Posts Tagged 'motherhood'

some snapshots

Sunset at Rosemary Beach:

My porch, after a late-day rainstorm:

The entrance to my neighborhood, after a storm:

Zach, checking ye olde facebook:

The cat rarely comes indoors these days, and has found a new bed:

Mosca runs around in the morning:

and in the evening:

and even Cinza comes for midnight walks to the beach:

Little boy shares his new bed with Mosca:

and throws an EPIC tantrum and falls asleep outside the door:

We shaved Mosca yesterday with newly oiled clippers, on the closest setting, because of the intense southern heat. While we were sitting on the moonlit beach last night, he huddled up next to me seeking comfort from the distant thunder. I stroked his head and my hand came back smelling like motor oil. My heart sunk; it appeared he’d swum through a tar patch, but I couldn’t see a thing. This time, though, it was just machine oil from the clippers.

Not photographed: scrubbing all the floors on my hands and knees, the mounds of laundry produced by a family who always has sand and salt in their clothes and sheets, homemade bread (for once made by me and not by Zach) and father’s day lemon cake, the empty bottles of sunscreen already used up, the stack of cookbooks and sci-fi checked out from a library 9 miles away, all the little prints and quilts and knickknacks finally displayed to make this cottage feel like home, the pain and triumph of waxing my own legs, the ubiquitous damp swimsuits hung on the shower rod, and my sobbing frustration at becoming the stay at home parent, and not feeling so very good at it.

Bean Game

A few days ago I went to the dollar store with Cindy. I saw lots of cheapy kitchen gadgets, but these tongs were the best. The spring was very easy to operate, good for little hands. The tips are silicone, so it’s easy to pick up little things.

bean tongs (Small)

This bean game has been popular for hours each day (empty! full! little beans!).

Scoops work too…

bean scoop (Small)

Matching Game

matching game (Small)

I read too many blogs by talented stay-at-home-moms and homeschoolers. Too many great, colorful photos of kids painting, coloring, using glitter and glue, and learning and exploring in new and interesting ways. It gets me down. I never seem to have enough time or energy at the end of my work day to think up new things, or collect “ingredients”, or frankly, deal with paint all over the furniture or sidewalk.

Instead, we fall back on familiar bike rides to the park to throw rocks in the river, read books in bed, cook together, and do all kinds of fun, wonderful things that I hope will instill happy memories for my boy, and not just me as his mommy.

If I ignore blogs altogether, I think of myself as a good mother who adores her little boy, talks to him nonstop, works with him on sign language, and helps him explore all kinds of new foods (hence a toddler who loves potato masala, spicy pickled carrots at the taco stand, all the raw veggies at the salad bar, crushed coriander seeds, and sesame-crusted salmon).

But I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to think of age-appropriate learning activities. Even when I find ideas that use “items you have around the house”, I don’t usually have those things (I’d have to specially purchase milk in a carton, or cereal in a box, or glue sticks).

So when I hit upon this idea last week, it was perfect for us. I’m sure it was inspired by the blogs I read, but I don’t remember seeing it exactly. Zach and I went around the house finding small items that would fit into a muffin tin. Two of each thing. We put one into the tin and one into a small bowl. Then we asked the Boogedy to put the mates together. It was a hit for three games, then I moved everything to a new spot in the tin. He had such a hard time finding each thing after it was in a new location. He LOVED naming each item as we went: Bah-bee pin! Yeyow Dog! Guitah pick! Yittle spoon!!

matching game2 (Small)

I just ordered a book called “The Toddler Busy Book.” I checked it out once from the library and found it to be full of good info. Here’s hoping I’m inspired rather than overwhelmed.

Do you have this kind of mom-guilt, like you’re not doing enough? What do you do about it?

Rock Hunting

My mom has such a way with toddlers. At the end of a long spring break, when I didn’t know what to do next to keep the Boogedy occupied, mom announced that they were going for a walk around her apartment complex to look for rocks to put in the “rock bag”.

“Rock Bag Rock Bag!” the Boogedy repeated excitedly to himself.

They searched for the best rocks:


They put ’em in the Rock Bag (!):


Then, we came home and she gave him a bowl of soapy water and a scrub brush to wash the rocks.


After the rocks were toweled and put on display in a plastic bin, I realized that the rock game occupied him for more than an hour! What a smart grandma!

