Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lesson Learned

Now that Jack is sleeping in his Medium Boy Bed, one of the little joys of my day is that he likes to come wake me up. I can always hear him coming. First, there's a light thump as he climbs out of bed. Then, I can hear him scuttering over to turn off his sound machine. There's a creak as he slowly opens his door, then closes it behind him. More little footsteps as he opens our door, then pads over to me. He rests his little hand on my arm and whispers, "Wake up, Mommy!"

It's really nice.

It is, however, less nice when it happens too early in the morning. In those cases, Steve and I just haul Jack into our bed to sleep between us. It never really works that well. He likes to position himself perpendicular to the two of us, forming a giant letter H. Or he'll kick us in the backs repeatedly. Or somehow get his feet tangled in my hair. Not ideal sleeping conditions by any stretch of the imagination, but still cuddly.

This morning, he arrived at the hideous hour of 5:00. He announced that he needed a binky, so I staggered into his room to get one (should really add one to the bedside table). Then, he told me that he needed Roary. Ugh, could he not have asked for Roary AND the binky at the same time? I brought him Roary, then tried unsuccessfully to go to sleep.

I finally told Jack that if he couldn't lie down, I'd take him back to his room. Jack, believe it or not, seemed into the idea. So, I took him to his room, and he stayed there for a whopping half hour.

He showed up again, and I took him by the hand, walked him back to his room, tucked him in, and proceeded to curl up next to him on his tiny little bed.

After a few minutes, he put his little hand on my arm and said, "Mommy, go to sleep." I told him that's what I was going to do, right there next to him. Jack clarified. "Mommy, go to sleep in mommydaddy bed."

Well, he didn't have to tell me twice. I went right back to mommydaddy bed and didn't hear from him again until 7:30.

Steve and I agreed that from now on, we'll try to put him back in his own bed. With Roary and plentiful binkies.

Friday, July 27, 2007

People Are Boobs

This is a picture of Senator Hillary Clinton on the Senate floor.

Washington Post writer Robin Givhan wrote a ridiculously puritanical article about it, saying that she was startled to see the "small acknoledgment of sexuality and feminity" from Senator Clinton. She talks about the history of Hillary's public appearance, noting that she rarely wears anything feminine in public and that when running for the Senate initially, she opted for a uniform of flattering, but sexless black pantsuits.

Givhan's article suggests that the fact that Senator Clinton is starting to show a more feminine sense of style indicates that she is becoming more confident. That she's not only intelligent and experienced, but that she also has a womanly side. I think that's true. I believe that Hillary is increasingly coming into her own, not just as Bill Clinton's wife, but as a force to be reckoned with all her own.

Unfortunately, Givhan also says, "To display cleavage in a setting that does not involve cocktails and hors d'oeuvres is a provocation."

Well, break out the red paint, because it's time to put a great big A on Hillary's chest. Calling Senator Clinton's outfit "a provocation" is absolutely absurd. She looks completely professional and businesslike. You have to squint to see the faintest hint of boob in that outfit. It's not like she's dressed like Amanda Woodward, for Yoda's sake.

I'd like to think that we, as a country, are evolved enough to elect a woman as president (whether it's Senator Clinton or someone else), but this makes me sadly wonder if it's true.

At least it's not infuriating as the conversations I've overheard about what Bill Clinton's title will be if his wife is elected President. "What's he going to be, First Gentleman," is bandied about with a guffaw as if that were the most ridiculous thing ever suggested.

My answer? I don't know; we'll work it out. Any man who is smart enough to marry our first female president ought to be smart enough to come up with an appropriate title, whether it's First Gentleman or something else. Martha Washington didn't have a template to follow, and she did all right. Let's not distract ourselves with stupid details like this.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Age of Discovery

Yesterday, as Steve was changing Jack's diaper, he attempted to distract him with a little dance. The dance was goofy and included Steve hiking up his shirt to expose his belly (sorry, baby - abs)... and more.

