Monthly Archives: June 2007

Rite of Passage.

Clear the highways.  Ethan's got his first set of wheels:

As you can see, he's got the idea of the petals.  Unfortunately, his execution of the idea is imperfect.  He isn't quite strong enough yet to haul his hefty self around.

Now he knows how I feel when I'm lugging him around the St. Louis Metro!

Obsess Much?

I admit it.  I obsess.

It's almost always over the little things, and it happens more now that I stay home.

Example 1:

We have had a total of 3 assignments in my Intro to Law class.  I got a perfect score on the first two, and on the third I got a 70 out of 74.  I should be happy, because the average points over the entire class on that last assignment was around 56, and I had the 2nd highest score in the class.

Not good enough.

The instructor is giving us a chance to rewrite our briefs in order to raise our scores.  I'm wringing my hands because I already have a 97% in the class and I think she'll come at me with a butcher knife if I rewrite mine in order to get those extra 4 points I've missed.  I'm thinking it'll just piss her off.

Example 2:

On a lark, I applied to columnist for the local paper.  The community at large was summoned to submit columns and several would be chosen to write 4 opinion columns over the next 12 months.  I was chosen.  They must have a photo of me to run in the paper.


Well, I generally hate having my photos taken, so off I went with the camera into the bathroom (because it is the only room in the house that would provide a decent solid background that isn't, oh, PURPLE or something) and proceeded to take photo after photo.  I'm not happy with a single one. Greg is at a client's so I can't bounce them off him, and he wouldn't like it anyway, because you know — someone has to make some money around here.  Plus his judgment is clouded by the fact that he loves me and wouldn't say anything negative.  So I'm bouncing them off my sister Anita, because she was never afraid of insulting me when we were kids.

har har!

Little Man in Training.

I make a lot of posts in jest about what a holy terror Ethan is.  All of those posts are fundamentally true, but what they don't convey is how all the trouble is worth moments like this:


The truth is, I wouldn't trade this for the world.  I know when I look back, I'll desperately miss this time and will only remember the good things.  Ethan's time as a toddler is fleeting.  Every day he is less a toddler and more a little boy. 

Have a good nap, son.  I'll see you in a couple of hours.


The Strawberry Syrup Thief.

That thievin' little thuglet.

Every time we open the door to the refrigerator, Ethan absconds with the strawberry syrup.  He runs top speed as far as he can get, then starts taking swigs. 

I finally managed to catch a photo:

He'll make a fine man someday, won't he?


Well, at least it's sugar free.


I Don’t Care What Anybody Says.

Everybody says boys are easier to raise than girls.

Everybody lies.  They lie, lie, lie.  It's a vast conspiracy of the same ilk that causes so many mothers to tell a mother-to-be how AWFUL labor is and how PAINFUL delivery is, and how TERRIBLE newborns are. 

My experience has been that toddler boys are way more ornery than toddler girls.  Observe:

We have an unopened box of Bud Select with 20 12-oz bottles in it.  Each bottle, full of beer, weighs approximately 19 oz.  The entire box (not including the cardboard itself) weighs 23.75 lbs.

My bull moose of a son has the strength of his daddy.  He scoots the box around the house like so:

Then he climbs atop it in order to wreak havoc on everything we own.  Examples:


Notice he has learned to turn on the faucet in that first photo, and he is pulling things from my desk and flinging them to the floor in the second.  And he is proud.

Greg had to install hooks on our storm doors last night because Ethan has learned to unlock the front door, open it, unlock the storm door, open that, and run off into the sunset.  We couldn't allow this to happen because someone would eventually call the law on us for having a toddler at large.  Unfortunately, they don't make invisible fences with shock collars for toddlers.

Okay, sheesh, that was a joke.  It was.  Really!  We've never even considered such a thing, I swear!


Anyway, Laurel never did this stuff.  I didn't even have to childproof the place for her, because she LISTENED to me when I told her not to do things.  Not that she does anymore, of course.

Tonight I'm going to beg Greg to put yet another hook on our last remaining door through which Ethan can escape — the garage door.  He's already figured out he can't open the others, so I have chased him into the garage at least five times today.  I lost count.

With all these locks, I'm starting to feel like a prisoner in my own house.  FedEx and UPS must think we're nuts because we have to go through such a rigmarole just to unlock our doors so we can accept delivery on anything. 

