Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Heart Guts

Recently, a friend of mine tried to order a stuffed uterus (a whole other story). But, apparently said uterus was recalled. Something about a choking hazard and ovaries.

Today, she gets this email. It was just too good not to share.

Dearest I Heart Guts Customer,

We apologize for contacting you again, but we need to make sure you are aware of the female trouble going on with the uterus you purchased.

We have issued a voluntary recall for the uterus plush due to a potential small part choking hazard for children. No one has been harmed. If the uterus plush is within the grasp of a child, *please remove it immediately*.

For more info in this recall, please visit:

Please forward this email to any gift recipients.

On the bright side, the rest of our plush lineup meets U.S. and European safety standards for children's toys. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this recall, please do not hesitate to contact me, we want to be sure no harm comes from playing with our guts.

Again, sorry for contacting you again, we know you're busy and you get too many emails, we just want to make sure you are informed. And for anyone wanting to recall her own painful of annoying uterus, we are not currently accepting live human uteri at this time. We don't have enough ice. Or Motrin. Thank you.

Many Thanks,
Wendy BryanGut

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

(Finally) Proud to be an American

The truth is, it's hard to find words for this momentous day. There are just too many words to sift through. I don't say this lightly, but the election of Barack Obama has made me proud to be an American for the first time in many years.

I am not naive, I know President Obama has many great challenges ahead of him, and I also know that the future he promises isn't going to come without a great amount of effort...and luck.

But, reality is what you make it. Mr. Obama has already achieved great things as president, because he has managed to unite so many Americans with hope, and faith. He has ignited a fire that blew out so long ago for so many people. Reminded us how great we, as a nation, once were and how great we can be again.

And, I put my faith in him, and I believe him when he says:

There are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.

The bigger historical event that took place today, of course, was the inauguration of our nation's first black president. Sworn in with his hand placed on Abraham Lincoln's bible--Abraham Lincoln, whose emancipation proclamation freed the slaves. What an honor it is to witness such triumph.

And so, with this post, my intentions are not to persuade anyone or to solidify my own beliefs. Merely, to mark the day that will forever be remembered, and cherished, in our history.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Late Night Shenanigans

Ever wonder how many times someone can repeat the same sentence, over and over, until you're broken?

I don't. Not anymore.

Because last night, for an agonizing three hours (according to my husband, I lost all track of space and time) I heard the phrase "I wanna go down-tares." Over, and over, and over again.

It started out like it always does, well at least like it has the last three nights. Liam goes to bed fine, out like a light before we can even leave the room. He sleeps peacefully until around 12:30am, and then we hear his sweet whimper coming from the door outside his room. He's standing there calling for mommy, waiting for a response.

Nate usually springs out of bed first. But that does no good, Liam was clear on this, he wanted mommy. I drag myself out of bed, and begin the hopeful negotiation.

"I wanna go down-tares," he'll say.

"Now Liam," I will always respond. "Do you remember what mommy and daddy said? We said that when you wake up in the night, and it's still night-night time, you have to go back to bed."

I'm going to clarify for you, that response does not work. It is a desperate attempt, on my part, to diffuse a situation before it becomes a tantrum. But, the moment the words escape my lips, it's all over. The tantrum begins, and there is no going back.

This is the point where, on previous occasions, I give in. It's late, I'm only half awake, and I know that if we go downstairs and watch five minutes of whatever on TV, Liam will willingly go back to bed. This is the easy way out, in the moment. But you can guess what happens over time. It becomes a habit. Clearly.

So last night, I dug my heels in the ground. We were not going downstairs. I didn't care what it took.

I tried some cool negotiations before the tantrum really revved up. I used that often called-upon line noted above. I tried to reason. I tried to be stern. But it didn't work. So, I put Liam in bed (if you can call it that, he'd popped back up again before I could straighten myself out), and took my spot on the floor, in front of the door. I turned off the light, and did not respond to the repeated cry, the desperate attempt to go downstairs.

When the cry started to lull, I started to throw in alternatives, "Liam, if you get in bed right now, we can read the hide-and-seek book."

