Friday, December 18, 2009

in a pear tree

A friend at a client told me this great story about when she was little. At Christmastime, during the twelve days of Christmas (which, she was quick to point out, begin Dec 13), every day a present would appear on the front porch for her and her brother. It was from a Secret Pal - nobody knew where it came from! It was something little - a pencil, some stickers, a candy bar. To this day, even though she's moved away from her home town, a big box full of presents for each day arrives just in time. She looks forward to it every year.

Well, an amazing thing is happening - now there are presents from a Secret Pal appearing on our front porch for Aidan every day. We don't know where they're coming from! The first day was a board book about the Twelve Days of Christmas. Since then, something small every day. This morning there was a Spider-man toothbrush! Very exciting.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

he gets it, he gets it not

I've been trying to figure out whether Aidan "gets" Santa, Christmas and such. Last week his grandma had me tell him that Ike, their dog, was waiting for Santa. He said, "Ike wants Santa to come? He wants presents? He wants bones?" I thought to myself, "he gets it."

I asked him if he was excited for Santa to come. He said yes, and I asked what he wanted. "Presents." "What kind?" "Yellow with strawberries." "Strawberries you eat?" "Yeah." He gets it not.

This week we talked about it again as we were getting presents for our Adopt-a-Family family (I'm in on a group with my client to help another family have a Christmas.) As though a light went off, he said, "They need help to get presents."
"We have to help them because they need help."
"That's right, Aidan. We're very lucky."
"They want toys." He gets it!
"Yes, Aidan - what do you want?"
"Presents." "What kind of presents?"
"Toys." "What toys?"
He gets it not.

Friday, December 4, 2009

notes on a trip to St Martin

Took a day or so to settle in to being on vacation - usually takes a little while to wind down - and now I can't believe we're leaving tomorrow. We've settled into a routine, built around naps and other two-year-old requirements, in which we spend one day at the resort, more or less, and the next day away. We're very lucky that Aidan travels well, watching movies and coloring or napping on the planes, and able to sleep just about anywhere - poolside, beachside, in a strange bed in the condo - no worries. Eating, not so much...

The resort here has a nice beach that's in a cove, so protected from big waves. The ocean's 78 degrees and lovely. It also has pools, which are very suited to a two-year-old, but not really to bigger people for swimming, but that's okay. We're the target audience. We rented a car for the week and have done a general excursion, to get a feel for the island. 37 square miles, so it doesn't take too long to get around, though the only maps available have no street names on them, which can be a challenge.

The other day we went to Marigot, capitol of the French side of the island, to look around generally and see the market; then up to Grand Case, where we spent the rest of the day at a gorgeous little beach with even clearer water than "ours." We were next to a little restaurant and juice bar. The boy loves juice of all types, especially fresh juice, so he loved it there. Yesterday we got outside and Aidan asked where "the Lady" was. I asked what lady, and he said, "the milkshake lady." Took me a minute to realize he meant the woman who'd made fresh pineapple juice for him - he thinks blenders (and juicers that look like blenders) are principally for milkshakes. I have no idea why.

We've had varying degrees of success with meals, often because for some reason our son is eating almost nothing. There are a few solid go-tos, but we're trying different places to get a literal and figurative flavor of the place. Highlights are Zee Best breakfast place, a lovely French bakery, but expensive, and The Green House, which is located next to the pool of our hotel, though unrelated. There's a little grocery across the street, so we've eaten in a few times too.

A certain little man has had his ups and downs in the water. The first day we were off to a wonderful start, with his floating (a little) and ready to try much in the ocean. Swirling around with Mommy and Daddy and kicking his legs, he was very proud. "His" pool (he'll announce to passers by that it's his) is no problem - it's about 2' deep, and he'd likely stay there all day. The ocean's been a bit more of a challenge. He has ups and downs, no pun intended. He alternately loves the "rollers" (tiny waves coming in to shore) or is scared of them, and alternately is excited to try things in the water and is afraid of going in at all. Yesterday, in a trimph, he held onto his dad's neck and took a very long ride. He climbed from Daddy to Mommy, and we played the tossing game, in which one of us tosses him up in the air or to the other, and we catch him before his face goes in. No face in yet. Must get Aidan involved in swimming lessons at home; he seems a natural, as long as his fear doesn't overtake him.

We've heard such classic lines as, "That's not fair!" (with emphatic pointing - I believe I saw the origin of that in Toy Story 2); "I can't do it. Sorry;" "Mommy, you're making me crazy!" (?), and the more direct, "Mommy, you're crazy." Lovely.

