Monday, September 29, 2008

Winkle, Winkle Little Bus

Last weekend we were driving home from visiting my parents and little man was quite the chatterbox. This really was nothing new, little man definitely likes to talk, especially when we're driving somewhere.

However, this time it seemed to have a rhythm to it. I just couldn't place a finger on it though. Little man was more mumbling than speaking as he was calmly hanging out in his carseat gazing out the window.

"I think he's singing," my husband said.

We turned down the radio and listened intently.

"Winkle, winkle {inaudible toddler mumbling} ARE," little man sang.

My husband and I looked at each other wondering if the other had a clue as to what our little man was singing.

"Diamond {mumble} SKY!" Little man continued.

My husband and I both finally pieced it together. Little man was singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

Except, just as in everything he does, little man gave the song his own twist.

"Winkle, winkle, little BUS," he proceeded to sing. "Wonder what are. Up world so HIGH. Like diamond in sky. Winkle, winkle little bus. Wonder what are."

I think we have the next American Idol on our hands.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


As much as I hate to admit it ... and try to convince myself otherwise ... there are at least two people who I believe trump mommy when it comes to little man's list of favorite people.

Nana (my husband's mother) and Papa (my father).

As I mentioned in the previous post, we are currently in the throes of our great backyard patio renovation. What I didn't share was that our family has a long background of being do-it-yourselfers, and as such undertook this project ourselves.

Fortunately, my father is definitely a handyman. He's no stranger to construction and brick patios, so he graciously ventured up to our house to help us out.

Which also means that Papa has been at our house for the past two weeks. And little man couldn't be happier.

Just like the twactor, so long as little man's eyes were open, he wanted nothing more than to be outside helping Papa. Perhaps that's why little man is so enamored with the twactor - because it's Papa's.

When they excavated the dirt for the new patio, little man was there by Papa's side with a shovel. When they poured the concrete, Papa and little man had to put their hand prints in it (although little man's print was more just an outline of his knuckles, as he was also terrified of getting his hands dirty. See the "Little Cabin Boy" post for an explanation on that one.) And when they began to the lay the sand for the bricks, little man was there, once again, with his sandbox shovel "helping."

I would also be remiss if I didn't add that the feeling is definitely mutual. If little man hadn't gone to preschool during the day, I don't know how much work Papa would have accomplished on the patio. When little man was there they had a great way of suddenly disappearing. Then you would hear a "weeeee!" and "harder Papa" as you would look over and find Papa pushing little man on a swing from his swingset.

Or Papa running through the streets with him in the wheelbarrow.

And at night, as I tucked little man into bed and kissed him goodnight, he would insist on yelling "Nite Papa!" one last time before I shut the door.

Papa has since had to leave our house for a few days to take care of other business, however little man constantly informs me that Papa is coming back.

And now, just like the twactor conundrum I mentioned below, I have a new issue that mommy will have no choice but to forge through. Although Papa is coming back in a few days, it will be to put the finishing touches on the patio and gather his things to take home - including the twactor. Then little man will not only have to face the twactor leaving, but also Papa leaving with it.

Maybe I should be sick that day and let my husband deal with the what is sure to be a nuclear aftermath.

But, I do admit, it will be nice to be No. 1 once again.

That is, until the next time we see Papa or Nana.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Twactor

For the past two weeks we've had a skid loader in our yard. Since we enjoy being outside so much we finally decided to be done with our tired, sad, little concrete patio and install a new one much more to our liking.

Little man has greatly enjoyed this flurry of activity. And he also has a new best friend ... "the twactor."

At first little man was intrigued, but petrified, with the giant yellow beast in the yard. He wanted to see it, but clung to mommy for dear life when we neared it.

Now we can't get him off of it.

It all started one day when I told little man to touch it. He was scared, but mustered up enough courage to lightly touch it with one finger and then run screaming back to mommy.

Then he would insist upon touching it again.

And again.

Quickly becoming more enamored with "the twactor," little man would then sit in the bucket.

And quickly burst out into big belly laughs.

"Mommy, look at meeee," he would say. "I sit in bucket."

{insert belly laugh here}

Then the day came ... the day in which little man wanted to sit inside the tractor.

I hoisted little man into the seat. And he was instantly in love.

"Mommy, twactor goes like this ... ruuuummmppffffff. Beeeeeep. Shuuuuuu."

As happy as I am that little man conquered his fear, the problem is now it's all he ever talks about.

