25 August 2010

The New Routine

Before we had kids, Aaron and I knew that we wanted to establish a "dinner time = family time" rule. And then we had a kid, and, well, our schedules weren't so very routine for a long time. Eamon didn't want to eat dinner the same time we did, or we got off work too late, or he didn't eat the same things we did...and we usually just ended up making dinner after he went to bed. That wasn't too hard, since until recently he started bedtime about 6:30 and was in bed by 7:00 (what can I say? My boy likes his sleep, just like his mommy).

And then...Eamon didn't want to go to bed at 7:00 anymore. He would stay awake and talk to his stuffed animals...and then scream at his stuffed animals...and then scream at life in general...and we were up and down the stairs, checking to make sure that he was okay. Bedtime was getting drawn out longer and longer, and finally, we just started putting him to bed around 7:00 with an aim of getting him in his crib around 7:30, and everything got better. He started going to sleep almost immediately, with minimal talking/screaming at the poor inhabitants of his crib.

But 7:30 is an awfully late time to start making dinner...especially when I generally am in bed by 8:30. So we finally decided to put our original equation into effect.

It required some work on our parts.

1) We have to actually know what we're having for dinner each night. No more random rummaging around.

2) Everyone has to get home on time. This means that we can't decide we'll get to work later and stay later...you have to leave work by 5:30PM at the latest so that dinner preparation can start at 6:00. That's the rule. (except on nights that I have class...because I can't imagine my professors being okay with my just up and leaving because I haev to go make a grilled chicken salad, thank you very much).

3) We actually have to keep the dining room table cleared off.

4) Everyone has to help cook the dinner; everyone has to help clean up after dinner. This is another rule, because I simply refuse to let Aaron be the fun guy who entertains Eamon while I cook and clean. Eamon wanders around doing Eamon things while Aaron and I prepare dinner, and after dinner, even Eamon helps clean up by putting the dishes in the dishwasher for us. He'll also throw away trash (packages and things), and as he gets older, I fully expect him to get on his little stool and actually help prepare anything that doesn't involve the stove or a sharp knife. (He loves his little stool. One of his favorite games is pretending to wash the dishes.)

So, it's taken some hard work, but everyone has gotten into the new routine. And you know what? It's great. Eamon plays with his veggie straws or reminds us that the dog is in the room by woofing and pointing to her. He makes funny faces and tries to wipe his nose with deli turkey, and is just all around really amusing. Aaron and I get to talk about our days, political events (okay, that's really all Aaron, and I just make thoughtful comments like "My goodness" and "Oh, really?"), plans for the weekend, etc..

And now? Dinner has gone from being just another chore ("Guess I should eat something before I go to bed, huh?") to my favorite time of day.

20 August 2010

You Never Know

For all those couples considering having children, you need to know the truth of what it's like:

12:30AM: Hear Child crying on the monitor. Ugh. Not distressed crying, just quiet whimpering. He goes back to sleep after about 15 minutes.

2:30AM: Hear Child crying on the monitor. Whimpering turns to distressed crying. Get up. Go into Child's room. Can smell the problem already. He is standing in his crib, pointing to his diaper. Yeah, Little Man, problem is obvious. Get a new diaper, some wipes, and the Desitin out. Go to pick him up out of his crib and notice his nose. His face. The sheet. And the blood everywhere.

2:50AM: Diaper has been changed, removed to outside trash can (the Diaper Genie can only handle so much...uh...fragrance). Nose has been cleaned, assessed, Neosporin applied. It's a cut, not a nose bleed; he obviously scratched himself, probably because he has a cold and a runny nose. Put Child back in bed, go back to own bed.

3:15AM: Child still has not gone back to sleep. Ugh. Playful chirps turn to whimpers turn to distressed crying. Go back in. "What?" Kid pitifully signs and says, "Eat! Eat!"

3:20AM: Go downstairs. Get Child milk. Wouldn't normally, but he's had another stomach bug (yes, on top of the cold) and is probably really hungry since he poops out everything 4 hours after he eats it.

3:30AM: Child has had milk, eyes are bright and wide awake. Put him back in his crib. "It's 3:30AM. Go back to sleep."

4:00AM: Hear last peep on the monitor. Child has gone back to sleep. Maybe will sleep in to make up for lost sleep?

6:11AM: Child is not sleeping in. Get up. Remember you've given up Diet Coke, but cannot possibly remember why. Child is full of energy, and perhaps a little manic due to being pretty tired. Running, screaming.

6:20AM: Wake up Child's Father. "Here. This is yours now." Hand over Child.

6:30-7:00AM: Take shower. Attempt to make hair look somewhat not awful. Find clothes that aren't too wrinkled. Don't even bother with contacts because your eyes feel so scratchy, like you didn't get enough sleep. Or something.

7:30AM: Leave for Grandma's house to drop off Child. Husband, who could have gone back to sleep, helps take Child and Dog and Multiple Computers out to car. Think, "Well, that was kind of sweet." Child screams the entire car ride between rubbing his eyes and yawning.

8:00AM-4:45PM: Work. Meh.

