Monday, December 31, 2007

While we're on the subject...

(of poop)

Our realtor took us around on Saturday in this nice community where we would like to live. Each house she showed us was beautiful and spacious and within our price range. It was like some kind of dream. Then she took us to a house she said "was below our price range and a little smaller than the others but might work." As we pulled into the driveway I commented on the ugly drainage pond surrounded by a concrete wall and chain link fence a few lots down; "Oh good, there's a pool!" I said.

My definition of ugly was about to change forever.

The house was small, but cozy and nice. It had a nice formal dining room and a foyer with a coat closet, just like I want. But when I walked into the kitchen/breakfast/family room area which had nice big windows onto the nice big covered deck in the backyard I saw--you will never guess--PORT-A-POTTIES. HUNDREDS OF BRIGHT GREEN PORT-A-POTTIES all lined up in a field behind the house. And because the house was on a hill, it was ALL you could see out the window. Oh, and did I mention the five or six septic tank trucks parked back there? Yeah. Our realtor struggled to put a chipper spin on that. She said something like "Oh, look, the privacy fence is ten feet instead of six feet!" Unfortunately because of the hill the top of the fence was still two feet too short to block the expansive view of hundreds of plastic poopers from the window.

I can only imagine what it's like when the wind turns. I just threw up in my mouth a little just thinking about it.

In my head I could hear the voice-over from HGTV's Househunters saying "The third house was in good condition and was the least expensive but the deck overlooked a storage facility for portable toilets, you know, the kind they put behind the livestock tents at the county fair."

We went back to the car and where I had been making notes like "Pretty floors" and "Updated kitchen" and "Swings in backyard" at the other houses I wrote "Crappers" and shoved it in the no pile. The heeeellllll no pile.


Guess where we're going today!! That's right, the Clogged Eustacian Tube Kid is back! On the ninth day of Christmas my mama gave to me... nine days of omnicef, eight nasty fevers, seven sleepless nights, six doses of Motrin, FIVE POOPS A DAY!!, four refused meals, three thrown tantrums, two sore ears, and a yeast infection in my diaper.

Silver lining: Next time we go to the pediatrician we won't have to wait in the Sick Waiting Room because we will be waiting in the Charles H. Lastname Sick Waiting Room at the Academomia Clinic for Pediatric Ear Health. Or perhaps the will institute some kind of "Get your card punched! Buy nine ear exams, get the tenth free!" promotion. Or maybe instead of giving Charlie a sticker they will have my coffee waiting there for me when we arrive. And is it too much to ask that they take the playground equipment of death out of the waiting room? Even though he almost falls off it every single time we are there it calls to him like some kind of primary colored plastic siren. Let me tell you something, you who decide which toys go where, sick toddlers do not take kindly to being told "Please don't climb on that" four hundred times. Especially sick toddlers who know EXACTLY where we are, thankyouverymuch. We need a big TV and some Cheerios and a few issues of Cosmo for me. Is that too much to ask?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Nature or Nurture?

Do all kids think tooting (our family word is ponking) is funny? Or is this another in a long string of things we are doing unknowingly that will no doubt send Charlie to some high-priced therapy in his late twenties?

Once when Charlie was very small, about six weeks, we were getting ready to go out somewhere with my parents. I don't know where, but when you're on week six of maternity leave does it really matter as long as it is SOMEWHERE? He was fussy, but I was on a mission. As my dad carried him over to the carseat the fussing turned into full blown crying. And then all of the sudden that tiny ten pound body made a startlingly loud BRRRRRRAAALLLLLLTTT!! Frat boys everywhere slapped eachother high fives. It was the breastmilk poo to beat all breastmilk poos. And just like that he stopped crying and smiled.

It took us all several minutes to regain composure.

Flash forward to now. Tooting is still hilarious, his own or Rossby's, or even if you make the same noise with your mouth (which is why Ryan got a voicemail while on a business trip of me making fart noises with my mouth trying to get Charlie to laugh except instead of laughing he kept trying to put the phone in his mouth so basically I just left an obscene heavy breathing message plus some bonus fart noises just to up the creepy factor a few ticks).

