Monthly Archives: October 2014

Gracious.

I had lunch with a vendor today. He found out a couple months ago that my birthday is this weekend, and he sent a meeting invite for lunch today. I accepted it and figured I’d get out of it with an excuse a couple weeks before (given my weird social anxieties), except a legitimate excuse never presented itself and Tony encouraged me to go.

I’ve known this guy in a professional capacity since I started at this job in March of 2010, so 4 1/2 years now, and we’ve never gone to lunch.

I chose Corner Bakery, since it’s one of my favorite places and I am obsessed with love their iced tea … it was loud, as most of them are, and I wondered to myself how the cashier was even able to hear our orders. He decided to order dessert, and ordered their pumpkin poundcake. When she came up with the dessert, she had the lemon poundcake instead. He looked at me and told me he thought he’d ordered the pumpkin. I replied to him that he had, but she likely misheard because it was so loud.

When he mentioned it to her, she got really flustered and apologetic. (I assume if she had gotten the correct thing, the wrong thing would have had to be thrown away.) He shrugged and told her, “No problem, the lemon sounds good, too, don’t even worry about it.” She was still apologizing to him as she rang up the order, he said, “You know, if it’s not too late, would you mind adding the pumpkin, too? I’ll just take it to my kids.” He smiled and she smiled in return and everything was instantly smoothed over.

I watched the interaction and was struck by how gracious that was for him to do. Not everyone would think to do that, truthfully, I might not even had thought to do it. I’m also not sure if it was an intentional or an intuitive act on his part, or whether that even matters… it was a kindness.

Oh, and he also got two desserts. ūüėÄ

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Filed under I did something Special

When Boss Man Flies.

Yesterday, the CEO of my company traveled from Detroit to Orange County, with a layover in Chicago. United’s airplane was delayed departing Detroit, and then delayed again. ¬†The plane finally took off, and when it landed in Chicago, they taxied around the terminal two times while they waited for a gate to open up. ¬†Texts coming in from the CEO were a play by play of his tour around the tarmac of ORD, “I’m seeing the American terminal again.” ¬†“I’m now seeing my plane to Orange County again…”

On the phone with the airline, the rep called the gate agent, standing by for him to arrive.  They finally found a gate and our CEO deplaned and was escorted to his connecting plane.  The representative reported that Mr. Boss Man was on his connecting flight.  Meanwhile, texts coming in from Mr. Boss Man confirmed that he was, in fact, on the plane.

Shockingly, the gate agent held the flight for 10 minutes to allow our boss to make his connection. ¬†They closed the plane’s door behind him, and then opened it again to allow a couple more passengers to make their connection. ¬†Allowing the plane to finally depart 23 minutes late, arriving in Orange County a grand total of 7 minutes late. ¬†What could have been a fiasco of 3 or 4 people not making their flight turned into an amazing story of customer service success by letting people get to their final destination instead of stranding them at the airport.

united 3348

united 1463

I’m thinking Southwest Airlines could learn a thing or two from how United handled this situation.

 

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Filed under Money Hump Building

Travel Escapades, Part 3

Between travel escapades part 1 and 2 lived the peanut butter and jelly part of the trip. The good stuff between the bookends. The seeing of people we love. The visiting. The time spent with family. The memories made. The laughter. The exploring of new places.

Because of the mess on the flight out, we lost a half day of time that I had planned to spend with family that Saturday. My aunt had made a special dinner, which she put away for another day when we let her know we wouldn’t be there. Normally early to bed, early to rise, I was grateful that my aunt & uncle were still up (watching football) when we finally did get there at 11:30 PM. I was also grateful that we miraculously did manage to get a decent night’s sleep. Side note about sleep and traveling with William: I’ve learned that it’s better for everyone if I just sleep in the same bed as William when we’re traveling, especially for that first night, I just go to bed when I put him to bed. If I don’t, then he wakes up repeatedly crying (different house, different bed, it makes sense) and then I spend far too much time calming him down and getting him back to sleep, only to have it repeat again in an hour. If I go to bed with him, he’ll wake up, but will reach out a hand, find me and go right back to sleep on his own with no problems.

