Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Sunday Post ~ Helicopter State And Boosters

Starting next month, our state is modifying the rules for booster seats for kids from a weigh restriction to an age and height restriction before they can sit in a regular seat in a car.

I'm all for safety. And I understand that shoulder straps are nor made for kids. I remember as a kid the shoulder strap would gag me because I was too small to be sitting with it on. So, I get it.

But I have to wonder at what point the safety issue makes us into helicopter parents and a helicopter state. We watch what they do, what they eat, what they play with. We monitor their every move.

What cost is there to the child? What about the freedom of play? The freedom to learn? The freedom to make mistakes- to fall down and get a scraped knee? These things are part of growing up.

I remember (long ago) us kids piling into the front bench seat of an extra large station wagon and riding down the road. I remember my friends and I hanging out in the back of a different station wagon (not in seats) . I remember a friend's birthday party where six of us piled into a tiny sedan and were standing up out of the moon roof singing. I remember piling 6 deep into the back seat during carpool. Those were fun times and great memories. Okay, granted, not particularly safe.

But no kid today will (legally) have these memories. Each kid has to have a booster seat and are supposed to sit in the back only. This limits a sedan to three kids at best- if you can get all of the booster seats to fit. And that's provided that the kids are carrying their booster seats with them.

No longer can a parent call up and ask another parent to take their kid home in an emergency. Kids visiting their friends can't just hop in a parent's car (with the parent) for a treat like ice cream or a jaunt to the movies. Everything has to be planned. Booster seats have to be provided. Effort has to be made. The spontaneity is gone.

And in the end it's every parent on their own when it comes to driving kids around, now that boosters are required for all kids under 8.

I have to wonder about the safety that was the "village" being traded for the safety of the booster. Which is better? And on a side note- why are we instead regulating cars to be made with built-in standard seats that are safe for kids?

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 21, 2012 ~ S'mores!

Our neighborhood had a campfire sing-a-long with s'mores this evening. So, I rushed home and packed Billy off to head over to the common area for the festivities.

He wasn't sure what to make of all of the kids singing along to the wonderful guitarist playing kids songs and singing for us. Honestly, it was a bit overwhelming for him. But, this was specifically for families with kids under five and there were at least a dozen families there, so there were just a ton of little ones. It was a lot to process.

After the singing it was time for s'mores!

Billy knows better than to get near the fire, so "Mommy, do it!" was the mantra. He wanted to help hold the stick, but he didn't want to roast the marshmallow himself.

All of the other kids had stick envy. They had regular old sticks from trees. Billy showed up with a telescoping wiener fork. Well, when you're loaded down with camping gear, you might as well use it. Billy proudly carried around his skewer, making the other parents nervous of the one-year-old wielding a weapon. No worries, he knows what he's doing and I was right there.

So, I cooked him a s'more. He immediately decided to take it apart. He handed me the graham crackers, then proceeded to eat the chocolate. Marshmallow? Not a fan. But wait! He loves marshmallow. Except, this didn't look like the little marshmallows he likes to eat, so it was no good. And it was "messy." He was not a fan. So, I ate the marshmallow.

But no sooner is he finished eating his chocolate that he wants Mommy to make another s'more for him. So I do. And I hand it to him. Then he attempts to go into meltdown mode because he wants the melty chocolate to be unmelted and separated from the marshmallow and graham. Walking over to fetch a new chocolate piece is, of course, unacceptable.

But he realized all of the kids were watching him and decided not to meltdown. I fetched more chocolate and he was good. Then he clung to me the rest of the party, scared to play with the kids.

Just as it was getting dark and everyone was leaving, he then decided he had gotten up the courage to go play. But by then it was too late. Alas, some other time.

September 20, 2012 ~ Figs

Today I want to talk about my figs. No worries, you're not missing anything Billy related from today. We spent the whole day in the store and he spilled chocolate milk all over me which was awe.some. (not.)

This is my fig tree.

It's at Grandma's. Not my house. (boohoo), but that's what happens when you move. And this tree started out at another house. My grandparents' house.

My Grandmother's gardener put in some heirloom figs. They grew tall, they grew strong, they produced lots of figs. These are cane figs, much like bamboo and not like a tree so much.

