Archive for the ‘Usual Drama?’ Category

On Toys…

Monday, June 6th, 2011

It took a while getting here—praise all that is holy—but we reached this phase: When I tell my son we are going to a store he immediately tells me there will be toys there and that he will be taking one home.

Roar! Mmmph…

I hear some parents in the toys sections of stores adamantly telling their kids, I CAN’T AFFORD THAT, WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY, THAT’S TOO EXPENSIVE, NO, NO, NO. I have decided that this particular way of communicating with a child is not my style. I don’t want my son to grow up with money issues. I want him to believe there is enough money in the world for him. I want him to know that abundance, that money, that buying things is great—but not possible, practical or something to expect with each visit to a store that carries toys, cars, sailboats, RV’s, diamond studded watches, Go Karts, giant stuffed animals, remote controlled helicopters, Wolf ranges, golf clubs, silver barbecue units and anything else fantastic that catches his eye at any given time, etc.

Go, car, go!

So now, before we hit the store I say something like, “Today, we are going to the store to get such and such and we can also look at the toys, but we’re not buying toys this time.” Bam. Simple. End of story. I watch him nod and process this information. And—praise all that is holy and right in this world—I watch him accept it. Once we’re in the toy aisle, he may ask, “Can we take this home?”, but I stick to my guns and say, “Not today, remember? We’re just looking.” Bam. Simple. I watch him accept this. If we’re having an I-am-tired-because-I-get-up-so-darn-early-and-my-nap-wasn’t-enough sort of day, in which case he will press the toy issue to the point of, “What? Oh, no!” and tears, I calmly stick to my “Not today, Love,” story until the weepiness passes. If he continues crying, I say, calmly, “I’m sorry you’re upset. Maybe we should go to the car so you can finish crying.” At which point he snaps out of his distress, continues looking at toys and eventually comes willingly to the cash register.

I do remind him of all the toys he has to play with at home. This seems to help him accept not buying a new toy. I do assure him he has birthdays and that Christmas exists and other special occasions. Assurances help. They really do.

Vroom!

I have no idea if I’m creating serious money issues for him at 3 and a half years old, making his life better or worse, but hopefully better and hopefully I’m not screwing him up, like I feel I would be if I kept telling him, “No, we don’t have the money.”

And so: I carry on in the world of parenting, gripping my sense of positivity (sometimes hanging onto it by a thread) so that I can feel good about myself as a parent at the end of the day when he’s snoozing and I can finally run for the cookies and milk with a sigh like an earthquake and so much love in my heart for that little boy I’m amazed I haven’t burst. No time to burst! Onward, parent!

All boy…

zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

zzzzzz…

PB WRITES

The Website Of PB Rippey

When I’m Sick…

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

This has been a rocky late Winter, early Spring when it comes to health. My Facebook wall is filled with many mommy tales of recurring colds, coughs that last a month and (arrrgh!) pneumonia. In my house, pink eye was the tip of the illness-berg eventually ploughing right into Good Ship Mommy. See? I only write sentences like that when I’m delirious. I think.

My little love cup!

Out here in the burbs, I don’t have family close by or the types of neighbors I would allow to watch my child while I writhe in flu-agony. I do have “Curious George”. He dropped in as I took over the couch in my bathrobe, weakly fending off the kitten’s attacks and the dog’s wet nose in my face. My son sang and danced and commented on George’s discoveries and suddenly it was almost noon. That was when I called my husband and told him he had to come home.

Many things to do while Mama writhes on couch!

I know from the past few weeks of battling pink eye and colds that there are deeply hidden energy reserves in me—but I couldn’t locate them today. On the one hand, this was devastating—not having energy. On the other, it made me let go, just let go, let him watch George, let him snack on pretzels and Goldfish multi-grain crackers, let him dance around in his pj’s at almost noon, just let him. It doesn’t happen every day. Let the dishes pile up and the dust balls laze through the house. Let both Facebook and my writing be.

I told myself: Do microwave lunch and dinner. Do phone it in from the couch. DON’T have a mommy-meltdown with husband. Do know he is doing his best to get home. Do utilize cold/flu medicine to knock self out once child is under Dadda’s supervision. Let go, let go, let go…

I have a feeling letting go will be this Mama’s monumental challenge through the next decades. Best to start practicing now. (O little Moofy Boofy Luffy Wuffy Love Cup! Wherever you move to after college, I want to move there, too!)

O woe is me…

zzzzzzzzzzzzz…

PB WRITES

THE WEBSITE OF PB RIPPEY

Kitten, O Kitten…

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Last Mother’s Day I received a pet from my lovely husband. Last year, I was more sleepless than I am these days. That beautiful thing called preschool hadn’t started for us yet. 5:00a.m. wakings were still regular occurrences. Another pet to care for in addition to the two cats was hard for my weary, toddler-focused mind to process. Last Mother’s Day, as my lovely husband was pulling Julian’s cage from the car, I believe I yelled out the kitchen window, quite rudely: “WHAT DID YOU DO!!!”

We love animals!

Then, suddenly, last October we adopted Tucker. I’m still in shock. I honestly believe my lovely husband is on a not-so-secret mission to start a home petting zoo. In addition to two cats and a bird, we adopted a dog who needs to eat 3 times a day and have regular daily exercise. Just when the toddler started sleeping until 6:00a.m., we adopted a dog who requires 3:00a.m. potty breaks. And yet—I love him dearly. Who knew I had so much love to give? I am a magical (possibly futuristic) battery pack of love. An endless font (in ocean blue). A—zzzzzzzzzzz.

