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Small Things 11-12-13

1.  And then yesterday, he picked up his spoon and started eating before I ever reached the table.  He’d eaten a better breakfast than usual, so it wasn’t just hunger.

Go figure.

All I can think is that I offered to let him use his old Winnie-The-Pooh tableware–stuff he rejected almost a year ago as being too babyish.  He reminded me, “This is silverware for babies!” in a delighted tone of voice, and I said that yes, babies could use it, but so could he, if he wanted.

Gobbled that mac & cheese right down with a great big grin on his face.  Ate soup for dinner.  Lots & lots of soup.

Not complaining here, just very very bemused.

2.  He’s no longer receiving treats for peeing, but has started to believe that there will come a day when he’ll poop on the potty (& not in his nighttime diaper, please GOD!) He’s started feeling out the potential for treats, I’m amused to note.

“Real is using the potty like a big bunny.  Even for poo.””Ah.  How nice for Real.  I’ll bet he’s proud of himself.”
“He was thinking maybe he should get a treat.  A chocolate treat.”
“Was he?  How enterprising of Real.  Go on.  What kind of treat is Real thinking he should get for pooping on the potty like a big bunny?”

A look of delight on Hen’s face and he screams “Chocolate Fingers!”



Turns out it was Butterfingers that Real thinks he loves enough to inspire him to pooping greatness.  (Damn you, Halloween!  My homemade-applesauce-loving child has learned the joy of Three Musketeers Bars! Milky Ways!  Chocolate Fingers!  And he knows to ask for them by (almost) name.)

Since the glories of pooping on a potty have not yet become entirely evident to Hen, I still have time to decide if I’m going to go down that sticky route or not.  I’m inclined to say yes, because really, bribery for pee made life so easy; but I’m inclined to say no just out of a vague moral sense that I’m ruining my kid if I get him thinking he deserves candy for taking a dump.  We’ll see how hardline I’m feeling if there EVER comes a day when I am not starting my day with a big clean up job.

A few Chocolate Fingers here and there probably won’t hurt anything…

3.  Yeah, I’m totally loving today’s date.  And yeah, I HAVE been waiting for it all year.  Next December’s consecutive run will be hard for me–the end of a decade+long era!

4.  Clementines!

5.  Stove is being installed on the 25th.  Sigh.  I should really try to use the stupid grill attachment for something like grilled jalapenos in January or something (Or I suppose I could just continue to bitch and moan about my pathetic first world ‘problem’, which is probably more amusing in the long run…)

Small Things 11-10-13

1.  I’m pretty sure that the comparison of cats to human sociopaths is one that has been made before.  So I won’t belabor the point.

Well, yeah I will.  After 48 hours of sporadically putting the cat into a locked dining room with a wounded chipmunk (my least favorite rodents, by the by) in a sort of cage match to the death, she was still no closer to actually ending that poor wounded thing than she was 2 days ago.

(And in all fairness to the human, non-sociopaths (I promise!) who live here, the rodent was in a vent for most of that time, couldn’t be located/retrieved.  It’s not like we were just cheering on messy rodenticide and selling popcorn.)

When it got to the point that the chipmunk crawled out of the vent, went nose-to-nose with the intrigued but not murderous cat, like it was saying, “come on, you bastard, just end it already”, we had enough and The Valiant Boy (nevermore to be known as effete easterner/city Boy) donned heavy gloves & went in to grab the chipmunk to throw his sorry little rodent butt outside.

Where he still might die, but honestly, it was just too much for me to witness.

And just now?  Not 2 hours after the end of the chipmunk saga? The cat just brought a paraplegic mouse to me.  Seriously?  Just kill it, Mattie.  It’s the size of your paw.  Just smack it.  The torture has to stop.  What’s gonna happen if these mice gang up & grab you one of these days?  You think I’ll be able to get you back with all your whiskers intact?  Yeah.  I don’t think so.

2.  Battles of willpower.


Ok, both The (Valiant) Boy and I are rather, um, stubborn.  Ok, we’re extremely stubborn, and we’re ok with that.  And we figured that our kid would likely inherit a good bit of that stubbornness.  What we weren’t prepared for was the sheer stupidity of arguing with a stubborn kid who makes us look easy-to-get-along with and go-with-the-flow.

We all got into some bad habits during The Summer of the Elbow, chief among them was a return to hand feeding the kiddo.  At first it made sense because everything hurt and didn’t work and the awkwardness of sitting at a table properly, OMG!  But for a month or so now, he’s managed just fine if it’s say, a dish of ice cream or a plate of cut-up steak.  But if it’s soup, or mac & cheese, or really anything that isn’t super-duper fun to eat, he’s begging to be fed.  By hand.  My hand.

