Thursday, May 28, 2009

I treasure these moments

Even though the day-to-day life of a stay-at-home parent involves some drudgery and boredom, there are those transcendent moments that make you happy you're there. While eating, Ben often likes to look out the kitchen window into the backyard, which he was doing this afternoon during lunch. At one point I turned to look out the window with him and together we watched the leaves blowing in the breeze. He let out a little sigh, as if this was everything he hoped life to be. Then he daintily stuck his tongue between his lips and blew a raspberry, spraying pureed apricot on both himself and me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ben the Traveler

Whew! Ben had a weekend full of firsts. His first time at a museum, an aquarium and an Ikea! He also went swimming for the first time. It was a busy Memorial Day.

We went to visit my college roommate Arianne and her husband Jeff. They live in Oxford, OH which is home to Miami University and not much else. So we spent a lot of our time driving around Ohio... and Indiana... and Kentucky... The Cincinnati area encompasses many states.

We visited the Creation Museum. As an atheist and a science nerd, Heath got giddy just thinking about it. It didn't exactly deliver what he was expecting, which was apparently more science and less "Bible crap." I was actually surprised by how MUCH science there was and how little it was politicized. Of course, there were a whole lot of incongruities to their "science," such as how supposedly dinosaurs all died in the world-wide flood, and yet they were included on the ark; and the Bible is okay with natural selection, but their definition of natural selection sounds a whole lot like the traditional definition of evolution. Regardless, it was at least interesting to see the creationists' arguments against evolution in a somewhat reasoned way. The most interesting thing to me was how much they played up dinosaurs. They were adamant that dinosaurs DID exist, they just lived side by side with humans 6000 years ago. They were even in the Garden of Eden! The only reason we could think of that they were pushing dinosaurs so much is that dinosaurs are cool and kids love them. There was a t-shirt in the gift shop that said, "Taking dinosaurs back!" so I think we were right.

We also visited the Newport Aquarium, which was fun because it was something Ben could enjoy, too. He seemed to like watching the fish. Unfortunately, by that time we were well past lunch and he started getting cranky. Frankly, I was feeling a bit cranky myself. There's only so much of museum crowds I can take before wanting to kill them all. I suppose at the Creation Museum that would've been acceptable, because they just would've assumed it was the rapture, but it seemed a little harsh at the aquarium. So many innocent fish.

On Sunday we were planning to make a picnic and go to a park to hang out, but there was rain in the forecast, so we decided to celebrate our fallen soldiers with rampant, mega-store consumerism instead. Very American, right? We visited Ikea, a first for the Borders family. Then after lunch we headed to Jungle Jim's, the hugest freaking grocery store I've ever seen. It seems lame to visit a grocery store on vacation, but seriously. The place is amazing. The liquor department alone was the size of an entire grocery store. The international foods department was ANOTHER whole store. It'd be a work out just to do your weekly shopping there.

We ended our day by going for a swim at the hotel. It was Ben's first time in a pool and after his initial unsureness and death grip on Daddy, he really seemed to enjoy himself. He splashed up a storm and by the end he was kicking his legs when we floated him around. He even intentionally put his face in the water a couple times, I think because he saw us do it. So that was a great success, which is good because he starts swimming lessons next week.

Ben is turning into quite the little traveler. It was a 6 hour car ride each way and overall he did really well. His eating and napping schedule was messed up all weekend, but he took it in stride. I think I was more thrown off by that than he was. And since he was so tired from activities all day, he even slept in in the mornings, which is unheard of!

So we had a great weekend. Arianne and Jeff are wonderful hosts. As an added bonus, Jeff is also a great cook. And their cat Jiji was very adept at avoiding Ben at all costs. He has good survivial instincts!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stranger Danger!

I think we're entering the stranger anxiety phase of Ben's first year. Apparently most kids go through it, once they realize who they know and who they don't know. Ben's usually okay with someone else holding him, as long as he can see Heath or me, but taking him to the YMCA has become a bit of a trial.

I signed up at the beginning of April, but have only been going sporadically. Last Monday I decided to get my butt in gear because it seemed uniquely pathetic to quit after only a month and a half. So we ended up going four times last week. All four times either the child care workers had to come get me because Ben's head was going to explode from all the screaming and they didn't want to be responsible for the cleaning bill, or he was crying when I picked him up. It was rather disconcerting, as I spent my work outs being paranoid that one of the women was going to walk through the door at any moment and pull me away. Not exactly relaxing.

This week has been much better, though. They haven't had to come get me once and apparently he hasn't been crying. The funny thing is that Ben is the reason I've been going so consistently. I wake up most mornings and just don't want to work out. However, I know that if I don't get Ben used to it, it'll be a nightmare on days I do want to go. So I make the effort to go - FOR HIM - and I'm always glad I did.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Progression of a Haircut

What's going on?

