Best Friend

Hello Friends,

So, I have to start this by saying I wrote this post down MONTHS ago. I have to apologize to the six people who read my posts for not posting since whenever I last posted. I have no reasons, only excuses-full time work, toddler, house on the market, house sold, searching for a house to move into, packing the house, moving the house, starting another school year, blah blah blah…anyway, this is from early July? Enjoy.

Last week, I heard some of the most beautiful words-“Mama, you are my best friend.” Now I’m sure soon enough my son will be saying this in order to get something from me, like food, money, forgiveness, etc. but right now I have to believe it is just simply because his heart smiles when he thinks of me, as mine does for him.

Then this week, while driving out of our garage, after realizing Dada’s car was missing (he had already left for work) Luke stated, “Mama, Dada is my best friend too.” I am thrilled!! Brian gets to join the club and not feel so left out of our Mama Son bonding session that is otherwise known as summer break (because while it is a break from paid work-I teach, and no I do NOT get paid for summer breaks, it is most definitely NOT a vacation.) So I share the news when Brian gets home, he’s thrilled, I’m thrilled and Luke has two best friends!

The following night during bedtime (which has been so awful during the past three weeks that I have realized I haven’t blogged yet this summer) our second cat Syrah (now known as Luke’s cat) jumps onto Luke’s bed, nuzzles his face and meows. Luke “awwwwwww”s, pets her, kisses her and says, “Mama, Syrah is my best friend.” I’m beginning to feel a little less special.

UPS_Truck_PackageYesterday, Luke sees a UPS truck drive by and says, “Mama? Remember that green guy in that green truck who said ‘Buddy!’ to me?” [Author’s note-I know the UPS truck is brown, along with their uniform, however I am 99.99% sure that Luke is color blind which was passed through me (on the x) and my brother, uncle, cousin and my maternal grandma are-lucky lineage, right? But at least we recognize it and are familiar with it. My brother sees the UPS truck as green too.] “Yes. I remember him.” I respond wondering where this is going. “Mama, that green guy who said ‘Buddy!’ to me, he’s my best friend.”

I’ll have to welcome him to the club.

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Potty Talk

So we’re in the beginning stages of potty training. I’m not going to lie. I’m already NOT loving this project. To make it a bit more palatable, we just started using m&ms as motivation bribes, one for pee, two for poop. Luke has been peeing in the toilet off and on for a few months now, but the poop has only been on accident (during naked time we throw him on the toilet just in time), so the bribe is really for that side.

We can tell he’s not totally ready, so we’re not pushing it, but this morning he said he had to poop. So we stuck him on the toilet, and he peed a little, and then asked Dada to read him a book. During the reading, he stood up a few times to grab some toilet paper (“paper towels” to him) and to check his progress. He asked for a couple rereads, and in the process peed a little more during the third reading of “Trucks.”

When we realized it was a false alarm, we told him “You peed in the toilet! We’re so proud of you!!! No big deal about no poop. Next time.” As he grabbed more paper towels to “wipe my bum,” he proudly announced, “Now I get two m&ms!” After he flushed, realizing that we had ignored that comment, he repeated, “Now I get two m&ms! Come on Mama! Come on Dada! Downstairs for the two m&ms!” So we break the news gently, terrified about how this could skew our great morning so far, just moments before needing to leave for works and day care ~ ”Babe, you get one m&m for pee, and maybe you can get two later if you poop in the toilet at day care!”

Luke looks at both of us like we have lost our minds, and clearly states, so there is NO confusion, “Mama, Dada, I get two m&ms, because two pees.” We respond with “Two Ps?” And he says, “Two pees. Two m&ms.” Points at the toilet, “TWO. PEES. TWO. M&Ms!”

When we realize our error in homonyms, we look at each other and I say to Brian, “It’s hard to argue with that logic.” Brian agreed.

So, Luke got two m&ms before eight this morning. Is anyone really surprised?

