Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Operation Relocation

Big, big changes are coming at Stately Wasser Manor. It's kind of weird that I haven't written about it yet, but I think the change is so big that it's hard for me to get my head around it. Much easier to focus on the little things, like the fact that Jack had a record three tantrums in half an hour this morning. But here it is:

Stately Wasser Manor is moving.

Moving a lot, in fact. The boys and I are moving from Northern Virginia to the midwest, specifically to my homeland of the Quad Cities.

The change is going to be really good for us. Steve and I are increasingly frustrated with Northern Virginia. It's really crowded and congested here, making just about anything we might want to do a giant pain in the ass. We spend far too much time in the car driving too and from work, and there's just no telling if traffic will be bad or not. today, for example, it took me three times longer than usual to get to work for no apparent reason -- no bad weather, no accidents, just inexplicably clogged roads. Things that should be simple are daunting. Steve suggested a few weeks ago that Jack and I meet him at the mall for dinner and a little shopping on a Friday night. I realized that in order for me to leave work, pick up Jack, and drive to the mall -- which theoretically is not far away -- I'd have to take off work early.

This is also a very expensive place to live. Home values are such that, honestly, one of us would have to have an unexpected windfall for us to be able to afford a single-family home, compared to the townhouse that we have now. SWM is big enough for us now, but I would love for Jack to have a back yard and for Steve to have a room to use as an office. When we move, we'll be able to get a whole lot more house for our money.

In theory, we live in a big area, and there are lots of things for us to do. Great restaurants, museums, and so on. But the reality is, it's so much effort to get to any of those things that we just don't do it. I don't want to drive more than half an hour to go out to eat, no matter how good the food is. I'd love to take Jack to the zoo, but between the drive time and his nap, it's just not possible. Even getting together with our friends can be a herculean effort, such that most of the time, the boys and I just hang out at home.

The other thing is that we are living in this very busy and stressful environment with absolutely no family support. Steve and I are a great team, but right now, our great team only has its two star players, with no one on the bench. I'd love to be able to leave Jack with his grandparents so we could go out to a movie, or even just a leisurely trip to the grocery store. I have fond memories of Sunday dinner at my Mimi's house, and I would like for Jack to be able to do the same thing. I also think about Jack cutting himself on Sunday. If we lived near family, we could have called my mom and Doug and had them come by and shovel our walk and maybe make us dinner so Steve and I didn't have to stress about it.

After surprisingly little discussion (though it's something we'd both thought about in the past), Steve and I decided that it is time to pull up stakes. Northern Virginia, you won -- we're out of here. We sold Stately Wasser Manor and are looking for new jobs. Our last day of work will be March 9, and the truck comes for all of our stuff on March 21. We'll stay with my mom and step-dad until we find new jobs and a new house.

It is hard for me to look at the big picture because the changes are so big and there's so much to do. But when I imagine where the three of us will be a year from now, the choice is clear. It's time to make a change.

Monday, February 26, 2007


First of all, thanks everybody for your kind words about Jack. He seems to be doing okay, mainly just feeling a little stir-crazy after being in the house for too long. I'm taking him to see his pediatrician this afternoon, and after that will somehow entertain him so he doesn't get bored and trash the place.

Here's a picture of the little man with his comically oversized bandage. I think that'll go away after he sees Dr. Kelly.

And on a different note, here's a picture of Jack's new Stern Face. He'll adopt this look to tell Swiper, "Hey! No more swiping!" or to say, "Hey! Mommy! No touch it bag." Okay, Jack.

The First Cut is the Deepest

The boys and I woke up yesterday morning to an unexpected snowfall. We planned to have a relaxing, snowbound day at home, maybe go outside for a while to shovel snow and so Jack could burn off some energy. Things, to put it mildly, did not go according to plan.

I was in the bathroom, and I heard Jack start to cry as Steve called for me to come quick and bring a wet washcloth. Jack had been sitting on our bed watching TV with Steve, and he slid off like he usually does, but somehow, he managed to catch his ear on the corner of my nightstand, cutting it. I handed Steve the washcloth so he could apply pressure, and Steve told me to get dressed quickly in case we had to go to the hospital.

