Saturday, October 18, 2008

soo tired.

Tonight, I fell asleep on the bed with Jackson at 8:30. It was wonderful. Until 11 when Jackson woke up and tried to roll off the bed in a fit. He eventually slid down, crawled down the hall, and into the bathroom corner behind the toilet. It's now 12:30, and while he's been returned to bed (one with walls this time), he's still crying here and there. I'm not sleeping either. My early to bed became a precious 2.5 hour nap. I would trade it for the usual 7 hours of mildly interrupted sleep.

30 minutes, 1 shotglass of tylenol, and 1 clean diaper later--Jackson is sleeping peacefully. I am not.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Should not have boasted.

I should not have boasted. The novelty of counting has worn off (already).
So, I'm back to either using the deep mean voice that makes Jack cry, or simply taking things away from him and triggering a tantrum.

Tonight's tantrum over losing his privileges to my giant cocoa butter lip balm (which he was sweetly rubbing on his belly to reduce stretch marks, and then jabbing with his sharp fingers) started on the bed. He threw himself down face first, and, after a few dramatic seconds, started inching toward the edge. I helpfully placed him on the floor. After a few more dramatic seconds, he inched across the room, out the door, down the hall, was stopped by the door at the end, and complained there for several minutes. I walked down the hall and opened the door for him, then walked away. After several more dramatic minutes, he skidded his face across the carpet, and continued to complain his way onto the computer chair. A minute later, the whimpering turned to wailing. I think he got stuck in a standing position, and he'd knocked over the computer speaker. He agreed to allow me to pick him up, then cried quietly and nestled into my shoulder. He cheered up at the prospect of a story.

My child has combined his mother's sensitivity with his father's temper.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

1, 2, 3

I've turned into all of our Mothers. How? I count--1 [pause] 2 [pause] 3 [pause].
It works. I say "I'm going to count" and my sweet boy, who's been ignoring my requests to put down the toilet paper for 5 minutes, interprets "Mama means business, now." He'll actually stop what he's doing on the number 1. So I cheer, but I think I have a responsibility to continue counting. He's gotta learn the numbers, and its not really counting if I stop at 1.

Down syndrome is one of the most common genetic condition, with an incidence of 1 per 733 live births. It results when a person has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, hense trisomy 21. Consequences of the addition are mild to moderate cognitive delays and distinctive physical features including short stature, low muscle town, and an upward eye slant. People with Down's syndrome suffer high rates of congenital heart defects, thyroid conditions, respiratory problems, hearing impairment, childhood leukemia, and altzheimers. As these conditions have become more treatable, the average lifespan for a person with T21 has increased from 25 years in 1983 to 60 years today.
More information can be found at the National Down's Syndrome Society website,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

5 minutes

What have I learned about parenting this week? The power of preparedness. I've always been a fan of boy scout style preparedness, but recently, I learned a new kind--preparing my toddler for change.

Toddlers are notorious for having short attention spans. They go from one thing to the next at superman speed. But they also have a propensity for obsessive focus, and a reluctance to have that focus interupted. I've been waging battles over me leaving, time to put away the puzzle and get changed, or come inside.

Yesterday morning, when I was getting ready to go, I started putting toys in the Pack-n-Play for Jack' s entertainment when I leave. Predictably, he immediately threw himself backward (careful not to thump his head on the floor) and complained. I still needed to put on shoes and collect my bag. When I was ready to leave, I gave Jackson a lengthy squeeze and snuggle, then set him down. He waived happily as I left. Well, Eureka. This morning, I gave Jackson plenty of warning and love before saying goodbye. He good naturedly sat down, and spread his blankets over his lap, then gave me a kiss goodbye.

It's fabulous!!! I'm applying the 5 minute rule to everything now. Tonight, we had the playdough out before bedtime. Instead of keeping track of time in my head, I said, "OK, 5 more minutes, then we have to put it away and get ready for bed." We played somemore, then he helped me put the playdough back in the jar. I let him carry the jar upstairs, and closed it repeatedly, so he could reopen it. Midway through the diaper change, he found something more interesting, and the jar disappeared.

Now what I need is an engaging egg timer to help me enforce my new plan.

Kristin, I have posted some new political rantings on my new blog "Other Musings" link at right (I have soo got to pick up some html skills!)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I saw it!

Today was very brisk. So brisk I went around the house looking for open windows to close this morning. I didn't find any. But the day also turned sunny.

