Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Change is In the Air

The first time I typed this post's title I accidentally wrote "Changs is in the Air." As in P.F. Chang's? I wish! :)

I haven't posted in a while because I've been busy acting as Penn's personal secretary. By that I mean creating his resume, writing cover letters, and sending e-mails on his behalf, to potential employers.

I have to be careful not to make it totally apparent that his wife is communicating on his behalf. You know, I can't say anything like, "Have a lovely day!" Penn would not even use an exclamation point, much less the word "lovely."

I hope you don't consider this unethical. I think of myself as his one woman recruiter/assistant/PR person. It's fun. I haven't gotten to do anything like this since the arrival of you-know-who.

So the job of Penn's dreams appears to exist. It's like someone created a position with him in mind. He's the perfect fit. At least on paper.

We'll see.

It's in a location that I never even considered as a place to live, which I won't share at this time. It's a very very challenging position, but would be an amazing career move and very rewarding. It's pretty special.

The neat thing is that I haven't married myself to the idea. I have given it a lot of consideration, because it's a very unique job and would affect the whole family. So I've had to work out the kinks in my mind. But I'm not emotionally attached at all.

I've been praying for God to make his will as clear as possible, throughout this job search. If something comes up that isn't right for us, I've asked God to throw an obstacle in the way. Something else came up that we considered, but there was a huge roadblock, which gave us the impression that it wasn't meant for us. So we'll see if all the doors fling open for this opportunity, or not.

At this point I'd estimate that there is a 50% possibility that this job will work out. If so, it will involve a move. And lots of changes to our family.

And I feel totally at peace about it, rather than the dreadful pit in my stomache that the thought of the last potential opportunity created. So I guess that's a good sign.

I'll keep you posted! We should have more information tomorrow.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Does today's date ring a bell?

This morning I stood in front of my fridge, door open, scanning the contents for something appropriate for breakfast. A who-knows-how-old container of pasta stared at me from the "leftover" shelf, and triggered this stream of consciousness:

Hmm. I wonder how old that is.

That reminds me - I need to put marinara sauce on the grocery list.

When am I going to the grocery store?

I know, I'll go to WalMart again. That's always fun. Maybe tomorrow.

But last time I couldn't fit everything and Nicknack in the cart, so I'd better go without him.

I'll bet Nicknack would like Orzo. Oh, and Orviette pasta.

I'd better put those on the grocery list, too.

When was the last time I had Orviette pasta?

Oh yeah, I think I burned something with Orviette because I remember someone commenting on my blog that they hadn't heard of that kind of pasta before.

The first time I ever had it was last summer, when Penn cooked at at Fancy Italian Restaurant and Hotel while his boss was on vacation for a couple of months. Nicknack was a newborn. Penn came home really really late and brought home lots of good leftovers, which we we ate at one in the morning. That was fun.

Hey, we still have that gift certificate for $150 to Fancy Italian Restaurant and a voucher for an overnight Fancy Hotel stay that we haven't used.

I need to see if Penn's niece can come stay the night with Nicknack so we can use the certificate and voucher.

Maybe for our anniversary at the end of summer.

That's coming up, isn't it?

When is our anniversary, anyway? Think, woman, think!

September twenty-something? ... Noooo, that's when we had our reception, after the honeymoon. The actual wedding was in August.

Definitely August. Auguuuuuuuust...31? No, that's not right.

It was an even number.

I'll have to check the calendar.

Oh, I see. August 24. That's right around the corner. That's really soon.


Penn!? Is today Friday?


Because... um, happy fifth anniversary.

We are so lame!

But don't feel sorry for me because we didn't do anything special for our anniversary. Or even remember it, for that matter. I always get roses for Valentine's Day. I am never disappointed Christmas morning. And Penn makes a very very big deal out of my birthday. One year he had food flown in from my favorite Mexican restaurant, in Alaska. Last year I received a maternity spa day package at the swankiest salon in town. This past year I received a surprise MacBook Pro and he revealed that we have a secret savings account containing several months worth of his salary, unbeknownst to me.

You're probably wondering why he failed to mention this to me. And whether I was mad he'd kept it a secret... Short answer: no! Penn decided to pretty much forget about this old account when we were newlyweds and he realized that I had - ahem - spending issues. And then after a few years, when I'd gotten my fiscal act together, it really had slipped his mind. Then he remembered and thought it would make a fun surprise for my birthday.