Sunday my aunt had her family over, so William got to play with my cousin’s grandchildren, and I got to visit with the grown-ups, people that I always enjoy spending time with when we visit there. I especially enjoy the quiet moments of conversation that I have with my aunt, and it always seems like they’re too few and too short, because those conversations always seem to happen late at night when we both need to be asleep. Those late night conversations are also the reason I like to stay in her home, instead of a hotel. For some reason, one loses those vulnerable visits with family if you’re staying in a hotel. Thankfully, my aunt loves me enough to put us up.

My aunt also passed on some family heirlooms — a child’s rocking chair made by William’s g-g-g-grandfather in 1868, and a handmade quilt that we believe to have been made by William’s g-g-grandma. Getting those items home were a bit of a feat, a worthy feat, to be sure. We bought a sturdy box and bubble wrapped it, but the measurements were too big for “free” check in with Southwest. We priced out other options and ultimately decided to customize the box so it fit within Southwest’s dimensions… and, we are so very grateful that despite all the things Southwest screwed up, they did get those two items home for us without damaging them.

On Monday, we went to the Omaha Zoo, which is rated to be in the top 10 zoos of the United States. After having visited it, I can see why. While large, it is really well laid out, so a lot of ground can be covered in a minimum of time. We visited the big cats first, then meandered over and took the tram and the skyride. After which we went to the playground, where William played with the peacocks. Then we went through the gorilla exhibit, their desert dome and their aquarium. It was definitely a full day and we really enjoyed ourselves. Upon leaving, William informed me that, “I’m going to cry about leaving the zoo.” So, I guess it’s safe to say he had a great time. The Omaha Zoo offered half price tickets to us as a reciprocal program to members of the Santa Ana Zoo. So glad I read about that on the zoo’s website!

On Tuesday, we went to the Lauritzen Gardens. I love botanical gardens (remember my visit to the botanical gardens in Oklahoma City in 2004 or the ones in Hawaii?) and these were just stunning. Upon arrival, we took the tram tour, and then went and had lunch at the cafe (which closed at 2pm). The food at the cafe was amazing! After lunch, we walked back to see their miniature model train garden, which was actually one of the primary reasons for visiting there. The structural elements of the tracks are handmade, even the bridges, from twigs and branches, etc. There are six trains that run, three above and three below, as well as a cable car that goes back and forth. Sadly, it started POURING rain about 20 minutes after we started to look at it. They shut the trains down when it rains to preserve them, so we left. If I had known that it was going to rain and that we would be leaving so quickly, given that’s what we were there for, I would have made that garden our priority and gone there first.

That evening, we had dinner in Old Town Omaha at a place called Spaghetti works with my uncle Paul, his wife and their daughter. Their son wasn’t able to make it, sadly. I haven’t seen those two cousins since they were small, maybe about William’s age. It was kind of neat to see her all grown up and to see my uncle play with my son’s Hot Wheels with him across the dinner table. It was a good evening.

On Wednesday, we went to breakfast at the Cracker Barrel, and then visited the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. It was an interesting walk-through and able to get through it within an hour or so. That evening we went back to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge to let William run some steam off, and also to replicate a picture we took when he was 11 months old.

Tony came down with a cold on Tuesday, so he was feeling under the weather. We delayed our departure to my uncle’s farm on Thursday, allowing Tony a little more time to rest. I had hoped to be out there by lunch time, and felt badly that we weren’t given that she had prepared lunch for us. Instead we made it there in time for dinner, which was all homegrown — steak fillets from a steer they grew, tomatoes, potatoes and ears of corn from their garden. It was kind of startling to realize, that with a little effort and land, a family actually can be self sufficient in this day and age.

Friday, we spent visiting and playing outside. William played on their swing/slide combo in their yard, played with the litter of kittens who were exploring their home in the woodpile. He also “helped” carve some pumpkins with my cousin’s 2 girls. We went to my cousin’s house after dinner to check out her goats, calf, bunnies, dogs, cats, hens, and a pony.

Our day ended too quickly, despite extending it the best we could with a late bedtime. We were up early Saturday morning to make the drive back into Omaha to presumably catch our flight home. All the stress involved with loading the car and sadness of saying goodbyes.

Pictures can be found here: LINK

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Filed under I did something Special, I have Family, I Stimulate the Economy

Travel Escapades, Part 2

On Saturday, October 4, 2014, we were scheduled to fly out of OMA at 4:20 PM, through LAS, into SNA. ¬†We sadly departed our visiting with family in Elgin, Nebraska at 10:10 AM that morning in order to make our flight. ¬†I had forgotten my camera’s charger at my aunt’s house, so we wanted to swing by and pick that up on the way to the airport (a 30 minute detour). ¬†While Tony drove the 3 hours¬†into Omaha from the country, I checked our flights¬†online (thanks to Smartphone technology), and I¬†discovered the flight was delayed from OMA to LAS. ¬†We continued onward and upon arriving into Omaha, discovered the flight was even more delayed.

