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May 2008 Archives

May 8, 2008

Monday Virus

Ronan in a pot
Is your child bored? Put them in a pot and push them around.
Hours of fun. (For them.) Sorta fun for you.

So we’re all sick this week. Terry and Ronan picked up something on the playground and then brought it home. I took care of them for a few days but then, of course just as I was headed to an interview, I came down with fever, sore throat, congestion, chills and nausea. Most of the symptoms subsided after 48 hours but I still get queasy after eating.

This was the first occasion where we were all sick together. Like grief, there are various stages of being sick together as a family that we passed through. If you have children, they may be familiar to you.

1.)   One family member is sick. In this case, Ronan developed congestion that was serious enough to inhibit his sleep. Discontenting, but not serious.

2.)   Two family members are sick. The remaining family member is working hard, but things are taken care of.

3.)   Three family members (everybody) is sick. Things are still not so bad, because everyone is sick, so everybody just lies around feeling sorry for themselves. Parents drag their sorry asses out of bed and feed the kid. (Note: we kinda skipped this step and went to step 4.)

4.)   Two family members are sick, and the kid is better. This is the situation we found ourselves in. Ronan was ready to take on the world and we were ready for another round of Dayquil.

We spent the better part of an afternoon with an incredibly hyped-up kid using us as Mount Everest and repeatedly climbing all over while we both lay there quietly praying for an end to our misery. Not that we were hoping we would get better; we were hoping Ronan would run out of energy.

He’s not actually better; he still has a stuffy head that has made his sleep quite fitful but he’s the most cheerful sick kid I have ever seen, and I’m a teacher, so I’ve seen a lot of kids. His response to being sick was to learn to climb vertically. He’s already summated the high chair, which he (and us) were very proud of. Of course this means that we now have to watch him even more closely, if that were possible. The high chair, which used to fit under the dining table, now stands fully erect to prevent such summits without our attention. He’s devoting his engineering skills to figuring out which combination of dresser drawers will build a staircase to the diaper-changing table.

I can’t express how much fun it is to see him crawl around and get excited and happy about interacting with his environment. I also can’t express how miserable a task that is when you’re thinking about vomiting and stumbling around like you’re auditioning to be the next Lon Chaney in Frankenstein.

This combination of hyper kid, Dayquil, and lethargy resulted in a scary accident. Terry and I were attempting to soothe our exhaustion while Ronan was learning that he could also summit the living room chair, and then climb Mount Futon. Unfortunately our intrepid explorer suffered a mishap, which on Everest would have been fatal, but in our living room only resulted in a bump on the head. That’s right, he fell off Mount Futon in his joy, plummeting across the valley and landing his noggin on Mount Coffee Table. That ended the day’s exploration, and Ronan immediately returned to base camp for some snuggling and hugs to get over his tears.

Thankfully, Terry is almost fully recovered, and I’m feeling better. I have a feeling this is not the last time he will decide to climb. I’d like to thank my father-in-law again for so securely affixing our bookshelves to the wall. We’re gonna test those bookshelves, I can feel it.

May 17, 2008

Mother’s Day Wreckage

Ronan Super Messy
Ronan eating in his natural habitat.

If you’re a parent, you know at some point that your kid’s going to get into trouble. Perhaps even embarrass you a little. Perhaps suddenly make you the center of attention. Maybe you worry about that. And then it happens a few more times and you completely forget about embarrassment.

Mother’s Day was celebrated with a group of friends, organized by Kizz, at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Ronan came along, perhaps as living testament to Terry’s motherhood, which earned her a free glass of champagne, which she passed on to another mother who actually drinks that stuff.

Even without alcohol we (he) wrecked that joint. As in plate-throwing, mashed-potatoes flinging, drink-spilling hellzapoppin’ damage. Our first.

Still working on walking, he loves to have someone hold him up and walk around. I walked him around, Kizz walked him around (twice! Go Kizz!!) and Terry walked him around (I think?). This did not alleviate his energy in the least. The appearance of another baby did not completely consume his attention either, which is usually good for an hour of staring.

Brunch that day was delicious, and I’m in favor of any place that serves giant glasses of Dr Pepper. I had a really good omelette, and while I didn’t try the other dishes (breakfast pork and all that) they looked good. We ordered a side order of mashed potatoes for Ronan, and I had several bites of that, and that was very good, so I approve of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and so must half of New York, because that half was waiting to get inside.

Ronan also had organic Cheerios, many of which died quiet deaths on the floor; and a jar of fruit puree. We tried to pick up as many dead Cheerios as we could, but still some remained under foot. Of course, this was done mostly by Terry, who actually got on the floor (those Cheerios don’t pick themselves up, people) who also tried to clean up those Cheerios stomped into oat dust. There was also a yogurt drink. The staff seemed very nice but probably were wishing we were actual cowgirls, who are probably cleaner patrons.

My first error was serving Ronan a plate of mashed potatoes without holding onto the plate of mashed potatoes. What was I thinking? I’m not sure. I realized almost immediately (too late) that that was a bad idea. In the 4.5 milliseconds it took between the time I released the plate and the realization of what I had done, he airlifted the plate high enough and far enough to land on the floor. It shattered loudly. Mashed potatoes flew far. The shock of the death of the plate, the sadness at losing his plate of mashed potatoes caused some tears. Some of the other patrons took notice. We offered twice to pay for the plate but were turned down.