Once it became obvious he was just being lazy/enjoying the Little Emperor routine, I made him wait til I was done with my meal, figuring he’d get bored & eat.  No go.  Dinner’s tough, because it’s hardest on me if he’s awake at night with hunger, so I’ve been giving in more than I should and just shoveling some food into him at the last minute.

Well, tonight he happily ate tons of bread he dipped in his chicken stew (one of his favorite meals) and then sat back and asked to be fed the stew.  We told him it was time he fed himself, and offered a compromise–one bite from his own spoon, one from mine.  No go.  Absolutely not, no way, nuh-uh.


So I told him he could feed himself and have a piece of his Halloween candy, or I would be happy to feed him, but there would be no dessert.

The world ended.  He worked himself into the most amazing dither, because he didn’t like either option, damnit (which is what I wanted, to be honest.)  There were tears.  There was agonized self-debate.  And then he fed himself.


He is not an independent kid.  Never has been.  He’d be just as happy to have me get him dressed for the rest of his life, I think.  He’d love to spend every mealtime on my lap.  Being spoonfed.  He still falls asleep for naps on my shoulder (though he falls asleep in his bed for his daddy.)  He’s a mamma’s boy, and since he’s 3, it’s delightful, but it’s also my job to teach him to be a big boy, and that’s really hard for him since it’s nothing he really wants yet.

So we’re compromising.  Making him do it himself where it affects other people (feeding himself) but letting him ‘be a baby’ where it’s not affecting anyone else (being held at naptime.)  Adding bribery for the breathing treatments worked wonders, so we’ll probably throw in the promise of an extra garbage truck vid or two if it makes this easier.

Because right now it’s not easier.  It’s really really hard.  And for whatever reason, he’s taking this really really hard, which is difficult for me to be a part of.  But yeah, needs to happen.

3.  On kind of an unrelated note, letting him take his time with the non-critical potty training has resulted in mess-free naps for 4 days straight now.  He basically decided last week that he was done with diapers during his naps, and he’s maintained that iron bladder control he’s got through some seriously long naps this week.  Go Hen!

4.  The writing is going well.  I located some outtakes that I’ve been hunting for (sporadically) for years and I’m delighted to be able to reinsert them where I wanted them.  Also–having a personal writing computer that goes back in one form or another to the mid nineties?  Wow, is there ever a lot of junk on this computer.  Some gems, but an awful lot of junk too.  Ah well.  Remember the good old days before computers?

Yeah, that sucked.  Love my magic writing pad.

5.  It’s my birthday, and besides the scads of FB & phone calls wishing me a happy birthday–which are always awesome, I’ll admit–I got to talk to a few old friends I haven’t spoken to in decades, and that was pretty special.  Made me grateful for every twist and turn along the way, that I’ve ended up where I am, safe and mostly sound.  I’m one amazingly lucky (old) lady.

And my son greeted me when I hauled my late-sleeping self downstairs this morning with the sweetest smile and “Happy birthday, Mommy!” that I’ve ever heard.  He proceeded to ‘give’ me every one of his favorite trucks in turn, each wrapped up in (imaginary) ‘pretty paper’ and told me, “these are a surprise for you.  you can play with them with me, if you like.”

How could I resist?  Best birthday gift ever.

Plus seed catalogs started arriving–about 2 months earlier than expected (woohoo!)  Hard to dwell overmuch on growing old (old!  older than the hills) when there are seed catalogs to pore over.

So it was, in fact, a day of utter, pretty-much-perfect contentment.  A day I hope I remember for the rest of my life.  A very happy birthday indeed.


Small Things 11-8-13

1.  Hen has discovered a new series, and one that I can only object to on literary grounds:  a weird “Jungle Book” animated series that looks like it might have been produced in India, based on the names.  The music is atrocious, the animation is that weird anime-influenced stuff, and the storylines bear only the teensiest hint of resemblance to the actual storylines of Kipling’s stories.

But they’re non-violent (or at least the hunting violence happens off screen), and the stories are mostly about being nice & playing fair, so I can’t really object.

Also?  (And I have to confess I love this)  Hen is adamant that Mowgli is a girl.  I’ve tried explaining every way I can think of that Mowgli is an actual story character–a well known one–and that I promise he is a little boy.  Hen’s having none of it.  His evidence?  Long hair.  Pretty.  High voice.  “She really is a good diver!” He says admiringly.  “He sure is,” I’ll agree.  “Mommy, I know you think she is a boy, but you really ought to trust me on this one.”

Um, ok.  Henry’s trying to bring all his media into gender equality (and, oh, the 21st century), so who am I to correct the impulse?  She’s a seriously awesome diver and I love it when she gets the best of Shere Khan.

Who is totally just cranky because he didn’t get enough sleep last night.

You got it kiddo.

Kids are great.

2.  Oven broke.  Rather dramatically, actually, and not totally unexpectedly.  The heating element did something weird–it’s like it melted? There was a groovy little arc thing going on in there, and when I worked up the nerve to turn it on again, nada.  This isn’t a huge big deal, the oven was ancient, and we knew it would need replacing when we bought the house–there have always been weirdly cold spots in the oven, and the burners don’t work great.  So no biggie.  Except.

(There’s always an ‘except’, right?)

It’s got a downdraft vent rather than a vent hood, and so to replace it, we pretty much have one choice.  One pricey, must-be-special-ordered-and-specially-installed, choice.  And it’s the 2 weeks up leading to Thanksgiving when, apparently, people who don’t typically use their oven all the time like we do realize that their oven doesn’t work & how are they gonna roast a turkey!

So the installers are backed up til forever, the stove is on special order, and it’s going to be a while.  Also, my single option for a stove comes standard with a grill (who grills inside?  Who?) and no burners.  Really, Jenn-Air?  Really?  At least there’s a rebate in place right now, which ought to just about cover the cost of the ‘add on’ burners.  Oi.  Again, it’s not some insurmountable problem, just annoying.  Why not come standard with the burners and offer the grill as an add on?  (Oh yeah, because no one grills in their house!)  Hope no one here gets tired of eating soup while we wait for the stove to arrive…Grrrrr.

3.  The cat keeps bringing in very much alive-&-kicking rodents so she can play with them in the comfort of the warm house.

This is not what I had in mind when I was rejoicing that she’s decided home is where she loves the best…

4.  Indoor gym filled with padded surfaces for a jumping boy to hurl himself off of?  Heaven.  For both of us.

5.  Pink lady apple on the table at my elbow.  Red tea with almond milk cooling right next to it.  Fire starting in the woodstove.  Gloomy day outside, writing hour ahead of me inside.  An old dear friend got back in touch and I might get to talk with them over the weekend.  We’re looking forward (so much!) to a visit from two of the daughters & the granddaughter right before Thanksgiving.  Hen’s most recent cold has completely cleared up.

Life’s feeling pretty sweet right about now.

Small Things 11-5-13

1.  Hen’s sick again, though this time round the asthma drugs seem to be doing what they’re supposed to.  So yay nebulizer!

Also, yay for bribery–we negotiated a deal where 5 no-whining nebulizer treatments will earn him one 99 cent app of his choice. This has been working all week, to keep him motivated to “stop complaining about it already, Hen!  For the love of everything, just stop whining since we have to do it anyway!”

And today’s asthma attack was so readily eased by a breathing treatment that even he noticed the connection.  And 4 hours later, when the wheezing started up again, he was verbally asking for more.  And when I explained that this is why he has to do the breathing treatments even when he feels good–so that the bad breathing times won’t last as long, I think I finally saw that connection kick in for him as well.

And it is amazing watching his breathing ease as he takes that medicine.  Amazing and wonderful.  Man, it’s hard watching him struggle to catch his breath.

Also, yay for You Tube’s never-ending supply of garbage truck videos.  Truly, people–garbage truck videos are where it’s at.  Real videos of garbage trucks doing their thing for hours, videos of guys’ model garbage truck obsessions being played with–it’s all good.  Hen loves them all.  And they’re perfect for nebulizer treatments–reading was just too hard over the noise, and just sitting there with nothing occupying his attention means Henry is desperate to chat, which makes everything harder.

So–bribery + realization that nebulizer is not just some irritating thing mommy dreamed up to thwart his joy + garbage-truck-oriented entertainment = quick end to the wheezing and a happy Hen & Mommy.  Yay!

2.  The insulation project in the library officially worked.  It’s been cold, but with a fire going, it’s perfectly comfortable–even a bit too warm at times.  Last winter, we’d’ve already had to vacate the library on 25* nights.  Hurrah for insulation!

3.  The cat got spooked again last week–again on leaf-blowing day–and was gone overnight.  Coincidentally (or not) her spookiness happened the same day I gave her a worming dose, so she was doubly unhappy with life.  However, the combination seems to have convinced her that outside is a scary, nauseating place, and that she’d just as soon stay inside all winter.

She’s followed me from room to room today, in pursuit of The Lap.  And when the lap’s not available, she just curls up and snoozes until The Lap is available once again.

I am loving this.  Maybe I’ll even be able to keep her alive for another year.

4.  Clam chowder for dinner.  With sourdough bread.  Yum.

5.  Any native or scholarly Japanese speakers out there reading this who’d care to help with a project?  I’m trying to find a list of popular Japanese personal names from the late 1800s.  Apparently Japanese names are even more ‘datable’ than American ones (ie: historically speaking, Mary would work, but Michelle would not for a story set in 1856) and I’m having a heck of a time finding an online resource for this.  It’s just a tiny detail in a story I’m working on, and I’m sure I’ll get lots of other stuff wrong, but it would be nice to get this bit perfect…

Small Things 11-4-13

1.  As promised, quilt pictures.












The colors are closer on the photo on the left, but the photo on the left shows his moon map, too!

2.  I’m really getting excited for the holidays this year.  I always like the holiday season, but this year, with a kid who’s excited about Christmas (he wants to give his dad a bundle of firewood–shh! Don’t tell!) I’m practically giddy with anticipation.

3.  My cholesterol actually went down this year, which is awesome, since I’m not in great shape at the moment & I’m genetically predisposed to high levels.  Also, I really like my doctor, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a GP I actually liked before.

4.  I’m about halfway done with xmas shopping/making, which is good, since I always think I’m getting on top of it, but I still end up scrambling at the last minute.  Still having trouble figuring out what to get for son-in-laws & almost-sons-in-law & boyfriends-in-not-quite-law, but everyone else is pretty much done.  Even the boychild.  Even The Boy.  Whew.

(Perhaps I should just make a tiny little something for everyone on our list…)

(Um, no.  Maybe not.)

5.  One scary, scary ghost for your post-Halloween nostalgia:






Trick or treat!

Small Things 10-31-13

1.  Halloween party yesterday–which Hen was oddly nervous about–went fine.  Days when something ‘new’ is on the schedule, he seems to be up a half-dozen times in the night with bad dreams.  Poor little guy letting his anxiety into his nightscape.  And the night before the party was a doozy, and he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to do it, but we hustled him off.  Turns out he liked the validation that being in costume gave him (because before that he wasn’t sure he liked wearing weird clothes, either.)  And he liked his own costume best of all (yay, me!) though he thought that a witch costume (that the only non-princess little girl was wearing) was pretty cool too.  Maybe next year, he thought, and I agreed that would be a fantastic costume for next year.

This year’s ghost costume consisted of yards of tulle basted to a big white shirt, with a cowl hood he refuses to wear.  Black & white & orange striped jammie pants sticking out underneath.  No makeup, but relatively ‘ghosty’ looking.  The Boy says it’s his ‘ballerina outfit’, but Hen & I know it’s his awesomely spooky ghost costume.  He’s three.  He’s lucky I didn’t just throw a sheet with two holes for his eyes over his head & call it good.

Trick-or-treating was much anticipated, but he was happy after 5 houses and wanted to get home and gloat over all that candy!  We were happy to let him call it a night–it was rainy and foggy–and I told him he could eat 5 pieces.  Weirdly, he chose the five smallest pieces, but seemed to enjoy them immensely.  We figured he’d be wild for hours, but he went to bed at exactly the same time he always does.

That’s one awesomely happy (& spooky!) ghost…

2.  It had to happen, but Hen’s obviously been hearing stuff at school that we’ve kept from him.  Like “only girls wear dresses” and “pink is a girly color”.  He’s been trying these ideas out with us and we’re trying to navigate, um, delicately.  I don’t want to invalidate what he’s hearing when it obviously does reflect societal mores, but I also don’t want to agree with such stereotyping gender-conformity statements unconditionally.  So we talk about it.  How some girls like dresses & some boys do too.  Probably more girls than boys, but it doesn’t mean no boys like dresses or that there’s anything wrong with a boy in a dress.  Sigh.

If I get half a chance he’ll still be a witch next year for halloween.  An awesomely happy (& spooky!) witch.

3.  We made Jack-o-lanterns today, and it was a blast.  First time I’ve ever used the nifty mini saws–I’m a long time, cut-yer-arm-off-with-the-dull-kitchen-knife pumpkin carver, so it was rather revelatory.  We had two small pumpkins from the garden and one big one from a farm to cut up–next year, we’re growing a crop all for ourselves.  Can’t wait to go nuts with the carving!

4.  iGoogle is going away tomorrow.  This is devastating even though I’ve known it’s coming for 18 months now.  But I’ve had an iGoogle page as a homepage for years and years and years and I did love having my weather & email & sticky notes and calendar all together on one page as a jumping-off point to online exploration.  But then Google reader disappeared, and I survived, so I suppose I’ll survive this too.  Change is good.  Or so I keep telling myself.


5. Hen’s taken to explaining to me very seriously each afternoon that he really can’t sleep, he’s not (yawn!) tired at all, and that perhaps he should just play quietly by himself for a while.  I agree that that’s all fine, and a good idea, but that first he needs to put his head down while I sing 3 songs.

He agrees happily, chatters on my shoulder for about a minute, and is crashed out, utterly unconscious before I even reach the end of the first song.  Whereupon he sleeps for an hour and a half.

I’m not sure why I find this new naptime ritual so hilarious, but I do.  It amuses me far more than it really should, no doubt, but watching him try to keep himself awake, only to be betrayed by his favorite sleepy song (which apparently has the power to send him instantly to snoozeville) is pretty funny.

I’m still willing to let him decide if he’s truly not tired, (but just saying it out loud won’t make it so, kiddo!)  I guess the nap is going to be around for a while longer.  Which is fine by me.  Dozing for five minutes while he sleeps draped over my body is still one of my favorite parts of the day, and I was sorry to say goodbye to it for those few days he wasn’t sleeping.

6.  Henry loves school now, which is really quite wonderful to see.  Such a huge relief, such fun to watch him get excited about school days instead of dreading them!  Two of his playgroup buddies came by to tour the school today, and he thought that was pretty fun to see them there.  Keeping our fingers crossed that they’ll end up enrolling.  I adore these two brothers and would love nothing more than to have them in Hen’s class for the next couple of years!

7.  Annual exam, annual mammogram.  I qualified for one of the nifty 3-D scans, which are apparently much better at detecting cancers in folks like me.  And also, much less painful than previous Ms have been.  So yay on that, though it’s a bummer it’s going to take them so long to read the 150 or so views.  2 weeks instead of 2 days.  Yikes.

Of course, the other side of that is that I called to make an appointment for this procedure yesterday and they were able to get me in first thing today.  My appointment was at 9, I was a bit early because I’m annoying like that, and they got me in early.  I was out of there by 9:05.  There are some things I miss about New York, but the wait for basic health care, the sheer exhaustion of dealing with doctors who are ridiculously overbooked, so that a 15 minute appointment might not start for an hour after it was scheduled?  (Not to mention the attitude of so many health care practitioners in the city?)  Not so much.


The prodigal cat is ready to go upstairs and so am I.  Happy Halloween, everyone.  Spooky ghost pictures Saturday, I promise.






And the cat came back.

At 2am.

Meowing to wake the dead, desperate to be held and cuddled and fussed over (though I did sniff cat food on her breath–she ate before she came upstairs to find us!)

She lay cuddled up with us–rare for her–the whole night long.  She panicked once when my husband came back into the room from checking on Hen, and flung herself across the room before she realized it was all ok.  Then she came back, curled up, went back to sleep.

And she got up with us this morning before coming downstairs to put another huge dent in the cat food supply.  And then she went back upstairs to curl up in her little cat bed & sleep safely.

I had given her up.  I knew if she couldn’t find her way back here in 4 days, that she wouldn’t be able to do it in 5 or 6.  But she did.  Power of good thoughts?  Power of the used cat-litter stink that the rescue folks told me to scatter around the perimeter of our property?  Power of spending most of yesterday out there hollering myself back into laryngitis?

All of the above, I think.  And a lot of luck.

And now I have to go take down some missing cat notices.  And pull some ticks off her.  And call the vet & the NHSPCA.  And edit my craigslist posting.

_DSC0822(Don’t do that again, Mattie, ok?)

Small Things 10-28-13

1.  Henry’s puke-fest from last night which I attributed to some rest-stop milk that might have soured, revisited us this morning after his morning milk from our own fridge which I know was fine.  After the yech-episode he felt fine, and ate like a horse, so now I’m left wondering if it was a leftover bit of food poisoning? A sudden onset of lactose intolerance? Desperation to avoid PT that manifested itself as pukyness?

Whatever.  It’s over, it was really disgusting, and I hope it doesn’t come back tomorrow.

Oh, and while we were both standing there, dripping, me trying not to yech from the stink, Hen says in a small voice, “Mommy, I think I need to go find a book to tell us about vomit.”

Um, no, kiddo.  I actually think you have mastered this subject quite comprehensively.

Blech.  A+ little boy.  A+

2.  On a much more upsetting note, my Mattie catty is missing.  And yeah, I’ve done all the things that one does–contacted every animal agency in the state to notify, verified that the microchip place has my correct contact info, spent many many many hours wandering around calling her name, dumped used kitty litter all around the property so she can maybe sniff her way home if the wind brings her a hint of familiar pee smell.

But really, all I can do is wait and worry.  And worry.  And worry.

Damn, I hate this.  I’m still hoping she shows up, but I think no more cats for me.  This is too brutally hard, having just gotten her back to health from her car-encounter, to lose her now (again) is just too much.  My heart can’t lose critters like this anymore.

3.  Laryngitis over the weekend in Brooklyn.  Yay for not having a voice.

Not really.  I dislike laryngitis, which is a shame since it seems to hit me with alarming regularity these days.  If I get sick enough to cough, I will be effectively mute for at least one day.

I’d rather a lost voice than a fever, though, so I shouldn’t complain.

4.  After six months of playing board games with glee whether he won or lost, Hen has realized that he likes winning enough to be a bit pouty when someone else pulls way ahead & looks likely to win.  Which is sort of funny–he’s not being truly sad, but mocking it with slumped shoulders, declarations of woe: “I am SAD, Mommy.” (said in a very earnest tone of voice) and shuffling steps (for the little boy does not sit to play a board game, oh no–he’s running around, dropping in to play each turn.  Except when he’s losing.  Then he shuffles…)

I still won’t cheat for him, but I’ll confess I’m cheering internally every time I get sent back to the beginning of Candy Land or Chutes & Ladders.

5.  Hen was desperate to go grocery shopping with me this morning.  As a result of his usual whininess when it’s shopping day, I’ve taken to doing the weekly shopping while he’s at school.  But this has, apparently, made him realize how much he loves grocery shopping.  How much he longs to help me shop.  How the grocery store is the best place in the world.  Why do you want to come with me, kiddo?

“Because we’re shopping buddies, Mommy!”  What am I going to say to that? No?

To show me how serious he was about wanting to be included in the trip, he didn’t even pop out of the car cart every time I put something in the cart today–usually he’s so bored that he’s trying to ‘help’ me by wanting to be the one to put the groceries in the cart, or to examine every sort of thing we never buy there.  But today, on his best behavior, we got out of there as quick as if I were there alone, which was pretty amazing.

Be really really good, Hen, or I won’t let you come grocery shopping with me next week.


I wonder if I could convince him that bathtub scrubbing is as desirable an activity as grocery shopping.  It’s only a matter of time before I get him to pay me for the privilege of helping me paint a fence somewhere…


If you believe such things, please send good thoughts for the safe return of my kitty, eh?  It’s cold out there tonight.


Small Things 10-26-13

1.  Getting back to normal, getting used to (sort of) the nebulizer routine (Man, oh man, he hates this part of his day.  Hoping this gets much better/easier for both of us.)

And the illness induced crankiness is gone, and my sweet boy is back.  (thank goodness!)  Where the first part of the week was all growled commands (his), annoyed ‘what did you just say to me?’ demands (mine), and huffs entered into by the both of us, today was lovey kisses and smilesmilesmiles.  We had a long slow day in Brooklyn town, since I am now battling the dreaded lurgi, and my voice is nonexistent.  He thinks my whisper-voice is pretty funny, but he’s also been quite solicitous of my health.  “Perhaps you should have another sip of water, Mommy.  Water can help you not to cough, you know.”  and he was perfectly happy to spend much of the day just lying on the bed with Mom & Dad, all of us reading books or playing quietly with trucks.  We had a fun excursion with one of his sisters to Chinatown for dinner, and he came home & happily fell asleep, looking forward to tomorrow.  When he hopes to ride a subway again.  Because really, what greater joy can this life hold for a 3-year-old boy than a ride on the F-train?

He spent the wait for the train excitedly telling me why he was pretty sure the subway trains were ‘steamies’, and that I needed to stand well back from the edge and hold his hand carefully so that I would not fall onto the tracks.  That would, he assured me, be dangerous.  He was positively delighted once inside the car, getting to loudly admire everything from the very shiny poles to the beautiful orange plastic seats.

Ah.  To be so easily made happy, eh?  He was made super-happy by his subway experience and I was made super-happy by him.  Kids are awesome.

Now if I could just get my voice back, all would be well.

2.  I did venture forth from the basement during his nap to buy a NY-authorized toy garbage truck for a much-coveted Christmas gift for a certain little obsessed boy.  Anyone who’s never been here, NYC is pretty much garbage truck central.  Unlike at home, here, there are garbage trucks to be seen in the neighborhood pretty much every single day.  There’s a reason Hen thinks Brooklyn is the coolest place in the whole world and it’s not entirely because this is where his sisters live.

3.  Speaking of Brooklyn and ‘cool’, I feel really old (and uncool, obv.) when I come here to visit, because never before has hipster-fashion seemed quite so young to me.  I dunno–full beards, guys?  Really?  On every single one of you?  Don’t get me wrong–I rather like beards, and I know a couple of guys–my step-son-in-law for one–who’ve had a beard forever, and none of them fall into this category of crazy-self-conscious beard-wearing.  But honestly, in our neighborhood EVERY male between the ages of 25 & 35 is sporting a full-on beard, & it’s kind of funny–I want to walk around handing out plaid woolen jackets and non-ironic timberland boots.

But that’s probably just because I’m elderly and don’t appreciate these young kids’ fashions anymore.  Chainsaw, anyone?

4.  Hen has started offering compliments on the darnedest things.  “I like the color of your hair tie, Mommy.”  “I like those skeleton earrings, Mommy.”  “Those are very nice purple socks, Mommy.”  I honestly have no idea if he’s trying to apply lessons from a book he has called “Poindexter Makes a Friend” (in which a shy pig & a shy turtle read a book with lessons like ‘smile’, and ‘say something nice to someone’.  I hate it but he loves it) or if he’s mimicking my deliberate habit of trying to make sure he hears me saying nice things about people at least as often as he overhears me muttering something snide, or if he just really likes things these days.  Dunno, but it’s adorable.  I may not appreciate the concept of the mandatory beard, but I have fantastic taste in hair elastics, sugar-skull earrings, and wool socks, dontcha know!

5.  My grandbaby is beautiful and perfect and it’s killing me that since I don’t want to infect her with this nasty cold, I am restraining myself from covering her body with kisses.  Because really–kissable!  Cuddleable!  We got to see her on Friday & will get to see her again tomorrow before we go, and she really is just a tiny bundle of ‘darling’.  I am so lucky to have stepdaughters who are willing to include me in their lives, in their kids’ lives.

Small Things 10-22-13

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, with crises and blessings both large and small.  And I’ve been lazy and haven’t posted any of it, so I’m just going to keep going til I run out of things to say…

1.  “Who farted?” Hen comes out with this at the dinner table.


We’ve been practicing pronouncing that most difficult of consonants: ‘R’, so he made sure to growl it very clearly “Who Fahhhhhhhted?”

Um, Hen?  We say ‘toot’ in this family. And it’s not ‘manners’ to talk about tooting at the dinner table.

He looked at me, completely uncomprehending, turned to his father and said, “I didn’t fahhhhht, did you fahhhht, Daddy?  Maybe it was Mommy?”  Bwahahahahah!

Oh the glee.  Oh the little boy joy.

(Oh the foreshadowing of what the next ten years are going to be like.)

Seriously, the influx of other people’s input into his brain has begun.  Which is cool, and as it should be, but also sort of bittersweet.  I have to ask him, now, where he heard things from; I don’t know what books he’s read, whom he’s spoken to, what his favorite part of the day is, unless he chooses to tell me.

He’s decided to be a ghost for Halloween.  When asked if he’d be a scary ghost or a friendly ghost by the nurse yesterday, he pondered a moment and then said, “I think I’ll be a blue ghost.”  And that is Hen all over.  No outside influence there.  Yet.

2.  He’s a little high energy today because of all the steroids he’s taking.  Yeah.  Steroids.  His viral-induced Reactive Airway Disease came back with a vengeance this fall.  He had a cold (another cold) over the weekend which, between one breath and another, turned to wheezing and gasping for breath–gasping until he got panicky.  I took him to the pediatrician who measured his blood oxygen and went to find a nebulizer quick–and then found one I could take home with us and wrote me a fistful of prescriptions.  *sigh*

Apparently they’ve been studying kids who do & don’t progress to full-on asthma with this sort of pre-asthma, and found that lung tissue can break down/scar up with this sort, too, so they want him on a single low dose of pulmicort daily (2ce daily when he’s sick), albuterol every 4 hours when he’s sick, and an oral dose of steroids for the next 2 days.  And he’ll be on the daily treatment til spring, and we’ll play it by ear each year until (oh, how I hope!) he grows out of it.  And in the meantime, the steroids are making him believe he’s superman, flying high!

He doesn’t like the breathing treatments–it’s a little like smoking a water pipe–but he simply wasn’t tolerating the inhaler with spacer-mask option.  So the breathing treatments are boring, but not scary, and we read books, so it’s not the worst way to start the day.  He likes being the one to turn on the machine.  He treats Real before each treatment, which makes it easier.  He’s already bored with the new routine, though.  (As am I.  Man, I hate having him on a daily anything.  It sucks.  But watching him gasp for breath?  That really really sucks, and his doctors seemed pretty adamant that this was what we should be doing for him.  Dr. Google seems to concur that this is standard best practice for this sort of thing, so…)

He actually napped well today, is currently sleeping fine, his mood is fantastic, and his attention span is better than I’d expect, but he cannot hold still–worse than usual for my wiggle worm.  Hoping this effect lessens once he’s off the oral dose, though, because his energy level is through the roof and he’s hard to keep up with when he’s floating around the stratosphere.

3.  Touch-a-truck.  It’s an annual charity event in Portsmouth that was better than Disneyland for this child.  It’s exactly what it sounds like–40 or 50 municipal & private big rigs gathered in one huge parking lot for kids to climb on, pretend to drive, and generally revel in.

IMG_0792It was awesome.  We’ll be making an annual pilgrimage to this event.  At least until the love of all things ‘truck’ is over.

