Sunday, November 30, 2008

'Tis the Season

After having our fill of turkey and stuffing and learning all about the pilgrims (or, as little man calls them, "the cowboys") the Christmas season was definitely ushered in this weekend. My mother-in-law and I braved the crowds at Toys R Us on Black Friday to grab some Christmas goodies for little man and lived to tell about it (barely). The neighbors decorated their houses with wreaths and Christmas lights and driving through the neighborhood at night you can even see Christmas trees already up and lit. To top things off, we awoke to a yard full of snow and a few snowmen waving hello to us this morning ... and a very excited little boy who couldn't wait to play in said snow.

I wasn't still quite sure that little man would understand Christmas this year. His first Christmas he was just four days old. The next two Christmases were fun, but little man was definitely confused as to why there was a tree in our living room. He was even more confused when we placed the brightly colored boxes in front of him and told him to tear into them when for the last month he been expressly told NOT to touch them (or even think of touching them) AT ALL.

But this weekend I was pleasantly surprised to catch on that this year little man gets it.

It all started with a showing of The Polar Express on television. We thought it would be something fun for him to watch while us grown-ups finished our wine and chatted.

But it ended up being so much more.

Little man sat enamored throughout the entire movie - eyes wide open and mesmerized. When Santa appeared he let out a giant squeal and pointed to the screen "Mommy SANTA!"

Then I sat mesmerized, looking at my little boy. For the first time I witnessed what is probably the most fun, most exciting aspect of childhood ... Christmas.

My obsessive-compulsive and manic planning mind kicked into full gear. This was the year. The year when the magic of Santa would come to our house. There were stockings to be hung, cookies to be baked and would it be too much to climb on my roof with jingle bells on Christmas Eve and leave little reindeer footprints in our yard?

And yes, I really did think that.

Once the movie was over little man begged to watch it again. I was also struck with the appropriateness of the story of The Polar Express. I had forgotten, until I saw it in my son's eyes, about the magic of Christmas.

I bent down to little man and snatched him up.

"Is Santa coming to our house?" I asked him.

"Yeah, Santa's COMING!" Little man said.

"What do you want Santa to bring you?" I asked, crossing my fingers and hoping he would say the right thing to vindicate me to my husband who was skeptical that little man needed the overly expensive robotic dinosaur toy I had bought him.

"A dinoswaour," he said, smiling. "I want a dinoswaour."

As little man smiled, so did I. And as I looked up at my husband, he, too was smiling. Not because of the robotic dinosaur hiding in our basement, but because he too sensed the magic of Christmas in little man and was also suddenly transported back to the days of our childhood, when Santa was real. When Christmas was the most magical, most exciting time of the year.

This year is going to be fun.

And it didn't hurt that mommy was right about Spike the dinosaur, either.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

You Need a What?

Last night when I picked up little man from preschool he had a bad case of hiccups. Not a real surprise, little man has always been very hiccupy, even before he was born. In utero he would get the hiccups at least twice a day, and usually at 3 a.m. or whenever I happened to have a real bad case of heartburn, making my pregnancy that much more enjoyable.

We were having our usual talk about what he did that day, what games he played, etc. on the car ride home. In between hiccups little man told me all about the letter J and how one of his classmates broke the toy train.

Then our usual, normal, everyday discussion took a turn for the ... strange.

"Goodness, you have a bad case of hiccups, huh?" I asked little man.

"Yeah," he said as he hiccuped again. "Just like Max."

{a reference to one of his favorite TV shows, Max and Ruby, in which Ruby deals with a bad case of hiccups in one episode}

"Mommy ... I need a beaver," he said.

{insert confused, blank mommy look here}

"You need a what?" I asked him to be sure I had heard him correctly the first time.

"A beaver."

The question was just begging to be asked ...

"Why exactly do you need a beaver?" I asked him.

"For my hiccups, to make them go away," he said.

I sat there, blank. I was unsure of what to do with this piece of information. I racked my brain trying to figure out what little man was talking about.

I wasn't even sure he knew what a beaver was.

"Do you know what a beaver is?" I asked him.

"Oh yes mommy, they're fuzzy," he said.

I continued our drive home in silence. Puzzled as to why little man thought a beaver would cure his hiccups.

We got home and little man ran inside to play. As I sat the table for dinner I looked over at little man.

"Still got those mean old hiccups?" I asked him.

"No," he said.

"Oh, did you find a beaver?" I asked him, joking.

"Yeah, I found him. He make hiccups go away," little man said nonchalantly.