So we had the bright idea to just put the mashed potatoes on the table itself. Of course, the problem with that is two-fold: Ronan has fistfuls of mashed potatoes (it’s great fun to squeeze mashed potatoes out of your closed fist, try it) and instead of an isolated high chair like at home, everything is more compressed and within reach. So there was a Mom that not only ended up with mashed potatoes on her brunch platter, but on her sweater. A backpack got a mashed potatoes surprise for the owner.Mashed potatoes joined the remaining cheerios in dying nobly on the floor. And, for good measure, mashed potatoes also were stored in the nooks and crannies of the high chair for the next baby. (It’s actually impressive how much mashed potatoes can be stored in institutional high chairs. Who knew?)

Then, to top it off, Ronan suddenly realized he had the strength to move the table. Now we know, and those of you with or without kids, this may be obvious. But we’re just learning to deal with toddlerhood, so the thought that a kid in a high chair is strong enough to grab and move the table was a little bit surprising to us. A drinking glass (32 ounces, nothing in the Cowgirl Hall of Fame is small), thankfully full of water instead of sticky soda, died an ignoble death trapped between the edges of the two tables pushed together. It was plastic so it just bounced around, spilling water all over the feet of one of Terry’s friends.

Okay, certainly a one-year-old being able to grab and move a table, especially one seated in a high chair, is impressive. I would have thought the high chair would have moved instead of the table. But as Terry requested even more napkins to wipe up this latest mini-disaster while I comforted Ronan, my thoughts were: 1.) Terry is really fast at cleaning up spills. I need to volunteer to clean up more. 2.) Are people looking at us? Ah, the hell with them.

Yet another mother at the table offered her supply of wipes to clean up the ensuing mess of wet cheerios, mashed potatoes, and fruit puree that Ronan was attempting to squirrel away in the high chair and his pants and shirt (perhaps for winter, I’m not sure). I took them and used them, and then realized that of course we have our own wipes; why the hell wasn’t I using those?

But this was one of those cleanups that required more than just a wipe. When I picked up Ronan out of the high chair after the first of what became three attempts to remove the mashed potatoes/puree/cheerios/yogurt drink mixture, I suddenly realized that, like The Blob, I was now covered in mashed potatoes/puree/cheerios/yogurt drink, and what’s more I was wearing a black T-shirt, so it really showed. So now I needed a wipe. Or four. Finally on the third cleanup attempt I was able to separate infant son from infant son food.

Finally, the required diaper changing was hampered by the seeming lack of changing table in the cowboy’s room. Apparently cowboys do not change diapers. There was a changing table in the Cowgirl’s room, but it was Mother’s Day and Terry had already appointed herself floor cleaner repeatedly, so I changed Ronan on the bench outside the bathroom. Apparently Ronan does not like hard wooden benches for diaper changings, or perhaps he’s just very modest about being partially nude in a high-traffic area; he did not enjoy the diaper changing. It’s possible Cowgirl Hall of Fame has a changing table inside the men’s stalls, but I didn’t think to look in there until Terry mentioned where the changing table was located in the cowgirl’s room. Who puts a changing table in a stall? That seems a very small place to change a baby to me.

Eventually, after everyone had ignored the mashed potato tornado at the end of the table in favor of his all-charming, all-winning personality, paid the bill and headed on their way to their other Mother’s Day activities. We hit a church flea market and looked at new baby carriers.

The thing is, he wasn’t really that bad. He did just what comes naturally to him, and it was mostly a freak series of accidents. Okay, now we know that he has the power to move restaurant tables. We won’t ever give him a plate of mashed potatoes. We will buy more sippy cups. We’re learning.

I’m sure the staff of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame made additional cleanup around our table, possibly involving a mop. And I think that we were probably not the worst encounter with a baby they had suffered, maybe even not the worst they encountered that day. Thanks for being so understanding, Cowgirl Hall of Fame!

So, we’ve packed a rubber placemat (doesn’t break) into the diaper bag. And, more wipes. And some other stuff. We’re ready for toddlerhood. Or so we think…

May 27, 2008

Ronan Goes to College

Special thanks to Robby for the photos.

When I started college this semester, I informed my professor, who didn’t know me well at the time, that I might be absent if I had to take care of Ronan.  “Unless you don’t mind me bringing him to class.” I joked; some professors like kids. “Don’t bring him to class. He’ll only disrupt everything.” He replied.

Fast forward a semester, and I informed my professor that I wasn’t coming to the last class; Terry had a video competition to judge at work and couldn't bring Ronan. Somewhere in between my notice that I wouldn’t be there, and the actual day of the last class, the professor relented and said that he’d prefer I attend, and if that meant bringing Ronan, than I should bring him. After all, it's the last class.

By now we’re old hat at traveling together to Brooklyn College, so the train trip passed quickly. He didn’t even seem to get too excited about the trip.

He was very excited, at least for a while, about coming to class. He greatly enjoyed walking around and visiting with the other students. He especially enjoyed one students’ walkman headphones, which he kept pulling out of her pocketbook. He also stole her bottle of water.

At one point he sat on the professors’ lap. This was fun for everyone; except apparently Ronan.

He really enjoyed sitting on my shoulders, which caused great laughter when he started giggling up there.

Eventually he was bored, and I carried him on my shoulders to look out the window and around the place. He really wanted to push the stroller around and was frustrated that he couldn’t do that.

Finally he got a little cranky so I took him out. It was a little premature; the class ended quite early five minutes later.

Perhaps Ronan will return to college; perhaps not. It will be up to him. However much he enjoyed his first day, the class seemed to enjoy it much more.

About May 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Freaks & Geeks Parenting in May 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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