Who forgets money? I guess the same guy who forgets his anniversary. Luckily his wife is forgetful, too, so he isn't in hot water.

Five years. Sigh. It's gone by so quickly and yet I feel like we've been together for twenty-five years. Twenty-five good years.

I guess I'd better go bake a cake.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Terrible ONES?

Although I read dozens of baby and parenting books and had quite a bit of experience with young children, I was still pretty unprepared for motherhood. I think parenting is just one of those things in life that you learn on the job. Kind of like marriage. For the past 15 months, life has been full of surprises and opportunities for problem solving. One thing that no one ever told us to expect? Babies can throw tantrums!

I was a legendarily hot tempered two year old. I was also the family's only redhead. My tantrums are still part of family lore. Why is it that our behavior for such a brief season is forever remembered? My cousin Cara? She had colic. Her brother Craig? Literally perfect. Emma was a biter. Tara went to the bathroom in the front yard (more than once!). Maggie was basically a nudist. Alicia tried to knock off her newborn brother. And I was the mayor of tantrum town.

So I was prepared for the fact that, if my son took after me in temperament as much as in looks, he would probably follow in my fiesty footsteps. For the first six months of his life he was an extremely easy going baby. But as soon as he started crawling his personality became more apparent. Now that he could get where and to what he wanted, it was clear that he was a lot like his mama. When things went his way, he was perfectly pleasant. But he wanted to do what he wanted to do. And he didn't want to do what he didn't want to do. And he wasn't shy about letting us know when he was displeased.

I didn't worry much about it because one of the little girls in the church nursery, about six weeks older than Nicknack, threw fullblown face-on-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming tantrums quite regularly. I figured it was normal and he would outgrow it, as he had other annoying phases. Like sticking his tongue out and blowing raspberries all. the. time. or the the month he decided to take up SHRIEKING as a hobby. Besides, for a few months at least, he was easily distracted from his fussfest.

Well, he hasn't outgrown any of it. His brief, amusing fits have turned into actual tantrums. Not of the truly terrible, award winning variety. Yet. But tantrums, nonetheless. They are often sparked by mama or daddy telling him "no" or taking something away. We try to avoid unnecessary conflict, but sometimes it can't be helped. Some days he just wakes up from a nap determined to be cranky and the least little thing will set him off. At times we don't even know what he's protesting. The most frequent source of frustration for him is the fact that there are gates preventing him from roaming the house. If a door is opened or a person steps over saids gates, the howlfest begins.

Big alligator tears. Mouth frozen open, mid-yell. A big inhale, then silence for several seconds. Followed by a piercing cross between crying and screaming. Face and body gently and oh-so-pathetically strewn on the floor. After a few moments the crying ceases and the angry babbling begins. Oh, how I wish I spoke Nicklish. Then he wanders around complaining for a while, stopping to cry again when he remembers the offense afresh. This goes on for several minutes. It's all very sad.

We try to be tough. Sort of. We ignore the tantrum part as much as possible while still encouraging him with our words or a hug. We try to distract him but that rarely has any real effect anymore.

If he was older, I would know just what to do. I was a nanny for a couple of years for children ranging from just barely two to nearly nine. In each of the two families I worked for the youngest child was a pretty accomplished tantrum thrower. Jock excelled at the basics. Hold breath, turn red, scream bloody murder, repeat. But Jilly had more flair for the dramatic. Like the time she threw herself into the deep end of the pool. Even though she couldn't swim. Oh, and she had an ace up her sleeve. Nosebleeds. I realize that she didn't will them to happen, but they were still effective and well timed. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I assumed that if I could handle those two (not to mention their older and sometimes equally rowdy brothers and sisters) I could deal with my own child's antics.

I just didn't expect it before his first birthday! Because, although I was known for being a difficult, my mother swears I was an easy baby. It wasn't until I reached about eighteen months that I became the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead.

So what is the deal? Is Nicknack just getting this tantrum stuff out of the way ahead of schedule or are we in for all this PLUS the actual full-meal-deal terrible twos next year at this time? Is this common behavior at his age?

