Sunday, April 27, 2008

Healthy Communication, the Joshua Way

Joshua's pediatrician was right. He really did jump from using single words to full sentences almost as soon as Clare was born. The funny thing was that most of his sentences were phrased as questions. It makes sense, I suppose, since he primarily heard us asking questions of him:
"Did you fall down?"
"Do you want some more to eat?"
"Did you go to the store with Vati today?"
"Did you have a good time?"
He wasn't asking us to answer those questions, of course. Instead he wanted us to ask them of him. "Did you have a good time?" was simply Joshua's way of saying, "You should ask me if I had a good time!"

Although he is much easier to understand now, he still phrases many of his sentences as questions (he'd make a great Jeopardy contestant). We called my grandmother the other day after we had gotten home from Target. He wanted to talk to her, and when I gave him the phone he asked, "Did you buy a crock pot?" I had to explain to my grandmother that the purpose of our Target run was to replace the crock pot that I had broken the day before. "Did you buy a crock pot?" was Joshua-speak for "You should ask me if I just bought a crock pot!"

The more I've thought about it, the more I'm convinced that Joshua's method of communication is pretty healthy, particularly among those of who tend toward passive-aggression. Instead of moping around the house after an especially harrowing day, waiting for Jay to ask what's wrong, I could simply greet him at the door with, "Did you have a crappy day?" Then Jay would know right away to ask, "Hi Mary Beth! Did you have a crappy day?" It sounds like I'm showing concern for him, which is good for this people-pleaser. But it's really a way to get him to ask about me.

And instead of slamming doors and rolling my eyes, waiting for Jay to ask me what's wrong, I can just walk right up to him and say, "Are you really, unbelievably, mind-blowingly angry with me?" And Jay would know right away that the appropriate question to ask is, "Are you really, unbelievably, mind-blowingly angry with me?"

I think I may be exposing too much personal pathology here, but I just wanted to share my ground breaking insight, courtesy of my 2 1/2-year-old son.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Clare was napping in her bed. I was resting on our bed. Jay was in the shower and Joshua was standing outside the shower, patiently waiting for Vati to emerge. Once Vati dried off, Joshua was full of questions:

"Are you going to shave?"

"No, but I thought I might brush my teeth."

"Do you got a bottom and a penis?"

"Yes I do."

"What do you do with your penis?"

*Chirp* *Chirp*

"Well sometimes I put underwear over the top of it. What do you do with your penis?"

"Sometimes I put a diaper over the top of it. Do you pee pee in the potty with your penis?"

"Yes, I do that, too."

Meanwhile I was pee peeing in my pants.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Need New Babies. Mine Keep Growing Up

Clare's first tooth finally broke through this morning. She's seriously considering crawling, although she still finds rolling much more effective. (That's an 18-month dress on my 8.5-month-old daughter, by the way.)

And Joshua--geez whiz, Joshua. He informed me the other day that the batteries were dead in one of his toys, so I showed him how to use Vati's screwdriver to open to battery cover. We took out the batteries and replaced the cover. I promised him he could put the new batteries in after we bought them. Fast forward a few minutes when he asked for the screwdriver again. I gave it to him and went to clean up the kitchen. When I peaked in on him five minutes later he had taken the cover off of another toy, removed the dead batteries, and was in the process of putting the cover back on. When we bought new batteries later that day, he repeated the process again on the first toy, asking for help only to get the screw going in the right direction as he replaced the cover. He even got the polarities correct when he put the batteries in.

Sure, it makes life easier for me. But now all of the battery-operated toys work again and I have a headache.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Special Day

"O God, it is our prayer that Clare will come to know the joy and suffering of being concerned about everyone she meets; that she will see each person worthy of dignity and acceptance. We hope for her a growth into fuller and deeper levels of humanity as expressed through Jesus.

"We pray that Clare will live in a world where justice is increased and where violence is decreased as a way to settle differences.

"Our hope is that Clare will understand that You alone can give life meaning and purpose and direction, O God; and that she will be on her knees before You with words of thanksgiving; and on her feet for You with deeds of love. This is our prayer. Amen."

