Archive for July, 2010

Earlier this week Keaton’s toddler odometer flipped over to 31 months, and when I took him in to get his oil changed they told me they did an attitude adjustment but I don’t think it worked. Figures.

This month was full of highs and lows, Sir, but lucky for us (and for your thumbnails which I am about ready to hang you from) it balanced out because of all you accomplished. All that “NO!” “I DON’T WANNA” “I WON’T” and “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME” was making you kind of an asshole to live with. Plus? WE CAN TOTALLY MAKE YOU. IS OUR JOB TO MAKE YOU. WE NEVER GET TIRED OF MAKING YOU.

For awhile there, your favorite pastime seemed to be to cross your arms while sticking your nose in the air for dramatic effect. It would have been pretty believable if you didn’t ruin it by giving us the side-eye, making sure we were noticing how UPSET! and INDIGNANT! you were. When I meet your eye you fight the smile that’s trying desperately to escape from your tightly pursed lips, and it finally wins out when in regards to your arms wrapped across your chest I say, “Oh look, Keaton loves himself! He’s giving himself a biiiiig hug!” And there you are again. My budders, erupting into giggles with that terribly awesome smile.

So the big accomplishments?

1. Pedaling. I mentioned that Rowan took forever to pedal her trike- last fall I think. Well, we got her a big girl bike with training wheels for her 4th birthday and she just figured out how to pedal it reliably. 10 and a half months later. Bill and I were really working with her, and Keaton followed along on his big wheel and as we were cheering Rowan on her brother whipped past her, pedaling merrily. We were very proud of both of them, and as they’ve practiced in the last couple of weeks we’ve been able to ditch the stroller and let the kids ride their bikes to the park and wow that sounds so very grown up of them.

2. Colors. OK, so all your 2 year olds probably figured out their colors something like a year or so ago, yes? Rowan had them mastered by the time she was 20 months. Keaton…well…at first we thought he was maybe a little “special” in the colors area. For awhile he referred to every color as green. His Blue shirt? Green. His yellow big wheel? Green. His green shoes? Green, but he only wins that one by default. Somewhere along the line he seemed to maybe get yellow right about 40% of the time and blue seemed to be maybe a 60/40 shot in his favor. But. He wasn’t consistent and even if he got the color right it felt like he was just guessing.

Noticing that all the other kids in his toddler class could correctly identify colors, I asked the teacher about color blindness and she said that she didn’t think they even started testing in schools until 1st or 2nd grade. I guess it made me nervous because he’s been verbal since about 12 months and seemed to grasp other concepts like numbers and opposites and shapes so we couldn’t figure out why he had a hard time learning something so seemingly simple.

Then Bill was all NO SON OF MINE WILL BE COLORBLIND. I WILL BEAT THE COLORS  INTO HIS VISION IF I HAVE TO. You see, Bill is a designer. Colors are kind of important. “How will he follow in my footsteps if he’s colorblind?”, he asked. I might have responded with something insensitive about how this was not the 17th century and it’s not like he needed an apprentice in his Ye Olde Design Shoppe or it would be lost, leaving the family homeless and probably full of leprosy. Then he might’ve called me an asshole and where were we?

Oh, right. So he’s not colorblind. At some point a couple of weeks ago something just clicked and he started properly identifying all the colors, including ones we barely mentioned like silver. We were pretty impressed. And relieved. I really did not want leprosy. He still needs to think about it when presented with green and red and an unfortunate side effect for a while was that he could only identify objects by their color, i.e. What kind of truck is this? Correct answer: Dump Truck. Keaton’s answer: Yellow. We’ll accept it though, on account of how cute he is and I’m his mama, I make the rules.

3. Less messy with food. Son I really, honestly didn’t think the day would ever come when we didn’t have to put a bib on you. I was very confident I would be packing one in your lunch every day when I sent you off to school. Sometime this month you started pulling them off right after I put them on you and lo and behold! Your shirt didn’t die a horrible spaghetti or yogurt death! GO YOU.

I know this next one is an accomplishment and yeahyeahyeah it’s supposed to be this way, but this month it’s become overwhelmingly obvious you are pulling away from us. You opt to follow your sister and cousins around at functions, positioning yourself on the outskirts of their games, laughing at their big kid ways and sometimes joining in. You no longer willingly go to the grocery store or Target to sit in the cart and be our helper. You want to be the pusher of the cart or maybe just dart down the greeting card aisle and pull a bunch of the cards out of their slots, leaving me to sort out them mess. (Aside: IT SUCKS WHEN YOU DO THAT.) You are asserting your independence and pushing to see just how far we’ll let you go. Your legs are getting so long and I know you’ve been growing all along but my god it seems like it’s just happened. You’re all legs and arms, the only pudge left seems to reside in your cheeks and please, sir, let it stay for a while. 


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Keaton and I went to the park yesterday during Rowan’s Spanish class and headed to our usual picnic table that overlooks the St. Croix, at snack time. I  unwrapped a nutri-grain bar and handed it to Keaton, then he shouted in that delicate (HAHAHA) toddler voice, “BUNNY!”. When I looked down I saw that a squirrel had sidled up to us.