It's truly beautiful here; warm breezes through palm trees and soft, white sand are everywhere. Driving is a little treacherous, but worth it to see everything. Much like other Caribbean islands I've seen, there is amazing wealth and splendour right next to abject poverty. Literally, next door to it. There are wild chickens and goats wandering around, and my favorite street sign maybe ever says, "All directions -->". I'm not sure how that's possible, as we're at neither pole, but I've seen it on the Dutch side in English and on the French side in French.

a horror story

In which the father of a two-year-old awakes to the phone ringing and someone asks if he has a son named Aidan.

We were in St. Martin this week, wonder of wonders. I got up early the first day and went downstairs to get some exercise, also wonder of wonders. We had been careful to chain the door closed, more to keep Aidan in than others out, but when you leave, you can't chain behind you. The boys were both fast asleep, so I left a note on the counter letting Steven know where I'd be.

Downstairs on the treadmill, Steven walked in carrying Aidan, and I couldn't figure out why they'd not wait for me to finish. Turns out that Aidan woke up before Daddy and decided to go looking for Mommy. He opened the front door of our condo, on the 8th floor, and went to the elevator. Luckily, he pressed floor 1, which took him to the lobby. When he got there, another mommy saw him, and started asking questions. She was pretty impressed with how he could answer - what's your name? ("Aidan") Where do you live? ("With Mommy & Daddy") What's Mommy's name? What's Daddy's name? The woman asked enough questions that the desk was able to find out who we were, and they called. You know what happened next - my husband awoke to a horrible phonecall on the first morning of our vacation. Luckily, if a "breakout" was going to occur, it happened under the best circumstances with the best outcome.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I felt my sis' baby kick last night. I believe I'm the only one who has, other than her husband; I'm only slightly surprised that the baby would show me such favoritism this early. I knew I'd be the cool aunt, but I didn't realize it would start already!

Friday, November 20, 2009


The other day Aidan was wearing his Tigger jammies. He's adorable in them, by the way. He pulled one arm out of the armhole and put it through the neckhole, which made him into a Tarzan-Tigger-like being. Even cuter. Then I saw a lightbulb go off, and he pulled the other arm out and put it through the neckhole, too. He pulled it down around his waist, grinned, and almost twirled around. He said, "I'm a princess!"

I told him, "you are, Aidan; you're beautiful!" He said, very sweetly, "Thank you, Mommy." Then he told me that I'm a princess too. "We're princesses together!" There's a sentence I wasn't really expecting from my son.

Sucker punch

In case I've been feeling a little big for my britches (no reference to Aidan's comment about my big bottom), how bad is this? I went maternity clothes shopping with my sister, and the girl at the shop asked if this would be my first grandbaby. My son's two! Granted, I could be a grandmother, but I would've conceived my sis at age 8. Ew. Also granted, she looks very, very young for her age, but to be her mom, I'd have to be an age that, while very acceptable to be is not acceptable for me to look, yet.

I told my hubby about it, and he asked if I punched her in the face. He was kinda mad. I love him!

My look of horror made her realize her error. She swears she heard my sis call me, "Mom." It's possible that she started a sentence with Mom, because we do talk about our mom. It's possible. It did feel a little like a sucker punch, though.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nope. Nada. Not at all.

No Green Goblin - nothing. Not even the backup dragon costume. Not even the word, "costume." Nothing. Halloween was, for us, sitting on the front porch in street clothes eating various candies and trying to claw back into the house whenever trick-or-treaters who might be considered even slightly frightening dare to stop by.

In fact, today is significantly after our trick-or-treating day, Oct 29, and as we were leaving school today, he said, "I want to go to home. Let's go home. We're not going to the costume store?"


On the bright side, he's cracking me up. He's started saying phrases like, "so anyway, guys" and "actually."

just in case I need it

A friend was having a tough day, and I wrote this to her. As she's the only one who reads this besides me, I'm putting it here, somewhat at her advice, to remind myself when I need it. Know that I couldn't possibly love my family any more than I do, my stunning, gorgeous, loving and devoted husband and son.

so, every time i think i might be alone in my lonliness when i'm surrounded by love or in losing myself or in feeling ever so slightly ungrateful for what i'm so lucky, so so lucky to have, i realize that i'm not the only one in my shoes. it's all around me, every day, in women who are struggling to balance what's too much for any human to hold at once. there's no one right answer, no good answer, and everyone, EVERYONE with a family struggles with it, and everyone without a family wonders whether it'd all be better if she did. it's in our culture, it's in novels, it's in blogs, it's in elevator conversations; truly, it's everywhere.