We got Jackson a tiny little life jacket last week so that we could take him out on the lake and paddle around. Our canoe really needs the exercise. It's been sitting behind the house growing algae for 3 years. Not only do we own a canoe, but the lake is right behind our house. OK, that's a bit of a stretch (forgivable since we are in the height of the political season). The lake is a mile or so behind the house and down a steep hill, what one might call a causeway if it traversed the lake rather than sitting on the edge of it. So we had to strap the canoe to the roof of the car and drive around, it's still a character flaw on our part that we haven't taken advantage of it.

Jackson was adorable in his little life jacket. He was also petrified for the first 20 minutes of our adventure. I don't know if it was fear, or just stunned wonderment. He just sat perfectly still on my lap like a stuffed boy. Once he relaxed, he was really into it. He helped me paddle a bit, and spent a lot of time dragging his hand in the water over the side. I had to hold on tight and frequently remind him that he needed to atleast keep his feet on the bottom of the boat, absolutely no climbing!

The great thing about Lake Williams is that its atypical for this state. Most of the lakes are framed with a melange of cottages and giant summer homes, each with their lawn embankments and private docks. Public boat docks are far between and often have restricted access. There is very little wildlife habitat on the lakes of Connecticut. Lake Williams is bordered mostly by state conservation land, the North branch is shallow and covered with lily pads, then gives way to what might be called a reedy swamp. It's bordered by trees and shrubs. The banks are disrupted by manicured lawns for just small portions of land, less than 2 dozen houses. A couple of the islands have small cottages, but the landscape there has largely been left alone. The North end of the lake has a buffer of atleast a mile before getting back to suburbia. I'm estimated that that's the distance to us, and I don't know how far you'd have to go to the North and NorthWest until you stumbled on someone's house or pasture. There is the trail, but that's a relatively minor intrusion.

This makes it great habitat for wildlife. From the trail, I can often make out little flocks of water fowl. Today, we didn't see a lot of birds, but I did hear/see a duck flying over and 2 great blue herons, one standing stone still near the enbankment, and the other flying over. We saw several painted turtles. The highlights, though, was a beaver. I saw him slipping quietly into the water, perhaps Jackson saw him as well. Then he saw us and disappeared in a frantic splash, which I know both Jason and Jackson had a glimpse of. (if beaver sightings are like whale sightings, they can count it as having seen one.) I'm very glad to have seen the beaver, its the first one I've seen in Connecticut, and the second in my life. My spotting skills are usually limited to roadkill.

Our canoe behaved surprisingly well. It is smallish and narrow, and difficult to stear. It's also very wobbly, and even a slight lean makes the boat feel like its about to overturn. We would like to trade is for a much wider canoe. But today it nearly redeemed itself.

I was already having a good day, and we finished it by getting some lobsters. They're part of a new rewards system we have going, and they were delicious.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pictures of real life

Robyn posted some new pictures of her boys. She found a wonderful field of dry grass with a real folksey feel including small outbuildings in the background and what could be rusty antique farm equipment. The perfect setting for some nice pics for the Christmas card or wall. The boys though differently, and the pictures show them pouting, grimmacing, and crying. I think they're excellent! They reminded me of a favorite picture of myself, which I cannot get, but I want to share anyway, so I will try to describe it from the mental image I captured probably 2 decades ago.

I am on vacation with my family, 3 years old, at the wax museum in LA, sitting alone, on Frankenstein's lap, wailing. My mouth is open and my eyes are squeezed shut with giant tears streaking down. You can actually see the screams.

I don't know what I'm wearing, I image its a whitish T-shirt with 70's era iron on transfer paired with light colored shorts. It doesn't matter. The pictures captures the emotions of my preschool self, at an age before the show of emotion became tempered by shame, or impropriety, or whatever it is that makes my adult self answer "fine" to the question "How are you?".

31 for 21

My friend Helene (her link in the 'friends' column at right) is doing 31 for 21. The idea is that you post everyday for 31 days (October) to spread awareness of Trisomy 21, T21, in otherwords Down's Syndrome. Since my life is time limited, I wasn't going to participate, but after looking into it I saw that the first rule is "There are no rules" and blogging everyday is a "goal", which is like a guideline really. So here I am blogging away.

