Thursday, March 30, 2006

The yellow frogs are for Pap-pap.

I call this one: "Must... stay... awake..."

That's Gavie in his crib. He played himself to sleep, literally. (This picture is about three months old, by the way. I have issues with downloading the digital pics in a timely fashion.) Please note the bajillion tiny frogs that surround him. As of last night, he now only sleeps with the green ones.

You have to wonder just what a three-year-old remembers, or understands. Last night, before I tucked him in, he handed me all of the blue frogs.
"Who are these for?"

Then I got all of the red frogs.
"Who are these for?"

The orange ones came next.
"These are for?"
"Nana." (pronounced "nun-ah")

And the purple ones.
"Who are these for?"
"Fuzz." (the cat)

Lastly, the yellow ones.
"Who gets the yellow ones, Gavie?"

What does he remember? Does he remember how Pap and Grammy used to watch him every day for the first year of his life? Does he remember how Pap would pull him, in his little wagon, around the neighborhood on nice days? Does he remember how Pap would "exercise" his legs -- holding his tiny baby hands and helping him practice standing? We always laughed at how excited Gavie would get when he'd stand up, as if he were conquering the world.

We still see yellow school buses and Gavie still points, yelling "Pap!" He knows Pap used to drive a big yellow bus every morning.

We're trying to keep my father's memory alive for Gavie. I think we're doing okay at it so far.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Selective memory, new beds, and sleep deprivation. (re-write!)

April 17, 2006: I know it's probably breaking some laws on blog-dom, but I simply have to edit this and clean things up. Forgive me, oh gods of blogger-space, but I'm just not happy with this original draft.

My friend Chantel of the Yucababy blog wrote a sweet post about the unexpected realizations that come with motherhood.

I had to smile as I read it. She hit the nail on the head.

The words that come to mind, though, when I think about those first few months as "shock and awe." Thanks to the combined experiences of having a preemie and reflux (what they now call "colic"), I barely remember the first five months of my son's life. Somewhere in there I slept, ate, and ran my household, but damned if I can recall when I did all that. My main memories are of the nights I semi-slept on the couch with Gavie on my chest trying to get him to sleep while I stared mindlessly at "Nick at Nite's" re-runs of 80's sitcoms, of wrangling with the mysteries of powdered formula/rice/oatmeal, and of marveling at how someone that small could go through so many diapers in one day.

She's right: there's nothing more amazing then that little creature.

Even at "almost three," there's a host of new tactics out there, guaranteed to twist your life into gigantic pretzel, foul up your deadlines, and cause you to nearly bite your tongue off trying not to laugh.

Gavie's finally into his "big boy bed." Unexpectedly, that long-awaited milestone's presence has robbed me of sleep from the moment we said "time for bed!"

Sunday brought both clear weather and the opportunity to borrow my brother-in-law's pick-up truck, so we took full advantage and, by 7 p.m. that night, had Gavie's new room ready to go.

When we brought him home from Ga's, which is what he calls my mother-in-law, he was beyond ecstatic. This was IT! The bed we'd been promising for some time now, talking about it, building it up, making this seem like the greatest event ever!

Gavie climbed right in, and we read eight books or so, sang our usual bedtime songs, and pretty much went through our nightly ritual without pause.

I tucked Gavie in and kissed him good night. We waved night-night to Pap up in Heaven, and said our usual prayers. Then I turned to go, pleased as could be with his acceptance of the new bed. (Oh, when will I learn?)

I'm pretty sure that the whole neighborhood heard him bellow in protest. Apparently Mommy leaving the room was not in his plans.

Somehow, don't ask me how, I managed to reason with my son. "If I'm in my room across the hall, will you be okay?"
He nodded.
"I'll be right there if you need me. Got it?"
Another nod. Another kiss and hug night-night. I made it the ten paces to my bedroom. Silence. Glory be and saints be praised! I was going to have an excuse to go to bed early!

I wasn't in my room two minutes when I heard the thump of two little feet hit the floor. A peek revealed Gavie sitting in front of his bookcase reading his picture books. (He is so my kid!)

Obviously that wouldn't work, so I got him back into bed with a stack of them, giving the order to read all he wants but to stay in bed.

Toddlers are incredibly interesting beasts, you should know. They have this painfully honest yet really skewed concept of reality. Apparently, Gavie didn't know if he was being punished or not. After all, the only other time he's told to stay put is when he's in a time-out.

(Incidentally, when he does get to sit on the couch and think about what he did wrong, he protests with these really pitiful cries of "mama." The only reason they don't tear my heart to shreds is that they are so obviously fake that I spend most of his time-out hiding in the dining room trying not to laugh out loud.)

To handle this new confusion over being in bed but not being punished, he did the only logical (!) thing he could: alternate between peacefully reading his board books and periodically emitting the high-pitched wail of "maaaammmmaaaaa!"

The tenacious one finally fell asleep around midnight. I fell asleep thirty seconds later.


Tonight, incidentally, is the first night without the drama. He's in there playing with his 873 bajillion toy frogs. It sounds like he's telling them a story. Methinks I might get some sleep tonight.

Friday, March 03, 2006

An Ode to the Big Guy

Erik and I are coming up on ten years this June. All in all, I'm liking this married stuff.

At the risk of embarrassing the un-assuming man I married via un-asked-for attention, I offer you this...

Fourteen years ago, a fellow I picked up at a dance on campus decided to impress me with a "Nestea Plunge" into three centemeters of snow. After literally dancing the night away, we went sledding behind Brownlee, where all of us frosh then resided.

(So what if it was midnight and no one knew where I was or who I was with? So what if I didn't even know his last name? I'd been quietly drooling over him for two weeks already and wasn't about to listen to the "don't go to any isolated location late at night with men you don't know" rule that I was raised on.)

Well, we went down the hill a few times; it wasn't particularly slick and the snow wasn't particularly deep, so the actual act of sledding was a bust. His next act, he later told me, seemed like a good idea at the time.

"Watch this," he said,just moments before falling backwards.

Somehow he didn't kill himself, and today we still laugh about how it must have worked: I married him, didn't I?

And now we own a house, have a kid, drive two sensible family-type cars, and consider a new dishwasher a kickin' anniversary present to ourselves. We take turns driving to work in the morning so that at least one of us gets an extra 40 winks in the passenger seat. I iron his work shirts every morning and he scrapes the ice off of my car every winter.

The Big Guy, which I call him because he towers over me, and I rode home together yesterday because there wasn't any overtime to be had at his workplace. It was a rare treat; often, he won't get home until about 9 P.M.

I loved it. Our best conversations usually take place while we're driving or lingering over a meal. It's always been that way, even before Gavie came on the scene. We talked about his work, about my very newly-earned degree, and about a plethoria of other mundane topics that fascinate only those involved.

"Did you turn the dishwasher on this morning?"
"Yeah, I didn't want to come home to it. This way I can do the kitchen after dinner."
"What are we having?"
"Chicken, peas, mashed potatoes."
"We need to give Gavie his vitamin at dinner."
"I will. Hey, that reminds me, I have a dentist's appointment tomorrow."

See? Less then fascinating. Must be love, huh?

Oh, by the way, we went back to the site of our first date three years and one month later. That's where he proposed.