18 December 2011

A Little Peace and Quiet

It happened yesterday on the way to the barbershop.

I was chattering, “You’re going to be a good boy, right? I mean, you’re going to make good choices? Sit still? Don’t cry? Don’t squirm or fidget?”

There was no sound from the backseat. I turned around and saw Eamon staring quietly out the window.

“Because if you’re good we can go to Barnes & Noble and get some Spiderman books.” (Does it count as bribery if you were planning to do it anyway?) “You like books, right? Would you like some Spiderman books? I mean, you can get another superhero if you want, like the X-Men or Captain America or—”

“MOMMY! STOP TALKING!” yelled Eamon suddenly. “You talking too much! I wanna be quiet. YOU be quiet now.”

“Excuse me?” I gasped.

Eamon thought for a minute, and then added, “Please.”

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not like this. When I was younger, my mother used to ask if I talked just to hear my own voice and tell me I just had to be quiet for awhile because she needed some peace and quiet. Then I had a child, and it was supposed to be MY turn to tell someone they talked too much. I have been anxiously awaiting that moment for almost three years now.

Instead, at his insistence, we drove the rest of the way in silence. He did say "please."

I used the time to reflect that, probably soon, he would also be telling me to clean my room and not stay up all night reading.


(EPILOGUE: He was a good boy, he got the Spiderman books, and later when I was telling Aaron about the incident, Eamon piped up from the back seat, “What you TALKING about, Mommy? You no make sense! You crazy.” Sigh.)



I mean, he LOOKS like the kind of kid who talks a lot, right? And he DOES. Just not as much as his mother, apparently.

11 November 2011

Glimpses

This morning's Facebook status:

The good news is that I took a personal day and get to take E to pre-school this morning. The bad news is that afterwards I get to work on a 20 paper for round 2 of comps. So, yay! And also, ugh.

It's silly, really, that they give me 4 weeks to work on such a paper when I am obviously going to do it over one weekend. This is relevant to this blog post, however, because it means that I am saving every bit of coherency I possess for the paper-writing extravaganza that will begin at 9AM. The blog therefore gets whatever rambling drivel I happen to think about typing while trying to wrestle Eamon into clothes for school.

(Hi, future Eamon! This is my attitude for documenting your childhood! You're welcome!)

*************************

Scene 1

6:15AM: I enter Eamon's bedroom.

"Mommy," he says somberly. "I had a bad dream."

"Oh, dear. What was this one about?"

"Swiper," he says, invoking the name of the wily fox on Dora the Explorer who, well, swipes things. He is the main component of 95% of Eamon's bad dreams.

"Oh, that Swiper. What did he do this time?" I ask.

"He took Daddy's pants."

While the image of a 43-foot long, slavering T-Rex only inspires thoughts of joyful frolicking through a prehistoric funscape, the thought of a small cartoon fox who can easily be defeated by the phrase, "Swiper, no swiping!" is the stuff of soul-crushing nightmares for my 2 year old.

Also...Daddy's pants? Huh? Why?

***************************

Scene 2

4:45AM: I awake to desperate screams of "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"

I rush into Eamon's room. "What's wrong?" I gasp, still reeling from the sudden shot of adrenalin coursing through my body.

Eamon sobs, "I lost Zurg. Where Zurg?"

I stare blankly at him. He cannot seriously have woken me up to search for a two inch tall plastic replica of a Toy Story character. I mention as much (or rather, the adrenaline does) then stumble back to bed while he quietly cries himself back to sleep in this now post-Zurg world in which kittens have ceased to gently mew, butterflies refuse to flit softly, and all is dark and only despair can reign from now until the end of our pointless, pathetic existences.

It then takes me about 45 minutes to come down off the adrenaline high and go back to sleep...until 5:30, which is when my alarm goes off. Of course, I ignore it and wake up at 6:15, which means we are now officially Running Late.

I burst back into Eamon's room to wake him up and get the day started. Feeling slightly guilty about my lack of compassion at 4:45, I allot 2 minutes to look for Zurg.

But there is no need. Eamon sits up, smiling, holding the small plastic toy.

"Where did you find that?" I ask.

He laughs. "In my hand. Oops. Silly Eamon." I reflect that one day, this will probably be really funny. But not today.

******************

Scene 3

4:26PM: At Eamon's pre-school conference night, we see another mother. Her daughter is about a year younger than Eamon, so about to turn 2.

The mother confides that every night during their prayers, the little girl always seems really confused.

"I think it's when we say 'Amen,'" Mom explains. "She keeps looking around the room. Finally we realized that she thinks we're saying 'Eamon.'"

I bet she wonders why her parents are so darn obsessed with that little boy from school.

****************************

Scene 4

6:57AM

"Eamon, smile for the camera. I need to post a blog and document your childhood so that one day you we can all look back and remember to laugh about that Zurg incident."



"Eamon! What the heck was that? You look like you're going to be sick. I need a nice smile so we can all look back and think about how nice everything was."



"Eamon! Come on. Please?!"



"Okay, seriously, kiddo..."



"Eamon, come out of the blanket. Please. I promise I'll stop if you just smile once. Just one picture I can use. Please."



"Aw, thank you, darling. And if anyone asks, you did that because you finally saw reason and wanted to help your mother out, and not because I just made barnyard animal noises until you finally started giggling. Okay?"

07 November 2011

Today was...a day.

I spent most of Friday in the doctor's office or at Lab Corp, therefore today started by waking up early so I could go to work early so I could catch up.

I waited all day for a phone call from said doctor...which never came.

I was involved in a miscommunication at work, and even though it wasn't my fault, I spent the rest of the afternoon obsessing over how I should have done X or Y to avoid it.

My shoes, which matched my outfit fine in my home mirror, suddenly looked terrible once I got to work.

One of the lights in my office blew out, swathing the entire room in semi-dark dreariness.

It was a day.

And then...finally...at 4:45, I walked into my parents' house and he ran to me, screaming "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" I picked him up and held him as he and clutched his arms around my neck. We just stood there, clinging to one another for several minutes.

"I missed you," I whispered.

"I missed you, too, Mommy," he whispered back.

On the car ride home, we sang the alphabet song. He told me words that start with the letters A, B, C, D, and E. We discussed how funny dogs can be when they lick your face.

We came home, and he put away my shoes, which once again looked just fine now that I was home. We sat together on the couch. He cuddled up against me and we played Super Why together on the iPad, finding letters and singing the AlphaPig version of the alphabet song.

Yes, it was a day. A great one.










31 October 2011

Happy Hawoween!

Highlights from our Halloween:

1. Lesson learned: Do not listen when your 2 year old child says he doesn't want to go trick-or-treating. He doesn't know. Force him kicking and screaming into his costume (the costume that, of course, he asked to wear EVERY.SINGLE.DAY since buying it three weeks ago, and suddenly decided he completely hates on October 31). Take him out. Show him how to knock on the first door. Watch his shocked face afterwards, and try not to laugh when he announces, "Mommy! He gave me CANDY. I need more CANDY. Let's go more houses NOW."

2. Eamon is an X-Men fan. Actually, he doesn't even care that much about the cartoon; he really just likes the credits. So when it came time to pick his costume, he chose Wolverine over Woody, Buzz, and Spiderman. I figured, though, that because it was a store-bought costume, everyone would have one. In fact, when we bought the costume, there was another little boy in the dressing room next to us, buying the exact same costume. I worried that maybe it was the costume of the season, but whatever. Eamon picked it out. I wasn't going to bring my neuroses into it.

But then I started to worry--maybe no one would have one, because it's the classic yellow-and-blue-spandex Wolverine from the cartoon, not the cooler black suit from the movie. Who would know that costume? Maybe it was too obscure.

Yeah, I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, and more wrong. I could probably learn something from my 2 year old, who just likes Wolverine and didn't stress about his costume one iota. As we walked along, rarely did we pass by a boy between the ages of 7 and 12 who didn't call out, "Hey, Wolverine! Awesome costume." I lost count of the number of times Eamon had to give high fives as he was congratulated on his costume taste. He seemed a bit bewildered by it all, actually.

And no, we did not see another Wolverine. Not even once.

3. After the candy-getting time, we went back to our house around 7. On the way back, I said, "Well, Eamon, we went trick-or-treating. We did it!"

