25 April 2011

Mission Accomplished

I write this blog entry in triumph as Eamon Wolfe sleeps soundly, comfortably, and by himself, in his toddler bed.

The battle was not lightly won, and casualities of sleep were high. But I have to say, I think we all won in the end, and learned a little something along the way. While I still can’t entirely account for the inner machinations of a two year old’s psyche, I am willing to tentatively venture a few theories and lessons learned:

1. I think Eamon really did have a scary dream about an alligator, and I think he really did start to equate it with the knocking in the air ducts. I believe that he was genuinely terrified the first night. Maybe even the second. But I am pretty sure that by the third night, he just wanted to sleep in Mommy’s bed because…well, because he thought he could.

2. I think that Eamon is a strange mixture of advanced and immature. He has this great and wonderful imagination that allows him to invent crazed alligators named Dibbtz, but not mature enough to understand abstract solutions like “Pajamas of Protection” or “Spray Elixirs of Safety.” That being said, I think he is devious enough to figure out how to open the spray bottle and dump it all over his bed, therefore necessitating a middle of the night sheet change and, depending on how tired Mommy is, a one-way ticket to the Big Bed.

3. I think that hiding two cute and cuddly bean-bag critters in the air vents so that we could “find” them one night before bed, and then call them Bobbin and Dibbtz was a stroke of genius that helped him get over the particular fear of the air vents and an alligator named Dibbtz…but not of a general fear of alligators coming to “get Eamon.”

4. I think that in the end, what finally worked was perhaps the least glamorous, least warm and fuzzy solution of them all. It was one I can guarantee will never be endorsed by Dr. Sears, but I wasn't trying to get Dr. Sears to sleep, now was I?

So, what finally got our child to sleep in his own bed, made him brave enough to stand up to the nightmares?

Here it is, parents. It wasn’t pretty, but war never is, and it got the job done when nothing else would:

1. Be so exhausted and cranky that you are suddenly scarier than any imaginary alligator.

2. Dose him up with Benedryl so that he’s too tired to fight sleeping in his own bed. After one night of sleep without being eaten by a voracious reptile, your child will realize that he’s safe…and anyway, it’s better than sleeping with his super crabby mother.

Problem solved.


Sleep for all = Shiny, happy family

22 April 2011

Pride Goeth

“Eamon has a really active imagination,” I used to enjoy telling people, probably a little smugly. I would then launch into dinosaur escapades and the crazy noises he makes and how he saves all his stuffed animals at least once a day from doom and destruction.

And let us not forget the Bobbin.

Ha ha, the Bobbin. Wasn’t that cute? Eamon really thought something called a Bobbin lived in our air conditioning ducts. Something that reminded him of his Daddy. Sweet, yeah?

Well, friends, it turns out that imagination cuts both ways. Because apparently, Bobbins have natural enemies called Dibbtz. You would not want to meet a Dibbtz. I certainly don’t. According to Eamon, they are terrifying.

Night before last, he decided that it was no longer safe to sleep in his own bed. In fact, it was so dangerous that he would rather VAULT OUT OF HIS CRIB rather than stay there by himself, possible broken limbs or necks be damned.

(No, we hadn’t changed him to a big boy bed before this. He’s a floppy but sound sleeper (usually) and we didn’t want to rock the boat. The crib was working until he decided a possible broken leg was worth escaping the Dibbtz. We, of course, disagreed with him on this point and now he has a toddler bed).

The child who flops around in his sleep like a dying fish crawled into my bed and curled up into the tightest of little balls, grabbing my arms and positioning them around his little body. If I tried to turn over or remove my stiffening arm, he would suddenly awaken and yell, “NO! Arm! Need help, Mimi! ARM!”

When I attempted to convince him to sleep in his own bed by sleeping on the floor next to him, he almost fell asleep, but just before he drifted off, suddenly sat bolt upright.

“Ssss!” he shushed. “What dat? Mimi? What dat?”

I listened. There was no noise. “I don’t hear anything, Eamon. What do YOU think it is?”

“Dibbtz,” he whimpered, and would not be calmed down. He crawled out of his bed, preferring to sleep on the floor next to me than sleep by himself in a comfy bed.

Finally, in the deep of night, as he fought sleep with all his might, I asked him, “Eamon, what IS the Dibbtz?”

He looked around furtively, and then whispered, “Alligator.”

