Saturday, August 29, 2009

Curse you Facebook

So I got UNfriended on Facebook recently. What the whodahey? Okay, it wasn't someone I am currently in regular contact with, but it is someone I went to high school with, AND I think she friended me to begin with. So what is THAT all about. The only reason I figured it out was I realized I hadn't seen any status updates from her in a bit, so I went looking for her on my friends list and she wasn't there. That is the sneaky part about FB. If you ignore a friend request, or you unfriend someone, they never know unless they go looking. So I went to her page, and it says "Blahblah only reveals info to her friends, click here to send a friend request" and I am all "Well hell no I won't be sending a friend request because we WERE friends and now we are not and I am not THAT pathetic." But hello there emotional insecurities. Yes, I did spend time wondering why that happened. Curse you FB.

And then I got friended by my mother. Hi mom. Since when are you on FB? Oh, since today. I like my mom way more than that unfriending friend so I guess the world is in balance after all.

In other news, Cooper has developed an appreciation for Underdog. The original cartoon series, not that awful movie they made a while back. I didn't even bother to see it. Who makes Underdog as a live action movie? Idiots.

But it has reminded me how absolutely politically incorrect the cartoons we watched as kids, lo those 40 years ago, were. There are NO characters of color, unless you count the Go Go Gopher Indians. And while they were a relatively unfair representation of the Native American culture, they always beat the tar out of the "Army" that was trying to rid the west of them.

And can we talk about bad animation? It was baaaaaad. A friend was over who has in her lifetime been a movie buyer for Sumner Redstone and Viacom, and she couldn't even complete a thought because she was distracted by how bad the animation was. And yet I have such fond memories of Underdog, Johnny Quest, Josie and the Pussycats, and the original Scooby Doo shows. My standards were much lower when I was 5. And so are Cooper's. He just laughs at the physical and slapstick comedy. Klondike Kat in particular makes him laugh. "Savior faire is EVERYWHERE!"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How SHOULD an almost three year old speak?

Today when I dropped Cooper off at school the lead teacher stopped to talk to me about him. There is one day left of being a Toddler 1 and then he is officially a Toddler 2! She wanted to talk to me about Cooper's speech. She had been out for 3 weeks, and in that time Cooper's vocabulary has exploded. Which she acknowledged, but she also wanted to mention that she has noticed certain speech patterns that MIGHT be indicative of a speech impediment. He has had a slight lisp, and a few words that he pronounces a little funny. But I had assumed that it is mostly due to being, well, TWO YEARS OLD. In comparison to the other kids his age he seems to be speaking as clearly, or as UNclearly, and has the same level of vocabulary.

She acknowledged that each child develops differently, and each kid talks differently at the beginning. Some kids can't say the letter R, some the letter L. Some say "basketti" for "spaghetti" like I did until my dad straightened me out. But I have not felt that I was hearing anything with Cooper worthy of early intervention.

I appreciate that she wanted to have the conversation. However, in my world, where if you present a problem to me, my instinct is to SOLVE THAT PROBLEM. Do NOT present a situation that MIGHT be a problem. But since you are not a speech pathologist, you don't really know, but you think you should mention it, just in case in 6 months it appears it really is a problem. Either it is or it is not a problem. I don't have time and energy for maybe. If you think it is a problem and you have recommendations for what to do, GREAT. Share and we can move on. If not, don't mention it. Don't even plant the seed. I don't need to spend the brain power on MAYBE.

I truly don't think Cooper has any speech impediment. He is almost 3. He talks like very other 2 - 3 year old I have contact with. But we will keep an eye on it, or ear as it were, and maybe we will mention it to our pediatrician the next time we see him. But just having to have that conversation has made me a little crazy. Since he was a preemie (not that you would know it to look at him now) he could have tongue control issues. We have already seen it with his eating habits. It could have an affect on his speech. But I really don't think it is an issue.

So I will get over being crazy about this, and in another day new teachers will be involved and we will see what they have to say after a month of dealing with Cooper.

