Friday, December 17, 2010

Best laid plans

B's uncle died at the beginning of the week. He had been fighting pancreatic cancer for a year and a half and was only in his 60s, and we are all quite sad, particularly for his wife. He was a kind and funny man and will be missed by many, many people.

The funeral is in New York this weekend, which is a complete departure from my previous weekend plans of working on Saturday and maybe doing something Christmassy on Sunday. But it will be good to see the rest of the family, even though I wish we could find ways to get everyone together that didn't require anybody to get married or die.


And now that I've said all that, here's sampling of the running dialogue in my brain for most of today: So we need to get packed and how will we keep two small kids quiet at a funeral and I need to get work done tonight and work both jobs tomorrow and make something for the staff Christmas party tomorrow and I've been chosen for a new project at work which is theoretically a compliment since I was chosen because of my good work but mostly it's a pain the ass because it's suddenly added four morehours of work to shoehorn into today and tomorrow and we should dig out and clean up baby equipment to pass on to B's sister this weekend and did I mention I now have houseguests and no time to actually spend with them and let's not forget packing to leave for Michigan next week and we should really shovel out the car and AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!

So there's that. I'm going to concentrate on the fact that thanks to the houseguests we have the grandparent babysitting service who are at least taking the children off of my hands and be thankful for that.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tantrums and thriftiness

Two months ago, I kept wondering why it was I thought I hated early toddlerhood so much. Was it because when K was that age, B was out of work and we were insanely stressed? Because our current toddler was unendingly delightful.

Now, I can remember why: because at 18 months, they turn into little monsters. Little screaming, tantrumming, perpetual motion, howler monkey monsters. Actually, K waited until she was 19 months to really pull it out (although to be fair, my memories of that period of her life are very hazy because of the little distraction of moving to Philadelphia), while Alec is proving to be precocious. Or maybe it just feels that way, since the headbutting has made this quite literally a painful phase for all of us.

Despite waking for the day at 4:30 yesterday morning, he still manages to be cute enough to keep himself from being put out on the curb with the recycling. He seems to have a good sense of when to pull out the cute and distracts me from finding a cardboard box by playing peek-a-boo. K was cute at that age because toddlers are naturally cute. But Alec has been deliberately clowning to make me laugh for several months. The difference between an introvert and an extrovert, right there.

I've been feeling a bit smug lately because I've managed to keep him occupied for hours lately with two simple things that cost less than $10 together. The first is two sets of Mardi Gras beads from the Target dollar bins. Alec adores putting things around his neck, so these are perfect for him to put them on, and take them off, and put them on again and take two off and drop one and put the other one back on... you get the idea. We always let him know he's very pretty in his beads, which makes him happy.

The other was the $6 purchase of a large poster board, to which I glued down some train track. Alec loves the train table at the bookstore, but when I tried to pull our trains out at home, he was interested but couldn't restrain himself from lifting the track up, descending like the hand of God to ruin the fun quite effectively. Now, we have a nice little track setup that lives under the coffee table until gets pulled out so he can play on it happily for hours (often after we've found him lying on his stomach attempting to push trains on the track under the table). Our little train boy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I took a trip down the basement stairs Saturday night. My feet flew right out from under me and I went sliding down on my butt. K was walking down in front of me, and my legs rather neatly slid under her and she travelled down on top of me until she landed safely at the bottom. She thought it was a lot of fun, but the big bruise on my ass would beg to differ.


Alec's new habit of expressing his frustrations by banging his head on things has ramped up. I will grant that it certainly makes it hard to ignore a tantrum (not that ignoring it was ever our approach to tantrums), given that if we wait too long, he winds up with carpet-patterned bruises on his forehead. Our poor little soccer hooligan. I have sympathy for the fact that he's feeling things that are far too big for his undeveloped brain to handle yet. I had less sympathy when he bent my glasses last week. And it wasn't so much that he tried to headbutt me in the face last week that gave me pause so much as the fact that he put his hands on either side of his face to aim better.


B came home sick today, complaining of general malaise and achiness. I thought I was fine until I went to pick up the kids from school and daycare, and by the time I got home, it was quite clear that I was sick too.

I'm always torn as to whether it's worse to have to take care of sick kids when you're sick, or kids that are disgustingly healthy when you're sick. On the one hand, sick kids don't move as much, but they often demand more attention. On the other, healthy kids can often play on their own, but they have lots of energy to get into trouble and still need to have attention paid to them. Either way, parenting while sick sucks golf balls through garden hoses. We didn't actually resort to sowing the carpet with cereal for them to eat for dinner, but it was under serious consideration.