Monday, March 31, 2008

Babysitters and Bathrooms

Yep. It's official. I've finally crossed the very last hurdle: I am a grown-up. I paid an actual teenage babysitter cold hard cash on Saturday night. I've been meaning to ask our neighbor to babysit for quite some time now but it finally happened. It was so nice not to have to drive her home when I got back from Mr. b's gig! Earlier in the evening Kirk and I even walked up to the store and bought babysitter food. I don't know what they eat these days so I went with Doritos, cookie dough ice cream, and a selection of 20 oz sodas (Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, and Orange Cream). Now I feel confident that I can plan to attend Mercurial Rage shows with more frequency!

Another hurdle this weekend? Kirk's first time wearing underpants outside the house! We certainly didn't want to discourage it when he choose underpants right as we were getting ready to go out for lunch. And it was fine at first. We reminded him of his situation constantly while ordering and waiting for our food. He was as well behaved as he ever is, crawling from one side of the booth to the other under the table. Eventually he asked Mr. b to take him to the bathroom! They returned seconds later after not even an attempt. One other such trip and we rolled our eyes. Hey, at least he was asking, right? And then I looked over and he was standing in a puddle on the booth seat. Great. Awesome. He peed the restaurant. Thankfully we were already on our way out the door so I cleaned up after him and we dashed out. You'd think that wet jeans would be a deterrent but he honestly didn't seem to care. Well, he did walk all bow-legged out to the car. That was pretty hilarious.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


At some point towards the end of the winter, maybe in February?, we started letting Kirk play outside by himself. The backyard is fenced in and we have the gates "locked" - there's a carabiner on one and an unlocked padlock on the other to prevent him from lifting the latches. He asks to go out and will put his shoes on (he can do it by himself about 20% of the time) and gets all excited for his coat and hat and mittens. He loves it when the kitties are outside with him. He and Chloe the Annoying One will actually play games, like chase each other around! He's got a stash of sticks from our fire kindling pile that he plays with - they're the Doobie Sticks - and he can just generally amuse himself for at least a half hour with whatever toys happen to be in the yard instead of the garage porch. I peek out the window every 2 or 3 minutes though! If I can't see him or hear him I poke my head out the door and call to him. I'm not particularly worried but...he's 2. And I'm still not quite used to the idea of him being out completely unsupervised.

It's fun seeing the yard get used in such a complete manner. He's got all his little spots, like next to the air conditioning unit or along the side of the garage where I excavated a long buried sidewalk last summer. It seems like such a small yard but it's his. I find myself sometimes just watching him when I meant to do a quick check. I'll be mesmerized by his play, listening to his running commentary to himself with a goofy half grin on my face.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dinosaurs & Rockets

T. Rex & Einsteins at the MN Capitol

Dino in the Rotunda

This is what happens when you have a toddler. This is what you find funny. This is what you create when inspiration hits and you have a few moments to spend manipulating. And you make other versions.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Idol Gossip

Yesterday, while I was running down the stairs to the bus stop, a thought popped into my head: wouldn’t it be crazy if we had a pregnant American Idol contestant? I mean, what would the producers do?! And the show runs long enough that if it was timed right, we’d totally see her belly growing and everything.

This morning I was starting to catch up on TWoP’s conspiracy theories for AI. I read a spoiler that they’re going to have a wild card spot for the tour and bring back the 11th & 12th place finalists and also a select few from the semis to all compete for it. Then they’ll have an even more bloated results show – supposedly during Idol Hearts the Children So Very Much week. That sounds pretty reasonable to me. I sort of miss when the semis used to have the wild card round. Then I read someone speculate that it would make sense if they needed to replace a Top 10 finalist on the tour because Carly the Irish girl’s red, shapeless shirt onstage Tuesday night really was a maternity top!!!! Oh my gods I’m psychic! But it also clarifies so much for me. There’s an air of desperation about her that I haven’t been able to reconcile with her punk rock image. Why does she care so frickin’ much about Idol of all things? But if she was preggers, that changes everything. And it brings her hormones into play. And it explains why she’s been so out of breath after her performances. And why her posture is so effin’ weird all the time. Dude she is so knocked up!!

Of course that’s just my unfounded accusation based on speculation and internet rumors. But I like it and I’m going with it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sartorial Stymie

Kirk’s never really shown much interest in dressing himself. Sometimes he’ll help us get him undressed. He’ll take his arms out of his sleeves to be silly on occasion. He can pull his socks off but sometimes he has trouble getting his pants down. He can undo sweatshirt zippers but won’t unzip his jammies all the way, instead shrugging out of the arms and then struggling to get them off his legs while still zipped up to his waist.

So it was a bit surprising to me when yesterday, while driving to Auntie’s, he suddenly decided to practice putting his mittens on. He was just sitting in his carseat and it took a couple tries to get the thumb hole aligned with his thumb but he did it. And then this morning, when I asked if he wanted to do his mittens himself, he got them on almost faster than if I was helping him!