He then launched into the Dora song, making up his own verse: "We knocked on the doors, and we said trick-or-treat, and we did it!" He then grooved a little just for good measure.

4. Back at the house, Eamon was just as enthralled with the giving of candy as the getting. We sat outside on folding chairs, and Eamon stayed in his Wolverine costume, garnering more high fives and swooning women (best mom quote: "Honey, his six pack is better than yours!") Our neighborhood is big into trick-or-treating, and we live near the front of the neighborhood, so we had a steady stream (often a flood) of trick-or-treaters.

Eamon loved giving out candy so much that during one of the rare lulls, he suddenly screamed at the top of his lungs, "HEY, PEOPLE! I GOT CANDY! EVERYBODY COME HERE!"

Yeah, Halloween was good. I already can't wait for 2012. I think I'll let Eamon pick out my costume.

02 October 2011

Oh

I wrote this post well over a week ago. In fact, I've written several posts that I've never gotten around to posting because...I don't know. I guess because we've been sick, and I've been dragging myself around the house in the evenings, counting down the hours until I can go to bed and/or die a quiet death, and somehow, managing to take pictures, upload them, put them in the blog I've written, and press Publish Post...it's all too much.

(I have this self-imposed rule that all entries must have accompanying pictures, because I have a feeling that several people who "read" this really just scroll through for the pictures and I really hate disappointing hypothetical people.)

So some nights, I have energy to take pictures, but I can't find the camera. Then another night, I find the camera and take the pictures, but we have a new desktop and no one has loaded the photo editing software on it and HEAVEN FORBID I should post an un-strategically cropped photo and let you all see the coolers that have been sitting out in our backyard for weeks now because...I don't know. Because no one has taken them inside, I guess.

Then I finally convince myself that I'll be less judged for the cooler than for not posting, so I decide to just post the pictures as is...and I can't find the camera. And by that point, everything hurts and my head is stuffed up and I just tell Aaron it's his turn to put Eamon to bed and I collapse in a Nyquil-induced stupor for what seems like 5 seconds before the alarm goes off and I have to get up and get ready for work.

Anyway. Here's a post.

With a picture.

Just ignore the coolers in the background, okay?


*************************************************************************

When the plaintive yell of “Mommy! Mommy!” comes the first time, I don’t have to sit bolt upright because the three pillows I’m sleeping on already have me at about 75 degree incline.

10:00 p.m.

I wait. I cough for good measure. Then I hear heavy footsteps traversing the stairs. Barely awake, I think, ah good, Aaron has this, and I slip back into unconsciousness.

“Mommy! Mommy!” comes another wail.

11:00 p.m.

Ugh. Wait. Cough. Footsteps. Sleep.

12:30 a.m.

“Mommy! Mommy!”

Wait. Cough. Blow nose. Wait. Hmm. No footsteps. Aaron has probably fallen asleep on the couch again watching old Spiderman cartoon re-runs.

I drag myself into Eamon’s room. “What?”

And then I hear it. The rattling breath. The stuffy nose. The bleary eyes that match mine.

“Oh,” I say. He coughs. I cough. Too tired and sick to be firm, I jerk my thumb back towards my room and mutter, “Come on.”

He grabs his blanket and Lion and toddles after me.

We take turns through the night drifting into sleep only to be awoken an hour later with violent gasps and coughs. He continues to whimper “Mommy, Mommy” in his sleep. I pat him sympathetically and try to cough as quietly as possible. He tosses and turns, trying to find a position where his nose will draw in air easily, and I keep trying to recover him with the blanket.

It is a long night full of half-conscious dreams.

In the morning, my mom texts. I tell her that we are sick. Again. I don’t write this, but I imply that we’ve been sick a lot lately, and I’m getting tired of it, and I don’t understand why it keeps happening.

“Welcome to pre-school,” she texts back. And she doesn’t write it, but she implies that this…is only the beginning.


Hi, Mommy. Please note that in the morning, I will be wide awake and full of energy like nothing ever happened, whereas your co-workers will start to secretly place bets on whether your sunken eyes and pale skin mean that you are a 19th century heroine dying of consumption or a vampire.

17 September 2011

I Think We'll Give Scripps a Miss This Year

Aaron read the previous day’s post and liked it, but said that I also needed to post another story from the same day. (What can I say? Eamon was just “on” yesterday.)


If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching the PBS show Super Why, I can tell you that’s it just as repetitive as Dora, but better in my opinion because it’s all focused on the alphabet and reading. They mostly use lower case letters, so Eamon now knows all his uppercase and lowercase letters.

Because the show is so repetitious in form, Eamon feels comfortable “playing along.” When they ask him to say his name, he does. When they ask him to read the next letter, he can. He points to the “a” when they ask him to, and shouts out the letters in the words.

But most importantly, it’s teaching him that WORDS are made of LETTERS. Letters make sounds, and sounds make words. This is a huge concept, and I know that he’s getting it because of this incident yesterday:

From the backseat of the car, Eamon suddenly shouted, “MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY!”

“Yes, Eamon?” I wasn’t worried. He’s terribly dramatic, and will often shout like that just to let me know he’s seen a school bus or a stop sign.

“I can spell, Mommy!”

Well, that's something new, I thought. I didn't even know that he knew the word "spell."

And then, Eamon began. “B.”

I thought to myself, it sounds like he's actually going to do it. He's actually going to spell a word. Maybe he’s going to spell “bed.” Or “bath.” Or “bat.”

Eamon continued, “R.”

Uh, okay. Maybe “brain” or “branch?”

“E.”

Okaaay… “bread?” Did we watch an episode about bread?

And last, “D.”

Wait, what?

He then announced triumphantly, “B-R-E-D spells ‘Presto!’”

Okay, so I guess we need to watch a few more episodes.

16 September 2011

I Think from Now On We'll Just Call it a Yoo Hoo

I debated whether I should put this story on the blog, but my mother made me promise that I would. Here’s my warning: this story acknowledges that my son, Eamon Wolfe, is indeed a boy with all the requisite boy parts. There is nothing graphic, but if you find yourself easily offended by medical terminology, you might want to skip this entry.

***************************************************************************

Eamon is two years old. He’s talking more and more, and wanting to know what everything is called. I’m the daughter of a nurse practitioner, so we have a rule in our house that we use the correct names for all body parts. I always thought this was a mature and responsible parenting choice, and never regretted it. Until today.

Another thing about having a two year old is that Eamon desperately wants to be independent. He’s a Big Boy, and as such he thinks that he deserves all the privileges afforded to Big Boys, like the right to eat only Frosted Mini-Wheat cereal for days on end, drive the car, or at least not have to constantly hold my hand in public places.

It’s the last privilege that often becomes a struggle. Eamon does not WANT to hold my hand. But he also doesn’t often want to stay where I can see him.

Today we got into our age-old argument in Subway.

It started innocently enough. Eamon walked in holding my hand, sweet and amiable as could be. But the man in front of us was ordering 3 subs…and apparently had never heard of the various meats, cheeses, and vegetables before because he had to have everything explained to him.

Eamon got bored.

Then he spotted it.

A Lion King poster.

He desperately wanted to go see that Lion King poster, across the restaurant, by the door, where I couldn’t keep an eye on him while also ordering my sub. He pulled away from me and started to run to the poster.

I told him to come back. Reluctantly, he did so.

But in protest, he then lay down on the floor and refused to move as the line moved up.

I hissed at him to get up.

He ignored me.

So I played the I'm Bigger and Stronger Than You card, and picked him up so that he was sitting on my hip. Even though he struggled, I held onto him and explained quietly to him that he made a bad choice so now he had to put up with the consequence. But he’s a big kid, and the more he struggled, the tighter I held him to keep from dropping him.

“Wanna get DOWN!” he protested.

“No,” I hissed again, repeating my mantra about choices and consequences, holding him tighter.

And that’s when he played a card I quite frankly never expected, and no parenting book or blog had prepared me for it.

“OW!” he screamed at the top of his lungs. “MY PENIS! MY PENIS HURTS! MOMMY, YOU HURT MY PENIS!”

Everyone in the restaurant stared at us.

I put him down immediately.

We paid and walked quickly out the restaurant, one of us far more mortified than the other.