During the day, he is somewhat braver. He will ask for a flashlight, and go over to the vent and ask for it to be opened. “DIBBTZ! Come out!” he will yell in his most authoritative two year old voice. But of course the Dibbtz never appears.

And now I had better figure out how to vanquish an imaginary alligator that lives in the air ducts.

In the meantime, each day I lean over my desk, heavy eyelids drooping dangerously low, more and more exhausted. When people ask what’s wrong, now I just mutter, “Eamon has a really active imagination.”

16 April 2011

Case Closed (well, sort of)

The Bobbin continues to be an active presence in our lives.

We haven't even had the air conditioning on, so we haven't even been able to hear it; nevertheless, at least once a day, generally in the middle of a conversation, Eamon will suddenly perk up his ears.

"Ssss," he says, attempting to hush me.

"What is it?" I whisper back.

"Bobbin," he whispers. "Wisten."

And then we listen.

And there's no sound.

Regardless, Eamon then calls out, "Bobbin! Come out! Oh, hewo, Bobbin?" If he's feeling particularly sleuthsome, he then drags me over to the air conditioning vent (the one without the screws, thank goodness) and begs me to look inside.

So today, I finally opened the grate for him.

And folks, though we still have yet to see the Bobbin, I know what it is.

Oh yes.

video

Please note: No dinosaurs or "Bobbins" were hurt in the making of this film.

11 April 2011

Wolfepack Mysteries #19: The Case of the Banging Bobbin

CHAPTER ONE

The evening started innocently enough. In the den, Eamon played a cheerful game of “Oh no!” with his new Cookie Monster balloon. In the kitchen, Mimi toiled over the Culinary Circle rotisserie chicken she had recently ensnared from the Farm Fresh.

“Eamon! Dinner!” called Mimi.

The little feet pitter-pattered into the dining room. Mimi hoisted the small child into his booster seat and then sat down to join him for what they both expected to be a pleasant dinner.

They could not have been more wrong.

As they ate and discussed the day, Eamon chattered carefreely about his, “Bawoon! Cookie! Bawoon!” while Mimi thoughtfully agreed that as far as Cookies went, it was definitely a balloon.

BANG!

Mimi and Eamon stopped mid-chew.

“Did you hear that?” Mimi whispered.

“Bawoon!” Eamon whispered back.

“No, I think it was coming from the air conditioning vent,” Mimi said, laying down her fork.

“Vent,” agreed Eamon. Then, for good measure, in case she had forgotten, “Bawoon.”

BANG!

“We can check it out after dinner,” Mimi said, trying to sound as if she was not a bit worried, as if there were always loud banging noises coming from the air conditioning units.

“Check out,” nodded Eamon as he put another raspberry into his mouth.

BANG!

They finished dinner quietly, both listening for the banging, which progressively grew more intense. Finally Eamon, realizing the gravity of the situation, pushed the remainder of his berries away from himself, looked at Mimi, and announced solemnly, “Check out.”

It was time.

Mimi went to the garage and found the tools they would need: a flashlight and a flathead screw driver. Meanwhile, the banging continued, as loud and raucous as ever. Together, Mimi and Eamon crept over to the vent and put their ears up to it.

Something was in there.

Banging around.

And it was definitely a something, not a someone. It sounded like a block, or a small dinosaur or a…

“Bobbin,” announced Eamon.

“A what?” asked Mimi.

“Bobbin,” repeated Eamon.

“What the heck is a Bobbin?”

But Eamon didn’t answer.

Carefully, Mimi unscrewed the vent. Holding their breath, not knowing what they would see, both peeked in their heads.

There was nothing there.

“Hewo!” yelled Eamon. “HEWO! Come out, Bobbin! Hewo! Come out!”

But no Bobbin emerged. Mimi shined the flashlight, but could see nothing but an empty vent that turned a corner. Whatever was banging in the vent was definitely farther in the vent than could be seen with just a flashlight.

“There’s no way to find out,” Mimi finally admitted in defeat. “Short of crawling in there, there’s no way to find out what’s banging around.”

Eamon nodded in understanding. He took a deep breath. “Crawl in,” he said, and dropped to his knees.

“NO!” cried Mimi, grabbing him by the diaper as he threatened to disappear into the dark. “I didn’t mean YOU should crawl in. I was just saying that we can’t find out what is banging around tonight.”