We love him and his toddler ways!

My lovely husband and I discussed adopting a kitten and, I thought, were in agreement that 2011 was not the year of the kitten, but remained steadfastly the year of the rabbit—several rabbits, in fact—once domesticated beauties repopulating and hopping through all the front yards on our street, but in no way in need of attention from me beyond the carrots I toss out for them. “Whew! Thank goodness we’re agreed on the kitten issue!” I told my lovely husband. Yup. That’s what I said.

Diggory!

So this Mother’s Day we welcomed Diggory into our petting zoo home. Now, it’s like he’s always lived here. He is one of us. He is (other than my son, Al and Rudycat and the dog) my baby. See the picture below? Obviously he gets me.

Komputer Kitten! Kute!

My lovely husband’s reasoning: “I’ve always felt bad about you losing Charlotte right after we moved to our Ponderosa. I want you to have your own cat again. I mean, yeah we’ll all love him, but he can be—er, yours,” he said as the kitten ripped his hands to shreds with those kitten needle claws and teeth we’d forgotten kittens possess.

Wild Diggory! He hurts.

Of course I adore him, even though it looks as though I cut myself or shoot up because of all the pricks and scratches on my hands and feet. He’s fun to cuddle when he’s asleep. Although he wakes me up intermittently in the dead of night by sticking said needle claws in my back, you only live once and it’s nice for T to have a kitten, for Al and Rudy to have their sedentary cat lives shaken up a bit, for the dog to have one feline who doesn’t hiss at him, for the Mama to have another opportunity to spread her love around as she chugs her morning coffee and for my lovely husband to have his family w/pets—a unit, a joy, a blessing that was a long time coming—for both of us.

He loves books!

Rock on all you late bloomers. That’s right: Rock on! Now please excuse me while I nap before everyone wakes——-oh. Too late.

Playing together!

PB WRITES

WWW.PBRIPPEY.COM

Torturing My Mother…

Monday, March 14th, 2011

At the Los Angeles Zoo, well into our visit, just after a lunch of cheese pizza and a drink in a container shaped like a smiling crocodile, I gripped my son’s hand and hauled him quickly past the chimpanzee exhibit, which we had to pass by in order to get to the kiddie train, which was suddenly all T could talk about. I glanced behind me and noticed my mother was not keeping up and I experienced a wave of panic. Chimps were pounding—POUNDING—on the viewing window, aggravating other chimps so that in seconds chimp-mania could be heard from the LA Zoo down the coast to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, a crescendo of nightmarish OOOk OOOk AHHHk AHHHks. I was looking around for zoo guards or safehouses or trees I might be able to climb with my son and my mom and hide from escaped chimps or if the chimps discovered us in the tree, I could kick them down with my Nikes and my mom could bash them with her purse or no, over there was the brand new elephant exhibit, we could rush over there and hide behind a friendly Asian elephant, except that the fence surrounding the exhibit hummed and was probably highly electric, so our best bet was the desert tortoise exhibit—I was thinking as the chimps went insane—and hiding in the tortoise dens, perhaps using a pretzel to coax one to block the entrance with its massive shell so that———

Because the zoo, for me, is a little Jurassic Park waiting to explode with escapees, starting with the chimp exhibit and spreading from there. The first time I took T to the zoo, when he was three months old, I spent the visit furious with myself for not stashing a crowbar in the bottom of the stroller just in case escapees threatened us and I felt so, so irresponsible for bringing a little innocent babe to a park filled with dangerous beasts and if my father-in-law hadn’t been with us, I would have insisted to my husband that we leave the ghastly zoo immediately because it was bad enough that the enclosures/pens/exhibits were so small (I mean, no wonder the chimps go nuts and the lions are always asleep and the otter swims in circle after hopeless circle) and worse that one earthquake could unleash residents of the African veldt and then where would we be, but running for the exit with the panicked masses. A crowbar, a crowbar, my breast pump for a crowbar, I thought to myself (incessantly) that first visit with T.

“Like those chimps that ripped that guy’s face off,” I told my mom and she looked horrified and responded, weakly, “Whaaaaaat???” “You know,” I said, as we paused on a bench so my son could gulp crocodile-sippy and catch his breath. We were next to the tortoise exhibit. We couldn’t hear the chimps anymore. Perhaps they’d killed each other. “It was all over the news,” I told my mom as I cased the tortoise exhibit for hiding places. “This couple visited a chimp that used to be theirs and that they donated to a wildlife sanctuary type place and during the visit they were attacked by escaped ‘rogue’ chimps and the husband had his face ripped off. You didn’t hear about that?” “Oh my gosh!” my mom said, paling. “Yeah,” I continued. “I think they pretty much wrenched off his nose. Or bit it off, or whatever. And Jane Goodall,” I said as my mom looked like she might throw up, “Jane Goodall would never let her son, when he was a little boy, near the chimps without her because she knew they’d kill him if they could.” My mom was ashen. We followed T past the tortoises and the empty tapir exhibit (TAPIR—HARMLESS, I was thinking) and watched him run gleefully for the kiddie train. I felt guilty. I had not been absolutely truthful with my mom about the Jane Goodall information. I can’t remember if JG said the chimps would actually kill her son, but that bit was crucial to my point—which was: YOU CAN’T TRUST THE WILD, EVEN IF IT’S PENNED. “What really amazes me,” I told my mom as we watched my son listen to the train-ride-lady tell him the train was broken. “Is how people grab their kids and run FOR the chimp exhibit when theh chimps bang on things and bare their teeth and scream. It’s like running FOR the spewing volcano or sailing FOR the whirlpool or sticking out your arm so the rabid dog can gnaw it to the bone.” “Hm,” my mom said with great sadness as I scooped my devastated son up in my arms and promised him an ice cream cone to compensate for no train ride. He lost his balance when I released him and skinned his left knee on concrete. As I carried my weeping, exhausted child a quarter of a mile to the exit and the ice cream stand, I thought about my zoo fear and how I keep coming back for more and I wondered, Who am I? A mother, or a—what’s that word—do I mean sadist—no—it’s coming—wow, the flamingo exhibit really stinks today—I wonder if I’ll get a nap later—oooh, that ice cream looks so good—masochist, that’s it. Am I a mother, or a masochist? No, that’s not right. Am I a mother or a—I would so love some ice cream—a repressed zoologist. No, that’s not right, I thought as my son generously offered me a bite of his vanilla ice cream. Am I a mother or a—what time were we up this morning? 4:30? I’m tired. I’m just tired. Again. Mmm…

