Thursday, July 27, 2006

This Is How He Rolls

If the Right One Doesn't Get You

This summer has not gone quite as planned. For one thing, I was supposed to be well on my way to finishing my master’s thesis, which is about a million light years from actually happening. My advisor says not to be hard on myself and to realize that May is a nice month in which to graduate. So, fine.

Also, we had hoped to go on a little vacation, but then decided the money is better spent elsewhere. Probably wise.

And of course Shef was supposed to not get sick as much, but still, I’ve missed about one day per week of work due to his various ailments, which have included roseola, some kind of stomach echovirus, overheating, and Extreme Desire to Be With Me.

The events of today are a good example the weirdness that is this summer.

We began the day with Shef running around the second floor naked but for his new lime-green Crocs sandals, which mean as much to him as my Girbaud jeans meant to me in 1989.

“These are my Cwocs!” he shrieked happily and repeatedly. A side-effect of his glee seemed to be an intense desire to dig his hands far between his butt cheeks.

“Too deep! Too deep!” Dan exclaimed upon witnessing this behavior.

Shef correctly interpreted this observation as a rebuke, and commenced crying and wailing, “I want to touch my bum! I want to touch my buuuummm!!”

I patiently explained that he could indeed touch his bum in the bathroom or the bedroom, and then, as quickly as possible hustled him off to school so I could make it to the U in time for my Responsible Conduct of Research Seminar, Part 2.

And thank God I did because otherwise I never would have known about my financial and ethical responsibilities should I make a major discovery in the field of missile technology.

When the instructor mentioned the scenario about selling 50 grams of a sought-after chemical compound to the private company that supplied my grant, I burst out laughing and attracted a few dirty looks; but whatever.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Annals of Potty Training

Thanks to our bathroom remodel, the three of us can all hang out in the john together while Shef sits on his potty. Generally we read various Berenstain Bears offerings and discuss his incentives: a sticker for his chart for trying, and if he actually produces, one solo M&M.

While he’s got the system pretty well down, he sometimes needs reminders about how to handle things -- "Take the tabs off your diaper;" "Wash your hands after flushing;" and my favorite suggestion from Dan last week: “Shef, make sure your junk is pointed downtown.”

Friday, July 21, 2006

I'm Experiencing Blog-xiety

This morning I attended a fascinating workshop about responsible research. I learned all about the complicated ins-and-outs of doing studies. For instance, did you know that you’re not supposed to plagiarize stuff you submit for publication? Thank GOD they clarified that for me. Also, I learned you shouldn’t fabricate your data or throw your data away.

Later, I collapsed on the couch and experienced writer’s block, as I have most days of the summer. Hoping for inspiration, my friend Molly and I watched a scintillating show on E! about what really happens behind the scenes at the Miss USA pageant. Did you know Donald Trump owns the pageant? I think that’s a little slimy. I asked Molly if she wanted to do a bike/run workout, but she said doing triathlon training was "dumb."

In good news, Shef has been much less of a pill lately, except at night. I tried to talk to him this morning about staying by himself in bed, but he wasn’t hearing it. “Mama, I’m a prince,” he said. I guess princes don’t sleep alone.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Shef the Lovely Free-Boating Child

Last Thursday, I kept Shef home from school for some quality “mommy and me” time. Keeping my kid at home can either be an idyllic advertisement for the lovely life of the stay-at-home-mother, or a warning for all womankind: unless you want your child pinching your nipple and kicking you in the shins for all the world to see, for God’s sake, leave him at daycare.

Thursday was, thank goodness, the latter, so I complimented my toddler on his evolved behavior:

“Shef!” I exclaimed, as I drove home after a day of fun that included music class, the park, a restaurant, and the Y. “You did such a nice job today! There was no hitting, or pushing, or pinching…”
“Or spitting!” he interjected.

This weekend, we went to the cabin, and he continued to behave like a peach. Although there was very little sleeping, there was lots of happy frolicking in the water. We all did water sports to escape the heat, and I decided to let Shef, age 27 months, kayak on his own:

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On the plus side, he’s happily working on potty-training and does, most days, say and or do at least one cute thing

It’s been hard to write sweet little stories about Shef lately because, well, here’s an example of an all-too-typical interaction:

Shef: Sing the bear song, Mama.
Me: Ok. [begin singing the first few lines…]

His current phase has led me to feel just a tad more empathy for child abusers because, my God, when your kid spits in your face and bites your shoulder in front of the fancy-schmancy music class moms, you can’t deny that part of you wants to leave him on a street corner downtown and go home and have an iced tea and a xanax and forget about ever bringing a child into the world.

It’s a good thing that the other part of me, the majority of me, for the record, feels the right thing to do is grit my teeth, summon my inner zen, and calmly administer time-out after time-out.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Another Ho-Hum Entry

I saw two movies I have greatly anticipated today: The Devil Wears Prada and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Devil, in my opinion, was the superior offering. I enjoyed the book, a light and fluffy sort of read, this spring, and I think the screenplay really improved upon it, so that was good. Ever since seeing Meryl in person, I feel a sort of bond with her. Depp was charming and quirky in Pirates, but I didn’t really go for his squid-faced nemesis. It seemed a bit of a reach, actually.

It’s not like me to sit in a movie theater all day, so I’m feeling out of sorts. Fortunately, the cinematic adventures did not interfere with my triathlon training, as I’ve just returned from today’s jaunt. I’ve found the triathlon business is kind of all-consuming, if you want to know the truth.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

My Brain is Busy

Being on summer vacation gives my obsessive-compulsive tendencies plenty of time to rear their minutiae-driven heads. This four-day weekend, when I wasn’t rushing to the park or the pool, digging in toy chests, or counting the minutes until daycare re-opened, I fixated on triathlon training (indeed, I have become multi-sport athlete), painting my office (off to get a new quart of the lovely color “gauze” in a moment), and the elephant in the room: my master’s papers. My progress on these behemoths has been delayed for many reasons, most beyond my control. They should know, however, that I continue to obsess about them: they are not being ignored.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

At The Game

On Thursday, I took Shef to a baseball game.

“I go to the gaaaame,” he beseeched me repeatedly from my left hip, as I tromped across the parking lot from the tailgating party to the big show. He’s 32 pounds now, you know, and as it happens, he likes being carried more than ever. I wake up sore each morning from the hours of hefting him hither and yon.

“Do you want to ride on my shoulders?” I’ll ask hopefully, longing to give my biceps a break. Sometimes he acquiesces, and other times he shouts, “DON’T SAY THAT!” and shakes his finger in my face.

Two. It’s a really great age.

Anyway, when we were in stands, I gave him a bite of my cotton candy, which we all know is pretty much like feeding a toddler several grams of premium crack cocaine. In Shef’s case, the sugar high fueled his intense desire to see the pig. The Saint Paul Saints have a real live pig mascot that comes out between innings dressed up in different costumes, and after he saw it one time, he yelled:

“WHERE’S THE PIG!?!?” every five seconds, much to the delight of our section-mates.