And more importantly, what should we do about it? Should we be more strict? Should we be more diligent in ignoring the behavior completely? Should we lighten up? Is this a behavior problem, a bad habit, or just a natural and acceptable way for him to express himself? I just don't know what he is capable of grasping at 15 months. Of course, he understands "no." But beyond that.

Well, whether there is a remedy or not, I suppose we'll just wing it. The reassuring thing is that whatever little quirks he has now, he's likely to outgrow in time. I still have a sassy temper and like things "just so." But I manage to keep my cool 99.9% of the time. I haven't had a tantrum in days. Just kidding. Jilly (now 16) is an accomplished swimmer and an aspiring thespian. Jock (10) is, from what I hear, quite a nice, mild mannered boy. Alicia (24) has accepted that her brother (22) is not going back to the hospital. Every time I see Maggie (27) she is always fully dressed. Tara (31) has successfully potty trained her own three children. Emma (32) hasn't bitten anyone since she was three. To my knowledge. Craig (38) is still wonderful, but even his mother (my favorite aunt) would have to admit he isn't perfect. And Cara (35), thankfully, no longer suffers from colic. Although she still has an attitude.

So, long-term, there is hope for my little terror. And in between the grumpy episodes, he is smiling ray of sunshine. And even when he's being decidely bratty? He's still our joy. And, praise the Lord, he still takes two two-hour naps and can now be counted on for 11 or 12 hours of sleep each night. During which time he is a perfect angel :) and I have the opportunity to recover and refortify for the next round.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dear Fox Sports

I love football. I really really love it. I really really really love it. Pro or college, I love almost everything about it.

But you know what I hate? What I really really hate? That stupid Fox Sports football animated player robot/transformer/thing. Do you know who I mean? The one that looks like he's warming up - stretching, running, bouncing, and pointing. ARG!! All last season I whined about him, every time I saw him. Most NFC home games, and thus most Seahawks games are broadcast on Fox, so I complained a lot. And he's back. I can't believe it, but he's back. And I really really hate him. I don't know why. I don't know what it is about him that bothers me so much. He's just so annoying!

When I really think about it, it's his attitude. Although he doesn't speak, you can just tell by his body language that he's all cocky and trash talking. Like someone based him on the most obnoxious moves of the most annoying players.

And really, that is the worst thing about the football. I'm sure it isn't limited to football, but that's the only sport I watch. It's especially pronounced at the professional level. You rarely see it in quarterbacks, although it does sometimes rear its ugly head. It's a lack of class. Poor sportsmanship. Arrogance. I don't know if it is a male testosterone thing, or what. I don't think so, because it annoys Penn almost as much as it irks me. He hates that dumb robot, too.

Dear Fox Sports:
Next season, please consider modeling your robot after the men who give football a good name. You know, players like Sean Alexander, Matt Hasslebeck, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Walter Jones, Michael Vick (just KIDDING), or my favorite (but recently retired) Grant Wistrom. I don't know what any of these men are like off the field. But in uniform at least, they are respectable.
Thank you,
Kitty Hox


PS: We are watching the Jets-Viking scrimmage and a cat just trotted across the field. The announcer said, "There's a cat on the field... now that's just good fun." It was pretty cute.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Extreme Baby Makeover

For several months (and as recently as a week ago) I have been declaring that I was not ready for Nicknack's first haircut. Well, I changed my mind. I was pushing his Fab Five sideburns behind his ears and trying to swoop his bangs to the side for the millionth time and I just decided it was time. The next morning I made an appointment at a nearby children's salon for the following day.

I thought I might have second thoughts, but after the appointment was made I actually felt great about the decision. The kid is practically running! Even I can't deny it. He is no longer a baby. Besides, if I had major haircut remorse I knew it would grow out pretty quickly.

Penn has been pro-snip for a couple of months now. But as soon as I got on board with his way of thinking he suddenly became a lot less comfortable with the idea. We agreed to save all the hair and took a bunch of "before" video and photos this morning. Then we buckled our mophead into his carseat and drove bravely to the salon.

The place was so cute that we were distracted from our conflicted emotions.

Here is the cute apple/Mount Rainier mural in the waiting area:

Aren't these adirondack chairs sunshine-y?

There are lots of toys, although we didn't need to use them because there was no wait:

And here are the chairs... Isn't the horse chair neat for an older child? We opted for the tractor.