4:45PM: Get text from Husband. He's leaving work early, will pick up everything needed for dinner. Well, that makes things a little easier.

5:00PM: Pick up child from Grandma's. Try to ignore fact that he runs away from you when you say it's time to go home.

5:30PM: Home. Watch 15 minutes of Play with Me Sesame with Husband and Child in big, cuddly dog-pile on couch.

5:45PM: Make dinner. Husband grills chicken. Make the broccoli and rice. Child takes blanket and throws it around his shoulders like a cape then dances a high-spirited jig. Child then takes blanket and puts it over his head, spins in a circle, falls on his bottom, and says, "Uh oh." Try not to laugh as you very seriously explain to him that running around with a blanket on his head could be dangerous.

6:00PM: Dinner. Yum. Talk about, ah, grown-up things with Husband. Work and stuff. Child sits in high chair. Makes scrunchy face that makes everyone laugh. Does this several times.

6:30PM: Clean kitchen with Husband. Child helps put dishes in dishwasher.

6:50PM: Husband takes Child upstairs for a bath. Go upstairs and find they are actually in the shower. Listen to child squeal and stomp feet happily. Splash, squeal, stomp. Splash, squeal, stomp.

7:10PM: Get big, sloppy goodnight kiss from Child. Close the door with a smile as Husband and Child curl up on glider to read, yet again, One Fish, Two Fish.

7:15PM: A bit of quiet time. Update your blog.

7:30PM: Husband comes downstairs. Not a peep from Child on monitor. Curl up on couch with Husband who smells Irish Spring clean. Wonder if this is the best day ever? Mmm, possibly.

16 August 2010


If you actually READ the last blog (maybe you didn't because there weren't any super-cute pictures?), then you know that Aaron, Eamon, and I recently sojourned to Philadelphia to stay for a few days with his sister, Meredith, and her family. That included her husband, Marty, and Eamon's cousins--Elise (age 4), and Lucas (age 22 months; exactly 3 months older than Eamon).

Eamon had a great time with his cousins. As has been previously stated, Eamon especially loves older kids, so having a 4 year old to boss him round was great--for us, too. For instance, Eamon would be rummaging around in a cupboard that he wasn't supposed to be in, taking out things he wasn't supposed to take out, and I would say to Elise, "Please go tell Eamon to put those candles back in the cupboard," and she would! And he would! And with a lot less fuss than he would have given me!

Of course, I expect the excitement of having a big sister would eventually wear off.

Lucas and Eamon also had fun running around and screaming. Sometimes there was a slight kerfluffle over who was allowed to play with what toy, especially when the other boy wanted the toy. Overall, though, two boys who are used to being the baby of the house did pretty well acclimating to one another. Once they both really understand how to play with other kids, there's no doubt in my mind that they'll be great friends.

One of Eamon's favorite things we did was go to Sesame Place. It is for true Sesame addicts. All three kids enjoyed pointing out EVERY SINGLE Elmo in the park...and um, Elmo's image is kind of everywhere.

Elise and Lucas had lots of fun riding rides...but Eamon, unfortunately, didn't really. Well, we tried to ride the carousel, but he hates carousels for some reason, so after running away from me in line (fun! and all the other parents just parted the seas to let him through), we waited about 20 minutes for me to put him on a horse and then have him start shaking his head furiously, "NO! NO! NO!" So we got off and humbly walked right back off the carousel.

We then waited another 20 minutes or so to ride a flying type ride. This was better because Aaron waited in line with us, so we had 2 adults to one Eamon (meanwhile, Elise and Lucas stood quietly and politely by their mother, and I suddenly realized that Eamon's crazy energy isn't necessarily a boy/girl thing, but just a crazy energy Eamon thing). Eamon liked that ride better, but it was obvious that he wasn't going to tolerate many more 20 minutes waits that only resulted in a 2 minute ride. And neither were we.

Therefore, we took Eamon off to a squashing playground-type thing called "Big Birds Nest." Now, this, Eamon loved. We played there for probably 40 minutes while Elise and Lucas went on another ride. Afterwards, Elise and Lucas joined Eamon and everyone had a great time.

12 August 2010

Ten Random Thoughts on a Train

9. I killed a Brown Recluse Spider this morning just outside my parents’ garage. I knew it was a Brown Recluse right away, even though I had never seen one before, because of the suspicious way that it kept staring at me. All shifty-like. I killed it with a shoe. Not my shoe, because my shoe was a sandal and I was wearing it and I was pretty sure that if I tried to just step on the silly creature, it would dart out from under my shoe with a quickness known only to superheroes and venomous spiders, then leap onto my foot and inject me with its foul venom. So I used a shoe that I found in the garage (Why am I finding shoes in my parents’ otherwise very neat garage? I don’ t know, but thank goodness, right?). I could have DIED. But I didn’t. No one else (Aaron) seems to appreciate the horrendous amount of danger I was in, and how brave I was.

8. It is waaaaaaaay past my bedtime, folks. But we have miles to go before we sleep (well, before I do, anyway. I don’t sleep on public transportation). Assuming we ever leave Union Station. (They’ve turned on the electricity, though. It’s a step).

