Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Stopping in for a quick post.  My old laptop is working hard to get me through the work week, but it's like asking a 90 year old to run a marathon.  Unfortunately, I just don't have the patience to wait 5 minutes for my words to pop on the screen after I've typed them.

But I couldn't resist sharing our story time experience this morning at Barnes & Noble.  I really shouldn't even call it story time because Niall has no interest in sitting still and watching pages turn, as the nice old man puts all of his effort into doing his best voice for each character.  That just simply isn't good or interesting enough.

So we'll call it train time.  That's where we stand and play for the entire hour.  I've been trying to give Niall his space and just back off while he learns to deal with squabbles and tripping over each other and all that kind of stuff.  But I always step in if Niall has more than one train and another kid doesn't have any.  Which is exactly what happened today.

All the kids playing around the tracks had a handful of trains, which was fine because there were plenty.  But then a little boy came up and noticed that there weren't any left.  Since Niall had two, I walked up to Niall and said "Look Niall, this boy doesn't have a train to play with.  Which one of your trains would you like to give him?"

I really wasn't sure what to expect because Niall is still a little young to understand this concept.  But to my complete surprise and delight, he looked down at his 2 trains, thought about it for a few seconds and then held out one of his trains to give to the boy.  I was beaming with pride-- "What an angel!," I thought.

Fast forward 5 minutes.  The same situation: a little girl came up and all the trains were taken.  Again, I asked Niall to hand one over.  He looked up at me and, for a second, I was thinking we were really onto something.  Niall gets it-- sharing is fun!  Until I saw the eyebrows furrow...

It seems that there is only so much train sharing he can handle in one day, and he had had enough.  Instead of handing over one of his trains, he screamed bloody murder and sprinted off with both trains.  My angel's halo must have fallen off for a second there ;) 

Well, sharing is a process. We'll just take it one day at a time.

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Monday, March 28, 2011


Well, what do you know?  I've barely had my laptop for a year now and the battery conked out today.  I don't know how long it will take for me to have the new one shipped, but I may be out of commission for a while.  I'm on someone else's laptop right now, but all of my photos are trapped on my dead computer :(

So I guess no big news here.  I do have to say that I'm learning to take the little stresses in life less seriously and not let them ruin my day, so that's progress.  We'll go make some photo-free memories and I'll try to update at some point this week.  Happy Monday!

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

From the Mouths of Babes

I've been on my fair share of trips to the zoo, but for some reason I don't remember any of this!  Maybe I was asleep most of the time, or maybe the animals were hiding... but mommy says it's because I couldn't even sit up on my own yet and had no clue what was going on. 

I blame it on the constricted view (yes, constricted--I have a very extensive vocabulary).  All I could see was barbed wire the last couple times we went, since mommy kept me trapped in my stroller for most of the time. That's no way to visit the zoo, duh mommy!  This time I took control and busted out of that cage on wheels.

I got to see all sorts of cool things...




And I got to stand right up against the cages to see it all up close. I feel bad for the babies who can't walk around and be a big boy like me.  They're really missing out.  One day, if they're lucky, they'll be able to do the zoo Niall style :)

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Moms Who Make Me Mad

You would think my biggest concern taking Niall on public outings would be handling a wild temper tantrum; that I would spend more time doing damage control than enjoying the actual activity, itself.

But no, that's never really stopped us from doing anything fun. What I dread most on the car ride to story time at Border's or the kid's museum is interacting with the other moms. I know that sounds horrible, but you just never know what you're gonna get.

I never in a million years would have thought that I would have more trouble interacting socially than my kid, but here I am, stuck in a rut.  There are a lot of times when I meet great people, have great conversations and the kids get along just peachy.

But then there are the times when I want to ask some of these moms:

It's really been bothering me lately, to the point where I'm working hard to make changes in myself; learning to be assertive, but not emotional or passive aggressive.  I'm just not the type to say something to someone else's kid;  I don't think it's my place.

So what do you do when you are watching a 5 year old take every train out of the little toddlers' hands who are standing around him trying to play?  I'm sitting there, waiting for the mom to come over and tell him he needs to share, but she never comes.  I don't even know where or who she was.

Or worse, I witnessed a mom who stood by and did nothing as her 3 year old son got a running start and pushed someone else's 1 year old on a push toy as hard as he possibly could into the wall, causing the little guy to get whiplash (and not to mention scared him out of his mind). 

I understand that parents get sidetracked and don't watch their kids all the time.  And I also understand that there is a certain amount of independence you need to give your little ones, so they can learn to hash things out themselves.