I mean, how do we say “no” to this face? No, really, we’re asking! How? 😉

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Breaking News: Caillou is off the 40 Man Roster

For those of you that don’t know, my husband and I were born and bred Dodger fans. (So it’s no surprise that Luke was a Dodger at heart during his first year.)Our love of baseball was renewed every spring with the crack of the bat, the strains of Vin Scully on the radio or the television, and the crowd going wild. (Or not, clearly it depended on the season.) My love for baseball was further ignited while scorekeeping for my brother’s baseball teams. Scorekeeping kept me awake, kept me warm inside the scorekeepers’ booth and kept me close to the high school boys who were umpires for his games. Ah, young love! My husband played little league and then baseball in junior high and was a high school baseball player when I met him. Coincidence? (Um, no.) And he went on to umpire in college. (Beat still, my heart.) My husband then worked for a few college baseball teams, where I became a groupie fan, often one of the few in the rainy stands waiting for the seemingly elusive complete game.

He now has his dream job (minus the Dodger blue) for the Oakland A’s. The biggest challenge for us has been adjusting to his schedule, which includes night games, early morning departures for day games, and a six to seven week stint in Arizona for Spring Training (he arrives before the first players in order to prepare). This Spring Training (of which most is conducted during the winter-go figure) was particular heart wrenching for me, because Luke grew from a toddler into (gasp!) a boy (a little one, but still.) He is “reading” books, having full conversations, and after our first visit out to see Dad, had developed an all-consuming desire to turn any object into a bat-a block, a remote, a flashlight, a musical instrument, a medicine dispenser, you name it. So while I tried for weeks to avoid it, I realized I finally had to bring out the bat that I had hidden away over a year ago, as it was a hazard to anyone in the near vicinity of Luke-the-one-year-old-with-a-bat.

I did my best to teach Luke the basics-grip, stance, knees bent (courtesy of my Dad-that and “Whatever you do, don’t cry if you strike out.”) and eyes on the ball. My plan was to not mention this to Brian until he arrived at home and could see it, but one evening, during a Skype date, Luke started talking about it. When I couldn’t take the confusion anymore, I finally explained to my visibly disappointed husband, that I had unearthed the bat. After the initial shock was over, he asked Luke to show him. So Luke got his first real lesson through the magic of Skype. As I expected, on Brian’s first day off after arriving home, he bought Luke his first “real” bat (whiffle) and we went to the park. Luke pitched to both of us, we each pitched to him (he is still working on his grip), and then he played manager for a bit and directed us (“Go get that ball. Throw it. Hit it.”)

Tonight, after realizing that Dada was not home because he was at the game, Luke said he wanted to go. When I finally got through to him that it was about to start, and we couldn’t get there in time, he asked to watch it on tv. Let me pause to revel in the moment-My two year old asked to watch the baseball game on television. Since it was still the pregame, I offered his favorites instead, “Blue’s Clues,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and then, my pièce de résistance, “Caillou.” His answer-“No. The baseball game.”

I feel like it was only yesterday that the theme song to Caillou would begin and he would literally drop whatever he was doing and run to the room yelling, “Caillou! Caillou!” (It WAS yesterday.) But today, my (gulp) little man has fully embraced the love of America’s favorite pastime, and I couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come.

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Conversations from Kindergarten

As some of you know, I teach kindergarten. The following is just a smattering of some conversations from this school year…this class is great for fodder. Enjoy!

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Student A: Wouldn’t it be great to go visit Santa?

Student B: Yeah. I bet he’s really nice.


Student C: It would be so cool to be an elf. Like, if you lived with Santa.

Student D (who happens to be Jewish): [sigh] I WISH I was Santa’s son.

Students A, B and C: Yeah…

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Boy-When I’m tall, I want to be a police officer.

Me-Really? You’re going to have to be really brave for that job. That’s a great goal.

Boy-Well, either that, or Superman.

Me-Superman? Really?…..

Girl-You know, Superman and all those guys only live in Marvel Comics.

Me-….

Later that week:

Same boy-So, I’m going to be a police officer when I’m big.

Me-I know! It’s exciting! You told me earlier.