But he held my hand and walked nicely the rest of the time.



So I guess we both learned a very important lesson.

We'll call this one a draw.

03 September 2011

Sometimes I Think We Are Secretly Playing Mad Libs and He Forgot to Tell Me

Outside the car, the sun twinkled its merry smile in the sky. Inside the car, however, a mystery began its churning rumble.

“How was school today?” I asked, still beguiled by the bright rays of the celestial golden orb and oblivious to the fate about to befall me.

“School’s fun!” shouted Eamon from the backseat.

The first answer giving me confidence, I immediately, and unknowingly, fell into the trap. “What did you do in school?” I asked.

“I pway with giraffe! I pway with elephant!” came the sing-song chorus.

“What ELSE did you do?” I continue to probe.

“No pway with giraffe! Sarah* pway! Eamon wait! Hmph!”

“Oh, Sarah wanted to play with the giraffe, too? You had to wait your turn?”

“Mmm hmm.”

“Did you wait nicely?”

“Eamon, sit down!”

“But you are sitting down, sweetie…oh wait, you mean someone told you to sit down?”

Silence.

“Or that you were a good boy who sat down when he was supposed to?”

“The boy…the boy…the boy, Mommy.”

“What boy, Eamon?”

“The boy…he…tickled…me! Eamon!” (Another mystery to be solved: why Eamon feels the need to clarify his pronouns, in case I was unsure who he is referring to when he says “me”).

“A boy tickled you?”

“No tickling!”

“You told him no tickling?”

“Nooooooo…” he announces with a devilish smile.

“Miss Lauren told him no tickling?”

“Mmm hmm. No tickle, Eamon!”

“You mean she told YOU no tickling? Did you tickle the boy?”

“Mmm hmm.”

“You tickled each other?”

“Owie, Mommy! Owie!”

“You got an owie?”

“Mmm hmm.”

“Were you inside or outside?”

“Yes.”

“Well, which one?”

Suddenly silence draws a veil over his expression. “Shh, mommy. People working.”

“There are people working?”

“Uh huh.”

“You mean when Miss Lauren took you on a tour of the school, you had to be quiet because people were working?” I feel a bit proud, because finally, THIS strange fragment of a memory I understand thanks to an earlier mass email from Miss Lauren.

“Mmm hmm. Cwackers, mommy! Eamon eat cwackers!”

“Oh, I bet that was yummy. Did you eat anything else?”

“No, Mommy. Cwying! No cwying! Be okay…”

“You cried? Why would you have cried when you haven’t cried all week?”

“No Eamon cwy. Mark cry. Be okay, Mark. No cry.”

“Oh, Mark cried again?” (Every day I hear about poor Mark crying).

“Mmm hmm.”

“Did you tell him it would be okay?”

“Giraffe, mommy! Eamon pway giraffe!”

And that is how our wrap-ups about school go every day. I sift through these strange, half-remembered fragments and out-of-context phrases, desperately trying to piece together what the heck Eamon did for 3 and a half hours besides play with a giraffe (he seems most sure about that particular piece of information. He definitely plays with the giraffe every day. He and the giraffe are tight).

And Aaron has told me that I need to CHILL on grilling his poor teacher (not in a mean way! just in an interested, what the heck do you DO with 11 toddlers all morning because I can barely handle the 1 toddler I have! kind of way). So I am trying to be content with the assistant, Miss Savannah's, brief reports to my mother each day when she picks him up, which are always, "Eamon had a great day! He's such a good boy!"

Well, only a month until parent-teacher conferences.


*All names have been changed to protect kids whose parents probably aren't as obsessed with documenting every moment of their children's lives on the internet.

AND NOW FOR SOME COMPLETELY UNRELATED PICTURES...




Hellllllllo, Ladies.




What? Oh, this is just me...on my stump. You know. Some people might think it's hard to get up on a stump all by themselves, but I don't know, I've just always found it really easy. I guess you could just call me...naturally talented.




Yeah, I'm pretty modest, too.




And this is me, just kickin' back with muh dog and muh football. I like to do athletic things in my spare time, and I enjoy being kind to other creatures. Some people might say I'm quite a...catch. Get it?




Why, yes, people have told me before that I am super suave. How kind of you to notice. I don't suppose you'd be interested in playing with some small plastic dinosaurs sometime, would you? Or maybe a giraffe?

Excellent.


30 August 2011

The First Day



So...this Hurricane Irene thing happened. It took out some trees and generally wreaked havoc, though it was nothing like Isabelle a few years ago. At our house, it only knocked out the power for about 30 hours, and destroyed some branches. The worst was Hurricane Eamon, who unfortunately ingested apple and spent the majority of those 30 hours ridding it from his system in the most expedient, but messy, ways possible. We went through a lot of diapers, to say the least.

BUT. It was nowhere near as important as what happened today.

Because today, Eamon Wolfe went to school.

That's right. Today was the first day of many, many years of academia to come. Heck, I'm 31 years old and still trying to finish my doctorate, and already looking at programs for instructional technology, or maybe Spanish, or possibly curriculum with an emphasis on teaching mathematics when I finish (Shh. No one tell Aaron this. He might divorce me.)


We decided awhile ago that we wanted to get Eamon into a Montessori school. Aaron and I are huge fans of their child-centered approach and focus on individualized education, critical thinking, and inquiry. Luckily, just when we were considering putting Eamon in some sort of daycare/pre-school, the Hampton Roads International Montessori School about 8 miles from here started a Toddler Program (I'm not saying that they started it just for Eamon. I'm just saying that it's an awfully big coincidence).


Yesterday, Eamon went to meet his teacher, Miss Lauren, and her assistant, Miss Savannah. They are both young and pretty, so predictably, Eamon fell in love with each. He's out an out-going little bugger, so we weren't too worried...but then again, he has never separated from family for long period of time. So Tuesday was met with some anxiety. Of course, it was all mine.


The Montessori school has a rule that you drop students off promptly, then just...leave. When you pick them up, you sit in your vehicle and they bring the child to you. Which is great...if you have a kid who can accurately verbalize what went on between pick-up/drop-off. Toddlers, as it happens, do not particularly excel at this skill.


My mom dropped off Eamon. She said that he looked ambivalent about the prospect: excited to see his new soul mates, Miss Lauren and Miss Savannah, but wary because another little boy was crying so loud you could hear him from the front of the school. My mom tried to follow the rules, so she gave Eamon a quick goodbye kiss and walked briskly away once Eamon had taken Miss Lauren's hand and walked off to look at some toy animals.


I picked Eamon up at 11:45. He ran out the door holding the hand of another assistant. She was not the assistant from his class, so I couldn't even ask her how his day went. He was smiling and shrieking, "My mommy! That's my mommy!" and pointing excitedly to our car. He almost jumped into the car.


Tentatively, I asked, "Eamon, how did it go?"


"I pway with animals, Mommy! I ate crackers! School's fun!"


I didn't realize I was holding my breath until I suddenly breathed out.


(But do you see what I mean? I kept trying to ask him about other parts of the day, but he just kept repeating about the crackers and the animals. If I didn't know better, I would think that school was just a big zoo that sold Saltines at their concession stands. When I asked him if he cried, he said proudly, "I stopped crying." Because he's no Shakespeare when it comes to the English language, though, I had no idea whether he understood that to "stop crying" one must first "start crying;" therefore, I had no idea whether he cried or not.)

Later that day, after she finished with the kids who don't have grandparents to watch them for the rest of the day, Miss Lauren dutifully called Eamon's over-anxious, borderline crazy mother as I made her promise the day before.

"He did great," she said. "He helped cut the strawberries for snack. He played nicely with the other kids. He played with the animals and had a great time."

"Did he cry?" I asked.

"Nope, not a bit."

So, there you go. First day, over. I've promised Aaron that I'll be a little less crazy now that I know that his adjustment period...well, there was no adjustment period. Eamon loves school.


Wait...where are we going?





School, huh? Hmm.




And you're saying that even though there will be two pretty young ladies there, I have to share them...with other kids?




Eh, all right.






On my way to SCHOOOOOOOL!




Wait, what do you mean I can't bring my plastic dinosaurs?!




Oh well. I'll just play with them in here.