When we are at home all he wants to do is "see twactor."

When we leave for preschool in the morning we have to say good-bye to it.

The entire ride home from preschool it's all he talks about. And when we pull up to the house, he immediately runs to it.

We even have to say goodnight to it before we go to bed.

It's safe to say little man has a twactor obsession.

And in the upcoming days I will have a new conundrum.

What do I tell little man when the last stone is laid and the twactor leaves?

Say a prayer for me, for it won't be pretty.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Said I Would Never ...

When I found out I was indeed pregnant with a little boy, the first thing I went out and purchased was a set of blue overalls with a floppy-eared brown dog on them. Little boys and dogs just go together in my mind. It's like they were made for each other.

I also made up my mind that one sunny late summer day that I would not dress my little boy head to toe in monster truck shirts. Dogs were OK in my mind, but I had to draw the line somewhere. To me it was so very cliche'. My boy would be stylin' in cute polo shirts and cargo pants. Just because you're 2 doesn't mean you can't have style. No truck shirts here. Or Elmo. Or Winnie the Pooh.

If you're a mother and you're reading this, you probably just snickered. For you know all too well the "I never" zone. The "I never" that applies to that wonderful dreamworld of how you imagine your life with your first child will be. Then your child arrives and you snap back into reality. And then you understand.

Back in the day, before little man arrived, I used to see other mother's out with their children and wonder why they had dressed their child in that. Although I knew children liked such things as Elmo and monster trucks, I didn't understand why the children needed to wear them. It just seemed too easy for me. A cop out.

Now, I am one of those mothers. I understand.

Although I was determined to have little man be the epitome of preschool style, I did come crashing down to reality. Little boys love trucks. They want to wear them. They must wear them.

I once again came crashing down to reality via this realization last week. Fall has definitely come to Kansas and little man and I awoke to a cold, rainy morning. It was definitely a day for long-sleeved shirts and jeans.

But, there were no long-sleeved truck shirts. Just stylish stripes and polos.

Hell hath no fury like little man with no truck shirt to wear.

I had long ago acquiesced to the fact that little man loves truck shirts. (And by truck, I do mean any shirt with a motorized vehicle on it, be it a truck, car, tractor, etc.) His summer wardrobe included a vast array of truck shirts. However I had not yet stocked up for the fall and winter. There were no long-sleeved truck shirts.

"I want truck shirt!" little man proclaimed that cold, rainy morning.

I dug through his closet, trying to find something. However, each item did not satisfy little man's request. He needed a truck shirt.

And then the meltdown came.

I grabbed a shirt and quickly dressed him. But little man's heart was broken.

"Truck shirt," little man whimpered in his sad little way. "I want truck shirt."

All I could do was hug little man and assure him that he would be OK not wearing a truck shirt for one day. But his eyes told a different story. He didn't care about style. He cared about trucks.

And although little man did survive his day with no truck shirt, the disappointment still lingered that evening. He also reminded me the entire way home that he was not happy about not having on a truck shirt.

That is, until mommy pulled out a clean pair of truck jammies.

Then all was was right in the world, again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

An Ode to Moms of Boys

I don't know if you would call it a premonition or women's intuition, but even before I was pregnant I think I knew that I was destined to have a little boy.

I always found myself drawn to baby boy things ... maybe it's because my favorite color is blue or maybe it's the fact that little boys have way cooler toys than little girls. I mean who wouldn't rather have a fully automated tractor with lights and sounds than a baby doll?

However, I also knew that being a mom to a boy would come with it's ... challenges. When I was a child I was by far a girly girl. I loved dolls, dresses and pretty things. I do have a brother, but he is older. So I entered motherhood with very little expertise regarding little boys (aside from the babysitting gigs I did when I was a teenager).

Now, just 2.5 years later, I think I've definitely adapted to the world of boyhood very well. I've come to expect that his shoes will always be muddy and that about three months after purchasing a new pair, there will inevitably be a hole in his left shoe from the way he squats on the floor to play with his toy trucks. I've also become accustomed to all of the boy Disney movies, of which his favorite movie of all time is Cars.

However, there are still surprises.

About six months ago, little man came home and picked up his little hockey stick and started to run about the house acting like it was a gun.

"Pew! Pew!" He would say as he pretended to shoot things around the house.

I have no idea where he learned this from. Toy guns are not a part of little man's extensive toy repertoire, nor do we watch any violent movies or television shows while little eyes are still open. I think he must have picked it up by watching other kids at the park, at the babysitters, etc. All that matters is he learned it somehow and mama was not happy about it. But, I guess you can't shield them forever. He was bound to learn it sometime.