Originally I thought the laughing might be because tooting felt funny to him, but now I think we've taught him this. How can you not laugh at a baby who, while sitting in his highchair, puts down his Nilla Wafer, turns beet red and grunts softly for several minutes then picks up the cookie and resumes eating like nothing happened (It's especially funny that it still happens, except now he reserves it for nice family dinners or at restaraunts when the inappropriateness of it all makes it even funnier)? And what about the week-long string of mornings several months ago when Charlie greeted the day with a nice big ponk loud enough to be picked up by the baby monitor at the exact same time every morning? I DARE you to maintain a stony disapproving silence in the face of such hilarity.

Now that he laughs first it's impossible to keep from cracking up. Is anything more little-boy-like than laughing at body noises?

My sincerest appologies to his future spouse. But what can you do?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Redux

At church on Christmas Eve each kid got to pick out an ornament to hang on the tree. After some coaxing that it was ok to touch them, Charlie picked out his ornament, a dove with real feathers for wings that Ryan and I both thought was an angel at first.


But then Charlie showed us how it flapped its wings. Now that I'm looking at the picture I have no idea why I couldn't tell that was a bird. Hmm. Anyway, he was really proud of his Dove/Angel and made it fly during the walk to our seat. But sometime during the first song he handed me one of its wings and it was time for Mr. Dove/Angel to rest behind the Hymnals for a few minutes.


The children's service was perfect for Charlie, who walked back and forth in our pew sometimes laughing, sometimes pointing at something and exclaiming "OOOOOH! BOW!" (which is "wow"). We sang all my favorite Christmas hymns and during each one kids brought their ornaments up and hung them on the Christmas tree. When Angels We Have Heard on High started up Ryan said "That's us!" and grabbed Charlie's hand. We headed down the aisle to help Charlie hang up his now one winged dove (angel?), each holding one of Charlie's hands with Charlie walking between us. It was very sweet.

Here are some more church pictures that are here only because those overalls hurt my teeth they were so cute.



While Charlie slept (and by sleep I mean did not sleep AT ALL not even a little thanks to my insistance that he participate in the small birthday party we had for Jesus at 8:00 Christmas Eve. Cake + 1 year old + bedtime = no sleep for anyone. But man did he have fun!) Santa came and filled Charlie's stocking. It was like Santa could see into Charlie's little heart. There were Cheerios and Animal Crackers and stacking tupperware bowls! And books!



Santa even brought Charlie a ball because he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows when you flip out at Little Gym when it's time to put the balls away so maybe you'd like to have your own (for goodness sake).


Later we had dinner with Ryan's sister's family. Charlie LOVED hanging out with the big kids (three and four). When they got close to the Christmas tree he warned them not to touch it with stern sounding babble and a wave of the hand (he must have inherited my obsessive need for everyone to follow the rules).

On the way back to South we got stuck in a huge traffic jam and went 20 miles in an hour and a half. It made our normally three and a half hour drive more like five hours but thankfully Charlie was asleep for most of the boring traffic jam part. Ryan finally had to drive over the grass to get onto the service road (at the end of a line of about twenty cars doing the same thing) because there was just no end in sight. When we got to the front of the huge line they had just closed the interstate because a truck had been involved in an accident and spilled some kind of hazardous chemical onto the road. Sooooooo glad we got off the highway when we did.

It was the simplest Christmas we've had since we got married and it was perfect.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Charlie LOVES Christmas. We are having so much fun. More later. With PICTURES!

But right now I am tired... because who knew that if you fed a one year old a piece of Jesus's birthday cake right before bed he wouldn't sleep well? Huh.

Did Santa bring Mama an open Starbucks? I was verrrrry good this year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An Early Christmas Present

Ryan: [just out of shower, wrapped in towel, hair wet] "GEEZ!!!"

Me: "What?"

Ryan: "I was so proud of myself for getting Charlie's diaper changed and PJs off while you were taking a shower!"

Me: "Yeah, thanks for doing that."

Ryan: "But while I was in the shower you got yourself all ready for church, got Charlie dressed for church, and packed our suitcase! How do you DO that?!"