you're beautiful in pretty much every way possible, and passionate about life and motherhood. you can't always get it all right, and i feel like maybe it wouldn't be as satisfying if you/we could. part of loving something is earning it, i believe. another part of loving it is letting myself not be perfect about it. why is it so easy for me to let other people be where they are, and understand where they're coming from, and so hard for me to let myself not be perfect? seriously, no one is. no one. No One.

i'm thinking about this a lot as my sis is expecting, and i'm hoping that she lets herself be where she is too.

don't get me wrong - i'm really very happy with my life and my gorgeous, beautiful son, and i'm sure you are too. it's just hard to be a mom sometimes. i don't know if this is helpful, but reading your blog today, i wanted to tell you this because it's all around me, sometimes affecting me personally and sometimes affecting friends or acquaintences. i'm sending a giant hug and a smile and the reassurance that you're right where you should be and that you're in there, plain for us all to see.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

not even the Green Goblin?

Trick or treat is tomorrow. Someone in our house, not to name names (Aidan) has been looking forward to this for months, talking about it, asking about it. He's insistent that he be the Green Goblin. (I should be the Hobgoblin - good luck with that.)

I can't remember whether I've mentioned his devotion to Spiderman, but it's nearly to the point of my brother's devotion to Star Wars at a tender age (completely unparalleled), and has come on earlier than I expected. His knowledge is daunting - all of Parker's (he calls him Parker usually, like they're pals) girlfriends, all of the villains, of course, and which person they "take" or wrong, everyone's history. I swear he has other activities than watching Spiderman, but there are days you can't tell by talking to him.

Hence, the insistence on the Green Goblin. I'm not sure whether any of you has tried lately to find a size 2T GG costume, but I promise that they don't exist. There's one but it's wrong. It's black with bits of green, and everyone knows that the real GG is green and purple. Check the cartoons. This leads to a wild goose chase in which I, who feels a little strapped for time on a regular basis, to put it kindly, find makings of a GG costume.

Last night, the pumpkins were finished and glowing on the front porch, and it was time to put the costume together. No go, my friends; no go. Shrieking, crying, hiding, and all sorts of avoidance ensued. It was as though I were torturing the child, and all I was trying to do was get a too-big shirt on him to make into the smocky-type thing that goes over the GG's green outfit. He doesn't want to Trick or Treat. He doesn't want to be the GG. He doesn't want candy. He wants to go to bed (that's a first). No GG. NO GG!

I believe Halloween's been cancelled at our house. We'll still pass out candy, and maybe someone will be inspired. I must say that my inspiration to create a costume was dimmed, and should he have a change of heart, there's a mighty fine ready-made dragon costume waiting in the wings for him. I believe that what actually will happen, though, is that I'll sit on the front porch and pass out candy to the vans full of kids who stop by (I live at the very edge of a very nice neighborhood that attracts vans full from surrounding slightly less safe neighborhoods) while a certain someone hides indoors from the scary kids in costume. Not what I pictured, but holidays are flexible, I suppose.

Wish us luck.

flattery will get you nowhere

Aidan walks by the bathroom as I'm getting in the shower:
"Mommy, that's your bottom."
"That's right."
"It's big."


Thursday, October 22, 2009

the bbb (big boy bed)

It's here - we have arrived.

We'd been thinking that the time might be coming soon. Then we had our hardwood floors redone, which caused us to move all of our earthly possessions into the garage or basement, including the crib. Disassembling a crib isn't as fun as one might think, and we decided that once apart, it wouldn't be reassembled in this house again, at least for this child. Off to my sister's for her little one due in March (yeah for her little one due in March!).

Aidan went from "camping" on his crib mattress on the basement floor to camping on his crib mattress on the floor of his room. I thought I knew what bed I wanted for him, but I searched and searched to find it at a decent price with no luck. Missed one on craigslist by two hours, wouldn't you know. After two weeks it started to be sad to go up and sing goodnight to him all stretched out on the floor. So, this was it. Called my folks this morning and asked them to help out in my husband's absence as he travels for work today.

I still have the twin-sized four poster bed I used until I was in my late 20s. I remember having it at all of our houses growing up, and also remember refinishing it with my dad and how proud I was of it. I loved that bed. After all these years, it's not in as beautiful shape - living in the garage for the last decade or so has done it no favors. We put together the old frame and then journeyed to the mattress store. Excellent sale - good to go in about 15 minutes flat with the mattresses in the van. Then off to find the most adorable bedset ever - it's got trains, planes, trucks - every type of vehicle. Perfect for a little man! His stuff was on clearance to boot, which for a bargain shopper like me was almost too much.