I called Southwest customer service to clarify what was going on, and was¬†informed that there was a “ground stop” in LAS. ¬†She said our flight from LAS to SNA was on time, however, our flight from OMA to LAS would be arriving into LAS too late to make the connection. ¬†Basically, our connecting flight would be taking off while the flight we were on was over Colorado.

 She presented us with an alternative to depart the next morning, Sunday, October 5, 2014, at 8:15 AM (OMA-PHX-SNA).  We took the last 4 seats available on this route, as all other flights that day were sold out.   This left us with no option but to stay the night in Omaha and, as such, we needed to extend our rental car reservation for an additional charge.  

¬†The customer service rep¬†also indicated that when we checked in at the airport to note to the gate agent that we would be eligible for pre-boarding due to the inconveniences we had experienced. ¬†Particularly, since two of the people in our party of 4 had purchased Early Bird Check-in, which given the lateness of the flight change was a moot point (putting us in the ‚ÄúC‚ÄĚ boarding group). ¬†Additionally, remember, we were on a full flight and got the last 4 seats.

 The next morning, I spoke to the supervisor at Gate 18 about issuing us pre-boarding passes, and he refused to do so.  Since he was unwilling to honor the promised pre-boarding, we requested, as an alternative to pre-boarding, that he change our tickets to Business Select.  He said we would need to pay $40 per ticket.  The only concession he made was to refund the Early Bird fee that we had paid.  Despite explaining our situation, and knowing that our flight from OMA to PHX was sold out and would be a full flight (meaning 30+ people in front of us), and pointing out that in PHX we would only have 35 minutes to make our connection, and less time than that if our flight from OMA left late (which it did indeed end up departing late).  Upon arriving in PHX, and waiting for the 30+ people in front of us to deplane, our connecting flight was already boarding… and actually ended up departing early! We easily could have been stuck in an airport again! It is shocking to me that, given all the extraneous variables explained to him, that he absolutely refused to accommodate us in any way, and didn’t seem to care at all whether we made our connection in PHX.

 Also, contrary to what I was told on the phone from Customer Service Rep, about the reason we had to reschedule our flight (she said that it was due to a ground stop in LAS), the supervisor at the gate in Omaha informed us that the delay out of OMA the previous evening was due to the Chicago fiasco from the previous week… I’m not sure which story was true, but it seems to me that there was ample room for Southwest to be more accommodating, helpful, and plan better.

 Finally, as if it were a grand finale to Southwest’s incompetence, after we made our connection in PHX and settled in our seats to head to SNA, I began to nurse William who was coming down with a cold (ear issues).  If a child is coming down with a cold, their sinuses and ears are more sensitive to elevation changing, and breastfeeding can help alleviate that, as well as provide comfort.  I was asked twice by the male flight attendant on that flight to cease breastfeeding and buckle my son into his seat during takeoff and landing.  All three of the female flight attendants on that flight walked past us, noticed and said nothing, but he felt it necessary to say something twice?  In retrospect, he had taken a special interest in William, commenting on how big is is, and then to note that we were breastfeeding on top of it, kind of left me feeling as if I had been singled out by him.

¬†In all the previous flights that I‚Äôve flown with Southwest, or any other airline, I have never been asked to stop breastfeeding my son while taking off or landing. ¬†Before flying, I always check the airline’s policy concerning traveling with children, with breastmilk, with nursing, etc., and the only thing that Southwest‚Äôs website states about breastfeeding is the following, ‚ÄúSouthwest welcomes nursing mothers who wish to breastfeed on the aircraft and/or within our facilities.‚ÄĚ ¬†¬†Perhaps Southwest is intentionally leaving its breastfeeding policy vague so that it can be interpreted liberally by its flight crew, or perhaps Southwest thinks that by keeping its policy vague they are helping nursing moms. ¬†Obviously, my situation demonstrates otherwise.¬†

As a nursing mom, it is difficult to “follow the rules” if I don’t know in advance exactly what the rules are. For instance, I would NEVER have latched my son, who had been through the wringer this past week with travel fiascos, prior to take off, if I had known that I would be asked to stop nursing him for take off. ¬†Generally speaking, one doesn‚Äôt just ‚Äústop nursing‚ÄĚ once you‚Äôve just started and your child has gotten a letdown. ¬†My son was on his last bit of sanity and had been in meltdown mode because, among other things, we had turned off the movie he was watching when we were landing on the previous flight (and I nursed him to calm him down while landing without comment from the flight crew, by the way) and had to unlatch him, much to his displeasure, to make our extremely tight connection and promised he could continue nursing once we got on our next plane, because I didn‚Äôt know there would be a problem with it.