I stopped in my tracks. My gaze went around the livingroom, looking for this magical hiccup-curing beaver.

Then I realized what I was doing, and stopped.

I was still dumbfounded, as was my husband, who couldn't help but to laugh at the discussion that had just ensued.

I meanwhile, fully intend on Googling beavers and hiccups in the morning ... However, on second thought, what might come up may be scarier than the notion of a giant beaver lurking in my house.

I wonder what he'll think up for the tooth fairy.


Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

As little man would say, "Tobble, Tobble!"

{"gobble, gobble"}

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In Between

When little man was just a baby he was quite the snuggler. He loved to be placed on someone's shoulder, where he would then burrow in and snuggle as closely as he could. And it didn't have to be mama, he was an equal-opportunity snuggler and would happily cuddle with anyone and everyone. Put a blanket over him and he was sure to soon be drooling and snoring on you.

During those days I would often look at us in the mirror and be amazed at how small little man was. At just 7 pounds, he was quite the little ball of baby.

But those days have since blown past, and now at nearly 35 pounds, little man isn't quite as snuggly as he once was.

The other night I was getting little man ready for bed. After putting on his jammies I carried him downstairs for a good last 10 minutes of playtime with daddy. As I carried him down the stairs I came upon a mirror we have hanging in our foyer. I don't know why, but for some reason I was amazed when I saw our reflection. My once cuddly little ball of baby was now a big boy whose feet came down to my knees.

"Oh my goodness, you're getting so big," I said to little man.

"No, mommy, I'm not big," he said, looking up at me.

My heart warmed, thinking for sure little man would remind he was still just a little boy.

"That's right, you're my little guy," I said, kissing the top of his head.

"No, mommy, I'm not little," he said.

Mommy was confused.

"If you're not big and you're not little, then what are you?" I asked him, wondering what was going to come out next.

"I'm in between," little man said.

I sat, waiting for the "duhhhhh mommy" to come next, but thankfully little man had mercy on me.

And I then sat my little in between man down to play.

Monday, November 17, 2008

At Least He Looks Sweet & Innocent ...

The other day on the way home from preschool little man was telling me about the day's antics. Apparently he had a big fun day, but for one thing.

"William not my friend," little man said.

"Why not?" I asked little man, concerned.

"William hit me," he said. "He go time out."

I wasn't too surprised by this story, as any mother of a preschooler will tell you, preschool is rough. Hitting happens and emotions run high ... especially when there is only one toy school bus that all the kids seem to think they need to play with. (Fortunately there isn't a biter in this class, as there was at his old daycare. I'm still amazed little man made it out of that one with all of his appendages.)

However, I also know my little man. And although he is usually very laid back, content and easy going, he is also not known to simply be pushed around. He definitely has spunk. I knew there was more to the story.

"Buddy, did you hit William back when he hit you?" I asked him.

"Oh, yes mommy," little man said, his face gleaming with pride.

"I hit him. Miss Megan made me go time out. It made me sad," little man said.

"You deserved a time out. We don't hit our friends," I told him. "That's not nice."

"But William not my friend," little man said.

"We don't hit anybody," I said sternly. "No one. No hitting ... ever."

"But he hit me first," little man said.

"That doesn't matter," I replied. "We don't hit. You need to be nice to your friends."

"William not my friend," little man repeated. "Chloe, Lexi, Austin my friend."

"You need to be friends with William, and no hitting," I finally said. "Do you understand?"

"OK mommy," little man said reluctantly.

I continued driving on, thinking I had finally gotten through to little man. As I pulled up into our driveway I asked little man once more, "Now, we don't hit anyone, do we?"

"Oh yes, mommy. I hit him back," little man said, smiling.

{Note to self: Get preschool teacher something really nice for Christmas.}

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Name Game

It's funny how sometimes our normal, day-to-day routine and things that we, as adults, don't give much thought to can impact our children.

This week I had a very similar experience as my friend, Jenny. She also has a little guy, who is just a few days older than my little man. In her blog this week, she shares a discussion she recently had with her son, in which he informs her he does not want to be called any nicknames. That he is "Just A.J."

Tonight my husband had a dinner meeting and thus came home late, making it just the little man and I for dinner. We began discussing names and I worked with little man on pronouncing our last name - which is very unusual, complicated and thusly slaughtered by everyone.

Then little man asked me what my name was.

"My name is Desiree," I replied.

Little man sat there, silent and with a confused look on his face.

