Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I wrote this post in my head at 5:17 a.m. this morning…

Charlie woke up crying again early this morning. He has been doing this almost daily for the past few weeks. He wakes up in the dark wee hours of the morning, cries for about 15 minutes until one of us decides to crawl out of bed and retrieve him. We bring him back in the bed with us in hopes that he will please, please, please go back to sleep. Sometimes he does, but most often, he just tosses, turns, grunts, and flops with accidental head-butting and kicking. A few days ago, the Professor and I made a pact that we would weed out this habit of our child. We decided that we would NOT put him in the bed with us anymore and just let him cry. After a few mornings of early morning crying, he would be cured, and all will be well with the Palmer world of sleeping.

For the first few mornings, things went well. He cried, but only for 15-20 minutes. And the crying was mild enough that he didn’t put himself into an inconsolable fit. So, relief washed over the house and the grumpies were moving their way out. We were sleeping through the night (and morning) again!

This morning, I woke to the sounds of Charlie crying again. I looked at the clock. It was 5:17. I was exhausted from my late night of watching reruns of Frasier Halloween episodes. I was totally prepared to ignore the cries and let Charlie lull himself back to sleep, but something was totally off. Something just felt COMPLETELY wrong. Once I was able to pull myself a little further out of my deep sleep, I realized that I was completely burning up. I was sweating profusely, I had kicked off the covers, and everything felt so incredibly hot. I have been feeling a cold coming on for the past few days, so I immediately thought that I was dying from some horrible fever that I picked up at day care.

I sat up and took a look around. I noticed that the Professor had kicked off the covers on his side of the bed, too. I even noticed the dogs panting a little. That’s when it hit me. I heard the heat blowing through the vents and could physically feel the dry heat sucking the moisture out of my skin. I got up to check the thermostat, which read 85 DEGREES.

“So, is your thermostat broken?” you make ask. No. Nope. Sure isn’t. Last night before bed, the Professor complained of being cold. He wanted to turn on the heat. I, of course, voiced that I didn’t think turning on the heat was necessary, what with the flannel sheets on our bed and the fact that the temperatures were in the 50s and all. But he insisted. He convinced me that Charlie may kick off his blanket and get cold in the night. Boy, was I duped. Instead, Charlie was woken by the sheer torture of the blazing heat this morning.

So, I got up, got Charlie, opened a few windows, got back into bed with the covers officially kicked off for the duration of the morning, and wrote this post in my head. Charlie, of course, head-butted me in the process of trying to flip over backwards in an effort to get comfortable.

[After a confrontation about the heat later this morning, the Professor informed me that he simply forgot to check the temperature before turning on the heat. Go figure.]

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I can only hold out so long…

A few weeks ago, I received a call from a middle school in Memphis requesting an interview for a job. This middle school has a pretty solid reputation, so I jumped at the opportunity and scheduled the interview for the following day. The person who spoke to me did not give me much information about the position except that it was for grades 6-8. This created a mild sense of anxiety because I was not sure if the position was for an English teacher or an ESL teacher, and I was too excited to even think to ask that question when scheduling the interview. I was not worried, though. Mostly just curious.

The next morning, I donned my interview suit and an extra layer of adrenaline and headed to the school. When the interview began, I asked the vice principal conducting the interview if the position was for English or ESL. She said neither. Wha? She asked me if I spoke Spanish? Um, no. German? Aha! Yes! She proceeded to tell me about the position for a German World Languages teacher and that she has had an extremely difficult time finding a German teacher. In a nutshell, the course would be on German culture and language to prepare students for actual German language courses in high school. She informed me that the class should be fun and excite the students. There was to be no homework. No tests. No aligning with standards. NO pressure. The point is to get students to WANT to come to class and participate. Throughout this conversation, my mind was reeling. Thoughts of Lederhosen, Spätzle, Sauerbraten, Bier, the Berlin Wall, and Schlager Musik spun in my head. Was this woman serious? Could this be true?

The only problem was certification. I am not certified in the State of TN to teach German. But, getting the certification would be no problem. I even checked it out after the interview and emailed the vice principal letting her know how easy it would be and that I would do whatever it takes to get the certification. I was enthusiastic, excited, and serious about this job. I left the interview thinking that this could be the best job in the world for me. I was already envisioning doing Internet projects in the library, cooking in the teen living (home economics) kitchen, and working with art, social studies, and music teachers. I was on the verge of asking my German brother-in-law for some advice. I had already started developing lesson plans in my head.

Now, almost 3 weeks later, I still have not heard a thing. I left her a voice mail asking her to please let me know either way (which she informed me she would do on the day of the interview). Still nothing. I want to believe that they have just not yet made a decision. Or that they got busy and filling this position got moved down on the priority list. I want to believe something other than the fact that they probably hired someone else for this job. Probably someone who teaches Spanish. I’ll probably send one last email to her as a follow up, but essentially, I’ve already given up. Could it be that this job is just not meant for me? Will I find out down the road that I, in fact, will be happier doing something else? Who knows? But, damn, I think that could have been a really fun job.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hug It Out

Next week, Charlie will be 18 months old. I can’t believe he has already been with us for a year and a half. I was perusing through old photos the other day and looked in awe as I saw my scrawny baby in the NICU. My, has he thrived over the year! He’s growing up so quickly, it almost scares me. At times, I find myself wishing he could talk and be more independent to make things easier on me, but then I immediately switch to wishing he was still a tiny 4 month old baby. But most of the time, I am just amazed with who he is at this very second.