Here is Nicknack, modeling his "before" style and looking like a junior member of the FFA (Future Farmers of America, for those not in the know):

We discussed the style of cut and decided on a "not-super-short-preppy-traditional-almost-a-big-boy-cut." Our stylist Janet was a total pro. You could tell she works with a lot of wriggle worms.

He was not at all traumatized and stayed busy with the tractor wheel and various distracting toys. Although at first he kept trying to get me to pick him up/rescue him. And occasionally he would try to turn around to see what this crazy lady with scissors was doing back there.

After Janet had snipped most of his locks my heart did a flipflop. For a split second he looked about five years old and I got a glimpse of my future big kid. (Note to self, must have another baby, pronto!)

Luckily his monkeylike behavior brought me right back to reality and served as a constant reminder that he is definitely still all toddler.

Ta da!

We have no regrets. We're glad we waited until it was so long and messy all the time that we were ready. And I'm sure we'll let it grow out again until it gets to the point of no return. AKA "somebody get this kid a haircut!" We did and we survived!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Reunion - Part II

So about the reunion... Sigh. 

When I heard (what I thought was) the cab pull into the driveway after midnight I figured that was a good sign. I assumed that if the party had been a bust Penn would have returned home much sooner.

So I was surprised to see him shuffle in with a sheepish look on his face, brother-in-law in tow. The reunion was, in a word, "lame."

You know how I was so worried that it would be awkward and uncomfortable? It was. That no one would remember him or talk to him? They barely did. At least he did not get into any fistfights.

Not only did not one of Penn's friends show up (which we'd expected) none of the people he even knew casually were there. It was, apparently, a sea of unfamilar faces and nametags. He didn't recognize anyone. It was like it was some other person's high school class reunion. Here and there a vaguely familiar name. That's about it.

And just in case you were wondering, a twenty-year reunion isn't a great time to make new friends. Everyone is so excited to see each other and caught up in animated conversation that they don't notice the lonesome looking guy, all by himself, feeling kind of losery. I tried to think of what Penn could have done. What the most outgoing and practically unembarassable person I know - my stepdad - would do. I think he would probably have boldly approached a group of people, politely interrupted them if he had to, and introduced himself with a super friendly smile and confident handshake. But that isn't Penn. 

Penn did what I would have done in this situation. First, he visited the restroom. Surely by the time he came out someone familiar would have arrived. Nope. So he ordered a beverage and chatted with the bartender for a several minutes. And yet no one he knew had shown up. With feigned (but intent) interest he studied the poster-size yearbook photos plastered around the room. Still nobody. Desperate, he approached the group of teachers. He hadn't had any of them. Not a single one. Finally he parked himself near the entrance and tried hard to look like he was not in the slightest bit embarrassed. Like he was having the time of his life sitting alone at his high school reunion while everyone else laughed, hugged, and reminisced. He waited and waited and waited. For just one acquaintance to glob onto. But no such luck. Stranger after stranger walked by, looked him over with a blank expression, and kept moving. It was then that he began to detect looks of pity. Which was just too much for even unflappable Penn. 

He thought to himself, "This isn't fun." And he left.

He walked a long way to one of his favorite old haunts (a bar) and called his brother-in-law. They hung out for a few hours, listening to some band. Apparently he caught the fancy of an attractive (according to my brother-in-law) and inebriated (according to Penn) young lady who kept attempting to sit in his lap. She told him he looked like someone who could dance. Hint, hint! So he got to dance after all. I'm sure the attention was good for his bruised ego. And luckily, I'm not the jealous type.

After his BIL left we talked in great detail about the evening. He appeared to be the only single person there. I felt so bad that I didn't accompany him, although I'm not sure that would have helped much. I asked him if he at least was dressed right. Thank heaven for small favors, he was. To be honest, he looked like a million bucks. "Dressy casual" suits him. 

I just felt devastated for him last night. He was not emotionally affected, but it just hurt my heart that those JERKS... I don't know. I don't know what all those reunion revelers should have done differently. They didn't do anything wrong. But I have to blame someone.

I tried pinning it all on his old high school buddy who first called him and got him to agree to go before backing out when he found out how much it would cost. But Penn would not let me stay mad at this guy, even though I wanted to. And I couldn't if I wanted to because he's one of those people who thinks Penn hung the moon and how can a wife not love that in a person? He has a foot long ponytail and a Harley and he's always trying to tell me some old story about Penn that is sure to outrage me. But he does have a heart of gold and I'm sure he didn't mean to set these events into motion. 