I didn’t ask my mom her opinion on whether I was a sadist, masochist, repressed zoologist, paranoid freak or simply brain-fried from lack of sleep. I figured I had put her through enough for one day.

Ow.

PB WRITES

Fever…

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

I’d forgotten how alarming fevers can be. It’s been awhile since my son’s head felt so hot. After changing him from the stifling footed-pj’s into cooler wear, taking his temperature and placing a cold compress on his forehead, I worked hard on tuning out the alarmist-speak in my mind, replacing it with: Fevers are common. Fevers come out of nowhere, at least with my son. Fevers mean his body is fighting the whatever-it-is and this is a good thing. I have friends who traveled with their children in countries where they didn’t speak the language and their kids bloomed fevers and yet—all worked out—meaning, I know the language here, I know where the nearest ER is if necessary, I know how to use the newfangeld beeping thermometer thingies, I am good at reading my son, I have learned something in 3 years about fevers and colds and flu and boo boos and tantrums and head knocks and coughs and all that goes with raising baby to toddler to preschooler.

Healthy little beach bunny!

So I didn’t call the 24/7 nurse or ask my husband his thoughts on taking our son to the ER. I believed the thermometer (instead of upping it 5 to 10 degrees, blindly responding to unhelpful hysteria), called upon my fever-educators (Dr. Spock, Dr. Sears, my sisters, my mommy friends), got him comfortable and waited. And the fever passed. And just as importantly as the passing of this fever? My not freaking out—like that first time he had a fever and of course we were out of town and we freaked out and took him to the ER where he screamed, where the doc on call had no experience with sick babies and had to phone her superior, who of course advised her to give our baby the parent-pacifier-antibiotic: amoxicillin, about which our pediatrician shook his head sadly when we told him because the fever should have been left to just run its course—it wasn’t even 103—but what the hell did we know? Feverish crying baby, nervous new parents up 5 times in the night to call the 24/7 nurse—okay, those days are over. I will never rule out a visit to the ER, but I will also never rule out listening to intuition, staying calm, learning from past sicknesses, continually educating myself as a parent, and above all: Vigilance. “Listen, PB,” someone told me. “If it isn’t serious, LET it not be serious. Okay?” Yep. Okay.

I’ve written all this from my sickbed. No fever. No coffee. No nanny (not that I’ve ever had one). The good news: It’s a preschool day and I think I’ve turned the corner. Hysteria? Ha ha ha! Or, rather: Ha. Ha. Haaaaaaa…OM.

PB WRITES

Happy Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Despite being given a hint of grief from one of T’s preschool teachers because I failed in my two attempts at making jello hearts over the weekend (I even bought silicon molds, then when that fell apart, tried cookie cutters this morning, then when that fell apart raced to Albertson’s and bought mini-cupcakes, which disappointed this particular teacher, who asked if I’d read the expiration date on the box of jello used, who let out a big sigh of disappointment, who shocked the hell out of me by saying the cupcakes were nice, but the kids shouldn’t have that much sugar—and jello is what???—but instead of responding like a Valkyrie, I took the high road and mostly because T loves the school————–you know? I did return with a plate of the leftover, fallen-apart jello, handed it to this teacher and politely explained, “Um. Here…”)—despite anything freaky in the world, it’s a glorious Valentine’s Day, sunny and temperate, and I have the next 2 and 1/2 hours to myself while my son enjoys his V Day party at school.

Valentine’s Day breakfast bear.

Life is hearts. Have a wonderful 2011 Valentine’s Day and remember to send a little love to yourself—because you deserve it. Even if you fail at jello hearts.

PB WRITES

On Play…

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about “play” lately and how much I do, or don’t, engage in it with my son. Reading, The Last Child In The Woods and Playful Parenting has me worrying about the last time T and I made a fort together or had a picnic in the Ponderosa’s semi-mangy, large enough for a small Civil War re-enactment backyard. Like any mommy, I’m caught up in mealtimes and Target and Trader Joe’s runs and vacuuming up dog hair twice a day and doing laundry before it becomes Everest-ish, so that rather than getting down and dirty with T in a mud puddle, I’ll let him get down and dirty while I glance at him through the windows as I cook veggie hot dogs or Google healthy waffle recipes for kids.

