Thursday, August 28, 2008

Precious moments

Tonight, I had one of those moments that I know I'll look back on one day, missing the days when Monkey was still my little baby boy...

We were just sitting on the floor in the living room, him playing with some random toys while I played him a new Sesame Street CD (a nostalgia purchase on my part, because many of the songs were on MY Sesame Street record - as in vinyl - as in "yes, I am old"). He gradually started to wind down as bedtime got closer, and walked over to me and sat down just as Kermit started singing "It's Not Easy Being Green." The Monkey leaned back against my legs, and I started playing with his hair. Thinking it might put him to sleep before I got him to his crib, I stopped, only to have him look at me like "hey, keep it coming!" So there we sat, listening to Kermit's wise words, a mother running her fingers through her son's freshly-washed hair, just relaxing and being close. No big deal, right? But at what age will he not let me do that anymore, because it's not "cool," or he's mad at me, or he doesn't have the time? When will he stop wanting to sit in his mommy's lap, or cuddle, or give hugs and kisses? I hope I can teach him to be affectionate, and that there's nothing "girly" about it, but you just never know. All I know is that tonight, it was a special moment for just the two of us, and I treasure that.

It's official...

Monkey is totally back to loving day care again. Today, after we washed his hands, I set him down on the floor, and whoosh! Off he went over to where the other kids were helping one of the teachers pick up some toys, with nary a look a back! Because we're not supposed to "sneak out" and give our kids abandonment issues, I actually had to call his name two or three times to get him to look at me so I could say goodbye, to which I believe his response, although non-verbal, was "yeah, whatever..."

I consider myself lucky that our transition to this new room really only took about two weeks, and really only about three days in "real" time, since he only goes part-time. But it's still such a weird emotion to feel so unimportant to our little ones. Such independence in a one-year old - It almost makes me teary thinking ahead to his first day of kindergarten. Sniff...

But then I reassure myself that sometime in the next, oh, two days, Monkey will inexplicably become super-clingy, wanting noone but his Momma, and I'll be wondering if there is any such thing as that perfect middle ground. I guess we need to take what we can get, in whatever form it's offered!

And on that note, it's back to work for another hour or so until I find out what today's injury report will be!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Would you rather...

You know the game, right?

Take two relatively unpleasant alternatives, and debate which one you would rather be faced with: Would you rather eat a cricket or a worm? Would you rather be blind or deaf? Would you rather have a great job but make no money, or have a lousy job and make tons of money? You get the idea...

Today I was faced with a real-life "would you rather" of sorts: Would I rather leave Monkey at day care each day in tears, missing his Mommy and not yet trusting his new teacher, or would I rather leave a happy Monkey, without a care in the world, banging off the walls? This time, however, there was a twist - I didn't get to decide, as Monkey has gone and made the decision for me!

Beginning about three weeks ago, it was all about Option A - Despite being gradually transitioned to his new room, Monkey still didn't have the same sense of security with his new teachers that he'd had in the infant room, and would all but cling to my leg when I tried to leave him for the day, leaving me in tears in the car after I would tear myself away. But then, suddently, last week, he chose Option B.

I didn't fully appreciate the switch at the time - indeed, I didn't know that there was an Option B, so to speak. All I knew was that when I set Monkey down on the floor to play last Thursday, after missing a day of day care due to a weekend trip, he looked for the briefest of moments like he was going to scrunch up his face and cry, but then he got distracted by a toy, and that was that. I was free to leave - see ya later - hasta la vista. It's as if he forgot I was there. My feelings were almost hurt for a moment, but this was what it was like in the infant roomo mere weeks earlier, and I knew, despite my hurt pride, that this was a good thing.

What I didn't know was that it was coming at a price. OK, well perhaps this is all coincidental, but with Monkey's increased happiness and confidence came a sudden string of accident reports. Out of the blue, he got THREE reports in two days, after getting maybe two EVER in the infant room, once when he was crawling around and bonked his head into a mirror, and the other I don't even recall... Now, suddenly, he's walking toys into walls and getting fat lips on the rebound, acquiring mystery bite marks on his arm (self or other-inflicted - it's anybody's guess), and, here's one to really make me proud - climbing on (and then falling off of) the lunch table. And you wonder how he got the name Monkey...

Now, I must reluctantly admit that there has been one other SMALL change during this same time period, which, if you've read my few entries to date, you already know - Monkey recently started walking. So I suspect that his impressive new injury rate is not so much a factor of him choosing Option B as it is him growing up, exploring, and learning (hopefully!) from his mistakes! But as I drove home today, two injury reports in hand, and Monkey happily jabbering away in the back seat, I couldn't help but wonder if, given the choice, I'd have kept Option A for just a wee bit longer...