Penn blames himself. And he's probably on target. I think he just got a bit nostalgic and forgot that he didn't actually like school. As he put is, "I grossly underestimated how uninvolved I was at my high school." 

His graduating class was quite large. But the reunion group was not. It appeared to him to be mostly athletic teammates and former club members. Well, did he participate in any group or sport? No. Did he attend pep assemblies, games, or school sponsored events? Not a one. Oh, except for the senior prom. To which he brought his TWENTY-SIX year old girlfriend. And stayed less than an hour. (Can you even fathom a twenty-something woman who would date an eighteen-year-old boy, much less accompany him to his high school prom? Has this person no pride? And she was pretty, too - I've seen photographic evidence. Merciful heavens.) Did Penn go along with the rest of the class on senior skip day? No. He went with friends to Canada that day. Did he go to the all-night graduation party? No, he went camping instead. Come to think of it, his photo isn't even in the yearbook because he'd missed the deadline.

"So you basically did everything you could to avoid getting to know your classmates in high school and now you feel like Mr. Nobody because you aren't part of the gang?"

"Yes, that pretty much sums it up."

Then it all became pretty funny and we had a good laugh about what nerdy losers we are. This must be why Revenge of the Nerds is one of our favorite movies. (Although I know many parts are extremely inappropriate.) I secretly marveled at his miraculous transformation from this smoking, drinking, and goodness-knows-what-else-ing high school smart aleck to my Penn. Oh, he's still a smart aleck. But he's also Mr. Family Guy. Clean cut. Church going. Friendly and kind. Dad of the Millenia. Loved by all. Well, it has been twenty years. 

Sunday morning I woke up and didn't even remember about the reunion until I saw his nice outfit in a bunch on the closet floor. Oh yeah. What had seemed so sad and upsetting the night before turned into a big, "Oh well." 

Thank goodness this happened to Penn and not to me. He just lets this kind of thing bounce off of him. I desperately hope that Nicknack and any future children we may have inherit this trait from him. I don't think I can handle all the slights that are bound to come their way throughout childhood and adolescence. Especially if they are as hypersensitive as I am. Penn's mother always says that having children is like having your heart walk around outside of your body. It's going to be very difficult for me to restrain myself when someone teases Nicknack, or excludes him, or picks a fight with him. As it is, I still would like to call up each of Penn's classmates and yell into the telephone "Your loss!" and hang up. Hee hee. Just thinking about it is very satisfying.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Class of '87

This evening I am home alone with Nicknack while my husband attends his 20th high school reunion! I am not tagging along because... well... I don't want to go. And Penn doesn't mind, so that works out. Hanging out with a bunch of people I don't know for five hours, hearing (potential unflattering) stories about my husband doesn't sound like fun.

What makes it sound especially unpleasant is the fact that the friends Penn has kept in touch with since high school are not attending. Penn was in one of those "too cool for school" crowds. You know, the ones who skip a lot of school, have a secret place on campus for smoking, and throw the wildest parties. Not one of them was curious enough to shell out $100 to attend the Clover Park class of 1987 soiree. Except for Penn. He decided to go at the very last minute (last night) because he thought it would be "interesting." He loves to people watch. So he is actually showing up at this reunion all alone. To me, this sounds uncomfortable and awkward... at best. To Penn, not so much.

He isn't the slightest bit nervous. I have been anxious for him all day.

Me: What if no one talks to you?
Penn: So what?
Me: What if no one remembers you?
Penn: They will.
Me: What if they don't?
Penn: Who cares?
Me: What if that one guy who you got into a fight with in high school is there and he challenges you to another fight! DON'T FIGHT HIM!
Penn: Honey! What do you take me for?
Me: Oh yeah. Okay, what if he says something mean to you?
Penn: He won't.
Me: What if he DOES?
Penn: I'll walk away from him, dear.
Me: What if there is dancing?
Penn: I'll dance.
Me: By yourself!?
Penn: Or I won't dance. Whatever.
Me: What are you going to wear?
Penn: Whatever you say I should.
Me: Okay. Just have fun. And be yourself.

And so on. I feel like I'm sending him off to his first day of school.

