Monthly Archives: July 2013

Summertime and Swimtime Drama

It’s mid-summer already and our community’s pool drama is in full swing. Every year I write about parents who send their kid off to the community pool unattended, and it seems like every year it keeps getting worse.

Our community’s pools underwent a major overhaul over this past winter season. They pulled out all the concrete and poured new. They replaced all the lounge chairs and even the shower. I’m not crazy about the shower, as it’s now on a timer and shuts off right went you’re in the middle of rinsing something off.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there, except it’s related to the pool, not the drama I want to talk about.

We’ve had a lot of trouble over the past couple years with teenagers hopping the fence. The fence that has pointy spears that bend outward at the top. A deterrent you wouldn’t find me willingly trying to vault over, not even when I was younger and more nimble. This year is the first year that I’ve seen it first hand… and it was when I was kickboarding with no ear plugs or goggles, so I know it wasn’t a figment of my overactive imagination.

Thump, clang, clang, and there they were. The kid hoisted himself over and then let his girlfriend in. They seemed a bit startled to see me. Not surprising since the timer on the pool light was off, so it was unlit and I was swimming in the dark. He claimed they lived there and his dad lost the pool key. I responded that it was an odd way for him to gain entrance to the pool. It happened again a couple nights later, and I called the sheriff on them after I left.

My neighbor claimed they did it again in front of her in broad daylight, and then when she confronted them, they got violent and ran their car into a community streetlight. What point that proves, I have no idea. But it must have made sense to them, right?

So it happened that over the weekend Tony and William were on their way to Walmart. I asked him to drive by the pool and if it was full of kids to come back and get me. I’d rather go to Walmart than try to lap swim in a pool full of kids. If it were all clear, though, I’d go swimming. He texted me and told me to call the Sheriff, that those teenagers were in the pool area, that they’d hopped the fence right as he was driving by. When he told them they needed a key for entry, they got confrontational, So, I called the Sheriff. I headed down the pool intending to act like I knew nothing, except the pool area was empty and there were two teenage boys walking around the toddler playground next to the pool.

The Sheriff showed up, took a look around, and informed me that even if there had been someone unauthorized in the pool area, there was nothing for him to enforce … he needed a “No Trespassing” sign and a “Key required for pool entry” sign posted on the gate. Funny no one had ever mentioned that in all the years past, but kind of makes sense I guess. Meanwhile, the two teenage boys had meandered off out of sight.

My neighbor then comes in with one of the teenage boys and introduces him to me as a neighbor who lives on the corner of her street. Suspiciously I look at him and ask him if he hopped the fence a half hour ago. “No, we thought about it but decided not to.” Hmmm. I asked him if he got confrontational with someone, “Well, my cousin did but he’s kind of a hothead.” My neighbor leaves, and then enters this kid’s “hothead cousin.” They go sit in the spa together and stare at me as I swim my laps.

Shortly after that, their mother comes in and talks to them. After a few minutes, she comes to the side of the pool and it’s obvious she wants to talk to me. I could have kept swimming, I suppose, but she was just this side of annoying, so I stop my workout, pull out my earplugs and ask her if I can help her.

She wanted to discuss the fact that my husband had confronted her darling son and nephew. To me, there was nothing to discuss. You break the rules (hopping the fence and getting confrontational with someone), you get the Sheriff called on you. End of discussion. She claimed my husband said the “F” word to the boys. I know Tony, and even without asking him, I know that’s not his style, and certainly not with a Toddler who parrots everything we say in the vicinity. So I told her that wasn’t true. She started to argue with me, and I shrugged and said, “Look. You’re going to believe your teenagers, who have already proven themselves to be untrustworthy, and I’m going to believe my husband.” She said, “I’ve lived in this community now for 9 years…” I interrupted and said, “Good for you. Then you know very well that we’ve had issues with security here, and you also know that a key is required for entry. That’s the rule. You hop the fence, the sheriff gets called.” I continued, without waiting for a response, “There’s nothing further to be discussed here. I’m on a limited time schedule and I’m going to finish my swim.” She waves her hand at me and the path I was swimming, and instead of apologizing for wasting my time, she says smartly, “OK, well, go ahead then.” I pause, look at her and say, “You misunderstood. I wasn’t asking your permission.” I put my earplugs in and continued my swim.

She left the pool area shortly after, leaving the two kids alone in there with me. So, now I know why her son and nephew think nothing of breaking the rules. Also, why they think it’s OK to get confrontational when they’ve done something wrong.