At this point in his life, he’s not yet a toddler but certainly no longer a baby. He is not yet walking, but he is well on his way (he is still a little behind because of his pre-maturity). He enjoys hoisting himself up to a standing position and counting the seconds until his little booty hits the floor. Most often, he is so proud of his stance that he claps, knocking him off balance, sending him immediately to the ground. I absolutely adore watching his pride spread across his face. His eyes light up as if to say, “Do you see what I, Charlie of only 17 ½ months, am capable of doing? Can you believe it?” He bears his teeth in a proud grin and giggles with pleasure at himself.

With his communication skills, Charlie is moving along at rapid speeds. He is learning and using new words every day. Most recently are hi, bye, and yes (stated with a giant head nod, “yesssssss”). He is beginning to understand the power of words and, in my opinion, is on the brink of having full multi-sentence conversations with us.

All of these new developments are great. But lately, I feel like he gets a little overloaded sometimes, especially after school. After he spends a full day actively playing and learning, he’s completely spent. When I pick him up from school, he peers at me happily through the door. He smiles and scoots over to me and gives me a giant bear hug. We say goodbye to his classmates and teacher and head for the car. Somewhere between stepping out of the building and getting secured in his car seat, he loses it. The drive home is usually spent trying to soothe him. This is most often done by tossing Teddy Grahams back to him from the driver’s seat, hoping that a few will land in his lap. Then, the snacks run out and I make a mad dash down curvy Quince to get home before my nerves explode.

We get home and he his happy to see the dogs and sighs in satisfaction as we take his shoes off. And then, the screaming begins. We race to get him something to eat, hoping to sate his hungry little belly. But over the past few weeks, food has not been the thing to calm and distract him - even if he is hungry. In fact, everything pisses him off. We put milk in front of him. He throws the cup. We try crackers. He screams and shakes his head no. We try to hold him, and he does the baby stiff body with arched back thing that makes me almost drop him on his head. We try to give him his blanket and he throws it on the floor and kicks it. We try to distract him with a book or a toy that inevitably gets thrown across the room and whacks one of the dogs in the head.

Finally, succumbing to the fact that he is just overcome by evil spirits in a fit of rage, we decide to ignore him and let him get it out of his system. During this time, he scoots from me, to Maggie, to Daddy, to Roxie and back again, kicking each of us on the ankles in frustration, all the while screaming and crying with his little face swelling up and burning red. I can’t help but laugh during this time because

1) The whole situation is so ridiculous and I’m trying not to let it get to me (although sometimes I want to run out of the house screaming myself because it is JUST SO HARD to endure this kind of thing sometimes), and

2) When he is making his rounds trying to kick each of the people/dogs who love him most dearly in the world, he is just so cute. I honestly don’t believe that he is trying to be aggressive; he’s just working out his frustrations. The funniest part about it is that his kicks are so light and soft, they feel almost endearing, like a whisper-soft brush of the hand. They make me want to scoop him up and smother him with kisses.

Eventually, after letting him work it out, Charlie calms down and returns to being the sweet, bright-eyed boy that we know. The metamorphosis is almost frightening because I can visibly see the tantrum drain from his face and limbs and then seconds later, he will look up at one of us with a giggly smile. Relief that the episode has passed washes over the entire house, and I no longer feel the prickly nervous sensation throughout my body.

At that very moment, he scoots over to my feet and pulls himself up to standing, reaching for me to pick him up. I raise him up; he looks me in the eyes and leans in for a giant hug.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I realize that I have been a complete slacker about posting lately. Let's just chalk it up to having less time these days. I work full time, Charlie has decided to throw his awsome sleeping schedule out the window, I'm taking two classes, AND my job is requiring me to go above and beyond the typical workday becuase of The Big Read. Whew! I'm busy. Notice that the book in the "What I'm Reading" graphic to the right has not changed in months. And that's no mistake; I'm still reading it. I figure I'll finish it in time to start a new book around Christmas.

So, on with the update.

Germantown Festival
Sometime way back in early September when it was still excruciatingly hot, I took Charlie to the Germantown Festival with Nana and his cousins. It was fun and relaxing. And even though it was all the way out in Germantown, I really liked the atmosphere because most of the booths were draped by the pine trees in the park. Instead of walking down a paved street with the sun beating down on our necks, we cruised around in the shade with the cushion of pine needles under our feet.