I sometimes wonder if his lack of interest in dressing is one of his impediments to potty training. Obviously he’s not going to make it to the potty in time if he can’t get his pants off his ass. But even when we offer to help him make it in time…he just doesn’t really care.

I’ve been telling myself that there are only two Big Things left for Kirk to master and then the transition to big boy will be complete: potty training and leaving the crib. But I finally realized that getting dressed is another one. I don’t figure he’ll do sleeves perfectly anytime soon or master snaps on jeans. It would be nice if he seemed to care though. And then I second guess myself by remembering the one day the other week where he managed to get his shirt on over his head all by himself before I started helping him with the rest of it. So maybe I need to back off. He likes picking his clothes out himself. And I let him. So I guess now I need to let him put them on himself, too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Army of Darkness

My semi-annual vampire literature fixation kicked off with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Monstrous Regiment, so I decided to just go for it and read another one of Anne Rice’s books: The Vampire Armand. I find myself incredibly torn when it comes to her writing; I like the world she’s created and the way she’s modified existing vampire mythology. But I hate Lestat. Hate him. I find, looking at my last review, that I dislike him more and more every book I read. Armand is a fascinating character, however, and I love Marius so I was excited to get some backstory there. It’s interesting just how much she focuses on Christianity in her writing though. My first thought upon reading this article that superbadfriend sent me is, huh? How can people think that she’s doing something new and different with her Christ books? She’s been completely wrapped up in Biblical interpretation for several books now and Armand was no certainly change to that pattern.

I haven’t seen any of the film adaptations but jill loaned me her copy of I am Legend and I was very excited to read it. It was incredible. And frankly, I don’t know if I can handle seeing the newest movie now! Either they’ll change the ending and I’ll be pissed or else they’ll leave it alone and I’ll bawl. It was so intense and utterly unlike any other vampire tale I’ve ever read before. It felt more like a post-apocalyptic zombie story, or something like The Day of the Triffids. Several of Richard Matheson’s short stories were included in the volume after the Legend novella ended and it was nice getting to see more of his writing style. He’s very dark, almost horror, but not gory. There’s certainly a focus on things and people not being what they seem. He did a bit of experimentation with voices but on the whole they felt very much like self-contained Twilight Zone episodes. Which is a good thing.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Plan C

We've made it through one whole week of K's six week maternity leave. It was so wonderful of my sister to take Kirk back again. But we knew on Monday that there was no way in hell we'd be able to handle Auntie Daycare for the entire time. It's the drive. That remains the biggest thing. But it's also...that place. It's hard to describe but Kirk just doesn't get the kind of care and attention that he gets with K. I suppose that seems counterintuitive since it's family, but my sister is a busy Kramer-from-Seinfeld style entrepreneur and so even when she's physically there, she's not really there. Her husband is more wrapped up with their new baby so as much as he might like having another boy around, he's not going to be particularly focused on Kirk. He's certainly not exactly learning anything. That's not the point! We had already gotten into the mindset that this was like summer vacation and he'd be letting his brain rot the whole time. Heh. But it's still somehow different. A1 is in school, A2 is in half-day kindergarten, so he's not even getting the cousin time that he had before. He's on his own, left to play and amuse himself, or fend for himself in the crush of little girls from the building that pile in for after-school playtime. And he's not getting regular naps. "Oh, he got a good hour of sleep in the car" is not a regular nap. "He was asleep in [A2's] chair when we came back out to the living room" is not adorable, it's heartbreaking.

Mr. b and I have decided to each use a week of vacation and stay home with Kirk the last two weeks of K's leave. But three more weeks over there still seemed like too much for all of us to handle. He's been a wreck all weekend; some of it is all of us being sick right now but mostly, he hasn't had a decent nap in a frickin week! He gets all wound up and has no quiet time. And he's on reduced Mama and Daddy time because of the long drive and the subsequent earlier bedtime due to the lack of napping. My parents were babysitting last night and I asked them if there was any chance they could cover a week for us, too. So that brings it down to just two more weeks. I think we can handle that.

I certainly don't regret sending Kirk to Auntie Daycare when I first went back to work. I think it was perfect for both of us. He was so little and I was a first-time mom going back. It would have been much worse to send my kid to some random stranger. But things are different now, for my sister as well as for us. The circumstances have changed and Kirk's older and I just don't think it's the right environment any longer. I'd love to somehow cover the remaining two weeks but I feel vastly better knowing it's down to just those 9 days - Mom's sleeping over with us on Thursday night so will stay with Kirk the following day. It's not a perfect solution but it's a plan.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Movie Star

Mr. b got busy with the iMovie last night and created this awesome look back at Kirk's two-and-a-half years so far. Kirkie loves watching videos of himself and sometimes asks to see specific ones. So he adored this one. When I left for the bus stop this morning they were already on their third viewing. "That's me! I'm messy. I'm a bald baby. Look, I'm a big boy! I have hair."