Me: [makes gun shape with hand, blows on tip of finger]

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Just waiting for an angry neighbor to stop by.

Yesterday while I was working at home my phone rang.

"Do you have a small white dog?" said the voice.

"Not again" I thought, my mind racing through all the terrible possibilities... that dog has used up his proverbial nine lives and more. In the old town he ran across six lane streets four times that we know about once arriving at the mall where he jumped into the car of two strangers who called us to come and get him. I've pulled him out of strangers' backyards once, and Ryan had to fish him out of a nearby pond another time.

"Yes, I do." I said, holding my breath.

"He's in my garage... Are you in TheOldTown?" said the voice. I haven't had new tags made yet.

"No, I'll come and get him." I said. She gave me the address of a house just up the street. She came out of her garage with Rossby on a leash and met me halfway.

"I don't know what happened, but there is some blood on his paw" she said. Sure enough there were several streaks of red blood on his right-front paw. What I thought was a tuft of fur was sticking out of his snout.

"He must have scratched himself when he climbed under the fence" I said as I non-chalantly looked up and down the street for dead or maimed housecats. Rossby has a dark history when it comes to cats and there are about a dozen that I see around here on a daily basis. Each fluffier and cuter than the last. Rossby being out of the yard meant a dark dark day for the cats of South. I thanked the woman profusely and took Rossby home. Once inside I plucked the loose tuft of fur off of Rossby's nose and was horrified to discover that it was PART OF A CAT'S CLAW.

Rossby Close-up
"I got beat up by a cat, yo!"

I think I'll spend the day Christmas shopping so I'm not around when the angry neighbor stops by with his sobbing child to explain that the vet did everything they could but couldn't help poor Snowflake and would I please keep my dog in the house from now on.

This morning he was going all Captain Hook v. Ticking Arm-eating Alligator through the window at some poor cat who dared sleep on one of our patio chairs. I hope he has learned something from this.

"Y'all are a couple of assholes you know that?"
Of course moments like this may have contributed to his delinquent behavior.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Dr. Ryan
Here he is! Dr. Ryan! He's reluctant to accept the title, but I'm working on him. Like "Thanks for pumping the gas, Dr. Ryan," "What would you like for dinner, Dr. Ryan?" "Would you please change Charlie's diaper? After all, you are a doctor!"

Guess where he is now while Charlie and I chill at the Embassy Suites.

He's in his lab with his advisor. Yeah. Someone should really tell him that he's done with school forever.

Anyway, here's a picture of Charlie during the approximately five minutes he was able to stay in his seat with us (notice this is even before the graduates arrived).

Charlie at Graduation

We only brought enough milk and Teddy Grahams to make it through the processional. He waved with us when Ryan walked in. He laughed when Ryan put on his mortar board and laughed when the president of the university appeared on the Jumbotron wearing his. I think it was the tassel.

Of course we had to do this before we dropped Ryan's robe back off at the bookstore. The hood reached the floor when Charlie had it on.


We are back in our old town for the weekend and we've been visiting all of our old favorite spots. Today we drove by our old house. The rosebushes I trimmed right before we moved were all in bloom and the purple, yellow, and white roses looked so pretty against the snowy lawn. (Oh, right, it SNOWED) I could see the outline of the curtains I made for Charlie's room through the window. I wonder if it's still the same pretty blue color we painted it. I wonder if the new owners are using it for their baby.

(I wonder if either of them has gotten spit on while trying to brush their teeth simultaneously in our tiny master bathroom yet. Because it WILL happen. Someone should warn them.)

I dropped in at the old coffee shop this afternoon and I wanted to go to our old grocery store but I didn't want Ryan to think I am crazy so I didn't say anything.

I wish we could stay here. I like where we are now and I love having family so close. But I think the stress of the last three months combined with our recent sad news are making me crave the stability of living in a town where I have lived for the last nine years.

But like I said, it SNOWED. And it is FREEZING. I am not interested in living like that again. The coats, the gloves, the hats, the shivering. No, no, no, and no. And the ice scraping... double no!

