My apologies to A.A. Milne

Jack has a number of rubber duckies of various sizes, most of them classic. He has one ducky wearing a Winnie the Pooh costume (red shirt, bear ears). We call it Winnie the Pooh Duck.

(Thank you, eBay, for not making me go take a picture of ours.)

The other day, I was trying to find something for Jack to watch, and I came across the Winnie the Pooh cartoons. I showed him the pictures. “Jack, would you like to watch Winnie the Pooh?”

He looked. He thought. He said, “Winnie the Pooh is a duck, Mama, not a bear.”

We didn’t watch it.

I need to make time for yoga

I do not have enough mental space to be stressed out over more than one thing right now.

Some family stress has returned – that’s plenty. Some work stress started today, and I’m trying to remember that I don’t need to care about that, except that I do.

And then Jack’s preschool teacher has to pile on her with notions about how Jack should eat, and now I’m having imagined fights discussions with her about how she needs to just not worry about if Jack eats, what he eats, and in what order he eats it. I pack his lunch every day, knowing full well he might just eat the fun parts, and you know what? It’s FINE.

I don’t care that you are trying to get the kids to eat foods in a certain order – no, that’s not true. I think it’s incredibly NOT helpful that you’re doing that. Jack doesn’t need any pressure from ANYONE about what or how he eats. He can eat the fun stuff first. If I didn’t want him to eat it, I wouldn’t pack it for him. Sometimes he eats goldfish and apple slices and skips his sandwich. Sometimes he only eats his sandwich. I’m not worried about it, so why are you?

Writing this did not make me less stressed about it. It just reinforced that I need to say something to her. Which is also stressful. Yay confrontation!

Playing in the snow

We got ridiculous amounts of snow this past Saturday. It snowed steadily for, I don’t know, 18-20 hours, and we got over a foot of snow in the flat parts of the yard AFTER all the wind. Jack kept asking to go outside during the storm, and we kept trying to explain that blizzard-level winds were making it too dangerous to be outside. Toddlers, man.

It’s been really cold, so the snow was light and powdery. Not good for snowballs or forts or snowmen, but great for falling and rolling around (and easier to shovel). Jack LOVES it. For two days we’ve been running around the yard pretending to be transformers and climbing mountains.

Then finally, on the third day after the storm, it warmed up enough to make the snow packable. Jack and I spent a delightful afternoon making snowballs and pretending they were people or eggs (never a snowball). Rather, I sat on my butt in the snow making a pile of snowballs. Jack picked up each snowball and either rescued the person from the natural disaster that had befallen it (the disaster varied), buried the penguin egg in the snow to keep it safe from hatching, sat on the penguin egg so it would hatch, or gave me the egg-for-eating so I could make a snow cake.

My favorite was when he’d take an egg to a spot to bury it, put it down so he could dig a hole, and then lose it (or step on it) in the messy snow surrounding him. “Where’s my egg?”

It’s warming up to the 40s tomorrow and for the next few days, with rain in a couple of days, so we have maybe one more day to really play in the snow. Gotta take advantage.

Video Games

Jack has discovered video games. Bad parenting? Maybe, maybe not. It’s only been a week, and he calls them activities. He’ll ask to do “an Octimus Prime activity”, for example.

Tangent: he has gotten WAY into Rescue Bots, which is the new young kid version of Transformers. We play a LOT of Rescue Bots vs “Cepticons” now, and he falls asleep to us telling stories about Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Quickshadow. So when he first asked to do an activity the other day, I had the brilliant idea of searching his tablet for age appropriate apps or games involving Rescue Bots. There are two.

So far, he has a love/hate relationship with these games. SO much fun, and he wants to play them ALL the time, but he’s never played anything like this before, and the learning curve is steep, so there’s a frustration factor.

Still, it’s adorable to watch him figure this out. There’s a really sweet Very Hungry Caterpillar game, some great Thomas the Tank Engine games, and a very cute interactive version of The Monster at the End of This Book with Grover and Elmo.


The “why” phase of toddler development officially began this week. LOTS of “why?”, sometimes pursued, sometimes abandoned. I’m trying to gauge when he’s actually asking vs when it’s the start of an objection and he doesn’t really care why unless the answer is “okay, you’re right, you can do or have <insert toy or food here>”.

