Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I try to be a good mom when it comes to teaching my son about the world. I guess we all teach our children what we know about the world. And what I know about the world is the ocean and the wetlands. Hey, I'm a Florida Environmental Studies major. What can I say?

So when we come to the beach I really puff up like a chicken and start filling Andy's head with all of my hard-earned knowledge.

Andy knows about bivalves. He can pick them out on the beach and knows to watch as they dig into the sand. He loves sand dollars and can tell me that they're Echinoderms. He's never heard the term "seaweed" because all of my college professors objected to it. He calls it seagrass. Which it is, mind you. (He also refers to a swamp as a "wetland" and a jungle as "the rainforest". That a' boy!)

I've also been working on teaching him about shore birds. He likes the Snowy Egret, with its yellow feet. He loves Pelicans. Loves them. And this trip we've been seeing Artic Terns. I love terns. So I point them out to him often.

A little too often, I think, because yesterday as we were bobbing in the waves I said, "Look Andy! There's an Arctic Tern catching a fish!"

And he sighed. He actually sighed. And he said, without even looking at me, "You always see Artic Terns, Mommy."

Then he swam over to his dad.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


We are down at the condo in Fort Myers Beach for a few weeks, enjoying a much-needed vacation.

But we had a problem. The evil chair. The evil chair is a very old, very mediocre Lazy Boy, and the mechanism for extending the footrest has been exposed. The fabric isn't covering the metal any longer. It's a hazard. And it ripped Andy's best shorts.

I was getting him off the potty (major potty success on this trip, by the by!) and noticed it. I said, "Oh Andy! That rotten old chair ripped your best shorts!"

He stuck his lip out for a second, then looked worried and said, "Mommy we'd better call the firemen to fix my pants!"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

i am such a jerk

This one's a doozie.

Andy is angry at his dad again. The other night, Andy was a serious pill, and was so rotten that he ended up catching a whack on his bum. The little stinker deserved it, but for his future dignity I'll leave out the grisly toddler details of what he did. That was 48 hours ago and he's still furious with Shawn, and won't really speak to him or hug him.

When Shawn came home today, Andy was openly hostile. I asked Andy to give his dad a hug, and Andy stubbornly said, "NO!" Shawn made a sad face and pretended to cry. I said, "Oh Andy, you hurt Daddy's feelings. Go give him a hug."

And the little twerp went right up to his father and kicked him in the knee.

Yeah. What a jerk, right?

So he went and stood in the corner for a while and sobbed and said how sorry he was, and gave his father a half-hearted hug and an even more transparent apology. Then I started to get him dressed to go to his grandparents' house.

I talked to him and said what a parent should say. Blah blah blah, use your words, respect your parents, kicking is not good, pretty much everything that I know went right over his head but will eventually soak into that little skull if I say it enough times over the next ten years.

Then I said, "Andy, when you behave that way we don't want to be around you. We want you to leave." By this, I meant we wanted him to go over to his grandparents house.

But I guess that part wasn't clear because his face crumpled before me and tears came to his eyes and welled up, ready to spill out.

Brokenhearted, he said, "You don't want me here? But I live here! This is my home! You are my family!"

Oh yeah. I'm crap.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

amazing logic

Tonight before bed Andy picked out a story about Clifford the Big Red Dog. This particular book was a 'word book', which has very little story but lots and lots of labeled drawings to help kids work on their vocabularies. Andy eats these books up. By now he knows a huge amount of words but he thirsts for more anyway and asks about any picture he doesn't recognize.

One page had lots of drawings of people of varying occupations. There was a doctor, a magician, a construction worker...we went through them all.

He pointed to one drawing of a man in scrubs who was holding a dog.

I said, "That's a verterinarian."

He repeated the word. "Veterinarian?"

"Yes," I said. "Do you know what a veterinarian does?"

"Holds dogs."

Quite a logical reply, wasn't it?

Friday, September 11, 2009

that's a bad nap

When I got Andy up from his nap today, he was crying and miserable. I asked, "How was your nap, Andy?"

He cried.

"It was terrible. It was a terrible nap. Nugget pushed the door open and it fell over and my head popped off!"

He wasn't kidding. That is a bad nap.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

napless in seattle.

Today when I picked up Andy his teacher told me he'd said something. Something.

I hear her say it at least twice a week and every time I brace for a terrible impact. I'm just waiting for the day he tells the whole class to go to hell.

Today, Miss Sam put all the kids to bed at nap time.

But Andy didn't want to take a nap.

"I am NOT going to take a nap today."

Miss Sam asked him why not.

"Because I want to make my mommy MAD."

Miss Sam said, "But Andy, need a nap and you don't want to irritate Mommy, do you?"

Andy looked right at her and said, definitively, "I want to irritate Mommy."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

buggar off, kid

We were in the car yesterday, coming back from hiking Nugget. Everybody was tired and hot and the car stunk of wet schnauzer.

Andy started kicking my seat, and I just wasn't in the mood. I asked him to stop several times. Of course, he didn't.

Shawn finally snapped, "Knock it off, Andy!"

He started to pout and whimpered, "Mommy, my Daddy told me to knock it off!" He was terribly insulted.

I turned around and said, "Then knock it off, Andy. You're kicking my seat."

"But Mommy......"

"Knock it off, Andy."

There was a moment of silence and then, to himself, with tears in his eyes he muttered, "Everybody told me to knock it off. I'm so mad at you guys..."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

i don't think she can see it

Andy was on the phone with his Grandma.

From our end, we heard:

"When we go to the fair is there going to be a roller coaster I rode a roller coaster at Idlewild and it was so fast and there was a squirrel and a caterpillar and it went around in circles and maybe we'll see some sheep and there were bunnies last year can you buy me some candy at the fair have you seen my new haircut?"

And he held the telephone up to his head so his grandma could see his haircut. Only she was on the other end of the phone, so I'm not entirely sure she did.

rage against the machines

Andy is currently sitting on the floor enraged. I don't even know how to describe his anger right now. He can't get his train tracks together and every few seconds lets out a shriek of rage. He was talking to himself about it in a monologue.

"...I need help because this thing won't go on and I keep trying and it won't snap together and this won't go there it goes here instead and I can't DO IT! It doesn't GO THAT WAY!"

[insert the SCREAM of fury]

Then he said, choking on his tears, "And now I need to go outside and chill out for a while."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

winged irritant

This morning, Andy was grumpy. I don't pretend to know why. He was particularly grumpy with Shawn, who tried his best to be benign.

Didn't work, though.

"Mommy, I'm angry at Daddy."

"Why, Andy?"

"Because of the bats."

(We had another bat in the house last weekend, but I still didn't understand the connection.)

"Ok, why are you angry at Daddy, then?"

"Because bats make Daddy annoying."

It's true. There's nothing more irritating than seeing your strong, protective husband lying on the floor in his underwear holding a tennis racket, swatting at the air as a bat flies in circles 10 feet above his head.