Jack: Daddy, what's that?
Steve: Um, those are my nipples.
Jack: Want those off there.
Steve: I can't take them off. They're part of my body.
Jack: Want those off there.
Steve: Sorry, buddy - they're part of my body. Look, you have some, too.
Jack: Where Jack's nipples?
Steve: See, there they are.
Jack: Here Jack's nipples!
Jack: Here Daddy's nipples!
Jack: Where Mommy's nipples?

Could it be more obvious that I didn't breast-feed him?

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Chicken Dance

In the (freaking awesome) movie Knocked Up, Paul Rudd's character laments, "I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles."

It was a very sad little moment, and I think a lot of people feel that way when they see the pure bliss that a kid feels about so many small things in life. I feel lucky in that I truly believe that I am able to feel more joy, more passion about the world around me than the average person. But last night, Jack completely trumped me.

Steve was out at a party, so we were having some Mommy-Son time. I decided that Mommy-Son time would be a lot more fun if there were less of Jack throwing himself on the concrete crying, "Want Daddy" and more of us actually doing something. So, we walked over to our neighborhood park.

As fate would have it, a local church was having a public "Family Fun" night there, and let me tell you, their definition of the word "fun" was rather broad, in my opinion.

They had face painting, and little carnival games, which seemed like fun for the older kids, but not really for Jack. A completely unimpressive band playing Christian rock. They also had "train" rides. The train was, in fact, a riding lawnmower disguised as a train with some plywood, pulling a small cart filled with kids who were honestly too old to be riding on the fake train. Also, the train kept getting stuck in the mud. Jack spent a lot of time watching the "train" and talking excitedly about it.

We walked around some more, and Jack noticed a random guy in a chicken suit. Why a chicken? No idea. It's not like there's some chicken story in the Bible, and the chicken wasn't wearing a Jesus t-shirt or anything. Just, for no particular reason, Chicken. Nevertheless the kid was just as excited about the Christian Chicken as he would have been about someone actually cool like Mickey Mouse or Elmo. He said, "Mommy, want to go see that duck!" I said that it was a chicken, but sure, we could go see him.

Jack marched his little butt right up to the Christian Chicken and said hi. The two of them hugged, and then Jack held Roary up to the Christian Chicken. CC hugged Roary also, then handed him back to Jack. Then, Jack and the Christian Chicken started dancing to the sucky band.

He proceeded to follow Christian Chicken all around the park until I finally convinced him that CC should probably talk to some other kids. I lured him home with the promise of popsicles.

I definitely can't muster up a child-like level of joy for watching a riding lawnmower get stuck in the mud or busting a move with a guy in a chicken suit. But sitting on my back step, eating a popsicle while Jack rests one hand on my knee?

Absolute joy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Under Pressure


I freaking love this commercial. And last night, I pretty much lived it.

It was a busy day at work. Not bad, just busy. But before I left, we had another incredibly painful and tearful goodbye from Jack. It is pretty much the worst possible way to start your day.

When I got home, he continued to cling to me like a barnacle. Steve was going to take him to the grocery store, but no way would he leave me for that long. So, whatever. I made dinner while holding him, which isn't exactly easy now that he's 30 pounds and wiggly.

He was super annoying at dinner. Jack ate, like, two bites of mashed potatoes and announced that he was full and ready for dessert. Ahem. He also didn't want me to eat my dinner and responded to my attempts to do so by pulling on my hand as hard as he could, saying, "Come on" over and over again.

Steve took out one of his plates and put two bites of chicken and a small mound of mashed potatoes on it, informing Jack that he needed to eat all of that food, or no snacks or dessert. Steve then had to go make a phone call, leaving me to deal with Jack.

Like an idiot, I went against my new policy regarding food, which is Eat it or don't eat it; I'm not going to beg you. I cajoled, I wheedled, I tried to inspire him to eat by having Spidey eat bites of chicken. Jack whined, spit chicken on the carpet, and generally annoyed the crap out of me.

The whole situation had me pulled in a million directions. On one hand,I feel horrible about the fact that he is having such seperation anxiety. I know that my little guy is going through a lot right now, and I just wish that I could shoulder all burdens for him so that life is nothing but easy for him. On the other hand, for the love of Yoda, kid, if you want to be around me so badly, how about not being a complete dick when you are? Then I feel guilty again, because I know that he's only being a dick because he needs me extra right now, and what the hell kind of mother am I if I'm calling my toddler a dick?

