Monday, December 31, 2007

Snowflakes That Stay on My Nose and Eyelashes

Yesterday, I read an article in Runner's World about cold weather running. There was a quote about how running during a light snow is one of the most peaceful things you can experience. It sounded lovely, and I immediately wanted a chance to do it.

Nature, amazingly, cooperated... kind of.

Steve had to work for a few hours today and I had the day off, so I spent an active and fun - but tiring - morning with Jack. I'd already declared that when Steve got home, I was going running. So imagine my excitement when I saw it starting to snow mid-morning.

The trouble was, it was not a LIGHT snow. It was snowing like, um, cats and dogs. Still, I geared up and went. And it was really cool. I only did 2-1/2 miles because it was rough running on uneven terrain and because I knew I'd need to shovel the driveway afterwards. But it really did have a magic to it. It's nice to look at snow not just as something that's a pain in the butt to drive in. I was able to appreciate the beautiful fluffy flakes as they fell on my face, to look at the white iced trees hanging over the street.

What a beautiful way to end my 2007 year of running.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jack!

On Monday, December 24, Jack turned three years old.

Jack's third year has been a crazy one. Luckily, it has been free of surgeries and has included only one trip to the emergency room - and only one ear infection. But we did pack up everything we owned in a "big orgish truck" and leave the only home Jack had ever known. There were also smaller transitions - his crib has been replaced with a toddler bed. Sippy cups are used only to protect our carpeting. Binkies are no longer a constant, but rather are only for sleeping and in the car. He's learning to use the potty with increased consistency - to the point where I am no longer buying giant boxes of diapers at Sam's Club.

His vocabulary has exploded - I could no longer list his words if I tried. He says please and thank you without being asked, and often finds me in the kitchen and asks, "Mommy, may I help you, please?" He can take his pants off by himself and does a decent attempt with his shirt, hampered only by his giant head. He can count to about 15 (then the rest of the teen numbers sound a lot alike), knows how to kick a soccer ball, play tee ball, and stir muffin batter.

In short, he's turned from a baby to a toddler to a kid. And not just any kid - a really cool kid. He has a vivid imagination and sometimes spends entire days pretending to be Luke Skywalker. He tries to make us laugh, doing pratfalls and making up silly words to songs. He gets so excited about everything from the rides at Disney World to an unexpected cookie that he jumps up and down with delight. He thinks that both pirates and princesses are cool. He is not at all shy, willing to march right up to the librarian and say, "I need some help, please. I am looking for a book about Thomas the train."

His birthday was very much a day of fun for a big kid.

He got a tricycle from his Mawmaw and Poppa, which he proceeded to ride all around the kitchen. We went out for lunch with his GrandmaGrandpa, Uncle Andy, and Aunt Ariel, and he was stunningly well behaved. He alternated between putting together a cool puzzle from Grandma and wolfing down kraft macaroni and cheese. He and I made cookie dough together, for later decorating.

We had so much fun that I let him pick out another recipe from my cookie cookbook to make. Not surprisingly, he chose candy cane cookies. I proved that baking kicks ass by letting him help me crunch up candy canes using a hammer. Unfortunately, even though I put the big hammers away, we caught him attempting the same when we left him alone for a moment.
Note not only the candy cane dust and Oscar the Grouch hammer, but also vaguely guilty expression.

I made him reindeer sandwiches for dinner, which he loved.

He got all kinds of Star Wars toys from us for his big day, including a very cool x-wing fighter.

If that wasn't cool enough, my brother made him a Roary cake. Jack especially liked eating the stripes. The night ended with a reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," which Jack has a surprising amount of committed to memory, then putting out the cookies that we made for Santa.

Happy birthday, Cub. I am proud to be your mommy.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Much Better

Hey, Internet, thanks for your kind words after my lousy day of mommying the other day. Jack's been doing much better since, and I think the only thing wrong is that he has a serious case of Two Year Old. Thank Yoda it'll all be over on Monday when he turns three!*

Jack was on the verge of turning to The Dark Side again the very next day, and I'm happy to report that we nipped it in the bud. He was offended by the ridiculous suggestion that Mommy and Daddy had that maybe he would like to sit down and eat some food, seeing as how he was hungry and all. Dude was about ready to throw some punches again, so I took him upstairs and we talked. I acknowledged his feelings - that he was mad at MommyDaddy - and had him say it in words. Then we practiced making angry faces, and by the time he was finished telling Pooh all about it (Roary was unavailable), he felt much better.

I really do think that the best way to keep him from hitting is to intervene as quickly as possible. It's like once he starts, he's like, "Hell with it, I'm already misbehaving, so I might as well keep it up." I shall advise him like Yoda: Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

*Don't you dare correct me, people.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Last night was going really well. The boys and I had a nice dinner, and Steve and I made plans for the three of us to go for a drive to look at Christmas lights.

Then, Jack had what was basically the Chernobyl of potty training accidents. You would not believe how calmly I handled it, like a real mommy. The strongest emotion I expressed was to say, "Oh, yucky!" It was such a hideous mess that I decided to just give him a bath. I had Steve finish off the bath so I could clean up any additional mess and change my shirt (seriously, people: ew). Jack did not want to get out of the tub, a feeling he expressed by slapping Steve across the face, hard.