¬†If there is a difference that a child under 2 (lap child) may nurse upon take off and landing, but a child over 2 ¬†(or a child who has their own seat)¬†must be in their own seat during take off and landing (no nursing), then the airline’s¬†policy should state that explicitly. I have always chosen to fly Southwest in the past for¬†many reasons, one being that I‚Äôve always believed them to be a family and breastfeeding friendly airline.

Either way, as a breastfeeding mom, I strongly suggest that Southwest educate all its employees and flight attendants about Southwest’s breastfeeding policy, as it is stated on the website.  If the breastfeeding policy on Southwest’s website needs to be clarified, then I strongly suggest it be done immediately.

I mailed two letters last week, one addressing our outbound flight issues and the other addressing our return flight issues. As I stated previously, there were so many ways that Southwest could have made these situations OK, and they failed on every single one of them.

It’s a good thing I don’t have anxiety attacks about traveling anymore, because I would be a serious wreck after all this mess.

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Filed under Entertainment can be Expensive, I have Family

Travel Escapades, Part 1

For our trip the last week of September/first week of October, we flew on Southwest. Let me preface this by saying that I’ve never had an issue with Southwest before, and have always recommended them to everyone and anyone. They have a lot going for them… open seating, no baggage fees, kind and understanding employees, and have always touted themselves to be a family friendly airline, but also great for commuting business people.

For Saturday, September 27th, I mapped out our time table so we would be on time to our 7:20 AM flight. I packed everything I could the night before, and then woke up at 4:30 AM so I could get up, shower, dress, pack the last items that I needed to pack and set the suitcase in the hallway so Tony could take it downstairs and load it with the other suitcases. At 5:10 AM, I went in and woke William by nursing him. At 5:15 AM, my mom arrived so Tony could load her suitcase. At 5:35 AM, I walked downstairs carrying William. At 5:40 AM, we departed our home and arrived at the airport 20 minutes later. There we unloaded and waited in line to check our baggage, while Tony drove the car across the street to park it at my work for the week.

We made it through security, and arrived at our gate. All was well… and then, the gate attendant announced that our flight was delayed. We had our plane, we had our pilot, but we were missing our flight attendants. They claimed it was due to the Chicago security breach that had happened the prior morning. Yet, interestingly, every other Southwest flight in our terminal departed on time. Finally, our gate attendants “stole” 4 other flight attendants from another flight so we could take off, 1 hour and 43 minutes late.

As we boarded our plane, We checked with the gate attendant concerning our connecting flight in Las Vegas. We were concerned and suggested that because of the delay, perhaps we should re-book before we started our journey. They told us that our connection should be fine.

So, we landed at 9:40 AM in Terminal B, we were deplaned at 9:45, and then flat out ran, carrying our carry-ons (as well as me carrying the 40 pound toddler), to our connecting gate which was in Terminal C. We arrived there one minute after 3 other people who had deplaned ahead of us, only to see the gate retracting and our plane moving away from the gate. The pilot had decided to leave early.

The gate attendant said she had already re-booked us on the next flight, which departed at 5:15 PM. EIGHT HOURS LATER.

To add fuel to the fire, when I called Southwest’s customer service line from the airport that day, she told me that they had sold our seats to standby passengers for $512/seat and that the pilot was able to maintain his “on-time status.” Nice.

You know, given that there were only two nonstop flights out that day to our destination, and that the delay was not our fault, and that we did everything within our power to make our next flight, you would think that Southwest, maybe, instead of researching and booking us on the next flight, could have taken that time instead to arrange for a cart to meet us at our landing gate to take us and our luggage to the connecting gate? Or, I don’t know, maybe the pilot could have held the plane for 5 or 10 minutes, especially given that he departed early and actually ended up landing THIRTEEN WHOLE MINUTES EARLY at the destination?

