resistant to the medicine. I had tylenol suppositories in the house from a previous stomach flu (Moms! Did you know these things exist? Called 'Fever All', got them at the grocery. Good to have on hand.) and I thought for sure that would only bring the fever down to 102 or something. But of course by the time we got to the ER Clark's temp was normal. Normal! He felt great--was quite the charmer, teasing and giggling with the nurse, climbing up and then jumping off the chairs. The doctor came in (finally.) and asked if Clark would let her look in his ears. Not only did he hold very still but he then insisted she look in his other ear, then his mouth, then the top of his head. He didn't even cry when they did the IV draw.

But holy cow do things move slowly around there. We were there from 3-6 am and accomplished little more than having his temp taken and ears checked. Let me tell you--losing an entire night's sleep does not look as pretty on me as it used to. It's a very nice ER--a separate pediatric ER that was quite clean and pleasant, though slow slow slow. They did some blood tests, I think just to make me feel like they were doing something, and when I talked to our pediatrician on Monday he said he thinks it was a virus on top of the infection which made his fever spike. All is fine now. 

5)  Yesterday I found Frances and Clark in the bathroom together, and she'd gotten his pants off, his diaper off, and had him sitting on the baby seat on the toilet. AND! He had pooped in the toilet! For the first time! I may not have to potty train this kid at all; his sister might do it for me.