Tuesday, December 18, 2007

T.V. Tirade

Before Isaiah was born, I had definite ideas about the kind of parent I would be. We would do lots of crafts that encourage cognitive development, we would have a plethora of fun physical and educational activities laid out before us for each day, and we would watch minimal TV. Oh, and my house would be pretty clean and organized too. So, like most people with no kids, I was a great parent. Now, however, I have slipped upstairs to write while Isaiah watches Sesame Street and chores are left undone. We don't do many crafts at all (Isaiah isn't really into them when we try anyway) and since it's freezing outside, we haven't taken a trip to the park in quite a while. Although Isaiah is watching TV at the moment, I really do keep it at a minimum, but not because I am a supermom. We barely watch any TV because the kid's programs on are exorbitantly annoying. Seriously - the annoyance factor in kid's programming is just excessive. I can't even stand to have most of them on even when I'm in a different part of the house. And, instead of growing more tolerant over the months, I've grown progressively less tolerant. For the time being, there are two shows I can stand on PBS - Curious George and Sesame Street (and I have a feeling my magnanimity with the latter stems greatly from my love of Sesame Street as a child.) I'm also okay with several DVDs, such as Baby Einstein or Peter Pan, but we watch those sparingly so I don't begin to hate them as well.

While the fact that other shows are so excruciating probably makes me a better parent, I don't understand why they have to be so bad. I'm also happy to know I am not the only parents with these rather strong feelings to this supposedly benign programming. I recently found a poll on a parenting website asking which PBS kids/Nick Jr. show was the most annoying, and over 7,400 parents had cast their votes and voiced their opinion in the comment section (often with sentiments that would not have been appropriate for PBS kids to air.) For those of you who think I'm a terrible human being, let me give you a brief synopsis of a few shows.

Teletubbies are four extremely odd creatures who speak in an inane form of 'baby talk' and sing things like "Hat, hat, hat haaaaat" or "Quickly, quickly, quickly, quiiiiiiickly." They also have rather annoying names that I can't remember completely but are something like "Tinkle Winkle" and "Tipsy Dipsy." Then there is Caillou. This is a show about a four year old boy who learns a discovers things in the world every day. Unfortunately Caillou is one of the whiniest little boys I've ever seen, and his cutesy voice has literally made me cover my ears at times. The narrator's voice is also rather grating, and the theme song gets stuck in my head and sinks its teeth in for days. Also, he's bald - not a huge deal, but it seems like they could have drawn a few hairs on a four year old boy. There is also Barney, who I don't even feel the need to describe because his annoying tendencies are pretty well known to most people. Honestly, I feel as though I would be alright with these programs (except Teletubbies) if they aired a half-hour episode every month or two, but every day is too much. Once a week is too much. Never is often enough for me. They make me happy not to have cable and access to even more of these shows.

Isaiah has become quite a parrot of Michael and I, and he's getting extremely good at it. Now, before he answers a question such as "What do you want for breakfast?" He will put his fingers to his chin in his little thoughtful pose and sound off a big, long, pensive, "Hmmmmmm...." before invariably answering "fruit snacks." It may be the same answer every time, but he's really thought it through. He has also begun saying "bow-chicka-wow-wow," which I credit my husband for entirely.

We have begun quizzing for our trip to South Dakota. We will look at pictures from other visits with my family and go over Grandma Carpenter, Grandpa Carpenter, Uncle Andy, and Sparky (the dog.) He has the people down pat, but he's still a little confused about the dog, which makes sense because he hasn't seen Sparky in a year. I trust Sparky's feelings won't be hurt, though, since Sparky seems to have trouble remembering his own name from time to time. I have also begun preparing for the 9 hour drive. We plan to leave at 5:00 a.m. sharp so that Isaiah would have two to three hours of sleeping time at the beginning of the drive. We are also counting on an hour or two nap in the afternoon. During the awake time, though, I have planned several thousand different activities in the hopes that four or five will be big hits. Actually, momsminivan.com recommended a different activity or snack for every 15 minutes of a trip, which is what I did. I have 18 activities and 18 different snacks for Isaiah to choose from, plus we have a portable DVD player, which was an early Christmas present from my parents. To be honest, I'm actually really excited to see what Isaiah thinks of all the fun things I planned for him. We bought a special tray that can attach to his carseat to give him a playing/eating surface, and I have some fun little new toys I bought from a thrift store along with jingle bells, magnets on a cookie sheet, a foam build-a-snowman kit, plastic homemade snow globes, and rolls of 1,000 stickers.