Fortunately, little man is more obsessed with trucks and tractors at this moment to really play "gun" games, so it hasn't been much of a concern since that first night many months ago.

But then, I faced a new "gun" situation two nights ago.

And it was a doozie.

While getting little man ready for bedtime we were doing our nightly routine of changing the pull-up, putting on jammies, brushing teeth, etc. As I stood little man up on his changing table to put on a new pull-up, I suddenly heard it.

"Pew! Pew!"

Little man's gun sound.

Only this time it wasn't a hockey stick. It was his ... boyhood.

(Yes, that one.)

There, stark naked on the changing table, my little man was shooting imaginary monsters with his ... gun.

I was dumbfounded. I was also reminded that little boys are definitely different than little girls in many, many ways.

I wanted to laugh, but I knew I couldn't. Every mother of a toddler knows that you should not ever laugh at something your child does unless it's behavior you're willing to accept. Because if you do, they will do it again and again and again ... and again.

As much as I tried to just pull on his new pull-up as fast as I could, little man then focused on me, and began shouting "Pew! Pew!" at me and shooting me with his "gun."

And I laughed.

It was too hard not to.

I was never told by other mothers of boys to be ware of the "gun." I never would have thought that he would want to play "gun" with that part. But, again, I am not a boy. And I guess it's moments like that that make being a mother to a boy so much fun.

And interesting, to say the least.

So, to other mothers of boys, here's a 21-gun salute to you.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Future Wildcat

As any good K-State alums, my husband and I still travel back to Manhattan in the fall to cheer on the K-State football team. Not only do we own a sizable wardrobe of royal purple and white shirts and hats, but little man also has an equally sizable collection of K-State wear.

As much as I like football games, for me, the weekends are enjoyable for the tailgating, the people and the chance to just get out of town for a few days. When the weather is bad (which there are always a few miserably cold/rainy game days a year) I usually send the husband to the game with his dad, leaving me and little man to enjoy the warmth and dryness inside. (Litte man always stays behind to spend the afternoon with Grammy Jo, regardless.)

However, this was not the case this past weekend. Despite the cool temperature and wet, wet, WET weather I endured Mother Nature's first taste of fall weather for nearly three hours. And it wasn't because the game happened to be a good one -- it was crystal clear who was going to win the game early on. I stayed because of little man.

Each year during a break in the game the wonderful folks running the jumbotron feature a slideshow of "Future Wildcats." And each year, by the time I go to the Web site to enter little man's picture, they already have all the pictures they need for the year.

But not this year. I made sure I got in early and sure enough, little man made the cut.

So, last weekend in K-State vs. Montana State, little man was scheduled to appear on the jumbotron, larger than life.

It was also, quite possibly, the worst weekend of the year.

The temps were cool and there was an almost constant drizzle ... not a heavy rain, but a slow, gentle, soaking rain. Just enough to soak you, your hair and your fuzzy K-State sweatshirt. It was a day when I usually would have passed on my ticket and sent the husband to the game with his dad.

But, I couldn't miss little man's big moment.

And so I sat, in my plastic purple poncho. The first quarter was exciting enough, but by the second quarter that excitement was definitely gone. I even sat in the rain through the halftime show, which featured high school marching bands from across the state. Finally, the third quarter came. The quarter in which the "Future Wildcats" would be on display.

And then it came ...

I jumped to my feet and cheered. The crowd around me must have thought for sure I had lost it. My mother-in-law, who also only endured the weather for this big moment, cheered with me. At least I wasn't the only crazy jumping mother in the stands at that moment. I'm sure my husband and father-in-law also clapped, however I was caught in the moment of my little man on the BIG screen.

And then he was gone and another Future Wildcat took to the jumbotron. I'm sure somewhere in the stands another crazy mother jumped to her feet, clapping.

My mother-in-law and I looked at each other.

"You ready?" I asked her.

"Yes, let's GO" she replied.

And so we left Bill Snyder Family Stadium and it's wet drizzle behind. We had seen what we had come for - little man on the BIG screen. Oh, and the Wildcats win, too, of course.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

20 Questions Toddler-Style

This morning little man and I peeled ourselves out of bed, despite the cool weather and soft rain. It really was a sleepin' in morning, but we somehow managed to get ourselves up, relatively awake and dressed just before heading out the door.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I love that little man and I can now have a conversation. I love hearing what's on his mind, even if the mind of a 2-year-old is ... random.