Steve put Jack in his time out chair and had me take over. Jack started to apologize, but then punched me. More than once. Back in to his room, this time by himself and with the door closed.

More hitting continued, so we had no choice but to tell Jack that because "nice guys get nice things and mean guys do not" that we would not be going to look at Christmas lights. That resulted in lots of crying.

We finally calmed him down and got him to go to bed, only to have him pop out of bed at least 20 times.

It was a really, really hard day to be a parent.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Geared Up

I finally got in a run, and not a moment too soon, sinc eaccording to the news, we are going to be completely taken over by ice any second now. It felt great to be out running, though when I was finished, my knee hurt again despite having a week off. Looks like I am going to have to break down and make a doctor's appointment.

I also discovered that going running in cold weather requires a lot more gear. For my three mile run, here's what I wore:

1. Hair in pigtails, as a ponytail would not fit under my
2. Hat
3. Sports bra ('cause I'm not Katie Holmes)
4. Long sleeved non-cotton t-shirt
5. Sweatshirt (with mud stains from Living History Farms)
6. Red windbreaker
7. Reflective vest (dorky but safe)
8. Long underwear in non-cotton fabric
9. Fleece pants
10. Socks
11. Shoes
12. iPod

A lot more effort than in the summer, but on the plus side, I got to look at Christmas lights! And, um, participated in the 8 on the 8th 3 Mile Fun Run, held on the 10th, with a time of 26:57. Also, people of Rock Island, Illinois: Shovel your sidewalks.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Charmed Life of Mr. Jackson Wasser

Jack and I went to the grocery store on Saturday. As we walked in, we had this conversation.

Jack: Maybe we see Santa there!
Me: Buddy, Santa is usually not at the grocery store, so I don't think so. But I guess you never know.
Jack: You never know.

We walk into the grocery store, and BAM! There's Santa. Believe it or not, my local Jewel actually had a Santa talking to little kids.

Frankly, I think that grocery stores should always have a Santa on duty, because Jack behaved like a perfect angel.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Why I'm Not Running

Ugh, Internet - I have not been running all week. I am so cranky about it. Jack was sick, then I was sick, and there were many, many scenes like this...

Setting: Stately Wasser Manor, 5:20 PM
Enter Betsy through back door.

Steve: (Standing in front of fridge, attempting to make dinner) Oh, thank God you're home.
Jack: (Crying hysterically, red faced)
Steve: He has been like this ever since I picked him up. He hit a kid at school, then he was rude to his teachers, then he wouldn't leave, then he complained and whined all the way home. We got home, and he was mad about something in the garage.
Me: Oh, you didn't let him push the button to close the garage door.
Steve: And then I was like, "Jack calm down," but he wasn't Jack, he was Luke, and I was the Wampa and the Wampa doesn't talk and -

At this point, it became pretty obvious I was not going running. I picked Jack up, and as his little legs kicked in my grasp, took him upstairs. I bribed him with vitamins to sit on mommydaddy bed and watch Dora with me. It is the "Dora La Musica" episode that we have seen eighty billion times and it bugs me that, for example, Benny says, "I play the drum, banga banga banga" instead of just banging on the drum to illustate the aforementioned banging sound.

Anyway, it worked like a charm, and Jack - who vacilated between being Dora and Senor Shush for several hours - calmed his crazy ass down. Steve (aka Tico) was still a bit freaked out. He needed to go to a basketball game for work, but he had just realized that we were the only house on our block that had not yet shoveled the walks and we are obviously bad citizens and will probably go to jail and all of the neighbors will hate us and -

I went outside and shoveled the walk while he and Senor Shush had cookies.

When Steve took off, I put Jack to bed. During Trip To The Potty #2 (aka The Stall), we had this exchange.

Jack: I will move my stool. That good idea, my friend. Ha, I called you 'my friend.'
Me: Am I your friend?
Jack: Yes you are. I love you.

So, life at Stately Wasser Manor is hectic, but good. I will be able to get back into the running soon (despite the snow).

8 on the 8th? I don't know. But I'll be back.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Gender Politics at Stately Wasser Manor

I find it fascinating to see how Jack, now that he's approaching the ripe old age of three, is starting to understand gender differences. Steve and I are both pretty liberal in how we approach things - there is no such thing as a girl toy or a boy toy in our house. Steve cooks and cleans sometimes, and I am more interested in athletics. Jack got a kitchen for his second birthday. Steve wears pink, and Jack does not own a single item of clothing with a football on it.

He definitely understands the physical differences between men and women. After we watched Shrek The Halls for the first time, he reprised his pretend role of Princess Fiona, and we had this conversation.

Jack: I'm Princess Fiona. You Shrek.
Me: Hi, Princess.
Jack: I have a 'gina.
Me: Did you just say you had a --
Jack: You have a pipper.
Me: Yep. You did.

Our attempts to keep things gender neutral have been mostly successful, it seems. Sometimes Jack pretends that Roary is a baby and that he, as Roary's daddy, has to take care of him. But then we were talking about Christmas presents, and Jack suggested that Santa bring me "a girl toy, like maybe Barbie."


Especially given that Jack had just spent the entire morning pretending to be a princess on her way to the ball, complete with girly dress-up clothes. You would think that a man in a necklace, velvet scarf, and fringed wrap would be a bit more open-minded.