"No it's not!" He finally said. "You're funny, mommy."

Then I was confused. What, exactly did he think my name was?

"No, my name is Desiree," I said.

"No mommy, your name is Mommy!" Little man said. "Mommy Kwdddelwleeod." {Which was little man once again trying to pronounce our cursed last name.}

He was insistent that mommy was tricking him.

"And this is Cwasper," he said, pointing to our dog, Casper. "Cwasper Kwdddelwleeod."

I opened my mouth to correct little man and explain to him the differences between a title - mommy- and a name. But instead chose to keep my mouth shut and just bask in the wonderful light of being "Mommy."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Turkey 101

Now that Halloween is over, it is officially turkey time (even though some of our neighbors have already broken the cardinal rule of holiday decorating and already have their Christmas lights up AND on).

As such, little man has been learning about Thanksgiving at preschool. Today's fun activity was learning all about turkeys. I ran into little man's teacher on my way in to pick him up and she told me all about the fun turkey times they had had.

So, naturally on the ride home I took the time to ask little man about his day, as I usually do. He told me all about how Christian was gone today, but that he had played trucks with Chloe and Lexie. He even shared with me that the kids liked his new hat at outside playtime, which naturally features Lightening McQueen.

Then came the talk of turkeys.

"Turkeys are big birds," little man informed me.

"That's right," I said. "And how do they go?"

"Tobble, tobble," little man said grinning.

"And what else do you know about turkeys?" I asked.

"You EAT them!" Little man said.

I guess the old adage about the way to a man's heart is through his stomach really does ring true.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Turtle

Each morning (well, at least each Monday through Friday) I am reminded that my once sweet, cuddly little baby boy has definitely grown up.

And I have a backache that keeps reminding me all morning long.

Little man is not a morning person. He gets that from his mama. My husband knows to pretty much avoid me until I am at least out of the shower. Any attempt at conversation before then and he is met with a look of death and an inaudible grumble. He is very much a morning person. Chipper, awake and ready to go. That makes it especially dangerous for him to be around me in the morning.

Although by nature my little man really is a very laid back, easy going, happy little guy, there is a whole different side to him in the morning.

We call it "The Turtle."

I know - you were probably expecting something a little more dark and ominous - like "The Beast" or "Satan's Toddler."

But trust me, you don't want to encounter "The Turtle."

"The Turtle" came to fruition as a result of the defensive move little man likes to deploy each morning when he doesn't want to get out of bed. He curls up into a little ball, legs underneath him, head pulled in, with his arms around him. Like a turtle in it's shell.

However, unlike a real turtle, there is no coaxing little man from this position. The only way to de-turtle little man is to pick him up and forcefully evict him from his bed.

And, I might add, it is a snapping turtle.

The minute you pick The Turtle up you are greeted with a wail - right in the ear no less - of eardrum-shattering proportions. Then a barrage of "NO!" and "I go back to bed NOW!"

This process really used to be a lot easier in the earlier days. However, now that little man is 35 pounds and nearly 3-feet-tall, my back is a constant reminder of just how much little man has grown over the last year. It's one thing to pluck a little 17-pound baby from his bed, but it's another to battle a 35-pound Turtle.

Especially when it's kicking.

And screaming.

And you're pretty sure you just heard your back pop in a spot you didn't even know had vertebrae.

Fortunately, once I have little man dressed and a waffle in front of him, he returns to his normal, chipper self. Just like mama.

And my gleeful, whistling husband knows it is safe to come downstairs and spread his morning cheer.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


When I picked up little man from preschool he immediately noticed my "I Voted" sticker on my shirt.

"Mommy, you got sticker?" He asked me.

I had forgotten I even still had the sticker on.

"Oh, yes," I said looking down at it. "Mommy does have a sticker."

"You go pee-pee?" Little man asked me.

{His preschool gives stickers as rewards to all the little tots in the process of potty training when they do their business like a "big boy" or "big girl."}

"No, buddy," I said with a giggle. "Mommy voted today, which is why I got the sticker."

"Oh, OK," little man said.

I could tell he was deep in thought. His little mind was working on something.

"What is that mommy? Vooowting?"

I was stuck. How do you explain something like voting to a 2-year-old? There was so much I wanted to say, so much I wanted to teach little man, but knew that those lessons would have to wait a few more years.

"It's something grownups do," I finally answered, at a loss for words.

"Oh, OK," little man said, playing with my sticker. "I vote too?"

"Someday, buddy," I replied. "Someday."