In the meantime I have all I can do to keep up with his growing vocabulary and his obsession with the Elmo Potty Time DVD. Seriously, after 12000 viewings the Statue of Liberty would be potty trained. My kid? Not yet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Conversation at a Bruce Springsteen concert

As told to me by my coworker Adrienne because we didn't spend that kind of money to go to a concert:

She was standing in line to use the portapotty, when the woman inside the portapotty yells out "How do you flush this thing?" To which Adrienne felt the need to respond "Um, you don't."

"What is this thing on the wall?" the woman yelled. "The urinal?" responded Adrienne.

"Why is there a sponge in it" was the next query. "To keep it from splashing" yelled Adrienne as she decided she might not have to pee so badly afterall.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Twinkle twinkle little star...

The Centaurus Galaxy

I have a confession: I love stars. And galaxies. And nebulae. If I were capable of staying up past 10pm and lived somewhere less bombarded by ground light, I would probably spend a lot of time peering through a telescope at the night sky.

But even if all that were possible, I could not begin to see things like this:

The Crab Nebula

The Eagle Nebula

These images are available from The European Southern Observatory where you can see and download images like these and more. My father often forwards emails to me that have astronomical news from this site.

When I was growing up, pre the internet, my parents purchases a set of Time/Life books that included topics like The Living Seas, Deserts, Jungles, and one on Space. I could sit for hours looking at the images and reading about the formation of galaxies, the nebula where stars are born or the ones left behind by the explosion of a super nova. It is really no surprise that I also harbor a deep and abiding love of all reference books. And SURPRISE my mother worked as a librarian and a book seller at various points in her life.

I don't remember exactly why this was being discussed, but the other weekend when we had a backyard full of kids, Fletcher who is 4 going on 40 was talking to his dad about stars, and they got onto the topic of how far away stars are. I asked him how old he was. He told me 4. I asked him if he knew how long it took for him to become 4. And he said yes, and I believe him because he is SUPAH SMAHT as we say here in Boston. Then I told him that most star light that we see was produced thousands of years ago. That we may even be seeing light from stars that don't even exist any more. It takes so long for the light to reach us that sometimes the stars have died before their light even gets to us.

That BLEW HIS MIND. It blows my mind when I think too hard about it. I will never be a physicist, or any kind of scientist because I just cannot logically wrap my brain around certain concepts. Like Schrodinger's Cat. Don't get me started on THAT brain teaser. Is it alive or dead? By opening the box to look you affect the outcome and thus you can NEVER REALLY KNOW. Why are we talking about it then??? Okay, it isn't always the concept I don't get, it is the point of the discussion I don't always get. If I can't know something, why am I thinking about it.

Anywho, thanks to the lovely people at the ESO and other sites like them, I don't have to become an astronomer or even stay up late at night to enjoy the mysteries of the universe. I only have to go as far as my couch and have a reliable internet connection.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Aqua Boy

Have I mentioned Cooper likes the water?

Last weekend we had 7 kids and their various parents in our pool, and one of the kids had a kick board, and goggles. "BOGGLES" demanded Cooper. "SURFBOARD" announced Cooper. Fortunately CVS had all this stuff on sale 40% off. And it was originally around $2.99 to begin with so you do the math.

He is getting more confident in the pool. Which is a double edged sword. I think we will investigate, depending on the state of our finances, swimming lessons next year. He will be ready. And gymnastics. A few of the kids, boys and girls, in our neighborhood go and it seems to be a great way to burn off energy AND work on their muscular development and coordination.

But in more current news, our deck was in desperate need of being stained. Even Bob's mom commented on it. We have not done it since we moved in 4 years ago. I came home today to find most of it had been done. Go BOB! We went with a darker color than originally had been used and it is lovely.

At work I have decided that what people need to do BEFORE they walk in my office is to practice the WWMD method of problem solving: What Would MidLifeMama Do to solve X problem? Because I am up to HERE with people asking me dumbass questions because they are too lazy to think about it for 20 nanoseconds in order to figure out whether or not it would be the right thing to do to lock all of the file cabinets before we all leave the office to go to a meeting. No, they have to ask ME. Are you kidding me right now? We are all leaving the office. YES you lock the cabinets.

Siiiiiigh. That is just one sad example of what I spend my day thinking about. So from now on, WWMD should be the first thing that people ask themselves before they enter my inner sanctum. I am going to make some signs.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On being quiet...