All right, let's do this. Let's go to school.


18 August 2011

Toys Story

At some point, Eamon came to the realization that there a finite number of small, plastic dinosaur sets available in his own personal Nirvana (Toys R Us), and he owned just about all of them.

At first, trying to convince everyone that he needed MUTLIPLE sets of each amused him…but really, how many squishy ankylosaurs can one person have before the novelty just wears off?

In an awesome feat of deduction, Eamon came to a startling and life-altering conclusion: the more interests you have, the more merchandise is available.

And thus ended the reign of the dinosaur in the Wolfe household.

Don’t get me wrong. He still LOOOOOVES dinosaurs. He would still rather wear dinosaur t-shirts and sleep on his dinosaur sheets and look at his dinosaur flashcards (who needs stinkin’ phonics when you can memorize 40 different DINOSAUR SPECIES?).

But when it comes to toys and tv, his interests are starting to diversify.

So up there, next to dinosaurs on the pantheon of I AM TWO AND THIS IS COOL, comes Toy Story. He specifically loves “Toy Story Number 2” for reasons I cannot actually determine (I like to think that it’s because of the Star Wars references; even though he has never seen and has no knowledge of Star Wars, I really want to believe that it’s just in his DNA to love anything related to it). He wants to sleep with his Woody doll and his new favorite phrase, which he will utter at absolute random moments, is “Go Infinity and Beyond!” (I know he has the words wrong. Again, I am inferencing here, but I suspect that the sentence fragment “to infinity and beyond” simply offended his burgeoning grammatical sensibilities).

Just below those two things are the X-Men. Eamon suddenly LOVES the X-Men, specifically the cartoon. Although, he doesn’t really seem to care about the plotlines as much as watching the opening credits and getting to name all the characters, which yes, he has memorized right along with his dinosaur flash cards.

My child still doesn’t understand exactly how he goes pee, but he can tell an iguanodon from a velociraptor and Gambit from Wolverine.

(Favorite moment from the last few days:

I show Eamon a flashcard at his request. “Eamon, can you say pachycephalosaurus?” I ask him.
Eamon blinks several times, stares at me, then finally says simply, “No.”
“Fair enough. Here’s a picture of T-Rex.”)

Eamon is also branching out into traditional 2 year old obsessions. He’s decided that he mildly likes Dora, or at least enjoys her admonishment of Swiper and his nefarious Swiping.

He also likes some Curious George, which I find delightful because in my opinion, Eamon looks just like Curious George: round, big head atop a thin, long-limbed body. They even have the same brown eyes and brown hair. Moreover, they both chatter constantly and are well-intentioned but into everything. In fact...they are so alike, it occurs to me...I have never seen Eamon AND Curious George in the same room together. Have you? COINCIDENCE?

Anyway.

The upshot of all of this is that we have plenty of options for Halloween costumes this year.

And plenty of new toys to trip over.

And if it means I get to watch less Land Before Time, well, that’s just awesome. Bring on the Dora.

video

06 August 2011

Epic

Daylight lazily begins its saunter through the blinds, dancing teasingly on the brow of The Angel. The Angel blinks his eyes once, then twice, merging slowly into Reality from dreams of riding a brachiosaurus bareback.

Tentatively, The Angel asks, “Mommy?”

He waits, then gaining a stronger foothold on wakefulness, calls with assurance, “Mommy!”

Mommy enters, a tall and stumbling tower of bleariness, and murmurs, “Hey, baby.”

The Angel smiles. He leaps from his bed, and as she crouches down to catch him, throws his arms joyfully around her beck. “I wuv you, Mommy!” he exclaims, the light from his heart mirrored in the shine of his bright brown eyes.

“Well, good morning to you, too,” says Mommy, her voice still thick with sleep but obviously deeply enamored with this darling, this cherub of sunshine and delight.

Together, The Angel and Mommy clasp hands, animatedly chattering of the possibilities of the day. They pause for a moment on the top of the stairs.

That pause is their downfall.

For in that moment, The Shadow creeps in through the window, into the hall, and into the heart of The Angel.

It starts when they reach the bottom of the stairs.

“Milk?” asks The Angel…the last sentence he utters as himself, before The Shadow takes full possession.

“Sure,” says Mommy, still elated with this seraph of joy she calls her offspring. She fills a cup with milk, only to turn and offer it…not to her little Angel, but the angry, defiant Shadow.

“NO MILK!” roars The Shadow. He attempts to slap the milk from her hand. The Shadow is not Evil itself, but it sees Evil everywhere. It is angry, and hurt, and frustrated without cause. It is paranoid and desperate against all reason.

Mommy takes a deep breath. She has seen this before. “No hitting,” she reminds, trying to maintain calm in the wake of the upcoming torrent of doom.

But the Milk is now The Shadow’s sworn enemy. It is Evil and needs to be Destroyed.

Or at least Refrigerated.

“PUT AWAY, MOMMY!” commands The Shadow. “Put milk in fridge!”

“Say ‘please,’” Mommy says gently.

“PUH-WEASE!” comes the banshee-wail.

Careful not to react, Mommy puts the offending milk back in the refrigerator.

This is not enough for The Shadow. Mommy, the person who brought him this accursed nectar of Satan, she is a treacherous fiend who deserves nothing but his contempt and vengeance. “GO AWAY, MOMMY! WEAVE ME AWONE!” Thus follows the desperate wail of betrayal and hopelessness. The Shadow throws himself onto the floor in a swirling, imagined agony of despair, while Mommy stands and looks on, feeling, but trying not to show, her helplessness.

This is a new but not unknown enemy. The Shadow, it is whispered, is hungry. It is hungry for power, desperate for control. But more specifically, it literally HUNGRY, and needs sugar in its bloodstream in order for the helpless rage to subside.

But The Shadow does not want to subside. It does not want to eat. It wants to stay in its dark pit of misery and drag everyone down with it.

So Mommy must act carefully. The Shadow thrives on negativity. You can yell at The Shadow. You can threaten it, you can bully it, you can beg it, you can scream at it—but all of these make only it stronger. It glories in the apparent Evil of your controlling ways and fights harder, thrashing the little body it inhabits wildly, flinging tears and hurling cries at anyone it sees.

No Mommy can defeat The Shadow. In fact, nobody can defeat The Shadow.

Nobody, save one.

The Angel.

But to regain control, the Angel needs strength, he needs sustenance, he needs…food. Food that The Shadow will not accept.

So Mommy takes another deep breath…and walks away. She leaves her darling, her beautiful boy, a sobbing, heaving mess on the floor. There is nothing she can do for him now, except be quiet, be gentle, and be firm. She reminds him with a whisper and a quick hug that no matter what, she loves him so very much; and even though he struggles wildly to escape her embrace, she knows that somewhere inside there the Angel is fighting to come back.

She walks into another room, sits down and reads a magazine. Of course, she is not really reading, only giving the appearance of it so that The Shadow will not sense her anxiety. She tidies a bit. She checks her email. The Shadow screams on in the kitchen.

Then all at once, the screams stop. The air is still.

Mommy resists the urge to run into the other room. He’s okay, he’s okay…she tells herself. She knows what this means. The war is not over, but it has moved inward. The Angel must fight his own battle.

In another minute, a small figure will enter the room. His face will be red from screams and stained with tears.

He sees Mommy, who offered him the original offending milk, who still is trying to offer him…a Clif bar, toast, bacon, berries, potato chips, jelly beans…ANYTHING if he will just eat and get sugar back into his system.

And sometimes, The Shadow rears in defiance and throws himself back on the floor, kicking and screaming again. He bats angrily at any attempt to feed him. The world is full of darkness and deserves to be punished in as mighty a fashion as his two-year-old self can muster. So Mommy continues to wait, continues to be patient.

Because eventually, sometimes after a minute, sometime after an hour, the Angel wins. The Angel always wins. And the little boy comes and sits quietly next to Mommy on the couch, takes the Clif Bar and begins eating. Five minutes later, he ventures a little smile. Twenty minutes later, he is off the couch and playing eagerly with his toys, politely saying “please” and “thank you” and sometimes just running over to his Mommy to throw his little arms around her neck again and say, “I wuv you, Mommy.”

And like that, this battle is over.