The hospital? I took a look at the cut on Jack's ear, about two inches long toward the top. It looked pretty deep, and it looked like he'd somehow managed to cut both the front and the back of the ear. When we got a better look at it later, it turned out that wasn't the case, but that it looked like it because the cut was so deep. In the worst places, he nearly sliced through it. Anyway, I took one look at it and agreed that we were going to the ER.

Steve went outside to clear off the car and get it warmed up. He had me get Jack ready and sent in a neighbor to help me. I was happy that the first person he found was Rich, who besides being a great guy, is a firefighter, so obviously very good in a crisis. Rich did everything I asked without any unneccesary questions, understanding that I just needed someone to help me out. He grabbed a shirt for Jack that buttoned up the front, for example, without asking a whole lot of fashion-related questions. And he did an outstanding job of grabbing snacks from the pantry. Rich isn't a dad yet, but rather a cool uncle. Cool uncles will include a box of raisins and a cereal bar in the bag of treats, but they tend to concentrate more on chocolate. This, of course, made Jack very happy.

Good thing, because it took quite a while to get to the hospital. The roads hadn't been cleared yet, so it was slow going.

Once we finally got to the ER and the doctor examined Jack's ear, I saw just how bad and how deep the cut was. I have no idea how he managed to cut his ear so badly in such a strange way. The examination hurt, and Jack cried, but all was well because the hospital had a DVD player in the room and we had Elmo's World.

The really hard part came, of course, when it was time to close up the wound. The nurses strapped Jack into a papoose board, which pissed him off. The shots to numb the area hurt too, and Jack was so freaked out by that and being strapped down that he screamed the entire time the doctor sewed up his ear. He screamed so hard that he actually burst blood vessels in his face. Steve and I took turns being right next to his face so he could see us and Roary. We talked about how we were going to watch Elmo later. How we'd have pizza for dinner that night. How we'd play Dora The Explorer and Jack would be Boots, Mommy would be Dora, and Daddy would be Swiper. That he was doing great and was very brave.

We both smiled and were cheerful the whole time, but good Yoda, was it a brave front. My poor baby was scared and in pain. I've read that after you have a child, your heart is forever outside your body, and it's really true. If I had the choice, I'd have had them stitch up both of my ears, with no numbing, and I wouldn't have cried a bit if I could have just spared my sweet little Cubaloo.

When it was all done, Jack had about a dozen stitches. They put a ridiculous amount of gauze on his ear (pictures to come). As soon as they unwrapped him from the board and gave him a sticker and a popsicle, he was completely fine. Smiling, even, and intending to hold us to our talk of pizza and playing Dora.

In fact, Jack would recount this entire experience in considerably less detail. Jack would tell you, "Ear boo boo. No touch it. Doctor fix boo boo. Jack get sticker and popsicle. Pink! Yummy!"

Friday, February 23, 2007

Flying Solo

Steve left at the crack of dawn yesterday for a graphic novel conference in New York, so the Cub and I are flying solo. He'll be back either late tonight or sometime tomorrow, depending on how things go.

When Jack was littler-- and when I was a newer mother-- the prospect of taking care of him by myself for a couple of days would be really daunting. How in the name of Yoda was I going to get ready for work in the morning? Could I possibly get him dressed and myself and get coffee and make it out the door in a reasonable period of time? How was I going to make dinner?

Things are so much easier now. For one thing, Jack is a lot more self-sufficient. He doesn't need to be held constantly. I can just hand him a milk instead of feeding him a bottle. But I also feel more confident than I used to. Steve had been worried that the antibiotics Jack is on would give him diaper rash and that I'd have to deal with it by myself. I shrugged that off -- nothing I can't handle.