So I don't care what anybody says.  In my life, my toddler boy has been MUCH more challenging than my toddler girl.  Ethan has been Laurel's opposite in many ways, in fact.  But perhaps as he gets older he'll mellow out, to counteract Laurel's path of becoming more challenging with age.

One can only hope.


Yum, Yum, Korn.

I think I'm in love with the Korn MTV Unplugged album.  This is one of the best sets I've heard since Nirvana's and Alice in Chains' Unplugged shows:

All the songs are good and they used some crazy instruments you just don't typically see these days.  Anyway, here are some video examples: 

Jonathan Davis & Robert Smith (The Cure) Perform 'Make Me Bad / In Between Days.'

Korn covers Radiohead's 'Creep.'

Korn and Amy Lee from Evanescence perform 'Freak on a Leash.'

And Now, the Rest of the Story.

I love Paul Harvey.  I always have, and I associate his radio program with the smell of brown beans cooking at my grandmother's.  Whenever I hear Paul Harvey, I smell pinto beans.  I'm sure lots of people have those types of associations.

Anyway, remember this post about overprotective mothers?

The pendulum, folks, hath swung the other direction.

Today my good friend Jess corralled her twins and met us at CooperElla, a charming little cafe geared toward children.  Well, with the exception of the staff, that is.  There were some surly goth chicks manning the counter.  There was a fellow who, when I asked what the soups were today, pointed at the soup tureens and the signs on each.  Sheesh, sorry, I'm new here, okay?  Cut me some slack!

Anyway, another boy we'll call "Van Halen" was also there.  I knew his name was Van Halen because his mother would half-heartedly yell, "Van Halen, no!" every time he did something he shouldn't.  He was 2, and oh, the things he shouldn't have done!

He pushed Ethan down several times in the play area while I was at the counter ordering lunch.  I turned away from the counter after ordering my food and Ethan was on Jessica's lap.  I figured he was being bad, but Jess said that no, Van Halen was shoving Ethan and knocking him down.

If that weren't enough, Van Halen had some real property ownership issues.  Every time Ethan had a toy, Van Halen would exercise eminent domain and swipe it away.  It was unconstitutional, of course, because Van Halen didn't compensate Ethan, but what're you going to do?

The entire time this was going down, Van Halen's mom was chatting it up with her friend and mostly oblivious to Van Halen's antics. 

Ethan wasn't the only victim, by the way.  Oh, no.  There were others.

But as is the case with most bullies, I effectively felled Van Halen when I caught him shoving Ethan.  I called him over.  "Van Halen," I said in my kind-yet-admonishing tone.  "Please don't push him."

Van Halen tried to appease me with a toy.  "Thank you," I said in that same low tone, that which is reserved for serious transgressions and which cannot be challenged.  "But please don't push him."

Van Halen, taken aback and unsure how to respond to this Sword of Damocles, ran to his mother.  I have no idea what he told her or what transpired after that, but we were ready to leave.

My point is this — it is one thing to be a laid-back parent.  I respect that.  I'm one of those myself.  But I also institute discipline and a consideration for others.

And that is how it should be.

The Devotion of a Dog.

Yesterday Vinnie endured a particularly trying day.

Ethan alternately beat Vinnie with a butter knife; attempted to jump on him, smacked the dog in the face, teased him with a snack, tried to roll him over while he was napping, dumped his food all over the floor, and chased him back and forth through the house trying to yank his tail.

If a person were treated in this manner, he or she would likely retaliate, and rightfully so.

Not so with Vinnie.

Last night I captured this scene.  As they say, it's worth a thousand words — the white object is Ethan's t-shirt:

Vinnie is one faithful dog.  I'm amazed at the way he can forgive all the toddler cruelty and only remember the good things, like when Ethan feeds him leftovers or pets him without hitting or comes to tell me Vinnie wants in (or out).

Every kid should have a good dog.


Laurel-isms, Part XIII.

Laurel is clearly a union sympathizer.  Today at the grocery store while Ethan struggled to buckle his cart seat belt, she found a cardboard flat and was fanning him with it.

"Laurel," I said, "Please stop.  Just stop.  Just put it down."

"But Mom," she insisted, "the working man deserves a fan while he's working!"