I had a meeting with Dr. Advisor that I barely remember because I was so coked up on cold medicine but I think I can put the pieces together with the notes he took and then gave me to take home.

We go back to South tomorrow afternoon and now that graduation is behind us I hope we can settle into some kind of predictable rhythm.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's a bird! It's a plane! No! It's the Clogged Eustachian Tube Kid!

Wielding his trusty yellow dust pan, the Clogged Eustachian Tube Kid patrols the land of Kitchen protecting the people of South from misplaced Cheerios, important pieces of mail, and errant morsels of dog food.

Big Helper

Before venturing out he inspects his tools. The coffeepot which gives power to his sidekick, Super Mama, and the mini-chopper which is used to crush super hero food, like chicken, into tiny pieces small enough for the Clogged Eustachian Tube Kid's delicate sensibilities.

(We are nothing if not organized.)

The important work of the Clogged Eustachian Tube Kid can only be thwarted by his sworn enemy, Pediatrician Man. Pediatrician Man, with his arsenal of torture instruments like baby scales, stethescopes, and tongue depressors, is a dangerous and sinister villain capable of reducing the Clogged Eustacian Tube Kid to a miserable heap of tears. As the Clogged Eustachian Tube Kid and Super Mama are led by a henchwoman (dressed deceptively harmless looking in a shirt featuring kittens and puppies) back to Pediatrician Man's lair they shudder as they hear the screams of the innocent townspeople permeating the walls of the dungeon.

Once inside and alone, the Clogged Eustachian Tube Kid attempts to decode some of Pediatrican Man's plans, which have been carelessly left underneath the torture table. Apparently Pediatrician Man is planning something which involves Big Red Dogs and other talking creatures. The Clogged Eustacian Tube Kid makes a note that Pediatrician Man knows too much about talking animals given the many volumes of intelligence available under the torture table.

The Clogged Eustachian Tube Kid hears a knock at the door. The mere presence of Pediatrician Man is enough to sap him of his strength and composure. As a result he must rely on Super Mama to negotiate the terms of their release.

Indeed, the only hope the Clogged Eustacian Tube Kid has against this vile adversary is to affix himself to Super Mama by coating her shirt with a special bonding agent that is dispensed from his nose. Although she is normally a reliable sidekick, the Clogged Eustachian Tube Kid wonders if Super Mama has mixed allegiances because she sometimes helps to restrain him while Pediatrician Man's evil henchwomen inject mysterious liquids into his legs, robbing him of his powers.

After an encounter with Pediatrician Man, Super Mama reassures the sobbing Clogged Eustacian Tube Kid by invoking their secret phrase of power, a patronizing "Oh, you are such a big brave boy!" and then delivers him to his bunker where he can regain his power by snuggling up with his closest advisor, Mr. Phent.

After a short period of rest and a dose of the secret elixer, unsweetened applesauce, the Clogged Eustachian Tube Kid is able to protect the land of Kitchen once again.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm. Too cute for my hat. Too cute for my hat.

Dear Charlie,

Believe it or not, when I make you wear a hat outside, it is not because I want you to be miserable. It is because I want you to be warm. And I only fasten the chin strap you hate so much because if I don't you will take it off and throw it out of my reach once we leave the driveway.

This morning, it was very cold and I wanted to do something nice, so I left the chin strap undone. You didn't know this, because I am sneaky and have secret all-knowing powers, but I waited for a few seconds outside of the car to see what you would do. When I caught you with your hat in your hands, so to speak, you were very clever to try and put it back on reeaaal quick-like so maybe I wouldn't notice that you weren't wearing it. But I could tell something was amiss by the way the hat was balled up in your hand and merely resting on top of your head.

Oh, and one more thing, when you try to take your hat off once the chin strap is fastened, you only end up unable to see (if you get your hat stuck over your eyes) or close your mouth (if you get the chin strap stuck in your mouth like a big fleecy orthodontic appliance). And, like thrown sippy cups and pacifiers, that can only be fixed if we happen to get stopped at a particularly long red light and Mama is feeling generous (and flexible).