In fact, Jack and I are enjoying our Mommy-Son time. Last night, I cooked dinner. It says a lot about Jack's sadly limited menu in the past that I am so pleased that he declared the macaroni and cheese I made to be, "Yummy. No is yucky. Is yummy." I gave him a bath (something I definitely would not have done by myself in the past), we played, and the little man gave me a total love wave when it was time for us to hang out and watch TV. I asked if he wanted Elmo or Dora, and he requested, "Kermit movie." That's my boy!

I told him last night that we are getting pizza for dinner. He must have thought about it all night. He woke up this morning, and said, "Hi, Mommy. Jack all clean! Mommy y Jack eat pizza!" I just want to give him a million kisses.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What's That?

Last night, Jack and I were looking through a catalog, playing one of his favorite games, "What's That?"

Well, there's really not much to the game. Jack points at something, says, "What's that?" and I tell him. Sometimes many, many times. "Still a doggie, buddy." I like to mix it up and ask him, "What's that?"

So, last night, he saw this picture:

and excitedly said, "Yoda!"

Yeah, I can see that!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Using His Words

Approximately eight zillion times a day, I tell Jack, "Use your words, buddy." This is so that he will communicate with us in ways other than caveman like grunts and the occasional whining. It seems to be working, because Jack is talking really well. And let me tell you, that comes in handy.

On Sunday, Jack repeatedly told Steve, "Ear hurts. Ear boo boo." The poor little man had a lot of ear infections when he was littler. This winter hasn't been nearly as bad, but it was especially hard when he couldn't communicate with us. All he could do was cry, leaving us to wonder if he was crying because he was sick or for some other mysterious reason. But this time, we knew what was up because Jack told us. We also knew he was in a lot of pain because even my offer of ice cream (Ben and Jerry's, no less) did not stop him from crying.

Even better, we can really see how he's understanding things. Steve made an appointment to take Jack to urgent care on Sunday night. I told Jack we were going to the doctor. Jack nodded and said, "Open mouth, say ahh. Get Elmo sticker." Wow, yeah. That is pretty much what was going to go down. It amazes me that he knew that, because it's not like a trip to the doctor is a regular event.

Jack continued to communicate well at the doctor's office, telling her "Ear hurts" and pointing to his right ear. Sure enough, that ear was infected. We scored some antibiotics, and she recommended Motrin, rather than Tylenol, for the pain. She didn't have any stickers, but luckily Jack has a smart mommy who brought an entire sheet of Elmo stickers for him. Jack didn't want any stickers for himself ("no sticker on jammies,") but Roary requested an Elmo sticker and "Elmo goldfish" on his paw.

Jack and Steve stayed home yesterday, and the little man is feeling much better. Last night, he and I were hanging out coloring, and Jack started sorting through his crayons, counting them as he went. "He's counting to ten," Steve said. "That's really advanced for his age." Of course, my boy is a genius... but even more of a genius than his daddy thought. Because the little man went on counting right past ten. He counted to 11.

"This one goes to eleven."

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

If you're planning on reading this book and don't want key plot points revealed, don't read this. I am going to start spoiling all over the place. You have been warned!

Okay, here's the story. It's 1964, and during a wintery night, accompanied only by a nurse named Caroline, David Henry delivers his twin children. The first is a boy named Paul, born strong and healthy. The second, an unexpected surprise, is a daughter named Phoebe. David needs look at Phoebe only once to see that she has Down Syndrome. Since it's 1964, David's wife, Norah, is not awake for either birth and doesn't know what's happening. David asks nurse Caroline to take Phoebe away to an institution. He tells Norah that their second child was stillborn. David's own sister was born with a heart defect, so he knows the heartbreak that can be caused by the slow death of a beloved child and believes that he is saving Norah from all of that.

This decision, of course, sets a huge chain of events in motion. Caroline takes Phoebe to the institution, but cannot leave her there. She has felt like she has been waiting for her life to start, and in that night, it does. She takes Phoebe away and raises her as her daughter. Norah is distraught at the loss of her daughter. The joy of having a new baby doesn't diminish that pain. She is confused by David's seeming unwillingness to mourn Phoebe. His secret drives a wall between them. Norah throws herself into her career (and a string of affairs), while David develops a passion for photography, photographing nature and parts of the body in harmony.