I’m happy to follow him down the why rabbit hole, though. Twice, just this week, with completely different starting points, our journey took us to an explanation of how time is linear. Coincidence? Maybe, but I plan to pay attention and see how often this happens.

I don’t remember the start of the second conversation, but the first one started on our way home from a playground. He had kicked his shoes off. “Mommy, can you get my shoes?” “Not right now, sweetie.” “Why?” “Because I’m driving the car.” “Why?” I wish I had recorded it – I’d really like to remember how we got to time, but it was perfectly logical then.

If it happens again, I might publish.

I suspect I may not be in charge

I know, I KNOW, that a toddler isn’t entirely capable of deciding what to do.

I know, I KNOW, that if I ask Jack if he wants to do something, he might say yes or no and not mean either one or mean it for 15 seconds and then mean the opposite.

The thing is, he DOES have opinions, and in some cases, it feels really rude not to respect them. He really does not want to do something, something that isn’t mandatory? Okay – we don’t have to do it. SOMETIMES. Sometimes I know he’s saying no because he doesn’t understand, but sometimes I think he really has a preference, and if it’s reasonable to accommodate it, I would like to.

Sometimes that backfires on me.

Take this morning. The plan was to have breakfast and go to the beach for a couple hours. We had no commitments for most of the day, no story times, no play dates, and my first meeting wasn’t until 3pm. Today was the first day after his cold that I felt comfortable taking him around people, and I was looking forward to it. If you asked Jack, so was he. We were going to dig holes in the sand and play with trucks! Go in the water! So much fun.

There was no problem getting the car packed or getting him in it. The beach is only 20 minutes down the road. No problem on the drive. Then we got there. I parked the car and opened my door, and Jack fell apart.

Tears streaming down his face, sobbing, “I want to play on the playground!” “Sweetie, we’re at the beach. We’re going to play in the sand and dig holes and play in the water!” “I want to play on the playground!”

I KNEW he’d calm down and have fun if I could just get him out of the car and onto the beach, but “No, I don’t want to get out of the car! I want to keep my gray shoes on! I don’t want to wear my bathing suit! Let’s ask the kids if they’ll play with me!”

The last line did me in.* “Sweetie, do you want to go to the playground?” Sad hiccuping sobs, “Yeah.” “We have to go home first so I can put on regular clothes.” “I DON’T WANT TO GO HOME I WANT TO PLAY WITH KIDS.” “I hear you. We can, but we have to make a quick stop at home so I can change clothes, and then we can go to the playground. Which playground do you want to go to?”

Whew, calm while he considered the merits of the various playgrounds, and I got the car started. We got out of the parking lot, got maybe a mile back towards home, and then more crying, “TURN AROUND! I want to go to the beach!”

I practiced breathing. “Sweetie, we’re going to the playground to play with kids. We can go to the beach another day.”

A little more crying, I kept driving towards home, and then he asked if Graham, McKenna, Emily, and Uncle Sean would be there. I cautiously said I didn’t know, and he said “Let’s check it out!” So I called Emily, and to my great relief, they were willing to take a break from their other plans and meet us at a playground.

Fun times were had by all, I still made it home in time for my meeting, and the rest of the day was incident-free.

We’re going to try the beach again tomorrow afternoon.

*Also, because of his cold, we hadn’t seen ANYONE in over a week, and on top of that, he was up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, so he was not at his best. Neither was I.

He knows he’s funny

The other day, Jack asked to watch a video that is no longer available on Amazon Prime. That has happened before, but those videos were available on YouTube. This one is not. So Jack asked for it, and I said it’s not available anymore. I can’t find it.

Jack: Did you check on Amazon?

Me: Yes, sweetie. It’s not on Amazon anymore.

Jack: Daddy is tall. Maybe he can find it.

Me, smothering a laugh: Daddy IS tall, but I don’t think he’ll be able to find it, either.

Jack, glancing out the window toward the neighbor’s house, with a funny little smile on his face: How about…Steve?

I didn’t hide the laugh that time.

A Day

My website is back up (yay!), but I’m feeling a little down. Today was the eighth anniversary of Roxy’s death. Eight years – it feels like forever ago and yesterday. I miss my anti-social puppy.

