Growing Up

Dear Spencer,

We've got about two months left as a momma and her only child.  Your Gigi told me that there's a whole process you go through thinking about and grieving (in a sense) the loss of the "baby-ness" of your first child.  I think we're at that stage, because I'm doing crazy things, like taking you to Wild River Country at 31 (?) weeks pregnant, or (for a more colorful illustration) 55+ pounds pregnant.

We couldn't get there 'til ten, which is such a bummer for all of us hoping to have a great morning with our young child.  Places should open at 8 a.m.  The morning sun is still indirect, and the heat index is still relatively low for summer in Arkansas.  Anyway, while we waited all morning, I did laundry and cleaned the hall bathroom.  Wow.  It really needed it.  I didn't clean the tub/shower, because I had finally become sufficiently disgusted by if a few weeks ago.  However, just getting the first layer off of it took all the energy I had that fateful day, so today, I finally "finished" that cleaning session.  I'm telling you all this to say that you were so great.  In the past, cleaning while you are awake has been challenging.  You can pinpoint the surface that has hazardous chemicals, you can climb and push and pull your way to the brushes and rags, you are miraculously underfoot and screaming that you can't join me in my activity.  Trust me, I'll be begging you to join me before long.  I doubt you'll be as enthusiastic at that point.  But who knows?  You never cease to surprise me.

Today, however, you came in, you checked it out, I asked you to leave the bathroom while I did my work--and for the most part--AND without any tears--you obliged.  You did follow me back and forth between the bathroom and the laundry room many times.  You did try to pile all the clothes in the laundry room into the washer with the dirty cleaning rags; but when I stopped you and redirected you [insert long, dramatic pause] you went along with it.  It's mornings like this I know you're really growing up.

I told you we were going to a big swimming pool.  You said "No."  You asked for Gigi.  I told you she wouldn't be there.  You did seem to be interested, though; and you went along with getting dressed without screaming.  You even asked if we were going to the beach, which made that whole experience seem even more worthwhile--apparently you'd liked it.  I saved the sunscreen face application for once you were buckled in your carseat--cruel but necessary.  It did not go well, if you're wondering.  But that was not surprising.  You even seemed anxious to leave the house as I was gathering up the last of our supplies.  As we drove, I talked to you about not running away from me at the water park.  I told you that we would have to put sunscreen on your face, and that you'd have to leave your toy worm in the car because it would get lost.  I mentioned listening to Mommy and not running away over and over.  And I told you we'd have to leave if you didn't do what I said.  I'd made sure you'd had plenty to eat this morning for breakfast, and I'd carb-loaded you and protein-loaded me right as we were walking out the door.

And lo and behold, it paid off.  You stood in line to get in.  You did not run in the street or in the grass.  You weren't thrilled about the situation, but you listened to me tell you that waiting can be hard, and it's not very fun; but that it wouldn't be much longer.  Other people talked to you, and that bothered you; but you hung in there.  And then, we were in.  Accomplishment #1!  We went straight to the little kid area, and you loved it.  You played happily (with me by your side) for almost an hour.  You loved the waterfall, and the "deep" end.  You loved the concrete columns and insisted they were trees.  You loved to kick the water, and throw it with your hands.  You sat and rolled and listened.  You only tried to take off your swim trunks a couple of times, and you only complained about wearing your rashguard shirt once.  Honestly, it was beautiful.  More honestly, it was unthinkable.

By then, you'd really boosted my confidence in our ability to successfully do and enjoy activities together today.  So, I really upped the ante and took you over to the Lazy River.  I think you loved the name of it.  You repeated it over and over.  We went around at least three times.  You wore your sunglasses and your "puddle jumper" (floatie-thing), and only tried to climb the sides a few times.  The loud, dramatic buzzer to signal that the waves were starting in the wave pool went off, right when we were as close to it as we could have been.  After it goes off, they simulate really loud wave sounds.  You looked at me, and I told you what it was; and you were cool with it.  Wow.  You're really well-adjusted as a toddler.  We've come a long way from you screaming uncontrollably every time Daddy sneezed.

I really think we could have stayed on the Lazy River for a solid hour, but I was positive you were getting sunburned.  Have I mentioned you don't care for sunscreen on your face?  To be fair, I reapplied some of the sunscreen we use on your face onto my own face while we were there, and it burned like the dickens.  It's the best we've found; but I know it still hurts.  I'm really sorry.

We tried the wave pool for a few minutes, but you really wanted me to walk you out to the deep end, and I knew there was no way I could manage the waves and you and be pregnant.  So, we talked about doing the Lazy River again, and you got mad at me because of how I was trying to ride in the tube (differently than the time before), and that's when I knew you were finished.  I knew I could bribe you with a dry diaper, because you hate swim diapers of all kinds.  While I was changing you, I asked you if you wanted a cheeseburger, to which you, of course, replied "No."  Desperately hoping we could walk out with our dignity (and without completely doing-in my back for the next week), I asked if you wanted to get some ice cream.  You, of course, replied, "'Kay."

So, with the help of a little bribery, you walked, willingly holding my hand, all the way to our car.  I was having trouble enjoying it, I was so shocked.  After you'd had your ice cream, you went to the door at our house and begged to go back to Wild Rive Country.  Over and over again.  I hope I hadn't led you to believe that we were going back, but it seems like somehow I did.  I felt so bad.  I tried to explain that we were finished there.  I finally told you that you could have your paci for a nap.  And that sounded like an acceptable alternative to spending the afternoon at the water park to you.  Smart kid.

