Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm glad he's looking out for me

As I’m getting out of the car this morning heading in to work:

Me (noticing the goo threatening to escape his nose): Charlie, let’s blow your nose.

He compliantly blows into the tissues. I proceed to wipe his nose.

Me: Charlie, give Mommy a kiss goodbye!

Charlie: Kiss my mouth. Don’t kiss my boogers.


Monday, July 21, 2008

A Pampered Day

On Saturday, I was pampered by friends and family in honor of our yet to be named baby. The day began with a frantic call from Stephanie whose plans to host my first ever baby shower were foiled when her air conditioner kicked it in the middle of the night. I think she hit it on the nose when she said, “I’m just not meant to throw a baby shower for you!” (For Charlie’s baby shower, I went into preterm labor the weekend before the scheduled event.) This time, it was an air conditioner motor.

After establishing a Plan B, the Professor, Charlie and I headed to the pool for a morning swim. Our goal was to exhaust Charlie so he would take a nap before the party. We arrive around 10:00 and it was already scorching outside. Thankfully, the YMCA pool was not yet crowded with rambunctious kids. Most of the families there were like us - families with infants and toddlers who had already been up for several hours and were looking at this as a “mid-day swim.” The pampering came into play when the Professor allowed me to swim off in the deep-end lanes to do some laps while he splashed around with Charlie. It was wonderful. It felt SO good to be doing something active yet not be sweating. At 8 months pregnant in the middle of a Memphis July, sweating has become my middle name.

After about an hour or so at the pool, we headed home in time for me to shower, lunch, and bustle off to my prenatal massage, complements of Tiffany and Mark for my birthday. Pat at Spa De Jour totally pampered me with a full-body, hour-long prenatal massage. It was so relaxing. She massaged me from my scalp to the tips of my toes. The experience was great and I definitely plan to go back to that spa. They were super-friendly and warm; I wish I could do that every day or at least every month. Finally, the massage portion of my pampering ended and I had to rush home to get my boys and head to my first ever baby shower.

When we arrived at my mother’s house (our new party location), I was surprised at how many people were there. Even though I helped with the invitation list, I was still a little taken by the number of people who want to help us celebrate our new baby. It was a bit surreal for me, but I am definitely moved by the joy and celebration a new baby can bring. With Charlie and his preterm delivery, everything just happened all at once and Wham! We had a new baby almost 6 weeks before expected. No one was ready, and I never got to go through that phase of really waiting for him. Sure, I was excited about meeting him and more than curious to find out what he looked like. But I was barely on the verge of feeling really pregnant and ready for him when his birthday arrived. So, with this baby shower, which was intentionally planned early, I have been given more than the wonderful gifts that our friends and family showered us with. I have also been given a gift of greater anticipation for our newest addition to the family. Now, just 8 weeks away from my due date (2 ½ weeks away from the point at which Charlie was born), I am trying to focus more this growing baby inside me, and having friends and family come to help me celebrate our new baby before he is born makes it all the sweeter.

Thanks to everyone who helped make my Saturday special! I especially appreciate Tiffany, Stephanie, and my mom, who went to the trouble of making this party a reality. It means a lot.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A great way to spend my lunch hour on a Friday

This afternoon, I had the great honor of attending a live performance and talk by Mr. Kirk Whalum. He came to campus to give a performance for students working on regional studies projects this summer and I was lucky enough to be invited. He began the show by almost breathlessly playing several songs on his gorgeous saxophone. My, that man has a set of lungs!

He spoke about his life experiences and the boomerang effect Memphis has had on him. A graduate of Melrose High School, he left Memphis for college with no inclination to ever come back. He went to college in Houston and eventually made his way to California working as a musician. He later moved to Paris with his wife and four children where he felt the pull of Memphis calling to him. He said that he realized that Memphis is part of his soul. Sipping coffee in Paris cafes, he heard the sounds of Memphis. He recognized the music Memphis while eating a sandwich in a Parisian bistro. On the Metro, he saw an advertisement for a Rufus Thomas performance. He stated that Memphis was everywhere, and that is when he realized that the sounds and culture of Memphis are part of his soul. After moving back to California from France, he and his wife decided to re-root themselves in Memphis. He said that he was like a boomerang. He was compelled by a force to come back.

Kirk Whalum is one of the coolest people I have ever met. He is a genuinely nice person, he is passionate, he is talented, and he is an inspiration. As he spoke to the students, he reminded them that each one has a gift, that each person has something in the core of his soul that is meant to be shared. He reminded us to take a closer look at the simple things and realize how complex the simple things really are. He reminded me to think about my life in terms of the big picture and not just the day to day routine. I am grateful to people like Kirk Whalum; he is a man who knows what it means to dream and who isn’t afraid to take chances trying to realize his dreams.