David believed he made his decision because it was best for everyone, but truly he did it because he thought it was best for him. He didn't want to repeat the tragedy of his sister's death. But the people around him were stronger than he realized. Caroline was a wonderful, patient, and loving mother to Phoebe. She fought for Phoebe to have the right to attend public school and to make her as independent as she could be. Phoebe wasn't the kind of person who could just be locked up in an institution; she was stronger than that, and so was Caroline. Norah's tenacity and success in her workplace was fueled, in part, by a feeling of emptyness. That void certainly could have been filled by the demands of caring for Phoebe. Paul felt a distance from his father, sensed the secrets between them, and was never as close to David as he should have been. David thought he was protecting those he loved, but he was really only protecting himself. In so doing, he utterly failed.

In the end, David dies unexpectedly, before he can share his secret with anybody. Caroline finds Norah and tells her what happened. As the book ends, Norah and Paul are navigating what it will mean to have Phoebe in their lives. Both of them learn a lot from Phoebe in just a short time. Norah learns that Phoebe doesn't need to be rescued and is happy with her life as it is. Paul is fascinated by Phoebe's approach to life. Phoebe lives in a world in which strange and unexpected things, like meeting your birth mother and twin, are the kinds of things that happen every day. She accepts them with a minimum of angst. Paul, following his sister's example, realizes that he loves her in an uncomplicated way.

The strengths of this book are its very concept and some outstanding characterization. It has two weaknesses. One is that it is a little too long and would benefit from a bit of editing. The other is that I was never clear as to why David told Norah they had a second child at all. She was unconscious during Phoebe's birth, so why tell her about it? Why not spare her all of the heartache? I was distracted by that question for quite a while until I had no choice but to willingly suspend disbelief. Nevertheless, this was a story that will stay with me.

Ultimate Spider-Man, Volume 7

My review of Ultimate Spider-Man, Volume 6 was kind of lukewarm. While there were fun elements of it, I really felt like Brian Michael Bendis shied away from the more emotional aspects of the story.

I'm happy to say that with Volume 7, Bendis shows what he can really do. Now this was a good story. Spidey meets Hobgoblin, and what a mess that is for the poor guy. The guy is scary psycho crazy and dangerous, but he is also Peter's friend Harry Osborn. Peter wants to help him, but can he? And in the next story, there are guest stars gallore in a big gang war with the Kingpin. We see Iron Fist, that boring kung-fu guy, Moon Knight (somewhat less lame than the regular Marvel universe version of him), Elektra, Black Cat, and Hammerhead. We see some cool fights, but we also see Peter grappling with whether or not he should follow Kingpin's wishes and take out Hammerhead. After all, Hammerhead is no doubt a bad guy, but is he really going to do what Kingpin wants?

What makes this book so much stronger than the previous volume is what happens in between all of the action scenes. Mary Jane, it turns out, used to date Harry and never told Peter about it. She manages, yet again, to find herself in peril, in part because she didn't heed Peter's advice to stay away from Harry. Peter decides that he loves her too much to put her at risk, so he breaks up with her. Both of them are utterly heartbroken. Peter starts to question whether it shouldn't be "Spider-Man no more," but rather "Peter Parker no more." If he can't handle having both identities, maybe the super heroic one is the one to keep. Can he truly be close to anybody? And where is he without people he loves like MJ and Aunt May? This story had a lot more heart to it, and that made all the difference.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Non-Evil Gift Bag

I have had issues in the past with Jack getting gift bags from school. But last week, Jack received a rare non-evil gift bag.

School was closed for Valentine's Day, so the kids had their celebration the next day. As soon as I picked Jack up at school, he said, "Hi, Mommy," but then more urgently said, "Bag!" Sure enough, Jack had a bag of Valentines that he knew he was going to get as soon as, but not before, his mommy arrived to pick him up. I got the bag off the shelf, and Jack and I were immediately swarmed by other little kids who were yearning for their own bags. I told the other kids that they'd get bags when their mommies or daddies came to get them, but you could tell they didn't quite believe it. Jack basked in the glow of finally having his beloved bag.