--From the Service of Infant Baptism at Broadway United Methodist Church

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Twins and Basketball

If you followed the NCAA women's basketball tournament, GO VOLS you know that Brenda Frese, head coach of the Maryland Terrapins, recently gave birth to twin boys. Her high-risk pregnancy limited her ability to travel with the team to away games, but that didn't seem to affect the players too much. They entered the tournament as a 1-seed and made it all the way to the Elite Eight where they met Stanford, a 2-seed.

And although it made me a little sad that Frese wasn't home with her 5 1/2 week-old boys during that game, I thought it was pretty rockin' that she showed up to coach. She sported her "of-course-I-still-have-to-wear-this" maternity shirt under a black blazer and looked undeniably cute-yet-badass, all at the same time.

The highlight of the game for this mom of two, though, was when Frese was slapped with a technical for arguing with a referee. Jay and I laughed out loud. That poor woman has 6-week-old twins at home, out-of-control hormones coursing through her body at top speed, and probably hasn't had a full night of sleep in the last six months (although I'm sure Maryland is paying a pretty penny to make sure she has all the help she needs). Of course she got a technical foul. That handwriting was on the wall before the game even started.

The funniest part, though, was when the TV cameras panned to her husband in the stands. He looked and her and gave a half-hearted shrug, as if to say, "Now you people know what I'm living with every day."

I say, Go Brenda. That technical was for all of us sleep-deprived, hormone-laden, leaking, lochia-y, postpartum moms who couldn't blow our tops on national television.

Thank you.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Update: We got in!

For the past six months or so I've been struggling with the idea of enrolling Joshua in playschool next Fall. There's a great program run by the big Presbyterian church here in town that people just rave about. All of the staff have at least a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education, and there's almost no turnover among the teachers. And best of all, it's reasonably priced.

I'm not concerned about his cognitive progress. Dr. Vati takes care of that at home. What I really want is for him to be exposed to other kids and to learn to take direction from adults other than Jay and me. He relates really well to adults, but just isn't quite sure what to do around other kids (except his friend Olivia, whom he hugs, sometimes kisses, and generally just adores).
So I talked myself into pursuing this playschool. He would go on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 until 12, leaving Clare and I time to hang out together. If the Tuesday/Thursday slot wasn't available, I decided that I might consider letting him go on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, but that seems like an awful lot of time away.

Joshua and I went to visit last week. We went to the room that he would be in and talked to the teacher. Although Joshua didn't interact with the kids, he did make himself comfortable in the play kitchen (big surprise, right?). I was very impressed with what I saw. There was only one incident of pushing the whole time we were there and I loved the way the staff managed it. I asked one of the teachers if she thought that such socialization was necessary at this age. She answered very honestly that, as an educator and a mother, she didn't find it necessary but also believed that it couldn't hurt. Joshua and I also talked to the director, who was so wonderful and friendly and genuinely concerned for all the children. I left the visit thinking that playschool might be a good choice, and Joshua left asking when he could go to school again.

This past Wednesday was the "lottery." Church members get first dibs, legacies get second dibs, and the rest of the riffraff--like me--participate in a lottery. We gathered in the church dining hall, wrote our names on slips of paper, and dropped them in a big box. The director pointed out three piles of paper sitting on the table in front of her. Yellow forms were for the Tuesday/Thursday two-year-old class (my first choice). Purple forms were for the Monday/Wednesday/Friday two-year-old class (my second choice). And green forms were for the Tuesday/Thursday three-and-four-year-old class (not even an option). The names slowly came out of the box and the yellow forms slowly disappeared. My heart sank. Then the purple forms disappeared. And I got mad. It didn't help that both kids were up all night the night before and I was operating on about three hours of sleep. And it didn't help that the woman sitting across from me, who had picked up one of the coveted yellow forms, hadn't even bothered to visit the school yet. In fact, after she registered, she went over to see the school for the first time!

The upside is that we're first on the waiting list. The director wasn't ready to promise anything, but most wait-list kids have gotten in in the past. Now we just wait for a phone call.

And the funny thing is that I still haven't completely decided to send him. I'm just a little chapped that the choice was taken away from me. Bah.