April 2008

I’m heading west!

Today, I leave for San Diego for an AJLI conference where I will learn how to be the best Junior League president ever. Or, more likely, how to continue the legacy of community improvement while doing the least amount of harm to the venerable organization. Either way, I am looking forward to the trip.

Except that I feel achingly sad to leave Conal. I won’t be gone for long: I leave tonight and return Sunday morning. But, I’ve never been away from the little jobber for more than an evening or afternoon here and there. So, this will be something. Something good? Well, I hope so.


Conal is fully weaned. It happened last week. The fully part, that is. We’d been making our way down the weaning path for a few months so it has been a slow journey, which I feel was the right way for Conal and me to go. Other than a little sadness, I’ve felt fine; I didn’t have any of the problems that I had read and heard so much about. Phew!

And Conal? Well, he’s taken to this no more breastfeeding thing like a big kid. Which is pretty much what he is these days. A cruising, chattering, bottle-guzzling, regular-food-eating big kid.

Who, apparently, doesn’t go for the teething biscuits:

A few new pictures today. We’ve spent a lot of time out on our screened-in porch this week. Conal loves to crawl around and chase after the cats who, in turn, love to creep around and chase after the birds. The birds can’t get in the porch, and the cats can’t get out, so the birds just happily flit about, safe from our intrepid hunting duo.

Of course, the pics show none of that excitement. Instead, here you’ll find Conal all wrapped up in the intricacies of our old cast iron hibachi, re-purposed originally as a planter but now serving as a somewhat inconvenient door stop.

That is, if by “song” you mean shrieking and wailing. And, by “dance” you mean writhing on the floor while an increasingly annoyed mother — or father — tries to wrestle the toddler into a diaper. And “old?” Three or four months counts, right? Especially when the participant in question has only been around for 10 months? OK, so, yeah, we go through the Same. Old. Song. And. Dance. Every night.

We start out fine. Bath or a wash-up, laughs, cuteness. Then we move into the bedroom. I lay out Conal’s sleep sack, pajamas and clean diaper. He has no problem letting us take off his clothes but the second we put him down on the diaper, its over. Shrieking. Desperate crying. Wriggling, thrashing, extremities flailing. When things are really rolling, there is even some breath-holding.

We’ve tried to change the music, change the steps: Let’s dress him while he’s standing up! Quick, secure the diaper while he’s in mid-crawl! He’s chewing on the changing table shelf . . . let’s slip his feet into his pajama bottoms! None of this works. The new beat is really just a variation on the same theme. It’s really just the same old song and dance. Like when you hear the Pet Shop Boys’ version of that late ’80s hit — you still belt out, “I want to run / I want to hide / I want to tear down the walls / That hold me inside!” even if they did toss a little Frankie Valli into the mix.

So it goes. We struggle with the going to bed routine up until he’s PJ’ed and then it is fine. He’s all smiles after that. He enjoys a bedtime story and then goes to sleep without much of a fuss. I should be grateful for that — and I am, really. I just wish we didn’t have such a struggle every night.

But! Exciting news for me! I won the Fit Friday contest over here. Woo hoo! My resolution for the week was to walk or run (or walk and run) every day for the past week. And I did it. I took Conal for a walk every day and ran three times. So, now I have to think of something healthy to add on for this week.

Breakfast, playtime, nap, snack . . . it’s all fun and games when you’re a kid.

Here’s a peek at a morning in the life of the little jobber:

After eating all the Cheerios he can stuff in his mouth and a good helping of yogurt, the day really takes off with a mad rush to the drawers . . .

Yes! Now there is stuff everywhere! I can finally find what I have been looking for — no, not the ribbon. Or the guide to trees of the northeast. The magic marker! Fun to chew, no?

And sunglasses! Broken, no less! I could chew on these for hours!

All that chewing and drawer-pulling is pretty tiring for a guy. So, by mid-morning, he’s zonked. Note Conal’s trusty companion, Blue Bear.

Post nap: The cycle begins again with a snack.

Well, that’s the morning. Maybe sometime I’ll post about an afternoon! It’s like the a.m. but only in the p.m.! And it usually includes a walk. Or an outing. Whoa! Crazy!

It has been blissfully warm for the past few days. Nary a cloud in the sky. Children and their parents everywhere are frolicking in fields aglow in the sun!

Unlike those free spirits, I am burdened by the sun. On the one hand, I want Conal to enjoy the great outdoors. Breathe in the fresh spring air. On the other hand, I’m afraid of what the sun will do to his unblemished skin. See, Owen is covered head to toe with freckles. Not that I have a problem with freckles, per se. It’s just that I can’t seem to get beyond the fact that freckles are marks of sun damage. And I don’t want Conal to be damaged.

So, I’ve been trying to cover him up. Hat, sunglasses, SPF 60. Only he won’t leave the sunglasses on and the hat is hit or miss.

Here he is sitting on the grass for one of the first times. He wouldn’t lower his arms. Didn’t dare touch that strange grass.

Here’s a tip for all the toddlers out there:

When your mom is trying to clean up all the cottage cheese, avocado and pasta that you “accidentally dropped” on the floor during dinner, rolling around in it doesn’t help. It does not make the clean up go faster or easier. In fact, when you roll like that, you actually smear the cottage cheese curds which, if left alone, aren’t terribly hard to pick up. Smooshed into the floor, it’s a little tougher. And the licking? Yeah, that doesn’t help, either. I know you probably think that if you roll in the food and then try to lick it up that you are being an A-One helper guy. I’m here to tell you that you are not.

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