Also, even though I donned a crazy, mismatched swimsuit last night (a pink paisley swim top and blue Hawaiian flowered board shorts) I was glad for the 11 people who filed into the pool area at 9:15pm. I kind of don’t like being alone now when I swim late at night.

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Filed under Best Husband, I Judge Bad Parents, Mermaid Envy

Blisters & Band-Aids

Over the weekend, we went to our family’s mountain cabin. While there, the children’s Advil bottle was left on the nightstand in William’s room. When William grabbed it, I asked him for it and he handed it to me, so I took two steps and put it up on top of the dresser. William started whimpering, but I thought it was because he wanted his medicine. When I turned back around he had the sticky lid in his fingers, and when he handed the lid to me, he started screaming.

Everyone who has had a toddler knows they can be quirky creatures, and I thought he had suddenly developed an aversion to stickiness. So, I picked him up and he kept rubbing his sticky fingers and crying. I took him out to wash his hands in cold water to get the sticky off, the obvious solution to his problem. He calmed down while the cool water was on his hands, I congratulated myself in my head for solving this problem so astutely. But when I turned the water off, he started screaming again. I tried nursing, he wanted to, but would touch his fingers together and would start sobbing again and he couldn’t latch. He kept touching his fingers with his other hand and crying. So I thought maybe I had missed some of the sticky. Off we went to wash his hands again. Tried nursing again, and same thing, so we rinsed his hands a third time. And then Tony tried to wash his hands with a wet wipe. That didn’t work either. At that point, I thought maybe since all the natural oils had been washed off his hands, his skin must have still felt sticky to him, even though it technically wasn’t. The only thing that ultimately was able to calm him down was Baby Signing Time DVDs. He loves watching them and learning from them.

On Monday night I got home and I was horrified and somewhat sickened in my heart when I saw that he had blisters on his index and middle fingers. The blister on his index finger had popped (or he had pulled the skin off) and the middle finger has several unpopped blisters all down it. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense. Of course, a burn would stop hurting while under cool water. Of course, a burn would start hurting again if touched. Of course, of course, of course.

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I stared at those blisters a good long time, trying to figure out what happened in the time span of just a couple seconds. The only thing I can figure out is that he must have touched the light bulb of the lamp that is on the nightstand in the cabin in the two seconds I had my back turned to put the medicine up… and then he grabbed the sticky lid of the baby Advil that had been left on the nightstand.

William attends gymnastic classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so yesterday to protect his injury from the germs that are surely on the equipment we tried covering it with a regular old plain beige band-aid. It lasted all of 20 minutes before William pulled it off. Didn’t even make it to the start of gymnastics class. So, I asked Tony to pick up some Cars band-aids at Walmart. When he got home, he showed his purchases. He had, indeed, picked up Cars band-aids, as well as Angry Birds Star Wars band-aids, and for good measure, Mickey Mouse band-aids. (I don’t even know which words to italicize there.) My mom was astonished to learn that companies make fancy band-aids now… everything is all about marketing. But, you know what? It works.

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Apparently putting a band-aid with a picture of Cars on your toddler’s finger and other random spots of your toddler’s body is the key to him keeping it on.

And somehow I have a feeling that Tony plans to use the Star Wars band-aids on any injury he gets. Just a suspicion.

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Filed under Best Husband, Our Kid is Cute

Petrified Things.

We found this sad little bird outside, clutched to a plant in our front yard. Hummingbirds are beautiful and I love them, but they sure are strange. I mean, what other creature’s heart beats as fast as a hummingbird’s? Or flies upwards like a helicopter? And how does a hummingbird just die, clutching a plant for dear life? From what, do you suppose? A heart attack? So many questions!

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That odd discovery was followed by this strange story. For dinner last week we had grilled hamburgers. There was one leftover and so it was put into a plastic bag. I decided to move things around in the fridge and it fell back behind the shelf. I heard it “plunk” and figured it had hit the shelf below. Upon investigating that shelf, it was nowhere to be seen. I looked up, I looked down, I stuck my hand behind and up. Nowhere.

I thought for a few seconds that I might actually have imagined the whole thing. Maybe there really hadn’t been leftovers. and then this rolled out of the shelf.
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I investigated further and discovered that the light of the fridge had a cover over it. A cover that curved so it misrepresented by its shape that something would hit it and roll down. But, no. Things hit it and land on it and live on it and die on it. Apparently. Unless encouraged to move along.

So the hamburger had hit the top of the shelf, dislodging the petrified tomato. How long had that tomato been there? Two years? Could that have possibly been the mystery smell we had a couple years ago?