The Best Toys are Not Toys


I “invented” this great game for keeping the Boogedy occupied while I took a shower. I gave him a couple of rolls of toilet paper and a bag of cotton balls to shove into the tubes. This was good for almost an entire whine-free shower. I washed my hair, even.


In retrospect, I should have just given him 6 or 7 cotton balls. I’m not sure I want to use those puffs that have been under the hamper and behind the toilet. No, I’m SURE I don’t want to use them, but they’ve been shoved back in the bag. I guess now it’s HIS bag of cotton balls.

I wish I had a recording so you could hear how the Boogedy says




Zach had a big piece of brown butcher paper left over from his kitchen-repainting project. (Pictures of the beautiful new kitchen soon! I’ve just been too busy actually using my kitchen and cooking foods that require more than one pot [mmm….green curry…] that I haven’t thought to photograph it.)

We gave the Boogedy a big piece of paper in his high chair and let him dip his finger in a little glass candle holder. He dipped and painted for a long time before Zach gave him a q-tip to try. This was successful for about 4 strokes, until this happened:



I may be a worry-wort about him falling off the bed, tumbling down the stairs, tripping on the jungle gym, eating solid food (yes, he is almost 2, and yes, he does have a whole mouth full of teeth), getting into the knife drawer, antagonizing the dog past that sweet soul’s endurance, and nearly everything else;

BUT… never let it be said that I’m squeamish about him drinking q-tip dunked scribble-water or eating week-old raisins from the playroom floor. Even those blanched almonds (that he still believes are COOKIES) from behind the tv. Zach and I were joking that the food would have to land IN the chicken poo before we’d get worried.

And then Zach admitted that he might still let the boy eat it, just to learn a lesson about eating things that fell in chicken poo.

Sicky Boy

I learned something interesting this weekend. Motherhood has changed me in a funny way. The smell of my toddler’s vomit in the middle of the night does not turn my stomach. A handful of vomit is just something I’ve got to hold onto until I can throw it away after settling the baby back down to sleep. Sheets that smell like vomit can wait til tomorrow to be changed, or even the next day, if it looks like the gombu is going to last a while. Leaving work early to go home and be immediately barfed on is still worth it for the look in a Boogedy’s big brown eyes when dad says “mom’s home!”. A look that says, “this substandard Dad-care is no substitute for Mommy-love when I’m ill”.

He was sicker than this last January, when he was so wan that he could neither protest nor enjoy a pony ride. Those thermometer pacifiers are Nice, if a tad inaccurate.

January 08 flu

January 08 flu

Beautiful Year

My baby boy is 1 year old today. This time last year, heavy labor was starting and I was 6 hours from pulling my little guy up out of the water of the birth pool and starting my new life.

The Boogedy, as we like to call him, was born at home with two supportive midwives, my rock-solid husband, my helpful sister-in-law, and my concerned and loving best friend. The Boogedy has been a treasure and a delight. How motherhood has changed me is too long to list and more wonderful and fearsome than I might have anticipated.

I have been convinced during this year that no mother has ever been so grateful every day, no father more loving and silly, no baby more beloved, and no family pets more accommodating.

Wow. What an adventure.

I love this photo at 2 days old because it looks like he arrived in the mail, in a crumpled package:

Baby Package

And this photo nearly a week ago reminds me of his dad, a frugal man indeed. See how happy he is to put the pennies in the penny jar?! Saving money is better than eating it…lesson of the month.

Penny Jar

Happy Birthday Yitty Guy!

Itchy Bombs

Itchy Bomb TreeItchy Bomb DetailWhen I was around 9 years old, I learned that a young man’s affection is a curious thing. A boy in my fourth-grade class crushed one of these seed pods and dropped it down the back of my shirt. It was horribly prickly and my skin turned fiery red and itched like mad. My mom came to school to pick me up and explained gently that sometimes boys don’t know how to express themselves in a nice way, even when they feel nice things. She explained that the boy probably had a crush on me. It didn’t make sense until I hit puberty and could never figure out how to say the right thing to boys.

My mother is a nice person and always looks at situations in the most compassionate ways. She likes children and teenagers and has always urged me to put myself in someone else’s shoes. I hope I can be so gentle and such a good friend to my child as my mother is to me.