But this weekend I got out of the house - out of the state even! (okay just to New Jersey) - on a "mom date", which stereotypically involved the grocery store and coffee. That's what moms are supposed to do, right? But it was wonderful. My friend D took me to a Vietnamese grocery store, then to Wegmans, and then to Panera Bread (after all, we were playing suburban moms with a car). Among my exciting purchases: a 50 lb bag of premium rice (Kokuho), sticky rice and banana wrapped in banana leaves, noodles, Chinese broccoli, and Firecracker chocolate (dark chocolate with chipotle, salt and popping candy).
In the past couple of weeks I am rediscovering the importance of getting out beyond the small world of my family and my immediate work colleagues. It's not that there's anything wrong with them, but keeping my sphere of interactions so small makes me think very narrowly about life in general. Of course, it's hard when you have two small children and a full time job to just go out on a whim. But what I end up doing is living week by week, each week feeling the immediate pressures of things that need to get done, and not taking a little time out to relax and gain some perspective.
Also in the past few weeks I am starting to enjoy my family life a little bit more. Squeakles has largely gotten past the tantrums. There are still remnants, but he no longer throws a fit when we bring him to school, bring him home, or basically ask him to do anything. When he tries it we are usually either able to talk him out of it, or some time in his room by himself does the trick. Today he was in a fantastic mood - chatting all day long to anyone within earshot, or when we attempted a (failed) nap, he just kept talking happily to himself. He even chatted up one of our neighbors when we were in the laundry room. I was standing at the washer throwing him wet clothes which he was trying to catch and then put in the drier. Every time he caught one, he would crane around to see our neighbor, saying things to her like "I did a good job catching what Mommy throwed me!" or "I caught that one with my face!" Later I asked him if he remembered her name and giddily he joked that her name was Cilantro. He was so pleased with this joke that he brought it back hours later, calling me Cilantro with a big laugh and a look of utter delight on his face.
Because I like to keep track of his language development, here's a little picture of what he's saying lately:
- "I ate the rice all." (analagous to "I ate it all")
- "What is that in the world?" (trying to say "What in the world is that?")
- "How is that crazy?" (trying to say "How crazy is that?")
- Whenever I comment on anything he does, he repeats back what I say as a "why" question. Although he's finally figured out which pronouns to use (he no longer refers to himself as "you"), he hasn't mastered the correct agreement on the verb, so he says things like "Why weren't I?"
- He also hasn't mastered gender pronouns fully, though I actually suspect he's not really clear what gender/sex actually is. He does tend to correctly refer to me and Weeble as "she" and J as "he", but it's not 100%. And he's definitely noticed a difference in our anatomy, though I think he's simply just mystified by it. As for people outside the family, he tends to refer to everyone as "he". Just the other day, a woman with extremely long hair said something to him and when she passed by, he asked "What did he say to me?"
- Sort of related to the above point, a couple of weeks ago we were standing in front of the elevator doors at his preschool, musing about whether anyone would be inside. The doors opened and a middle aged woman came out and walked past us. I am pretty sure she was within earshot, but I'm not sure she was able to make out what Squeakles said (I hope not): "It's a grandma!" (My concern about her hearing is that she was not all that old. I take that as a compliment to his own grandmothers who do not look the least bit elderly, but I doubt that the woman who was called a "grandma" would assume that!
- J got back from a trip to San Francisco on Wednesday morning after flying overnight. He crawled right into bed and I commented to Squeakles that Daddy was going to bed in the morning! J tried to explain to him that in San Francisco it was still nighttime even though it was morning here. Squeakles thought it over for a second and then said, "Two suns!" I was so impressed with his reasoning that I jumped right in with an explanation about how the sun moves around the earth, then tried to correct myself, and then was kind of relieved to notice that no one was really listening to me. :)
And our Weeble is such a little sweetie who is happy almost all the time unless she has a specific need to eat or sleep or have her diaper changed. Otherwise she spends her time either raising her arm up in the air and smiling at us, or inspecting the floor for anything she can put into her mouth. She loves to laugh in that way that babies do - uncontrollable belly laughs when something surprises her or strikes her as really funny (like fingers crawling towards her). At ten months old, she still isn't talking, but yesterday she started saying "uh oh" with a little glint in her eye whenever she dropped something (usually on purpose).
She is also an amazing sleeper. For which I am so, so grateful.
Squeakles continues to have his sleep problems, but we have just compounded them by taking the "fier" (pacifier) away. We tried about a week ago, but gave in because no one was sleeping well to begin with because everyone was sick, and anyway both J and I were going out of town the following weekend. But last night I just told him no more fier. He already doesn't use one at school for naps, so he didn't freak out about it. He definitely has more trouble getting to sleep, but I've been being really gentle about it - not getting frustrated with him when he tells me he's having trouble sleeping (over and over), but instead trying to help him relax and go to sleep - a couple of head rubs, some quiet (and hopefully) boring counting, etc.
But now both kids are asleep, so I would be an idiot if I stayed at my computer any longer. Good night world!