“It’s a squirrel, Budders. I think he wants to have some breakfast.” Which was kind of an understatement because this little fella had come right up to my shoe and was looking at me so expectantly that had he been a cartoon squirrel he would have started tapping his foot as he pulled out a pocket watch, to indicate that he didn’t have all day now SHARE THE VITTLES, HUMAN.

Keaton got super excited at the close proximity and started flapping in his usual way and jumping up and down, which I thought would for sure scare the bugger off but no, he just backed away, then moved in again. I pulled a piece of the fruit bar off and set it on the grass. The squirrel picked it up, brought it to its mouth where he tasted it and threw it down. I tried again. NOPE. He was not having the fruit bar, but the little shit knew I was holding out on him.

“Why bunny not eatin it?”

“He didn’t like the fruit bar, bud. Maybe he could have one of your cookies?”

“Oh. SURE!”

By this time Keaton and I had moved to sit on top of the table because the bench was still damp from the rain the night before. I took a mini Nila Wafer out and when I went to set it on the seat the bugger jumped up, wanting to take it directly from my hand. Now, I’m an animal lover and all, but I am not a lover of, you know, rabies or bubonic plague or twitchy squirrel disease or whatever else the little rodent might be harboring. He was not a fan of when I pulled my hand back, looking at me like I was a complete idiot, but I set the wafer out on the bench for him to retrieve.

I don't care if you think you're people, squirrel. You can eat off the ground like the rest of the wild animals.


"It's not a bunny, Keaton. It's a squirrel. What should we name him?"

"Squirrelybella! Get yo cookie, Squirrelybella!"

Squirrelybella liked the Nila wafers but still didn’t appreciate having to eat them off the place where humans rested their fat asses. So he came up to eat at the table, in a more dignified manner.

"I want to pet da bunny! Come here squirrelybella!"

"Oh for the love of God, it's a SQUIRREL and NO. WAY."

Here is where I started to have visions of Squirrelybella tweaking out, doped up on high fructose corn syrup and over-processed people food and maybe jumping onto our faces and clawing at our eyeballs. Then I started thinking that this is how you end up on the local news. You innocently try to feed a squirrel, and then he mauls you and eats your two year old and then PETA’s all “Evil woman fed poor, innocent squirrel human food, causing a psychotic break in its natural protein chains which caused it to hunger for human flesh.”

I got nervous enough to shoo him back but he just looked quizzically and then scratched his belly, although in the picture he looks like he might be marching or really winding up to punch a fly or something.

And that was our super exciting morning with a squirrel who didn’t, but TOTALLY could have, eaten our skin or clawed out our eyeballs. He ate 5 or 6 cookies then took two more and buried them in the ground nearby. And Keaton was very impressed with himself that he shared his cookies with his friend, the bunny Squirrelybella.

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We started things out on the 3rd, at the beach.

Where we laughed and played...

and got sand up our butts.

I think the kids had a pretty awesome time, and I KNOW we did.

On the 4th we went to my mom's for a BBQ, where Keaton discovered the joys of pulling a wagon. Well he enjoyed it until he picked up a hitchhiker anyway...

OF COURSE, it was the DCFI. Who else would be willing to accept a ride from a shady 2 year old?

Needless to say, Keaton said, screw this, and the Deps was left to his own devices.

Then there's these 4 whippersnappers, who spent the night before at Jen and the Deps' and were up until the wee hours of the morning.

The older three are old pros at this sleepover business and had no problem making it through the fireworks...

And the newbie managed to make it through the boom booms but was down for the count by the time we made it to grammy's to pick up Keaton*.

*Who tried to talk us into taking him but after this fiasco and the fact that he freaked out when the girls were throwing Snaps in the driveway, we opted to leave him with my mom. Unfortunately my mom’s neighbors lit off their own boom booms, leaving poor Keaton a nervous ball of toddler by the time we picked him up. Maybe we’ll take him along next year, but I’m thinking closer to 15 might be more accurate.

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Some mornings I wake up and I have a defeated feeling. It normally stems from my disappointment that I live in the same semi-dinky, quasi-rustic little town I spent the second half of my childhood in. For someone who doesn’t like people all that much, I LOVED living in the city. There were so many bodies you could just tune them out and they did the same with you and it was like being in your own little world. No one knew me, save maybe the friendly faces at Ramaley’s liquor and the bartender at Fern’s. I could be whoever I wanted to be. Not that I was ever anyone but ME, but you know, the possibilities were there and they were seemingly endless.

I miss walking down Summit to pick out my favorite mansion, where I would live with my 8 children and my husband, George Clooney. Or Misters Depp or Pitt. Am not that picky. I miss walking down Grand where you couldn’t go 5 paces without running smack dab into a coffee shop or restaurant.  And Lord, the people watching- seeing fabulously overdressed women, men in leather pants in August, people in garb from all sorts of cultures and people with skin tones other than pale-ass white or fake-baked orange.

Even though I lived most of my life in the suburbs I still so often get homesick for the 5 years I lived in the city. I get mad that we ever moved back here and the sinking feeling of living in Stepford for the rest of my life weighs me down.


Today was not one of those mornings.

Today living here felt pretty darn right. I’ll try to channel this moment the next time I run in to one of my high school ex-boyfreinds or their family members and do my best not to make an idiot out of myself. No promises though, OK?

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