There will be others, of course. Battles caused by fatigue, battles over un-purchased dinosaurs, battles because the sky is blue and the grass is green. For awhile, they were a constant, never-ceasing barrage. But each day, there are fewer and fewer.

Because slowly, The Angel is winning the war of the Terrible Twos.

One day at a time.


Hello, Angel. Welcome back.

30 July 2011

Why, I Oughtta...

Eamon Wolfe has learned to Count, and the world is his oyster. Nothing is beyond his grasp, because with the skill of the Counting comes the power of the Negotiation.

ME: Eamon, would you like a pretzel?
EAMON: No, THREE pretzels.
ME: How about TWO pretzels?
EAMON: No, FIVE pretzels.
ME: Points for moxy, but no dice, kiddo. Here are your two pretzels.

(Be quiet. If I never talk to him like that, he’ll never grow up to become a 1930s movie gangster with a heart of gold, and then what was the point?)

With great Counting comes great Responsibility.

Of course, with less than great counting comes…great amusement. Well, for me.

EAMON: Wake up, Daddy! Wake up, wake up, wake up!
AARON: Ugh. Five more minutes, Eamon.
EAMON: Okay, Daddy. One, two…
AARON: I didn’t mean literally.
EAMON: Fwee, five, six, seben…
ME: What happened to four?
EAMON: Four, eight, nine, ten, eweven…uh…eweven…um…eweven…WAKE UP, DADDY!
ME: He went to eleven. That’s more than fair. You said five.
AARON: Everyone go away.

I was amused, anyway. One out of three ain’t bad.

Now that he has learned the art of the Negotiation, Eamon cannot help but extend it beyond the Counting into the most important realm of all: Toys.

EAMON: Where go now, Mommy?
ME: We’re going to Target.
EAMON: Why go Target?
ME: You need more diapers.
EAMON: Okay, more dippers. And pants.
ME: Pants? You need pants?
EAMON: Yes, okay. Pants.
ME: Okay, pants.
EAMON: And toys.
ME: You don’t need any more toys. You have a ton of toys.
EAMON: Yes, right, toys. Go Toys R Us, Mommy.
ME: No, we’re going to Target.
EAMON: Okay, Toys R Us.
ME: No, Eamon. TARGET. Not Toys R Us.
EAMON: (large sigh) Okay, Mommy. Target first. Then Toys R Us.
ME: No, no Toys R Us. Just Target.
EAMON: Right, Target. (quietly) Then Toys R Us.

We went to Target. We bought diapers. We bought some pajama pants. And afterwards, as we drove from the parking lot:

EAMON: Mommy! Toys R Us!
ME: We were never going to Toys R Us.
EAMON: (crossing arms) Hmph!

Aw, chin up, kiddo. Today was a tough break, for sure, but keep your nose clean and in no time, you’ll be running the show. Just a few years. Maybe eweven.

In the meantime, I have this great James Cagney movie we can watch.


My, what an innocent looking piles of blankets and toys (See?! He has a ton of toys!)



Oh my goodness! Could it be...?



Nope, it was just my imagination. Just an innocent pile of blankets and toys after all. (It's not my fault he was disappointed. I never said we were going to Toys R Us.)



Hey! It is! It's Eamon Wolfe! (Okay, so we bought a toy at Target. Who am I kidding? He already runs the show. Hmph.)

24 July 2011

Potty, what?

Recently, Eamon has developed a strange habit in which he inserts the word “What” after many words or phrases. For example:

MOMMY: Eamon, let’s put on your Captain America shirt.
EAMON: Cappin Merka, what?

MOMMY: Eamon, were you being facetious?
EAMON: Eamon feshus, what?

On paper, it looks dignified, rather like the genteel speech of a nineteenth century English nobleman.

In reality, he sounds more like Dave Chappelle's impression of Lil Jon.

(For those of you who do not know Lil Jon, Wikipedia tells us that he is an American rapper, music producer, and entrepreneur known for the genres hip hop and crunk. In the words of Eamon: “Crunk, what?” So while Mr. Lil John has been successful in his own right, those of you who have heard him speak know that he is perhaps not the most articulate of all celebrities).

Whenever Eamon does not understand something someone says, he dutifully repeats it in his quest to tame the English language, but always adds the “what” afterwards.

Unfortunately, being so young, there are a lot of things that he doesn’t really understand.

One of them is the potty.

Eamon has a potty. A cool little brightly-colored Elmo potty. It has a button on the front that you can push to hear encouragement from Elmo, and it lives in our upstairs bathroom.

Eamon uses it to store his dinosaurs.

Sometimes, he sits on it. He insists on being stripped down to his birthday suit, then sits on the potty, proud as can be, until about five minutes later he gets bored and gets off. At no point does he actually, well, use the potty. To him, it’s just a decorative chair for naked relaxation time.

I feel kind of bad for Eamon because, as smart as he is, he just doesn't get it. I don’t think he even knows when he has to go pee, as he looks rather shocked and amazed whenever he accidentally starts peeing in the shower. He has told us that he doesn’t want to wear diapers anymore, but has yet to understand the connection to using the potty. He might be emotionally ready to stop wearing diapers, but he is nowhere near physically or intellectually ready to start using the potty.

But yesterday, Eamon got to see his cousin Lucas. Lucas is a Big Boy, three months older than Eamon, and is potty-training and doing a great job with it. Lucas is Proud to Be Diaper Free. While poor Eamon had to sit through the indignity of having a stinky diaper changed in front of a handful of family members, Lucas could toddle off to the privacy of a bathroom to take care of his personal business.

I think this might have inspired Eamon. At least, I’m hoping that’s what inspired Eamon during this morning’s episode:

MOMMY: (entering Eamon’s room, immediately smelling a stinky diaper) Eamon, did you go stinky?
EAMON: Yes. Mommy, hands. Hands all dirty! (Shows Mommy his hands)
M: Why are your hands so dirty? What did you…oh no.
E: (confidently) Eamon go stinky. Eamon change diaper. Eamon help.
M: (spluttering) But there’s poop…oh my gosh…Eamon…it’s EVERYWHERE.
E: (not as confidently) Eamon change diaper. Eamon…help?
M: Oh my gosh…

We stripped the bed. We stripped the kid. And you can’t get mad because…he was trying to Help. He was trying to take The Next Step.

He was trying to be a Big Boy. But he just doesn’t get it.

Potty, what? Sigh.

Someday, kid. Someday.

21 July 2011

Cookies and Bugs, Darn it!

Every day, Eamon learns new words and phrases.

Some he loves, like “Darn it!” Anytime anything slightly does not go his way, there’s a squeaky little “Darn it!” This should probably appall me, but instead I find it rather adorable. I mean, “Darn it” is an acceptable alternative to other particular phrases, right?

But even with the inclusion of this watered-down exclamation, Eamon still isn’t learning new words and phrases fast enough for his taste.

So he’s resorted to making them up.

Yesterday, for instance, he had a runny nose and kept shaking his head. Finally, he marched up to my mother and announced, “Nini! Bugs. Inna ear.”

A bit taken aback, my mother asked for further explanation.

Far too often, Eamon finds that he has to explain things to the adults around him, a tedious responsibility that has probably prompted the inclusion of “Darn it!” into his vocabulary.

“Bugs, Nini! In Eamon’s ear! BUGS!” Everyone knows that saying something again and louder is a perfectly valid method of further explanation here in America.

Later, my mom used the otoscope to check in Eamon’s ears, and while there were no 6-legged invertebrates having a tea party in there, there was some cloudy fluid. So yes, he has a slight cold. And yes, even though I had never thought about it that way before, that can feel like having small bugs flying around inside your ear.

Then this morning, Eamon informed me that in addition to his “Bugs inna ear” syndrome, he also had “Cookies inna nose!”

(On a side note, as I changed a poopy diaper, he also informed me that it was my job to “Take out cookies, Mommy! Take outta Eamon’s nose!” I explained that there are only so many gross bodily functions I can handle at one time, and he was on his own with the nose-cookies.)

Why cookies? Why bugs? How on earth should I know? Eamon has yet to reach that level of metacognition--or if he has, he has yet to be able to string it together using only one syllable words.

But despite his current lack of a robust vocabulary, the kid undoubtedly has a vibrant imagination.