We have already celebrated Christmas with Michael's family, which was so much fun. Last year, Isaiah didn't quite understand the concept of new presents belonging to him or even of unwrapping, but this year he totally got it. It was so much fun to see him unwrap a gift and get really excited about it. It took quite a while because we stopped to let him play with his toys before moving onto whatever was next. I realized that I am so much more excited for Isaiah to open his presents than I am for myself. I'm sure people will give me wonderful things, but there is just no chance I'm going to be as cute as Isaiah when I open them. Plus, I get to play with all his toys anyway.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Lament for Mothers

Four days ago an old friend of mine, Dan, was shot in the neck while at YWAM in Colorado. He has since undergone surgery and is recovering, but two of his friends did not survive. Dan is an awesome guy. Although I haven't gotten the chance to see him much since high school, and we only knew for a very brief time through mutual friends, I always thought he was especially fun and nice (and cute) and he stands out in my memory as the guy who quoted "Biodome" at parties.
After the initial shock and dismay of hearing my friend had been shot, my thoughts immediately turned to his mother. I thought of Isaiah and of my unborn daughter kicking inside me, and I unwillingly thought of how it would feel to raise my precious children, to know and love them for 24 years, and to hear some boy had shot them for incomprehensible reasons. It's unbearable.

So, daily and nightly, we have been praying for Dan (Isaiah calls him "Dan Man") and for his mother, as well as for the mothers of all the other people who were shot in this two-part incident. They need a strength I know I do not posses, and God-willing, will never have to.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I need a mommy

I have been sick the past three or four days, and I've decided that you're never too old to need your mommy. Usually, I can pop a couple of DayQuils and go on my merry way with a cold, but since I'm pregnant, I have been trying natural remedies. It makes me glad I live in an age of overabundant medications. I've been alternating warm and cool compresses on my head to try to relieve a sinus headache, drinking lots of tea, and downing a teaspoon of honey every now and then to coat my throat instead of cough syrup. I miss the drugs.

Luckily, Michael was able to be my caretaker on Sunday, he made me soup and grilled cheese for lunch and made sure I got plenty of liquids and rest. Isaiah has also been extremely cooperative and sympathetic in letting me rest and recover. I know I'm not being a five star mom, but he doesn't seem to mind as we snuggle on the couch and watch Disney movies all morning. In fact, there are aspects of my being sick that I think Isaiah positively enjoys. Since I'm trying to be gentle to my stomach (and I can't taste anything anyway) I have been making buttered rice for lunch. I add a small mountain of Parmesan cheese to Isaiah's, and he's in heaven. He's started asking for cheesy rice for breakfast and dinner too. He also really enjoys the fact that I'm way too exhausted to do any household chores, so I just hang out with him all day long, plus I snuggle with him for the entirety of his nap.

Of course, there are also the downfalls, Isaiah is gravely disappointed in the lack of voices to go along with books we read. I am lucky if I can use my own voice for an entire story without coughing, let along Oscar the Grouch or Leo the Lion. There was also the stinky diaper incident of yesterday. Isaiah pooped his diaper sometime midmorning, but my sense of smell is absolutely gone, so I had no idea. A few times during the morning, he came up to me, pinched his nose, and said "Stinky." I thought he was just being funny, so I did it back to him, which usually amused him enough to drop the subject. When I did go to change his diaper before naptime, though, I realized that he had been wearing a dirty one for who knows how long. I felt terrible, but I was also glad I didn't have to smell a thing as I changed it.

I have been enjoying longer conversations with Isaiah the past few weeks as his command of phrases continues to grow. It's really nice to be able to know what he's thinking as he plays and interacts with the world. I've noticed he's beginning to become concerned with the health and safety of others. Whenever Isaiah falls down or runs into something, I will ask him if he's okay, and unless he's actually hurt, he will respond with an enthusiastic "Okay!" So when we were watching America's Funniest Videos this past Sunday, instead of laughing when someone fell down or got clobbered by an unstable Christmas tree, he asked if they were okay. He was especially concerned about the kids, and frequently asked
"Baby okay?"
"Yes Isaiah," I would reply, "that baby is okay."

Another fun conversation happened today when Isaiah went into his closet and pulled out a baby nightgown my mom had sent for our coming little girl.
"Baby clothes!" he said proudly.
"Oh yes! Isaiah that's a nightgown for your baby sister."
"Ohhhhh," he said in a sweet, mothering type voice, "Cute."
Then he began to pet the nightgown as if it were a kitten.
No kidding it's cute, Isaiah - I can't wait to see you be a big brother.