Monday, August 25, 2008

My imminent addiction...

Uh oh.

It's almost that time of year again.

Fall premiere season.

You see, I have a problem. I watch WAY too much TV. And now that I have a toddler, this means I DVR way too many programs and then stay up late watching them when I should be catching up on sleep.

I'm not sure yet how bad this round is going to be. I've already started calendaring the premiere dates of some of my favorite returning shows, and I'm really, really trying to avoid finding out anything about any new shows that may inadvertently pull me under their spell. (Although, I confess that I've already heard all I need to know about "Fringe," i.e., J.J. Abrams and Joshua Jackson - yeah, that one's definitely on the list).

What's worse, I have this bizarre inability to drop a show even when I'm complaining that I'm not enjoying it as much anymore. It's like somehow I need to try to recoup my investment or something - "Well, I've already put THIS much time into it..." Huh? Like "Heroes." Last season, it was consistently the last thing I would watch on my DVR - I just couldn't get excited about it, and there was always something more compelling that I wanted to watch first, so it just kept falling to the bottom of the list. Yet eventually I watched every single episode, and I'll probably watch the season premiere as well. Although, in fairness, I did see a review somewhere suggesting that the premiere was going to make a lot of disgruntled fans happy again - how can I not tune in to find out if that's true?

It's even harder now that I'm married - I actually have to take my husband's viewing tastes into consideration, and if there's a show he doesn't like, I'll still DVR it, but then I have to find a time when he's not home or is otherwise occupied to watch it. Luckily for me, he travels for work a fair amount, but this means that I've pulled some late nights playing catch-up after the Monkey is asleep. And often my body is just not up for it, meaning that I fall asleep, wake up, rewind the DVR, find my spot, watch for five minutes, fall asleep again... it's really a vicious, ridiculous cycle. And again, if the show I'm watching isn't keeping me awake, is it really worth it? Hmmm...

Yet, in all honesty, I'm not seeking a cure for this addiction. It's a way for me to relax, and it's a source of entertainment to me. I watch a range of comedies, dramas, and tacky reality shows, each with their different appeal. Hopefully some of you out there share my addiction, and will be willing to endure my occasional critiques, rants, or "OMG did you see that"s. Stay tuned!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Are you ready for some (fantasy) football?

It's that time of year again - my husband is already salivating at the thought of watching football soon. Now, don't get me wrong - I like football. It's one of the only sports I enjoy watching on TV - others, I need to be there to stay interested for long. And, I've been associated with some great football teams. My grandmother is a lifelong resident of Green Bay, and my grandfather, when he was alive, was on the team's Board of Directors. As a result, they got to "hang" with people like Vince Lombardi back in the day - pretty cool! (I'll bite my tongue and refrain from commenting on Brett Favre - plenty has been said, and I'll just say that I'm no longer a fan of his, and leave it at that). Then, in the mid-70s, my family moved to Pittsburgh, just in time to watch the Steelers and their Iron Curtain on a great winning streak. Now, I'm in Indy, where the Colts have recently won the Super Bowl (only one year after the Steelers, even - it's been a good run!). So yeah, I'm a football fan. But I just can't get quite as excited as my husband does.

So why am I spending $100 to play in a fantasy league this year? Hmmm, good question!

My husband has been doing this for a few years, and I've watched his players with interest, asked questions about the scoring, etc. Last year was a rough year for me, because he drafted freakin' Tom Brady, who I despise, and I found myself in a moral dilemma trying to figure out whether to actually cheer for the guy! He actually did well for my husband, who didn't win overall, but came in second place for overall points.

So, a couple of years ago, one of the guys in the league had to travel to China on business on draft day, and needed someone to draft for him. Being the good sport I am, I offered to do it, with a little help from my husband. I must have done OK, because the guy I drafted for WON the whole thing that year! (I know what you're thinking - he had plenty of opportunities to decide which players to play in a given week, to make trades, etc., but can we give me the benefit of the doubt on this one and pretend he couldn't have done it without me??) I am still waiting for my cut of the winnings, however...

This year, the league started to fall apart a bit. The group which was once fairly geographically centered has spread out into multiple time zones, more children have come along to take up time, etc. So with the league in danger of beoming extinct, my husband asked if I'd be willing to take a spot. Again, being a good sport, I said I'd do it. So here I am, the only woman in a league of 12 football-a-holics, and last night was our draft.