At the mall last weekend, we stopped to look at one of his favorite sites: the letters of the EXPRESS store. The E starts on the ground and they go up vertically until the S hits the ceiling. Eamon loves these large letters. He touched the E and proudly announced, “E!” He touched the X and said, “X!” He stood on his tiptoes and brushed the P with his fingertip, and then he couldn’t reach the rest. He turned me. “Mommy! Lift up! Eamon touch letters!”

I assured him that I could get him to the R and maybe the next E, but the last two were beyond hope.

Eamon thought, and within seconds had a solution.

“Eamon fly up. Touch ceiling.”

I started to explain that this was rather unrealistic, but apparently it is only unrealistic if you are a sensible grown-up, because in the instant I blinked, he DID fly up and touch the ceiling. I know this only because the next thing I heard was, “OW! Eamon bump head on ceiling! Oh no. Darn it! Come back down. Walk on floor.”

He then took my hand, and off we went to lunch.


16 July 2011

And Lo, the Giant Tyrannosaurus Trembled and Ran Meekly Inna Table

Every morning, the story grows bigger.

DAY ONE

“Mommy!” cries Eamon, as I walk in the door to greet him after waking. “Red Claw!”

Of course, you know who Red Claw is, don’t you? How could you not? Doesn’t everyone watch hours and hours of Land Before Time, in which there are many villains who threaten the peace and sanctuary of the valley, but none so vicious and cruel as the infamous T-Rex Red Claw? Of course you do.

“What about Red Claw?” I ask.

“Inna table!” he whispers, pointing at his dresser/changing table.

“Red Claw is in your table?” I query.

Eamon nods. We check the table, even when the table proves absent of any gigantic, long-extinct therapods, Eamon just shakes his head. “Hiding,” he tells me.


DAY TWO

Enter Mommy, first thing in the morning.

“Shh!” cautions Eamon. “Eamon scared!”

“Why are you scared?” I whisper back.

“Red Claw! Inna table!”

“Red Claw is in the table again?”

“No,” says Eamon. A slight smile plays upon his lips before he remembers he’s supposed to be scared and returns to an expression of utter terror. “TWO Red Claws! Inna drawer!”


DAY THREE

“Good morning, Eamon!”

Eamon quickly throws down the book that he has been "reading" to entertain himself, and assumes his terrified expression as per his new morning habit. Improvising quickly, he pulls his blanket up around him as if trying to hide. “Mommy! Two Red Claws! Running! Eamon scared!”

“The Red Claws were running?”

“Chasing Eamon! Oh no! Eamon scared!”

“I’m sorry that the two Red Claws were chasing you last night.”

Eamon nods solemnly. Then he throws off the blanket and stands up proudly in his bed. “Eamon say, ‘No Red Claw! No bite me, Eamon!’” He waggles a little finger as he recreates how he told off two giant, slavering and starving carnivores.

“You told the Red Claws not to bite you?”

“Yes!”

“And then what happened?”

“Ran away! Inna table!” He smiles triumphantly, then adds, for emphasis, “Hah!”

In a few more days, I expect that we will be up to a sword-fight taking place on a narrow bridge overlooking a moat of razor-toothed alligators.



I have often been accused of being too lazy to reign in my own rather wild imagination. It is better at having adventures than I am, which is why I am content to let it be in charge. I generally prefer to simply follow my imagination wherever it leads rather than standing up to it and acknowledging the actual world around me. Off we go, my imagination seated proudly on the prancing Rozinante, while I follow behind, occasionally remembering the basics like food and shelter.

So I can only be ecstatic that Eamon appears to have a similar imagination. Together we can ride off into the sunset, defeating nefarious windmills and lecturing nonexistent Red Claws on the impoliteness of biting small children.

Somebody has to.

10 July 2011

Painted Wings and Giant Rings

My parents stumbled onto My Gym over a year ago, and Eamon has been going since before he could walk. He went through the “Tiny Tykes” and the “Waddlers” onto the “Gymsters” and has just graduated to the “Terrific Tots.”

And boy, is the Terrific Tots different. In all the previous levels, the instructors have a variety of activities bookended by two 5-10 minute “Circle Times.” During Circle Time, the parents sit in a big circle on the floor, children on laps, and the instructor sings songs and plays games while the parents attempt to get their children to play along. Some do, but most sit there looking a little confused or daydreaming in their own little worlds. Sometimes the kids wander away completely, and no one really comments.

In Terrific Tots, however, the children sit on a mat. By themselves. The parents are nearby, but not actively clutching the children like in the previous levels. The instructor explains the directions while the children listen, and then (here is the fun part) wait their turn to participate in the activity. And if a child gets off the mat, the instructor stops everything and reminds the child to wait patiently on the mat.

So when my mother told me that Eamon was being promoted into the Terrific Tots class, I admit that I had my doubts. Eamon is…well, a 3 foot tall ball of energy. It’s not that he can’t focus…it’s actually just that he finds almost everything interesting and wants to explore all of it. He wants to meet everyone and enjoy all that life has to offer…and I just wasn’t sure how that was going to fit in with him sitting still on a mat and listening to directions.

When my mom called me right after the new gym class with her report, I didn’t have high hopes. But Eamon came through with flying colors. He only had to be reminded to sit on his mat twice, and each time got back on the mat quickly and quietly (like he really had plain forgotten, not that he was being defiant). He listened to all the directions, did his best in all the activities, and apparently charmed everyone after doing a hand-stand (with assistance) by standing up afterwards, throwing out his arms gymnast style and exclaiming, “TADAAAA! Eamon did it!”

Even so, I was pretty sure that it might have been a fluke. A one-time thing because the class was new and he was around older children he wanted to impress.

This past Friday, I took him to the gym myself, back to his old Gymsters class because the Friday Terrific Tots class is full.

When the instructors called Circle Time, Eamon ran over and sat on the circle without even waiting for me. As the instructor went through the routine, he listened and followed every single direction…without any help from me. He laughed when she told a joke, he answered when she asked a question.

I watched the other moms and dads, wrestling with their 2 year olds, trying to help them understand that it was time to jump (Eamon had already been hopping for a good minute), or to stand on their beanbag (Eamon did this immediately, turned to me and shouted, “Where it go, Mommy? All gone!” then opened his feet and yelled, “Dere it is!”), or to sit and listen to the story without wandering away (Eamon planted himself front and center in front of Miss Allison and watched the entire story with rapt attention).

And I realized…Eamon is a Terrific Tot.

For all you parents out there, you probably already know how it feels, when you realize that your child is stepping out of Toddlerhood and into the Little Kid Era. The overwhelming pride (“That’s my little man!”). The gigantic sense of relief (“Thank heaven we made it through!”). The thrill of excitement (“Think about all the things we can do now!”)

And the tiny but tenacious thread of despair as you realize that every day he becomes more independent, he needs you just a little less.

The other day before bedtime, I was reading Eamon a story called Where is Baby's Birthday Cake? I tried to insert the word “Eamon” instead of “baby.”

“No, mommy,” Eamon said pointedly. “BABY. Not EAMON.”

“But you’re my baby!” I said.

Eamon just shook his head. “No baby, mommy.”

“Then what are you?”

He responded without hesitation, “Eamon. I EAMON.” He then looked at me as if I was an idiot, not knowing who my own kid was, a look I expect I’ll be getting more and more often.

So I finished reading the book, word-for-word as written.

But secretly, defiantly, whenever I read the word “baby” out loud, I thought, “Eamon” in my head. I then tucked him into bed, managed to sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” (his favorite bedtime song) without crying or explaining the irony to my sleepy 2 ½ year old, and kissed my darling boy goodnight.

01 July 2011

A Sense of Humor Only a Mother Could Love

I am happy to report that Eamon continues his study of comedy, but has decided to infuse it with his own special geeky twist.


Hence, this joke the other day:

EAMON: Stop sign, daddy! Stop sign octagon!

DADDY: Yep, a stop sign is an octagon.

EAMON: Octagon three sides, Daddy!

DADDY: Um…

EAMON: Haha! Octagon three sides! Eamon CWAZY!

You might remember my hope that Eamon would one day find this particular ion joke funny. I think we are well on our way, folks. Any two year old who finds the idea of a 3-sided octagon hysterical…well, that is a two year old after my own heart.

