Relatives on the Move

6.29.2010

Only two months ago, our relatives, specifically my two sister-in-laws, made the very big and finite decision to move.

“They’re going where?” I asked my husband in shock.

“They want to move to Florida.”

“But why?” I asked with curiosity.

“Because Michelle thinks the warmer weather will be better for her back. You know, she can go swimming all year round, and the doctor says aqua therapy would be good for her.”

“But what about your younger sister?”

“Melissa says it would be easier for her and Moses to find full-time jobs down there.”

The news came abruptly, and it really didn’t give me a chance to ponder the reality of it. We were so used to them living only ten minutes away from our house. We visited frequently, especially my husband, and we had lots of fun times together with both of them and their children.

Perhaps the most difficult part of the move would be missing our nieces and nephew—Kaleigh, Sarah, and Gabe. Even before we were married, my husband and I took Kaleigh and Gabe out to eat, to the movies, roller skating, snow tubing, hiking, and to see fireworks. One year, we even took Kaleigh to Wildwood, New Jersey, so she could experience the beach, the boardwalk, and all the fun rides and game booths. For the longest time, we considered them to be our surrogate children. We thought these little day trips and adventures with them would last forever, and now that Lil’ Lewie was getting older, he was enjoying their company too!


Sarah had another special place in our hearts. Being only four, she was the youngest of the niece and nephew clan. We didn’t have a chance to take her to all of the same places we went to with Kaleigh and Gabe, but Sarah and Lil’ Lewie in the past year had become the best of friends. While I went to work every Tuesday, Lil’ Lewie went over to the house and had a chance to play, dance, and runaround with Sarah. She affectionately took on the role of an older sibling and was eager to entertain Lil’ Lewie all day. He, playing the role of a younger sibling, enjoyed the entertainment and admiringly watched and mimicked her every move. Watching the two of them giggle and interact with each other is a fun diversion in itself. They are adorable together.

Now that the time is near (everyone will have left by this Friday), I’m slowly adjusting to the situation. Of course, we’ll be making frequent trips to Florida each year, and with them living only an hour from Disney World, we’ll have to make some visits to the Magic Kingdom for sure. I do understand the reason for the move. Life in Connecticut is expensive. In just our town alone, a house assessed at $300,000 will have to pay $10,000 per year in taxes. (Thankfully, our house isn’t assessed for that much, but we still have to pay approximately $7,000 per year.) On top of that, we have a car tax, boat tax, and a 6% sales tax. We have a lot of wealthy cities and towns in the state, which also drive up the cost of gas, food, and entertainment. My father, who moved to Georgia during his later years in life, often said he would move back to Connecticut if the cost of living wasn’t so ridiculous.

It’s funny how life always surprises us. What will be our future? To be honest, I can’t think that far ahead. For now, we are able to make ends meet up here, so there’s no reason for moving. My mother lives right next door to us, and Ninny and Papa (Lew’s parents) still live locally too. (Although they may move within the year.) I feel sad that Lil’ Lewie won’t have the daily or weekly interaction he once had with his cousins, but we’ll find a way to make sure they cherish the memories, create new ones, and stay close in mind and heart.

These beach photographs of Lil' Lewie, Gabe, Kaleigh, and Sarah were taken professionally this year by Fairy Tale Photography in Waterbury, CT. We made sure to take some pictures of all four cousins before the move to keep those memories alive!

Monday’s Mommy Moment: I Can Put Sun Block on All by Myself

6.28.2010

I’ve decided that I’m going to reserve Monday for writing about a special mommy moment that took place during the week. With my little boy being twenty-two months old, it feels like he’s doing something new each day, and these moments can easily by missed. Today, I’m listing my favorite of the week.

Lately as I’ve been giving my little boy a bath, he’s been interested in lathering himself up with the body wash all by himself. (I use Weleda Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash.) I put a little dab of it in his hand, and he rubs it onto his chest and belly and makes an attempt to do his hair. It’s cute, and since I know it won’t sting his eyes, I do everything I can to applaud him for his efforts.

“Good job Lil’ Lewie. Oh, you’re going to be such a clean boy!”