To say the chatter in the draft room was off-color is putting in mildly, but I'm a good sport, and hard to offend, so I tried to give as good as I got. I did get a little annoyed with my husband about mid-way through, when he wasn't being particularly helpful in advising me on my picks - isn't it in his best interest to have ONE of us win the big prize, espcially since our household has twice as much at stake as everyone else? But, alas, he has to save face in front of the boys - can't make it look like he's sticking up for wifey, right? Heck, I got most of my heckling in the draft room from him - totally unfair.

So, I'll keep you posted on whether this turns out to be a money maker or a monumental failure. I did manage to snag a good QB pick, and one I can cheer for too - Peyton Manning. I got razzed big time for picking a kicker too early, but I got the top kicker (at east according to the two rankings I was relying on), and a decent backup as well. My running backs may be my great failure - we'll see. The top ten were gone by the time I got my first pick (yeah, I was #12 in the draft - wonder if that was fixed??), so I took one, then grabbed my QB, and tried to get strong guys for other positions. Time will tell. In the meantime, I'm going to try to enjoy the last few weekends where my husband doesn't have his butt glued to the recliner and his arm glued to a beer glass... :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Monkey is officially a Toddler!!

My little Monkey started walking this week - such a bittersweet milestone! After watching him for what seemed like forever working up to this - pulling up, standing holding on to things, walking holding on to furniture, gradually standing for a few seconds on his own, suddenly my little guy is MOBILE, and man is he making up for lost time! He took his first official steps a week ago on Thursday - three tentative steps, then a stop (balance check), and then three more steps before dropping down onto his bum. I called my husband right away, and hoped, hoped, hoped that he would be able to see a repeat performance soon, as he was just on his way home from work. I feel guilty sometimes because I get to stay at home with the Monkey, and usually see most of the "firsts." Sure enough, there were several repeat performances that night, some a little longer - four, then five steps, but then other attempts barely getting off the ground. Of course, the more tired the Monkey gets, the more he walks like a drunken sailor, so there comes a point where further progress in one day is just NOT going to happen! But it's amazing what a week of practice will do - he's now doing circles around the house, usually heading into forbidden rooms like the dining room, which until now, has held little to no appeal for him. This, of course, means it's time for more babyproofing, or else I'm just going to be saying "no" like a broken record.

There are moments when I wish this milestone had come just a bit later, so that I could appreciate yet another fleeting aspect of babydom. Yet I can't help but just sit back and admire him as he wobbles towards me, arms extended, with the biggest, proudest, smile lighting up his face! What an amazing accomplishment this is, when you stop to think about it. Just a year ago, this little boy could only eat, sleep, and poop. Now, the world is wide open to him - amazing, yet scary at the same time. And the learning process is so fascinating - how is it that our little ones generally learn all of these skills in roughly the same order, at roughly the same time? How incredible is it to watch their brains and bodies at work? And no wonder he sleeps so well at night - he's quite the busy little guy!

An experiment...

For a while now, I've been reading other people's blogs, on a wide range of subjects, and thinking "hey, I could do that." Supposedly I'm a semi-decent writer (or at least I hope so, since it's kind of important to my career), and my brain is full of all kind of interesting (at least to me) thoughts, observations, and opinions. Plus, I work from home, so unless I want to share these thoughts with my dog or my toddler, I often have a limited audience. Thus, this experiment - putting some of my random thoughts out there for the world to see, should they choose to do so, and to comment on, should they feel so inclined. Worst case, this is a politically correct, technologically advanced way to talk to myself, right? Best case, I may actually find a theme to my thoughts, and find others interested in reading and discussing my thoughts. It's a win-win situation.

I have yet to decide, however, exactly what it is that I want to write about, hence the vague title, at least for now. I am a mother, a wife, a lawyer, a daughter, a sister, a friend... Perhaps at the forefront of my life right now is my role as a relatively new mother, and my efforts to integrate that with my other roles. So I suspect you'll hear much about my son, who I shall affectionately refer to as Monkey. (Am I a wee bit embarrassed that my choice of nickname for my offspring is the same as that chosen by Tori Spelling? Yes, but I swear I thought of it BEFORE I caught any episodes of Tori & Dean, which is another embarrassment altogether...) But I also like to talk about current events, whether it be the latest in celebrity gossip, or perhaps something more newsworthy. TV, movies, local happenings... It's so hard to pick just one. So please stay tuned, and forgive me as I navigate my way through this new medium and the cobwebs in my brain - I'm sure I'll have lots to share with you, and I hope you'll find some of it worth coming back for more.