Those who have spent any time with me in person or on the phone know that I can be...hmmm...loud. Boisterous. Animated. Dramatic. I am part Italian, so I blame that for the fact I talk with my hands, my eyes, my ears. I am only 5'4" but as one of my coworkers stated, I come across much taller. I actually had someone say to me when they met me in person after speaking to me on the phone that they expected me to be taller. I guess you really can sound tall.

However, I also value being quiet. I grew up with a father who suffers from migraine headaches, and who we now know is also a depression sufferer. From the 60's to the 80's there were very few effective treatments for these issues. At a VERY early age I learned how to move quietly, play quietly, to be almost invisible when necessary. For anyone who has never had a migraine, the pain can be debilitating, accompanied by visual disturbances and nausea. Noise and light are your enemy.

As a result, I am still a physically quiet person for the most part. I don't blast music or the TV, I am probably over conscientious about whether or not our neighbors can hear whatever we are doing. And I am bugged easily by other people's noise.

Yesterday I was incapable of ignoring my work study student. The desk our students use is right outside of my office, as is the bathroom on this floor of our building. I am inadvertently aware of EVERY ONE'S bathroom habits as a result. But that is another post altogether. When our current work study student gets bored, she begins making noise. She is a little slip of thing, probably weighs 100lbs at most. But she can stomp her feet, bang the phone down, slam the bathroom door as loudly as three other people combined. Conversely when she answers the phone she has this little whispery voice. But I finally just had to send her home. After an hour of her stomping and slamming and banging around, I said ENOUGH. Go home. It was quiet enough that we didn't really need her and I was done listening to the huff and puff show. For better or worse she won't be working for us when the academic year starts as she is carrying a large credit load.

This makes me wonder if I have been conditioned abnormally - shut up Chip. Silence felt almost sacred in our house. If Dad was napping, which happened a LOT pre-diagnosis, we knew better than to stomp up or down the stairs or play music or the TV loudly. I think the only times I heard my father outright swear where when he had been awoken from a nap.

This was great training for having a child - you respect the nap and the bedtimes above all and do NOTHING that will awaken a sleeping baby/toddler. The rule in our house now is "He who wakes, placates." One weekend the Bob thought he would try out the weedwhacker he got for Father's Day (he doesn't need ties) while Cooper was napping. His room faces out over the backyard. Bob did not anticipate that the siren call of landscaping tools would be so strong, and of course an hour into what is normally a 3 hour nap, Cooper was up and demanding to see the weedwhacker. Bob won't do THAT again.

So while I might be somewhat abnormal in my sensitivity to and expectations about making noise, it seems to have come in handy as a mom. Lemons into lemonade, right? Now if I could just find a healthy way to channel my inability to tinkle when I think someone can see or hear me in the I said, another post for another time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Watching Who He Is Becoming

Cooper at a sprinkler park last weekend.

Kids. At 2 - 3 years of age they are so changeable, so in flux while at the same time you can totally see who they are as their personalities are bursting through in everything they do.

Cooper is funny. He loves to laugh, and you can tell he loves to make other people laugh. This is a happy kid. If someone is sad, or hurt, he is very concerned. There is a level of empathy that surprises me.

And yet, every day it seems there is something new. He has new words, new skills, new interests. He is even eating new things! Yesterday I asked him what he wanted for breakfast, and he announced "cheese stick!" Until yesterday I had never seen him eat a cheese stick. I have certainly offered them to him, but to date he has declined them. Since I am all about encouraging him to eat new things if he had said HOT DOGS I would have let him have them for breakfast. And then I found out he has shared some of his friend Luc's seaweed at school. Luc is Chinese, and his family eats some fairly traditional Chinese food. It is not surprising he would have dried seaweed as part of his lunch, but it WAS surprising to hear Cooper not only would consider holding it, but tasted and pronounced it GOOD. So I will obtain some at our grocery store and see if he really will eat it. I would be happy with that as it is a great source of iron and since Cooper still won't eat meat, I worry about his dietary balance.