It's just so hard to find the boundaries, especially when toddlers are at such a crucial stage of learning what's right and wrong.  Having to explain to your kid why he has to share but the other kid doesn't; why he can't push, even though he just got shoved down onto the floor.

So I know I need to just get comfortable with the idea of saying things like "Hey, do you think you guys could take turns?" or "Oh, gentle-- he's a lot smaller than you."  It's going to be a long process of coming into this character that I've never experimented with before, but I know lies deep within me.

Being a mom forces you to do that; to become a better person, a more confident person so that you will be the best role model you can for this little person whose life you have such a huge part in shaping.

Things are going to make us uncomfortable, angry, and sad all the time.  It's how we deal with these situations that makes us who we are.  Which is why I would currently classify myself as "ticking time bomb," but I'm working on it-- slowly, but surely :)

...And never to end on a bad note (since this post was such a downer), a pic from St. Paddy's day that didn't make it on the blog last week:

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday {Windows Down}

Nothing puts a baby to sleep like a gentle breeze and a moving car. 

Ok, I'm so busted-- it's been freezing all this week. 
A Happy Spring pic from last week :)

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cafe on the Terrace

Whenever I see a movie that has a little European cafe in it, I can't help but let out a little "ahhh, why can't I live in a town overlooking the water with a terrace and flowers and French pastries?" sigh.  

But I started thinking about it and realized that nobody is a tourist in their own town.  Do you think the pastry eating terrace dwellers are taking pictures of themselves doing what has become their daily routine?  I bet they don't even realize how cool it is.

So that's when I decided it was time to start exploring my own city, my own town.  And guess what?  We have a European terrace!  With Christmas lights draped from the buildings and a French bakery with homemade pastries... could it get any better?

This amazing alley is just a 12 minute drive from my house.  Bethesda is known to everyone in the 30 mile radius as one of the must see, must experience places of the area.  But it is mostly known for its super expensive restaurants and shops, so I usually choose not to torture myself.

Once I started walking around, though, I realized there were all these great little places to just grab a coffee or a frozen yogurt and walk around.  It was perfect for Niall to run and explore, while I snapped a million photos of anything and everything around us. 

Next stop: Kensington.  Our little town that extends maybe 2 miles in all directions.  I may even stop and pick up the visitor center walking tour map.  We'll just pretend we're not from around here :)

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Doctor's Orders

I had a teeny tiny bit of an emotional breakdown yesterday.  I honestly don't even know what exactly caused it, but it was probably a combination of things.  Niall cried and threw temper tantrums all day, petty little things kept going wrong, and I was in desperate need of a little alone time to just relax. 

So relax I did.  And not the [lay on the couch in front of the TV] relaxing.  I'm talking real relaxing. The kind we so often forget to do.  The kind that doesn't involve bright, flashing screens and blinking messages.

I am guilty of hopping on my laptop at the end of the evening, reading other blogs, and convincing myself that I'm taking it easy; taking some "me time."  But I know deep down that your mind and body need time away from anything that has a "power on" button.

Ok, so I know I'm not a doctor, but I have discovered the perfect prescription for all stress and anxiety:

I demand that every woman reading this blog take a long, hot bath at some point this week.  Grab a book or an ipod (ok, so this has an "on" switch, but you're listening to it, not watching it); a glass of cucumber water; maybe even a glass of wine.... shut the door, light some candles, switch off the lights, and pull the curtain.  And just sit there for a good 15 minutes.

It's honestly one of the most healing things I've done in a really long time.  I turned on some classical music, closed my eyes and just drifted away.  It was like I suddenly recharged and everything was fine. 

And now, it's going to be a weekly ritual for me.  I can't believe I went almost 3 years in this house and never took a single bath.  Not one, ever.  Until last night.  What a great wake up call. 

I love the simple things like this, that don't cost anything or require going anywhere.  It's just right there in front of you, but you forgot it even existed.  Oh, bathtub-- I'll never neglect you again.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Stop that Train!

From the Mouths of Babes

I was sure that it was a 2 o'clock departure time.  I checked my day planner and everything.  I looked to mommy for some reassurance...

But sure enough, I showed up right there on the railroad tracks and it was gone.  The train had left me... with a cart full of happy kids, just leaving me in the dust.

Surely, I could catch it if I ran fast enough, right?  I am the fastest baby in the universe, after all.  And I have my tennis shoes on.  It's worth a shot.

No, wait!  Maybe if I cut across Play Town and stop him on the other side...  I'll just climb up on this couch and wave him down.

No, I definitely missed the train.  Whatever, daddy and I will just have to go on a jungle safari instead.


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