Now that he likes soaping up in the tub, he’s equally interested in helping put lotion, diaper cream, Vaseline, and everything else on himself too. This week before going to a pool party, I decided to rub Sun Block all over him. Of course, it didn’t take long before he wanted to join in. Like always, I put a little dab in his hand, and before I knew it, he was rubbing it all over his chest and belly. The only difference this time is that he was wearing a tank top bathing suit. Thus, his tank top was nicely covered (and protected) by SPF 50.

Oh, you’ve got to love little ones and their innocence about the world. Truly.

Day Date with Hubby

I have not had a “day date” alone with my husband since Lil’ Lewie was born 22 months ago. Sure we’ve done a few things at night (movies, restaurants, roller-skating) but a day date was different.

It all started when my sister-in-law volunteered to take Lil’ Lewie to a toddler birthday party that was held yesterday. “I know he’d have a lot of fun with the other kids,” she said. “What do you think?”

Lewie and I looked at each other and took a moment to bring our jaws back up to the floor. “Really? You don’t mind taking him for the day?” I asked again because it sounded too good to be true.

“Really. Plus, Sarah (his four year-old cousin) would love spending time with him,” she answered.

If my sister-in-law volunteered to watch Lil’ Lewie a year ago, I would have declined the offer. Parenting was still new to me, and I had a hard time entrusting anyone else with the responsibility of watching him. Now that he was older and not so fragile, my worries dissipated.
“Sounds great!” I exclaimed. “What time does he need to be ready?”

My husband and I could hardly contain our enthusiasm. Sure we just had a wonderful trip to the Bahamas, but we couldn’t actually do anything together. One of us had to watch Lil’ Lewie while the other one was given free time to read, relax on the beach, swim, or soak up some rays. Now we could do whatever we wanted TOGETHER!

Like two teenagers planning our first date, we quickly went over our list of possible options—beach, hiking, Margaritas, outdoor concerts, amusement parks—and yeah, I almost forgot—sex.

After some scrutiny, we chose our day plan in this order.

--Lunch out on the patio of the GW Tavern/Restaurant

--A long hike at Steep Rock Reservation

--Intimate time at home

The plan, to us anyways, was a dream come true. My husband had never been to the GW Restaurant, and I couldn’t wait for him to try the food and see the exquisite view from the patio. Hiking was a great plan because Lil’ Lewie was still too young to go with us, and at a healthy 33 lbs. we weren’t about to try carrying him on our backs or in a sling. And finally, after some much needed emotional bonding during lunch and our hike, it would only be right to then have some physical intimacy as well.

During our lunch and our hike, we reconnected on both an emotional and spiritual level. We talked about our marriage, about our first dates, our trips, our honeymoon, our Lil’ Lewie, and the prospect of having more kids. We talked about life, death, change, hopes, dreams, and fears. Our time together, in essence, reminded us of why we became best friends and chose each other as life partners to begin with. I was surprised by how easily our conversation flowed, and for once out of twenty-two months, we really had something more meaningful to say to each other instead of the usual…

Me: “Are you going to help me with the dishes?”

Husband: “After I finish watching my show.”

Me: “You know you’re going to fall asleep in that recliner and not help me with the dishes.”

Husband: “I promise I will do the dishes. Okay, Nagarella?”

When we pulled up into our driveway after the hike, Lew’s sister was already in the driveway waiting for us. Lil’ Lewie jumped out of the car like a wildman and spoke in such animated gibberish that I was certain he was recounting the events of the day.

“I guess it looks like the sex is out,” my husband whispered, sounding obviously disappointed.

“Remember, we’re married now and have a kid,” I teased, “we’ll try again when Lil’ Lewie is grown and moves away to college.”

Unclaimed Kids

6.26.2010

Yesterday, Lil’ Lewie and I went to the beach (really it’s a lake called Burr Pond) with my sister-in-law, her boyfriend, and her four year-old princess. (She truly believes she is one too.) It was a rather busy Friday afternoon, and the lake was hopping with kids—some running around with pool noodles, foam bats, Super Soakers, and other toys that could easily be placed in Wal-Mart’s Blaster Toy category. (Yes, it exists.) I looked around and noticed that Lil’ Lew was only one of two kids that actually brought a pail of sand toys. Go figure.

Okay, so right away, I knew we were in for some wild mania at the lake—tons of kids running around hitting each other with foam bats and pool noodles will usually lead to some kind of injury. Sure there was a lifeguard on duty, but how she could keep track of so many little ones running around was anybody’s guess.