I'm so thankful that he doesn't mind me staying home because I would be hyperventilating with anxiety right about now. Penn is unflappable. He really doesn't care very much what people think of him. And he's not really a joiner.

I care very much what other people think of me, and I usually assume they are thinking the worst. I never feel like anyone likes me. Even if they are nice to me I figure they are just being polite. I'm insecure. It's annoying. No wonder no one likes me. :)

Which is why I've signed up for and attended the Seattle Junior League orientation twice, then chickened out and not joined. But I am going to muster up my courage and join MOPS this fall.

By the way, I did not attend my own tenth high school reunion a few years ago. I never even entertained the idea. Now if there was a middle school reunion, I might make an appearance. I was at the top of my game in middle school. A cheerleader. Tons of good friends. Lots of great memories. Then we moved and it took me a little while, but I made up a lot of ground (socially). Then we moved again. This high school was a bad fit for me. I latched on to the first group of kids who reached out to me. Which turned out to be a crowd that was way too fast and cool and rebellious for yours truly. I got in serious trouble (Saturday detention!) for the first time in my life. So finally I ended up at my alma mater, where I spent two and a half fairly happy years. I was way past the point of trying to fit in. I eventually made some decent friends and life was pretty good. But it just wasn't the kind of experience that meant that much to me. I have only kept in touch with one friend from high school, and we're hardly what you would call close. I barely remember high school. I wish my classmates well. And that's that.

We visited with Penn's family today and I dropped him off at the swanky reunion location on the way home. Boy was I relieved to pull away as he strode confidently across the street toward the building entrance. I wonder what he's doing right now. I'm picturing the scene from Pretty in Pink. Same music, same decor. But full of middle aged, "dressy casual" partiers. I hope everyone remembers him and everyone talks to him and there are no awkard moments or fistfights. I can't wait until he comes home late late tonight so I can hear all the details.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

My Parenting Philosophy

Before I had a child I was the world's most accomplished parent. In my head. But when Nicknack arrived I quickly discovered what an amateur I was. So many of my pre-baby ideas (based on months of pregnancy spent with my nose in books) just didn't seem to fit, apply to, or work on my little darling. I soon adopted two babyrearing mottoes: a) Muddle through (Thanks, mother!) and b) Whatever works! Both of these philosophies have served me well and I shall continue to practice them as I move through the toddler years and beyond.

But for the past couple of months (since Nicknack turned one), it appears that the time has come for a little more structure and deliberate parenting. Rhyme and reason. Our little baby isn't a little baby anymore. We are no longer in survival mode.

So we've been working on a few areas where what once worked well isn't working anymore.

1. Nicknack's Diet. He's not a good eater. He hardly gained any weight between his nine month and one year check ups, while he went from 25% to 75% in height. Both Penn and I would like to see him with a little more meat on his bones. We've been desperate enough to feed him a few things that I never imagined would take up space in my cupboard. Because, well, he likes it and actually eats it. Swallows it and everything! But I know a nutritious diet is important. It takes a little more effort to actually cook something semi-nutritious and it requires a lot of cajoling and distraction to get him to consume such things. We're adopting the old 80/20 rule so 20% of the time we will be filling him up with crackers if we have to, to make up for all the healthy meals he picks at.

2. The Bottles. Until very recently, Nicknack hadn't mastered the sippy cup. And he refused to drink real/cow's milk. We've taken my mother's suggestion and mixed it with a little vanilla milk, which we will gradually reduce until he's drinking his milk straight up. And we found some great soft-spout sippy cups (Nuby brand) that he's actually figured out how to "work." So at 14 months he is finally consuming the recommended daily quantity of milk - and in sippy cups to boot. Yay!

3. Table manners. Nicknack hasn't learned that he has to TIP up the sippy cup to make milk come out of the spout. Or tip up the bottle. All this time I've either held it for him (gee, do you think that could be the problem?) or put him on the floor, on his back, so that gravity does the work for him. Nice, right? Also, he doesn't use a spoon. At all. Probably because I've rarely given him one. The other day Penn brought him some cheerios in a little snack cup and I thought, "How cute. A cup. He's just going to fling/dump the cheerios all over the floor." Which he did. Which is why I take his snacks and just put them in a little pile on floor, on a book or something. Or keep them in my hand and dole them out. I feel like a petting zoo warden. And I have all but given up preventing him from making huge messes. One day Penn came home and wondered why I was scrubbing a trail of jello out of the living room and dining room carpet. I guess if he was giving Nicknack cherry jello he would restrain him in his highchair? He's so practical.