Now he's up sleeping soundly, holding on to Eeyore and his sheep, curled up happily in, under and around the planes, trains and trucks. He loves it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Not so much a lollipop

There's a big dirt pile behind Aidan's school put there every summer so the kids can play in it - they dig, they find worms, they play with trucks - they're kids in it (I really love Aidan's school). When I picked him up, he'd clearly been playing in the dirt pile - black dirt head to toe - and as I drove home, he started talking to me from the back seat.

"I take my shoes off, Mommy."
"OK Aidan, just throw them on the floor."
"My feet are really dirty." (True - pretty well solid black)
"That's right; we'll take a bath when we get home."
"My feet are really, really dirty."
"I know - it's okay. That's why we have a bathtub."
(As I hear giggling and see a foot moving in the rear view mirror) "Let's lick it!"

He's definitely a boy!


It's our Friday and time to begin the three-day weekend. Lest you be jealous of my three-day weekends, let me describe this one for you. It promises to be a delightful time filled with packing up boxes - and not even for moving. Not one bon-bon expected.

We're having our hardwood floors refinished next week. Sounds like a wonderful project until you realize that everything you own is on the floor or in or on something that's on the floor. It's the whole house except kitchen, bathrooms and finished basement. Getting every inch of stuff out is daunting, to say the least, especially when combined with sorting through masses of things accumulated through two single lives and one marriage. Eeee!

Tra la la - not thinking about it yet. Daddy's traveling for work, and I'm snuggling with Aidan on the couch watching (and answering many questions about) Dragon Tales--accent on the snuggling.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Aidan and I went to pick up some recycling bins today (yes, I do live a fabulously glamorous life). When we got to City Hall we came across a jam session that, it turns out, happens every Friday near where we live. There were several banjos and guitars, a clarinet, a mouth harp and a trumpet.
When we arrived one gentleman dear to my heart stood up and sang his ABC's and then Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. He sang them with fervor. Another had some candy just in case a kid stopped by.
Seeing Aidan dance and yell, "More songs!" after each number, the guys said that everyone needed an instrument (that's his new friend Ben on guitar next to him) and lent Aidan a tambourine. As you can see, he's a gifted musician. The gentleman who lent it to him said that it's obvious what Aidan needs for Christmas. I'm not sure we can wait until Christmas.
Apparently, when it's cold out they meet in the cafe next door. Everyone's welcome. We'll definitely be taking them up on the invitation; they may regret it.


My friend got scary news.

I just want to remember to be grateful for my family and for every day. I feel so, so very grateful to have such a beautiful, loving, funny and supportive husband and the most gorgeous son on the planet (no offense to other mothers of sons, but he is).

I'm grateful that my parents are close by and that Aidan is always surrounded by family, love and laughter, and I'm especially grateful that he's going to have a little cousin to play with (the secret's out!) and that I get to be an aunt.

I'm grateful that the sun's shining today, and that I'm able to have this and other Fridays with Aidan. In fact, I'm grateful for the choices I'm afforded on a daily basis.

I just want to remember to be grateful.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


"Can you say Hi to the nice man, Aidan?"
"I have boogers."

Monday, September 14, 2009


Here's a great story from my posting hiatus - probably from March or so, so a solid age two.

We were at a family pancake breakfast, and someone asked whether he knew this difference between boys and girls. I didn't know, so I said we should ask him.

"Aidan, are you a boy?"
"Are you a girl?"
"What are you?"
"I a nutball!"

Apparently he does listen.

what goes around

I remember being extremely frustrated with my dad from probably age three or so (might be farther back, but that's as far as I remember specifically) and for longer than I care to admit because he would say things like, "I know you better than you know yourself," and "You think....." I hate to say that I'm starting to understand it now, so I won't.

I will say, though, that Aidan's starting to do things that I remember doing. There are family-famous stories about my arguments with my dad; I remember yelling that it wasn't my fault that I was the daughter and he was the dad, and maybe he was wrong and I was right, but he just wouldn't admit it. I remember the frustration of being certain that I was right or entitled and especially that I was misunderstood. If only I were able to express myself better, then all would come together for me (and to boot, I would be vindicated). These were, incidentally, the much more subdued arguments of ages two to four, not the angry teen ones. I haven't always been a walk in the park, but be reassured that I've mellowed considerably. Anyhoo..

This post actually does have to do with my son. The other day Aidan yelled at me, "YOU listen, Mommy; YOU not listening!" He was so angry and frustrated that he'd turned red and was physically shaking. I may be projecting it, but I think I know where he was right in that moment.

