My New Blog -- Come Visit!

Miss me? I miss this blog, too, but I'm all blogged out over at ParentSociety.com. Check out my rants and raves over the latest news >> All the News That's Fit to Parent.


And Laundry to Do Before I Sleep...

I'll spare you the excuses for why I haven't blogged in way, way too long. Let's just say I've been an overworked blogger-slacker trying not to miss deadlines, or let the laundry pile up too high. Haven't missed a due date yet, but I can't say the same about the heaping pile of dirty clothes.

But alas, I'm back and while I can't promise a masterpiece post this time around, I can at least give you this adorable pic of J.J. rockin' out, and a couple of quick updates:

- We've officially entered the "why" stage... read my blog about it here. FYI: I was the Milestones blogger for GeoParent.com for the month of February -- check it out. See? I've been blogging, just not here. And I've actually just landed another paid blogging gig where I get to make fun of stupid stuff in the news from a parent's perspective. I'll let you know when it's up and running.

- I've enjoyed playing the "Easter Bunny" card for the past couple of weeks, as in "J.J., you have to listen to mommy because the Easter Bunny is watching to see if you're behaving." Pathetic, I know, but I'm milking it for as long as I can since I can't start playing the Santa card again until November. Hey, whatever works, right?

- J.J. is officially pre-registered for Pre-K. I say pre-registered because despite the hour and a half it took to fill out paperwork, that's only the first stage of getting him into the Catholic school program near my house. Next, I have to sit by the mailbox (it could be this week, or it could be as late as May, they said) and make sure I'm among the first 20 parents to rush over to the school to return the real registration form they mail out. It's like waiting for college acceptance letters all over again. Aarrggghhh...

- And, yes, you read right -- J.J. is starting Pre-K in the fall! I can't believe how fast he's growing up. He's really like a little kid now. Scratch that... he's like a short old guy. A snippet from a recent conversation:
Me: "J.J., wait one second and I'll get that coloring book out for you."
J.J.: "OK, mommy. In the meantime, I'll just play with this."
I truly forget I'm talking to a 3-year-old sometimes.

Well, it's been nice blogging for you again. In the meantime (see where he gets it from?), I'm going to play the "I need to get back to work" card. Back soon...


A Brooklyn Kid at Heart

So yesterday was my birthday and as JJ will tell you, "Mommy's old." Yes, I'm officially old, but not the kind of old that 31-year-olds say they are because they miss long drunken nights and carefree days slept away. Old because on my 31st birthday, I also became a homeowner. So I'm old in the sense that I finally feel like a grown up. Old because I'll no longer live in the place I grew up, the place where my mom and grandparents raised me.

You see, I technically never left home. Sure I have my own apartment in my mother's two-family house. But before that, it was Nanny and Pop's house -- they took us in when I was 5 and my parents split. When they both passed away, I knew they'd be happy knowing I'd live the best years of my life in the home they built, so I stayed. I got married and had the great grandchild that they never got to meet. It was here that Pop's namesake took his first steps and said his first words, and just yesterday, asked how come he's never met the Nanny and Pop he sees in old pictures. "They're in heaven," my mom told J.J., and he looked up as if he understood.

Because I've never physically moved off of good ol' 41st street, I still sometimes feel like the kid who used to run outside on Saturday mornings to play box ball, punch ball, red light/green light, and all those other fun Brooklyn kid games, and race back inside only when I heard the sound of Frankie's ice cream truck in the distance. Sometimes at night, I still hear Pop calling me back because I wandered a few feet too far from our stoop. And I see Nanny's content smile as she read her books every time I visit my mom downstairs and she's doing the same thing. And once in a while on those rare Sunday mornings that my mom or sister starts cooking the gravy early, it smells like Sunday morning 25 years ago, when Pop would fry up the meatballs in his white T-shirt. It's been great living here, but I'm a grown up now, and it's time to say goodbye.

So off I go with the great responsibility to create the kind of home for J.J. that I've always known. The kind of inviting place that keeps you, and nurtures you, and protects you (and drives you just a little crazy, but you can't help but love it anyway). The kind of home my grandparents gave me.


Overheard this morning...

