Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thanks a lot, Prokofiev!

On Thursday, A and R went to the library and picked up a set of new books. We take R every three weeks, and it's been great for discovering new favorite authors (like David Wiesner, who is AMAZING). We also pick up a book on tape each time, which has been great. Whenever R begs to watch TV, we offer the book on tape as an alternative, and it almost always works. It's really nice to listen to the tape, turn the pages with R, and snuggle together on the couch.

This week, A picked up Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev as the book on tape. R has really enjoyed the story, but A didn't check it beforehand and forgot (as did I) about the part where men are hunting the wolf with guns. R asked a lot of questions about that part, and we tried to answer honestly. Then, it happened. The day I've been dreading since I found out in December 2003 that I was having a boy. My sweet, loving son who loves both man and beast ran into the bathroom while I was in there, held one of his drum sticks like a gun, and pretended to shoot it at me.


So, of course we talked to him for awhile about guns and how dangerous they are, and how I don't want him to ever pretend to point one at someone (person or animal) again. I have always known that this day would come, and I decided long ago that when it did, I would let R pretend with his finger or a stick or something, but that I will never purchase a toy gun - or have one in our house. He can use his imagination, and that's it. But, honestly! I guess I thought we still had a few years to go before the issue came up. Hopefully, this will pass just as most of these kinds of things do with him.

(At least R isn't the first of his friends to do this. It's actually kind of funny because one of his friends/classmates has been pretending to shoot things, and his parents publish a peace magazine that focuses on non-violence, peace movements, etc. They must be mortified. The boy's dad won't even go to nearby Castle Island because it has an old fort from the 1700s that has working cannons.)

On a brighter note: Tonight, we played several rounds of Ants in the Pants before bedtime, and R has totally mastered that game! He beat me many times, and I taught him the word "champion." :-)

Also, happy anniversary to me and A! We were married 7 years ago today in New Orleans. A is cracking open some champagne now, so I'm going to sign off. Happy weekend to everyone, and GO SOX!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday night randomness

This was a nice weekend. It was gorgeous here - sunny, breezy, in the 70s - so we spent a lot of time outside, mostly taking R to assorted playgrounds and making him chase us around the soccer fields (i.e., wearing him out). The result? Utter blessedness! I got R into bed at 8:15 Saturday night, and he was asleep within 5 minutes! I came downstairs by 8:25!!! (He woke up later, and I ended up sleeping in his room, but I did have several hours of lovely relaxing time before that and even a couple of hours' sleep in my own bed.) Tonight, even though we were out at our friends' house a little late, A got R into bed by 8:30, and again he fell asleep within minutes. Woohoo!

On Saturday morning, we toured a brand new fire station in our town during its open house. The old firehouse was really dumpy (we used to vote there when we lived on the other side of town), so it was really nice to see this beautiful new building for the firefighters. And, they were so excited and proud. Their kitchen was WAY better than my kitchen (stainless steel appliances!), the bunk rooms were very spacious and comfortable, and the living room had some really huge leather comfy sofas, plus there were the beginnings of a gym in the basement. Considering that the town was actually considering closing that station altogether at one point, I'm really happy for the firefighters that it turned out so well. I've learned a lot about firefighters because of R's interest in them (and their trucks), and I have so much respect for them. So, yay for the new swanky fire station!

Yesterday, when I took R to the park in the afternoon (and we were playing fire station), we had an incident. R wanted to use one of the climbing structures as our fire truck, but there were already two other boys there. R started telling them to leave, one of the boys told him, "You're mean!" and when I told R that the playground is for everyone and he needed to share, I watched in horror as he picked up a rock and hucked it at one of the kids. ACK! Luckily, he's only 3 and can't aim very well. The rock sailed way over their heads and did no damage. But I was stunned. I pulled him aside and made it very clear that that behavior was unacceptable, and he got it. He really did. He apologized several times, including later that night and again this morning, and promised he'd never do it again. Today, when we went to the park to meet up with our neighbors, he got frustrated with having to wait his turn for the slide and then decided he didn't want to play with his friends anymore. He and I just wandered off to the fields, while he mumbled about being sad, frustrated, and not wanting to visit with anyone. It was definitely an improvement over rock-throwing, but it's just so unlike R to not want to share and play with other kids. :-( Any advice about how to help him channel his anger and frustration appropriately? (A just told me that R took a swing at him on Friday night when A was trying to get him to go to bed. *sigh*)