Today we had 6 of our little neighbor friends and their parents over to swim. The girls next door, who left today to move to DC, and then his buddies Liam, Ty, Fletcher and Carter. Liam and Carter are right around Cooper's age, and the other two boys are four years old as are the girls. There is such a difference at four years of age. They are so grown up. They can mostly swim by themselves. They JUMP in the pool. They are loud and pushy and exuberant and joyful. Cooper finds them a bit overwhelming but he watches them constantly. As a result he wanted to wear swim goggles, use a kick board and jump in the pool. He is not as large and in charge with them around as he is with just kids his age. But he is observing and absorbing. He is internalizing what he sees and then later things come out seemingly randomly but he has been turning those things over and over and then finds the moment to launch his new idea or thought or behavior.

The part that scares the crap out of me, and I know this is not a new or innovative concern, is how to help him make good choices over time. To be able to discern that wanting to wear goggles and jump in the pool is fine, as long as one can actually swim or there is someone there to catch him. Or that maybe jumping in a pool is fine, but would jumping off the proverbial bridge just because everyone else is be a good idea?

I feel like right now, my son is a great little guy. He is sweet and funny and smart with just enough willfulness to keep us on our toes. He has all this potential, so many possibilities. It is exciting and daunting all at the same time.

And in the meantime I have to try to not worry that the moms in the group just saw my very dirty kitchen floor and are judging me for it. We are not all superwomen. I am the first to admit it and turn in my cape. Oh well.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

RIP Budgie P. Budgerton

Well, I am sad to share that Budgie P. Budgerton, rogue parakeet of Potter Hall, was found feet up this morning, on the sidewalk near the back door to my office. Cause of death is unknown, but there will be no formal inquest or autopsy. If we can lay our hands on a shovel we will have a memorial service for him.

God speed BPB on your travels to the great aviary in the sky.

One of my coworkers thinks he pulled a Janice Joplin - living fast and furious and burning out young. I like to think he enjoyed his little taste of freedom and of being one of the wild bunch.

In other news, Bob and I were sitting on the deck last night and noticed a very large spider web, with a significantly sized spider in the middle of it. I startled it, so it ran up and hid under the edge of a planter the web was attached to. Then I found a small bit of leaf and managed to get it to stick to the web. As we sat there the spider came down, checked out the bit of trash in its web, and proceeded to remove it from the web, and drop it to the ground. Who knew spiders were so tidy?

At least now I can get back to working and not obsessing on how to catch a parakeet. I don't know what we would have done with it if we had caught it anyway. But I will miss his little blue self flitting by my office window.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Updates etc...

So it is wicked hot here in Boston. Even with the air conditioner cranking in my office the temperature is still 77. I can hear the cicada's humming outside.

My mother-in-law was visiting, and Cooper secured his place in the will by being adorable and loving, giving copious amounts of kisses and hugs. She went home yesterday. She refuses to drive down here, although the drive from Lewiston ME is a straight shot to our neck of the woods. So we picked her up on the way back from vacation, and she returned home via the train.

The renegade parakeet is still here. He seems to be making friends with all the sparrows, but he has not left the area of our building. I think if I had the time to sit outside for a few hours, I could probably catch him. As it is I don't have that kind of time right now.

The auditors are here at work, performing their annual financial aid audit. It is always a fun time, having them evaluate how well we do our jobs. Fortunately this year we have a new firm and they seem to be on their game. I don't have to spend time educating them on the regulations, which often happens because they always seem to send a crew of newly hatched MBA grads and this is their first job. This firm handles it differently and this team actually knows financial aid.

Our neighbors are moving. They have twin four year old girls, and it has been great knowing them and having their mom, Rebecca, be a resource for all of my mom related questions. If it can be researched and analyzed, Rebecca has done it. When I was going to fly with Cooper for the first time, she had done all the research on car seats that are suitable for use in airplanes. The girls have always been obsessed with Bob. Where is Bob, what is Bob doing, why is Bob doing that? I don't know why, I think they like saying his name.

The people buying their house have a small baby, probably in the 5 months old range, and two dogs. Oh joy. That should make for much barking and mayhem with our three canine delinquents. Getting new neighbors, or being the new neighbors, can be such a crap shoot. Will they be noisy? Will they park a car on the front lawn, and put it up on blocks? It is not likely, but you just never know.

Our neighbors across the street have a 24 year old son living with them, who recently had taken to having a guys card night at the house. There are cars parked all over the place on the street, and bass music thumping out of the house. I wrote on facebook how I was very frustrated by this, and one of my facebook friends wrote that rather than be annoyed, I should try coordinating whatever activity I was involved in to the music, like dancing while dusting or singing along.