Helene's friend Tricia has a daughter, Georgia, with T21. She started 31 for 21. I read her abridged life story on her about me, and she seems the type of interesting, creative, engaged person I would like. Actually, when I read it, I thought that she seems like the type of interesting, creative, sophisticated person that Brandon would like, since he once expressed his desire to surround himself with that type of person. With few exceptions, I like the same people. Georgia is just a few months older than Jackson, and she's adorable!

You can join in, too. Just follow the link at the top right of my blog.

Note--my knowledge of T21 is limited. If my idea of spreading the word turns into stealing facts from Helene's blog, rather than googling for my own, I'll ask your's and Helene's forgiveness. Besides, I believe there's just a small overlap between our reader bases, so most of you won't notice. The first stolen idea is that I'll be using a different color to create awareness than to blabber on and on about my own unfolding life history.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cleaning Up

We are having more difficulty than ever siphoning the hair balls from our floors. Jackson has developed a fear of the vacuum when its on. Last time I tried to vacuum, he fled, crying, and I found him tangled up in my closet with his feet stuck in the upturned glider footstool. When Jason turned on the vacuum downstairs, Jack disappeared. He found him upstairs in the furthest corner of the house.

Strangely, Jackson's current object of affection is the vacuum--the giant oversized orange shop vacuum (as long as its switched off). He pushes the canister around the hallway. He has the extra lengths of hose with him as he toddles around. This piece is 3 inches in diameter and 4 feet long. So he struggles with each step. If he holds it horizontal, its very difficult to get through doorways and around furniture. If he holds it vertically, it jams against the floor. It's also a struggle to pick him up, because I have to reorient the hose to angle downward.

This is a picture of my boy sleeping after a long day of throwing legos across the room and other small disorderly acts. He now sleeps under the pillow (Jason gets the blame for this one). Oh, and do you see the long black object across the bottom of the picture? That's the vacuum.

To Karma--It wasn't me.

I'm sending this message to Karma, just to make it perfectly clear that while I was in the vicinity, I was merely an onlooker and didn't cause the unfortunate event.

I've recently dusted off the jogging stroller. We are not stroller people, and greatly prefer the convenience of the sling to the lumbering stroller that must be hauled and carefully maneuvered. I am annoyed by other peoples strollers, so it was apparent that I could never put myself through the great inconvenience of having one. Plus early on, Jackson made it clear that he wasn't stroller people either, and would rather be nestled securely against his parent. We do have a jogging stroller (Thanks Jess & Tara), because it seemed prudent for neighborhood use. (Note to Sarah, a jogging stroller is more necessity than pretension in this terrain, we wouldn't get out of the driveway without it). I dusted it off so that I could pick up the pace a bit on our walks.

I'm now using the 90-10 rule on the trail--90% walking, 10% running, it's a good ratio. The first time we went out, I was completely spent afterward. It's no surprise that I'm terribly out of shape. It did make me feel better to see my beagle take to her crate afterward and spend the rest of the day sleeping it off. I forced myself to remain upright the whole day in the spirit of one-ups-manship over my dog. I know its petty, but it was really all I had.

So, its me with a jogging stroller in one hand, and a leash attached to 2 hound dogs in the other. (Thanks to Joanne for letting me know about the harnesses, and amazing reduction in pulling they provide). When we take the trail with the sling, we can cut through the woods down the hill, eliminating most need for leashes. With the stroller, navigating the forest is out of the question, so we have to go down the driveway to the road and around. When we're safely on the trail, I can let the dogs go until we see the infrequent pedestrian.

Yesterday, we came across a biker. He came up from behind, I noticed while he was still a few paces back, so I called the dogs to the leash. Ally was within grabbing distance (no doubt hoping I'd dole out millkbones) and Mabel came right to me after about a 5 second sniffing delay. I managed to have a stroller and 2 dogs in hand by the time the bicycle passed. He was a good 30 feet ahead when his wheels skid sideways across the gravel. Then there was air beneath the tires, and the rider tumbled, landing hard on his shoulder. The bike settled inverted on the handlebars.

It was a spectacular fall, and while I admired it--I couldn't have been responsible. My brood kept to our side of the trail, no one ran across his path. The dogs were well in control. We even waited for the biker to dust off, right his bike, realign the handlebars, and fix the chain. So Karma, there was no crime, we did nothing to offend. Please don't send a rabbit across the trail next time we're out, causing the dogs to rush wildly after it and upturn the stroller in the ditch.