Boy-And when I lose my job, I’m going to be a fire fighter.

Me-Um, why are you going to lose your job?

Boy-I don’t know, doesn’t everyone?

Me-….

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Girl A-Do you wanna hear something weird?

Me-Yes. Always.

Girl A-Cows drink milk and then they pee.

Me-Well, yes, technically that’s true. They do drink their mamma’s milk, and they also pee.

Girl B-Yes. APPARENTLY, cows pee fresh milk.

Me-Well, THAT’S not technically true.

Girls A and B-No it is!

Me-…..

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After explaining the egg drop project (they are to create a container that they can put a raw egg in and drop it off the roof of the classroom and have it remain intact) to my kindergartners, YET AGAIN:

Student: Um, I don’t have any of those.

Me: Any of what?

Student: Those kinds of eggs.

Me: Oh, you don’t have any chicken eggs? (Thinking, well sure, we could have vegan families, surprised we haven’t run into that before)

Student: No, I have chicken eggs. But any of them that I drop off the roof are going to break. I don’t have any at my house that won’t break.

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During a conversation about oviparous (egg laying) animals:

Students: DINOSAURS LAID EGGS???

Me: Yes. Scientists believe at least most dinosaurs did based on fossilized findings. (Where’s Ross when I need him??)

Girl: What did they look like?

Me: Well, I don’t think we’re sure because there are no pictures.

Boy: My mom knows what they look like.

Me: Really? How?

Boy: My mom saw them.

Me: Really? How?

Boy: Well, mostly because she was alive when the dinosaurs were alive.

Me: Well, I’m not really sure about that, but let’s move on.

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A Little Irish Leprechaun in a Hardware Store

I feel like I have to preface this post by saying, 1) I used to work at a hardware store, b) I am NOT a hoarder (at least, I am trying not to be) and 4) Luke reveled in his Irish heritage today by enjoying a bit of the leprechaun’s mischief.

It started when I was looking under my bed for a book I had been reading. I found a plastic bag filled with rain gutter brackets and end caps, along with hollow wall anchors. I mean, that’s what’s under your bed, right? I realized these were purchased a little while ago for a project that went out the window as I took on far too much my first year of teaching. And since my first year of teaching was 2003, that was when these were purchased. I am hanging my head in its pink-faced shame. But if you know me, you know I despise throwing something useful away (thank you Bompop!), so I figure during our errand running today, we will stop at the hardware store so I can return them and maybe look at some bathroom faucets for a new project I hopefully will finish. (Clearly Brian is still not at home, which is why I was even allowed to walk into a potential home improvement situation. My friend knows a bit about the love of a good home project, so I know I’m not alone.)

Lately I have been trying to give Luke more opportunities to learn how to behave appropriately in public, so I don’t use a leash (besides he’s a kid, not a dog), and I am trying to have him walk and stay near me as opposed to me having to carry him always (which is probably part of the reason I have a pinched nerve-post to follow). So while I am giving the cashiers (and the assistant store manager) fodder for their “worst customer issue of the day” conversations by trying to return items from 2003, Luke is playing with the Wet Floor triangle while lying on the linoleum and reading the letters on it (he knows L and O). (I tried to get them to just take the brackets and anchor bolts, but they insisted on giving me store credit.) With my recently acquired $30 store credit, I decided to shop for a bit in the bathroom faucet section to potentially spend a little to upgrade our bathrooms for hopefully a big impact. While there, I let Luke play the cardboard backed replacement faucet handles like cymbals, and stack the boxes of water filters to make a tunnel in the aisle. I couldn’t help remember my grandparents letting me play with the different size washers kept in open bins like I was making a salad. It must have driven them crazy, but love makes you do silly things, right?