Mama! Play with me!

Oh, PB. Really? Listen: Step away from the Google. Leave Target for another day. Take the pot off the burner—your son is not going to starve if he doesn’t eat dinner right at six. Go outside and pick up that monster truck and take it over to him and make it make friends with his autos and dinos and giraffes and get some play-action going, Mama. He needs it. You need it. He’ll remember it.

He’s your only child and, to be quite frank, these days won’t be coming back, PB.

I think you’d better go for it.

WWW.PBRIPPEY.COM

2011!!!

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

It’s a new year. What a concept! How marvelous to start afresh with resolutions carefully typed into Word, resolutions sought with open mind and heart in (extremely) rare moments of domicile privacy, or—fished for from the sweetly-art-deco-bottom of an emptied Mikasa champagne flute on NYE. Hurrah, PB! Hurrah for resolutions!

Sheer inspiration…

Please stay tuned. PB cannot write more this evening, as it is now 10:18p.m., ALREADY and one of PB’s huge resolutions, already broken, is to be settling down for sleep by 10p.m., every night, to abate the—difficulty—of her son’s 5.a.m. wakings and the dog’s I WILL BE WALKED IF ANYONE MOVES IN THAT BED AFTER THE HOUR OF 4:00 IN THE MORNING, and the cats’ SCRATCHING THE LAMPSHADE, WE’RE SCRATCHING THE LAMPSHADE AND MOVING ON TO THE HALL CARPET, WE’RE RUNNING ACROSS YOUR SLEEPING BODIES, WE’RE KNOCKING DOWN PICTURES ON THE DRESSER, WE WANT FOOD, WE WANT, WE WANT—listen, it’s just time to go to bed. Happy New Year. I heart resolutions. Mine have already come in handy this 4th day into year-bliss. Seriously! Peace. Um—resolution-on, man.

Manor owners.

PB WRITES

Blog Break: More Christmas…

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

I don’t know about your house, but THESE are the kind of Christmas shenanigans going on around here:

Salmon and cream cheese, also pb&j

Not to mention early Christmas presents from Semi-Secret Santa Mommies:

Ooooo!

Or Christmas caroling to the dog:

Fa la la la la…

But this, THIS is really what’s going on around here—every—single—second:

Christmas Mad Dog…

O perfect, metaphor-catching picture! Yes, I vacuum up dog hair twice daily, rise at 4:00 a.m. to allow the child into our bed, awake every 5 minutes until 6:00a.m., when it’s time to get up for the day because T wakes with his headlights on BRIGHT and is ready to rock and roll and eat pancakes I’ve secretly stuffed with carrot puree and applesauce, yes I’m still a sleepless mother despite preschool, but I can honestly say: I am enjoying the season. He is enjoying the season. My currently snoozing husband, too.

TGIF.

PB WRITES

Pardon My Absence…

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Who knew the end of the year could be jam-packed with so many changes? New dog, preschool (!!!), Thanksgiving at our house—well, that happened last year, too. I guess I mean: HOLIDAY SEASON (MADNESS)!!! In addition to us all waking up at 4a.m. (at which point little boy comes and gets in bed with us and plays tag with my kidneys with his heels), 5a.m. (at which point Dadda takes the dog for a rollerblade/walk), 6a.m. (at which point the youngster among us is up until naptime). I am also editing/revising my novel. And mopping floors and finishing Christmas shopping THIS WEEK and organizing a booked calendar and hoping I’m not forgetting anything, anyone—like this blog. And—well, see picture below. ‘Tis the season! Let us Hallelujah. Until the next post.

Fa la la la la! (etc.)

Preschool Guts…

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

This post is important for me to write as it involves almost not listening to my intuition, almost letting exhaustion run my mind instead of logic (not that logic isn’t a fair weather friend of mine), thereby almost resulting in sending my son to the wrong preschool instead of: the fantastic, nurturing, sun shines out of its a**, Waldorf-got-nothin’-on-us, creativity promoting, we-help-potty-train preschool he is currently attending.

Wanting to take his toys with him to the school visit.

A month before his 3rd birthday, my son switched from sleeping through the night until 6am OR LATER, to waking up several times during the night and for good by 5a.m. I should say, he reverted to this brutal waking hour, one I have yet to (3 years later) get used to. With the addition to our family of a 2nd toddler, Tucker, my sleep once again constantly disrupted, my husband and I considered preschool for our early waking, determined to test his parents, adorable son. “I’d rather have a sane wife than—well, than not,” my husband told me as I stared dismally into my 5am coffee mug, having forgotten to put coffee into the maker’s filter, thereby brewing myself a pot of hot water. “Just need more, um, what’s that called. Sleep,” I whispered, my head crashing to the table, snores louder than the dog’s erupting.

He picked it out himself.

My son and I visited several schools. One in particular struck my fancy as it is close to us, thoroughly gated and full of teachers. This school’s Mission Statement extols enriching the lives of 3-year-olds and helping to potty train them, if necessary. Miss A was soft-spoken and when she sang songs, her students listened. However, on the 2nd day of visiting, misgivings plagued me. Miss A had 10 little ones and no helper, despite all of the teachers-teachers-everywhere. On our 2nd day of visiting, Miss A’s class arrived and wouldn’t behave or follow rules and this took a huge toll on Miss A—she was stressed out after the first hour. Understandably so! How could she watch 10 rampaging toddlers AND help some with the potty, change diapers, have them make their Mayflower boat painting, read to them, sing to them all by herself? Bless her. She did her best and I admire her. She should be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and receive free spa visits for what she does.