So we spent 8+ hours sitting at the airport, with no food vouchers, no lounge area, nothing but the hard plastic chairs. To top it off, our 5:15 PM flight took off 15 minutes late… and we got to our final destination (once we were deplaned, got our luggage, got our rental car, made the drive) around 11:30 PM. Let me remind you we were traveling with a 2 year old, just to make things EXTRA interesting.

There were so many ways that Southwest could have made this situation ‚Äúright,‚ÄĚ and at every single turn, Southwest failed to do any of them. In all scenarios, Southwest failed us that day. I have written Southwest a letter, I’ll update once I get a response.

I have another post about our return flights, which was another doozy of a story and worthy of its own post.

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Filed under Entertainment can be Expensive

Letter to our 34 month old

Dear William,

On October 8, 2014, you turned 34 months old (or 2 years 10 months).

Statistics & Developments:
You are 40.5 inches tall and weigh 40.1 pounds. You are wearing 3T in shorts and pants, although the 3T pants are borderline too short for you. You are wearing 5T in pajamas.

I’ve noticed over the last couple of months that you’re learning how to be compassionate. Now, more than ever, I’m paying attention to how I respond to people being hurt or sad, because it is apparent to me that you are mapping your brain. I likely wouldn’t even be aware of this development and would find it tedious, except that I had a friend who was in an accident years ago¬†and had major brain damage. ¬†As part of her rehabilitation,¬†she had to relearn her sense of humor. ¬†Often, she would laugh inappropriately at things and then ask, “Was that funny?” So to hear you ask the same question at your age after you laugh at something when no one else is, tells me that’s what you’re learning right now. Brain development is fascinating to me.

When we were traveling and the Southwest employees were being so insensitive, and I was upset and crying. I was wearing you in the Tula carrier, and you took your froggy lovey and wiped my tears away, while saying “Froggy will wipe your tears. Naaahhhh, mommy.” Your sweetness just made me cry more.

Sleep:
Your sleep has been pretty good this month. We traveled and while we traveled, I¬†co-slept with you. I was able to get up and down, as needed, while we were co-sleeping, without waking you. I’ve also been able to slip in and out of your room if I need to shut your window at night without waking you.

I thought for awhile that you were giving up your nap, but this month you have gone back to consistently napping.

Nourishment:
You’ve been eating fairly well. You had some issues while we were traveling, and we had to go outside and talk about food a few times and what’s appropriate behavior when served food at meal time. The other thing I think we were battling is that we had a time zone change to 2 hours ahead, because like clockwork, two hours after a meal was served you’d be asking for food. ¬†Traveling is tough on little ones, I think.

We’ve implemented the requirement for you to ask your father, “May I be excused, please?” before you may leave the table.

You are fascinated by our drinks… I drink decaf coffee and both your father and I drink iced tea. ¬†We are finding that we need to be very attentive to our drinks, because if we don’t, we come back to find you with an impish grin on your face and our drink in your hands. ¬†I went to Starbucks while we were at the airport this month and ordered my coffee. ¬†You asked nicely for some coffee and I apologized and said, “I’m so sorry, but this is mine.” ¬†You replied, without missing a beat, “But I’m all grown up now.” ¬†All the people in our vicinity busted up laughing, thankfully none of them had just taken a sip of their brews because it would have been a mess!

Nursing continues to be something we both enjoy. A couple of funny things, at our arriving home nursing session, occassionally, Grandma D. and I will use that time to catch up with each other. You told me¬†this month, unlatching to do so, “Mommy, your talking is bothering me. I just want you to stare at me.”

You also informed me as you switched sides, “I’m all done with the chocolate side, I want the coffee side now.” The other thing you’ll say is, “This side went to chocolate, I want strawberry.”

Favorite Books:
Mighty Dads
Belly Button Book
Where is Baby’s Mommy
Mater’s Tall Tales book

Things We Did:

09/11 – Beach trip
09/13 – LegoLand visit
09/19 – went to the beach in the evening (high tide)
09/20 – Zoomars Petting Zoo, San Juan Capistrano and Long Beach dinner
09/21 – grandparent’s house for play and Irvine Spectrum
09/27 – all day travel, flights and airport living
09/28 – family time, met your 2nd cousins
09/29 – Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo
09/30 – Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha and dinner with your Great Uncle Paul, his wife and daughter
10/01 – breakfast at the Cracker Barrell and the Union Pacific Railroad Museum and the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge
10/02 – road trip to family farm in Elgin, Nebraska. Met your 1st cousins, Mandi and Abby
10/03 – Visit to my cousin’s farm, with goats, rabbits, sheep, a calf, a pony and dogs
10/04 – drive back to Omaha and visit with my aunt & uncle some more
10/05 – travel home and acclimate to being home
10/06 – Library with Miss Mary and MyGym playtime
10/08 – Library with Miss C.