"No, that's dangerous," he cried.

"How about the Llama Llama book?"

"That's dangerous, too."

"Oh My, Oh My Dinosaurs?"

Sniff, "dangerous."

And the repeated demand that we make our way downstairs resumed. I hung my head, and stayed silent through it again. For a while. And then I tried my tactics again, "Hey Liam, how about if we go fill up your elephant (his humidifier) together."

"OK, dat sounds like a greeeat idea," he responded, finally distracted from his incessant request.

"OK, we'll go fill up your elephant, and when we get back, we'll get back in bed and go night-night!" I chimed in.

"NO!" The word molded into a cry as, you guessed it, "I wanna go down-tares," followed.

Again, I rested my head against the back of the door and waited, patiently. At one point, I asked Liam if he'd bring a blanket over for mommy, because I was cold. He suggested that there are blankets downstairs (that kid is too smart for his own good).

I asked him to set a good example for Quin by going back to bed. Didn't work.

I told him Grandma and Grandpa sure would be happy if he went back to bed. Didn't work.

I told him I would be so proud if he went back to bed. Didn't work.

I tried to tell him that Monkey (his favorite stuffed animal) was talking to me, and told me he was tired and wanted to go back to bed. And, shockingly, that didn't work either.

Finally, I suggested we get a toy out of his closet that he could play with in bed. He thought that was a great idea, as well, and we went to his closet. Unfortunately, none of the previously boxed up toys in the closet did it for him either, except for a small red wagon resting on a shelf which, of course, he insisted he take downstairs.

At this point, I gave up. Time to tag in another player. It was Daddy's turn. I crawled into bed and listened over the monitor as Daddy tried many of the same ploys I did. He threw in ideas about how getting lots of sleep could help Liam throw better snowballs (such a Daddy thing to say), and also tried the pleading method, "Liam, everyone else is asleep, we're all tired, we should go night-night."

Finally, about 45 minutes after I tagged out, Liam was back in bed, peacefully. At some point, he just gave up. He asked Daddy to read him a book, which Nate did despite not having his glasses on (an impressive feat), and then he crawled into bed.

It was 3:30am when Nate crawled back into bed. I hadn't looked at the clock when the episode began, so I asked him what time Liam woke up. He responded with 12:30am. My jaw fell. It was like I lived in some alternate universe for two hours where time didn't exist, reason was null and void, standard fall-backs to get your kid to comply were total failures. The need to go downstairs was paramount and unyielding.

I'll tell you this much, my kid is nothing if not strong willed. I wonder where he got that from? (Please note the sarcasm in my words.) But maybe, just maybe, he figured out last night that he won't get what he wants, so he may as well just give up before he begins. I'm holding on to a shred of hope here, people, don't dash it for me.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bottle It Up

If I had one wish for the new year, it would be the ability to bottle up my kids, just the way they are right now, and hold on to it forever.

I've said this before, with Liam. Each and every stage he has gone through has been amazing. Not better than the last, but awe inspiring in it's own right. But, it slips away so easily. Transitioning to the next stage without warning, silently in the night. I realize more than ever, now that Quin has joined the family, just how easy it is to forget. Not because I want to, but because life demands it.

No amount of pictures, video or even writing will allow me to hold on to them, in this moment, forever. I know that. Their unique little mannerisms, their sly little faces, their touch, their smell, the funny and adorable things they do everyday, it all just fades away into the new chapter.

Don't get me wrong, I love to watch them grow up. And I know that a year from now, I'll have the same sentiments about that stage. The pattern repeats itself. But, I want to be able to remember each stage just the way I experienced it, at that moment. Revel in it, take myself back to that time, that day, that specific instant. There are just too many details, all so important, to put together the whole picture for future reminiscing.

For now, I'll write what I know about this moment. I won't get it all down, only what I can recall at this instant, but it will be something to hold on to. Not everything, but something.