I went to church today for the first time in ages. As I was getting ready to go, I was tempted to instead grab my Bible and head up to the big hill in my town that overlooks Boston (and the sunrise) to have my own quiet worship time, but I headed to church anyway. And, it was fine. It was a little interesting because I was listening to some great gospel music on my way there and was very surprised to see that one of the songs I had been singing was actually the opening hymn for the service ("I Love to Tell the Story"). But I had to smile because the way I'm used to singing it and hearing it is not the same as the Lutheran way. (Think Stones or Springsteen songs sung with an opera voice.) But the sermon was by the church's intern (a seminary student), and it was very moving because it was about how music and hymns help us express things that maybe we cannot say in spoken words, for whatever reason. I definitely find that to be true.

And, on that note, I am currently obsessively listening to the David Crowder Band. I am not usually a fan of contemporary Christian music, but my brother-in-law sent me a video link to their song, "Everything Glorious," and I was hooked. So much so that I decided to go see them when they come to Boston in November. And, Trish agreed to go with me! I'm very excited. First of all, I can't remember the last time I went out to see a band that wasn't made up of our friends (i.e., partially obligated). And, second of all, their music is very exciting and moving, and I'm really interested to see what the concert atmosphere is like. Can I really feel comfortable worshipping in that setting? I'm not sure, but I'm going to find out!

Finally, we're watching the Red Sox-Indians game now, and I remember why I pretty much gave up watching the Red Sox years ago. It's just too tense and potentially heartbreaking. (Plus, if I have to see Terry Francona spit one more time, I'm going to throw up. Blech!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I've created a monster

Last night, for some random reason, I started singing "Charlie on the MTA" during dinner with R. (Does anyone know this song except me?!?! Or, is it just a Boston thing?) Loving anything to do with trains/subways/etc. the way he does, R promptly asked me to sing it again. And again. And again. You get the idea.

So, since I couldn't actually remember all the words, I offered to look it up online to see if we could find a video of the Kingston Trio performing the song.

I love YouTube. It's amazing what you can find there. R and I found two different videos of the Kingston Trio's recording of the song, set to either still photos of old and new T trains or someone's fun animation experiment with T trains. R and I have watched these videos so many times in the last 24 hours, I've lost count.

There are also some other freaky versions of the song on YouTube. I'll spare you those.

Today, R and I spent pretty much the entire day at the Museum of Science. We met up with two of his friends from school who are brothers. The boys had such a great time together, and I really enjoyed hanging out with their mom. Unfortunately, she told me that they'll most likely be moving to Ohio before next summer. Her parents are there, and it's just so much cheaper to live there. She told me that houses are basically half what they cost here in New England. Ouch. That seems to be a trend lately. This has always been my home, and I really and truly love it, but I wonder sometimes if the high cost of living here is worth it.

I just can't imagine raising R anywhere else.

Monday, October 15, 2007

How it went -- and a question

My time alone on Saturday was great. It was a lot longer than I had expected (6 hours!), and I got tons done at home. I vacuumed every inch of the house, did a gazillion loads of laundry (including washing our living room curtains, which I've wanted to do for eons), washed the floors, organized my office, plus had time to watch several episodes of "The Office" and start reading Harry Potter 7. I will admit that I panicked when A and R were leaving, thinking that something bad was going to happen to them (the ultimate in guilt - So, you wanted a break, huh? Well, selfish woman, you'll never see your boys again! Mwah ha ha!). But I said a quick, desperate prayer asking God to protect them and bring them home to me safe again. And, after four hours of wonderful aloneness, I was ready for them to come home. I missed them. So, I had my break and then was ready to appreciate my guys again. I'm very thankful for the time I had. A and R had a fabulous time at the party, too. R found lots of kids to play with, loved setting off rockets, and even danced to the band. And, A got to hang out with his old friends for a long time. So it was great for all of us!