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Letter to our 19 month old.

Dear William,

On July 8, 2013, you turned 19 months old.

STATS/TEETH:
You weigh 32 pounds and are 36″ tall. You are wearing 3T in shirts and 2T in shorts, although any clothes I purchase now are a size up and for bottoms I put a stitch in the waist so you can wear them longer.

Your canine teeth are finally through. Your right lower cut through 5/31, right upper cut through on 6/3. Your left lower cut through 6/12 and your left upper cut through 6/17. They’ve been on the move since the end of April, so it took a solid two months to cut these canine teeth. I hear the two year molars are next, and I’m a bit horrified by that thought.

NEW WORDS:
It’s as if all of a sudden your tongue is cooperating with your brain this month. All the words you’ve been saying, and words you’ve been trying to say, and words I had no idea you knew, all of a sudden, you’re stringing them together in short sentences. The BIG new words you’re saying, “William.” You are saying your own name. You also say, “Froggy.” You’re finally saying your lovey’s name. You say it all the time, even in the middle of the night as you’re hunting for it, I hear you saying, “Froggy, froggy, froggy!” When we changed your diaper and you’ve pooped, your father always exclaims, “OH MY GOSH!” Well, now you’ve started saying it, as soon as the diaper comes off, “Oh my gosh!” or “Oh gosh!” You say “HI!” to everyone, you say, “Hello!” If I tell you to call some one. You see a phone and say, “Call daddy!” “Call Grandma” “Call Mommy!” You pretend call those same people from your playhouse’s phone. Rain, breakfast, momma car, up, down, out, zebra, elephant, cloud, flower, mommy, William, kick, hands down… ready, set, go!, grandpa, grandma, grandma D., kick, goodnight, night night, get it, got mommy, there you go, see-saw, coming, going, cold, hot, love. If we’re leaving to go for a walk, you remind us to “get phone!” and “shoes on!” When you settle to nurse, you say, “shoes off.” When you want to nurse, you tell me to “Sit down momma. Na na momma, Pleeeease?” Outside, inside, playhouse, ladybug. Red, blue, green and you point to the correct colors. I say, “five,” You say “six.” You say, “one, two, three.” You know some of your letters (especially the letter “B”) and how some of your numbers look, 5 and 6. You looked at me one day last week, pointed at your teeth and said, “Hurt, momma!” I found a scabbed over blister on the bottom of your foot and said, “Oh! You have an owie!” You took a look at it, and then anytime anyone touched your foot, you proclaimed, “OWIE!” You say, “out” and “stuck.” You also say your cousin’s name, “Huck.” You love to tell us when we’re going to the bathroom (“Potty!”) and when you’re going to the bathroom in your diaper, you say, “Poop!” and I’m pretty sure you know when you’re peeing because you randomly say, “Pee pee” throughout the day. Broken, fix it, music. Belly, belly button, him, mine, yours. “Loud” and “noisy” are adjectives you associate with loud sounds. Also, you say “messy” when you’re eating plums or anything that makes a mess. “Froggy to bed!” “Ready, set, go!” “Costco.” “Got mommy “It’s broken!” “Fix it.” Laugh (when you want us to laugh), cough (when you want us to cough, or if you want cough medicine), Medicine when you want Advil or Tylenol. There are so many more things you say and do, but if I were to categorize them, they would take up more space than I’ve already taken up. I will just say that, once again, it seems like you’re going to be a chatterbox.

NURSING/FOOD:
You have been nursing well this past month, I don’t foresee that anything will be changing in this area for awhile and that makes me happy. I love nursing you. Food is hit and miss and is usually pretty predictable as to whether you’re teeth are hurting you. If they are, you’re generally only interested in nursing. I say calories are calories and breastmilk provides some of the best customized nutrition around. You continue to love chicken, decline to eat beef. You don’t like carrots. You love any type of fruit or berry. Vegetables are hit and miss.

One evening, your father and I were discussing what we were going to have for dinner. It was a Friday night, and we’d pretty much decided we were going to eat out. From the back seat you requested, “Pizza?” And so your first sway vote happened, we went to an Italian place and you had pizza.

One morning I made some oatmeal for us to share. I asked you if you wanted some. You looked at me with really big eyes and said, “Noooooo? Pancake… pleeeeeease?” Your father had made pancakes the day before, so you ended up having leftover pancakes for breakfast.