LINK TO PICTURES FROM THIS PAST MONTH

Things I Want to Remember:

How you turned on the monitor one evening, peered at it for a second and then said,”That’s my bed.” I said, “Who told you that?” You replied, “Myself.” Turns out, that was the truth. I checked with your father and your grandma D. and no one had told you that.

How, after I’ve put you to bed, you carry on conversations with yourself. Or at least I thought that’s what you were doing, until you told me one night, “Mommy? Answer me!” And then another night, you said, “I’m talking to you, mommy!”

How grandma took you to Wienerschnitzel (a whole other can of worms opened) for an ice cream cone on Tuesday (it’s discounted then), and you ate the first one, got to the bottom and started crying. The manager came over and asked what was wrong, and you said, “It’s all gone.” And he went and got you another one. Not at all what grandma intended to happen, as she wanted to get you home for your nap. Sometimes people don’t realize that giving a crying child¬†prolongs the agony for the caretakers!

How we’ve been having flies around the place. You now sing the shoo fly shoo song at them. One night a fly was being particularly pesky and I noticed you were holding your ear. Concerned, I asked, “Does your ear hurt?” You replied, “No. My ear is fine. But that’s where the fly went bzzzzzz.”

How you figure that since daddy fixes everything, he can also “fix” the universe. ¬†You’ve been really focused this month on whether the sun is up this month. ¬†You told your father one night, “Daddy can you make sun come up? I’m sad that the sun is down.” ¬†Your father said he wished he could, but even he can’t fix that.

You saw a garage sale for the first time this month and you said, “What are those jammies doing on the grass??? That’s so weird!”

A couple nights ago we were having dinner. You moved your plate to the side and spread your napkin out and put your plate on top of it. You said, “I’m having a picnic!” ¬†It was the next night that you brought your lawn chair in from the patio and said, “I’m sitting in my little chair tonight.” ¬†After a bit of you getting up and down to eat your food, I asked you, “How’s that working for you?” ¬†You replied, “It’s working just fine for me.”

One evening in the pool, one of our neighbors came in the pool gate. She started talking to our other neighbor and you¬†asked me, “Who is that??” I told you¬†I didn’t know her name. You¬†swam over to them and said, “Excuse me? What is your name?” She introduced herself as Keera, and you¬†told her, “My¬†name is Weeyum.” Then you said,¬†“My favorite snack is blueberry muffins, what’s yours?” She replied, “I really like yogurt.” You both¬†went on and on about favorite snacks, and then you¬†said, “You’re really pretty… KACHOW!” ¬†Turns out she is a Montessori teacher and speaks fluent “little boy speak.”

One evening you were out checking out our fairy garden (I add things or move things around every day or so). A couple weeks ago I had shown you the mint plants — cat nip, peppermint, spearmint, etc. I pulled some of the cat nip off and gave it to the cats to show you the hilarity of it. So that evening, you came in the house bearing some leaves from those plants and said, “I’m feeding the cats cement! Grumpy, come here! I have cement for you!”

Grandma tells you that you have to nap because SHE needs her nap. We tell you that you need to nap so you can stay up late and party with the parents. Now when we get home you say, “Let’s go to the party and have fun!”

One Sunday, we went to dinner at SIzzler. They had some artwork hanging right at table level, and they give kids crayons there. You held your crayon up to the painting and said, “I’m going to color this picture…” You paused and looked at me and asked, “What would my parents say?”

You love MyGym, and anytime Grandma buckles you into your car seat in her car, you ask, “Are we going to MyGym today?’ You’re learning stuff there, for example, I was sitting on the floor and had my foot resting on the wall, instead of stepping over my leg, or crawling under it, you tucked your chin and did a roll over it. Also, standing in a trapeze style swing, with one foot beside your knee, you looked up at Grandma D. and said, “This is tricky.”