So next time your head starts to itch and sweat, remember that it means I love you.



Sunday, December 9, 2007


Ryan and I took Charlie to the town just north of South to have dinner and walk around the town square to look at Christmas lights. As we paused to look in the windows of an art gallery, Charlie (and only Charlie) in Ryan's arms, a man approached us and said "Oh, how adorable... are they twins?"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Am not durnk, i toook Sooooodifed

Remember this time last year when I thought Charlie was SO HUGE? When he had outgrown his Christening outfit and I called him "Growey McEats A-Lot" and I had to order a size 6-9 months sailor suit online for him? When his biggest accomplishment was fleeting moments of eye contact and the occaisional lift of the head off the floor during tummy time?

Clearly my perspective was a little off. I think it was the sleep deprivation. Or the six-week growth spurt (that nearly killed all three of us but was greatly amusing to everyone lucky enough to witness Charlie's prolonged periods of cat-like yowling for food, in that case boob).

Ryan plugged the tree in for the first time this year and Charlie dropped his coveted sippy cup of milk so he would have a hand free to point at the tree and exclaim "OOOOOH!" then crawl towards it saying "Oooh! Oooooooh! Oh! Ooooooh!" The camera is even more interesting than the tree, as you'll see in the second part of this video, in which Charlie looks like Godzilla compared to the first half. Make sure your sound is turned on.

Charlie Christmas Tree, Then and Now from charlielaughs on Vimeo.

Disclaimer: This post was written while under the influence of Sudifed Nighty-Nighttime. Any spelling, usage, or grammar errors, comma splices, run-ons, and any inappropriate humor should be attributed to the fact that all the keys now look the same on the keyboard and I very much need to go lie down so my brain can finish its important work of beating its way out of my skull like a little chick painstakingly pecking out little pieces of egg shell until at last it is free.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mama is on the PHONE!

Fun new game: Throw a metal pan, clap with glee at the brain-shattering noise it makes, repeat until you get relegated to the playpen.

Hmm, I wonder if the pregnant friend I was talking to at the time is frightened.

I'm feeling much better. My appetite is back (unless one of the seven steps of grief includes Indian food and cookies), which is too bad because I was almost down to what I weighed in high school. Talking to the nurses at church really helped, which makes me think a different reaction from the physician's assistant would have made a world of difference. I am still sad, but it's nothing like last week when I couldn't walk past the spot on the street where I was when I first suspected something was wrong.

And I just got off the phone with the Too Busy to Care Women's Group to cancel my first prenatal appointment about which they were so thoughtful to have a machine call and remind me. They left me on hold for ten minutes while a chipper voice told me all about their talented and professional and mean, uninterested, ice cold staff of physician's assistants who work closely with your doctor to offer you routine prenatal care. I am d-o-n-e with that place.

I met a midwife this weekend at a party and I was all ready to head over to the South Birthing Center to get cleared for (the next) takeoff until I learned that midwives frown on epidurals in favor of "managing your pain using relaxation and breathing techniques in a home-like setting." And also that "most women go home within six hours of delivery." (to which I say "Oh, how wonderful. How long do you take care of the baby?)

Now if Charlie King of Cranky Babies Everywhere would just take a freaking nap. Because well rested babies don't start crying for no reason at the playground.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Communion Sunday

The church we left in the old town was our home. We had friends there, Charlie was baptized there, and we were consistently late to the service or Sunday School because we saw so many familiar faces as we walked through the building. When Charlie was tiny the girls who worked in the nursery took turns wrapping him up in a blanket and rocking him while he slept. The last week we were there the director of the nursery teared up as she held her own son, just a few months younger than Charlie, and said "I thought you boys could grow up together!"

Needless to say, it was very hard to leave. We have a church here that we like, but haven't had a chance to attend any classes or activities and we didn't feel the same sense of community that we had had before. You can imagine how acutely I felt that absence this week. So today we decided to go to Sunday School. We picked a random class out of a brochure, found the room, and hoped for the best.

There were two OB nurses in the class. They gave me the name of some other doctors to try and said all the things the mean physician's assistant should have said to me.

All I can say is wow.