Now, on a completed unrelated note, I've got a question for all of you: How do you balance listening for God's voice and discovering his plan for your life with taking risks and action? If you don't get a loud and clear answer from God in a situation, how do you move forward? A lot of my devotions this year have talked about following God's plan for your life, but others have talked about taking risks and not just sitting still and waiting for things to happen.

I wonder how much I've missed out on lately because I've been waiting for God to tell me what to do. I don't mean that I've missed out on tons of fun or anything like that. What I mean is - what if God is waiting for me to take a chance on something (new job, new church, etc.)? How do you know when to act and when to wait?

I don't tend to do anything without thinking it through ad nauseum (or buying a book to tell me everything about it first). And, I'm the same way with God. I tend to ask him to show me the way and, in the meantime, I just keep doing everything the same. If I don't hear God telling me to change or make a move, does that mean he thinks I'm already doing the right thing? If you get a strong urge to do something, how do you know when it's just you/your own desires and when it's God giving you a nudge?

Friday, October 12, 2007


Last night was SO much better. It wasn't just better, it was lovely. Amazing. Wonderful.

All my readings and devotions yesterday were about casting your cares and worries upon God, so I starting sensing that God was trying to tell me something. :-) And, I did my best to do what he was asking. Besides a good day at work (in which I had to speak in front of the entire company), I was able to enjoy my time with R in the evening. I gave him crazy piggyback rides for half an hour, we had a really nice bedtime/storytime, and I told him that I was just going to lay down with him until he fell asleep (versus sleep with him). And, he fell asleep within 10 MINUTES!! And, I made it downstairs by 8:50 pm and was able to watch "The Office" as it was being broadcast (instead of hours later on tape)!! Then I went to bed myself by 10:30 (I refused to bring work home yesterday), read the Bible for a little while, and fell asleep to the sound of some furious rain.

R woke up sometime during the night, and I just called to him to come in our room, which he did. I scooped him up, and he fell asleep immediately next to me. That was the last I heard from him. We both slept really well. So did A!

This morning, I got up on time, read my devotions, took a shower, got dressed, made my lunch, and then had to wake R up to join me for breakfast!! No screaming or crying from him!! Woohoo!! So thank you, Lord, for that glorious break.

And, thank you, Johanna and Lynette for supporting me and encouraging me. I love you both!

Here's the part where I actually listen to your advice. :-) Tomorrow, A is taking R for a few hours to a party with a lot of A's friends and former co-workers. They are probably going to do some rocket launches, so that's why A wants to bring R. Normally, I would be expected to attend to keep an eye on R, but this time A said I don't have to go. So, I am going to stay home and have some time to myself. YAAAAAAAYYYY!

I'm actually giddy about having the house to myself so that I can clean it. But that's what makes me happy. The whole house needs cleaning, but my office in particular is a disaster zone. It will make me so at peace to have things in order again - even if it's just for a few hours. And, if I have time, I'll do some reading. Or, who knows? Maybe I'll forget all that, pop some popcorn, and throw in the 6-hour video version of "Pride and Prejudice" (the one with Colin Firth).


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Patience, please

I started this post on Monday (and couldn't decide whether to publish it or not because I didn't want to be too negative. But the week just keeps getting worse in the R department!


Last weekend wasn't a stellar one for me as a parent. R was very whiney, refusing to listen to us, and jumping around like a crazy person (and then injuring himself repeatedly). And, it got to me. Although Monday was a little easier because we kept R pretty busy with lots of fun things to do, by the end of the day, all of us were flat-out exhausted. So, when I tried to go to the bathroom and was immediately joined by R busting in the room, I was ready to cry. I swear he has some kind of radar - he could be upstairs nowhere near the bathroom, but within seconds of me going in there, I can hear the progression of events: First, I hear him say, "Hey, where's Mommy? Mommy?!? MOMMY!!!" Then, he runs from wherever he is to the bathroom. Then, the door flies open. Then, he asks, "Mommy? What are you doing?" Or, he begs me not to go to the bathroom because I need to come play with him. It doesn't matter that I've been with him for every second of the entire day (and night!). When I asked R why he has to come in the bathroom with me every single time, he thoughtfully said, "It's because I love you." Darn him!

