Getting out


Back-to-(almost)-back birthday parties. A river walk. The “Elmo show.” A trip to Grandma’s house.  This little jobber has the life!

First up, Nora’s party, where Conal went crazy with the scarves:

And enjoyed some cake:

Before hitting the zip-line:

Two days later, it was Maddie’s party at Chuck E. Cheese’s and Conal loved it. Especially all of the ball games:

Then it was a trip to the river:

Followed a few days later by Sesame Street Live or, as Conal refers to it, the Elmo show. He waited patiently to get in:

And then waited patiently for the show to start:

Once it did, the boy was mesmerized. Absolutely mesmerized:

That evening, we headed south to Long Island. After lots of fun with his cousins, Conal was all set to come home on Sunday. Apparently, the ride home called for being fully wrapped in his favorite blankets:

Ah, the whirlwind life of a toddler!

Sure, I’m busy. But it is all so good.

I went to the Junior League holiday party last night and it was a blast! There was a big crowd and everyone seemed to have a good time. It was really fun catching up with people I hadn’t seen in a while. Plus, it was nice to get a babysitter for the evening and have a night out with Owen at an adult event. Although, we didn’t spend all that much time together: I spent a lot of time flitting around and he spent a lot of time socializing with the other husbands. There were a bunch of fun guys there, so he didn’t mind.

But it wasn’t just fun. No, ho, ho! The party also raised a nice chunk of money for the League’s Imagination Library project and I couldn’t be happier!

And that brings us to this morning. We had a playdate at Joyful Jumpers and Conal loved it. He mostly played solo, getting in and out of the cars. But, he played a little with his pals, Luke and Leah, and I saw him sharing toys with some other little kids. I say, “saw” because I was watching him from across the room while I chatted it up with Jen. That’s right: Playdates are for moms, too!

This afternoon, I picked up some more writing projects. I’m a tad worried about fitting all of the work in, but I’m sure I can get it done. These new projects are fun and really different from most of what I’ve been doing so I’m excited to take them on.

And then there’s tomorrow. Yes! Jen is taking Conal so he and Maddie can play and I can do . . . whatever! Lounge, read a magazine, take a bath, anything I want.

Oh, I wish.

I will not be lounging. Or reading. Or taking a bath. I will be working. A treat after normally squeezing work in during nap time or the evenings. Ah . . .

I love it when everything comes together.

You may recall that a few months ago I took Conal to the Children’s Museum and he mistook the pelts for cats. Back then, he didn’t have many words so he trilled. Now, seven months later, he . . . well . . . he still doesn’t have many words. But he has more sounds! Oh, let me tell you, Internet. He has sounds. All kinds of sounds. Sounds for cows. Sounds for ducks. For pigs. For dogs.

And it’s that last one that is important to this little story.

We went to Target today (it was an outing, people!) to pick up a gift. I decided to take a quick look at the sale racks and as I was walking through, Conal started to make his dog sound, a variation on, “Woof! Woof!” I smiled at him. He kept it up. “There aren’t any doggies in here, Conal,” I said. He did it again, this time lunging out of the cart toward one of the racks.

So, I turned to the rack. Scanned the wares. Ah-ha! The fake fur trimmed sweaters. It all became clear.

Apparently, those sweaters look, to a 17-month-old boy, like dogs. That’s right! Those sweaters are furry. Like doggies!

And that’s it! End of the story!

But since it is Friday, I’ll leave you with a glimpse of what goes on around here these days:

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OK, lady, you won. You got to use the family restroom at the mall, even though you are one person and I was pushing a toddler in a stroller. Even though the family restroom was put there for the use of — get this — families, it was all yours. I was fine using the regular restroom, awkwardly maneuvering the stroller into the regular stall.

But, here’s the thing: You didn’t need to cut me off in your quest to get to the family restroom before I did. You didn’t need to whack into my stroller. That stuff was a little unnecessary. Maybe you didn’t notice that you resembled a running back, rushing as you were to beat me to the family restroom. But, you did. And it wasn’t just me who thought it. My toddler turned around in his seat to give me a look of utter vexation.

Maybe that was your goal, to vex the baby. I don’t know. I rarely know what goes through minds like yours.

Next time, though? Keep the football moves on the field, OK? Thanks.

These are busy days for a little giraffe. Busy days.

(I’m so pleased that the squishy lizard thing made it in the picture.)

As I was saying, my trip to Kansas City was great. I had a terrific time: Fun travel partner/roommate and worthwhile and motivating workshops. The best part was the speaker during the closing banquet. I’ll have to get to her in another post.

For now, I’ll write that I was very moved by the workshop on handling conflict. There is a lot of conflict in everyday life and how you handle it has a huge impact on your quality of life. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better at handling conflict since Conal was born. Well, sometimes. It’s tough to handle conflict. So, I want to share this poem with you — you may be familiar with it already, but I wasn’t when it was read at the workshop:

The Cookie Thief, Valerie Cox

A woman was waiting at an airport one night
With several long hours before her flight
She hunted for a book in the airport shop
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop
She was engrossed in her book but happened to see
That the man beside her as bold as could be
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag between
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene
She munched cookies and watched the clock
As this gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by
Thinking “If I wasn’t so nice I’d blacken his eye”
With each cookie she took he took one too
And when only one was left she wondered what he’d do
With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh
He took the last cookie and broke it in half
He offered her half as he ate the other
She snatched it from him and thought “Oh brother
This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude
Why he didn’t even show any gratitude”
She had never known when she had been so galled
And sighed with relief when her flight was called
She gathered her belongings and headed for the gate
Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate
She boarded the plane and sank in her seat
Then sought her book which was almost complete
As she reached in her baggage she gasped with surprise
There was her bag of cookies in front of her eyes
“If mine are here” she moaned with despair
“Then the others were his and he tried to share”
Too late to apologize she realized with grief
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief

We make a ton of assumptions in life and we’re quick to think the worst. I’m not trying to be preachy, but I do think the sentiment is worth sharing: We shouldn’t be so quick to judge others or to be annoyed with them. I’m trying to practice a little more patience, in order to model it for Conal. Wish me luck!

The last time I went away, Mo was still alive and Conal had just stopped nursing. Things were much different at Chez Jobber. For instance, back then I was a wreck getting ready to leave. Hmm . . . not the best example.

I’ve been a bit of a wreck this week, too, although not to the same degree. I’m busy fixing dinners for guys to have while I’m away, finishing up projects, packing and dealing with multiple layers of headaches and running around with my volunteer work. But, I don’t have the crazy hormones of someone who just that week finished weaning. Nor do I have that sick pit of worry-that-the-cat-will-die-while-I’m-away sitting in my stomach. So I’ve got that going for me.

I’m looking forward to this trip. Conal will be in good hands with my mom and Owen. Chili doesn’t seem to be sickly. I’m not flying home on a red eye, so I shouldn’t end up stranded.

Still, I’m going to miss Conal like crazy.

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