When we moved from their old house eight years ago I took fifteen cuttings. I bought a book on propagation and began to propagate my own figs. Over the course of the first six months, I lost twelve of those cuttings. Over the course of another six months, I lost two more. That left only one sickly little cutting struggling for life.

I nurtured that baby tree. When it was strong enough I moved it out of the house and onto the deck for the summer (at two years old). It immediately became infested with aphids. Aphids kill fruit trees. Every day I cleaned every single leaf off, removing the offending bugs and their eggs. It was a battle of wills that lasted over four months. I won.

When the tree became too big for its pot, I moved it into the garden next to the shed for protection. It was happy and warm there, but not very big.

Look at it now! This tree is now eight years old. Can you see the shed? Nope. The tree is too big. And, after eight long years, I finally have my first crop.

These are all gone and I've already collected another bowl of ripe figs and there's so many more on the tree.

You probably can't see them in the photo, but the unripe figs are there and still growing. I'm hoping for a bumper crop.

Here's Billy looking at the fig. He helped me pick those first few figs by holding the bowl for me. It's a very important job. Then he got to help me with the second most important job when it comes to growing figs- eating them. He loves fresh figs. And I'm glad I can grow them for him.

Okay, well enough of that. But, eight years of work has finally come to fruition. Back to your regualrly scheduled posts...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Drawn In Thursdays: Things Kids Do #13

Click to Enlarge
A true story from this week.

September 18, 2012 ~ A Lesson in Gravity

We have one of those "self-closing" baby gates. I hate it. It won't stay open. And, seeing as Billy is not always awake, not always home, and not always in that room, I'd like to leave it open at times.

But it's self-closing. And locking.

So, we have a brass door stop in the shape of a kitty cat. It was Grandma's. She didn't need it. It was in her way. Now it holds open the baby gate. Yay!

Well, we've been working on leaving the gate open. Billy is pretty good on the steps. Not perfect. But pretty good. So, I'm trying to get him used to the gates not being there. They're like  security blanket for him, though.

So, when I leave the gate open at the bottom of the steps, he gets upset and insists that we close the gate. He likes to take this task upon himself. And for good reason.

He gets to go pet the kitty cat. Now, we don't have a real cat, but this is our cat. The one that stands sentinel over the steps. And me moves it onto the steps so it can continue to stand guard while the gate is closed.

Me? I move it to the side. But he likes it on the steps. Whatever.

Well, today he was again insisting that the gate be closed. He picked up the cat by the neck and lifted it to the first step. Unfortunately, he missed and let go at the same time.

That heavy old brass door stop came crashing down on his foot.

(Now entering slow motion mode)

I see it drop. He suddenly starts to cry. And he starts dancing around like a looney toon character on one foot whose had his foot crush.

I'm going to be honest. It was funny. Not him being hurt or upset. The dancing. It was hysterical. Comical. But I didn't laugh. No, no. But it was really funny.

I paused for just a second to see the humor in his dance before scooping him up and coddling him. Poor baby.

Keep in mind, that the brass cat isn't very heavy, and it only fell about 4-5 inches onto his socked foot. He was shocked more than hurt.

I still examined both of his feet and gave him kisses on his toes to make it better.

Then we had a lesson in gravity.

"Kitty Cat is heavy. When you drop something heavy on your foot it hurts."

"Mommy. Kitty heavy. I hava booboo toe. No drop kitty."

Well, I think he's got it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 17, 2012 ~ Oh, Joy! Sleepless Nights...

Billy is sick again. Well, probably the thing he had last week is onto 2.0. There was no sleeping for any of us Sunday night. Billy was up every 20 minutes screaming. Cough, scream, cry, repeat. Rock to sleep, go back to bed, wake up 20 minutes later.

Poor guy. His lungs are really giving him a fit. We debated going to the doctor in the morning. But, while he's not happy, he's not wheezing. We just can't go darting off to the doctor every time he gets a cold or when the pollen count goes up. But I plan on talking to the doctor about home treatments for his "non asthma" that will eventually be asthma.

And in other news...

I cooked! From a recipe! Okay, okay. I can cook. I just don't like to. Mostly it stems from me coming home from work starving and not wanting to put hours of effort into a meal, only to eat it after 10 and be too tired to care what I'm putting in my belly. You see how cooking is a meh for me.