The Mayflower!

But the fact that she had no assistant worried me. Furthermore, when the kids were outside in the fabulous playground, teachers seemed to manage kids vs. play with them, or make games with them. This “managing” crept deep into my subconscious and troubled me.

That evening, I once again fervently Googled preschools in the San Fernando Valley, my heart sinking when the schools I hadn’t yet visited and was most attracted to were Montessori or Waldorf based and $10,000/year. Not do-able at this time. So I started resigning myself to sending my son to Miss A’s class, because how different could preschool programs really be, anyway? Perhaps managing children was what happened to children his age, no matter WHAT a Mission Satement insisted (and the Mission Statements school to school, whether pricy or modest tuitions, were all similar). Instead of teachers dressing up like fairies or historical figures or wizards or animals and introducing students to acorn art and really wild stories and fun songs, perhaps the reality was a class like Miss A’s. And besides, Miss A was a nicer teacher than at any of the other schools I’d visited, she was closer to home and———I slept on it.

Little Big Boy!

The next morning I decided to visit one last preschool near us that I hadn’t checked yet. I was 99% resigned—yes, resigned!!!—to Miss A’s school, despite my guts twisting every time I thought about it, despite alarm bells and sirens wailing through my brain, trying to shake me up, trying to order me not to settle for anything less than the best for my son, trying to tell me I was going to have to start from scratch and check out schools farther away if I had to—advice hard for a Mama with bags under her eyes to take. Alarms did penetrate my fatigue, though, because we did visit. Here’s what happened.

The second we were shown into the secure preschool area, I was greeted by the Director, a friendly woman wearing a tye dye summer-ish dress. She gestured to the play area and encouraged my son to explore it, which wasn’t necessary, as he was already RUNNING over to join in the activities. As my son engaged with children, the Director showed me around and second by second I was swallowed by the happy vibe of the place, it’s cheerful student artwork proudly displayed on walls, it’s library, its toys and homey feel and outside, its sand and bubbles and teachers moving here and there with the packs of kids, instructing, suggesting, stimulating minds. Correcting, yes, there was correcting going on by the teachers, but it was obvious they were there for the children in a way that the previous school’s teachers were not. My son held Miss M’s hand within the first hour of our being there and accompanied her to the potty, went potty and returned wearing a pull-up beneath his jeans instead of a diaper. I almost threw myself into the Director’s arms and sobbed relief into her tye dye. I had almost made a huge mistake. No—preschools are NOT all the same and the right preschool IS out there. We had definitely found ours.

Off he goes!

So I’d like to thank my own personal nagging and alarms for not giving up on trying to alert me. I’m glad I listened. The return for listening is priceless. I must never forget to listen, never excuse not listening, never settle. Now pardon me as I try not to weep in my car, having left him at preschool for the first time. My little big boy! Mama is going home to nap while you paint, make giant bubbles, sing songs, make art with acorns, sit for storytime, enjoy snacktime, make messes and help to clean them up. I promise you, my son, I will be a better mother for extra sleep and some time alone—and you have some new things to discover and tell me all about when I pick you up in 3 hours. Sniff, bawl. I love you, baby! (cue that Carly Simon song that plays at the end of “Heartburn” with Meryl Streep).

A Sleepless Mama sniffs and tries to keep it together.

PB WRITES

Preschool: An Introduction…

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

My son just turned 3.

Climber!

A year ago he and I visited a preschool. It was very: science station, art station, monthly themes (pirates, the holiday stuff), and parents could hang out and peek around corners to see if their children were happy——

Ah, science!

Leave my son in that sweet, teacher-caring, we-provide-potty-training environment? A Mama’s worst nightmare!!!

Excavating!

A year ago, my son would not sit still for any storytime we attended. He parallel-played consistently. He did not engage in science stations (his sand and water table at home, dirt pile in our yard) for longer than a few minutes. At the preschool visit, he obsessed on the indoor pirate ship thingy and screamed when I tried to get him to look at what the other kids were doing, upsetting parents peeking around corners. I was scared of disrupting the entire school. So we left, with me telling myself that there is plenty of time for pre-school, that he is going to be in school for such a good portion of his life, why not stick to playdates and beach outings and park fun.

Water drums!

Tomorrow we’re returning to that preschool from a year ago. My son’s sleeping habits have reverted to his first year of life, when wakings were constant and urgent and why this is happening again is beyond me. I don’t feed him sugar. He doesn’t eat fast food. He drinks milk. Tonight he even accepted steamed green beans. I am. A. Vigilant mother. Especially when it comes to my finnicky eater. So why the wakings in his cozy, super-dark room (but for a little nightlight)? Why? Mama is so tired…

Interesting jeep!

So tired, that I AM READY for preschool. 3 mornings a week. As long as he likes it.

Painting!

He does love being around kids on playdates and at the park, even if older kids don’t realize he is actually following them around and playing some game they are inadvertently involved with. He does crafts now (for about 10 minutes). He likes bugs and binoculars and anything pirates and rockets and marine. He won’t sit still for a storytime, but if the other kids are, maybe he’ll consider settling in, especially since he loves books. Tomorrow is a big day.

Says so much.

Because it’s not about me. Of course it is about me! But not really. You know?

A Mama learns to let go a little. And catch up on some sleep.