He closed the event with a performance of Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, a song dedicated to his wife by the title name. It was beautiful and I can only think how wonderful she must feel to have a husband who can create such moving music, especially a song meant for her.

On a final note, he asked everyone to check out a website for a documentary call Miss HIV. The director of the film is working with him on a documentary. I ask you to check it out as well. It promises to be a very interesting and touching story.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Weekend Rendezvous

Last weekend the Professor took one last hurrah before baby number 2 comes along. He went to a cabin in East Tennessee with some old college friends to do things that old college fraternity brothers do. I guess this means they drank a lot of beer, played poker, went to a bar or two and acted immature. I’m not asking. When he told me about his plans, I was at first a bit peeved that he was willing to leave his 30 week pregnant wife at home with a very frustratingly ornery two-year old. You see, lately, Charlie has become defiant, whiney, and a bit of a handful. It all started on his second birthday. Since then, we have implemented a few discipline techniques, one involving the naughty stool that we learned about from the one episode of the Supernanny I watched a few months ago. It works, but before my solo weekend with Charlie, we hadn’t quite gotten the point across to Charlie that what we say goes. Getting him to go to the toilet was a nightmare laced with screams and crying and “No! I don’t have to!” even when he had consumed an entire cup of water an hour before. Eating at the dinner table was also filled with whining and “I don’t like that!” and “I want graham crackers!”

Now, I’m not one to force food upon my kid, but I am diligently trying to broaden his palate so that he can enjoy the fruits of our cooking and the occasional night out. I am desperately hoping that he will be an adventurous eater, but it’s really, REALLY difficult not to succumb to his cries at dinner when he doesn’t want to try a bite of fish or, God forbid, mashed potatoes. He’s all “Pretzels! Graham crackers! Yogurt! More milk!” I just don’t have the patience to listen to all that whining while I’m trying to eat. Don’t get me wrong. I do not punish him for not eating. I do punish him for throwing a massive fit at the table if I ask him to take one bite of something before I will give him what he adamantly demands.

So, I was dreading a hormonal weekend alone with Charlie. I envisioned a weekend of either Charlie crying about dinner or me just throwing in the towel and letting him dine on pretzels for dinner while watching yet another episode of “Go Diego Go!” I saw myself begging Charlie to go to the bathroom and I was exhausted just thinking about having to hunch my big whale-belly self over to help him change his wet underwear repeatedly throughout the day. I could hear the multiple “I want Daddy” cries coming my way. I was not looking forward to it and I let the Professor know that he had better be grateful and remember what a loving and generous wife I am.

Then Friday came around. The Professor left around 2:00 for his weekend rendezvous. I picked up Charlie from school at 5:00 and braced myself for the weekend of potential hell that was headed my way. When I got to school, his teacher happily informed me that he had been dry all day. Yea! That gave me a little bit of hope. When we got home, we somehow managed to have dinner at the table without any screams. And miraculously, Charlie did not fight me when I suggested he go to the bathroom. Yes, I had to use the threat of the naughty stool, but it only took one mention of that simple form of punishment to send him running to the bathroom. He happily pulled his stool up to the toilet, announced with excitement “I’m dry!” and swiftly took care of business. This happened over and over again throughout the evening.
On Saturday, we had a wonderful morning with Gammy at the Children’s Museum, and nice lunch at home, a long restful nap, and an evening at the Zoo. I decided to be brave and forgo using any diapers or plastic covers and what do you know, he stayed dry all day long. It was awesome! And we had very few tantrums, all of which were fixed with a mild threat of the naughty stool.

When the Professor came home on Sunday, I was exhausted, but not from having to barter and fight with my two-year old. My exhaustion was due to a truly enjoyable and active weekend with him. I loved spending those two short days with him, playing, singing, dancing, and cuddling. He has always been a sweet little boy, but this weekend, I realized just how sweet he is. Thanks to the waning tantrums, a few gentle discipline measures and a genuinely loveable child, I could not have had more fun with Charlie than I did this weekend.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I love the sand between my toes

A couple of weeks ago, we headed south for the sand and sea to enjoy a week of laziness in the sun. We went with my parents, my sister, and her two daughters to Ft. Morgan, Alabama, which is basically Gulf Shores but is fortunately, a little more isolated. Charlie had a blast digging in the sand and playing with his cousins. I didn’t expect him to have so much fun doing things like eating popcorn in bed with them, watching cartoons, jumping on beds, and simply chasing each other around the house. I have never seen that kid so excited. We had a wonderful time lazing in the sun, splashing in the waves, and searching for crabs on the beach at night. There’s nothing better than sleeping past 8:00 every day to wake up to a leisurely breakfast to fuel up for a relaxing day by the shore. If only we could have stayed another week…

I hope this is a family tradition we can continue.