To avoid the wild crowd stationed by the large rock (like I said, an injury seemed inevitable), we decided to play on the side of the beach with less action. At first, it appeared that Lil’ Lew had made an older friend in red swim trunks. However, as he started to push my little boy and mumbled under his breath, “No, get lost. I was playing here. This is my sandcastle,” I realized the “friend” was more like a mortal enemy. Of course, if Lil’ Lewie had been wrecking or touching an actual sandcastle or something made in the sand, I would have reprimanded him to leave it alone. Instead, this little boy must have been hallucinating because there wasn’t even a mound of sand near him that could be identified as something that he made.

I immediately broke up the pushing, but then scoped the beach to find the parent. Amazingly, there didn’t appear to be one. Who was watching this little boy? The little boy continued to be a nuisance as he whispered insults under his breadth. “Why do you guys have to play here anyway? This is my area. You guys are stupid.” Since he said it rather softly, I didn’t think it was intended for us to hear, so we ignored it and continued to play, giving the little boy enough space as possible for his imaginary turf.

As my sister-in-law’s boyfriend jumped into the lake and started to play with the “princess,” he suddenly drew an admiring crowd of little kids who wanted to play with him also. Some started to whack him with pool noodles while others tried tapping him and running away as quickly as possible. It was all in good fun, and my sister-in-law’s boyfriend didn’t seem to mind playing with everyone, but again, the question arose once more, “Where are the parents?” It was obvious that these kids were dying for some attention. Some were playing a little too roughly, but again, “Where are the parents?” Was it our job to tell these kids that they were being a little too rough and aggressive in the water?

Lil’ Lewie tried making friends with a three year-old little girl. She proudly put three fingers up when I asked her her age. She didn’t seem to be too interested in Lil’ Lewie when she heard his baby gibberish. Instead, she passed us out and started wadding in the deeper water. Not having any flotation devices, I became nervous and felt like it was my duty to watch her. Once again, I scoped the beach to see if it looked like anyone was watching her, and amazingly, I couldn’t pick out anyone.

After three hours at the lake, Lil’ Lewie and I decided to leave. (It was a warm day, and even though he was wearing sunscreen, I was a little worried about him getting too much sun exposure.) I didn’t envy the lifeguard who was now standing by the rock looking like she was going to have to lecture someone. Apparently, it was her job to watch anyone age 3 and up who decided to go into the water. She was the new childcare provider with an adult to child ratio of 1:120.

Friday Fun Flick: "Boyz will be Boyz"

6.25.2010

Welcome to Friday Fun Flicks.

Every Friday I will be posting a fun/amusing video clip of my Lil' Lewie. For me, it's a great way to share the fun I'm having raising my little boy while recording these precious moments.

Heaven knows they grow up way too fast!

video

Cookie

6.24.2010

Okay, I’ll admit…I am a neurotic mom. Ever since I started seeing a naturopath and reading about today’s food, I stress about things like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified seeds, etc. Basically, everything that I grew up eating as a kid is now labeled to be bad—it’s nonorganic and contains unnecessary sugar, artificial colors and flavors etc. I suppose I’m here today to tell my story, and I suppose Lil’ Lewie can eat it too without devastating, lifelong consequences, but…my guilty mommy gene cringes when he eats these foods.


At home, we subscribe to eating as much organic food as possible. My pantry is filled with organic cereals, snacks, pasta, soups, etc. Our refrigerator is stacked with organic eggs, fruits and vegetables along with Stonyfield Yogurt, almond milk, soymilk, and goat’s milk. And our freezer is stacked with organic frozen fruits, vegetables, and meats with no antibiotics or growth hormones or stimulants added. (No, we’re not vegetarian, but we do limit our meat consumption. Salmon and chicken are the meats we eat the most frequently.)

Anyways, as much as I try to make sure our family eats well, we still have those days where we give in to temptation and go out for pizza or for a hamburger that most likely came from a corn fed cow pumped up with steroids. It’s an ongoing battle, and the days we lose our organic battle is when we visit others who don’t subscribe to the philosophy or don’t know about organic foods altogether.