But I borrowed Grandma's copy of the Joy of Cooking to try out some recipes. So, when Billy went off to bed I started cooking tonight's dinner PLUS tomorrow's. Tonight- artichokes. Yum! Daddy won't eat them, so he went to get McDonalds. Totally missing out, but more for me. And for tomorrow I prepared a summer squash casserole. With some minor tweaks to the recipe.

It's awaiting us in the fridge for tomorrow's dinner, so I don't know how it tastes. But it smelled yummy, so that's a start. I'll let you know how it goes.

Now, off to fetch caffeine...

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 16, 2012 ~ My Jackson Pollock Houdini

Saturday, right after the maids left (and no, I don't have regular maids), the decision was made to redecorate the kitchen. I was not present for this decision, since I was in another room cleaning (yes, I was still cleaning after the maids left).

I suddenly heard lots of yelling, followed by screaming and the dog barking. What is going on, I wondered?

I walked into the kitchen to find Billy in the corner crying, Daddy in the kitchen fuming, Buddy under the table cowering. Well, that was at first glance. Then I noticed that my yellow kitchen with wood floors was now pink. But not just pink. It had been Jackson Pollocked.

Okay, okay, I'm an artist but maybe you don't get the reference. See here for Jackson Pollock.

And when I say Jackson Pollocked, I mean like I've never seen it before.

And what was all of the pink stuff? Oh, God! Say it isn't so1 Not Yogurt! Not the dreaded Yogurt! Strawberry yogurt EVERYWHERE. On the table. On the chairs. On the high chair. Under the table. Around the table. On the walls. On the pantry. In the microwave? (Yeah, that takes some talent). All over the dog. Up and down the trash can. On the floor from the table to the sink.


Pink yogurty splatters.

If you've never cleaned up yogurt from the floor then you don't know. This stuff is insidious. You wipe it up, then it dries and it's back again. So tasty. Such a mess . So hard to clean.

We made Billy stay in time out until the whole mess was cleaned up. I think it took about twenty minutes. To clean my newly cleaned the maids were just here kitchen. Then he had to apologize. Especially to Buddy, who didn't like being coated in yogurt.

Bring on Sunday.

There we are, the picture of domestic bliss. Billy eating his tikki masala in his chair and me washing dishes in the sink with my back to him, but happily singing (off-key) to him.

And then I turn around.

My kitchen has been Jackson Pollocked. Again. This time in Tikki Masala, which STAINS. It's bright orange. It stains orange.

There Billy is laughing, until he see my face.

Straight into time out. He stood in the corner crying "Sowwy Mommy" over and over. It's hard to stay mad when he's being that cute, but I made him time out until I cleaned up the kitchen. Again.

I'm not sure my kitchen can stand all of this redecorating.


Not only is he Jackson Pollock, but this weekend he officially became a Houdini as well. He escaped from a pack'n'play by landing on his head. Then I watched him escape from his crib, but I pushed him back in before he fell and really hurt himself. The days of the crib are finitely numbered. Until then, there is a pillow pile surrounding the crib, just in case he Houdinis again.

I'm not looking forward to free range toddler.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Sunday Post ~ Ipod Touch Review - for Toddlers/Babies

Late to post, but life goes on whether I want to blog or not, and sometimes I've got stuff to do- fun stuff today!

The iPod Touch has been out for several years, but I highly recommend on for the small people in this world. He has his own playlists, some for sleeping and some for play. He's not even one yet and is able to access his music and play it by himself- although navigating the ipod can be a little tricky for him. I usually need to supervise.

But music is an instant way to change his mood. Down in the dumps? Play some fast music! Need an activity? Break out the sing-along songs. Having trouble sleeping? Bring on Strauss.

The best part is that even if he accidentally deletes music from the device, I can just sync it with the computer and everything is back. So, he essentially can't cause too many problems. Unlike CDs, I don't have to worry about scratching and loading them into a player, either. One device, ready to go, and toddler-proof.

And because it's only an ipod and not a phone, he can't place random calls or access the internet. But he can still get to his music and learn electronic devices at an early age. Let's face it folks, technology is here to stay, so he might as well learn it sooner than later. It's a part of our lives now.

I couldn't live without my iPod Touch and it's not for myself, it's for my toddler. It brightens his mood instantly, and that is a win/win.