  • I love the way you smile at me first thing in the morning. Pumping those chubby legs and arms like you are having the time of your life, because to you, seeing someone smiling back at you when you wake up is the time of your life.
  • I love how you smile with your whole body. A wiggle that starts at your head and works its way all the way down to your toes. No one means their smile more than you do.
  • I love how you scrunch your legs into your tummy, and then kick them out, back and forth.
  • I love your cry. Yes, your cry. The beginning "eh, eh, eh" when you're just revving up. To let someone, anyone know that "Hey, I'm about to cry, better fix it." I love the little screams that come at the end of a wail, the ones that say "I REALLY MEAN THIS, FIX IT!" Even though sometimes it kills me, because I know I can't fix it (we're in the car, I'm working on that bottle, I just don't have it yet, etc. etc) I want to hold on to that sound forever, because it's uniquely yours and I cherish it.
  • I love how you talk to yourself. What started out as constant (and I mean constant) grunts when we first brought you home turned into the most adorable coos, and giggles, and squeaks of happiness.
  • I love how you smell. There are few things better than the smell of your soft hair just after a bath.
  • I love that you've managed to create a bald spot on the back of your head, right above the only place on your head that didn't lose any hair. It's like a small round face with a big beard below.
  • I love wondering what color your eyes are going to be. Because at nearly 5 months old, it's still a toss up between green and brown. Currently, you have these adorable green eyes with little specks of brown all over. They change color from moment to moment, and they're just so perfect.
  • I love your chubby rolls.
  • I love how you snuggle. How you bury your face in my chest when you're sleepy. And how you could sleep that way for hours.
  • I love your tiny fingers. The way they wrap around my fingers when you've decided my thumb should be in your mouth!
  • I love your little feet. Like your brother, you have small feet, but they are so cute and round with little bitty toes poking off the top.
  • I love how you're beginning to be so aware of your surroundings. Grabbing at toys, putting things in your mouth, rolling over, watching your brother with a careful eye, these are all relatively new to you at this stage and it's amazing to watch.


  • I love the new things you come up with to say everyday. Yesterday, you told your Dad (in the middle of a tantrum) that you couldn't give him a hug, because it was "dangerous." I couldn't possibly write down every new, and hilarious thing you say, but I do try.
  • I love your stunning blue eyes. I know these won't go away, but I still wonder (almost on a daily basis!) where on earth they came from. They mesmerize me.
  • I love watching you explore your world. You are a sponge soaking up every thing you see.
  • I love debating whether or not you are going to be left handed! Your Dad and I are nearly certain that you will be. It's hard to ignore that you've eaten with your left hand since 10 months old, and that you currently paint and draw with your left hand, and kick with your left foot. I know it's a very small thing, but I love it.
  • I love how are you are trying to get a handle on this numbers thing. You'll pick up two items, and say "Look, I've got all three!" You get so frustrated if you are wrong, and you try so very hard. I know you're going to have it down very soon.
  • I love the way you bop your head sometimes when you are talking. Like you're telling yourself you agree with whatever you're telling us.
  • I love that you've finally decided you want to cuddle with Mom. We can snuggle in on the couch together and read a book or watch TV. This is a relatively new turn of events, previously you couldn't sit still long enough!
  • I love how you will suddenly remember something that happened 6 months ago. It never ceases to amaze me that you can remember that far back!
  • I love your little voice. There's just no way to describe it. And as much as I try to capture the funny things you say, it's just not the same without capturing the voice that goes with it.
  • I love finding out what you dream about. You, of course, do not yet realize you're dreaming. But sometimes you'll wake up in the night worried about the dog you saw. Just the other night you woke up crying because Quin "went up the chimney" and you wanted to go make sure he was okay. This morning, when I woke you up, you told me that you were just "Swinging with George."
  • I love watching you get excited. Sometimes it doesn't take much, but watching your face light up is the best feeling in the world.
  • I love how you come bounding down the stairs, after Daddy gives you a bath, and run straight into my arms.
  • I love that, finally, when I tell you I love you, you will respond, "I love you too, Mama."

Christmas Eve-2008