A week ago, my husband came home and told me that Lil’ Lewie learned the word “cookie” from his sister. He was proud that our little boy added a new word to his vocabulary, especially since our Lil’ Lewie, at 22 months, doesn’t say much beyond the common mama, dada, and baba. I know I should have been proud or maybe even a tad bit happy, but the word “cookie” echoed in my ears and made me cringe. My reaction was almost the same reaction as if he was taught to say one of George Carlin’s seven dirty words that you can never say on TV. (Again, I confessed earlier that I am neurotic.)

My husband saw my reaction and became perturbed. “What? You have a problem now with the word cookie? You know we’re not going to have our little boy grow up as some twig and berry eating freak?”

“I know. I know,” I muttered back, “but couldn’t he have been taught to say the word snack or treat instead? I don’t want our son to turn around and start asking for cookies every time we eat. I don’t want him to grow up with the same bad eating habits I had growing up.” Yes, my bad eating habits included eating a bag of Doritos or Double Stuffed Oreos in one sitting for breakfast while my mom wasn’t looking.

My husband and I haven’t discussed the word since, and actually, Lil’ Lewie hasn’t said it out loud…at least not to me. Did I worry for nothing? Yes, I think I did. As much as I’d like Lil’ Lewie to grow up eating the best, most nourishing food possible, I do need to realize that just like us, he won’t have access to the best food everywhere he goes, nor will he want to eat healthy 100% of the time. I guess the best advice I can give myself and him is to remember that doing things in moderation (including eating not so healthy stuff) is key.

Do you believe schools should offer healthy food choices to our children? Please see the petition for the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization.


Yes Dear, I'll Buy You ANOTHER Wedding Band

6.23.2010

For Father’s Day, I bought my husband a typical shirt and a little trinket as a gift from Lil’ Lewie to Daddy. However, this year, I decided to buy him a gift from me as well…a wedding band.

It’s not like he didn’t have a wedding band. He did. About a year ago, he lost it. I think the conversation went something like this…

Husband: “Annette, have you seen my wedding band?”

Me: “No, you better not have lost it. Lewie…did you lose it?”

Husband: (Silence.)

I gave him a year to find it. I gave him a year to make him think about what he did and repent, and then finally, I gave it a year to realize that I should just suck it up and buy him another one. After all, although I never lost my wedding ring or my engagement ring, I have lost other sentimental things in my life. Well sort of…

For Father’s Day, I bought my husband a stainless steel personalized spinner band that could be engraved on the outside and also on the inside. While I’m not a big advocate for marketing products on my blog, I do have to say that I love the ring. On the outside in clear, black, legible letters, it says Annette & Lew with our wedding date, and on the inside, it says our son’s name, Lewie Jayden, with his birth date.

No, it’s not the typical wedding band, but he loves it. It’s masculine, it’s affordable (less than $100), and it’s one of a kind. If he loses this one, now I can make Lil’ Lewie give him a guilt trip right along with me since his name's on it too!


Father's Day Recap

6.21.2010

video

Celebrating Father’s Day in our house was like the Father’s Day celebration glamorized in the new ABC comedy The Middle. For anyone not privy to this show or episode, the whole episode was created to show the disparity between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. You see, when mothers celebrate Mother’s Day, they don’t have a chance to relax and stop being mothers. Instead, they’re still in charge of changing poopy diapers, getting the kids dressed and fed, etc. etc. However, when fathers celebrate Father’s Day, the day is all about them, and they get to have some good old fashioned playtime with the kids and without the kids…

Anyways, I know my husband had an enjoyable day, but I have to say that if I took a poll, I would admit the person who enjoyed this day the most was our Lil’ Lewie Jayden (L.L. Cool J.)

You see, the day started with watching Daddy open his present along with his special musical card. After one viewing of the card, Lil’ Lew was hooked. For the next hour, he laughed and squealed with delight as he continually opened and closed the card. Asking for the card back didn’t work. I finally had to pry it out of his little fingers, so that we could move on to our next adventures.

After the musical card, the fun progressed to taking a walk with Mommy in the stroller followed by a ride with Daddy on the large ride-on mower.

After a little snooze, it was time to visit the grandparents, Ninny and Papa, where he’s always fed special treats. After a yummy lunch, he got to play and experiment with a Slip N Slide for his very first time. This time he squealed with delight as he danced around in the water and watched his older cousin Sarah glide through the rain shower like a plane coming in for a landing.