As we walked to the car, Jack, clutching the bag, started happily chattering about how he was going to go home and show his bag to Daddy and to Chew Chew Bacca. At home, he was so engrossed by his bag that I was actually able to cook dinner without him hanging, barnacle-like, from my leg.

I also discovered that Jack has now developed the skill to unwrap candy on his own. We adults have a very different approach to eating a sucker than Jack does. I pretty much figure once I put it in my mouth, I am committed to finishing it right away. Jack would beg to differ. He'll enjoy his sucker for a few minutes, but then there is absolutely no reason not to just go ahead and put it back in his bag for a while. The resulting sticky mess does not phase him in the least.

But even more than the candy, Jack was interested in the cards. We looked at each one, and I told him -- just once, mind you -- which of his friends they were from. Then, he'd go through the cards and hold each one up, telling me who gave it to him. Blew my little mind that he was actually able to tell me, for example, that the Cars card with Sally on it was from Brandon and the one with Doc Hudson on it was from Donovan. My boy is a genius. A genius covered in sticky sap, but a genius nevertheless.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Yesterday was an incredibly unromantic Valentine's Day.

Our plans were definitely not the stuff you put in the movies. We didn't want to find or pay for a babysitter... and truth be told, we were pretty excited to watch American Idol and Lost... so Steve and I were planning to get a spinach salad, shrimp cocktail, and some kind of fabulous dessert from Costco and have a Living Room Picnic while we indulged in some fun TV. That's called making the best of it, people, and we were happy about it.

Then we got a bunch of nasty snow and ice. All three of us were home on Valentine's Day, and there was no way we were going to brave the trip to Costco (a whopping three miles away) for food. Instead, the three of us spent the day together and ordered a pizza for dinner. Jack has been talking for days about "Mommy Daddy Pizza," so this was very good news for him.

It ended up being one of the most wonderful and special Valentine's Days I've ever had.

Before we had Jack, and maybe even for a while after we did, my idea of a perfect Valentine's Day would definitely not have involved pizza or spending the day with a toddler who'd need to be entertained so he didn't tantrum all over the house he was stuck in. But for whatever reason, my thinking has changed.

The boys and I didn't do anything really big yesterday. We played with Play-Doh, out in the snow and ice, and Steve and I watched TV while Jack took his nap. When he woke up, we gave Jack his Chew Chew Bacca action figure (oh, sweet Yoda did he love that thing) and went to Starbucks for coffee and cupcakes. The cupcake, by the way, prompted Jack to sing "Happy Birthday" several times. He also amused himself by trying to balance Chew Chew Bacca on a caution cone, all while clutching Roary under his arm. Steve gave Jack a bath, and I went to the local Italian place, packed with couple having romantic dinners, for our pizza.

The three of us had pizza, I read Jack a couple of books, then Steve and I watched our TV shows and had some tiramisu.

Really, really unromantic, right? But it actually wasn't. I didn't feel like I was making the best of a situation in which I couldn't go with my husband to a romantic restaurant and gaze at each other over a bottle of wine, holding hands. Instead, I felt like my whole house was just full of love. I was able to spend the day with the two people who mean more to me than anything else in the universe, and I was just so happy. I also felt incredibly close to Steve, the man with whom I've created this happy family and wonderful life. In the end, I can't think of anything more romantic and special.

Happy Valentine's Day, boys.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Force Is Strong in This One

Once again, Jack is proving that we brought the right kid home from the hospitial. Last week, he was having a tantrum, which seemed to me to be a fine time to watch some TV. Sure enough, the last 15 minutes of The Empire Strikes Back were on HBO. Score! I was home. Jack immediately stopped his tantrum, sat on my lap, and began an endless chorus of "What's that?" He tends to echo whatever I say, so it was awesome to hear his little boy voice saying Bobba Fett, lightsaber, Stormtrooper, Lando, and Artoo.