Steve got off the phone, detached a crying barnacle from my leg, and ordered me to go running. I picked a route with a really steep hill, reasoning that I'll need some extra hill training to prepare for the Bix. I also think that, subconsciously, I wanted a workout that would be really hard.

So I set off. At first, I was all distracted, thinking about how hard this whole situation is and wondering how badly I was handling it. But as I kept on running, all of it just melted away, just like in the commercial. By the time I was two miles in, all I was thinking about was the physical act of running. I felt a million times better.

And, as luck would have it, when I got home, I discovered a happy Jack, stripped down to his diaper, eating a giant cookie at the kitchen table, having made a valliant effort at eating the food we gave him. He was sweet, funny, and not even remotely unpleasant for the rest of the night.

Hey, and thanks to everybody who commented on my last post. It's nice to feel your support, it really is.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Too Many Teardrops

There is far too much crying going on in my house these days.

In the last week or so, Jack has entered into a gigantic crybaby phase. The tiniest little bump sends him into a tizzy, crying and wailing, "Got it boo-boo!" If he were actually hurt, it'd be one thing, but if you stub your toe just a little bit, then suck it up. The last thing I want is the kind of kid who knows he'll get attention for all of these fake injuries. So, I pretty much ignore him, tell him to shake it off, or suggest that he tell Roary about it. I know he'll get over it, and I know that he is, in fact, looking for attention. In the meantime, it's just annoying.

Worse, Jack is currently the president of the Mommy Fan Club and is undergoing some serious seperation anxiety. Last Thursday, I picked him up from his new daycare center, and let me tell you, he was having a blast. He was having so much fun dancing to The Wiggles and following Miss Rita in a march around the room that he didn't even realize I was there until the song ended.

In sharp contrast, the very next day, he started freaking out about a block away from school. He cried and wailed and begged me not to leave him. I've had him cling to me before, but this was the worst it's ever been. I know that he'll stop crying soon after I leave, and I know that he's a social kid and loves school, but it absolutely broke my heart to see him cry like that.

When I left the classroom, I was pretty upset. Carol, the director, peeked in and said that he was already starting to calm down. She ordered me to call her as soon as I got to the office to check in, which was really nice of her. Still, I broke down in tears as soon as I got to the car, then started crying again when Steve called and I told him about it.

Sure enough, the little punk was fine about five minutes after I left and was playing and having fun. But every single time I've had to leave him since then, it's been similarly tough. I am usually pretty stoic about the seperation anxiety, but I am having a lot of trouble with it right now. It's just a horrible way to start the day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Being Green

Living in the new Stately Wasser Manor feels like a new beginning. It's like the first day of school, when you were determined to do things a little differently, like change your look a bit, or get to school earlier. This, I figure, is my opportunity to set things up in such a way to make our lives a bit easier and more organized. Everything from arranging the kitchen cabinets to buying a new family message center to finding a spot other than the dining room table to put our mail is a great opportunity.

One of the things that I've decided to do is to find little ways to live a bit greener. Just because I can't switch completely to organic produce, buy a hybrid car, or exclusively bike to work doesn't mean that my efforts to do little things for the planet, and for Jack's future on it, are wasted.

To that end, I'm reading a book called It's Easy Being Green that offers lots of simple, actionable ideas to do your part to improve the planet. Here are some changes I'm making:

  • Switching all lightbulbs to compact fluorescents. This is really no big deal to do at all, and CFL's use significantly less energy than regular light bulbs
  • Re-using plastic sandwich bags whenever possible
  • Only running the dishwasher when it's full (not so hard to do now that I no longer have baby bottles to be concerned with)
  • Using the timer on our thermostat
  • Buying locally grown produce at the farmer's market whenever possible (which is nice anyway)
  • Using only a trickle of water to wash my hands and turning it off while I lather. And not running the water while I brush my teeth
  • No more bottled water. I never drank bottled water because I had any problem with tap, but rather because it was more convenient. Now I have a pretty green bottle that I just re-use every day. Much nicer.
  • I bring my own travel mug to 'bucks when it's time for a cup of coffee. Like the water bottle, it's actually a little nicer than it's disposable counterpart.
  • At the office, I try to avoid printing anything that I could just email or read online. And when I do print something, I take the pages, turn them upside down, and use them as scratch paper.
  • No more plastic bags. I bought a bunch of re-usable cloth bags on eBay and have them in the trunks of both cars. I've used them so far at the grocery store and at my favorite store, Target, and I love them. For one thing, there's that sweet feeling of superiority I can enjoy when I ask for neither paper nor plastic. And the fact that they are much easier to carry than plastic bags. And, if that wasn't enough, they're red!

I'm constantly on the lookout for other small changes I can make. It really feels important to me, and so far, none of this has been hard.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

And... We're Back!

On Thursday, the pain in my Achilles was excruciating. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but I was starting to think that a pair of crutches might be in order. But I rested all weekend, iced it, and slathered myself in Icy Hot. I know, sexy.

I swear, other runners came out of the woodwork all weekend long, and I was completely envious of them, smugly running past me, prancing around on their healthy legs. Bastards. And the incredibly cute new running outfit, complete with apple green running skirt with racing stripes to make it faster, was taunting me from the dresser drawer.

But as time went on, my pain went from horrendous to tolerable to non-existant. And this morning, I braved my first run since it started hurting. It was a good day to start, since I was only scheduled for an easy three anyway.

I picked a flat course and went very slowly - a full minute and a half behind my usual pace. I felt some pangs towards the end, but nothing I couldn't run through. And when I stopped running, the pain was gone. It felt so good to be back running again! And thanks to some lucky timing, I only missed one training run.

I'm scheduled for a four mile run tomorrow. I'm going to make it a slow one too, because I really don't want to get hurt again.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Medium Boy Bed

Friday evening, Jack declared, "Mommy big. Daddy big. Jack tiny. Jack getting bigger." Steve told me that Jack has been talking a lot lately about how he is little compared to the rest of us. The two of them had gone to the pool that day, and Steve got an admission bracelet. Jack did not get a bracelet because, being under three, he gets in for free. But of course, he's not so much focused on that, but rather that he doesn't get a fabulous orange plastic bracelet. Jack has told Steve that he is tiny, but is getting bigger.

It was really a perfect transition.

I agreed with Jack that he is getting bigger. So much bigger, in fact, that it's probably time for him to not sleep in his crib anymore, but rather in his big boy bed. Steve, picking up on the thread, agreed. He also said that because Jack is such a big boy now, he should help Mommy put the bed together.

Jack was totally excited. And believe it or not, he was actually quite helpful when I put the bed together. It was handy having him get me whatever screw I needed at the time. And I think that his "helping" with the bed made it all the more exciting for him. Of course, it was even more thrilling when I put the Elmo sheets on it. That was money well spent, right there.

Even more miraculously, after we put Jack to bed, he stayed there. All night. Without magically appearing downstairs and happily declaring, "Jack awake now!"

The very best thing about Jack's transition to the Medium Boy Bed came on Saturday morning. Steve was in bed, thinking about getting up, when he heard Jack's sound machine turn off. Then, he heard the door open, then a few minutes later, Jack bounded into our room to greet him. It was a great way to start the day.

Friday, July 06, 2007


One of my favorite parts of the day is Jack's bedtime. We've developed a routine that is a sweet and snuggly delight.

As soon as Jack's got his teeth brushed and his jammies on, we spread his big Sesame Street blanket on the bed. Usually we read a book (unless Jack's up late and I'm shortening things). Then, we all three cuddle on the blanket and talk about What We Liked.

Me: Today, I liked going running. And I liked playing in the back yard with Jack.
Steve: I liked going swimming with Jack and drinking coffee with Mommy.
Jack: I liked it... coo-ca!

Every single night, Jack leads with his same silly nonsense word and thinks he is the most hilarious guy ever. Sometimes, we can get him to give a straight answer, but he's always got to go for the gag first.