After a busy afternoon with the Slip N Slide, it was back home for a delicious dinner, followed by more playtime and storytime with his favorite books, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and In My Little Blue Bed by Claire Henley.

Father’s Day officially ended for Lil’ Lew as he snuggled up in Daddy’s lap and slowly felt his eyes get heavier and heavier until he drifted into a sound sleep from the rocking motion of the recliner. Ahhhh, what a perfect day, indeed.

Happy Father's Day to My Husband, the Sap!

6.20.2010

There’s no question that when Little Lewie was born, I became overly sentimental. In fact, I think my gushiness may have even started the moment I found out I was pregnant. I would get teary eyed at the mere sight or sound of a baby. In fact, even now, there is a list of things that I need to stay away from if I want to keep my composure. Some items on this list include
• Lullabies

• Storybooks, especially The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

• Baby clothes, especially little booties

• Baby mobiles (again, the music gets to me)

• Cuddly stuffed animals

• Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards

Just as recently as this week, I was looking at several Father’s Day cards, when I read one that got me so emotional, I had to bury myself into the corner of the store and hide. I grabbed my sunglasses and attempted to walk out of the store looking calm and collected. What happened to me?!

Well, I’m happy to say that I’m not the only one in the family who cries at the mere thought of having Little Lewie in my life. Big Lewie, my husband, has become a sap, too. Big time! His first noticeable outburst happened while I was pushing Little Lewie from my vagina. He stood by my side, amazed, with tears streaming down his face. Of course, his tears turned to all out sobbing as the doctor handed us our precious, tiny newborn. It was a sight that will be forever embedded in my mind.

From that day on, I watched my husband’s mommy gene kick in. Time and time again, my husband would be the first to offer to give him a bath, change his clothes, give him a bottle, rock him to sleep, and even change his diaper. He was proud to take care of Little Lewie’s basic needs and even prouder when it came to dressing Little Lewie and showing him off. “I’ll pick out his clothes,” my husband insisted one day as he pushed me away from the closet. “Little Lewie, how do you like this little foggy and chickie outfit? It’s going to look so cute on you, my little L.L. Cool J (stands for Little Lewie “Cool” Jayden). He’d very neatly dress his son into the most adorable outfit he could find and then brush our little boy’s blonde, curly hair into one of many styles. I couldn’t help but laugh as my macho, Metallica loving, tattoo covered husband turned into our son’s hairstylist. “Little Lewie…today we are going to spike your hair,” or “today, we are going to slick down your hair and give you the professional CEO look. Well, look at you. Is my Little Lewie ready for an interview? You look so dapper.”

As my husband spoke to our son, his voice would easily climb up three or four octaves. He would endearingly call our little boy names like Chubby Knuckles, Little Chubby Custard, and Skids. Of course, most of the time, both of us would just sound like a bunch of bumbling, repetitious idiots. “Little Lewie, you are so cute. How did you get so cute, Little Lewie? You are so amazing. Look at you. We love you so much. Oh we love you oh so much, Little Lewie.” (I think you get the idea.)

My husband’s true testament of love for our son came the day he decided to shave off his goatee. I had fallen asleep in the recliner, only to wake up to my husband’s face being an inch away from my own. “You scared me,” I said, startled.

“Well, what do you think?” he asked while stroking his shiny, naked chin.

“Am I dreaming?” I asked, completely serious.

“I shaved off my goatee,” my husband announced, still thinking I hadn’t noticed the change.

“You look so young. I can’t believe it.”

“Do you think I look funny?” he asked. “I know I have a big upper lip that I’m used to hiding with my mustache.”

“No, you look great. I always thought you should shave it all off. Why the change now?”

“Well, you know, Little Lewie does have sensitive skin, and I really think I’ve been irritating it lately from kissing him so much. I don’t want to give him a rash.”

Nice, I thought to myself. Oh how I couldn’t stand that prickly mustache. For the six years we’d been together, he never once thought about shaving it off for me, but three months after the baby’s arrival, and it was gone. We later learned that Little Lewie’s reddish skin irritation was a form of baby eczema due to a milk allergy, but nonetheless, my husband showed he was willing to do anything for our little boy.