This week, I'm swamped with work and I really needed to work at night this week after putting R to bed. But no dice. On Tuesday night, I started the computer and did about 10 minutes of work before I was summoned to R's room to calm him down from a crazy fit. (Turns out he had to pee, but he was hysterical and flailing his limbs everywhere, and it took me some time to understand what was wrong.) I ended up in his room for the night (again), but he woke up pretty much every 20 minutes crying (bad dreams?), so I got basically no sleep. Which made for a great day at work on Wednesday. :-(

Last night was my night alone with R, but I ended up with food poisoning and had to get R to find the phone and bring it to me so I could call A to come home. We had a horrible time trying to convince R that I could not do bedtime because I was too sick and needed to rest. It eventually worked, but around 11:30 (I think) R woke up upset. I don't remember much now, except that I convinced him to sleep in our room. And, by some miracle, I got a good night's sleep because R wasn't doing his usual kicking me in the back or shoving me off the bed (thank you, Lord!).

But then I tried to take a shower this morning. You'd think that A and I had torn off one of R's arms from the sound and intensity of the screaming. A decided to literally hold him down while I went downstairs to shower. I could hear R screaming, "LET GO OF ME!!!!!!!!!" But when I got out of the shower, all was quiet. Thank goodness.

This stuff automatically makes me feel guilty about not being a stay-at-home mom. It makes me think that maybe R needs me even more right now and that's why he's having such separation issues. But I really do not have a choice in the matter. I'm the primary breadwinner, and that's just how it is (much as I've chafed against it for years). But I really do spend every minute when I'm not at work with R. (Except for last week's ladies' night.) And, a friend suggested to me that that may be the problem. R has no sense of me as my own person - I'm just his mom. So, I guess in a sense I've spoiled him into thinking that I must always be at his beck and call. She suggested that I just take one hour every weekend to do something on my own - even if it's just taking a walk. I think she may be right. At the very least, it would help my sanity. It's wonderful to be needed and adored 97% of the time, but the rest of the time it can be a little much.

But it makes me sad because I've been putting so much effort into compensating for not being with him all the time. And now it turns out that that compensation may be the root of this problem. Ack!

So I'm asking God to guide me here (as always).

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Oh, yes it's ladies' night ...

Tonight, I met up for dinner with my friend Alicia, Tourette's Mom, and Trish. We had such a nice time and consumed an incredible amount of delicious food! Now, I will admit that since I have not had a night out with friends in nearly a year, it was bound to be a refreshing change for me no matter what. But, it really was such a great night.

First, it was wonderful to see Lynette (Tourette's Mom) because she's been through an incredibly painful year, and she lives far away, so this was my first chance to see her in person and give her a huge hug. And, it was even better to see how amazing she looks! She's radiant, glowing, beautiful - and with God's help, she has managed to get to a place where she's at peace and hopeful for the future. I respect her so much for handling her situation in such a positive way.

Second, it was so cool to meet Trish! Lynette and Alicia have been telling me about her for awhile now (they met her through church a couple of years ago), and I've recently started reading her blog on a regular basis. She's beautiful and funny - plus, I love her for being such a good friend to Lynette.

The best thing of all to me, though, was sitting at a table with three wonderful women and talking about God. That was a completely new experience for me, and it felt incredible to be able to do that without feeling weird or self-conscious. It's not like we had this full-on theological discussion, but we talked a little about church, our prayers, how God has helped us, Christian speakers we like (Trish: I promise to give Joel Osteen another chance!). As usual for me, I did more listening than talking, but it was very inspiring and uplifting, and I'm grateful to the ladies and to God for it.

Oops - R is calling for me, so I've got to go. But I'll be thanking God tonight for these women and for the fun we had. Woohoo!