While that is a nice thought, the activity I was trying to engage in was SLEEPING. And singing along is not really possible when all you can hear is thumpitythumpbumpthump. But hopefully this will not be happening for awhile at that house, since it seems mom, who is around my age, just gave birth to a new baby. I am so not the person to judge THAT particular occurrence in any one's life having been an over 40 mom myself.

The only other thing I can think to mention at the moment is I would like to become fabulously wealthy, so that I wouldn't have to work for a living. It is not that I am adverse to working, but I am feeling burned out and wouldn't it be nice to be able to CHOOSE whether or not to work? But that is so unlikely...oh well. Back to the grind I guess.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

And we are back

Well, we made it to Friendship, and had a lovely time. Most of the time I didn't have reliable internet access. Thus the lack of posting.

However, there was much fun to be had. We went on a train ride.

This is the same train we rode on last year, and Cooper LOVES it. He got to ride in the engine this year. So did I for that matter. The guys who work on this train are all volunteers, but boy do they put the "enthuse" in "enthusiasm". They take it seriously.

Bob joined us on Monday. On Tuesday we went into Camden, where I ran into someone who works in our admissions office. Ah love being on vacation and running into coworkers.

On Wednesday we went to Owls Head Lighthouse. It is considered one of the most picturesque lighthouses in New England. Of course I forgot our camera, so no pictures.

In between we explored the cove, spending time at the "beach" which is less sand and more rocks but the water is shallow and great for exploring. We found hermit crabs, other little crabs, some shrimpy things and lots of shells.

As usual our time there went too quickly. I love spending time with my friends, John and Virginia, and their extended family. It is such a beautiful place and allows us to disconnect.

On the way home today, Bob picked up his mother, so she is visiting with us for a few days. Cooper warmed up to her right away and was laughing up a storm. He managed to win over pretty much everyone he came in contact with this week. And he slept like a champ in a grown up bed!! There was a bed rail, but I was really worried he would not embrace falling asleep in this strange place. He was fine.

My sinus infection is mostly gone - I am not spending too much time trying to cough out my appendix these days.

Now I have to play catch up with my email. Apparently because I wasn't reading it frequently it hit the limit and began bouncing mail. Wheee. Wonder what I missed.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We are here! Or there, or wherever

Normally I don't post twice in a day, but since my first post was at 4:30am, this is like a whole different day.

I managed to get seen at the urgent care place, scored some antibiotics - although the "doctor" that I saw really wanted to talk me out of it and was suggesting I try a more homeopathic approach using a neti pot and nasal spray and I was seriously going to throw down with her and go find the other doctor who was there if she didn't hand over the script. Neti pot my ass - this is green and yellow snot we are talking about. There is no messing around now.

Then I managed to get the car packed and Cooper and drove to Maine. Bob is coming up on Monday. Ideally one does not try to make the drive I made on a Saturday afternoon, but we do what we have to. The traffic was a bit heavy so it took an hour longer than normal.

But we are here. Cooper went down to sleep relatively easily considering he announced that he was "ascared" when we approached the house which is what happened last year. But this time it was sunny and our friends were here. He LOVES John Hansen, who by his own admission takes a benevolent neglect approach to child care in general. But John is a train nut, and Cooper loves him some trains, so there is a connection. Tomorrow we will venture out to see the train again and take a ride and enjoy the day.

Now I must go take some Sudaphed. The computer connection is spotty around here so you may or may not hear from me while we are here. If not, see you on the flip side!

It's 4:30 EST do you know where your sinuses are?

Because I do. IN MY FACE causing me agony. Things have taken a decidedly, well, yellow and green turn. Of course it is now Saturday, which means my medical care options are now limited to the emergency room or the urgent care center. I could go to the emergency room now, but it is likely I will still spend three hours there. It is a nice new facility though. The urgent care place is closer, but doesn't open until 9am. Choices choices choices.

In either event, I must score some antibiotics before going to the wilds of Maine. This is seriously cramping my vacation style.

And Bob assures me there is nothing more attractive than me sounding like I am coughing up a hairball.