Watching my husband’s daily interaction with Little Lewie could really be a unique character study. Like most fathers, he enjoys tickling, making funny faces, belching, and even releasing the occasional fart to entertain our little squirt. Because my husband loves music, he also sings, dances, and plays the drums and guitar for him. (He has dreams of creating a father-son band that goes on tour together, probably as soon as Little Lewie’s third birthday. “Our son’s going to be a child prodigy,” my husband announces each time Little Lewie tries to strum the guitar using his little rake like motion.) If Little Lewie isn’t interested in playing an instrument when he’s older, he might, instead, be interested in joining the circus as his dad also performs a juggling act for him on a nightly basis with his three colored fish. Really, there’s no telling what special talent my husband is going to execute next as he is the grandmaster of all useless, annoying, and bizarre tricks. Perhaps the yoyo or even the ventriloquist puppet will be the next to come out.

There’s no question that my husband has become more sentimental since Little Lewie’s birth. Unlike when it was just the two of us, Big Lewie now comes home directly after work, ditches his friends’ phone calls and invites, and even, occasionally, cancels band practice. It’s been amazing to watch this transition as my husband has now, gulp, matured. He loves our little guy and will go great lengths to prove it. The other day I walked into the bathroom to see that my husband was sitting on the toilet, peeing. “What are you doing?” I asked, unsure if I really wanted to know the answer.

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m peeing sitting down.”

“Why?”

“I know I pee loud standing up, so I’m peeing like this. I don’t want to wake the baby.”

“Oh,” I answered and gently closed the door.

Has my husband turned into a sap? Yes, but I’ll admit that I do love it. Happy Father’s Day to my one and only very special cornball husband!

The NO Factor (Discipline for Toddlers)

6.18.2010

These days, the words “Mommy said NO” seem to involuntarily fly out of my mouth faster than the speed of lightening. When there’s a toddler around, the word “no” can mean one of four things…

  1. No, you’re going to hurt yourself (if you keep banging your head against the door.)
  2. No, you’re going to hurt mommy (if you keep poking me in the eye with your bubble wand.)
  3. No, you’re going to break something (if you keep running around in circles until you’re dizzy and then crash into the furniture.)
  4. No, we can’t continue to do this all day (because mommy’s tired, and she needs a Margarita.)


I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of the word “no.” In fact, I’d rather be one of those parents who never says it at all. After all, I can still vividly remember those fun days of jumping on the couch when my mother or grandmother was not in the room to scold me. I loved jumping on the couch, and it was even more fun when I could take flying leaps from one couch to the other. Of course, I don’t let my little boy do this even though I see the glimmer of excitement in his eyes when he begins. “No Lewie, sit on your butt….Lewie, I said NO. Now sit on your butt! Lewie, Mommy said NO!”

Lil’ Lewie seems to get into the most trouble when we’re at home, and he’s bored. While I’m stuffing dirty laundry into the washing machine, the eyes in back of my head will notice that he’s reaching for the flat screen TV, trying to stick his nose in the electrical outlet, or attempting to flush the toilet for the forty-fourth time. It’s too easy for him to get into trouble, and the “no’s” project out of my mouth as quickly and routinely as a baseball pitching machine tosses its balls into the air.

After a full day of “Mommy said NO,” Daddy comes home from work only to be the Mr. Yes guy. I mean my husband will still say NO, but if he starts playing with Lil’ Lewie, the boredom dies down and before we know it, Lil’ Lewie is now having way too much fun with Daddy to ever consider getting into mischief. Thus, the paradox of parenthood begins.

So, as much as it makes me the bad guy to say NO all day long, I know it’ll be worth it some day. I don’t expect that Lil’ Lewie will ever give me a Mother’s Day card that reads, “Thanks for telling me NO all these years,” but maybe it’ll say something like “Thanks for being a great Mom,” and I’ll know that part of the package of being a great mom is saying that ugly two letter word.

Does anyone else feel like they’ve become a NO person? There’s a great article about the alternatives to saying NO called Discipline for Toddlers.


Bahama Mama

6.12.2010



Okay, I know Bahama Mamas are drinks, but hey I’m a mama and I was in the Bahamas. After the painful plane flight with our toddler, it was nice to say that the rest of our trip was surprisingly fun and relaxing. Little Lewie easily sat in his stroller during our jaunts to and from the beach, he giggled furiously while trying to swim in the pool, and he even enjoyed jet skiing and parasailing with us. (Hey, you gotta love the lax rules in the Bahamas.) No, Lil’ Lewie didn’t actually glide in the sky with us, but he did go on the boat while my husband and I alternated turns between watching him and flying at 600 ft above the ocean surface.