Cooper Young
The following weekend, we hit the Cooper Young festival. Cooper Young, a much hipper festival, was okay. I used to love to go and check out all the booths, listen to music and enjoy the day. This year, I felt like I had seen it all before. In fact, it seems as if they same vendors are in the exact same booth location every year, which makes the festival a little mundane. Year after year, I get a déjà vu feeling once I step into the First Congo parking lot. That said, we had a good time, listened to some good music, bought a cute wooden toy for Charlie, ate ice cream and fretted while we watched Charlie attempt to “play” with his first balloon. Little did we know when the nice people from the Central Animal Clinic gave us the balloon that he would immediately try to bite into it! It was not a pleasant experience trying to take it away from him. After that debacle and finishing off the ice cream, it all went downhill. Charlie cracked and the screaming commenced. Who knows how many people we ran over trying to get to our car before the full on meltdown began? So, if you were at Cooper Young and were trampled by a woman with a screaming toddler with a face smeared with ice cream and green balloon bits in his hair, sorry!

U of M game
After the festival (and a nice long nap), we went to the University of Memphis football game. It was Charlie’s first. He was more in awe of all the cheering people than the game, but I think he had good time. We made a timely exit at halftime and thus avoided any further meltdowns for the day.

Charlie has moved way beyond being spoon-fed. In fact, I don’t think he will let anyone feed him ever again. He wants to be in control, and I’m cool with that. He is so proud of himself when he gets even the tiniest morel from his spoon to his mouth. Most of the time, though, it all just ends up on his chin. Recently, he discovered a way around the messy spoon to mouth thing. He just drinks all of his food. Here, he demonstrates the proper way to drink oatmeal.

Last week, one of Charlie’s teachers asked if he does a lot of climbing at home. At the time, I had not seen him do much of anything except scoot his way across the room and pull him self up with the assistance of the coffee table. So, no, I told her, I haven’t noticed him climbing lately. The weekend following, I saw evidence confirming her inquiry. Does attempting to scale the ladder into the attic constitute climbing?

Recently, I wrote a post about Charlie’s affection for the vacuum. At the time, we had a 1999 Hoover that did not do much hoovering. Not that we didn’t put forth the effort. The thing was just too old and could not contend with all the dog hair. And then, one bright and sparkly day, we headed to Target for a little light shopping. We walked by the vacuum cleaner displays and drooled over the Dyson. We noticed the $100 off advertisement and could not control ourselves. Before either one of us could say no, the box was in our cart and we were heading toward the register. And now, we have the most perfect fur sucking machine ever invented. This thing is crazy good. One even more crazy thing is being able to see just how much dirt and dog hair builds up on our floor in just a matter of days. Ick. But, the Dyson faithfully sucks it up, and we can rest easy that Charlie isn’t going to cough up a fur ball any time soon.

Trash Day
Tuesday’s in our neighbor are trash days. Each Tuesday around 7:45 a.m., we hear the squeaky brakes and the loading of garbage and recycling into the sanitation trucks. The new element of trash day is Charlie’s insistence that someone hold him up to the window so he can watch the trucks and the workers do their jobs. It is very cute and always calms him if he’s having a bad moment. Now that’s just one more reason to thank our sanitation workers for the job that they do!

Last weekend, we made another trip to the zoo. We have a membership, so it makes going to the zoo a lot more enjoyable. Since we can go any time, we don’t have to worry about seeing everything all in one day. On this trip, we went to the Once Upon a Farm exhibit. Now that was fun! In all the times we have been to the zoo over the past year, we have not once gone anywhere close to the farm exhibit. I didn’t even know it was there! We saw goats, chickens, horses, pigs, and cows. Charlie even got to pet a cow, who smiled for the camera as the Professor snapped the photo. If you haven’t been to that particular exhibit, I highly recommend it.

Charlie also rode the carousel for the first time. He was visibly excited and even grooved a little to the music.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Go Al!

I only recently watched An Inconvenient Truth. I was really impressed with Al Gore's ability to discuss environmental issues in such a meaningful and truthful way. If you have not yet seen it, I suggest you do. Since watching the film, we have made a few small changes at our house (in addition to the Professor and I carpooling each day, starting about 2 months ago). It's really EASY to be a friend to the environment! I decided that the next house we buy (because hopefully we'll be in it longer that 3-5 years), I want to use and organic soybean based foam insulation. I saw it on Living With Ed, one of my new favorite shows.

Congrats, Al on winning the Nobel Peace Prize!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Never again

Yes, we have all said it before, but I am dead serious this time. Never Again. I am never drinking again.

Friday night, the Professor and I went to an all-adult dinner at a friend's house. All week we looked forward to a night out sans kid. We had plans! And they didn't include being home by an 8:00 p.m. bedtime!

Well, the dinner was great and we had a fun evening with Tiff, Mark, and the Chockley's. We had some great food, played a little Taboo, and drank some wine. I mean, I drank lots of wine. Too much wine. So much wine that the weekend was ruined.

I had a mean hangover on Saturday, and all of my big plans to get lots of homework completed were foiled. We also had plans to go to the fair, but having gotten little work done (and the headache) made us change our minds. And the cold that was on it's way out (the one that I had planned to kick completely over the weekend)? Well, that cold came on in an even fuller force on Sunday, leaving me with clogged ears and nightmare congestion. That made for a nice Sunday evening of childcare, laundry, and homework.

So, I am never drinking again. At least not until this weekend. But this time, I think I'll stop at two. Two glasses, that is.