Wednesday, January 30

That Age

As of tomorrow I will have a pre-teen.  The Big Boy turns 9.  As my mother just reminded me on the phone, the last year before double digits.

I will admit having a 9 year old makes me feel old(er); but I think it's also pretty darn neat.  It is such an age of transition and of change and growing (and regressing.... he's into watching Disney Jr. shows again.).  But I have found with this age comes a new challenge.

The challenge of buying him gifts.

Really; what do you get a pre-teen (or teen for that matter) boy these days?

Sure there is the obvious: video games and Legos.

Sure he wants video games and Legos.

But really he doesn't need anymore video games.  And Legos, well lets just say he has enough Legos.  Enough for 5 or 6 or 20 kids his age.  Yes, he would play the video games.  And yes, he would build (then destroy) the 1,000 piece Lego set.  But when you already have a mild video game addiction (which your mother is fighting hard to overcome) and about fifty-million-billion-trillion Legos you don't need anymore.

So what to get?

I settled on a Razor Scooter.  The "graffiti" one.  Husband says he'll break his neck.  He's probably right; given RR's (total lack of) coordination.  But as I pointed out to Husband, better to break his neck on a scooter than on a bike.  And hey, it was 50% off.  You can't argue with that.  As an added bonus he has asked for a scooter a time or two, just not since winter has gotten here.

Oh, yeah... and I got him a little box of Legos.  From his brother, of course.

Monday, January 28

And the winner is....

Amy!!  She correctly guessed how big RR was going to be at his well-child visit today.  OK, ok... she was the only one that took a guess, but she was spot on.  RR is 82 lbs. and 55-inches tall.

You know what that means?  All of his aunts that are hovering right around (or below) the 5-ft mark better watch out it's just a matter of time till he's taller than you.

But do you what else it means?  It means that he's been having a steady 2.5 to 3 inch vertical growth per year for the last few years and is following along the 75% height curve nicely.  It also means that since his weight gain slowed down so much this year (BMI is now 19.05); especially in comparison to his height gain he is no longer "overweight".  I will tell you this is a HUGE sigh of relief.

Last year, when he was first classified as overweight I was crushed.  It made me feel like I was failing him as a parent; eating too many meals on the go and not getting in enough exercise.  I felt like I wasn't offering him a fair deal.  Now I know genetics has something to do with weight gain and especially height; and I know my brothers always chunk-ed up before growing upwards, but it was a hard place to be as a parent.  RR had always been on the leaner side; and even when he starting having some weight to him he was always a solid kid; but last year that was different.  I could see there was a problem developing with his weight and I am glad we've been able to overcome it.

I do in part thank the changes to his school lunch program; with the switch to all whole grains and three servings of fruits/veggies for meals they are a lot healthier now than they were in the past... and as I have mentioned in the past school lunches are my life-saver during the week.

But honestly I think  a big part of helping him maintain a healthy weight is him using the elliptical while watching his TV shows.  This is also a HUGE help with getting out his pent up energy.... ADHD plus in door recess all week is no bueno.

Now if only Husband and I could follow his example a little bit better.... I know our primary doctor would be happy to see that.

Showing off the "suit of armor" he made out of copy paper today.

Sunday, January 27

Place Your Bets

On Monday I take RR for his 9 year physical exam.

Any bets on how big the boy is now?

In case you missed the announcement on FB earlier this week, he is now wearing a men's size 7 shoe.  Apparently 6 is the largest size they make in children  after that you are into adult sizes.  Sigh, I can feel my wallet getting lighter just thinking about it.

You can see his a history of his growth on the "Watch Us Grow" page on this here blog.  He really had slowed down growing vertically the last few years and was filling out more - we had gotten a BMI warning last year at his physical, but when he went in to the doctor mid-year she was really happy with his BMI going down.... so I am hoping he followed that trend.  He sure does seem taller lately.

Sp place your bets here... how big is RR at 9 years?  (OK, he'll be a few days shy of 9 years at his appointment....)

Here he is with his best-bud a few weeks ago.  

Saturday, January 26

Friday, January 25

Magic Stickers

Last week I posted about how when TT is upset in the car we listen to the Ghostbuster's theme song over and over and over again.  We have a similar trick for when he's in the house and get a boo-boo (my baby doesn't really get hurt, just little scraps and scratches and pinched fingers)... in the house we have "magic stickers" to heal all of those scrapes and bruises.

I used to be able to offer him a magic kiss for his bumps and bruises; but then we got some stickers along with a prescription at Tar-jay... and it's been stickers ever since.

So anytime TT hurts himself and start crying we just need to offer him a "magic sticker" and he's all set.  Actually he needs two magic stickers - one for each hand.  Why yes, magic stickers go on his hands regardless of where he hurt himself.... and voila once the stickers are applied the tears quickly dry and he is happy and smiling and looking at his stickers.

Monday, January 21

9th Birthday Party

Yes, it appears that I have fallen off the blogging planet again.... but have no fear I am back tonight.  AND with pictures.  This weekend we celebrated RR's 9th birthday party.  Sure, his actual birthday isn't for another 2 weeks; but TT's is 15 days after his AND we have lots of family and friend birthdays around that time so we had found over the years it is easier to have his party on the weekend of MLK Jr Day.

He really wanted to party in a lamp shade.
No, he didn't leave the house with it.

Giant cookie cake.  We've had one nearly every year.

Charging station.  This makes your balls glow.  Ha!!

Real men wear babies and light birthday candles.

We had his party at a local place that offers glow in the dark mini-golf.  The price was a total bargain and to not have to clean my house before and after the party and deal with RR retreating to his room in tears it was totally worth it.