My husband was the first to go. Lil’ Lewie watched curiously as the harness was fastened around Daddy and Daddy was led to the back of the boat. What’s going on? his little mind appeared to be thinking. Then, from out of nowhere, the rainbow colored sail was released, and Daddy was swept into the sky by the likes of a big colorful balloon. What the hell? A big balloon just came and snatched up Daddy! “Don’t worry, Little Lewie,” I said trying to console him. “Look Daddy’s waving to us. He’s okay.” Little Lewie took one look at me with his furrowed brows and then looked again at Daddy who now appeared to be the size of a dot in the sky. The poor boy. I prayed to myself that the whole experience wouldn’t traumatize him. He remained noticeably anxious until he started to see that Daddy was now becoming larger and moving closer to us again. Whew, that was a close call. We almost lost Daddy forever, his little expression seemed to say as Daddy glided down from his big colorful balloon back onto the boat. Then, Lil’ Lewie had the pleasure of watching the process all over again with me.

Since we felt Lil’ Lewie was still too young to enjoy sight seeing, we spent our entire trip enjoying the beach and the pool. The time went by fast, and while we enjoyed doing things together as a family, we also made sure to give each other some needed alone time to swim, use the Jacuzzi, or just relax. It wasn’t the most romantic of trips as we used to be able to use the Jacuzzi, jet ski, or relax on the beach together, but hey, a wise person once said that having children is the best form of birth control, and since we’re not ready to have another baby, having Little Lewie around certainly worked wonders in that area.

What was Little Lewie’s favorite part of the trip? I think there was a tie. He loved the pool, but he loved the elevator leading to our hotel room on the seventh floor too. In fact, he loved pushing the elevator buttons so much that he’d get his little pointer finger ready for action the minute he saw us enter the hotel lobby. It was his big moment.

Yes, for four full days, I was a Bahama Mama. Would I do it all over again with a two year-old? You betcha.

.

Soaring the Cranky Skies: Traveling with My Toddler Part II

6.09.2010


Okay, so after my little boy burst into a full out tantrum in the airport and forced us to spill a smoothie all over the airport carpet, we picked his limp, screaming body up and proceeded to do the walk of shame all the way until we boarded the airplane. I sighed as I thought we wouldn’t have to wrestle with Lil’ Lewie anymore after finding our seats. Boy was I in for a rude awakening!

I took the window seat, Lil’ Lew reluctantly sat in the middle, and my husband took the aisle seat. We bought a CARES Child Aviation Restraint System, which was supposed to easily keep Lil’ Lew situated in his seat, but as we attached it to the back of the seat and buckled the straps around his little body, our boy fought the straps and screamed with all his might. “I thought this would be better than using our car seat,” I said apologetically to my husband who was losing his patience by the second. Quickly, I reached for our bag of goodies—snacks, books, new toys, etc. “How about a treat, Lewie?” I asked as I grabbed one of his favorite wafer snacks and waved it in front of him. The response was a continuous whine while he pushed my hand with the wafer away. “Okay, let’s look at your new book? Look there’s a chicken. What’s this? Is this an egg? Can you lift up the egg to see what’s underneath?”

“Waah, Waaaaahhhh,” he replied as he proceeded to scoot his little body down the seat and out of the restraint system.

“How did he do that?” my husband asked, surveying the straps.

“Great! In less than two minutes, he figured a way out of the restraint system and the airplane seatbelt. That’s just great!”

We tried the restraint again; this time it seemed to keep him in, but he’d continue to scoot down until the buckle and strap were rubbing against his face and neck.

“That can’t be comfortable,” Lewie mumbled. “I’m going to take him out. It’s making him miserable.”

Fortunately, the flight crew didn’t make us use the system, so we packed it away, but that didn’t end our little boy’s fight. He tried lying on the seat and assuming all types of positions, but to no avail. It was obvious that he was tired, but the airplane seat just wasn’t comfortable. He didn’t want our laps either.

I reached for another toy. “Lewie, look it’s your very own cell phone. It’s your friend. He wants to talk to you. He wants you to enjoy your first flight.”

“Like that will happen,” my husband replied.