After I pick out my faucets (they’re great about returns, I’ve learned, so I can always return them in 8 or 9 years), one of the salespeople asks me if I need any help. I ask the question that used to make me nutty when I worked at True Value, “How standard are these?” But I cannot hear his answer over Luke’s recently learned impression of the bagpipes we heard this morning at our St. Patrick’s Day parade. As I turn around, I see my child has a ¾ inch flexible stainless steel faucet supply line in his hands. And he is using it as the bagpipe chanter. As in, it is in. his. mouth. Let me repeat, IN his mouth. The salesperson looked at Luke and asked him “Is that clean?” I could only respond with, “It’s cleaner now.” This is my embarrassing moment of the day. It’s times like these, that will keep me from feeling too guilty for yelling, “I love you Luke!!!” as he gets out of the car at middle school.

Oh, and I haven’t found the book yet…

For each petal on the shamrock.
This brings a wish your way
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

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I Know She’s Here Somewhere

Lately, I have had the feeling that my Nana is trying to tell me something. For the past week, thoughts of her have popped into my head at the most unexpected times: driving down the street, walking with Luke, in the middle of teaching…and I couldn’t figure out what it was she was trying to say, or why she was on my mind so much this week.


There were so many times this week that I said something to Luke, that I am positive I took directly from Nana. Maybe not so much what I said, but how I said it? She had this way of speaking through her clenched teeth, not because she was mad, but normally while she was squeezing our cheeks, like “You are just TOO cute!” And when Michael and I would eat dinner at Nana and Bompop’s, we used to smile at each other when she would tap her finger at the edge of one of our plates, meaning “keep on eating” without having to say it. I did the same thing to Luke this week when he paused during dinner. It’s funny how your subconscious will just take over sometimes.

Something that happened multiple times this week, was something that used to make me giggle when I was little until Nana would join in with me to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. You know how you go searching for something everywhere, until you are distraught at the prospect of having lost your keys/phone/glasses/etc, only to find you are staring right at it, or worse (and what normally happened to my Nana) find it on your person or IN YOUR HAND???? I cannot begin to count how many times she and I would laugh together over searching for her sunglasses until we would realize they were on her head, or hunt for her keys, until she would realize she was gripping them tightly in her freehand. This week I could almost hear Nana laughing with me as I realized my sunglasses were on my head while driving after I had given up hunting for mine and tried to wear Luke’s instead! And when I was searching through my purse for my car keys when they were in my free hand.And while I was (pay attention now) on the phone with my mom discussing this very phenomenon that had taken over my week, and couldn’t find. my. phone.

Yes, you read that correctly. I know I’m not the only one, you know you’ve done it too. (And if you haven’t, could you just pretend?) I realized that it MUST be Nana trying to reach me when I was listening to one of my students read to me. The book is called Nick’s Glasses, and I often use it to check whether the kids are comprehending what they are reading. As Nick goes through the book searching for his glasses, his family members give him ideas of where to search, and finally his brother offers up the idea of a mirror…they are on Nick’s face the whole time. Okay, Nana, I hear you LOUD and CLEAR (side note: shouldn’t it be loudly and clearly?).

It wasn’t until I read my mom’s Facebook post (a phrase most people don’t expect to use that often) at the end of this week, that I figured out what was going on with me. It was the second anniversary of my Nana’s passing and I hadn’t realized it. I am so lucky to have known my Nana and her all encompassing love for me, and I am so glad that I am beginning to be able to relive these memories with more happiness and less pain.


And while I search for Nana in my daily life, I am now happily basking in the sounds of Nana’s giggles and laughs as she watches me imitate her. And I realize I don’t have to keep searching. She’s been here with me all along.

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What a Difference a Leap Year Makes

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Me time in 2008:

a fabulous day soaking up some early spring sun,
followed by a luxurious and leisurely soak in the bathtub
with candles, bubbles, a glass of wine and a good book/magazine.

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Me time in 2012:

a ten minute shower (blissfully alone except for Surfer Ken and his surfboard), complete with speed hair wash, all held at the beginning of the coveted weekend nap time so that the rest of the nap can be used for writing report card comments that should have been finished the week before.

Author’s note: I wrote this last weekend, but with the amazingly low amount of free me time, this is the first chance I had to post it. Go figure. At least report cards are written.

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