He was most facinated by Chewbacca, who he calls "Chew Chew Bacca." Every time Chewie was on the screen, Jack got excited and would cry, "Chew Chew Bacca!" We snuggled and watched the movie, and I'd explain things as they happen, like that Darth Vader cut off Luke's hand and that it was a bad boo boo. Jack suggested that Luke needed a band-aid. Lando told Chewbacca to go work on the hyperdrive (darned thing was always breaking on the Falcon). A few minutes later, Jack turned to me and said, "Chew Chew Bacca bye bye. He work." Cub was totally following the story and knew where Chewie was and what he was up to.

Since then, Jack has been checking out Star Wars action figures at Target and looking at the Star Wars picture books that I gave Steve as a present when I was pregnant. Chew Chew Bacca remains his favorite.

Last night, we "read" the picture book of Return of the Jedi. There are a lot of words in the book for a kid his age, so I just gave him the highlights, with lots of sound effects ("beep!" "Yub, yub!") and spent lots of time talking about Chewie and Yoda, who he also loved. Han Solo, by the way, is "Chew Chew Bacca friend" and the Falcon is "Chew Chew Baccca spaceship."

Jack was also fascinated by Jabba. He told Steve this morning all about the book. ("Yoda nigh-nigh," "Chew Chew Bacca help Han. Han Chew Chew Bacca friend") He also told Steve repeatedly that Jabba is "not nice" and claims that, in addition to keeping Han frozen in carbonite, humiliating Leia, and trying to throw everybody to the Sarlac, that Jabba bit his finger.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and I do have some treats for my tiny little cupid. Steve and I have a card for him with a tiger on it, and I'm going to get him a balloon with either Dora or Elmo on it. And best of all, we have a Chew Chew Bacca action figure for him. It's a big one, so it's safe for him to play with. Jack's Uncle Dan gave it to him when he just two months old, and I've had it packed away for him. I told Dan about this, and of course, he was thrilled. Dan said that people might have laughed at him for buying an action figure for an infant, but he knew our boy would need him.

Friday, February 09, 2007


One of the things that I am love, love, loving about Jack lately is that he is getting to be so creative. He and I decorated sugar cookies last week (I should post photos of the delightful sugary mess), and it was great to see the many color combinations of sprinkles that he put together. Naturally, he's a kid, and one of the Immutable Laws of Kid-dom is More Sprinkles Is Better, but to combine blue, purple, pink, and hearts on a pink cookie? Gorgeous.

A few nights ago, Jack got out his book-blocks and started carefully lining them up in a long line. He told us that it was a choo-choo train and "no touch." Never have we shown him how to make blocks into a train; he came up with this himself. Then, he dismantled his train and grabbed some utensils from his kitchen. The choo-choo was now pizza, which he served to us. Oh, but it was hot, so he had to blow on it before we could eat it. In Jack's vast collection of plastic food, he actually has pizza, but he didn't go get it, preferring to pretend with the blocks. Very cool.

Jack also loves pretending to be various animals. His favorites seem to be the frog -- lots of jumping -- and the horse, which involves vigorous gallopping.

I was then talking to Steve about how imaginative Jack has been lately. Steve added that Jack shows lots of creativity, imagination, and pretending with Roary. He talks to Roary, Roary answers him, he feeds Roary crackers, and so on. All of this, Steve said, is developmentally important, and something that the kids he works with often don't display. He's right of course... but because I'm a wee bit nuts, I consider talking to your stuffed animals to be completely normal.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Big Love

No, not those fun-loving cult members on HBO, but rather a novel by Sarah Dunn. My mom got me this book for Christmas, part of a stack that she got for pennies at a yard sale, and I was casting around looking for something to read and picked this up.

The Big Love is chick lit, good for beach reading, and took me a whopping two days to get through. But there are definitely levels of chick lit. This one is about a million times better than, say, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons or any of the Shopaholic books, but not quite to the levels of Jennifer Weiner or Marian Keyes.