In cuter news, Jack got butter on his hands this morning and absently rubbed his hair, so he smelled like popcorn all day.

We voted today – the town held a referendum on some school-improvement funding. Jack charmed the election officials (naturally) and got extra “I Voted” stickers.

We went to our first outdoor story time in a year and a half, we took a long walk in the stroller and brought back lunch, we had a dance party before dinner, but the Roxy thing just brought down my whole day.


I never nap when Jack naps. During the week, that’s prime work time. During the weekend, I usually get some uninterrupted reading time. Regardless, I don’t sleep, and it’s not a problem. Usually.

Today was the sixth day in a row with no nap for Jack, and I’ve noticed a confusing trend. When Jack doesn’t nap, I’m the one who feels sleepy in the afternoon. Yesterday my eyes were actually watering from the effort of keeping them open.

I don’t have this problem on days he naps. Apparently, it’s super exhausting for me to watch him not nap. He doesn’t even give me a hard time about it anymore – there’s no crying or yelling. He just doesn’t nap, and eventually I give up. And THEN the sleepiness rolls in, which makes it extra hard to try to work while he plays (when he’s not tugging at my arm or stealing my mouse).

Anyway, I’m going to bed.

The snow is more fun when you’re well-rested

Yesterday’s adventure in the snow was not so positive. I took Jack out while it was still snowing so I could do a first round of shoveling before the snow turned to freezing rain and packed everything down.

He was fine with the snow on the ground (progress!), but it was windy, and any time the wind blew snow into his face, he started to shriek. I mean, I can’t blame him – it’s cold and it’s wet and it’s in his face. He didn’t quite understand that he could turn the other way and be protected.

He let me get quite a bit of shoveling done, though. At one point, I escorted him back to the door so he could sit on the step, protected by the overhand. He sat there contentedly for the 10-15 minutes I needed to get to a stopping point, which was truly surprising. Then we played with snowballs under John’s office window until the wind turned on us again and we went inside.

That’s when we tried hot chocolate. You’ve seen the video – he liked it okay, but it wasn’t a life-changing experience.

Of course, the whole afternoon might have gone better if Jack had napped. Yesterday was the third day in a row without a nap. I’m not hopeful about today.

A little fall of snow

We got an inch of snow, maybe a little bit more, the other day, and it’s been cold enough not to melt away. We haven’t left the house, so the only tracks are from the Amazon Prime delivery van. Every few hours, I look out the window to see a light flurry – pleasant to look at, but not enough to add to the accumulation.

I’ve had meetings during our play windows the last couple of days, so this afternoon was my first opportunity to get Jack out to play.

When it snowed in October, he was NOT a fan. He didn’t want to touch it, didn’t want to walk in it. Since then, we’ve watched some TV episodes where it snows. We’ve got a Thomas book from the library all about snowy train tracks, we’ve read a book about Little Owl experiencing snow for the first time, we’ve read about snowmen and snowballs, and his favorite episode of Thomas and Friends (after Diesel and the Ducklings) is about Percy and Thomas crashing into the snow.

With all of that, I was hopeful that he’d be more open to playing in the snow this time around. On top of that, he has brand new snow boots (no more rain boots with extra socks) and brand new tiger paw water-resistant mittens, AND he watched baby cousin Lucy enjoying the snow this morning. I said, “Look! Lucy’s playing in the snow!” and Jack said, “I play in the snow!” Progress!

And it paid off! I got him all bundled up and outside, and then he stopped at the edge of the snow. “Pick you up! Mommy, pick you up!” I suggested we go play in the meadow (side of the house), and he let me hold his hand. He took a few cautious steps, and then we were fine. Over the course of the next hour, he touched the snow, threw the snowballs I made, crushed the snowballs I made, crushed the tiny snowmen I made, leaned over to try to make his own snowballs, fell on his face once, fell on his butt once, and ran to the other side of the yard. He stopped short of tasting the snow, but (thank goodness!) he had a good time, and after we came inside, he told me he wants to do it again.

We have conquered the beach. We have conquered the snow. Next stop, paint! Ha, who am I kidding, I’m not ready for paint. Next stop, potty-training!