Reluctantly, and each with an eye on the vent, they settled back to discuss the bawoon, which was still very Cookie. The banging slowly began to subside.

Just when they thought everything was getting back to normal, the door front flung open.

EPILOGUE

Aaron came home, spent about 15 minutes trying to put the world’s most difficult screws back onto the grate cover, looked at me and announced, “I love that you THINK you can do stuff like this…”

“If you hadn’t come home right then, I would have put the grate back on and you would have never known.” (This is probably untrue.)

“How the heck were you going to figure out what it was anyway? There’s no way that you can see.”

“I was going to reach in there.”

He just stared at me.

“What? I would have turned off the A/C first.”

In summary, the Bobbin still has not been found, though the A/C vent finally stopped banging. I am no longer allowed near the screwdrivers, and Eamon tried to take his bawoon to bed.


COMING SOON: The Wolfepack Mysteries #20: The Case of the Popped Bawoon

10 April 2011

Hero

Many a time I am driving when I suddenly hear screeches of “Halp! Halp!” from the backseat, and I swivel my head around just in time to watch one dinosaur save another from…the carseat? I don’t know. Something disastrous anyway. Eamon then calmly assures me, “Ceratops okay, Mimi. Ceratops okay.”

Well, thank goodness.

Sometimes, though, situations require more direct intervention. Yesterday, for instance, my dad was helping to child-proof Eamon’s room (Okay, we’re late on this. Moving on.) Unfortunately, this was made very difficult by the Big Orange Monkey of Doom and his Medium-Sized Black Gorilla Sidekick of Destruction that kept “attacking” us. Luckily, we had a three foot tall hero in our midst. Before they could do any damage, Eamon would leap onto Doom & Destruction (yes! At the same time!) and wrestle them into submission amidst a lot of grunting and shouts of “Oh, no, monkeys! Eamon halp! Eamon halp!”

Through a serious force of effort, over the course of about 10 minutes Eamon managed to drag the recalcitrant stuffed animals from the room, making us safe forever more from crazy stuffed monkeys. Peace reigned, and Eamon assured us that we were “Safe, safe,” until about 15 seconds later when, looking rather bored, he apparently spied those tricky monkeys trying to re-enter his kingdom, and the battle began all over.

Sometimes, though, crises happen outside of Eamon’s imagination. But in all his exploits with carseats and stuffed monkeys, Eamon has trained for this. When danger erupted, he was not found wanting.

The setting was this: a warm, peaceful day just before dinner. Eamon was outside playing with a family friend in the backyard, saving his dinosaurs from the Slide of Terror. I set the table for dinner while Aaron got drinks from the refrigerator.

While reaching for the iced tea, Aaron accidentally knocked a bowl full of raspberries, which fell to the floor and shattered.

FURK!” yelled Aaron (except one of those letters was actually a C).

The sound of the breaking bowl had not been quiet. It rang out through the backyard all the way to the slide. Eamon gasped. Trouble! Afoot! Not silly, made-up dinosaur trouble, either, but real life crisis! This was it.

In the midst of picking up raspberries, I suddenly hear from the backyard, “Daddy! Eamon halp! Eamon halp!” I ran outside, and there was Eamon, running bravely towards the house.

“Eamon!” I said, meeting him at the door. “Daddy broke something, but he’s okay.”

My proclamation slowed Eamon not a bit, and he kept resolutely climbing the stairs onto the porch. “Broken! Eamon halp Daddy! Eamon halp Daddy! Broken!”

I blocked the doorway into the house. “Eamon,” I tried to assure him. “Daddy’s okay. You can’t come in because he broke glass, and it could cut you and hurt you."

Eamon looked at me warily. If the situation was so dangerous, then surely I should let him in. He could halp. But I did not budge from the doorway.

He shook his head. “Daddy!” he finally whimpered pitifully. “Daddy broken!”

Realizing that he was worried about his father because he had mixed up the message and incorrectly interpreted that his DADDY was broken, I finally picked Eamon up. I took him inside and showed him his father, who was fine except for being highly annoyed that he had to pick up the shattered remains of the bowl.

“See, Eamon? Daddy’s okay. The bowl is broken, but Daddy’s okay.”

It was at this point that I realized that our pint-sized hero had pooped his pants. Considering that he does this every day, I was willing to take it as purely a biological necessity rather than a reaction to fear. Regardless, I took him upstairs to change him, thus ending the entire episode.