Lewie took the phone and appeared to be amused for a few minutes during our lift off. Yes, success, I thought, but when the flight crew started walking down the aisle and handing out drinks, Lil Lewie was miserable once again. He wanted out of his seat altogether. He pushed and pushed my husband’s legs as he shrieked, wanting to have access to the aisle; after all, in his little mind, he couldn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to walk in the aisle like everyone else. We were just mean jerks.

The three hour flight repeated a vicious cycle. Ten minutes of peace and quiet while I entertained him with one of his toys, ten minutes of unrelenting crying and throwing himself off the seat and onto the floor in front of him, and ten minutes of whining while he struggled to get comfortable enough to take a nap. The cycle never stopped, and he was never able to take a nap until our plane landed and we were finally situated in our long awaited hotel room. I crossed my fingers that the flight home would be different. It wasn’t.

Soaring the Cranky Skies: Flying with My Toddler

6.02.2010


Okay, I knew flying with Little Lewie, my now 21 month old, would be difficult. There's a reason why there are plenty of websites created just for giving advice about flying and traveling with kids. I took it seriously. Really. I hid some of Little Lewie’s favorite toys for weeks and bought new, interesting ones to entertain him on the flight. I packed his favorite, comfort blanket. (I swear my kid is just like Linus from Snoopy and the Peanuts gang.) I packed milk and favorite snacks, and I even bought Little Lewie his own seat (not cheap to say the least).

The trip itself was planned around Little Lewie. We love traveling to the West Coast and to Europe, but for us, traveling to those destinations are at least six hours away by plane. Instead, we agreed on going to the Bahamas—it was only a three hour flight, and we could fly nonstop from New York. Surely, he will be able to handle a three hour flight, I thought. He might be a little cranky in the beginning, but we’ll be able to entertain him or help him fall asleep. I even called his pediatrician; the nurse assured me that Little Lewie wouldn’t need any type of sedative. “He’ll be fine for three hours,” she said.

So, less than three days ago, we woke up Little Lewie at 5 a.m., so we could get him dressed and ready to leave with us for the airport. (We had a 9 a.m. flight.) He seemed to be in good spirits and feeling well. He drank his entire morning bottle and even had a little bit to eat. Every time I glanced at him from behind my seat, he was smiling or at least looked pleasantly amused. As we crossed the border into New York, however, Lewie began to vomit uncontrollably. “Oh my God, we need to pull over,” I gasped as my husband pulled onto the shoulder of the highway. Our Little Lewie never gets sick. I mean never. But there, all over his brand new travel outfit and car seat, was a nasty yellowish (well now you get the picture). We pulled him out of his car seat onto the grass, and my husband cleaned up the car seat while I began to change Little Lewie into the one and only outfit I packed in his diaper bag. (Thank goodness we didn’t need another one.) We weren’t exactly prepared for a vomiting episode. Baby wipes and Dunkin’ Donuts napkins were all we had. Somehow, my poor little one managed to get vomit in his hair and so while I cleaned him up for the most part, he still smelled like vomit for the rest of plane trip—not exactly ideal for my husband and I who already get travel sickness on airplanes.

Getting our tickets and passing through security at the airport went relatively smooth, but we were dumb to take him out of his stroller at the gate. I had the bright idea of trying out his new little backpack, monkey harness. (Yes, I know, it’s like a leash for kids.) The harness was recommended for toddlers in an airport. After all, I didn’t want him to run out of my reach and get lost in the crowd. Well, Little Lewie didn’t appreciate his monkey buddy. If fact, he loathed him. Every time I would tug on the tail to let Little Lewie know he was going in the wrong direction, my child would scream, jolt backward, and hit his head on the floor, which prompted, of course, a louder fit of screaming and crying. People at the airport scolded me with their dagger eyes—What an awful mother. She needs a leash and still can’t control her own kid. I felt shameful. My husband tried to help me, but as Little Lewie used all of his might to free his body from the backpack, my husband’s newly purchased smoothie tipped over and spilled all over the airport carpet. We had nothing to clean it up. We used everything we had to clean up Little Lewie’s vomit. Now people really hated us. Evidently, it appeared that we not only couldn’t control our own kid, but now we were the white trash that made messes at the airport and didn’t clean up after ourselves…TO BE CONTINUED