We didn't have anyone show without RSVPing.  Which I totally loved.  But we did have one guest not make it after RSVPing, I hope he was OK.

So the kids golfed.  TT ran around like a crazy fool.  We ate, we had cake, he opened presents, the kids played in the laser maze and after 2 hours we went home.  It was excellent.  His party was a total success.  And I must say it was in large part of our awesome friends.  Friends that helped set-up, get ready, watch TT, eat with TT, bring things to and from the car.

Awesome friends to RR and awesome friends for Husband and I.

Saturday, January 12

Who Ya Gonna Call

They say that music tames the savage beast, in our case it tames the crying toddler.  I'd like to say he has a refined ear and would cam down to the great jazz legends like his big brother.  Husband would like to say that TT was just like him and calms right down to country music.  Sure he likes these types of music and dances to them; but they certainly do not calm him down.

And now that we are working on freeing him (err, us the parents) from the pacifier we are going out more and more without; and one day we found ourselves at a loss as he cried and screamed as we drove and there as no nook (pacifier to the rest of you) in site. Until I recalled how much he enjoyed the Ghostbusters theme song on our Halloween CD; and since we never put anything away Husband was able to get track 2 playing in time.

The bass drops the first few notes.... If there's something strange....

The car goes quiet.  TT has stopped crying.  He is memorized.  He is in love. He was clam and tuned in.

Then track 3 plays, which is Purple People Eater, and he starts crying again.

We have spent a better part of December and Janaury driving around listening to Ghostbusters on repeat in the car.  It reminds me of when my youngest brother was just a toddler and he used to have to fall asleep watching Back to the Future.  It's TT's thing, just like that.  We all got are thing, don't we.  And if Ghostbusters is going to stop my kid from crying then it's all good.

Sunday, January 6

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

My Grandma always was an avid reader.  When I was a girl she belong to the Reader's Digest Book Club.  She used to get two or three novels, classics, in the mail at a time and once she was done reading them I was free to borrow them.  Many times she let me keep them.

Some of the books were abridged, condensed versions of the complete Sherlock Holmes works for instance, but many of the books were in their original complete state.  All of the books were hardbound, with  fancy wanna-be-leather covers and gold or silver embossed titles.  Often times the books contained a few illustrations to go along with the story.  

I remember the excitement and anticipation of going to Grandma's and getting a new book.  It was one of the treasures her house held, along with steno-pads and very sharp pencils. Grandma would let me look over the book collection and I would go hide in one of the empty bedrooms that had once belong to my mother and read away.  Other times she would pop in for a visit and drop books off.  

I don't recall how old I was when I first read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (by Betty Smith), probably a little older than the heroine of the story Francie on "book 1".  The book was bound in green pleather and had gold embossed lettering; and it was love at first glance.  

At first I was just so proud of myself for being able to read such a long book.  I even boosted about the number of pages in it when I did a book report on it for school.  But there was something else too the book, aside from the 500 plus pages.  

What that something is, I cannot fully say.  I do not have the correct word for what it is that makes this book so special to me.

I have read this book a dozen or so times since I first read it.  I get a craving to read this book.  It's similar to the craving that Francie gets for a good Jewish pickle at the end of a long winter when nothing else tastes good.  After eating the pickle she can go back to eating her everyday meals.  I get that way about pickles myself and this book is the same way.  After reading it, I feel renewed.

I hadn't read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in about four years and my craving for the book was getting to be an all time high, but I wasn't able to locate my copy (the same green bound edition Grandma gave me) since we moved.  And then I found it this summer.  It was in a box in the basement that had seen too much moisture and the book had molded.  The cover was curling over, the fake leather was peeling off the stiff thick cardboard that made the cover, it smelt dark and dank and mold grew on the edges.  Into the dumpster it went.  

I looked into buying another copy, but never hit the order button.  I checked to see if it was at my library, but it wasn't.  I thought about getting the movie, since I've never seen it; but didn't.

And then on Christmas morning I opened a gift from Husband and there it was.  The book I had been longing for.  

I read it in three days.  And as with every other time I read it, I understood more of the story.  I related deeper to the characters.  As with every other time reading it, it was like the first time reading it.   I knew the story line, yet I still laughed and cried like the first time.  I was moved.  I felt complete and relaxed when I was done.  Since then I have re-read certain chapters and pages; and I am sure if I started back on page 1 tomorrow I could re-read the book through and through again.  

If you have never read this book I highly recommend reading this book.  It was named one of the top 100 books from the last century; and there is good reason for that.

Saturday, January 5

Vacation Not

I had plans to take vacation from work from December 22 through January 1.  Unfortunately my "vacation" got off to early start following the death of my uncle on December 17.  His funeral was the 22nd and then there was a blur in time in which we prepared for Christmas, the best we could.

Then Christmas Eve came, and RR was sick.

And then the brakes on the car went.  And we were stuck in the house for 4 days.  And it snowed.

RR and I missed Christmas Mass.  We had had plans to go to Midnight Mass.  RR was excited about going for the first time and I was looking forward to it.  But RR was sick, pretty darn sick by the time Christmas morning came; so it was just as well.  Sick kid, no brakes and snow does not make for ideal driving conditions.

Then RR started getting better.

Just in time for TT to get sick.

Thankfully the brake issue with the car was just a loose nut (which caused all the brake fluid to drain out).  So it was a fast and easy fix.

And then it snowed again.  It snowed a lot.  And TT got very sick.

Then the cat died.

TT was still running a temperature after 4 days, so we brought him to the doctors.  TT had the flu and an ear infection.

Then Husband started getting sick; just in time for me to go back to work.

So there I was at work, and I started getting sick.

Talk about a terrible vacation.

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