Why are there 6 people staring at me, taking pictures and video taping?

Uncle Ian, can't you get me out of this?

Mommy, I'm so cute. I don't need a hair cut!

The calm before the storm.

What is that? Why are you putting sharp implements near my head?!

I don't like this...

The art of Distraction

Finally! We're done.

(Several pictures courtesy of Oma, stolen -er borrowed- from her Facebook page.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

My very first Mother's Day

Heath is not great with surprises and we don't always celebrate anniversaries and holidays like Mother's Day, so I began reminding him about it months ago. I said I wanted a present and I wanted to do something, but not have to plan it myself. I think we were both a bit nervous about what he'd come up with, but he came through.

First of all, I got to sleep in on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. So nice. By the time I woke up on Sunday Ben was already down for his first nap, so I could take a leisurely shower. When we heard Ben stirring Heath asked me to go get him. I figured something was up, since it was Mother's Day and I shouldn't have to do ANY of the grunt work. Ben was lying in his crib being cute, as always, and underneath his butt was an envelope that said, "Mom." It was a really nice card from Ben and Heath. That was so sweet.

We went to breakfast at a place by our old apartment that we really love. It was warm enough for us to sit outside, which was lovely. Throughout the meal we got 4 or 5 compliments on how cute Ben is. My favorite was the woman who saw him and exclaimed, "Oh, what a gorgeous baby!"

After a quick stop at home we went to visit Heath's grandmother in her nursing home, because she hadn't met Ben yet. It was so neat to see him interacting with her. We got a four generation picture, with her, Heath's dad, Heath and Ben.

Then it was off to see Star Trek. Yes, I chose to see Star Trek as my Mother's Day activity. After the movie we ate at the best Chinese restaurant in the world (which happens to be in St. Charles, MO - who would've guessed?!) and then it was time to go home. It was a great day. I very much enjoyed myself.

Oh, and my gift is having a professional cleaning person come and deep clean the house. Yea!! The shower doors will finally be CLEAN!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My heart grew three sizes that day

Before the 1:00am carbon monoxide debacle, we had a nice evening. It started with Heath coming home from work earlier than normal. Ben and I met him at the door and when he walked in he gave me a kiss. Ben watched us and when we parted he grabbed my face and gave me a big, slobbery kiss, too. It was adorable.

Oh, what a night!

All three of us were up at 1:00am last night. In a surprising role reversal, it was we who woke up Ben. Our carbon monoxide detector went off. Nothing like high pitched screeching to bolt you out of bed in the middle of the night. Luckily the nice fire fighters determined that the battery was just low and there was not, in fact, any gas in the house that shouldn't be there (resisting... Heath... fart... joke...).

Obviously Ben knew something was up, since we're not in the habit of waking him at 1:00am and spending 30 minutes hanging out in the car. While the fire fighters were doing their thing he was calm, but once they were gone and we tried to get him back to sleep, he was freaked out. I read him a story and he was frantically looking around, trying to figure out what happened. Then he started crying and lunged for Heath, so he gave Ben a bottle and sat with him for a while. We thought he was asleep, but he started crying again, so I rocked him until he finally fell asleep at 3:00am. I didn't get back to sleep for another 30-45 minutes after that.

So it was a tough night, but I'm proud of the way we handled it. We didn't freak out, Heath called 911, I gathered Ben and remembered to bring my cell phone and keys outside. I embraced the possibility that we might have to go somewhere else for the night. We were cool under pressure and it all seemed very parental.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to you... and me!

When I was a kid, on days like this my brothers and I always used to ask, "Why is there no kid's day?"

My parents would reply, "Every day is kid's day."

I now know what they mean.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, especially my own and my mother-in-law!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Prospective parents take note

This is what happens when a baby with a runny nose sneezes
(Click on the picture to get the full effect)

Ben the Weirdo

Ben has developed several weird habits in his short life. For instance, when he's having a strong emotion he flaps his arms up and down. It looks like he's trying to fly. He does it when he's mad or happy, but it's more vigorous when he's excited. Last week he was watching Heath juggle blocks and I thought he would flap up to the ceiling.

By now Ben is proficient with the binky. He can locate it within a three foot radius, pick it up and put it in his mouth the correct way (or twist it until it's correct). He's also figured out that if he wants to put something else in his mouth, he needs to spit out the binky. Which he does, sometimes with almost lethal force. So, it's always odd when he does the following: He'll pick up an object and bang it against his binky. A book, a toy, my hand. He doesn't spit the binky out, he just hits himself in the head.

In the past week he's started a new one. While I'm feeding him a bottle he'll use his right hand to pull his own hair. It almost looks like he's running his fingers through his hair, but he seems to be pulling. I don't get it.

I feel like he's trying to tell us something, but we'll probably never know what. Or, at the very least, we've ended up with a child as neurotic as we are.