I'm starting to realize that just because Nicknack acts like a little animal doesn't mean I'm supposed to treat him like one. There must be some way to begin the process of civilizing him. So far, I've just left him to his own devices. I guess I've been waiting until he's old enough to comprehend rational explanation.

"Nicknack, this is a bowl. We put our snacks in it and take out bites, one by one. Which we don't spit out on the floor at some later time."

"This is a spoon, here is how it works. Let's NOT rub the spoonful of food in our hair and eyes."

"This is a sippy cup. Tip up the bottom end and you'll find the milk comes out, like magic!!"

"Although I can see why it could be delightful, I would prefer that you not attempt gymnastic feats while holding some banana OR walk around flinging cheese."

Until he is capable of such detailed instruction I guess I intend to do everything for him or just let him do whatever he does? Hmm. Probably not a good plan. I have no idea how to remedy this problem, but I'd better get a handle on it quickly (or hire a full-time housekeeper) as it's getting out of hand around here.

We do have a few questionable habits that I think we'll hang on to for a while.

1. The Gigi (pacifier). We've started restricting its use to naptime, bedtime, and occasional car rides. And I always carry one in case we are out-and-about and all heck breaks loose. But we aren't going to wean him off it yet, per his Pediatrician. Plus, you don't know the lengths we've gone to to identify and procure our particular discontinued brand/style of gigi. Which is the only pacifier that will do. Here is a photo of the recent shipment that caused us to do the happy dance. We had been limping along on just four pacifiers for nine months. We usually knew the location of one or maybe two at any given time. Almost every single evening you'd find either of us trying to locate one under the crib. We still have to search every so often but we now find five or six under there! Woo hoo! Did I mention that before I became a mom I didn't think babies should be given pacifiers?

The gigi bounty:

Baby Needs-a-nap:

2. The Pajamas. Nicknack wears his PJs until after his first nap, usually until about 1pm. If we aren't leaving the house or playing outside, I often just leave him in them until bedtime and put on a fresh pair. It's kind of embarassing to look through his photos and realize he's wearing pajamas in the vast majority of them. But really, he has very few social obligations or callers. They are comfy, cozy, and cute. And flame retardant. And he has the rest of his life to wear jeans.

Pajamas as swimwear:

3. Last, but not least... The Hair. We still haven't cut it. Is shaggy? YES! Is it unmanageable? Without a doubt. Does it transform into some seriously laughable bed head? Definitely. But I'm not ready. I'm holding out for 18 months and in the meantime I'll trim his bangs. If I absolutely must.

His hair is especially disheveled because these photos were taken post-afternoon nap. So this is TWO nap hair, people! To get the full effect you really have to click on and enlarge the photos:

I think this photo best sums up our parenting style/philosophy:

Nicknack and his DatDat. Out of doors. In a pajama top - no bottoms, even. Hair couldn't be messier. But they're both having quite the time. And so was I, behind the camera. In fact I'm having quite the time, in general. I like being Nicknack's Mama even more than I thought I would back when I had it all figured out. Now that I think about it, life in a petting zoo is pretty great.

PS: I blurred out some of the crumbs on the floor in that last photo. In the interest of journalistic integrity, I must tell you they were there. But the floor was just a little too crumby to post on the world wide web, as it was.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Waiting and Walking

I am perfectly happy to wait on God.

It's waiting on other people that absolutely drives me bananas!

We're just waiting on some information about a potential job for Penn. It makes sense that other people don't handle our lives with the same sense of urgency and expectation that we do. But wouldn't it be nice if they did?

The funny thing is that we aren't in any big hurry to relocate far away, which is what a new job probably means. In fact, after the winter holidays would be ideal timing. So that gives us about six months to look-y-lou, wait, decide, etc.

But if something wonderful comes up between now and then we are ready to spring into action. But to spring into action or decide against something we need to know more about it. So that's what we're waiting on.

In the meantime, Nicknack is entertaining us with his newfound love of walking. It's very exciting for all of us. He walks all the time, all over the place. So at least we have some diversion while we wait.