Friday, February 26, 2010


If Calculus is the study of change, then toddlers are the study of discovery.

A little while ago, my Mom introduced my toddler to a website that helps preschoolers learn their ABCs, "Starfall". He loved it and asked for it often every time he caught sight of anyone's laptop. Many times I found myself explaining that you had to "go" there, it was a "website", it wasn't always on as soon as we looked at the computer.

Many weeks have passed since he's last played it.

This morning, I was checking my email while eating breakfast (while doing four other tasks, a necessity to which any Mom can relate.)

My toddler sidled up to me and asked to play the ABCs on the computer. I managed to rebuff him for a moment.

"I want to play ABCs!"
"Not right now, sweetie, we have to get dressed."
"I want to play ABCs! Please!"
"Not right now, sweetie, I'm almost done here, it's time to clean up breakfast/get baby A up/[fill in normal task here]."
"I want to play ABCs dot com! Pleeeease!"
"Did you just say 'dot com'?"

He got to play. For a toddler minute.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Adventures in Storage

Everyone that has a toddler knows the challenges of having a toddler.

And everyone that has a toddler knows the joy. The question is always, does the joy become the bridge over Challenges River? Can you learn to love something as simple as say, discovering you have pockets?

On Sunday, we went for a very enjoyable, albeit lengthy brunch with a dear friend of mine. All four of us.. baby and toddler in tow. We stayed a little longer than we'd planned, so when he ran out of food, toy trucks and other people, my toddler started entertaining himself with the little packets of jam and jelly on the table. He'd twirl them around, try to open them, guess what was inside... and I'm sure many other pretend things we weren't privy to.

His Dad was a co-conspirator, I found out later.

So we're in the car on the way home. He was tired. Very tired and worn out. After a few minutes of a quiet ride, from the back seat, we began to hear a very faint, quiet toddler voice say:

"I'm.........Not..........Saying anything. I'm not........Saying anything. I'm not saying..... Anything."

My husband and I exchanged a glance, both puzzled. Then we glanced back at my son, and burst out laughing. My husband held out his hand, and asked for my toddler to hand him the packet of Strawberry jam that he'd made off with. Unbeknown to us.

He'd stowed it in his jacket pocket.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thanks Be to the Moment

I've been thinking a lot lately about what life was like before I had kids.

I'm having a lot of trouble.

Did it exist? Was I really like these 20-somethings I see frittering away their time at Starbucks, and the bookstore, and on their iPhones, on blogs? (I realize I sound like I'm 100.) I'm sure I did my fair share of frittering. I was probably a master fritterer. If they offered a Master's course in How to Effectively Fritter, I'd have been the TA.

I'd fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way. (Roger Waters, Pink Floyd.)

I think I thought more about what kind of shoes to wear with my new jeans than I did about whether I could stomach a minivan purchase. Or whether I'd actually wear the black leather pants from Banana Republic. I'm pretty sure I never got the "Dora the Explorer" map song stuck in my head. Or ground-up Kix on my car seat. Or distraught that a minivan purchase would be determined inevitable, once we checked the "more than one child" box.

I definitely didn't jump when I heard my infant on the baby monitor. (Just did.)

But I have two unbelievably beautiful sons. I have a husband so amazing that poetry and all the words in Webster's dictionary wouldn't explain it. And sometimes, with amazing gifts as these, it's easy to get caught in the day-to-day.

So, recently my husband and I have been doing something fun to remind each other of this fact.. to bring us back to this critical recognition.

Last night at dinner, our 3-month old baby was sitting on his lap, watching my husband's plate and moving fork with acute concentration. Our toddler, when he determined (himself) to be done with requisite "eating", got down and started playing on the floor.

My husband, with a wink, said to me, "do you remember when baby A would sit attentively on my lap, just being adorable, and our Toddler would entertain himself while we quietly finished dinner?"

Immediately I relished the moment. We both did. It was [relatively] quiet. Calm. Peaceful. Joyful. We seized upon this and each, in our own way, thanked our lucky stars.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reversion to the Snow

Ok, strap in for this post. Try to follow my logic.

It's commonly known that toddlers revert to what is familiar when faced with an uncertain situation. Something scary. Or the Unknown. My toddler is the perfect example of this. When he isn't feeling well, like this morning, and I move, for example, the humidifier from across the room to a new spot, he demands that it be put back where it was. It's rightful spot.

A new music class might land him sitting in my lap (instead of bolting away from me, his normal modus operandi) or begging to be "UP!" He is the most independent little man this side of the Mississippi. Except when the unfamiliar rears its ugly head.