And let me just say, thank goodness he’s such a cute little guy. Maybe it will (somewhat) help to offset the budding nerdiness. In the meantime, Eamon Wolfe, I find you absolutely adorable and hysterical, even if you have a sense of humor that only a(n equally nerdy) mother could love.

UPDATE:

I record these toddler ideas of a joke not because they necessarily belong in the golden tomes of comedy classics beside "Take my wife...please" but because I want to give VH1 plenty of material when they do the Behind the Comedy of Eamon Wolfe's life. And I didn't feel like this particularly deserved its own blog entry, but it amused me highly with its sophisticated sense of word play (lies; it's entirely unsophisticated, but it amused me anyway):

ME: I love you, Eamon Wolfe.

EAMON: No Eamon Wolfe! No!

ME: You're not Eamon Wolfe?! Then who are you?

EAMON: Eamon.

ME: So you're sticking with the first name. Good choice. But...Eamon who?

EAMON: Eamon...DUCK! Quack, quack! Ha ha! Eamon CWAZY!

So yes, folks, in one fell swoop, Eamon 1) made a joke about his own name, therefore proving that if any classmates try to make fun of it in a few years, Eamon will probably have about a thousand possible ways to one-up them ala last 5 minutes of 8 Mile, making them look like childish amateurs for even attempting to tease him; and 2) has gone and invented himself a tag line. Expect to see his memoir of that title in about 30 years, and I guess I should go ahead and snap up www.eamoncwazy.com while I'm at it. Thank you and goodnight.

18 June 2011

Dis Way!

So, apparently, most of you people out there have something called an “internal compass,” which keeps track of whether you’ve turned right or left and keeps you from getting lost in Patrick Henry Mall even though it only has two long hallways and you’ve been going there for about 19 years.

And apparently it is not common for a 31 year old woman who has been, more or less, generally successful in life to still not actually know her right from her left without seriously concentrating, and even then only getting it right about 80% of the time.

So, if you have never made a turn and found yourself utterly confused because even though you can acknowledge that the buildings and scenery in front you look VERY familiar, you have NO IDEA where you have seen them before…then you might not get why the following information makes me breathe a huge sigh of relief.

When Eamon was less than a year old, we would drive down Jefferson Avenue to get to Target or Babies R Us, passing the entrance to Kiln Creek, the neighborhood where my parents live. Eamon couldn’t talk back then, but he compensated by making this weird fish noise that meant (why not?) “Grandpa.” One day, we passed by the Kiln Creek entrance and heard that fish noise from the backseat.

We just laughed. He couldn’t possibly know. My parents’ house is back deep in the neighborhood, requiring several more turns, and anyone, he could barely see out the window. Coincidence.

Well, that same coincidence happened so many more times that we felt sort of silly calling it “coincidence.”

So we figured, hey, he goes there every day. That’s why he knows.

But it turns out, Eamon knows a lot more than that. In fact, the older he gets and the more he talks, we have come to the realization that Eamon Wolfe always knows where he is. He not only has that internal compass, but I’m pretty sure he also has an internal birds-eye-view map. I admit that I just laughed when I heard that some people’s brains naturally work like this, since I can barely even read and interpret an actual map.

But I can come up with no other explanation for why Eamon always knows where he is and where he needs to go.

In fact, about three months ago, Eamon and I went to the Tabb area to visit a friend. We had never been to that area before. We came back on Victory Boulevard, a street that we often drive down, but from a direction we had never before taken (I have confirmed this with everyone who has opportunity to drive Eamon in their car). We stopped at the K-Mart shopping center at the Hardees, and Eamon immediately asked me, “Gym?”

I just sort of stared at him. The My Gym, where he goes once a week, was on the complete opposite side of this rather large shopping center. We could not even see it from where we were. But he knew. Finally, I said, “Um, no. Chicken.”

This happens a lot. As long as we have been somewhere once before, we can come at it from any direction and Eamon knows where he is. Moreover, even though he doesn’t know the words “left” and “right” yet, he has started giving directions by yelling, “Dis way!” and can lead almost any expedition quite faithfully…although it always ends up going either to Pet-Co, to see the cats, or to Toys R Us.

I feel ambivalent about this. On one hand, I am thrilled that he did NOT inherit my directionally-challenged brain. I won’t have to worry about him like my parents used to worry about me when I started driving: not because I wasn’t a good driver, but because I was forever getting lost…even in the parking lot of Target.

On the other hand, I am a bit embarrassed because I am realizing that my directional capabilities are on par with those of a two and a half year old, and Eamon will probably surpass me before he turns three.

And on the third hand, I’m just really, really glad that I will have someone in the backseat who can get me where I’m trying to go. Even if we always have to detour by a Toys R Us first.








14 June 2011

Ha...Ha?

Aaron is out of town. Work is stressful. I am tired. But Life, it marches on. We must march on with it, though I think it is fair to stop the procession long enough to appreciate another Momentous Event in the Story of Eamon Wolfe.

Therefore, without further pomp or circumstance, I give you: The First Joke.

(Wait, one more aside. Before I tell you the joke, please remember: he is only 2 1/2, and we all start somewhere. Be kind in your judgment. End aside).

This joke was told on the way back from the zoo with my parents yesterday.

EAMON: Knock, knock.
NINI: Who's there?
EAMON: Ninon (Lion)
NINI: Ninon who?
EAMON: RAWR!

Okay, well, so the concept of a "punchline" is perhaps a bit elusive for our young comic, but he is trucking on nonetheless.

In fact, just this afternoon, he told his Second Joke.

Eamon had just put his alligator in his playhouse. He ran up to me, holding out his arms. "Where alligator?" he asked.

"Why, I don't know," I pretended. "Could it be...on the MOON?"

Eamon looked at me blankly. "Noooo," he said, slowly, as if speaking to someone of small intelligence. He pointed to the playhouse and said, "In house." He then took the alligator out of the house to show me, obviously worried that he had inherited half his DNA from someone who thought that alligators could somehow be magically transported from a playhouse to the moon.

A few minutes later, though, he hid the alligator in the house again, ran up to me, and repeated the process. "Where alligator?" he asked.

"I don't know..." I started.

But before I could finish, Eamon exclaimed, "On moon?!" He then devolved into giggles over what was apparently now *his* joke, therefore completing another Important First in the Life of a Comic: Reappropriating Others' Material.

If he keeps up with this rate, I figure that he will be doing open mic nights by Labor Day and have his own HBO comedy special by Christmas. Let me know if you want tickets.

03 June 2011

Almost Learned Behavior

When I taught third grade, we spent a lot of time going over the difference between an instinct and a learned behavior. I tried to use as many examples as possible, and relate them to the children’s lives.

“How many of you have a younger brother or sister?”

Many would raise their hands.

“Raise your hand if your brother or sister was born knowing how to drink milk.”

They all raised their hands.

“That’s right. Knowing how to suck milk is an instinct. Now raise your hand if your little brother or sister was born knowing how to talk.”

They all giggled, but none raised their hands.

Well, we’ve spent plenty of time covering Eamon’s quest to learn to talk in this blog, but there is another related learned behavior that we have been working strenuously to teach our little man: manners. We sound (and feel) like broken records, always prompting him to say “please,” “thank you,” “sorry,” or “excuse me,” and it is starting (finally, months later) to pay off.

Unfortunately, though Eamon now knows these words, he sometimes misjudges how to apply them to social situations.

For instance:

AT THE GROCERY STORE
The bagger finished bagging our groceries and handed me the bag, so I said, “Thank you.” Eamon overheard these magic words, and piped in, “Thank you!” And then, just for good measure, added, “I love you!” Luckily the bagger just thought it was funny.

AT HOME
Eamon was watching a dinosaur show when my mother told him that I had come to take him home. Eamon, without missing a beat, said, “No thank you,” and resumed watching his show.

IN THE CAR
We were listening to one of my and Eamon’s new favorite songs (Janglin’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes), and I was dancing along. Eamon, with just a hint of pity in his voice, said, “No thank you dance, Mommy. No thank you.” And just in case I didn’t get it, he also threw in, “Please.”

Well, I couldn’t really blame him on that one.