Then it's time to sing songs. If it's not especially late, we'll sing a couple of songs. Jack is a fan of "Jingle Bells," or we'll sing "Happy Birthday" to whoever the mood strikes -- Grandma, Chewbacca, whatever.

But the last song before we put Jack in his crib is always "Rainbow Connection." I've been singing it to Jack since he was a baby, and I love singing it with both of my guys. Jack is starting to learn the words to the song and will chime in as he wishes. The song ends with, "Da, da, da dee, da da dum! Da, da, da, da, da, dee, da dooo!" Jack always hits that last "Da doo!" and often Roary will sing it too, doing a little tiger dance as he belts it.

Then, the three of us do BIG HUGS, tiny hugs, BIG KISSES, and tiny kisses before we put Jack down in his crib.

That routine, however, is going to change a bit in the next few days. Yesterday, when Steve got Jack after his nap, he discovered that Jack had slung his leg over the top of the crib and was trying to climb out. Looks like it's time to transition to the Medium Boy Bed. Hopefully that'll go okay.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


This picture is of Brad Pitt as Achilles. See how lovely it is?

This picture is of the Achilles tendon. It's a hell of a lot less sexy than Brad Pitt. Mine is even less sexy at the moment, because the bastard is injured.


The pain started after today's run, which was actually an easy one. It was only three miles, I didn't run too hard, and I kept my route flat. The culprit, no doubt, was the 10K run I did yesterday, on a course that was described -- accurately -- as "hilly and challenging." Now, several hours and 8 Advil after the run, it still hurts, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without swearing.

I have, over the years, run through plenty of injuries. Shin splints, well, those were no one's fault but my own. I ran the state cross country meet my sophomore year with a pulled muscle in my groin (hot). I plodded along with stress fractures for quite a while. But this one I am not screwing around with. I'm going to take off as much time as I need, down plenty of Advil, ice it, massage it with Icy Hot, buy some orthotics for my shoes, and generally baby it as much as I need to. Because I've decided to run the Des Moines marathon in October, and the last thing I need is to hurt myself worse later on down the line.

It's killing me to think I won't be able to go on my long run on Saturday, but I know it's for the best.

Home Sweet Home

I might not have gone through with the Take A Whole Bunch of Meth And Stay Up For Two Days Moving plan, but Steve and I did pretty much everything else to get us into Stately Wasser Manor as quickly as possible.

I was out running on Saturday and, of course, ran past the new house. It's just so pretty, all I want to do is look at it. Well, good thing I did, because the previous owners waved me down and told me that they were all moved out, and would I like the keys now?


And no, I did not mind in the least that it meant interrupting my run. I am pretty sure I flew the rest of the way back to Temporary Wasser Manor, I was so happy with the news.

Steve and I got up bright and surly Sunday morning and got right to work loading up our cars and Doug's truck with as much of our stuff as we could carry. Jack contributed to the cause by carrying the DVD's of Potty Time With Elmo and The Empire Strikes Back made it to the house - along with Roary, of course.

On Monday, the movers emptied out our storage unit, we took last minute items from Temporary Wasser Manor, and boom! We were moved in... at least well enough for now. I still have some sweaters and stuff at my mom's house, but I do believe I can live without them for a little while longer.

It has been a lot of fun, believe it or not, unpacking boxes. There are things that I have not seen since March, and it's great having my stuff back. I'd forgotten how comfortable our blue couch is, and how much I like our silverware. And when I unpacked the coffee maker, I literally kissed it, I was so happy.

And speaking of happy, Jack loves his new house. He will occasionally point to a wall and say, "Roary, that Jack's new house!" He likes his big yellow bedroom and the vast toy area in our TV room, but most of all, he loves the big backyard. If Jack had his way, he'd spend most of every day running around, playing in his tent, kicking a ball, and generally sweating like a male member of the Green family, which, alas, he is. (I only sweat like a female member of the Green family, which is not quite as bad.)

The really cool thing is that I don't at all feel like I'm in someone else's house. Despite the boxes - and the fact that I don't have a dresser yet - I feel like I'm at home.