SLEEP:
You’ve hit what everyone affectionately terms the “18 month sleep regression.” What this looks like for you is, it takes you an inordinate amount of time to fall asleep, and you won’t fall asleep before 6 hours of awake time. So, you’re often going to bed at 9pm, because you don’t wake from your nap until 3pm. You wake at 7:30am on the weekends (generally) and I wake you to nurse at 6:40am on weekdays before I leave for work. Some days you’re able to fall back to sleep, other days you’re up for the day at that time.

THINGS WE DID/PLACES WE WENT:

LegoLand: 06/22/2013. You really enjoyed the Storybrook Boat ride. Favorites were “horsey” and “Nah-nahs.” You got your first sunburn.
Music Class (every Monday). You love to sit right in front of the teacher. You also informed the teacher that the drums were “loud” and “noisy.”
Gymnastics Class, 06/27/2013. This was your first class… you are exhibiting some new behavior (discussed below)
Parade: 07/04/2013. You really enjoyed the parade and all the people and animals.
Pool & Block Party Playtime: 07/04/2013, your cousins came over and partied with our neighborhood. Such fun!
Fireworks: 07/04/2013. You were not a fan and after one or two, you declared firmly, “All done.”
LegoLand: 07/06/2013. We spent a lot of time in the water park, and you loved the slides and music.
Haircut: 07/07/2013. Let’s just say, I’ll be making appointments and requesting “Yanna” to cut your hair from now on.
Library story time: 07/08/2013. You pay attention well to the stories.

PLAYTIME AND CHILDREN INTERACTION:
Gymnastics class, first session on 06/27. From just one class (so far), you have picked up balance beam and hands down and trampoline. You made a trampoline out of a blow up innertube, you took it to the side of the coffee table and proceeded to start bouncing on it. You balance on one leg. You will also climb halfway up on something, a chair for example, and start kicking your legs and say, “Kick! Kick!” All of this from one gymnastics class. So worth it. I wonder now if you just didn’t know you *could* do all those things because no one ever showed you?

You love to step up and step down, stairs, curbs, speed bumps and the like. You even invented an up/down game with a roll of carpet I was working with to recover the cat’s scratching post. You walked up the carpet and narrated, “Up!!! Ready???” and then a delay, and then you walked down it and said, “Down!”

When I took my car in for its oil change last month, you saw a bunch of cars up on the lifts getting worked on. Ever since then, you’ve been putting your ride-on up on chairs to “work” on it, too.
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On July 4th we attended our neighborhood’s block party. There were lots of children there, including your cousins, who we invited over to participate in the party. You had a great time and were so overstimulated that you weren’t able to fall asleep until 11pm. There was lots of toy sharing going on, and I was glad that we participated because I was able to observe you with several toys and now I think I’ll hold off on ordering them, if I order them at all.

You are very much into pretend play this month. Pretend eating… you used your sand bucket and shovel as a pretend bowl and spoon. In music class, you were pretend eating out of a pan with a stir spoon. And one night after bath time, you were pretend eating things off the bugs on your room’s wall. I have NO idea where you came up with this, but it is hilarious. You also love to pretend phone people.
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THINGS I WANT TO REMEMBER:

How cute you are when I tell you we’re gonna go to the store, you’ll be playing with your toys and I’ll head out to the garage and put my stuff in the car. I look up and you’re waiting at the garage door so you can hold my hand to go down the steps. I love holding your little hand when we’re walking around, and it’s so sweet when you reach your hand up and ask for “help.” How you love to lift you Lightning McQueen ride-on up on the chair and inspect it… you started doing that after you saw cars up on the lift at the auto shop. How you get up on the chairs in the back yard and yell at the fence between us and the neighbors, because that’s what you see us do when we’re talking to the neighbors over the fence. How you love to go outside and play in your playhouse, taking all your toys with you in innumerable trips. How you saw my blueberry bush in the back yard and recognized them and just started picking and eating them and saying, “Mmmmmm!” The way you start giggling when you’re about to do something you know you shouldn’t. How you love to play ball with someone, you throw the ball and then giggle like crazy when someone bounces the ball back to you. You grabbed a ball, one that flashes instead of bounces. You threw it to the ground and it plunked there, you looked up at me and proclaimed, “It’s broken. Fix it?” I love how anytime a temperature is noticeably different (food or bathwater, particularly), it’s either “hot, hot!” or “cold, brrrr!” The way your hands flutter and move as you nurse and then, gradually, they still and you rub the corner of Froggy on your ear or the palm of your hand as you fall to sleep.