7. Okay, so I like Lady Gaga’s music. I find her videos highly entertaining as well. So what? Make fun of me, and I will attack you with this Brown Recluse-venom-coated-shoe (no I won’t. It’s hundreds of miles away back in Newport News). I am going to listen to Bad Romance over and over for awhile, I think. So Aaron, when the traitorous iTunes tells you that the song has been listened to 107 times since being uploaded this morning—thbbt. I am 30 years old and can have bad music taste if I want.

6. Holy cow. A man of rather largish proportions and a sweaty countenance almost sat next to me. A young, slim girl slipped by him as he went to hoist his suitcase up, though, and took the seat instead. Thank goodness. I think I shall thank her by not listening to Bad Romance 107 times after all. Or at least listen to other things in between occasionally. (I don’t know for sure that she can hear my headphones, but I always assume that everyone can).

5. I started my new job as a TCIS (Technology Curriculum Integration Specialist. Duh). I still work for the Newport News Public Schools, but I no longer have to do report cards! Instead, I get to help 50 other teachers do theirs when they run into tech issues. Ha! No, really, it’s great so far. Overwhelming because I’m trying to learn so much in a short amount of time. I also work at two schools now. I’m still at my old school, Lee Hall Elementary, but now I’m split between there and Yates Elementary. My new job is basically helping teachers, well, integrate technology into their curriculum. I work with students doing model lessons, but my main job is to teach teachers how to teach technology to their students. Get it? Trying to move teachers beyond just, “Here’s a PowerPoint on the Civil War that we can all look at together!” to “Let’s all work together to create a PowerPoint on the Civil War!”

4. The man who almost sat with me is now talking loudly on his cell phone! Bullet totally dodged. Thank you fabulous girl who sat next to me instead! Of COURSE I can plug your Mac into the outlet. Do you want to be my new BFF? I enjoy shopping and know far too much about Sesame Street.

3. Ten thoughts really seems like a lot.

2. Aaron & Eamon left me. Well, not PERMANENTLY, obviously. See, months and months ago we had planned to visit Aaron’s sister Meredith, her husband Marty, and their two kids Elise and Lucas this week in Philadelphia. But then I got a new job that started August 1. And it somehow seemed sort of wrong to be like, “Hey, thanks for giving me this job over your dozens of other applicants, and by the way, can I have the second week off?” So, Aaron and Eamon went up on Tuesday, as planned, and here I am, riding a train that should arrive at 11:59 PM on Thursday to meet them.

1. That means that I had TWO DAYS all by myself to be cool and hip and single once again. I shall tell you all a secret. See, some of you reading this might be single, or not have kids. And sometimes you update your Facebook statuses to say things like, “Slept in until 1:00PM today LOL” or “Made (really complicated but tasty dish) and plan to open a great bottle of wine and then read a really good book” and sometimes? Sometimes, I am a teensy, weensy, tiny bit jealous when I read those and think that I have already been up for 7 hours and feel really proud because I am planning to cook TACOS before watching Wipeout and then passing out at about 8PM. So, with my 2 glorious days of no one else around the house…no obligations…nothing but free time and free space…would you like to know what I did?

I made graphs. Of student SOL test data. In Excel. While rewatching True Blood on HBO.

Because without Eamon and Aaron?

I’m kind of a boring workaholic.

Which is why I’m on a train at 10:15PM, hours past my bedtime, speeding towards Philadelphia.

I don’t think I can get there fast enough.

07 August 2010

Portrait of the Maestro as a Young Man

So, last September, we moved into a new house. And when we moved, we took our piano with us...but somehow, not the cord that plugged the piano into the wall. Or maybe we did take it, and it now lives, undiscovered, somewhere in one of the dozens of boxes that crouch mysteriously on our garage--that no one is quite brave enough to open or unpack.

BUT! A few weeks ago, my father found us a replacement cord online. So once again, the piano was plugged in and life and sound sprang forth from its speakers, much to the delight of a certain 19 month old.

And now, friends, I give you: How to Play the Piano, by Eamon Wolfe

Position 1: Sit. Play nicely. BORING.


Position 2: Play on your tiptoes. More fun.

Position 3: Eat the piano. Eh, why not?

Position 4: Scream your heart out as you sing the 19th month old version of a heart-rendering power ballad.

Position 5: Are we done yet, Mom?

05 August 2010


To Eamon's Opa and the Redskins: Sorry.
To Uncle Marty and the Eagles: Sorry.
To Julie and the Patriots: Sorry.
To Yin and the Buccaneers: Sorry.
To anyone who hoped that Eamon would adopt a football team different from his father: Sorry.

Last night, I had to read How 'Bout Them Cowboys to Eamon. Twice. It was the only book that he wanted.

"Green eggs and ham?"


"Fox in Socks?"

Pause. Think. Head shake. "No."

"Little Miss Bossy?"

Definitively, "No."

When I finished How 'Bout Them Cowboys the first time, Eamon clapped, grabbed the book, closed it, and then reopened it to the first page. He then stared at me expectantly.

I sighed and read it again. After the last page: clap, grab, reopen, stare.

Only dignity and bedtime stopped me from reading it a third time.