When we were in visiting family on our vacation, we visited the Union Pacific Railway Museum where they had a wooden train set for kids to play with. Every little boy who came through there and left cried and screamed about it. And with every little boy who did that, I got a little more worried about you. Sure enough, as we left, you sobbed and cried. I carried you out, a loud, sobbing mess. After you had calmed down and we were driving back to our home away from home, I told you, “I’m so sorry. I had hoped you’d do better about leaving.” I was referring only to your behavior. So I was surprised when you replied, “I did do better than them, mommy. I didn’t scream, I only cried.” You were comparing your behavior to the other boys.

One morning, you were being particularly clingy, and you followed me into the restroom and sat down on the rug. I glanced over at you and said, “I’m going to stare at you while you sit there.” You promptly got up and walked toward the door. As you opened it, you said, “You can go potty, if you want, all by yourself!” Remarkably, you closed the door behind you. I guess I just have to tell you that I’m going to stare at you to get some privacy?

While we were visiting family, your Great Aunt Marjorie gifted you with a few family heirlooms. One is a child’s rocking chair that was handmade in 1868 by your G-G-G-Grandfather for his son (your GG Grandfather). It fits you just right. Now, you go sit in your chair and pat your little lap and say, “Come here, mommy, sit on my lap. I’m going to rock you to sleep!” And then you sing me Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Jesus Loves me. You also had daddy sit on your lap to rock HIM to sleep. Now that was a sight to see.

You still love Rachael and Signing Times. You love the Treeschoolers, too. You’ve been requesting the zoo Signing Times lately. Funniest thing, when you are asked a question, you’ve started sticking your hand up and making random letters, like you’re signing things. Recently, you were walking around saying, “Something about b r a…” while you signed it with your hand. Your father asked you, “Why are you spelling bra?” You responded, “I don’t know? Maybe because it’s yummy?” I’m really not sure if you know what bra is, or how it’s spelled, or even that you were saying bra… but that was just hilarious.

You picked your own Halloween costume a couple weeks ago. ¬†I was surprised as heck that you want to be Spiderman. ¬†You know next to nothing about Spiderman, except that one of your water cups is a Spiderman and so you know who it is… and that’s pretty much the extent of it.

Your Grandma D. has been working with you, starting about 3-4 months ago, on the months of the year. ¬†Along with that, you know your birthday is in December, as is Christmas. ¬†You know mommy’s birthday and Grandma D’s birthdays are in November. ¬†You know Grandpa H.’s birthday is in October, and Grandma H’s birthday is in September, and that your daddy’s birthday is in August.

We’ve been asking you what kind of party you want for your birthday in December. ¬†You’ve informed us that you want a train cake that is coffee flavored. ¬†I asked you if you want train decorations and you told me, “No. I want Cars decorations.” ¬†So I took you to the party store and showed you various decorations. ¬†You absolutely do NOT want a dog birthday, or any of the super heroes. ¬†You don’t want a Hello Kitty party, either. ¬†But you waffled when faced with Cars or Thomas… so I’m not sure which you’ll be having. ¬†But you still definitely want a train cake.

***

The other night, as is our routine, I nursed you when I got home. Grandma D. tried to sneak out the front door so she wouldn’t interrupt our reuniting. You unlatched as you heard the door shut and said, “Hey!! Grandma forgot to tell me she loves me!”

How when I put you in bed, and you ask me to snuggle, sometimes I ask you what you’re thinking about. You usually tell me, “Trains…” And then start telling me a story about trains, how Thomas fell in the water and someone came and helped him. Then you say, “Luckily, no one was hurt.” But you say “luckily” as “wuckiwy” and it makes me laugh every single time you say it. I also love hearing what’s on your mind and hope that¬†this foundation of trust and communication that I’m working on establishing now¬†will continue as you grow older.

One evening, after your bath,¬†you grasped my face and pulled it to you. You said, “I’m kissing your forehead. I’m kissing your cheek! I’m kissing your other cheek. I’m kissing your nose. I’m kissing your chin. I’m kissing your mouth.” Along with the appropriate kisses. I do this to you all.the.time and to have you do it back to me, tells me more than ever that what I put into you is coming right back out. ¬†It’s a fearsome and awesome thing, this parenting stuff. ¬†And, dear child, I hope you¬†continue to be this sweet your¬†whole life long.

34 MONTHS OLD

Love, Momma

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Filed under Letter to William, Our Kid is Cute