The story is pretty typical. Alison gets dumped hard by her boyfriend Tom, who goes out to buy mustard for a dinner party, then calls her and says that he's in love with somebody else and never comes back. She even works as a columnist, as all heroines in these books have something to do with writing or publishing. But what makes Alison interesting is her background. She grew up an Evangelical Christian, which means that she certainly does not have a Sex and the City kind of liberation about sex or relationships. Even though she's more or less abandonded her faith, you can't completely shake all of the things she's grown up with, and she's in a state of panic about the prospect of never getting married that is a lot more complex and believably coming from her than from other heroines in books like this. She is also very flawed, one of the most neurotic people you'll see, and you can really understand why Tom went running away from her. She's not a total victim and he's not a complete ass. The result is engaging and at times quite funny. This was Sarah Dunn's first novel, and I look forward to reading more from her.

Ultimate X-Men Volume 6

When I posted my last write-up of a comic, I had responses from not one, but two fabulous readers. Super cool. So, here is another write up of my latest comic reading. I got Ultimate X-Men, Volume 6 in the same gorgeous hardcover format as the latest Spidey I read. It's by Brian K. Vaughn, and he completely rocks. BKV writes some of my favorite books -- Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man. The guy really knows how to tell a story. Per Marvel mandates, he writes in arcs, so as to be trade-friendly, but he also makes sure something happens in each and every issue. His stuff works both in trades and monthly, which is apparently no small feat.

There were some great stories in this arc. There was a story about Charles Xavier, rarely featued in anything other than an advisory role, foiling a bank robbery -- and showing signs of having a bigger agenda than many of his students are aware of. And a story between Rogue and Gambit, a couple that I'm not really in love with, that completely engaged me. But the big story -- one involving both the X-Men and a group of students from a rival school lead by Emma Frost -- totally rocked. I absolutely loved this book, no misgivings at all.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Saving Face

Since the Great Food Crackdown of 2007, Jack's snack of choice has been cereal bars. They're reasonably healthy, plus it's convenient to just hand him one to eat before school. For whatever reason, Jack prefers to have the cereal bar partially in the wrapper. The one time I unwrapped it completely and handed it to him, he completely wigged out. There's typically no logic to be found in the world of a two-year old.

Yesterday, he asked for his morning cereal bar, and let me tell you, I could not get that thing to him fast enough. As I reached into the pantry for it, Jack got impatient and had a semi-fake tantrum about it. His new technique is to get face down on the floor, but it's like he read in a book that that's how you have a tantrum, because he totally phones it in. He doesn't throw himself to the floor screaming. He more gently and carefully arranges himself on the floor. It's like when we play "Ring Around the Rosy." When I fall down, I don't really fall so much as carefully move to the floor.

He got up off of the floor when I handed him the cereal bar, but when I offered to open it for him, he said, "No, Mommy. Mommy no eat. Mommy no bite. Roary no eat." Then he took it and ran into a corner, shrieking, "Noooo!"

Fine. I could wait that out, because no way could he open the thing himself and would soon come crawling back to me.

In the corner, Jack struggled with the wrapper. I could hear him getting more and more frustrated, but every time I offered to help, I was met with a resounding, "Nooo!"

Eventually, I guess he gave up, because he came over to me, holding the still wrapped cereal bar. Jack surely didn't want to ask me for help, especially after he'd refused me, and perhaps because he was convinced that treacherous Mommy would steal his precious bar and eat it all for herself. He needed to save face, and he also needed someone loyal, someone he could trust.

Jack held out the cereal bar and said, "Ro open. Ro help."

"You want Roary to open the cereal bar?"


Roary eagerly ripped open the wrapper and handed it to Jack. "Thank you, Ro," Jack said, and happily ate the cereal bar.

In other news, remember the blue cupcakes from Wednesday? Well, yesterday, ever single kid in Jack's class had technicolor poop as a result of those things. Jack's hiney is now stained blue. Lovely.