Or so I thought.

Later that evening after Eamon’s shower, I was putting on his jammies when Eamon suddenly looked at me. “Daddy okay,” he told me thoughtfully. “Broken, daddy okay.”

“Yes, daddy broke something, but he’s okay.”

“Broke glass.”

“Yep. But he’s okay.”

Thoughtful silence, then, “Yes. Daddy okay.”

Then this morning, after a peaceful night of sleep, Eamon awoke with cries of “Daddy! Daddy!”

Strange, I thought, because he usually calls out for me after a night of sleep. But apparently his night had had its share of crisis remembered.

I went in and the first thing he said to me was, “Daddy broke.”

“Yes, Daddy broke a bowl last night.”

“Daddy okay,” he assured…me? Himself?

“Yep, Daddy is still okay.”

And I realized…while it just seemed like a silly bowl to us…Eamon was really WORRIED. And yet, despite all his worry, he had bravely rushed in to…?

“What would you have done, anyway?” I asked Eamon. “If I had let you into the kitchen, what exactly do you think that you would have done to help?”

But he didn’t answer. I’m pretty sure that if he could articulate it, the answer would have been something along the lines of, “Whatever needed to be done.”

Quite simply, he would have Helped. Because that is what Eamons do.



By airplane...




By horsey...




By boat...




To save what is important...

04 April 2011

Social Graces

Mission Statement: Through a series of social exchanges with a variety of people fitting all demographics, we will teach Eamon Wolfe how to interact positively in society; both exhibit and embody the qualities of a “little gentleman;” and follow rules for a variety of situations.

Vision Statement: Eamon Wolfe will say “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” (aka, “The Manner Words”) appropriately and consistently, as well as voluntarily help others when feasibly possible, and be considerate of the feelings of others in intent, word, and deed.



Social Interaction Evidence #1
Location:
Gym Class
Description:
Eamon sat quietly during circle time despite the fact that other little boys were running around and not paying attention to the rules, with only a few squirms and longing looks. He helped during clean up time and told all gym instructors “thank you” after they helped him complete the activities.
Result:
Success!



Social Interaction Evidence #2
Location:
NY& Company Store
Description:
Eamon charmingly and without prompting told the clerk “thank you” when she got us a dressing room, therefore earning us the biggest and nicest dressing room. Someone was in the dressing room next to us, though, and Eamon was desperate to see and meet her, so he kept trying to duck his head under the wall out of curiosity. Each time I hissed at him not to stick his head into someone else’s dressing room, and he grudgingly complied. In line to buy the clothes, Eamon danced to entertain the 20-something year old girls behind us, smiled at the clerk, and told her “thank you” after we paid for our purchases.
Result:
Success. Mostly.



Social Interaction Evidence #3
Location:
Subway
Description:
Standing in line at Subway, Eamon tried to share his triceratops toy with the manager. The manager was so impressed that he gave Eamon a free chocolate chip cookie. Eamon reverentially carried it over to our table, proudly announcing, “Cookie! Cookie!” to anyone who came near. When I asked Eamon if he wanted to eat the cookie, he shook his head. Eamon does not actually like chocolate, and I am allergic, so the cookie remained uneaten.
Result:
Sweet, but somewhat wasteful success.



Social Interaction Evidence #4
Location:
The pool locker room
Description:
After swim class, another mother brought in her little 2 year old girl to change into street clothes. The little girl was very cold, and kept making this low moaning sound to exhibit her displeasure. Eamon looked at her and brightly exclaimed, “Cow!” because he thought she was intentionally attempting farmyard sounds. I whispered that yes, it sounded a little like a moo, and Eamon then shouted loudly at the girl, “Cow! Noisy cow!”
Result: Embarrassed apologies and our quick exit from the locker room



Social Interaction Evidence #5
Location:
Busch Gardens Land of the Dragons
Description:
There were few people at Busch that day, so Eamon was able to walk onto all the rides without waiting. He told all the attendants “thank you” after being prompted. On the little cars ride, we realized after strapping him in that no adult could ride with him, nor even stand near the cars while he rode. We anxiously exited the area so the ride could start, worried that he would either be upset that we were gone, or possibly try to stand or otherwise free himself from restraint during the ride. Instead, he smiled and stayed seated the entire time, proving our fears completely unfounded.
Result: Parental pride, toddler fun

Overall recommendations based on evidence: Plan progressing nicely. Continue to implement at every possibly opportunity and results will become more consistently positive. And really, she did sound like a cow.