Totally understandable, and normal, you understand. His world is pretty safe and secure, when it's predictable. We can all relate to that. Our.. Reversion to the mean.

Here in the Washington DC area, we've had one massive snow storm (past tense). Like, pounds and pounds of snow. Our gazebo is crushed, the glass table underneath shattered. Historic snow. Now, at press time, we are in the midst of another massive snow storm of historic proportion (present tense.) Once again we had fair warning, so back out to the stores, everyone in the Washington DC Metro area yesterday went. Including me.

Nary a gallon of milk was there to be found. Shelves empty, fervent store-goers with packed carts made their way furiously around the store, grabbing items they may or may not need in the next four days. And amazingly, among the desperate grabs for leftover turkey legs, corn relish and faux sausage that nobody really needs, there was a community.

Three other women were gathered around me in the store's elevator (this was an Arlington, VA store, which makes it fancy, which means it has two floors) and we all eyed each others' equally packed carts. There were friendly exchanges, smiles. One woman rolled her eyes and commented on the unbelievable amount of snow. Another woman said with kind eyes, "at least we're not in Haiti right now."

Checking out, I made affable chatter with the manager bagging my groceries (yes that's right.) We were from the same town. We started talking Carolina basketball (he went to rival NC State) and two other Dads from another aisle turned around and engaged us in basketball conversation. We were like family (since they brutally teased me about our lack of wins this year.)

All over our neighborhood, for the past four days, neighbors have helped neighbors. My husband was digging out a spot for my mother (the Saint) who came to help. The man who lived in the closest house came out to help him. We have a friend who helped countless passers by whose cars that got stuck outside their house, as we my husband has. Neighbors going out of their way to dig out an elderly person. Reaching out to those who lost power. People meeting those that live in very close proximity to their own home.. for the first time in years.

It's amazing, the human connections that have been made. The kind souls going out of their way to help others in need. Big catastrophes bring out the worst of the weather, and the best in us, it would seem.

I like to think this is the true nature of Man. That when faced with adversity, or a little snow.. or a whole heck of a lot of snow, we come together to help each other. Through it, around it, keeping our cars and roads dug out and spirits lifted. I like to think this is our own way of retreating back to what is natural.

Our Reversion to the Mean.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blogging: Better for Aging

They say using your brain, as you get older, helps your brain. Makes sense.
Improves memory, mental agility, yadda yadda.

I'm here to say that blogging, when taken as directed, greatly improves memory and brain function. Why? Because all day long, when you have a tremendously epiphanous thought, and immediately think, "I must blog about this thought," but are, say, in the middle of a shower.. Or racing to get the potty under a toddler bottom when he needs to go. Or balancing Starbucks while climbing your steps with a babe-in-arms. Or walking around, patting him on the back, until he begins to close his drowsy eyes. When those moments happen, it is imperative to file away that momentous thought!

So will I? Can I? Is it possible to relate that great thought from this morning? Let's try.

I wasn't born to be a Stay-at-Home-Mom. I just wasn't. Some mothers were.. and it shows, in their uncanny ability to weave a handmade basket while knitting a scarf, scrap-booking with their other hand while cooking dinner and helping their toddler(s) make play-doh sculptures.

I feel proud when I get my teeth brushed, and it's before 9:00 AM.

But here's how I know God had a plan. When we moved away from promising careers working in banks (oh, WAIT a minute) in 2004, I had a few offers of employment in Charlottesville, VA. Our new town, for two years. I had an offer from a large-ish, reputable financial firm, and it was generous in salary but weak on time off.

I also had an offer from a non-profit. Working for the CFO. A very interesting job with very interesting people with illustrious backgrounds in enjoying life and being intellectual.

Money, or save the world? I chose to save the world.

That didn't work out. It did lead to another venture, working for a small Internet start-up in the finance realm, but was destined to end when we moved away. Then I got pregnant with our first son. Upon having him, I also didn't so much.. have .. a "job". Not exactly the time to go look for one, eh? And now t'ain't either.

It will be another blog post where I describe just how incredible this little tiny 2-1/2 year old mini-adult human really is, and how much he's changed our lives. Our goals. Our attitudes. What's important in life.. day-to-day, and as the weeks stack up on each other, leading to months and years.

But for whatever reason, God intended for me to be home every single day with this adorable and brilliant little man, and his adorable, cherubic baby brother. I can't question that, now or ever.




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