While I was getting dressed this morning, I eavesdropped on this conversation between Pat and J.J.:

Pat (talking back to the TV screen): "This guy A-Rod really stinks!"

J.J.: "A-Rod stinks! The Yankees are awesome."

Pat: "That's right, J.J. The Yanks don't need that stinky A-Rod!"

J.J.: "And Mommy's awesome, too!"

Pat: "Yes, J.J., Mommy is awesome."

How awesome is that on a Monday morning?!


What Makes Your Baby Tick?

Does he prefer to chill out, go exploring, or meet new people? I tackle this very topic in the current issue of Parenting.

Check it out and let me know what you think! And for those of you who know J.J., although he exhibited all of these traits at one time or another, can you guess which one best describes his first year? Here's a hint... Starting in the womb, his feet went a mile a minute, and never slowed, even while I was in labor. He somehow wriggled out of his clothing in the hospital, learned that his legs could control his bouncy chair at about one month, and rolled over at two months. And we've been movin' and groovin' every since...


What's That Called?

It's official -- I've entered into the question stage of parenting. We're not quite at the "why?" stage yet, but J.J. has developed a voracious appetite for inquiring about EVERYTHING around him. Some real examples:

- What's that J.J. called? (when looking at a picture of himself as an infant)
- How do you spell elephant? (along with questions, JJ is also now spelling simple 3-letter words, but doesn't quite get that "elephant" is too hard to spell out with our limited fridge magnet collection)
- Where are we going? (asked every 30 seconds on the 30-minute ride home from school -- every day)
- What does a hedgehog eat? (yes, these are actual questions, folks, and many times such as this, I've been stumped)
- What does 'question time' mean? (when I told him "question time is officially over" after answering the 627th question of the day)

I have to admit that while I'm so excited that J.J. is showing such interest in the world around him (he loved his first museum visit, as pictured above!), all of these questions are exhausting me. I start the day very patiently, trying to carefully craft explanations that his growing mind will comprehend, but then the questions start coming at rapid-fire speed and by the end of the day, I resort to "ask daddy" or worse, I pretend not to hear him at all.

Then I wonder, if maybe he's pulling a role reversal and quizzing me the way I do to him when I want to show off his smarts to family and friends. Yes -- that's it -- revenge for all the "Old MacDonald" and "A-B-C" performances I've made him do. What do you think? Is that possible? Maybe he's secretly recording my non-answers to mock me on YouTube with his friends at nursery school? Or, could it be I'm just losing my mind from all his inquiries?! And, If I can't answer him at age 3, how am I going to handle grammar school homework, or the birds and the bees?

It seems I've got some questions of my own (now I see where J.J. gets it from). Actually, they're more like the rhetorical ramblings of a woman who's coming to grips with the fact that she doesn't have all the answers after all. If you happen to know what hedgehogs eat, however, I'd love to know.


B-T-S Jitters

I always loved school, but I don't think I ever slept the night before that first day back after a long summer. What would my new teacher be like? Would my friends be in my class this year? Who would come back with a dorky haircut or looking really cute? Last night, I had one of those all-too-familiar tossing and turning nights.

I honestly didn't think I'd experience that anxiety again, but sending my 3-year-old off to school for the first time was nerve wracking to put it mildly. What if he screams inconsolably when it's time for me to leave him there? Will the teacher remind him to go potty (and if not, will he be brave enough to speak up)? How will he act with the other kids, and what if they're way more aggressive than he is? Ahh, school days.

But to my surprise, J.J. walked right in, marched into his classroom and started checking out the toy shelf. He paused to say hi to his new teacher, and quickly gave me a kiss. I hung around, filling the teacher in on J.J.'s potty habits, where I stashed his sippy cup in case he had trouble with the regular cup, etc. Then I walked back over and watched J.J. figure out a puzzle he pulled out and started working on. I reassured him that he would have a great day, but who was I reassuring? He was already too engaged to pay any attention to me. I snapped a couple of pictures and gave him another quick hug before I left for work and couldn't believe that he barely looked back up at me.

All of the stress leading up to this day was centered on the wailing he'd do, how he'd cling to my hand and beg me not to go. I had hardly prepared myself for just the opposite -- the teacher telling me everything would be OK. And it was... I'm just not so sure I'm OK with it.