August 2008


Who needs toys when you can spend hours (OK, half hours) pretending to drink ginger ale?


I am officially recalling all complaints from earlier this week. I have the best child in the world.

It was one of those days today — I woke with a debilitating headache at 5am. I couldn’t shake it. Conal, however, woke at 8, happier than he’s been all week. And he kept it going. He stuffed his face with blueberries, breaking only to charm me with his tipped-head smile. Then he started making a fort out of the couch, laughing and rolling around and laughing some more.

He spent the morning laughing and smiling and playing alone. He peacefully went down for his nap at 10 and I snuck in a nap, too. Sleeping from 10:30-11 was all I needed to break free of the pain, but Conal kept the peace for a half hour longer, allowing me to make the bed and get myself together.

Now, he’s searching for treasures (read: crumbs) on the carpet, breaking occasionally to charm me again with his happy time smile.

I love this kid.

Playground. 2pm. Two little girls, climbing on the slide.

Girl #1: How old are you?

Girl #2: Sixteen.

Girl #1: You sixteen?

Girl #2 (Rolling her eyes): Yes.

Girl #1: You not sixteen.

Girl #2: OK, fine. I’m FIVEteen.

Mother (Walking over to girls): Sarah, you are not fiveteen, you’re four.

Girl #1: Me too! I’m four too!

Girl #2 (Rolling her eyes yet again. Really.): I’m not four. I’m FORTY!

Shout it out, little one. Shout it out.

I would really like this flailing stuff to go. It just isn’t working for me.

It doesn’t happen all the time but, lately — like, yesterday and this morning — it has been happening a lot. Flailing accompanied by whining that quickly becomes crying. And it, well, it sucks. It is just too much.

Now, I am fully aware that I recently mistook the Little Jobber’s molar pain for the end of the world, which sent me spiraling down the tunnel of paranoia. So, I will not assume that he is flailing and whining and crying simply to drive me down that other tunnel, the tunnel of insanity. However. It could seem that way. On first glance. Or second glance, even.

On third glance, it appears that he is frustrated. He knows what he wants, but can’t tell me. Sure, he can walk over to the refrigerator and try to open it. And, I can gather he wants something from there. But, he can’t say, “Mom, I would like to have a piece of cheese and, perhaps, a dried apricot. And while we have the door open, can you please let me see what’s hiding in the back of the crisper? I’ve always wanted to know . . .”

Nope, he can’t say that. And so he becomes frustrated and then things go downhill from there.

Luckily, he bounces back well and the flailing accompanied by whining that quickly becomes crying usually subsides within a minute.

But that minute? I could do without it.

Let’s say you are at a rehearsal dinner or maybe a wedding reception and you are worried about not being able to hold up your end of the small talk with your fellow party-goers. Not that you aren’t a wonderful conversationalist but, you know, sometimes people run out of things to talk about. It happens.

Well. I have the perfect solution to your chit chat problems: Grab up a toddler*.

Preferably a 14-month old boy that has had his sleeping and eating schedule shot to hell and has thus had to dig into the inner-most depths of his mitochondria to access untapped energy reserves, resulting in an activity level stuck in overdrive. If you can find such a toddler, make sure he has a few talents such as wandering aimlessly around hotel ballrooms carrying a water bottle in his mouth (yes, hands-free!), doing the same while also humming, doing similar but substituting a spoon for the water bottle and having such a convincing fake cough that his aunts will scramble to treat his “choking.”

You may also want to make sure that this toddler will frequently walk up to complete strangers while performing any one of his tricks, stop, flash the stranger a wide smile while tossing his head back with glee and then, when the stranger attempts to squat down to his level in order to play with him, squeal and run off to the next stranger.

If you are able to obtain such a toddler, you will never be at a loss for conversation. In fact, people will seek you out. They will want to talk to you and you really won’t even have to say much back to them. You can just smile and nod and they will carry the whole conversation. It’s so easy! I’m telling you — a piece of cake.

So, next time you have someplace to go and you aren’t feeling the conversation creativity, get a toddler.

While you’re at it, take a nice little photo. Why not? Those toddlers are cute – even when they hate posing!

*Important Note: Prior to grabbing up a toddler, please be sure that the event you are attending actually welcomes them. While they are wonderful conversation starters where they are welcome, they can be awful argument starters where they are not. Consider yourself warned.

The lovely Graziano family has become lovelier. Baby Dean joined them on Tuesday morning, shortly after 11. All 8lbs of him are just adorable.

These are happy days.

He may not have perfected a look as renowned as Blue Steel or Ferrari, but I can tell you he’ll give Hansel and Derek a run for their money any day:

That’s right. Did you see that double-hand flair in the second pic? He’s just a natural.

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