After I rocked you for a few minutes and laid you down in your bed, you were quiet for at least fifteen minutes.  Then, you started calling me.  That's not normal.  Even if you play, you don't usually call me.  I finally figured I should go see what was going on.  You were sitting on your bouncy dog.  Shorts and diaper off.  When I picked you up, I realized, you'd sat on your dog so that you could poop.  So, the plus side was, you hadn't wanted to poop in your diaper, I guess.  I'm still wondering if it wasn't just a coincidence.  Undressing is becoming a sort of game to you, you've woken up from a couple naps lately pants and diaper-free.  We had a little damage control to do before I could lay you back down.  I did verbally affirm you for calling me instead of making a mess with your poop.  I also mentioned that it'd be great if you called me when you needed to poop, and I could take you to the potty.

I'm still amazed that you just sat there and didn't smear it all over everything.  See what I mean?  You're growing up.

Love you, little one,


Feeling Like A Rookie

I just experienced the first morning of Spencer wearing big boy underwear.  I would not call it successful, but I did get a lot of exercise.  I ran him to the toilet after he'd already peed everywhere, at least five times.  I then, of course, got to blot the pee out of the only two rugs we have in the whole house--apparently it's much more fun to pee on the rug.  And then--and my back is not going to quickly forgive me for this one--I ended up scrubbing poop he smeared all over the living room rug while I was picking up toys IN THE SAME ROOM--seriously not even a full yard away...and let's not forget the bath that followed...the rug was not the only thing covered in poop.  Potty training is one of the few "baby" things I've never done before as a babysitter or nanny.  It promises to deliver lots of good times.
I know I should probably wait 'til he's three, but I just had to give it a try after he came in at a 4 year old language comprehension level at his last speech eval.  He's so got my number...
And I know I was more relieved than he was to put a diaper on him for his nap.  Not sure my back has the strength to do it all over again this afternoon.  We DEFINITELY did not buy enough underwear...
Round 1:  Spencer--7  and Mommy--0


Thinking Out Loud

How do you think?  How do you process things?  Those of you who know me in "real life" know that I'm an "external processor" (like how I just made that up?).  I literally think while I'm talking.  It doesn't just help me think things out, it seems to actually produce new thoughts and lines of reason.  It's weird.

So, to those of you who have listened to me over the years, many thanks.  I promise I don't just like to hear myself talk (although I won't completely rule out liking it to some degree).  I think, when there's no one to talk to, writing fills that need to some degree.  So, although this is somewhat ridiculous and quite a reflection of 2011, I thought it'd be funny to "talk" about trying to pick a name for the "new baby."  Who knows?  It might even be helpful.

Here are some of our favorites as of today (subject to change at my every whim):


We do have some middle name "ideas," but they're certainly not set in stone, and really, at this point in life, what is?  I'm purposely not creating a poll, because I want to hear your thoughts on your favorites.  Voting is not "talking," nor does it provide the same helpful and therapeutic benefits.

Ok, so talk to me...

PS--for the record, when naming Spencer, we threw out our list at the end and started all over...


"What I Learned On My Summer Vacation" In Negatives

Not the answer to heart burn--roasted red pepper hummus.

Not your best time to stand against the crashing waves and try to help your child float in the ocean--third trimester.

Now that "they" ruled out tuna and your heart burn and queasiness ruled out anything fried, all you'll be left with at seafood restaurants--grilled shrimp and crab legs (not complaining...).

Not the most cost-effective time to be applying sunscreen all over your body day after day after day--third trimester.

Not the best environment for swollen, achy feet--air planes and hot beaches.

Not the easiest time to get close ups and creatively angled shots of your toddler on the beach or at the fountains--third trimester.

Nor the best way to employ Netflicks to block out any movie everyone else is watching that contains any suspense at all--earbuds--I hate them.  They don't fit right, and they hurt.

Not disappointed in the beach, ever, no matter how pregnant she is--me--even in my third trimester!



Even before the media got to me, I remember enjoying most the times of the year that I was tan.  Before I knew who Jennifer Aniston was and before I'd seen thin, airbrushed, tan women on the covers of magazines.  Even back when scars from my bike wrecks and sponge-painted VBS t-shirts were cool, I knew--I just felt better tan.  Life just felt better.  Heck, possibly, life really IS better.

And now with all the research about sun being essential to your vitamin D levels and light therapy promoting emotional well being, all I can think is, "Wow, that was a lot of money to tell us something we all already knew."  Being tan is being happy.

So, here we are...


ps--I know all about skin cancer.  We were in the sun for limited amounts of time with gobs of sunscreen all over us, in disgusting amount.  I'm the girl whose mom forced her to swim with a t-shirt over her bathing suit (and sunscreen slathered body) from 9 am to 4 pm.  And in junior high and high school, I'd get grounded if I got sunburned.  I know damage happens even with sunscreen, even without a sunburn,   yadda, yadda.  I'm just sayin'--for the first time in a long time, I had consistently elevated feelings of happiness.  It had to be the sun ('cause it sure was hot).  =)