And with these new conversation skills, little man has entered into the "mommy, what's that?" stage.

This morning was no different. In the car on the way to preschool, little man began his usual barrage of "what's that?" questions.

"Mommy, what's that?" he asked as he pointed towards the windshield.

I looked around, but didn't see anything unusual.

"What buddy?" I asked.

"That," he said. "THAT."

Again, mommy sat clueless.

"That" little man kept saying in an almost rhythmic tone.

"Is it in the car?" I asked.

"Yeah, THAT."


Finally, I gave up.

"What color is it?" I asked him in an attempt to narrow the choices down.


Unfortunately for me, the entire interior of my car is black.

It wasn't the dashboard, it wasn't the radio, it wasn't anything black that I could see in the car.

I gave up and turned an Elmo movie on in a futile attempt to change the subject.

But, little man wanted to know what "that" was.

I looked out onto the rain covered street as I waited at a stoplight.

"Mommy, that!" little man exclaimed once more.

And then it all clicked.

Windshield wipers.

"Make rain go bye-bye?" little man asked.

"Yes, buddy. They make the rain go bye-bye."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Little Cabin Boy

As cute as this photo is, these kinds of pics are few and far between at our house.

Little man is a clean freak. He despises having a dirty face and dirty hands.

Unlike most 2-year-old little boys, little man hates to be dirty. I have no idea how many napkins our household consumes in a month. During the normal course of meal, little man frequently waves his hands in the air, signaling that he needs a napkin STAT. He then cautiously wipes off his hands and face before diving into his plate for another bite. Because, as much as little man hates to be messy ... he also loves to eat.

However, unlike the ritual of throwing his socks on the living room floor, I cannot blame my husband for this one.

Mama has been accused of being a clean freak, as well.

I admit it - I am one of those people who love to clean. A messy house makes me feel anxious and chaotic. So ... I clean ... and clean ... and clean. I love to make it sparkle.

I had hoped little man would appreciate my affinity for cleanliness. I had hoped he would grow up learning to pick up his room, keep things organized and generally pick up after himself.

But, I have created a monster.

A 3" tall, soapy clean monster.

During my husband's college days there was a fraternity brother of his that took clean freak to a new level. Not only was his room spotless, but he also organized his shirts by color. He had special floor mats for his car that he would put in when other people were to be riding in it for fear they would have dirt on their shoes. His fraternity nickname was Cabin Boy.

Cabin Boy was by far more of a clean freak than I ever was. As a fellow clean freak, you would think I would commiserate with him, but even I found his obsession too ... obsessive.

And then I had little man. Or, as we call him, little Cabin Boy.

As I have written before, little man is obsessed with vacuum cleaners, or as he calls them, dooms. I believe this has much to do with his affinity for cleanliness. And as proud as I am that I am now not the only clean freak in our household, I do find it a bit strange. And although I don't organize his shirts by color, I have a feeling one day I will walk in to find little man on his step stool, carefully organizing his shirts.

On the weekend, while most little boys are playing with their toy trucks or tinkering in the garage with their daddies, my little man insists on helping me clean. He gets out his doom and goes around the house, dooming. I have to give him a spare rag so he can ramble about the house, "cleaning" things. He even once, during a bout of stomach flu meets hardwood floor, ran to the kitchen, grabbed a towel and proceeded to try to help me "clean." While most little boys simply want a change of clothes and a hug from mommy when they have the stomach flu, my little man was more concerned about the hardwood floor.

So, here I am at a crossroads I never thought I would be at. While I want little man to know that it's OK to get dirty ... the clean freak in me does cringe at little dirt specks on my fresh vacuum tracks. And while I am proud that at 2, little man does have a sense of cleanliness and hygiene, I do realize that all little boys must play in mud puddles ... it's almost like a rite of passage.

So long as there is a hot bath full of bubbles waiting inside, that is.

It's a vicious inner-battle: one in which my mind acknowledges that it really is OK to have some mess ... yet the other half of me yields to the clean freak as soon as I spot the tiniest speck of dirt halfway across the room. As a mother, do I encourage little man that it's OK to be dirty, or revel in the fact that I now share a house with someone who understands the need to be clean?

Raise the next generation of Cabin Boys or try to head the obsession off at the pass in hopes of making little man a little less clean and a little more normal?

I'll have to get back to you on that one.