Anyway, we’re going to keep plugging away. We will civilize this child yet. And if you see Eamon, please remind him to use his manners, okay? Thank you.







30 May 2011

An Idiot's Guide to Exercise

The summer I was 10, I swam every morning for an hour during swim lessons. I rode my bike the mile or so back to the pool every afternoon and swam around for about 3 more hours. I think I was in pretty good shape then.

And that was probably the only time. I have what French scientists have recently identified as a genetic mutation of the 19th chromosome, also known as Canapé-Pommes-de-Terre Syndrome. This is a very serious syndrome in which otherwise perfectly healthy adults find themselves inexplicably drawn towards soft, fluffy places to sit for extended periods of time. There is no known cure for this syndrome, and various studies have found mixed results for treatment applications.

Nevertheless, I recently began a personal campaign to treat this affliction and described part of the process here. My desire has been fueled mostly by (in this order) the determination to get into a size 8 before all is said and done, and also to be healthy and live longer and all that rot. It’s a two-pronged approach, but in the blog entry I spent far more time discussing the healthy eating bit than the exercising bit and here is the reason: I suck at exercising. If Gardner ever identifies exercising as the 10th multiple intelligence, I would probably score a 32 on that IQ test.

I am actually amazed that I have yet to seriously hurt myself in this endeavor. And don’t think it’s through a lack of research. I’ve taken time to read plenty of websites and blogs on how to exercise (specifically jog), carefully digesting and considering every piece of information. Then I go to exercise, and I totally 1) forget everything I’ve read, or 2) think that I am some sort of Super Human to whom the rules do not actually apply. The only way I seem to remember anything is to expose myself to seriously embarrassing and/or painful situations in order to permanently scar the piece of information into my exercise-impaired brain.

All that being said, I will therefore share a few rules that I have (finally!) learned throughout the entire process:

1. DO spend the money on nice exercise clothes. Wearing your husband’s old boxers or exercise pants and a cotton t-shirt seems like a great idea until you remember about Newton’s Fourth Law of Motion: Chafing.

2. DON’T keep thinking that you don't really need to being water for a short jog. You are not immortal, no matter how many times you have seen Thor.

3. DO engage the services of a personal trainer. Mine is about 2 ½ years old. He sits in the stroller on our walknruns and shouts things like, “Run, Mommy! Go fast! No walk!” It’s terribly motivating but sometimes we have to stop and have the talk that if Mommy keeps running, she might possibly die, which means that Eamon would then be in charge of waking everyone up in the morning, feeding the dog, giving everyone their medicine, and driving himself to his grandparents’ for the day. That is an awful lot of responsibility for a young child, so maybe Mommy should just walk for awhile. That is why we call it a WALKnrun.

4. DON’T eat right before exercising. Just don’t, okay?

5. DO consider whether your ancestors came from cold-weather climates when planning your run. Just because you can comfortably jog in 75 degree weather with only 10% humidity does NOT mean that you can comfortably jog in 90 degree weather with 70% humidity. Listen to your body or else train your child how to dial 9-1-1.

6. DON’T forget to buy new exercise clothes when you go down a size. Unless you enjoy running down the street with one hand pushing a stroller and the other hand holding up your shorts so that you don’t expose the entire neighborhood to your Laundry Day underwear.


That’s all that I can think of right now. There are probably more rules that I have learned that I have already forgotten until I can manage to embarrass and/or injure myself somehow and remember them permanently. Hopefully, writing these few things down will help ascertain that they stay in my brain a little longer than usual.

Of course, those of you reading this probably had 1 of 2 reactions: either you are not exercise-impaired like I am, and you are now dubious as to whether I am actually bright enough to live; or you and I are of equal exercise-intelligence, and you have already forgotten everything that I wrote. Either way, happy exercising. I have to go do some laundry.

28 May 2011

I Have to Think of a Title Too?

Here’s the reason I could never be a professional writer: because I can only write when there is other stuff that I should be doing instead. It’s like writing is my tawdry secret affair (that I then go and post on the internet). If I were to ever give up my day job so that I could just write…well, then writing would become my day job. And I would have to have a tawdry affair with the Angry Birds app on my phone instead. And anything that I did manage to write would be about nefarious pigs stealing eggs and birds launching themselves at the pigs in retribution. I have a feeling that plotline would get pretty old pretty quickly.

(On a side note: how long until someone in Hollywood gets the bright idea to make Angry Birds: The Movie? Maybe I should get around to writing that screen play. I could go all Adaptation, and write about a professional writer who can’t think of anything to write about except Angry Birds…it would be almost as existential as Curious George 2: Follow that Monkey. Which is a study in the internal debate between the Id and the Ego and finding a balance therein, which is obvious to anyone who has watched it 5 times in 3 days.)

But back to our topic.

Wait. What was today’s topic?

Oh right. Today’s topic is that I do not have a topic for today. It’s not that nothing is happening, it’s just that without deadlines from William and Mary looming over my head, I am afforded legitimate time to sit down and write. So of course, the only thought trickling through my brain is:, “Stupid pigs. They deserve what they get.”

But I want to update the blog because it’s been a week.

Therefore, here are a few totally unrelated stories involving Eamon (it is his blog, after all). I find them all rather endearing even though I fully admit that they have no real relevance or bearing on the greater meaning of life.

You’re on your own for that, I’m afraid.

(Then again, you always were. And if you were coming here as part of your quest for the meaning of life...well, you have bigger problems than my lack of a coherant story-line this week).


STORY ONE

Eamon is all-boy, and loves throwing things and banging things and smooshing things…but slowly, we are brainwashing him into acknowledging his softer side. (Okay, it’s mostly me doing this). It involves constant hugs and kisses and saying, “I love you,” but finally, he is not only reciprocating these emotions but sometimes even initiating them.

He’s still very much a boy, though. Hence this situation:

I was dressing Eamon after bath. I had managed to get the lotion and a diaper on him when Eamon suddenly hugged me, patting me on the back. “Be okay, Mommy,” he said sympathetically. “Be okay. Don’t cry, Mommy.”

I wasn’t crying, for the record. But I was a bit upset. And Eamon was trying to comfort me.

Of course, the reason I was upset was because Eamon had taken his pajamas and thrown them across the room about 2 seconds previously.

But that isn’t the point.


STORY TWO

We were eating dinner. Eamon smiled and said, “I wuv you Daddy.” Aaron smiled back.

“Oh no!” cried Eamon. “Teeth! Mess!”

“Does Daddy have some of his dinner stuck in his teeth?” I asked.

“Yes!” cried Eamon. “Oh no! Daddy dinner-teeth!”

And now, whenever anyone has anything stuck in their teeth, Eamon announces that they have “dinner-teeth.” Upon retrospection, this is a word that we have needed for years, because saying, “You have something stuck in your teeth” is far less efficient than saying, “You have dinner-teeth.” But it took a 2 year old to figure that out, to see what we adults have been missing for years. It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes, only without any sense of poignancy or importance.


STORY THREE

Eamon has a rather limited arsenal of adjectives with which to describe his new observations. He does the best he can, though, and doesn’t mean to offend anyone as he attempts to discover and make sense of the world.

That being said: Nini, we’re sorry that he called your arms “soggy” the other day.


STORY FOUR

There really wasn’t a Story Four. But I figured my mom would want me to end on a different note. So give me a second to think of something else.

Um.

Okay, got it:

The other day while driving back from the grocery store, Eamon and I got stuck in some heavy traffic.

Eamon has little patience for this kind of thing. When we stopped behind a line of cars at another stoplight, Eamon announced, “No stop! Go, Mommy! Go! Drive fast!”

I explained that I could not drive through cars. Darn Physics.

“Too many cars!” he informed me. I agreed. But Eamon had a solution.

“Throw away, Mommy! Throw away cars!”

Apparently, my son sees me as a sort of traffic-induced Hulk-Mommy who can repeatedly heave thousands of pounds of steel from our path so that we can get home 5 minutes faster.

And while I have been working out recently, I am still short of any car-throwing aspirations.

But boy can I launch an angry bird at a pig.

And now that I have updated for this week, I must excuse myself. Those pigs aren’t going to destroy themselves.

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In keeping with the spirit of this blog entry, some pictures that have nothing to do with any other topic discussed here today: