Archive for February, 2009

The book critic

February 28, 2009

It’s bedtime at Applegate and we’ve just finished reading Sam his bedtime story and saying our goodnights. Sam made me read Oh, The Thinks You can Think! by Dr Seuss to him three times. He then took it from me and regarded it with interest, before handing it back saying “Strange book Mummy.”

A great skate play date.

February 18, 2009

Twenty mums and their babies and toddlers took to the rollerena this morning. We put our skates on and had the rink to ourselves, strollers allowed. Skates started at a toddler size eight so Sam got to put those tiny little skates on and have a go. He liked having the wheels on his feet but surprised me by not really wanting to attempt to skate. I really thought he would have taken to it a lot better as he is usually so mobile and has great balance. Whenever he tried to take a step it would end with him buckling and me struggling to keep him upright. He soon lost patience after taking a few rolls onto the floor and then preferred to be pushed around in the stroller, with his skates on. He called the rink “the races” and liked to pretend to be an aeroplane while I pushed him around in circles.

Sam’s two year old friend, Cally, also fit into the toddler skates and seemed to fare much better. She did a much better job of staying upright and tottered around the rink wearing jeans and a bright pink tutu. Other smaller children had fun running around together while the mums skated past.

Stroller skating

Baby Bea also got in on the action and took her place at the front of the stroller with big brother Sam perched on the back seat. Pushing the two of them around was quite the work out. It was a lot of fun, but definitely hard work juggling two children while wearing skates.

A proposal.

February 18, 2009

Sam just gave Quincy a hug and said “Marry me. Quincy, marry me?!”

Dori’s Playdate

February 18, 2009

We decided to forego another potentially grueling attempt at a library visit this morning and headed on an adventure down into South Charlotte for a playdate. This was arranged via the Meetup Mummy group and the lady hosting was a mum of two that we had met several times before at other events. Sam and her eldest child, Jeremy tend to play harmoniously in parallel and despite totally ignoring each other seem to get along quite well.

When I roused Sam from his bed this morning and he ran straight into the front room clamouring to watch his favourite programs I told him we weren’t going to be having the computer on today as we’d be going out to play with some other children. Sam scowled and started to flip out and stomp and kick, then stopped. You could see he was thinking…”Other kids? Yay! Other kids! Need shoes, Sammy need shoes on! Baby Bea coming too?” He changed his tune and started eagerly rummaging in the closet for his shoes.

We got a little lost on the way there and I had to call to say we’d be late as I was following Google maps but had somehow missed the interstate ramp and ended up in Pineville. Luckily Pineville resident Stacey took the end of the phone and could tell us where we were and how to get back on track (though Sam did his best to help too and kept pointing in different directions and saying “No, this way Mummy!”). My New Year’s resolution was actually to try to be on time when we arrange to go places, and despite my best intentions I don’t think I have managed to achieve that yet. We hadn’t even left in a rush this morning, we had a very relaxed departure into the car and I’d even set off a little early. Nevertheless as usual we were late when we did manage to find the house, and the last to arrive. This really bothers me. I do really hate to be late.

Anyway, we made it and once we had our coats off, Sam was introduced to Jeremy’s play room and Bea was made comfortable on her mat on the floor I was able to relax, stop being so flustered and enjoy the morning. There were ten other mums with children of varied ages there and Dori had a really nice set up with a kitchen overlooking the living room and the playroom off to one side. Everywhere was perfectly child proofed and Sam was able to just go off and happily play with minimal occasional intervention from me whenever I heard a toddler altercation brewing. This was really nice as I often feel like a hawk standing over my child at many playdates but here he was able to be independent and learn to be social with other children without my adult overbearance.

While Sam discovered Jeremy’s collection of lorries and trucks Bea gurgled and did gymnastics on the floor with a couple of other babies. She is really a social kid too and watching other children makes her happy.

It was also really nice to be able to chat and find out more about some of the other mums I’ve met around Charlotte but not had too much of a chance to really focus on as at our public meetings my attention has always been on Sam, what he’s doing and what he might do next. As the playdate drew on mums started trickling out and taking the younger babies home while the older toddlers were still going strong. It ended up with three of us, and Dori, left. It was really nice to hang out with Dori, Stacey and Alexandra and get to know them better while our kids played.

Sam was the oldest and there were a couple of times when he just walked over the other children to get what he wanted. At one point Jeremy and Cally were arguing over a yellow toy truck and they caught Sam’s attention. In a flash he bounded over and snatched it from the middle of the argument. I was then expecting both Jeremy and Cally to erupt further but I think they were too stunned. They just rolled over and let the bigger boy take his prize. I took Sam to one side and we had words about that. Otherwise he was absolutely great and I was proud of him.

Fun morning. In fact, that’s exactly what Sam said as I buckled him into his car seat for the homeward drive. “Fun morning Mummy! Other kids nice!”

I hope we have another fun morning planned tomorrow too. Must remember to take my camera and use it, could be interesting. That’s all I’m saying.

President’s Day.

February 16, 2009

Sitting having a nice quiet moment with a glass of red wine and Gordon Ramsay. Poor Bill was supposedly on holiday for President’s Day today but has spent most of it in bed feeling right poorly. I’ve been running around taking care of the kids and pulling the house back into shape. I almost decided to take the opportunity to take Sam swimming as Bill could be at home with Miss Bea, but wasn’t sure if the pool would be open on a holiday and was reticent to risk leaving sick Bill to deal with an ornery Bea if she had a melt down while we were gone. I do really miss taking Sam swimming and wish I had more hands so I could deal with both Bea and Sam at a pool on my own.

Eventually once I had the house under control and Sam woke up from his afternoon nap he and I went outside to get some fresh air and kick a ball around for a bit.

Nanna and Grandad came on webcam just as I was struggling to get Sam properly dressed for running around in the cold. Bea was also on cam shot and suddenly decided to quietly lie on her tummy and suck her fingers peacefully. Just moments before Nanna and Grandad peeked in on chez Applegate she’d been determinedly getting up onto all fours, rocking to and fro, and rolling around the floor. I don’t think they believe me when I insist that she is a mere whisker away from following in Big Brother Sam’s footsteps and getting mobile.

After running around in the back garden with the boy (oh I am LOVING having a usable lawn to play on) Sam and I had to run errands and go grocery shopping. The fridge was bare so we had to procure something for us to eat that evening. Our shopping expedition got cut short and we had to bid a hasty retreat when the air around my trolley suddenly got terribly pungent. My nostrils recoiled and I really hope that the other customers didn’t think that the foul stench wafting towards them was me. A swift check down the back of Sam’s trousers revealed the nasty culprit and with absolutely no chance of a clean up on the go I hastily had to grab something (anything!) edible with which to pull tea together, pay and retreat. Incredible. I don’t understand. Sam used to be 100% perfect at taking his poops in the potty, and despite a few months of set back he is now back to keeping his pants nice and dry. So why do we struggle so now? It’s exasperating.

I had to cook dinner and then go back out to the supermarket to get the groceries I’d missed the first time. Oh fun.

Potty talk

February 15, 2009

Sam is sat on the toilet. He’s taken the toddler potty seat and decided to go pee pee in the main bathroom toilet. I’m sat on the edge of the tub, ready to be of assistance and reminding him to tuck his penis in so he doesn’t spray all over the floor.

Sam – Sammy got a penis!
Me -Yes, you have a penis.
Sam – Daddy’s got a penis too!
Me – Yes, that’s right, Daddy has a penis too.
Sam – Mummy got a penis!
Me – No, Mummy doesn’t have a penis. Mummy is a girl.
Sam – Baby Bea has a penis Mummy?!
Me – No, Baby Bea doesn’t have a penis. Daddy and Sam have penises. You are boys. Baby Bea is a girl. Girls don’t have a penis.
Sam *thinking* – Sammy got a bottom!…Mummy’s got a bottom!
Me – Yes, Mummy’s got a … bottom. Now, come on, tuck it in and go pee pee please Sam.
Sam, doing as he’s told and giggling – Tickles! Tickles! Tickle penis Mummy!

He stands up and comes over to me, thrusting his naked privates towards me, inviting tickles, as I try to back off desperately thinking of a way to handle this.

Sam – Tickles! Tickle bottom Mummy!

Uh oh, I’m not sure I like where this is going. I start thinking about broaching the notion of private parts, but he’s only two and I want him to be comfortable with himself. I don’t really want to make this into a big deal.

Me – Tickle! Tickle! No, I’m going to tickle Sam’s…ears! Tickle ears! Oooh they look ticklish! Tickle! Tickle!

Sam shies away from my wiggling tickle fingers laughing and goes back to do his business. Phew, inappropriate moment averted.

Uno Dos Tres

February 14, 2009

We’ve been back to the library for Spanish class twice since our first attendance. Our second visit went much more smoothly. This time we didn’t arrive early so Sam didn’t get a chance to be distracted by other interesting nooks or toys. Without the ride on truck he’d found last time he wasn’t so disruptive. Bagpuss came with us and was very attentive, especially when the teachers petted him and told him how to say “little pink cat” in Spanish. Miaou.

The children were read a story about eight cold forest animals who on a wintry snowy day found a lost mitten to hide inside to keep warm. They then got to act out the story using a blanket for the animals to climb beneath, and cut and paste paper animals onto a paper mitten and colour them in. Sam got most excited about that, he likes crafts and glue, especially glue.

The morning was much more successful. Look, here he is giving the teachers his full attention and being a good participant:

Spanish Class take 2

And here he is mixing well with the other children, eager to expand his skills and learn some Spanish:

Spanish class take two

Yeah, I wouldn’t go as far as to say Sam was very focused on the class. Bea had some good tummy time though and should I ever have the need Mummy now knows how to say “fox” and “bear” in Spanish. Very useful.

Spanish Class take 2

Our second class did lull me into thinking that maybe, given time, Sam could be manageable. The next week we took the train into town full of hope that we could enjoy a fun hour of Spanish at the library before nipping over to the Mint Museum to check out their monthly toddler art activity. I should’ve known better. We had a disastrous morning and I was left never wanting to take him out in public ever again.

It was going pretty well until I had to feed Bea. While I was sat dealing with her about half an hour into the class a large group of the children suddenly had to leave. They were standing up, milling around, putting coats on and being made to hold knots tied onto a long piece of string. It was hard to see past them and then I noticed that Sam had his jacket and was preparing to leave too. With Baby Bea latched on I tried to get past the tangle of children and get to Sam but he was too quick and took his chance to leg it. I had to go searching through the library looking for him but he had disappeared.

A librarian saw my concern and stopped to help. As I was describing Sam to her another member of staff overheard and pointed out my errant toddler heading up the ramp to the second floor by himself. I raced to recapture him with Bea now bawling. She was angry to be interrupted mid feed and really helped matters by projectile vomiting over my shoulder as I pinned Sam down and tried to reason with him.

Sam twisted away and ran off in the other direction with me following. He was quick and I found him hiding behind the curtains in a puppet theatre. Poor Baby Bea was getting bumped around as I attempted to get Sam to come back to the Spanish area. I was stuck, we couldn’t just leave because our stroller was parked at the other end of the library. I had to dump Bea onto the floor to have my hands free as Sam kicked, screamed, punched and pulled my hair in a fit of rage. I was that mother with the uncontrollable child causing a tremendous scene in the middle of the library. Everyone was watching, everyone could hear us. It was awful.

What was worse is as I lost my patience I found myself deliberately gripping him harder than necessary in an attempt to get some sort of recognition from him. I’ve never hit my son but I yanked him around that morning to try to get him to acknowledge me. There was just no glimmer of understanding on his face at all, no sign that he was paying any attention to me whatsoever. I wanted desperately for him to realise how important it was for him to stay with us. It scared me that I would intentionally try to hurt and frighten him like that just to feel that I was there in his head. Mind you it didn’t work. Nothing I did or said seemed to be getting through at all. It just left me feeling terrible and absolutely powerless to deal with him.

I eventually managed to make it back to our stroller and buckle him in as he writhed and twisted angrily away from me. The only way I could get him to even vaguely listen was to promise him a train ride home.

That also had its problems. On the train Sam calmed down but when it was time to get off I almost ended up with Bea and stroller on the platform and Sam at the next station. He backed right into his seat and kicked and screamed at me as I tried to get him off the train. I had to drag a furious Sam through the beeping doors as they closed on us.

Godawful morning.

Then we still had to walk home.

Thank goodness it’s Friday.

February 13, 2009

Another week almost over and we’re just waiting for Daddy to get home and the weekend to be declared. While we wait Sam is watching Yo Gabba Gabba and Bea is wriggling around on her playmat on the floor. Sam really didn’t want to watch his show though, it’s actually a distraction as I found him messing with the computer, pressing keys and muttering that he wanted to watch Grandad. No, not In The Night Garden, not Cars and certainly not Charlie and Lola. “Want to watch Grandad Mummy. Need Grandad!” Sadly Nanna and Grandad aren’t online right now so Yo Gabba Gabba is doing its best to avert a tantrum.

Bea meanwhile is happily doing some tummy time and eyeing her big brother. She is, I think, on the cusp of being mobile now as today she pulled herself up onto her hands and knees and started gently rocking with considerable air beneath her belly. She turned five months old yesterday and we went to see her new doctor for her month overdue well baby check up. Poor little girl had to have five inoculations by way of two jabs and a squirt of liquid in the mouth but hasn’t let that phase her one bit. I was excited to get her onto the scales and measured as she seems to have really slimmed down lately and I admit I’ve been wondering if she’s been digesting enough milk as she spits up atrociously after every feed. Dr Evers was happy with her growth though and at 12lbs 7oz she placed nicely in the growth charts.

Five Months

Lock the doors and batten the hatches! As little Miss Bea begins to get her first taste of adventure young Master Samuel has been busy figuring out how to escape. Not only can he now remove the supposedly child proof door handle from his bedroom door and give himself the roam of the house, but he has also mastered the front and back doors. Several times he has decided to go out and play in the back garden without telling us. Thankfully we’ve been onto him pretty quickly after each escape and yanked him back in but as you can imagine we’re rather concerned about this new development.

We thought we had averted his escapes by making it a new policy to never leave the chain off the back door but were astounded when he even managed to work around that easy as pie too. Cunning little thing simply got the broom and used that to reach up and knock the chain off. Pest.

He’s too independent for his own good that one. The other day we were in the back yard and he decided that it was high time he got his sand table in working order again. While I was setting Bea up in her little swing in the trees, he pulled his table out and the next thing I knew he’d got his big yellow dump truck and started wandering off on his own down the road to the park to get himself some sand.

We’ve also been struggling with Sam’s burgeoning independence in the house. He likes to do everything himself now and trying to keep him from helping himself to the fridge is a losing battle.

Funniest episode so far is when Bill walked in to find Sam making himself a super tasty breakfast of strawberries. He had found himself a plate and was creating a giant mountain of fruit.

Worst was when Sam needed a drink and decided some nice chilled orange juice would quench his thirst. I found Sam just after he had taken the full gallon bottle out of the fridge and poured himself a glass. Problem was he had decided to do this while watching something on the computer and as he simply has to get up close and personal when he watches things he had poured the juice into his cup right over the keyboard. The keyboard was drenched, dripping and sticky. Grrrrrr.

I only just managed not to yell Sam into tomorrow and a day.

After I’d cleaned up the mess and Bill had carefully saved his keyboard, a couple of days later Bill opened a kitchen drawer and was confronted by a sticky orange swamp. SAM!!!

Bed Buddies.

February 9, 2009

Checking in on Sam before turning in for the night is always fun. Tonight I carefully tiptoed in and found him happily snoozing away in bed with:

Bagpuss (always number one buddy),
Thomas,
Shiny Thomas,
Digger,
Dozer,
Steam roller,
Gordon and his tender,
A railway station, ‘
Tyrannosaurus Rex,
Stegosaurus,
Tyrannosaurus,
Four other dinosaurs I can’t name but Sam can,
Lego truck,
Bonkers the red teddy bear,
Spotty dog,
Six plastic megablocks,
Old MacDonald’s tractor and trailer,
and a large fairly nondescript brown cardboard box (but without which he could not apparently pretend to be a robot)

all tucked in and sleeping with him.

Metrolina Muse.

February 8, 2009

I spent $2.50 on a dirty, crusty, wooden frame at an antiques fair today. It just looked at me and was begging me to buy it and paint a canvas to put in it. I keep really having itchy fingers and want to do something creative artwise. It’s driving me crazy. Must think of what to do. Any ideas I have just feel so lame.