Little guy. Little pre-schooler (maybe). I will bring my box of tissues with me tomorrow. Happy Birthday!
Little guy!

PB WRITES

Blog Break Ad Nauseum…

Monday, November 8th, 2010

There are reasons for all the blog breaks I have posted of late, instead of writing meaningful material. Ha ha! Place your mouse over each photo to receive an explanation. Or—not…

Uncle Bob’s Birthday!

“Papa” visits and brings miniature golf platforms.

My dad’s 70th birthday!
(One sister is not featured in photo as she lives in Iowa—however, we missed her greatly, although the Pater HAD TO ACT as if overwhelmed by female offspring invading his household. Could not cooperate and just smile normally for camera…

Dinner guest!

We love him and his toddler ways!
Newest addition to our family!

Frikkin’ Time Change!!!
Yes, that’s right: Frikkin’ time change!

Yeah, and this!
Which means I’m writing/editing.

And my son—

Candy Boy Buzz!

turns 3 in 5 days. November is a busy month! And it’s Christmas at Target. Ouch.

PB Writes

There Goes My Baby…

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

We are back in the realm of tantrums. It is a dark land for my son. No toys, kisses or comfort reside there. The din is full-speed-engines over cymbals. Vocals and emotion escalate like the “Star Wars” speed-of-light effect: Vrooooosh—white flashes—there goes T, to confounded private orbits Mama cannot reach.

Uh oh.

So I wait for him to fall back to Earth. Sometimes this waiting takes place in the middle of a store aisle, after I’ve told him it’s time to leave the premises without the item he has requested we “buy go home”. (Don’t get me wrong—I WANT to buy him the Dora/Diego 12 pack DVD set, the $40 Buzz Lightyear robot doll, I WANT to give him every suitcase with wheels and popout handles he rolls around the store and throw in the triple-D-cup bras yanked from hangers and which he really wants me to have, even though of course I can’t wear them—I WANT to buy him Venice, Italy, with swaying gondolas. But, come on…)

Speed of light, speed of light!

I wait: In a park after the pack of kids he inserted himself into leaves the premises before we do. I wait: In Costco after I’ve just told him we’ll pay for our things and THEN get a hot dog. I wait: In our living room after I’ve explained we are out of Triple A batteries and so can’t restart the Mini Monster Truck With Bitchin’ Lightshow. I wait, my head lingering in the freezer, after he’s just hit lightspeed because I’ve told him we’re out of popsicles.

Gah!

I am reminded that I must never think we are totally over a phase, like tantrums—must never wipe my brow and whistle “phew” because early-morning-wakings are a thing of the past (ha ha), must never under or overestimate my son. He understands and absorbs every second and overload kicks in and either sends him into lightspeed, or, alternatively, produces a fresh, astonishing sentence, such as: “Mama, guess what? Moon is (gibberish) and the (gibberish) and (name of toddler friend) and doggies birthdays with nightlights. Tell Dadda when home for deeener. Right on, mama!” (And here, after he’s singled it out from his little fingers, I’m given an ecstatic thumbs-up.)

“Why, absolutely tell Dadda,” I reply, matching his thumbs-up with one of my own, then wiping my eyes with an old, dried-up baby-wipe that happens to be within reach. “My wuvvy baby. Er, I mean, The Force is with you, T.”

A few tantrums daily—a few leaps for mankind.

Force? You rock. zzzzz

PB WRITES

Blog Break # Infinity…

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Sigh…

The only problem with coming home is leaving the above behind. And allowing for a day of fatigue, in which mother and son are flattened by all the gallavanting they’ve done the week before. Once breakfast concludes, we take eons to dress and whatever else and get our bottoms to Trader Joe’s. Plus, it’s 90 degrees by the end of T’s naptime, so forget Gaga-walking around the neighborhood with T in the stroller, forget piling into the broiling minivan and driving anywhere, forget it. We read books in his room, color paper plates, wash dishes, I teach him how to put the folded laundry away (this includes many drawer openings and shuttings and a slew of high-fives). We roll out the pizza dough and he presses the pulse button on the food processor, not knowing that the spinach and beets and creamy Swiss cheese he is mashing together will comprise the base of his pizza dough, disguised with cheese and olives (and, later, he eats it, still oblivious—a Mama is victorious). We hibernate in stifling September, in the cool of the A/C. And I think fondly of the beach we traversed and mucked about on only yesterday—the perfect playground. It’s good to go away and it’s good to come home, but I have to say that most of all: It’s bloody darn pinchy good to have energy. Vital, even! Ha, ha!

Vital.

THE OTHER BLOG (it’s very quiet over there tonight)

Little Warrior…

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Usually when my husband and son take an outing, they return with a new something-or-other kind of toy for T. Usually this toy is, say, a neonic noodle (you know, the obnoxious foamy things you take in kiddie pools and bang other kids on the head with), or a cheap glider that falls apart after the first flight, or a Matchbox type of car to add to the collection under the couch. Yesterday, however, was different (cue sinister The Omen theme music). Yesterday, my spouse and T returned with THIS (cue crescendo of The Omen theme music):

En Guard, you bow and arrows toting swine!

Not man, not elf, but Melf (I suppose) with a completely untrusworthy expression, sword, shield with terrifying coat of arms and hatchet (not pictured). Not to mention those bows and arrows. Into the house runs my son with this THING still in its package. “Pweeze, Mama!” he shouted, meaning open it immediately, Mama, or I will have a fit. Grrrrr, I thought as I smiled at my son and said, “Sure, baby, sure.” Grrrrrrrrrr.