4.  A horrible scare regarding my 94-year-old grandmother’s health turned out to be nothing that wasn’t fixable.  Had a really bad few days, but am so relieved that she’s out of danger.  Oi.  And my mother’s healing up from her fall.  And things are currently back to ‘ok’ with all my family members.  Which is nice.  I love where I live, but I hate being so far from my family–especially when things are scary.  There’s only so much you can say over the phone when a hug is really what’s needed.

5.  Henry said, “School was really quick today, mommy!”  and “Xander isn’t afraid of being left alone at school anymore.”  (Xander being a little boy who may or may not exist, whom Henry has taken under his wing whenever Xander gets afraid at school–usually that his mommy won’t come for him.)  And “I don’t think Real Bunny needs to go to school today.  Maybe I will bring Gray Bunny instead so he has a chance to go to bunny school.”  All of which are Henry-codes for “School is fun and I like it there and it’s not scary anymore.”  When I thought yesterday that he might have to miss today’s schoolday, he was very upset by the thought.

Therapy, on the other hand, he was delighted to miss…

6.  Naps are hit or miss these days.  Yesterday, we tried to nap, but the breathing was so bad that I just tossed him in the car & drove to the doctor instead.  He never did make that nap up, and he never did get cranky with the tiredness.  Today, he was all set to play quietly–said he didn’t want a nap–but when I went to leave him to it, he changed his mind and slept for 2 hours.  We’ve been working on ‘waking up happy instead of sad’, because he was getting into a really bad habit of crying when he woke up–not hungry or tired or headachy or sad or scared or anything.  Just crying because he was awake & still dopey from sleep.  And I have to say that crying I can’t do anything to fix?  It makes me nuts.  So I’m delighted to have him nap when the end of the nap is cause for smiles instead of tears.  He can decide this one for himself, as far as I’m concerned.

7.  I went to a local orchard, bought a half-bushel of fallen apples on the cheap, and came home and canned applesauce.  I also have a quarter-bushel or so waiting in my kitchen for me to make the time to do one round with our ugly but tasty apples.  Next year I’ll start the applesauce project earlier, and if Hen’s current obsession with the stuff continues, he’ll be getting homemade every day in his snack bag instead of Mott’s.

8.  Made a batch of tortillas last week and they were divine.

9.  I scored a brand new copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s brand new book, Flight Behavior at our library’s books-for-sale shelf for $2.00

I had thought I’d have to wait til Christmas for this one–I tend to ask for ‘respectable’ books for Christmas so I don’t have to defend my execrable taste in stories to anyone–urban paranormal, or zombie thrillers I’ll buy myself and enjoy thoroughly, but explaining why I like it to anyone sort of takes the joy away, you know?  BK definitely falls into the ‘not ashamed to be caught reading it on the subway’ category, so I’d planned to ask for her latest book for Christmas, but now I get to read it in October instead!  Woohoo!

10.  We ate the last of the garden tomatoes this noon (though I haven’t checked the garden, and for all I know there are another few out there waiting to be plucked.)  I think it’s supposed to freeze one of these nights, though, and I can’t say that I’m sorry.  It’s late October and we’re eating garden tomatoes in New England.  Just ain’t right.  I know.  Everyone should have such horrible problems.  But still.  I’m ready for stew, not caprese salad.

11.  Read the new Robin McKinley book, Shadows–(I simply couldn’t wait for this one).  And it was very satisfying.  Not, perhaps, my favorite ever, but thoroughly enjoyable and nicely open-ended (ie: I know there’s more that will happen to these people even though I’ll never get to read about their future adventures) without feeling like I was left hanging. (occasionally a problem with my favorite author’s books, though it pains me to say it.)

12.  Finally got to see Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and liked it rather a lot.

13.  I was all excited about Apple’s free OSXMavericks upgrade today until I realized that not only was my OS so far out of date that I would first have to upload an older (but newer than my current) OS in order to  to access the page that would allow me to download the free newest OS, but that my ancient Mac can’t even handle the new OS.


See, I tend to use my beloved belongings until I just can’t use them any more.  I once had a Toyota pick-up with well over 300,000 miles on it when I sold it to buy a car with a backseat so I could carry myself+another person+dog.  I am currently wearing my favorite jacket in the world, which is little more than tattered threads held together by my imagination.  I wear my jeans until they have actual holes in the patched knees and I’ll patch them again until the crotch seams finally start to go before I’ll admit they’re done.  And my computer is going on 6 years old, and very little is being made any more that will work on it–except for everything I do on it all day long…  So I’m loathe to throw down a thousand bucks when I have the perfect writing machine right here, working perfectly; but really, it would be nice to be able to update my browser/iTunes/OS and I’m sure I’ll give in to the company’s planned obsolescence ploys one of these days.

But not today.