Unanchored Thoughts

Bits and pieces of musings about family, friends, social issues, and whatever else travels through my head without a purpose.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Duckie!

Happy Birthday Duckie!

Today is Ian's 1st Birthday. We celebrated this past weekend with a small, duck-themed birthday party. As with most parents, I can't believe that a year has gone by so quickly. Ian is the most adorable 1 year old I know. (Graeme is the most adorable 3 year old.) He has an easy-going personality and makes us laugh at his determination to climb the stairs, coerce everyone into bouncing him until your arms ache, and arch his back in loud protest when he's done eating. He holds his own against an eager older brother who can't wait for him to be big enough to play. Several have asked me where the nickname, Duckie, comes from. Steve took to calling Graeme "Fred" a while ago as a way of teasing him. "Is your name, Fred?" Steve would ask. "No, it's Graeme." "What's his name (pointing to Ian)?" Finally one day Graeme caught on that this was a game and he replied Duckie, probably because Ian was wearing jammies with a duck on them or was playing with a duck toy. It became a familiar game Steve and Graeme played. "What's your name?" "Fred!" "What's his name?" "Duckie!" Well, it stuck and now we call him Duckie, or Duck for short.

I can't believe my good fortune to have such lovable, adorable, stubborn, precocious amazing boys in my life.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's here

My debut post. Check it out and be gentle with your comments, please. I'm entering dangerous new territory and not sure how I feel about exposing myself this way.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What have I got myself into?

I was invited to blog here and after thinking about it for a few weeks I said yes. I'm not sure what in the world I'm going to say, but the thought of more than 10 people (my current hit rate) reading my stuff is daunting. What makes this blog work is the fact that I just write without much editing or wordsmithing. (Of course, this doesn't really work for me, as my faithful readers know. I've done such a fabulous job of pissing people off, though, that I figured I might as well take it national.) Having guidelines (again, I could probably use them, but I shudder at constraints) and a large audience makes me a tad nervous. We'll see how it goes. I'm excited, but as nervous as a cat in a room full of rockers.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

He Won't Freeze, Right?

One of the things I've learned in this book is to distinguish between "relevant" and "irrelevant" behaviors. A relevant behavior (that would need to be addressed pronto) would be, say, biting Ian. Not something we should ignore. Or, throwing a bowl of cereal with milk on the floor. Or, running in the parking lot. (These may or may not be real examples.) Irrelevant behaviors are those that may bug the shit out of me, but really don't matter in the big picture. I've determined that the two big issues I have with G are food and clothes. Won't eat much or wear much. But, really, who cares, right? He's growing. His brain seems to work just fine. His motor skills are in tact. So, what difference does it make if he only eats 3 foods. And, as far as clothing goes...who cares if he wears shorts and walks around barefoot....when it's 40 degrees out, right? I've decided to let both of these issues go. It's been a bit liberating, but interestingly I'm finding the clothing one more difficult than the food. First, I have this desire to provide basic food, shelter and clothing for my child. Seeing him in bare feet and shorts on a frigid day makes me feel like I'm not holding up my end of the deal. Second, I love buying cute, adorable, matching outfits for the boys. Yeah, I know, the matching part is dorky, but they are so darn cute when they are dressed alike. G just won't comply. Hates it. Protests loudly. Screams. So, I've decided to just let him pick what he wants to wear, day and night. His default: running shorts and spiderman
t-shirt for day time activities and shorts with a short-sleeve top pj's for nighttime. G, are you cold? No, I'm hot, he says. He will know when to put on more clothes, right? In the meantime Ian is developing one cute wardrobe since I pore all my retail therapy needs into him.

Friday, October 17, 2008

No Room in My Psyche, I Mean Schedule, for Mishaps

Today was the day of my desperately needed haircut at the feel-good spa I now use. I've tried a few different stylists and finally settled on the young 20'something who makes me look hip (at least for a few weeks until the cut grows out and then I look harried until I find the time to squeeze in another appointment). After waiting much too long and feeling like a puffy rat the time arrived for "Kelly-maintenance day." I took the boys to school (which I never, ever do on a non-work day) and headed over for my 9AM cut. I worked it out so that I could get a cut in, get the computer fixed at the Best Buy Geek Squad desk, pick up a 3 year old birthday gift for the party we are attending tomorrow, and maybe, just maybe swing by TJ Maxx for a new, cute get-up to go with the new do. All this could be accomplished in 2.5 hours, I thought, which is what I allotted before retrieving the boys guilt-free. Beyond that the guilt would outweigh the benefits.

So, after waiting 15 minutes for my girl to start the cut I began to get twitchy. I had the first appointment of the day, so surely she shouldn't be late, right?. Oh wait, this is the girl who told me she regularly sleeps until noon. After 25 minutes they admitted that she hadn't arrived yet and they were trying to reach her. After 30 minutes they told me that "something came up" and she wouldn't be arriving until the afternoon. Did I want to reschedule? WAH, WAH, WAH. RESCHEDULE?!?!?!? I AM A MOM OF TWO YOUNG CHILDREN. I'VE ENGINEERED THIS DAY TO BE ABOUT ME, ME, ME. WAH, WAH, WAH. I didn't actually say or shout all of these words, but I think my face said it all. They left, returned and told me that "Barry" would be available soon. He looked fun, so I waited 20 more minutes for him to cut my hair. He asked me what I wanted and I told him I needed to look cute, quickly. He pulled out a picture of Posh Spice's new cut and said "how 'bout this?" Perfect. He handled my fragile psyche well and had me looking about as close to Posh as I ever will in about 20 minutes. I left with a smile, 10% off the next visit, and a candle.

Now, if only I could master that Posh Pout and I'd be making millions.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Room for Popsicles

Graeme isn't a rock star eater, but he's also not terrible either. We encourage healthy foods, but still serve him things he'll eat (namely, bagels, turkey meatballs, cereal, fruit, chicken nuggets). He's learned that a clean plate will usually earn him a treat. Last night he had 3 chicken nuggets and 3 strawberries on his plate. "If I eat these can I have a blue popsicle?" Yes. One chicken nugget and 3 strawberries later he declared that it was time for the popsicle. Pushing him to eat the rest of the chicken was only met with strong, loud protests. Why don't you want to eat the chicken, Graeme? "Because then there won't be any room for popsicles." Fair enough. Please don't ask me how the story ends. (I traded him a few bites of broccoli for the popsicle. I'm not sure what the lesson is, but it seemed reasonable to me.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Difficult, Hard to Manage, Spirited, or Something Else

I'm reading this book right now. (I couldn't figure out how to get a "clean" image like Mike does, so ignore the "click to look inside" arrows from Amazon.) Months ago when the wheels were coming off the Maguire bus our pediatrician suggested this book. I bristled and decided to change my attitude toward difficult parenting situations...embrace them and go with the flow. It worked, sort of. Peace seemed to be a relative constant in the house and I was confident in my parenting. Well, some prompting from outsiders has caused me to rethink whether or not we really have peace. Have I just willed myself into believing that daily meltdowns over clothes and food are the norm with a three-year-old? Is there an underlying issue that needs to be addressed? Can my parenting be tweaked to get a sense of peace that is apparent not only to me, but to outsiders as well?

These questions prompted me to talk to the school. No problems there, they assure me....though they also take more than the per capita annual income for many small nations from my bank account every week so I do question their motives. Make an appointment with a recommended pediatric psychologist. Their office won't return my calls and I'm not really sure what I'm asking anyway, but I continue to call daily. And, purchase this book.

The book has been very insightful and I'm only through the anecdotal stories part that make you think, "Glad I'm not that parent." The author outlines 10 different traits that make up a person's "temperament," including activity level, self control, initial response and adaptability. With regard to 8 of the traits I would say that my child is relatively normal, sometimes leaning toward the "difficult" side of the spectrum, but not on any kind of regular basis. However, with regard to initial response and adaptability he's clearly in the "difficult" category. I've always called him the 20 minute kid....takes 20 minutes to warm up to any new situation, and even familiar situations that he hasn't experienced in a while (e.g., visiting a friend). Adaptability...no way, no how. He resists most change....from the transition from play to eat to clothes to car to treat...oh wait, that last one always works.

I've also learned that mama's personality is a big factor in how a "difficult" child responds. Uh, OK, so this means in addition to helping my kid cope I have to do some self-exploration too? Damn. Fortunately, I sort of get a rise out of that kind of stuff. So, if you see me in Lotus pose chanting Ohms in the courtyard soon you'll know that I've reached a new level of peace in the house. In the meantime stay tuned as I work my way through the "solutions" chapter.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Radio Nowhere Going Somewhere

My days are pretty much spent in baby/preschooler-world or economics-world. One can be pretty mind-numbing, the other pretty-maddening. (I'll let you decide which is which.) So, it is a rare treat when I get to converse and interact with people who are hip, cool, creative, talented (OK, no offense to the moms or economists...some of you fit the above description too), and rock stars (none of you fit the latter, except maybe Chris and Jared). The spouse of my childhood friend, Dana, is a rock-star in the Bay Area. He recently released a debut album, Days Between Stations, from his new band, Radio Nowhere, and has created a blog that appeals to my need for information and novice'ness when it comes to music. He explains the details of how to get the music without driving to the music store (do those even exist anymore?) for those who are techno-phobes like myself. And, he explains each song in detail...first with the lyrics, then the technical mumbo-jumbo, and then the story behind each song. The last part is my favorite. So, if the nursery rhymes are making you insane or the economics is making you dorky or life is just a little mundane today, go to his site and infuse yourself with some great music. (Oh, he says you have to play it really loud.)