01 April 2011

"Go!" (Working Mom Edition)

6:15AM: Run down the hallway as the spaceship continues to hurtle uncontrollably closer to Unodrin’s surface, caught in the gravitational pull of the giant, rocky world. Slam the panel to open the door to the Control Deck while the alarm screeches in the background. Realize with a sick dread that the door is jammed, your heart beating in time with the strident alarm and…

6:16AM: Open eyes. Oh my God! The alarm! How long has it been going off? Why didn’t you hear it? Slam the clock and jump out of bed. Late! Forty-five minutes late! Mentally add up how much time you have to take a shower, get dressed, get everyone up and dressed, drop everyone off at Grandpa and Nini’s…no, it’s not enough time. Something will have to go. Hair! Doing your hair isn’t essential, right? How bad can it look?

6:18AM-6:28AM: Realize that a sick opossum crawled into your bed overnight, ate off all your hair, then curled up and died on your head. Doing hair no longer an option but a necessity. Break out the flat iron, anti-frizz serum, and hairspray in an attempt to do damage control.

6:28AM: Give up. Put in a messy bun.

6:30AM: Burst into child’s room. Wake up! Wake up! Come on! We have to go! Child! WAKE UP!

6:32AM: Get child milk.

6:33AM: Give dog her medicine. Feed dog.

6:35AM: Deposit half asleep child with his half asleep father. Turn on Dinosaur Train while they both stare blearily at the screen.

6:40-6:50AM: Shower. Dress.

6:51AM: Check weather report. Choose Child’s clothes. Get diaper.

6:55AM: Go downstairs. Give husband his medicine. Throw Child’s clothes at husband and run back to kitchen to get lunch together while yelling that you’ll be ready in 10 more minutes and the kid better be ready to go at that time, too, and also the upstairs toilet isn’t working and can husband either fix it or call a plumber, or better yet just text you if he can’t fix it and you’ll call the plumber and HUSBAND, WHY ARE YOU STILL SLEEPING?! EVERYBODY WAKE UP! We have to GO, people!

6:56-7:05AM: Put on shoes, jewelry, coat. Search madly for Child's shoes, and that really important paper you need for work. Put dog on leash.

7:06-7:08AM: Wrestle about 10 dinosaurs out of Child’s hands. Bribe Child with Mardi Gras beads to get him to follow you out the door. Yell over your shoulder that you love your husband. Try to get out the door while not tripping on the child or the dog and carrying your laptop and your purse and your lunch and that really important…

7:09AM: Run back in for that really important paper.

7:10AM: Coerce the dog to jump into the back of the car.

7:11AM: Chase the child around the car yelling that he better stay put because you’re really late and you’re serious and we have to GO already!

7:12AM: Text Child’s Grandma: Omw. Running late. Will do drive-by drop off. Have Diet Coke ready, pls.

7:13AM: Start trip.

7:15AM: Sit at first stoplight.

7:17AM: Sit at second stoplight.

7:18AM: Sit at third stoplight.

7:21AM: Oh, for the love of…

7:24: Arrive at E’s grandparents’ house. Grandparents are assembled and ready like finely tuned racing car team. E’s grandfather gets the dog out of the back while Grandma gets Child and hands you Diet Coke in one seamless move.

7:26: Drive madly (but safely!) to work.

7:35: Get stuck behind a school bus that stops every 30 feet.

7:44: So close to work! You’re going to make it on time!

7:45: Huh. There are, like, 3 cars in the parking lot.

7:45:30: Oh, it’s the Friday before Spring Break, isn’t it?

7:46AM: Run in the door, really important piece of paper in hand.

7:46:30AM: No one is there yet.

7:47AM: Get an email saying that your boss has decided to take an early break, and that meeting today will be rescheduled to after Spring Break, and you can just give her that really important piece of paper when you all get back.

7:48AM: Put head down on desk.

7:52AM: Get text from Husband: Toilet fixed.

Well, it wasn't such a bad morning after all.

Fin.


Child! Glad you like education, and reading, etc., but for heaven's sake, let's go get dressed now!


No, not THOSE shoes. Hey wait, that's my missing red shoe! Where did you--no, nevermind. Go get YOUR shoes.