What hit me was not just remembering being in that moment, but also that I felt as grown up then as I do now, which other possible implications I'll set aside. It's so easy to think of a two-and-a-half year old as baby-like. It's important for me to remember that he doesn't feel he's baby-like. He's just him. (He tells me that all the time: "Are you gorgeous, Aidan?" "No, I'm just Aidan.") I'm not sure where this epiphany will lead, and I don't want to go so far on the pendulum that I let him do whatever he likes because he's entitled to express himself carte blanche. I do love seeing his evolution, though, and learning about who he is. Oh, who am I kidding? I love everything about being his mom, but especially seeing more and more of what he's thinking and who he is. I especially love when he nuzzles me and coos, "Mommy." That's another story.

Knock, knock

So, I may be horribly behind in posting, but today I heard that Aidan has told his first knock-knock joke, and I need to remember, not solely to taunt him with it later.

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Cats who?
The cats don't live here anymore! (hysterical giggling)

Maybe the joke's so sophisticated that it's over all of our heads. Perhaps it's brilliant and we're too slow to catch on. Perhaps.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday pancakes

My dad makes (usually blueberry) pancakes every Sunday for the whole clan, and this has been going on for at least a decade, before any of us siblings were married. It can be a little much to get there every week, with trying to get organized for the upcoming week and trying to fit family time (for our little family) into a crunched schedule. However, it's wonderful to have a regular touchpoint. Not all of us make it every week, but we do more often than not.

I talk to my sister several times a day - we're always connected. My brother, however, isn't the "pick up the phone" type. You always know he digs you and that he's thinking of you, but you don't get obvious confirmation without that type of a forum. Much like going to the gym, sometimes it's a little tough to get there, but I'm always so glad that I did.

This week, my sis brought a new cookbook and a Wii fit to share, and Dad built a big fire. Aidan was in heaven as usual, with many of his favorite people in the same room showering him with attention and love. Details don't really matter; it's just great for us to be able to hang out, draped across the furniture, in a happy place.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Where did that girl go?

My dear friend Missy sent me a newspaper cutout (via email, of course) of an advice column. A single woman had written in and asked what her friends with kids do all day, and why they couldn't get things done like she could or have any free time. The response, from a mom, was a little biting, but a good one. I'm sure some others have seen this.

The sad thing, though, is that I ask myself these questions. What do I do all day? Why can't I get anything done? Is it wrong to want some playtime w/my son in addition to all of the productive things we do during the day, when instead of playtime I could also be productive doing something else? It's a constant struggle, and I'm certain I'm not alone.

I feel as though I'm barely treading water sometimes. The house may look like a hurricane hit, and I'm balancing to ensure that nothing essential falls - all bills paid, kid fed, clothed and bathed, getting to/from work. I've noticed this getting a little easier lately as Aidan gets (at all) more self-sufficient, and I'm hopeful that this trend will continue. One day, I hope to be near the together, competant girl I was pre-Aidan, caught up and with spare time. I miss her.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bittersweet homecoming

What a wonderous week of vacation! The fact that our opportunity to unwind and spend a full week straight together as a family was in such an amazing setting was just gravy. There were so many joys of taking Aidan with us that I'm sure I won't be able to remember them all.

My friend Suzie recently wrote an entry (that should've been written by me) about Marriage vs. Motherhood, and I agree that there finally becomes a time when you believe that you can be mobile again (and are tempted by diving in once again). We are nearing or in that time now. Aidan was an angel (most of the time), making friends wherever we went, and a joy to behold.

During this week, he got to do three things that were amazing to him: ride on planes and see other real planes up close, ride a choo-choo (the resort had a trolley), and ride two "neys." He's still talking about all of those things, which for him consists mostly of saying the words, "airplane," "ney" and "choo-choo." He did many things that were amazing to us as well. He went in the span of one week from being afraid to get in the water to letting me stand on the edge of the pool and toss him into the air for his dad to catch him in the pool. He went from shrieking about the slides to climbing up himself and sliding again and again, from sobbing around the lazy river to insisting that he be held off the edge of the float so that he could kick while we went, and giggling about going through the waterfalls we encountered. He picked up a couple of new phrases, and his pronunciation improved. We sat around the kitchen table an colored. There were glimpses of him that looked like a five-year-old, though I'm not sure yet how I feel about that.

It was a wonderful escape, and I'm not at all happy about having to be back in the "real" world. I'm doing my best, however, to take the best of it with me - the lack of stress and ability to enjoy a moment. Using that lack of stress to accomplish things I've been avoiding or putting off, and to realize that the stress isn't really worth the effort it takes/causes. Oh, and family dinners. We started a new tradition of eating together at the table (on weekends at least), using our dining room table tonight like a real dining room table instead of a collector of odds.