Upon interrogating my husband in my nicest voice (so as not to alarm our child) the second he stepped across the threshold, his arms loaded in bags of groceries, his expression harried from his time in the food aisles where our son loves to run wild, I was informed that T had picked out the Melf, not my husband. “Babe. He wanted it. Badly.” Arrrrrrgh! I thought, handing the Melf to my delighted child, who played with it for about 5 minutes, then discarded it to the train table. To my relief, bows/arrows/medieval weaponry are either too complicated or foreign or boring for him. At 2 years and 3/4, he doesn’t play with action figures yet, it’s true. Mostly he plays with the Sodor trains, his dirt trucks, his Diego submarine, his stuffed animal collection, his cars, cars, cars. Plus, HE LIKES READING BOOKS WITH HIS PARENTS. Whew. My baby! He still is one! Sort of! Tears in my eyes, I watched T bang out the back door to run and play on the lawn in the cool, glorious evening. I quickly made off with the Melf, tossing him and his dastardly tools in a dark cupboard until after T’s bedtime, when I took these photographs and numbed, then overpowered and utterly conquered the pathetic Melf with my Toshiba’s power thingy (cue Stars Wars theme music).

Surrender, Melf!

Yes, that’s right: With my Toshiba’s power thingy (cue Chariots Of Fire theme music).

Ha ha ha, Melf! I win, I win!!!

And then I put the Melf deep, deep in the Goodwill pile in the garage—but only because tossing him in the trash seemed wasteful and I wasn’t sure if he was recyclable. The Melf may live to see another day, but hopefully not with my child—at least not for a long, long time—which in toddler-time probably means next week. Arrrrrrgh! (cue Shock The Monkey by Peter Gabriel)

PB WRITES

The Other Island

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Sigh

This is actually the movie we were supposed to watch. Not “The Lost Island”, but this, a comedy. How did I confuse the two? Well, I was too lazy to leave my bed office to find the DVD and the correct title, so I Googled Andy Garcia and his bloody darn movies and got Lost instead of City, didn’t even see City, and who knew Andy Garcia would be in 2 movies with the word City in them, anyway? But since we didn’t watch the movie, who cares? I HAVE NO OPINION TO GIVE. Now it is Sunday and we still have not watched the movie and will probably return it to Redbox unwatched. We did, however, get more sleep than usual—which for some reason is making us more tired. The good news is that the toddler has taken to weaning like a—root to water? Cat to tuna? Like a Mama to her imagined BMW? Although last night, as Mama slept the sleep of drugged horses, my husband (working at the living room table) “felt” a presence behind him. He turned around and there was our son staring at him, holding his blanket and blue glow stick. “OH MY GOD,” my husband reacted. The toddler promptly cried, scared by his dad scared by him and had to be soothed back to sleep. Usually the toddler does not wake up in the middle of the night and when he does, I am very aware of any waking. However, I missed my husband’s cry of fear and the toddler’s wounded cry, which is very unlike me and a little disturbing—because I am a mother, NOT AN ISLAND. I close this scintillating Sunday post with these vital statements:

Blrrrrrrgh

zzzzzzzz

PB WRITES

Waiting…

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Da Movie

Am so looking forward to an impromptu (i.e., S showed up tonight with movies) datenight with my husband. But it’s been an hour since he and T did their now nightly night-night routine. My husband has fallen asleep in T’s room. I am so SO loving my new freedom of not having to do rocking every night, of T letting his dad put him down instead of me—it’s a whole new world! I made it to book club on time last night, meaning I actually socialized beforehand instead of staggering in all bleary-eyed from rocking darkness and utterly late to find most of the good goodies and non-book conversation gone. I had dibs on conversation and goodies. Lovely! I so like this change! I—I mean, it’s sad, too. But going to book club on time was nice…Gah, the conflicting emotions! They’re like knives (cue “Psycho” music) and—Pygmy People blow darts!

I am very happy to be in such a situation, this will-we-or-won’t-we-watch-a-movie-because-I-don’t-have-to-rock-and-nurse-my-son-every-night situation. You know? Of course you do. While S put T down, I showered, dressed in freshly washed (and dried) pajamas, I have a glass of wine. But I’d really like S to wake up and come and watch the movie. Ha ha! Parenthood. Blrrrrrrgh. Yes. That’s right. Blrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

PB WRITES (yeah, yeah, yeah)

Day Out: Nemo…

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I flow with an attitude of serendipity through all kinds of experiences.
—Louise Hay

Seals! Or Sea Lions! Couldn’t read the placard. Too much going on!

Today being a prime example of attempting to make “flowing” a reality at the overcrowded Long Beach Aquarium Of The Pacific and its magnificent, child-endearing cases and cases of fish, coral, anemones, jellyfish, weedy sea dragons, super weird s*** with mouths and tails you can touch and even a bull shark with restless twitches in a tank big enough for a convention of hermit crabs, maybe, but—a tank big enough to house that many sharks? (Turn Mind Off After $20-something admission fee, just: Turn. Mind. Off…).