Sometime over the last couple of months you stopped moaning while you eat or nurse. This makes me very, very sad. It was, hands down, one of my favorite things you did that you brought with you from infancy. When we flew with you at 11 months old you moaned so loud while you were nursing during take off that the guy in the seat in front of us turned and looked at us oddly. I just smiled and said it was my son nursing. He laughed, and nudged the person next to him and told her that it was a baby nursing. (sigh)

A few nights ago, nursing didn’t put you to sleep. Frustrated, and at my wits end, I asked your father to take over so I could get a few things done. He went in, tried snuggling, tried rubbing your back, tried wearing you in the bathroom with the fan going. All tools that he used to use when you were much younger to help you fall asleep. After 45 minutes had passed, I had finished my chores and you were still awake, so I prepared to nurse you some more.

After you were asleep from nursing, your father told me those 45 minutes were such a blessing to him. These days you either fall asleep on your own, or with me nursing you. Your father said he envies me that I get to hold you as you go to sleep, because he doesn’t get to anymore.

My mom told me, around the same time, how nostalgic she was about how rapidly you weaned from the bottle. She used to be able to hold you, and you would fall asleep on the bottle, and how special that was to her. Not anymore.

A friend of mine shared that she got to hold her 3 year old for his nap one day. She said her son was so tired that he just fell asleep on her. She was savoring every second of his nap on her, because it was so rare.

I remember when you were a newborn, all you wanted to do was sleep on me, and most of the time I savored it and traced your ear with my finger, or just sat there and watched you breathe, or put my hand over your chest to feel your heart beating. But there were certainly times I just wanted my freedom to do a couple of things here and there. I would take pictures of you sleeping on my nursing pillow and call them “The Great Escape!” pictures. Gradually you began to sleep in your crib. Now you go to sleep on your own for my mom. And I know the days are numbered that you’ll fall asleep nursing with me. And so for those nights when I just want you to fall asleep already so I can go take care of my stuff, I’m reminding myself … someday, The Great Escape will be you leaving home for college, and I don’t want to have any regrets that I didn’t take the time to hold you when I could.

Sometimes I just feel like there’s a huge push for our children to be independent at such a young age. But for me, since I waited so long for you to be my baby, why do I want to rush you to the next milestone when you seem to be getting there in the hugest hurry all by yourself? So, I’ll just hold you and wait for you to get there by yourself. It will happen soon enough.

I find myself praying when you’re nursing that God will make the time I am away from you speed by quickly, and stretch the time that I am with you into eternity. These precious, fleeting moments, into eternity. You’re here in my arms, so I know for a fact that God does answer prayers, after all.
19 months old

Love you into eternity,

Momma

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Filed under Letter to William, Our Kid is Cute

Summer Nights.

The days are getting hotter and the heat is lasting into the evenings and nights, and summer has only begun. I complain every year about how this house of ours seems to retain the heat and there doesn’t seem to be any relief. So we drive off in the morning to our respective jobs and dwell in air conditioned offices by day, and return to our sweltering home by night. Air conditioning doesn’t seem to help the upstairs rooms, and William’s room seems to hold onto the heat most of all.

We’ve discussed a portable air conditioning unit for his room, but there’s nowhere to run the venting… we have shutters on the inside of the window. We talked about a portable evaporative cooler, but we’re not sure that would be effective, because we don’t really have the driest of climates here. We’ve discussed adding an attic fan, or whole house fan… if we do that, we also need to add vents under the eaves of our roof. We’ve discussed adding a second vent to William’s room, because the vent in his room is so ineffective. I’ve thought about a vent booster, but the reviews are mixed. I’ve even thought about switching his room to the guest room and making the guest room his room, but that really wouldn’t solve the issue as the guest room gets hot, too, just not AS hot. We’re now looking into an in-line air duct booster. We run the A/C and the downstairs cools to 71°F, but his room never gets below 80°F. It’s ridiculous. We still haven’t come to a decision, and the days continue to get hotter.

So, in the evenings, since it’s cooler outside than inside, we take ourselves outside. We eat dinner on the patio, and listen to the birds chattering from their home in the enormous bougainvillea plant in the cul-de-sac behind our home. The neighborhood dogs bark in the distance relaying their important messages to each other. We joke with our neighbor when he comes outside into his backyard. The new fencing our association put in is taller than the previous fencing, so we can’t see him, which adds an extra funny element to our conversations.

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We find ourselves going on bike rides. The shadows slant long through the Eucalyptus trees and dust from the bike trail swirls up as we ride along. We nod or smile at the others who are going the other way on the trail.

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We take ourselves to the beach for some sand and water play.
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And we welcome summertime. Because, really, what else can you do?

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