Archive for March, 2014


In the last week and a half, I’ve returned to freelance writing while getting ready for a houseguest and out-of-town visitors, so this week’s post is going to be a bit of a cheat.

A few friends posted a link to a hilariously well written and insightful post titled (roughly) “25 things you should know about toddlers.” Here’s my favorite quote:

“Regardless, when you’re trying to figure out why a toddler is acting the way she is, just remember: she thought she was a god, then learned that she was not.”

The only things the author left out, from my experience, are the schizoid, fickle food preferences of little people, and their uncanny ability to place themselves directly in your path no matter which direction you decide to go.

The full post is here for those who would like to check it out.

Happy weekend, everyone.

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Well, it happened. We recently experienced the oh-so-special rite of passage known as Baby’s First Stomach Flu. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the gory details except to say I was amazed to find that it’s true: You don’t get grossed out by your own kid’s messes.

About 36 hours into it, the kiddo was lying completely still on a blanket at 9 a.m., which completely freaked me out, because oh my God he’s listless! That’s one of the Seven Warning Signs of Dehydration! So we hauled our sad little Boo to the doctor and were relieved to learn that he was not dehydrated, but that we should take steps to ensure that he not become dehydrated, as this would land him in the hospital.

To my surprise, the pediatrician recommended not just Pedialyte (which: gross), but anything we could get him to drink besides milk and water. White soda. Gatorade. Juice. So on our way home, we picked up all of those things.

At home, we put every option in little medicine cups, plied him with promises of videos, wheedled and cajoled him until we were worn out, but he would barely try any of it. A few hours later, a possible reason for this rejection of sweet drinks occurred to me.

He’s never had juice.

Not even a sip.

This is the Right Thing To Do now, to give your kid no juice, or diluted juice. So that’s what we did. No juice for the Boo. And that’s how we ended up with a sick little boy who would only drink the two things the doctor said to avoid.

He got better anyway, and I let him occasionally dip his finger in salt and lick it off, and let him have potato sticks (for the salt and the potassium) between bites of banana.

But you can bet your boots I’m going to get him used to drinking juice as soon as I can.

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Now that winter is beating a slow but definite retreat, we’re dropping by our favorite playground whenever it makes sense. It’s been really fun to see the leap in physical skills the Boo has taken since the fall, and he enjoys eating snacks at the little picnic table almost as much as he digs the ability to climb and slide on his own.

Playgrounds are surprisingly intimate spaces given that they’re open-air venues. I’ve seen children cradled after scary and/or bloody falls, witnessed dead-serious negotiations over balls and buckets and shovels, and smiled at babies nursing as their siblings run amok.

The other day as I was spotting my kid’s ascent on a metal ladder (!) I heard a snatch of Japanese, which I used to speak fairly well. I turned my head just in time to see a mom next to her daughter at the bottom of a slide. The girl was 4 or 5 (I’m terrible at gauging ages) and was in a lovely frilly dress and hair bow. Her eyes were closed, seemingly because of the bright spring sun. The mom placed her daughter’s hand on the slide and said, “1, 2, 3.” The rest of what she said was beyond my capabilities, but the meaning was clear to me once the girl flickered her milky eyes and smiled.

This is a slide, this is what you do on a slide. Someday soon when you’re ready, we’ll get you up there.

I hope I get to be there when that little girl is ready.

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It started with this:


J is for jellybean, I would say. Then I realized the poor kid had no idea what a jellybean was. Also, Easter is coming, and I feel that an important part of my parental duty is to prepare him thoroughly for the garden of delights he’ll find in his basket. In other words, get him hyped up.

I tried to explain them in terms he’d understand: “They’re sweet, like chocolate.” The Boo was unimpressed and asked for chocolate. “The next time we go to the store, we’ll get some jelly beans.” He remained placid. To him, going to the store means a ride in a cart and maybe some stickers. None of it is nearly as exciting as running in a circle (our new favorite game now that the big baby gate is down).

As promised, I procured a small packet of Jelly Bellies during our next grocery trip. At home, I waited for the Afternoon Crabs to come skittering in with their whining and drama and penchant for pinching. Then I pulled out the packet with a flourish, tore it open, and let the Boo select a bean.

He looked at it with suspicion, but ate it and accepted another. This one, though, was greeted with a squinty face and his trademark, “Don’ like it!” He was looking for somewhere to spit it out, so I did the classic Mom thing and offered my hand. I gazed at the mangled pale pink confection in my palm and chuckled, wondering how this small thing had offended my child.

I sat down to eat the rest of the packet. I’m not crazy about jelly beans but I do enjoy the occasional Jelly Belly and after all, someone had to eat them. I may have emitted a small sigh as I poured a few onto the counter (I like to figure out what the flavors are before they go in my mouth. Also, they’re pretty.)

The Boo came over, asking/demanding to be picked up. Once in my lap, he asked for the packet. Then the real fun began, because he wanted to feed them to me. Quickly.

And so that’s what we did for the next 20 minutes. He’d pick up a bean from the counter and try to shove it in my mouth. I’d make a ridiculous face and say, “still eating!” He’d open his mouth wide, tongue out — his way of saying, “show me!” I’d happily oblige and the giggling would ensue. Inevitably, beans were dropped and went spinning across the hardwood, so I’d put him down, he’d collect them, squealing the whole time, and hop back up with me. Then he’d feed me another one, wiggling with delight the whole time.

Best $1.69 I ever spent.

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I'm over 50. I'm raising a fifth grader. Sometimes he posts too.


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