So many fish, so little a guy to view it all…

Having been on a serious Nemo kick since Catalina Island and the charming rentable house we stayed in with The Movie he had never seen before because Nemo’s mother is wiped out in the first two minutes and I hate that—

Ah, the mighty sea turtle! He can never hang around long enough…

Having been on a serious Nemo kick (we own the movie now, oh yeah—but I fast forward through mom’s fatal chomping by a barracuda), and not having been to the aquarium since October, 2009, when the giant water squirting squid was all he wanted and we ate next to some kids atrocious to birds

Fish! Fish! Fish!

Having been on a serious Nemo kick due to worry that my son watches too many DVD’s while mama stares blank-eyed into her 6am cup of coffee—I am on a serious outings kick. Because of T’s current Nemo fascination, where to go BUT the aquarium and its sweetly caged aqua-beasts and (don’t know why it’s there, but it’s nice) Lorikeet Forest?

Birds and fish! Birds and fish!

I knew I wouldn’t be getting a nap and I was prepared for that, prepared to go a few thousand extra miles this day, but I wasn’t prepared for my son’s enthusiasm. He told anyone and everyone standing at every case HI!!! FISH!!! WOOK!!! FISH!!! And, when we found the Nemo case, HI!!! NEMO!!! WOOK!!! DURY!!! (i.e., Dory—many, many Nemos and Dorys swimming together beautifully, making kids BALLISTIC with excitement—they must have planned it that way, right? Those diabolical-aquarium-planner types? Or—Disney?).

Nemo! Dory! OMG!

Enthusiasm that, several times, accelerated into chaotic emotion preceding (as I know from experience in Target and malls) tantrums, during which my son shouts STOP IT STOP IT STOP, as though I’m beating him in public (instead of just standing there with a slump in my shoulders and a glance at my wristwatch as he enters serious turmoil). Arrrrgh! I felt bi-polarish the entire fish-viewing: Utterly elated by his elation, then sunk (pun intended) by his own tot-bi-polarish angst. Little guy!

OMG. TG for fake ones.

However (and I’m not patting myself on the back with big whoops or woots or however we spell shizzzz—I’m simply stating my own experience): Despite my frustration at my son’s frustration with Listening-To-Mama, I was pleased with my TONE when dealing with his—well, with his tone. True, I did use the, “We’ll have to go back to the car, then, won’t we?”, but I did not raise my voice, did not accuse him of grievous wrong-doing, did not beg or plead or argue or lie on the darkish aquarium carpet in the fetal position, sucking my thumb before a gathering crowd. I did what I’ve been practicing since he turned 2 and startled me with his first tantrum–only this time, today, it was easier for me—my parenting method was easier—it flowed: I talked to him. And talked to him some more, whatever his reaction—until he calmed and the angst receded from his eyes like (yes, I’m writing it and sticking by it!) a minus tide…

Way up there, fish. And more fish. Way up there…

And then I bought him a Nemo.

Just love you so much!

www.pbrippey.com

Baking—With A Rolling Pin!…

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I’ve been utilizing the Weelicious recipe site of late. I’ve tried the Breakfast Bread Pudding, which my finnicky toddler actually enjoyed and asked for seconds (which he got once mama recovered from her heart attack and picked herself up off the floor). I made the Baked Zucchini Coins, which were delicious, although (grrrrr!) the toddler didn’t think so (luckily his dadda did). I baked the Pizza Muffins, which once again were a hit with the dadda, especially since I substituted tofu cubes for the chicken the recipe called for. The toddler? He licked the tops of two muffins with a suspicious look on his face, took one bite and asked for jello.

Today’s venture is Carrot Snack Sticks, which look beautiful in the picture on the site and which, around here, will be Carrot Dinner Sticks. I was very excited to use a rolling pin that I found in my havoc-of-cooking-implements kitchen cabinet. Can’t remember when or why I bought it, but how nice to have it at my fingertips! The toddler “washed” dishes while I prepared the recipe, adding about 5 times the amount of parmesan cheese due to my experiences with flour’s power to bland, bland, bland. I also added about 3 or 4 more tablespoons of vegetable oil than the recipe calls for. I’m wild, man! I’m crazy!

Pre going in the oven!

As I expected, the sticks did not look like the chef’s picture when they came out of the oven.

Placed so nicely on his tray!

But T ate 1. Then asked for milk. Then he ate another. And I’m sure he’ll eat the watermelon slice I’m keeping out of sight as he ponders the remaining carrot sticks before him (hopefully he’ll eat more). So tonight’s dinner: Carrot Sticks, watermelon and milk. Not bad. Ha ha ha!

Proof of his eating!

As I’ve mentioned incessantly, my toddler is a finnicky eater. Compared to other toddlers I know, those who only eat dry cheerios, for instance (so sorry for those mothers), he’s great. But for me each meal is a challenge in keeping cool, not worrying, not taking that rolling pin and using it to pound the many pillows on my bed as I silently scream my frustation when he refuses a recipe, any recipe, even the tried and trusted ones. Instead, I take the pin with both hands, bring it behind my head and commit 50 french presses. Right on! Cooking that’s good for the triceps, or whatever that area of arm is that waves like a banner in the wind. Ah, PB—you were born for motherhood! Peace and be well. And remember that the pediatrician told you not to worry—unless T starts losing weight from finnickiness and so far he’s way too chunky for that. Keep on cooking!

The Pin…

WWW.PBRIPPEY.COM

A BIG PS. After writing this post I noticed a burning smell. The 2nd batch of Carrot Snack Sticks were destroyed. I didn’t hear the timer. Too bad, because the longer I left the sticks on his tray, the more he eventually ate. Back to the rolling pin!

Burnt sticks…